But first a note of attention:
To all the professional mental caretakers and psychotherapists out there
please inform yourself on a professional way about the trauma related structural dissociation of the personality such as given by Kathy Steele, Onno van der Hart and Ellert Nijenhuis.
And to all readers pleas note
In order to correctly understand the explanation of my own personality systems, you need some knowledge of the summary of a SD. Be ware: Switching between personality parts is not a phenomenon that only belongs to a trauma related Structural Dissociation (SD) – such as a very complex PTSD the dissociative identity disorder (DID) – or a complex PTSD Secondary SD (OSDD) – or a less complex Post traumatic stress disorder PTSD.
There are other disorders that have symptoms of identity problems and switching behavior between personality states such as a theatrical personality disorder, a Borderline Personality disorder, a bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. A Dissociative Disorder (DD) has a wider range of being a co-morbidity disorder. And also the tertiary SD, DID, the trauma related Dissociative Identity disorder is a polysymptomatic condition which is characterized by a hidden presentation (S.Boon & N. Draijer).
So keep in mind: Diagnoses of a ‘trauma related’ structural dissociation of the personality can only be done by an experienced clinical trauma psychologist/psychotherapist which is specially taint to do so.
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Structural Dissociation and amnesia
The memory loss is not caused by a physical neurological or a somatic problem.
If caused by psychological Trauma;
The memory loss is often not permanently.
How to explain memory loss to a Trauma related Structural Dissociation
- PTSD – DD – primary
partial or full dissociation of the traumatic experience (the ANP is phobic to remember the traumatizing experience)
- Complex PTSD – OSDD or DDnos – secondary
partial or full dissociation of more than one traumatic childhood experience. The ANP suffers big stress under the influence of more than one EP which holds traumatizing experiences of the past or which go in contact with memories of the past (EP’s).
- Very Complex PTSD – DID – tertiary
partial or full dissociation of more than one traumatic childhood experience
but also amnesia during and for daily life tasks (not traumatic experiences)
I start again with a very small summary of the three levels of a Trauma related Structural Dissociation of the personality, and the understanding of an Apparently Normal Personality part and an Emotional Personality part which holds a traumatic experience or a part of a traumatic experience.
Dissociation between ANP & EP (PTSD dd – CPTSD osdd ddnos)
Traumatized experience – a memory (EP) – can be:
ANP can remember a part of the traumatizing experience
ANP can’t remember a thing of the traumatizing experience
this can occur within
1. primary SD
2. secondary SD
3. tertiary SD
Note: partially or fully dissociating of an EP, a traumatized memory of the past
A note to paragraph 1
Not remembering the past or a traumatizing experience we call ‘dissociating a traumatic event’. The ANP is Phobic for remembering the traumatizing experience. If the EP is triggered and starts to influence the behavior of the ANP, or even takes control of the ANP’s behavior by switching to an emotional personality state, then the ANP loses the ability to comprehend the implementation of a daily requirement or task. The influence of the EP (or more EP’s) on the ANP can cause severe agony in daily life.
This can happen within all three the levels of a trauma related structural dissociation,
primary, secondary and tertiary SD
Because all three levels have an ANP and EP part.
Amnesia ANP & ANP ( tertiary SD – DID)
amnesia of daily life activities which are taken care of by more than one ANP.
On a daily life base losing track of time, or not remembering doing things (tasks) in the present time. Like not knowing what you did this morning or not knowing that you did already take care of the groceries or not remembering that you did go to work this morning etc. the present time tasks (amnesia)
Amnesia caused by switching between more than one ANP.
A note to paragraph 2
This we call a Tertiary SD which is related to a Dissociative identity disorder
Amnesia for daily life tasks or daily life events, caused by more than one ANP which goes in control of taking care of daily life tasks. This only can happen by the tertiary SD, because this is the only Trauma related SD level which has more than one ANP (DID)
An example of amnesia caused by more than one ANP
Let’s take an example of 2 ANP’s
One of the tasks of ANP 1 system is:
going to work on a daily base and she/he doesn’t like physical contact
One of the tasks of ANP 2 system is:
taking care of the kids, husband/wife, and she/he has no problems with handling psychical contact.
Both ANP’s leaves aside the EP’s (memories of the past) and together they don’t leave a lot of room to the EP’s to take control of their consciousness mind. On this way they minimize and avoid the influence of EP’s on their daily life. The ANP’s focus purely on surviving daily life tasks and emotions.
If someone, without a warning, touches ANP1 on a physical way, an EP could get triggered. Then a nasty memory comes to close to the consciousness mind of ANP1 and by instinct this ANP will redraw to avoid the EP. Forcing ANP2 to take over the moment of daily life. Normally the ANP’s switch during the day by doing the tasks they each are best in and trainet to take care of, but they also provide protection against the influence of nasty EP’s
The switching moments between the ANP’s can be experienced as coming out of a very thick Fog realizing by an instant of being in the kitchen without remembering how he or she did get there. ANP2 gets confused for a moment and needs to adjust to the situation. But ANP2 can’t remember the nasty feeling which hit ANP1 before the switching moment. And ANP2 also can’t remember what took place on the moment that ANP1 was in control. Now ANP 2 suffers amnesia for the time being of ANP1 was in control, and ignores or avoids thinking about it. Likewise the other way around.
Both ANP’s are focust on thinking, there is only me and I don’t suffer a Trauma or trauma related disorder.
And although the memory is not really gone….
ANP2 suffers amnesia for the time being that ANP1 was in control. They never learnt to communicate and work together and they are dead-scared for their own – but also for each others – memories. They only learnt ‘how to survive pain and nasty traumatizing events and memories’.
So here the EP’s couldn’t take over the consciousness mind of the ANP. Because if the EP’s had succeeded ANP1 would have experienced the same agony and suffering such as described under paragraph 1 – a switching behavior to an emotional personality state – a personality state that goes under the influence of an EP – caused by a trigger moment such as a physical touch.
Being traumatized is also very often explained as living in a Fog
The ANP does the job that has to be done – as being on an automatic pilot.
A foggy mental state, not fully mentally sharp and or touched by daily life emotions.
Sometimes a very deep fog is needed to keep a distance of traumatized memories (EP’s)