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    Treatment of Complex Trauma by Courtois & Ford

    Children are hard wired to connect to their parents and are wholly dependent on their parents for care and love. So, when the parent or parental figure is also the one who abuses, hurts, or neglects the child, this betrayal is profound and quite difficult for the child to make sense of.

    For some children, the only way that their brains can make sense of this situation and maintain some semblance of sanity, is to split apart. This is what we refer to as structural dissociation.

    They split apart their awareness and the part of self that knows and endures the abuse at the hands of their abusive parent. This side of the psyche holds the fear and anger towards the parent.

    The other part of self often does not know that the abuse is occurring and may only interact with the parent when they are being either loving or neutral. In this way they are able to maintain the loving feelings and the loyalty to their abuser.

    Even kids who do not completely split themselves apart with this knowledge, often will use dissociation to block out or minimize awareness of the abuse. Again, this allows them to preserve the relationship to some degree.

    So, be kind to yourself and others when they are not yet willing or able to face this really hard, terrible truth about their parental figure. It helped them survive their childhood. There is no shame in that.

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