The philosophers and dissociation

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How we see the world, depend on our categories

Dissociation is a complex theory that is based on basic research and knowledge gathered from philosophers and theories from different disciplines. Sometimes we forget that everything we experience in the world, is a construct created by ourselves. I can give a little example of this from my personal experiences. Before I had my own car (a little opel corsa) I did often not “see” other cars as anything else than a vehicle who takes me from A to B. After I bought the car, I suddenly started to notice new things: I saw many other cars of the same type, and it almost seemed like the world was filled with little corsas. This does not mean that it was more Corsa`s there after I bought my car, just that I did not attend to the fact before. The “outer” world is still the same, but my world has suddenly changed.

My little corsa, before it "died"
My little opel corsa


Understanding in psychiatry

We also experience this in psychiatry. Where a doctor might see bipolar disorder, a psychiatrist might see the same symptoms as AD/HD, and therefore notice other things than the doctor might do. This will also shape how one tries to “treat” the same patient. Where one doctor might give them lithium for bipolar disorder, a psychiatrist who interpret it as AD/HD will maybe prescribe Ritalin. In fact, this happens all the time. Some patients have been given every diagnosis possible, but still not feel better. When I work, I feel that no matter if a person has bipolar disorder, AD/HD, dissociation they still need much of the same: The need to be whatever they are. I find one of psychoterapists main goal must be to help patients to live more in accordance with their impulses. In fact, many schizophrenic patients, still live with voices in their heads even on medicine, but they don`t feel bothered by it anymore. The same thing happens (hears voices), but since it is “okay” it doesn`t evoke a feeling of guilt and shame when it occurs.


The dissociation model as a tool in psychiatry

The haunted self by Nijenhuis

For me the dissociation-model has been meaningful in my work. I often see dissociation where others might see bipolar disorder or AD/HD. I am not against medicine, since I think it can be an important supplement IF the person taking them, believe it is necessary. Right now I am on a two-day course with Ellert Nijenhuis, who has written “the haunted self”. This book was one of the first dissociation books I read, and I immidiately found the theory meaningful. To sit here and actually hear him talk about his theories is very interesting. Right now he is talking about the background for the theory, and I will focus on some of those thoughts in the following paragraph



Aristoteles four causes as a background for understanding dissociation

  • A change or movement’s material cause is the aspect of the change or movement which is determined by the material which the moving or changing things are made of. For a table, that might be wood; for a statue, that might be bronze or marble. Where the organization IS
  • A change or movement’s formal cause is a change or movement caused by the arrangement, shape or appearance of the thing changing or moving. Aristotle says for example that the ratio 2:1, and number in general, is the cause of the octave. The structural dissociation of the personality, what we need to know about is there
  • A change or movement’s efficient or moving cause refers to things apart from the thing being changed or moved, which interact so as to be an agency of the change or movement. For example, the efficient cause of a table is a carpenter, or a person working as one, and according to Aristotle the efficient cause of a boy is a father. It needs to be organized
  • An event’s final cause is the aim or purpose being served by it. That for the sake of which a thing is what it is. For a seed, it might be an adult plant. For a sailboat, it might be sailing. For a ball at the top of a ramp, it might be coming to rest at the bottom. The most important, that explains the reason for the structural dissocation? The “I want” part. Spinoza: Everything that exist, wants to continue to exist. Why? We don`t know. It can be very frightening to think there is NO reason for living, and it can be easier to think that there must be something more, like a God. In the tv-show “All in the family” there is a episode where “Archie” sees God, as a negro Woman. He is shocked and in Awe. He says “I am sorry, I did not know that”. He did not really believe in God, but since he had no other way to regulate his feelings of uncertainty at that time, to keep his self-esteem alive, he sought something “outerwordly” that might give meaning.

  • Nietzche thoughts about consciousness and it`s relation to dissociation

Nietzche talked about our inner “needs”. One of those were the will to power. We have an inner need to control. He thought this underlying need was unconscious, that means that we did not always register that we had to feel in control. This is meaningful for every person who has at one time or another not understood WHY it is so important for them to not “loose” an argument. Have you ever experienced to have a argument with somebody you know, and finding yourself protesting against things you are not really against? Afterwards you might think: Why did I do that? I did not really mean to say those things. Why do we not want to be the first person that says “I`m sorry”, even when we as grown-ups see that it would be better to lay down the sword? In fact, this can sometimes lead to unneccessary powerstruggles in the outer world. The Cuba Crisis was one example of this. Being the first person to withdraw, left you vulnerable for attack. If it withdrawing first hadn`t been done by USA, the outcome might have been very different.

