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The sound of a swinging pendelum

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History of dissociation

When a pendulum swings one way, there will often come a different reaction that ultimately leads to a shift in view. This means that theories will be created, updated and ultimately rejected if it does not explain the data collected in a good way. This is especially true for psychology, where theories and ideas have been proposed and opposed in a consistent fashion. When we had no other way than our minds to study the insides us, this was particularly true. The history of psychology is in some way a very recent one, but it is also an old one, since philosophers have tried to understand thought and behavior since we were able to. Plato, Aristoteles, Descartes and so on, all tried to construct models on how we could live a good life, and what determined it. Descares, for example, thought we had a body (matter) and a mind. He thought those were divided from each other, and this thought is still alive today when people discuss if a psychiatric condition is biological or psychological (most people now think its a combination of both). Locke, proposed that we were “tabula rasa”, which meant we were born ready to take in the world as we wanted, but that is not so. We are influenced by our genes and what we experience in the womb. We are “ready” for the world we come into, but the meaning we make of it is created along the way. We are probably the only species who need this, who has to have meaning in addition to just existing. For example we are born with a knowledge about what gives us pleasure: Milk, warm objects, a nice voice and so on. We automatically approach that, like the baby searching for the nipple. Baby`s automatically cry when they need something, this is also something they were born with.

Back to how something goes back and forth. I will demonstrate this principle with using examples from the history of psychology.

Mind over matter

I have already mentioned Descartes`s name. Many people know the name and maybe some of his theory. Descartes thought we where divided in soma/matter and in mind/consciousness. This was a popular thought, that in some ways relate to the idea of an eternal soul, that we meet in many religions. This dualism has shaped how our society is constructed and how we treat each other. If we believe there is a soul, that will go to heaven or hell after we die, we will want not to sin (we want pleasure in heaven, not pain). Descartes was sure about this division, and a lot of others, were, too. Then the princess of Bohemia comes along. She asks Descartes: If mind and matter really are divided, then how can they interact? Descared`s answer was that there must be a place in the brain where it happens, and proposed the pineal gland. This actually did nothing to strengthen his argument, since the pineal gland is itself biological tissue. When we got the methods to study the brain, we found out there is no “soul” in the pineal gland, so new theories tried to explain our thoughts and actions (the pendulum swung).

The uterus and the devil

One had a phenomena (for example, extreme mood swings in women) that had to be explained. In the start the one of the explanations could be that the uterus was too dry. For that reason, it had to “find” moisture in the body, and did so by “wandering” around in the body. When it wandered around, it explained why moody women “twisted” and seemed so agitated. In borderline PF-disorder some of the symptoms can be constant shifting moods, strong emotions, flashbacks and analgesia to pain (the same symptoms “hysteric” women had). The uterus theory was after a while challenged, since it couldn`t explan why men without an uterus could have the same symptoms. Another theory explaining some of these symptoms, was that our “nervous system” had literally been “shaken”. But that did not explain why people who hadn`t been “shaken” had the same symtoms. Another popular theory was phrenology, where different “bumps” in the brain were related to different personality characteristics.

When we didn`t know much about psychology, stress-symptoms could even be explained as manifestations of a devil possessing the “patient”. Exorcism was then the solution. After a while, people started to criticise the theory, and again the pendulum swung to new explanations that fit the data better. One of the new explanations was the theory of “hysterics”. Hysteria was a popular term when Freud was young, and he was very interested in the phenomena, and ultimately this led to his grand psychoanalytic theory.

All these examples, show how we make theories, clarify them, challenge them, or even discard them, if they don`t fit the knowledge we have collected by different means. We actually do this all the time, as children. We explore by putting things in our mouth, to see if it is edible (we learn some things are not) and must make another category for it (it is an animal, and they should not be eaten, at least not when they are alive). This way we learn and become who we are today. This means that through history, we have explained many of the same “symptoms” with different theories that also influence how we “treat”” those symptoms.

War-time and new theories

When the war came, the condition of PTSD was not particularly known. After the war, however, a lof of men got a variety of symptoms. It could be mood-swings, irrational behavior (anger over “nothing”) or flashbacks. This also had to be explained, and when we knew more about biology, we learnt that certain things happened in a stressful situation, like adrenaline being released in the body. When they came back from the war, this still happened even when there was no real threat around them.

The mind and body works together, and this ultimately lead to the theory about dissociation.




