I find it frightening to try to sense the dissociating part in my body.

I find it frightening to try to sense the dissociating part in my body.
March 21, 2018 Ann Weiser Cornell

Focusing Tip #601 – “I find it frightening to try to sense the dissociating part in my body.”

A Reader writes:

I just realized that I dissociate. I can’t control it when it happens. It, whatever in me takes over and I dissociate, seems powerful. It dissociates in a microsecond, and can take hours for me to feel I’ve returned to my body, and then even a day or too for me to return to no longer feel the intense body lock in my gut. When I dissociate I go into a state where I have tunnel vision, have no peripheral vision, and have a reduction in auditory awareness.

Is the part in me that dissociates an exiled part? I find it hard to sense in my body. I find it frightening to even try to sense it in my body. Once it grabs hold, I may have days to live with It, and It has such an intense dread at its core.

Dear Reader:

This sounds like a really important realization, that you dissociate. Clearly it has a protective function. It would also be connected to past trauma.

Something is getting triggered… and it is protecting you in the only way it knows how. Clearly it would be good to form a healing relationship with this part of you. But how?

If you find it frightening to try to sense it in your body, I would trust that. So don’t try to do that.

Instead, how about having a conversation with “the part that dissociates” without trying feel it in your body.

For example, you might do this in writing. Just sit down and write to it.

Be very kind and gentle. For example:

“Dear Part of Me that Dissociates. I know you are trying to help. I would like to make friends with you.

“I want to do that so you feel safe. Let’s go slowly.

“I won’t ask you to do anything you aren’t ready for. I can already tell that you feel intense dread. I would never want to make that worse. I know you are trying to protect me. I would just like to connect.”

[This reader wrote back: What a great way to deepen this relationship. And this happened before I could finish reading your reply, get out a pen and begin to write! I believe your reply helped me recognize this part and boy does it have a lot to tell me about what’s going on with it!]


  1. matthew 4 years ago

    thanks to the reader and to ann. helpful to be reminded of one’s intention with these sort of things and how to proceed safely. much appreciated.

  2. Jen F. 1 year ago

    This is so beautiful, wow, another way to work with “something in me”. Thanks for this idea Ann. And to the writer for the question and follow up on how it worked. Beautiful to hear.

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