Neuroscience and dissociaiton

Panksepp, an neuroscientist interested in the unconscious mind, has studied the brain, and found that there are truly active areas in the brain, that we do not “register” in consciousness even if some other part of the brain has done so. The vagus nerve is the part of our nervous system that mediates the parasympathic and sympathic nerve-system. The ventral part of the vagus-nerve has become specialized in regulation social relationships. Those systems are complex, and will be written about elsewhere, but the point is that neuroscience can explain why we do certain things: Like defend ourselves. Normally we approach people close to us, but when a person has experiences trauma, confusion often develops, between the system that wants to approach (like our natural system would) and the system who wants to escape or “fight” to survive. To manage this confusion, a solution can be to dissociation these systems from each other. It keeps the conflict “away” so that the person can “appear normal (ANP: Apparent normal personality).




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The sound of one teacher

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  Psychology – A class divided

A Class DividedElliott divided her class by eye color — those with blue eyes and those with brown. On the first day, the blue-eyed children were told they were smarter, nicer, neater, and better than those with brown eyes.

Throughout the day, Elliott praised them and allowed them privileges such as a taking a longer recess and being first in the lunch line. In contrast, the brown-eyed children had to wear collars around their necks and their behavior and performance were criticized and ridiculed by Elliott.

On the second day, the roles were reversed and the blue-eyed children were made to feel inferior while the brown eyes were designated the dominant group. What happened over the course of the unique two-day exercise astonished both students and teacher.

On both days, children who were designated as inferior took on the look and behavior of genuinely inferior students, performing poorly on tests and other work.

Like many readers already know: I am an incurable softy. I get touched by everything beautiful, especially people`s courage, personalities and thoughts. I must confess that this documentary awoke a mix of different feelings: Sadness for the wrongs we`ve done, but also hope for the future and love towards humanity. It also excited some thoughts: What if we could teach children by asking the right questions without feeding them our own pre-made solutions?  Do we learn teachers how to teach, what to focus on and how to take care of our future at all? Because, our children are the future, and I really hope they will do better than we did.

I`d rather know this before I have my own children; I want to know that the world can be better, before I let them run around in it. Peril will be everywhere, of course, but as long as there`s hope, I`m willing to take a chance. I want to protect them from landmines around the next corner. 

My eyes are still filled with tears, touched by the courageous woman who wanted to show her class what racism is by making them really understand it. My first sceptical «be-carefulness», was convinced by her gentle voice that soothed both the children in the “experiment” and me.

Thank you, brave woman. Thank you for not closing your eyes.

I embed hope in my touched tears, and know they won`t be shed for nothing.

The documentary

The horrible part was not that one was forced to join in: But that it was impossible not to.

G. Orwell: 1984


since I don`t yet trust the world completely,
I`ve raised my own baby that wants to save the world:
My baby and her friends

Abusers are only afraid of losing control. If you get up, they fall

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I, like many others, have a burning desire to DO something for the world, and I try to do my part every day at work. The last couple of years I have also been reading many books about issues related to the world today, and watched randondocumentaries and movies that also inspired me. After some time, excitement rose as I understood how ideas, psychology and internet have the potential to accomplish things we could not before. Some people say it`s too many bad things out there, we can`t do anything, anyway. I simply believe that is not true. Those words are uttered by bullies not affected by people starving and losing their jobs, as long as they can fly their jets, live in mansions and wear expensive suits.

From working with traumatized people, some of the most lovely persons I`ve ever met, and feeling the unfairness of people USING their kindness and warmth against them, making them feel bad and unworthy, when in reality the roles could have been reversed. Also reading about how psychopaths can climb to high positions in the society EXACTLY because they don`t fear stepping at toes (Watch the documentary I am Fishead for more on this) scares me even more. But, remembering that just 1 – 2 % of the populations truly have no conscious (still the number is so high that we all will encounter one of them quite often. The staggering number is still big when you think about how many people inhabit this planet. Some have even noticed that capitalism is as built for psychopaths, what do they care if Greece goes bankrupt as long as they get their cash and power?

All this made me realize: People trying to make the world worse, will always be a challenge, but they will 4178e2e38a07f5e125f5002bf406f060NOT accomplish this if others protest. The internet makes this possible, and by spreading an attitude of compassion, we can work against this tendency. In his book, “Defense Against the Psychopath,” author Stefan Verstappen outlines the greatest and stealthiest danger in the human jungle. Leaders throughout history – the people we vote for – are rarely moral leaders. For them, lying is as easy and natural as breathing. It is completely unnerving and rattling to face the fact that someone can have absolutely no empathy. This realization is so frightening, most would rather go heavily into denial and fantasize that our helping them succeed is a good thing.