What I would like to know

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There are so many People in this world. Every one of them With their story. I would like to know more about the Readers: What is Your story? What makes you smile? What makes you sad?


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The key to success is YOU


Before I begin this post, let me get one thing straight – THERE IS NO MISSING PART OF YOU! You might feel that there is. You might feel that there is something missing in your life. You might feel that you are not the person that you once were.

This is all an illusion.

You are completely whole within yourself. You always have been. What is different, is the mind. The mind is powerful and can play tricks. You can be guilty of deluding yourself.

After an abusive relationship, it is common to stay stuck. The biggest prison, are the walls that people create for themselves. If you allow a sociopath to take control, they will take the bricks and mortar and help you build the wall to keep you prisoner, all under the guise of ‘helping you’.

If you go through your life feeling that something is MISSING the sociopath will gladly fill that missing part for you.

Why the key to ourselves often lies in our past

You are whole. You were born a whole person. You might have a lot of learning, growth and development to do. Some people have other issues, that I will not discuss in this post. I am talking about a person that was healthy and whole, PRIOR to being in either an abusive or traumatic situation.

I knew this. Working with people it was something that I often told my clients. I had worked for decades with homeless people. People who had often lost everything, including their homes, and were now living in temporary accommodation, sometimes with children too. For many of those people, at that point in their lives when I met them, life, was a complicated puzzle, sometimes overwhelming, the problems in their life felt overwhelming. I worked with people to resolve small problems one by one, to put the missing pieces of the puzzle back together.

So, if I was experienced at doing this to help others? Why did I struggle to do it for myself? Firstly, while I knew that the key to my life and the freedom in my life, was in the past – I knew that to reach there, I had to go BACKWARDS. As my daughter had died in Jan 2010, I didn’t want to go backwards to before she was born. I didn’t want to be this person. If I did, I reasoned in my head, then it would mean that I was denying that my daughter had ever existed.

I didn’t WANT to be that person that I was before the trauma had happened. But, even for me, this was essential, and I would stay stuck, until i DID go backwards.

What does it mean to go backwards?

Many victims/survivors talk of how different their lives once were. How they remember the person that they used to be. Often you were a vibrant, fun, successful person, with a lot to offer. Then you met someone who pulled your world down. Now, just how do you get back to who you once were?

To go back to who you once were, to find that missing part of yourself, takes the following:

  • Courage to return to the past
  • A belief to find yourself and knowledge that you will and can do this
  • Overcoming and having the confidence to cope with fear of rejection
  • An ability to follow yourself
  • Knowing who YOU are – what made you tick? What were the things that made YOU happy BEFORE you met your abuser? Where were you? Who were the people in your life? Why did life feel better back then?

Join up the dots

You are ALWAYS who you once were, the difference is what is in your mind. It is your own perception and how you see things. The following are some reasons why you hold yourself back:

  • You might be scared to return to the past
  • You meet see going backwards as literally a step backwards and therefore failure
  • You might think that to go back to where you were before you met the socio – means that you have wasted your life
  • You might not want to have wasted so many (often) years of your life, for… what you might see as nothing
  • You might not want to let go of the false illusion that was offered to you by the sociopath

Backwards can mean forwards

By returning to your past, what you are actually doing, is to return to where YOU were last happy, fulfilled and whole within YOU. You are returning to a time when none of the abuse had happened to you.

You know when you listen to music sometimes, it can trigger a memory? It is like that. By going back to where you felt most fulfilled, you are returning to a place that you felt safe.

I don’t know if this is true for you, but it certainly is for me, and my life. Throughout my life, there have been people who have entered my life, some have stayed, but usually, almost always it is the core group of people that are always there in my life. I might think that they have gone, but they haven’t. Pick up the phone and call, there is something quite comforting about your past.

You are the WHOLE of you

You are every part of you. You are every experience in your life. People come into your life, as blessings, or lessons. Some people are in your life for all of your life, and others, come and go. You need people to leave your life sometimes, as if you didn’t have those people leave, you wouldn’t have time for new people and new experiences.

Let go of the fear and face your past. For in the past, you will find the real true you. The reflections of you that you saw presented to you by the sociopath are not real true reflections. The reflections that are offered by your past will give a TRUE reflection of you.

Go careful, as the mind is powerful and it can play tricks. But it is difficult to trick you when you have returned to the safety of the past, prior to where you were before the abuse happened to you.

