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Why Do Some Trauma Victims Feel Disconnected From Their Bodies?


Traumatic events can leave powerful imprints upon the minds and bodies of those experiencing those events. When traumatic events occur, the brain wants to protect itself from experiencing the pain of the event. Our brains have effective ways of protecting us from trauma; however, the protection could create other problems when we do not heal from our past.

The brain can shut off some of our own feelings to protect us from pain. Some people feel as though they are disconnected or disassociated from their own bodies following traumatic experiences. Disconnecting allows us to escape from our pain. Feeling disconnected from our bodies can take a few different forms. Sometimes, we may recall our traumatic experiences as if we were witnessing the event from a third-person point of view.

When recalling traumatic events, we might remember the event as if we watched everything happen from the sidelines. Sometimes, especially for victims of sexual and physical abuse, victims might be unable to feel things in certain parts of their bodies. The mind can shut off the feelings to parts of the body that are associated with the traumatic experience.

Disconnecting, however, can have a negative impact on the overall quality of life of the trauma victim. Reconnecting with the body may seem painful, as the disconnection has shielded us from our pain. Processing our pain is an important pathway toward healing. To reconnect with the body, trauma survivors can engage in therapeutic activities that foster the mind-body connection. Some examples are mindfulness, yoga, transformative breathwork, and exercise.

Alternative therapies, such as adventure therapy and equine therapy can also help survivors reconnect with their bodies as they get more active and engage with challenging activities. Other passive activities, such as massage and acupuncture, can help you regain sensation in areas affected by trauma. Talking with your therapist or others in your support network about your experiences can also help to regain your lost sense of self.

Disconnecting from the body and the experience are ways that our brain protects ourselves from the pain of trauma. Unfortunately, this protection can hinder us from moving forward and living our best lives. The Guest House can introduce you to innovative forms of therapy to help you regain your mind-body connection. Call us today at (855) 483-7800 to speak with our staff about our extensive recovery program!