“Because of the tremendous destruction psychopaths reap on society, it is vital for everyone to be aware of their existence and to recognize their behavior traits. Understanding them is the first step to defending oneself against them.”

And terrible things happening right under our noses, has always been a fact. Think about the Khmer Rouge, that in five years time slaughtered about one third of the population (if you ever go there, visit the museums and graveyards, they still find bones from people buried) and even more recent: North-Korea and the suffering people are going through RIGHT now because the communist regime run by the Kim family has had the power to frighten and subdue his “people” who once believed (and many still do) that the Western countries only try to do harm (Check out this book for personal accounts of the atrocities)

This might evoke a feeling of helplessness in us, but when we think about it, the internet has given us so many possibilities to share what we know, and protest along with others who have the same (healthy) targets of an equal world, that we are in reality more powerful than ever. There are several “movements” growing, all of them protesting against war, racism and inequality. The mass protests in Egypt is a very recent example of how it is possible for people to really do something against problems, if they just get together and find each other. Remember I wrote about the slaughtering of people in Cambodia ? The reasons were often random, and you or your family could be killed if you not “confessed” under torture that you were not sympathizing with the ruler and the system. There is even a protest recently (June 2013) in Cambodia from the surviving people of the Khmer Rouge when their leader tried to deny what had happened from 1970-1975, by saying that the prisons made were just “staged”. “If these things really happened, why would the Khmer Rouge not destroy the evidence? ” Well, the survivors and stories are real, no one can stage a tower of skulls, several pictures,prisons and stories. And even if they could, why would they? I have personally talked with a lovely humble girl who was lucky enough to get a scholarship in Norway, who presented me for her family who shared from their own food even if they had so little to spare, when I was in Cambodia.

Peace one day want to make one day a year, a “peace day”, and what about a “kindness day” ? Philip Zimbardo, one of the greatest scientists, have introduced Heroic Imagination Project where he encourage people to take heroic act. Do you 142577dfa7c5e25cfaa3466d2bcf5354know that often it is enough that ONE person protest, for others to join in? In fact, they found that the Milgram Experiment of obedience (where you must deliver shock to others) the willingness to do what they “felt” was not right, went down if they “by coincidence” saw somebody else say no. This means: It helps to follow your heart, when something is not “quite right” even if authority tell you something else. Some do anyway, because they trust their gut-feeling enough to do what feels right, but most people look at what others do (cognitive heuristics) because it is easier.

So, if somebody else does kind things for others, would you not want to, also? If your best friend always smiled at strangers, would it not be easier for you also?

But you need energy, to be there for others. For that reason: Take care of your own needs first! Many feel egoistic if they do, but it`s actually the other way around. By not taking care of yourself, you neglect the energy and happiness necessary for giving others what they need. If an oxygen mask fall down, take your own mask first. Not because you don`t care about your children, but because then you are more able to help others, afterwards.

“Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.”

~Parker Palmer

Remember the old cliché? “Take care of yourself first or you will have nothing left to give others.”  Or, “ we can’t give what we don’t have.” But what is self-care really? Why is it so difficult and why do we feel guilty about doing it?

Skulls of Khmer Rouge victims.
Skulls of Khmer Rouge victims. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Read more:

Genocide Museum of the Khmer Rouge (in Cambodia)

World kindness should be practiced every day


Capitalism: A System Run By and For Psychopaths

the pros to being a psychopath

A book to read

put yourself first

Psychopaths run the world



about psychopaths

is self-care-selfish?

will I ever be good enough

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Russian delusions

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Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, the President of the republic of Kalmykia, made the extraordinary comments on Russian state TV last week, claiming he spent several hours in the company of aliens in 1997.

He said he was relaxing at his Moscow apartment when he heard his balcony door being opened and someone calling him. “I went there and looked. There was a semi-transparent pipe. I went into this pipe and saw people in yellow spacesuits.”

He claims to have communicated with the aliens/humanoids through brain waves. “I was shown around their spaceship,” he said with no apparent sign of irony, adding that the aliens explained that they were collecting samples. “I would probably have not believed this if there had not been three witnesses – these were my driver, a minister and my assistant.”

Andrey Lebedev, a Russian MP, has even demanded that the Kremlin investigate the incident.

Did you say you felt unnormal ?



The Helpers

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The events in USA lately has gotten to many of us. We start to think about evil and unjustice. If you think to much about that, it`s easy to feel helpless and scared. Completely natural and reasonable, but just remember how many good people there are. I have personally talked with one of them this week, and she actually lives in Boston. If you read this, thank you so much for everything, and I wish you the very best tomorrow!

I know you also know a lot of good people out there. Put you`r imagination on fire, and let them mentally hug you. For people who still need more inspiration, read about more good people (relevant for the latest events) in the reblogged post!






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