You are ALWAYS the whole of you. Nobody can take that away from you. As you go through life, you will grow and develop, sometimes you will experience things that will hurt and cause you pain, but this pain will give you wisdom, and help you to grow. Even if you do not see it at the time.

How far do you go back to the past?

You have to go back to where you were, BEFORE the trauma/abuse happened. Right back, however far that is. For me, this has been five years. I didn’t want to go back to where I was five years ago. I wondered how this could ever be possible. It frightened me, before 5 years ago, I had a very different life. I was meant to be a mother to a little girl. I struggled to go back to the person that i was before my daughter left my life. I saw this as FAILURE.

I saw this as not moving forward, or moving on with my life. Yet, the truth was, as it always had been, the key and the truth for me, lay in my past.

I recall returning to work after my daughter had died. I was in a worst state than I realised at that time. Not in a very good place at all. Yet there was something comforting about returning to a job that I had (at that time) held for seven years. My entire world had changed, my world was fallng apart and crumbling down. I recall thinking ‘in a changing world, it is reassuring to know that some things remain the same’.

What kind of things do you go back to?

This is about the things that are GOOD for your soul. The GOOD memories. This is the place that you know, you feel safe, you understand. It is what you TRUST. Examples of returning to the past (not inclusively)

  • Old friends (particularly those who knew you in childhood) – even if you haven’t seen them for many years
  • Family that love and care about you
  • An old career that used a particular skill, that you were good at
  • An environment or a location, if you went on holiday, or attended a particular event regularly, return there
  • Digging out old belongings – books, music, anything at all, that you haven’t seen for a long time, particularly if you haven’t seen those things since the abuse started
  • ANYTHING that gave you joy, that you loved PRIOR to meeting your abuser

Your soul doesn’t lie

You might think that you CAN’T go back there. But you can, and indeed you likely will, when you are ready. Those missing parts that you think about, when you focus on how the sociopath has RUINED your life. The sociopath cannot really ruin your life, even if you think that they have (but they will have a good try, if they want to). Nobody can ruin your life, it can, only if you allow it to.

Your soul doesn’t lie. When you think back and reminisce. When you think of all you USED to be, or all that you USED to have, it is all still there. It is just about reconnecting to it again. That sadness that you feel in your heart? You feel sad for the false empty promises, where the sociopath promised to offer to missing parts to you – but the truth was NOBODY could fulfill this, as there never was missing parts of you, even if you thought that there were.

Sneaky,crafty sociopath huh? …. master of illusion and confusion – offering to fulfill what you already had within you…. but they do this. The question is why didn’t you see this for yourself.

Begin today

I love lists. Begin today, write a list of all the things that YOU loved in your life BEFORE you met your abuser. What were the things that made you happy? Write down everything – one by one. Everything that made you PROUD to be you, everything that made you happy, everything that gave you joy.

Expect at first, to feel sad with this list. At first it is likely that you will look at this list and see all that you used to be. This, might indeed tempt you to return to your abuser. However, if someone makes you feel bad about YOU – they shouldn’t be in your life. If someone makes you feel bad about you, they are bad FOR you.

Don’t expect immediate results. It can take quite some time. Remember that it has taken some time to abuse you, traumatise you, an attempt to steal your life. Be realistic with time frames. The longer that you were abused for, the longer that it will take to reclaim you.

Believe me, you are WHOLE you always have been. The sociopath might have undertaken ruining and smear campaigns. If you have lost people out of your life because of this, this is fine, let them go. Do not try to protest, or repair those friendships, just let them go. This is in fact a blessing, even if it feels like a lesson.

Someone once told me that you can never really have more than four friends. I thought that was stupid. I had LOADS of friends. Or at least I thought I did. Truthfully I didn’t. My real true friends, would NEVER betray me. Nothing a sociopath could say or do would damage those friendships (and the sociopath would know about this too) they would instead target (to humiliate and shame you) your vulnerable friendships. Those people are not your real friends. Your real friends, lie in your past. You have experienced many events in life with them. Sometimes you might not see them for a time – this is fine, you know that you will see them again.

START SMALL – and go from there.

Please leave comments if you would like to discuss this. As I am sure that this post is written for somebody who is reading, who has been feeling stuck.

What do you miss out of your OLD life?

Do you fear going backwards?

Did you think that going backwards means failure or wasted time and life?

