Author Archives: understandingdissociation

When Animal Defenses Encounter A Human Predator: Part I

Tonic immobility is the ‘last chance’ biological reflex that is triggered when an animal is caught by a predator. Today’s post focuses on a rarely noted fact about tonic immobility — it has 4 possible outcomes, not two: (1) death … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, first-person accounts, human predators, research, Tonic immobility, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part IV

Today, we focus on the ‘last chance’ animal defenses — those that spontaneously activate when an animal (which includes us!) is threatened with imminent death. So far, we have examined two ‘last chance’ defenses: (1) the evolution-prepared switch to accelerated … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, neurobiology, parasympathetic nervous system, Tonic immobility, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part III

My unvarnished opinion is that the dissociation literature’s discussions of animal defenses (1) routinely conflate different kinds of immobility (freezing) and (2) fail to appreciate crucial differences between trauma and biological survival. I have been reviewing that literature lately. The … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, intentional/voluntary dissociation, parasympathetic nervous system, peritraumatic dissociation, Tonic immobility, trance, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part II

We have no idea where our animal defenses end and our dissociative symptoms begin. The more that I immerse myself in this area, the more I am surprised that the dissociation literature hasn’t thought more deeply about animal defenses. Animal … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , | 19 Comments

Disentangling Animal Defenses From Dissociation: Part I

We need to disentangle the phenomena of animal defenses (e.g., freezing, hyperfocus, tonic immobility, etc.) from the phenomena of clinical dissociation (depersonalization, derealization, amnesia, etc.). Animal defenses have been built into us by natural selection; as such, their phenomena are … Continue reading

Posted in animal defenses, dissociation, evolution, evolution-prepared dissociation, first-person accounts, peritraumatic dissociation, Tonic immobility | Tagged , , , , , , , | 26 Comments

Are Flashbacks Just Memories?

Today’s post is really┬áTrying To Forge a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part III. My choice of the above title, however, nicely encapsulates today’s topic and avoids the mind-dulling repetitiveness (“O, the wretched monotony!”) of continuing to use the same title. … Continue reading

Posted in evolution, flashbacks, PTSD, skepticism, trauma | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Forging a Deeper Understanding of Flashbacks: Part II

Flashbacks have at least four striking features: 1. Flashbacks are experiential, marked by a sense of reliving, accompanied by sensations and affects). 2. Flashbacks are distinctly fragmentary. 3. Flashbacks are autonomous and involuntary. 4. Flashbacks are frequently associated with dissociative … Continue reading

Posted in Acute Stress Disorder, dissociation, dissociative identity disorder, dissociative subtype, flashbacks, PTSD, research ideas, skepticism, trauma | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments