Re-Parenting, Dissociation and the Desire to Escape


Dissociative Identity, escape

As many of you know, I’ve recovered from dissociative identity disorder and I find it to be a strange feeling to be aware of wanting to dissociate, when for so many years, it was habitual ~ I just did it. Continuing with some of the conversation from the last post, see “Dissociative Identity ~ the solution became the problem” ~ sometimes I still get this overwhelming feeling like I want to get out of my own skin. And sometimes when I get that anxious feeling I actually wish I could dissociate the way that I used to. I have come to realize that this “wish” is about the desire to escape.

When I was a child I HAD to dissociate because I had no other way to cope and coping was not just about dealing with trauma or abuse. It was also the only way to escape the feelings of being nothing and being of no value, the fear of what might happen next, the confusion of not being protected, not being understood and not even being listened to. No one helped me to deal with stuff so I had to do something. I was forced to dissociate and disconnect because I had to. It was an effective coping method for me and eventually it became effective as a way of escaping everything. I would dissociate in all situations. I am not sure what I did a lot of the times when I was dissociative, I lost a lot of time and I have some vague memories of a fantasy life and there were alter personalities, but wherever I was,  it was how I dealt with things, it was my coping method and it was my escape.  

As an adult I had to learn a new way because that old way was keeping me back in my childhood of unresolved fears and emotional damage.  

When I talk about re-parenting myself, I am referring to being there for myself emotionally, the way that no one was there for me when I was a kid. When I feel like running, escaping or using a coping method like eating when I am not hungry in order to deal with (which is actually NOT dealing with) the emotions that are coming up in me it is because I want to escape those feelings, and because I never had help to deal with them ~ I learned to check out ~ in a manner of speaking.

Re-parenting is about being there for me when I want to leave me because of the old familiar feeling that I am alone anyway and I am not safe, so I think I need to escape.  

Here is what I wrote in my journal about the anxiety I was experiencing a few days ago because I have been working on taking better care of my physical health;

“I feel discouraged that I have the same old struggle going on in me ~ that I am not really making me a priority again.  I don’t “feel” like taking care of myself. I am tired, I don’t want to do treadmill, I don’t want to cut veggies, I don’t want to stay active and be responsible for my physical health and I don’t want to write about it here. I just want to pretend that I’m fine and put off thinking about my health and self care. I want to eat junk food if I feel like it. I will take care of myself… tomorrow.”  

Sometimes I just can’t, don’t want to, or I just won’t stay present with myself. And I hate this feeling ~ it feels like failure and that is what makes me want to turn away from myself and my thoughts and ignore it but it is always there. The biggest problem is that I tell myself that I deserve to escape.

 I deserve escape? To tell myself that I deserve to escape those feelings is like giving myself permission to self harm. Escape is not the really productive or healthy. This is something that I need to be aware of, almost every minute of the day because of the pain that I cause myself when I do choose escape, and because escape causes more pain in the end and it makes me feel bad about myself, actually separate from myself and be angry with myself; which is what living through abuse taught me to do.

Being aware of dialogue with myself; ~ sometimes I ask myself what is wrong. And in my mind’s eye I see myself shake the question off and forcefully say to myself  “just leave me alone ~ haven’t I been through enough? I don’t FEEL like DEALING with this right now”… and when I go a little deeper with those thoughts I hear myself think  “I deserve to be able to put it off. I deserve to live in escape and to be able to escape.” What I had to realize is that in escaping, I am separating from myself. I’m doing to myself what was done to me ~I am discounting my needs and my feelings. I am leaving myself ~ emotionally abandoning myself the way that I was emotionally abandoned as a child. It is what I am used to; it is what I was taught to do.

I got stuck there for a long time in adulthood. The answer was logical enough, but I didn’t really see it while I was escaping and dissociating and finding ways to run from the problem. I had to learn how to do something different. I had to learn not to leave myself, to stay present with myself and this is something I strive to do more each day.  The more that I am aware of the desire to escape, the easier it is to decide not to escape.  

And the truth is that I don’t NEED to escape anymore because I am not in danger anymore. I do not need to disconnect and dissociate by separating from myself, my thoughts and feelings. The leftover fears are not valid anymore. That coping method is no longer necessary for my survival the way that it was when I was a child. I am still in the tweaking and strengthening stages of this part of my self growth, but as I learn to love, value and support myself emotionally, the less I seek any form of escape.

Please share how you relate to or struggle with the concepts of re-parenting, dissociating and the desire to escape.

Still on the journey!

Darlene Ouimet

You might also like to read the related guest post by Susan Smith ~  Turning Points and Emotional Healing


Therapist John Wilson from Onine Events presents ~ Emerging From Broken – Interview with Darlene Ouimet on Sunday Nov.03 at 12:00 Noon Pacific, 3:00 pm EST and 1:00 pm mountain time. Please visit the following link in order to reserve your ticket. Click on the first box ~ there is no charge for the live event. Hope to “see” you there.

46 response to "Re-Parenting, Dissociation and the Desire to Escape"

  1. By: M Posted: 30th December

    Somehow or other, the Wind blew me to this website and this post in particular after a really disastrous night of disassociation.

    Still processing through it all, I found the words of your wisdom and experience to be so helpful.
    Thank you for your bravery to speak the unspoken and write such Truth.



    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th December

      Hi M
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken
      I am so glad that you are here!
      hugs, Darlene

  2. By: Ladybug Posted: 17th May

    Incredible!!! Very helpful. Thank God for you, a true blessing.