Sometimes in life, the key to finding you – is to go BACKWARDS as always (no matter what the sociopath would have you believe) you are the WHOLE of you.

Copyright 2014



Protected: The sound of ice freezing

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A fresh look at social anxiety

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Social Anxiety


Social Anxiety, like so many other “anxiety disorders”, is not really about anxiety. If we look a little deeper there is almost always something else at stake…

Anxiety as Substitute Emotion

Quite frequently, anxiety acts as a substitute emotion that takes the place of the real issue that therapy needs to focus on. Anxiety is to our internal dilemmas, as loss of consciousness is to alcohol consumption. Both serve to shut down something in order to keep us safe.

In the case of alcohol consumption, loss of consciousness prevents us from drinking more and thus from dying of alcohol poisoning. It is our body’s inbuilt safety mechanism.

Similarly in the case of anxiety: I become anxious because I cannot contain some truth, some emotion, or some problem in my conscious awareness. The danger is here the danger of my own awareness, which has the power to destroy me psychologically, just like alcohol can destroy me physiologically. My anxiety indicates that I am not at peace with myself or that some admission of a banished truth or feeling would have dire consequences for my current self-understanding.

Social Anxiety as a “Disorder” of Shame

In the case of my social anxiety, the danger to my self-understanding is activated in relation to others. Others are perceived as passing judgments on aspects of my natural, spontaneous self.

However, the judgment I expect from others is already a judgment that I have passed on myself. Only if I have come to dislike or devalue some aspect of myself, can others now be in a position where they can expose this most shameful part.

What is at stake in social anxiety is thus the public shaming of an aspect of myself, which I am unable to love. This is why labeling social anxiety an anxiety disorder, is really to get lost in the symptoms, rather than to understand the cause. Social anxiety is not really about anxiety, but is about shame and self-worth.

A Cure through Love

Shame, of course, develops in and through my interactions with others. As French existentialist, Jean-Paul Sartre has stated, “For me the Other is the first being for whom I am an object; that is, the beingthrough whom I gain my objectness”.

Who we feel ourselves to be is thus always tied to the many ways in which others have reacted to our internal experiences and natural self-expressions. When these reactions have been kind and affirming, we have internalized a sense of love and acceptance, and when they have been critical or invalidating, we have internalized a sense of shame or wrongness.

To truly rid myself of social anxiety is thus not simply to conquer a fear, but to develop compassion for myself. One must often revisit moments in one’s memories where other people’s reactions to me, hurt me or made me feel dangerously exposed.

These wounds to our sense of self must now be attended to, rather than hidden away for no one to see. In my opinion, this is how good therapy can help you get to the bottom of what social anxiety is really about. Therapy provides a new kind of validating relationship in which all parts of you can be seen, and in which you can now see yourself through the eyes of an “other” who no longer judges you for being yourself.

About me: I am Rune Moelbak, Ph.D., a psychologist in Houston, Texas with a different approach to psychological issues. Learn more about myinsight-oriented approach to treating social anxiety.


The sound of roars

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                               First, the lyrics:

[Verse 1]
I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly, agreed politely
I guess that I forgot I had a choice
I let you push me past the breaking point
I stood for nothing, so I fell for everything

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now


Roar by Katy Perry

I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR

Now I’m floating like a butterfly
Stinging like a bee I earned my stripes
I went from zero, to my own hero

You held me down, but I got up
Already brushing off the dust
You hear my voice, your hear that sound
Like thunder, gonna shake your ground
You held me down, but I got up
Get ready ’cause I’ve had enough
I see it all, I see it now

I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire

I got the eye of the tiger, the fighter, dancing through the fire
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Louder, louder than a lion
‘Cause I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me ROAR
Oh oh oh oh oh oh
You’re gonna hear me roar

Posted October 6, 2013

And then the song:

What did you think? I`d love feedback on what YOU discovered, as I might learn something from my readers as well.

More information:

The Daily Post

I have written some posts on dissociation, and even if people might feel this song has nothing to do with it, it still highlights one fact about dissociation: Dissociation means […]

The Sound of Nature

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bird song

Natural sounds such as birdsong and the sound of water have been used in stressful situations like surgical procedures, and have demonstrated stress-relieving effects via the autonomic nervous system (Annerstedt et al., 2013).

