But for people who wrestle with trauma or difficult emotions, the instruction to pay close and sustained attention to their inner world can lead to a resurfacing of unresolved issues and feelings. For someone who’s unprepared, an experience like this can be overwhelming and trigger feelings of panic or flashbacks – leaving the person feeling like they’re trapped or helpless again.
Dissociation can also be an unsettling “side-effect.” Dissociation a kind of checking-out, something a person does in the face of a threatening situation. It’s especially common in cases of child abuse or neglect where if a child can’t run away or protect themselves, they disconnect from the scene. And this can carry through to adulthood where a person may be in situations as benign as a classroom or work and find themself disconnecting from their thoughts, their feelings, their surroundings. With dissociation, in your head you’ve “left the scene.”