  3. By: Lace Posted: 26th November

    Aloha Darlene

    Definitely will investigate further into your site/blog for more information!

    Indeed staying True to Self is “the” key; & I wasn’t suggesting avoidance by any means of “grounding” &/or escape. Terminology can be tricky when traveling back into the realm of mental “illness;” but alas I must learn to speak some of the key language in order to connect with those still enduring the “Journey of Awakening;” right?

    Have you ever tried hiking? I find this to be an “ideal escape” as you can NOT tune out your inner dialog, you CAN tune out those external voices, & it is very “grounding.” Society tends to fight the flow & Mother Nature; well… That IS the flow!

    Continuing to read your insights… Blessed are those who have aid through the foggy maze of consciousness!

    Mai Iloko Mai,

    PS: Since you are into Truth vs False; definitely look into David Hawkins Theory of Consciousness & his chart of positive vs negative. Right up your alley & even a way to “callibrate” truth vs lie using the body’s natural responses instead of relying on eye movement, lie detector “tests,” or the best method: intuition, which can sometimes be like several radio stations playing at once. Thanks again!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th November

      After I responded I wondered if perhaps that was what you meant! LOL
      I live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains on a pretty big farm/ranch ~ lots of land, serenity and beauty. I have taken advantage of that for a long time in my healing and I have ridden thousands of hours on my horses. I know exactly what you mean about tuning out and tuning in… LOL
      Thanks for clarifying!
      Hugs, Darlene

  4. By: Lace Posted: 26th November

    Aloha Darlene,

    Quite the article/blog here! In fact, so intriguing that I am scanning your other posts, linked posts & comments… Props to you for giving us all a healthy dose of “real talk!”

    Just a quick question: what do you do for “grounding” one’s self? Also do you ever feel the desire to “escape” the “reality” that has been created by our delusional, narcissistic, & externally thinking society is justified in any way? What positive “escape mechanisms” have you implemented to replace the past toxic behavior? Thanks in advance!

    Happy Holidays to you & yours!
    Mai Iloko Mai,

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 26th November

      Aloha Lace!
      Welcome to Emerging from Broken.
      I find that reality however painful it may sometimes be, is so much better than any escape that I ever tried! I have written tons of stuff in this blog that might give you an idea of how I overcame the past and all that went with that. The biggest thing for me has been facing the real truth. The way that it really was and then discounting all the lies that were fed to me about how any of that had anything to do with my choice. That kept me busy for a while.. About grounding or positive forward motion stuff ~ I use the truth for everything. You will get a better idea of what I am talking about as you read more of this site.
      Hugs, Darlene

  5. By: Mindy Posted: 15th November

    I’m not sure I can relate to this…but lately, I’ve been feeling the need to be comforted. To comfort myself, I have taken up sucking my thumb, at the age of 22, which is sooooo stupid and ridiculous!!! I have struggled with masturbation since I can remember…maybe part of what happened to me, I don’t know. But, I know that I hate it…but I’ve used that recently to comfort myself, even after a little over a month of not doing it. I hate that I feel so dependent…the child in me does. I have realized that there are different parts of me, but they are all me…so they aren’t different personalities…but just different parts of me all vying for control.

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 15th November

      Hi Mindy,
      Coping methods are always comfortable. I had to stop beating myself up about having them so that I could look at the why I needed them part. It takes time. All my coping methods had thier roots in what happened to me.
      About different parts, that is pretty common too. I had different personalities, but in recovery I realized that they were also just different parts of me and that also got sorted out by looking at the roots of the trauma etc. This is the heart of what I write about.
      So glad that you are here!
      Hugs, Darlene

  6. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 30th September

    (Just for the readers ~ Jenny’s comment is posted on two posts and I have answerd her on both posts in case anyone is wondering about why the duplicates)
    I felt so much the same way as you have written about here. That it would never end… that I would be on this exhausting journey of recovery, forever. But I remember this one day when I knew that I was never going to be “that broken” again. I just knew that I had gone deep enough, and re-wired my belief system enough that I would never feel that kind of confusion that I had had my whole life, again. Progress is the goal, not perfection. I didn’t put time limits on myself; I let myself BE in the process, I allowed myself days when I ran to the bedroom, jumped under the covers and hid until I felt better. Doing that didn’t hurt me or anyone else. I just kept going at whatever pace was good for that day or week. My kids were my motivation much of the time too. I was sick of the cycle. Deep down I was tired of not living and being caught somewhere between life and death. You have made it this far! Bravo. thanks for sharing your victories! You will inspire hope in others with this comment!
    Thank you so much!

    Hugs, Darlene

  7. By: Jenny Posted: 30th September


    I don’t ever see someone else…do I feel like someone else sometimes yes….but when I look in the mirror it’s always me…Jenny…I look really sad sometimes…or really pissed off…perhaps your change in perception or personality sometimes makes you feel like your shell has changed….

  8. By: Hold Fast Posted: 30th September

    Jean, I understand. I don’t want to be a disappointment or think that I don’t love in return. Plus it leads to a lot of frustration.

    Darlene, you must have had a very patient husband. Hurrah for you.
    I have been working for many years on my healing. I hope this may be the last thing I need to work on too but it is going to be very scary. I don’t even know where to start. Oh, oh, here comes the anxiety……….

    Thank you for your posts.

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