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Stepping out of yourself

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... Association & Dis-association (Dissociation)

article by Dieter Luske

What is Association & Dis-association (Dissociation) ?

Stepping out of yourself

Sometimes, it’s all just too much, you want to step out, have you ever felt like that?

Isn’t that the moment where you would love to hide in a cave somewhere, with no one and nothing to bother you?

Yes, you actually can do that, in a type of mind management technique that can give you the space for a certain time that you may need to get out of your trauma or overwhelmed state of being.

Hiding in cave?

No, that's no way out of stress, it will just cause more stress, such as, feeling abandoned, cold, lonely, hungry, nightmares - fear of spiders :-)

Stress can take many forms and addressing the different causes can alleviate it.

Stress or anxieties caused by work pressure is obviously different to stress caused by relationship problems or the death of a loved one.

Stress management will support you by addressing the cause of your stress and finding appropriate solution for you. - Most of all, don't forget about "Humor" - Laughter and humor is giving the brain a chance to relax and find its own solutions to problems. If you laugh about something, most of the stress is already dissolved.
It's your attitude, which dictates how serious or humorous you look at any given situation. Make an effort to see situations less serious and more humorous.

Having established that the actual physical hiding in a cave may cause more harm than good, lets look at the mind cave approach.

One of my most favourite NLP types of techniques is re-framing, basically meaning that you change the view – perspective and your attitude to any given stress input. That obviously can help a lot, as soon as you see anything in a funny way; you start getting more relax about a specific situation, as mentioned above.

From now up on, see stressful situation performed by a clown, or anything you see as funny.

However, in a more traumatic or deep seating issue, laughing it off may not help you, and you have to take more decisive action.

Stepping out of yourself  - Association and Dis-association (Dissociation)

Have you ever noticed, that you think and remember in two distinct different ways?

The first way, while thinking or remembering, you see pictures in your mind of a situation, but you are NOT in the picture, the brain actually presents the mind pictures as if you were really in that situation. That is the way, which from now up on you can call “Associated”. - In fact, you are associated with yourself. Because of that strong association, if you visualize something, you can look down on yourself and see your shoes or feet, but not your face or your whole body. Association is as real as it can get.

While you are in such an associated mode, you are also strongly associated with your emotions and feelings. Therefore if you are in stress, and in your mind you re-play the stressful incident, while you are in that associated state, you feel it again and again as if it was the real situation, but even worse, because of that state, and because it is so real, by playing that movie, your worry, your stress situation, again and again, the feeling attached to it is getting stronger and stronger. With other words, your stress, anxiety or panic attack is getting worse, you have created a groove.

Unfortunately it can get even worse yet again, if the initial stress input was that stressful, that it is classed as a violent or severe trauma, your mind actually will protect you, and you may be unable to view the memory in your mind. That may sound positive, but it means the trauma stays in your system, but you actually can’t remember it.

Now comes the interesting part, (read slowly) as has been noticed a long time ago, if patients with a trauma incident that is too violent or traumatic to be remembered, are asked to float out of themselves, and stand next to themselves looking at themselves, and even take this “dis-association” one step further, by floating out of this detach body and stay outside of the house, looking in, seeing yourself standing next to yourself, looking at your self, you will be able to recall the traumatic event.

This is the second way of thinking or remembering, in your mind, you see yourself like in a video of yourself. Try that now; see yourself, your face, your body and all. If you can do that, you have successfully "dis-associated" yourself from yourself.

Yes, I know, that sounds strange, but it is actually a good thing, and you may do it sometimes automatically anyhow. Actually for a lot of people this is their main way of remembering something. There is nothing wrong with it at all; it simply means you can look objectively at yourself or at situation without emotional involvement, or at least less involvement. Some people who do that automatically too much, usually without being aware of it, may be called by other people aloof, or emotional detach, or showing no emotion.

You may see the possible applications for this technique already.

First of all, there is not a wrong or right state of mind to be in. Once you are aware of it, you can get control of it.

  • This means, that if you want to feel more, or need to feel more, getting in touch with your emotions, than train yourself to remember in an associated mind state.

  • If however, you are suffering from stress or anxiety or similar feelings, and you think about those stressful situations in your life, than you may train yourself, to remember those situations in a dissociated way.

This technique can have far reaching consequences for the treatment of stress, anxiety or post traumatic stress disorders, not only can dissociate yourself from those strong feelings, you also can lessen the all over impact to such a degree, that the initial trauma or stress is hardly affecting you anymore.

There is one very easy and simple NLP technique that is used more or less for 'nearly' completely wiping out a memory. However, this may not always be a good thing. As we all know, we learn from our experiences, and in a perfect life, from anything bad happening to you, something good should come out of it. And even if it doesn’t, the memory of a painful event may still be a helpful learning event, even if it is only for the reason, of knowing how to avoid the same thing happening again.

Lets quickly discuss a mild stressful event; you are driving along minding your own business, as someone behind you hits the brake too late and slammed into the back of your car, leaving you in shock and finding it hard to ever drive a car again. I know, it’s a bit exaggerated, but it does happen.

Obviously, in your mind you often repeat that fateful moment, with the result of the problem actually getting worse, you become even more frightened of cars.

Next you switch your memory to 'dis-association', and see the whole event happening in your mind like someone is playing a video of the event to you. Interestingly, you may notice that you don’t feel now as bad as before.

Why not make it even better? You start seeing the video of yourself in the car, and reframe it a bit, by dressing in a clown suit and the car that hit you becomes a rubber toy car, and you start seeing that a few times in your mind. That makes you feel much better again, for many, that may be enough already. For others, you may need something more dramatic.

OK, visualize yourself sitting in a car, and seeing the whole video of yourself once again, but this time you visualize seeing it on the windscreen of your car. Have you ever seen a windscreen being smashed and broken into thousands of tiny pieces? OK, lets do that now, once you can see the video on your windscreen, visualize yourself smashing your windscreen with a huge hammer, and keep smashing, again and again, and each time, if there is still a tiny piece left to see from the video, you smash it again, till there is nothing left.

Guess what, after that exercise you will be able to drive your car again.

That technique works well with an experience where you had no control over, and where you can’t really learn anything from, therefore it is OK, to more or less wipe out the memory and the effect of the experience.

With other situation, you may keep certain parts of the memory intact, by not adding them to the video. Take those memories out which you would like to keep.

Read more about Association and Dissociation and similar Techniques:


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Article by:

Dieter L. Editor of useNature Gold Coast - Brisbane

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The information provided in this article is intended for general use and for personal interest only. It should not be used or understood as suggestion or medical advice.

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Dieter Luske - Editor for useNatureuseNature Editor

Dieter Lüske

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