Call#: Van Pelt Library RC553.D5 D545 1994
"The Domain of Dissociation," a chapter by Etzel Cardena, pages 15- 31.
Cardena argues that the domain of dissociation can be thought of as a constellation, or a way of thinking about dissociation and its related problems. "Dissociation" means that two or more mental processes or contents are not associated or integrated. It is usually assumed that these dissociated elements should be integrated in conscious awareness, memory, or identity. Cardena proposes two subdivisions, a repression of memories and disassociation of memories as escape mechanisms. Repression is a defense against anxiety-triggering internal stimuli, while dissociation is a defense against external stimuli. However, dissociation involves particular alterations in phenomenal experience that are related to a disconnection or disengagement regarding the self and/or the environment. Certain "ecstatic" experiences cause an enhanced sense of contact with the surroundings and the self. Forgetting who you are, and other events and things are voluntary with dissociation. Often is the case that memories are triggered when a matched association is made in the subconscious. This is highlighted brilliantly in Spellbound, once again, with Ballentine's character.
We first see Ballentine in mental distress when Constance Peterson draws the shape of a pool they want to build at the asylum with a fork at the dinner table. He becomes angry with her drawing on the table cloth. We again see him react a similar way, when he is hugging Dr. Peterson when she is in her night robe that is white with black stripes. By now, it becomes clear to us that " the fake Edwardes" has his own mental problems. Whenever he sees a white object with black lines on it, he enters a state of intense stress. This is what Cardena wrote about above: dissociation. Because of repressed memories, he becomes highly uncomfortable at the sight of black lines on a white background. We later learn the black lines on white signify ski tracks on snow. This is where the real Edwardes fell off a cliff and died. This "ecstatic" experience was triggered by the environment they were in, in the form of black lines on white.
Call#: Van Pelt Library RC553.D5 D545 1994
Etzel Cardena’s chapter entitled “The Domain of Dissociation” in the book Dissociation, makes a distinction between repression of memories and disassociation of memories as escape mechanisms. While at first glance these two seemingly similar methods of avoidance can be put in the same category, they approach psychological behavior from very different standpoints. Cardena clarifies the difference between the two. While repression is a defense against anxiety-provoking internal stimuli, dissociation is a defense against external stimuli; both referring to the “intentional disavowing of information that would cause anxiety or pain” (Cardena 24). However, with dissociation, though the desire to forget certain events is voluntary, memories may be triggered when the correct association makes its way into the subconscious. This notion, which Cardena highlights throughout the chapter, beautifully correlates with the game of free association played between Mark and Marnie after she wakes up from a nightmare in which she is partly reliving events of her childhood.
Determined to find the core of Marnie’s fears, Mark asks her to freely associate to a string of words, beginning with those with little charge to them like water and air. He gradually works up to words that he knows will resonate with Marnie. Upon hearing the word “sex,” she angrily lashes out at him, “I’ll slap your filthy face,” (this word reminds her of intimacy and male contact). When Mark says the word, “red,” Marnie yells back “White. White…Oh, help me!” Thoughts of sex, followed by the contrast of the color red with its association to blood and violence to the color “white” with its suggestion of purity and innocence seems to lead to her unraveling. Repeating these words, Marnie climbs up the headboard to bury her face in the fabric behind it, hoping that in making herself invisible, she cannot be harmed by something she refuses to see. Cardena’s analysis of free association and how it works becomes evident as Marnie encounters these words. While she may have suppressed “the accident” to such an extent that it is forgotten, such triggers as “sex” and “red” muster up a fear totally unidentifiable. As Cardena explains, Marnie’s disavowal of what happened to her refers to an event external to her that created severe anxiety and that is why the defense mechanism she employs is dissociation rather than repression.
tagged anxiety dissociation by lilypb ...and 1 other person ...on 09-APR-08