A randomized study by Bauer and colleagues (2011) found that nature sounds and music, compared to no sound, had the potential to reduce pain and stress significantly in cardiovascular surgery patients. 

One study found that nature sounds, compared to noise, facilitate recovery from stress after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Stress levels were measured by people’s skin conductance levels (Alvarsson, Wiens, & Nilsson, 2010).

Another study found that sounds of a soft wind and a twitter during epidural anesthesia, compared to no sound, reduced stress. Reductions in stress were reflected by a decrease in salivary amylase activity (Arai Y-C et al., 2008).

A recent experiment by Annerstedt and colleagues (2013) found that participants, exposed to natural sounds in a virtual natural environment, showed enhanced stress recovery after a virtual stress test.

The authors used cardiovascular and saliva cortisol data, and they found that natural sounds, combined with a virtual natural environment, increased stress recovery by activating the parasympathetic nervous system.

Photo: timku

Faces behind the mirror: The Oxymora of Me

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Loved this post, so am reblogging it here!

The Oxymora of Me


I’m many ways, I am a living oxymoron.  Many of my inherent personality traits consist of juxtaposed, seemingly contrary concepts.   Here are some examples:

I’m a rabble-rousing peacekeeper.

I like to ease conflict where I see it, but I’m not afraid to start an argument, either.  I believe some things are worth fighting for, and I don’t hesitate to throw myself into the brawl if I feel it will serve a larger purpose.  Still, if I can, I prefer to ease conflict where I see it, and create peace.

Where this is awesome: The corporate world.  I can hold my own, and make friends, at the same time.

Where this stinks: This blog. I want to keep the peace here, so I often tell the rabble-rouser to shush, which leads to days of silence.

I’m a minimalistic clutterbug.

I don’t put much value on material items.  I like the simple life and even when money was aplenty, I still used baking soda instead of about a hundred different products.  I see no real purpose in purchasing items just to purchase them or because of their name brand– and I love my multi-purpose goods.  Still, I like things.  I like to be surrounded by things. I like to see things in pictures, on desks, and in drawers.  I am most comfortable when there’s clutter to either side of me.

Where this is awesome:  Gain & Loss.  I maintain my happiness whether gaining stuff (I’m the easiest person in the world to gift to), or losing things (I’m the most chill person after a robbery or other such loss).

Where this stinks: Moving time.  I always end up with so much stuff.  Anything that wasn’t gifted to me ends up being tossed out, in the name of simplicity.

I’m a modern traditionalist.

I’m a traditionalist.  I write with pen and paper almost as much as I type, and my days are filled with life practices that date back centuries.  I believe in family and not letting phones get in the way of experiencing life.  I believe in the power of the spoken word– and the importance of skilled trade, and buying local, and open source.  But, I am also quite modern.  I like sleek design, e-books, and the amazing internet.

Where this is awesome: Art, from literature to paintings.  I love everything.

Where this stinks: Trying new things. I alternate between wanting to do things the old-fashioned way, and wanting to modernize things.   Either way, it’s a struggle to just… do.  At least when it’s still new.

I’m a private open book.

If you ask me a question involving only my privacy– any question– I will answer it honestly.  Really and truly.  Experiences, preferences, habits, thoughts– financial, sexual, career, childhood– whatever.  But you have to ask.  I don’t volunteer real information out all that often.  I don’t know why.  It’s just how I am.

Where this is awesome: Friendships.  People are always learning new things about me.

Where this stinks: Friendships. People are always hurt that they were the last to know something.

I’m a pessimist of faith.

I call Dave an optimistic cynic, and I’ve met a few of those folk around the web, too. (Hey, Duncan.)  I’m the opposite. I’m a pessimist of faith.  I’m a believer and I have an abundance of faith in you, and me, and the world.  But let’s just say I’m not surprised when things fall to pieces.  My little sister says that I’m always so happy to see the sun rise because I’m the sort of person who goes to sleep thinking it might not.

Where this is awesome: Worst case scenario planning.  I’m a pro.  I believe in us, so I know all our possibility– but I’m quite adept at quickly identifying all the ways we could hurl ourselves towards quick and final disaster.

Where this stinks: Best case scenario planning.  I’m just glad no one, including myself, required my assistance in wedding planning.  My last input into my own wedding before I was sent to a different room was, “What if the monk is allergic to calla lillies and needs emergency care? Is Urgent Care open on the day after Christmas?”


Are you an oxymoron in any way?