When we have experienced neglect or abuse in childhood, the child must adapt to survive. The child might survive by leaving their body when the abuse is taking place. Then as an adult, when there is physical discomfort, or someone who resembles the abuser or their mannerisms, that old adaptive response will take over and they will dissociate (leave their body). This can be problematic later in life.
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard trauma survivors describe a traumatic event and tell me that they are not in their body. They might be floating above on the ceiling or sitting outside the door with their ears and eyes covered. This is how dissociation starts. Because what is happening is so terrible, we must separate off parts of us in order to be able to cope with what is happening. If we didn’t do that, the pain and horror would be so intense, we might not survive. When we do it as children, it is helpful, it is adaptive.
If you recognise some of the signs of PTSD or Complex PTSD (childhood trauma), I recommend finding a trauma informed therapist; preferably someone who does parts work and has trained in IFS or somatic work. If you are looking to work online, you can check out the team at Psychotherapy Central. All of our therapists are trained in trauma treatment and parts work.
If you have any questions, let me know in the comments,