Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Is that a word?

One lasting effect of my abuse has been my ability to compartmentalize my feelings. Or perhaps I have developed the ability to "not feel". I suspect that is how I handled the abuse at the time - by dissociating and not feeling. I rarely cry - when I do, it is usually in anger or frustration.

An example in my current life - an unthinkable thing is going on in my extended family right now. My teenage nephew suffered an anaphylactic reaction over the weekend and is now basically brain dead. Although he has some brainstem function, so if they turn off the ventilator, he may live in a vegetative state. I can't imagine the emotions my brother is feeling right now. I am providing telephone support to him, and in the moment during the calls, I have intense feelings with tears in my eyes and a knot in my stomach. But - I can turn it off and have been able to function fine at work in between phone calls.

I wonder if this is normal.


  1. I think it is normal. How otherwise would you function? You wouldn't. Sometimes you have to find ways of coping and defending from pain, otherwise you wouldn't survive.

    So well done you for keeping yourself safe. And I am very sorry for what your family is experiencing right now.

  2. I think it is very normal. The human mind does things to protect itself so the body can function.

    I am very sorry about your nephew. Having teenagers myself I can't even imagine. How tragic.

  3. samesky and Harriet - I think it is normal and yes that is how many cope through trauma. I also think I can be more clinical because of my training. Although if it were my child, I think (or at least hope) that I would feel more pain.

    And thanks for your thoughts - it is a tragic and senseless accident. He is still alive at this point, but in a vegetative state.