Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?

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Anamiame

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Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« on: February 26, 2015, 02:07:45 AM »
I've done  a ton of reading over the past several weeks and somewhere I read that Freeze type is 'untreatable.' 

I'm not one to talk about the specifics of the traumatic and ongoing abuse I suffered as a child as I have spent 30 years processing, etc.  Over the years, I have always felt/said, "I can help others, but no one can help me."  Every time I dabbed my foot into the water, I wouldn't just be splashed but drenched in a resounding "NO..." including all the guilt, shame and humiliation that goes with reaching for something you shouldn't.  Here, I'm talking about therapy. 

I am hyper-vigilant, as is the case with most of us.  I pick up on things no one else would (making me an excellent therapist/social worker.  I had to...to survive.  Any time the slightest thing happens, I over analyze it for fear of being shamed again.  On Monday, I told my T about my prior T's for the first time (remember, 12 years of 'counseling' with her).   A few weeks ago, I gave her a copy of the paragraph that contained the statement that Freeze types are untreatable.  She rolled her eyes and said, "I really wish you wouldn't be reading this stuff."  Her overall response was accurate.  On Monday, I forget what we were talking about, but sheasked me what brought me back into counseling this time.  I was a little shocked that she didn't remember....my mother's death.  She remembered it immediately and again, her response was right on target. 

We had a good session.  I was in a good mood. 

Then something happened.  Probably an EF...but whatever it was went directly to what I have thought/felt since I was a little girl...that I can't be helped.  That I am broken beyond repair.  Looking at it from ALL angles (Intellectually, professionally, emotionally, spiritually, and realistically), this does NOT end well for me.  There is not one scenario that I can play out in my head that has this ending well. 

Of course, the IC comes in and berates me with 'you are such a stupid idiot!  What the * were you thinking???  You were at a great place, why are you doing this now?  How utterly stupid are you!" 

I can't find where I read that statement.  I don't remember where I read it.  I've tried to google search it but nothing is turning up. 

So...my questions:

1.  Has anyone successfully healed from Freeze type?
2.  Does anyone know where that quote came from?
3.  Thoughts/feelings on the subject? 

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wingnut

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2015, 02:52:12 AM »
Fellow.freezer here and hypervigilant.
I can hear my cat's feet bend the carpet nap, know what I'm sayin'? ;-)

I read in Walker's book that freeze was most difficult of the 4 types to recover from, but not impossible.  I didn't even know what dissociation was until 2 years ago. It has been a long road.

Is your therapist a trauma specialist? I believe we freeze types have some fundamental ground work to get down, such as staying grounded and learning to feel what is going on with our bodies. I have over the past several. Months been focusing on what is going on in my body vs only my 'thoughts'. For example when I feel anxious my chest gets tight or when I feel attacked my gut wrenches. This is where we have to start toward the road to feeling whole. Sometimes it frustrates me because it seems so elementary but in a short amount of time this focus is making a difference. 

Do NOT give up on yourself. Change is possible! Hang in there friend.

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C.

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2015, 07:46:50 AM »
Hi Anamiame,  It's too bad the world has those negative wizards, people who say X is untreatable.  What they're really saying is that THEY don't know how, or modern Western science hasn't "proven" a method, or whatever.  Just because there is less known about something doesn't mean it isn't possible.  Would anything exist with that type of thinking?  I tend to be skeptical of anything with such extreme statements of prognosis...And being in the profession you've probably noticed that people often find a passion in their field.  I'm sure there are therapists who have a special interest in the freeze type response and how to help those with that need.  Kind of an odd comment by your T, but it sounds like she probably had her own emotional response to the content of the book (irritation, anger) that would make such a bold and discouraging statement.

From what I've seen you ARE on an active track towards healing and recovery.  You're a dedicated mother and being honest and authentic with your recovery.  Moments of discouragement are normal and as we learn to weather and cope, these emotions they pass more and more quickly each time.  Writing here is a great strategy ;)

Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2015, 08:02:03 AM »
Also a Freeze type. It's a lot better than it used to be. But I still get that response - something happens that's too overwhelming, and I go into Standby mode. It's milder than it used to be. But there's definite, absolute improvement.

Now, a big part of it is that I now avoid triggers. Which means I avoid people. Which is bad. But I'd rather deal with loneliness than spend my entire life frozen over. The lack of emotions, the lack of simple basic awareness, the numbness - no, no, no, and no. I'm determined to move out into the world again. But for some time, I was so ravaged by EFs, and so deep in Freeze mode - if I had to take a hacksaw to my social life in order to make sure I wasn't triggered, then so be it. It was the one thing I could do at the time.

I've got a few more means at my disposal now. It turned out I'm highly sensitive, and there's several simple things I can do that make my life easier almost at once.

The other thing that's helped was seeing things clearly. I guess all of us have grown up in families that treated us in some abusive or neglectful kind of way - and then made us think that their behaviour was normal and justified. Our sister site calls that the "Fog", I think. Hence the name - "out of the fog", meaning: you finally realize what exactly has been going on, and you see things clearly. I like that metaphor a lot. That's what it feels like, as if a thick, grey, pea-soup fog is finally thinning more and more. Like I'm deprogramming myself from some kind of brainwashing.

Several things happen when I'm gaining clarity about my past. For one thing, it's a lot easier to see that my habit of self-blame is a part of the propaganda and power-play that's involved in any abusive relationship. Abusers often arrange situations so you'll end up blaming yourself.

Also, the way I see things now makes me realize that my past self was actually right in lots of the things she thought and felt at the time. That makes it easier to access my emotions now.

Thirdly, I'm starting to get royally cheesed off at how things used to be. Anger is an antidote to Freezing, at least it is for me. Whenever I get angry at something: WHAM! - wide awake in a second. Which doesn't mean I'm now pursuing anger. My mother was explosively angry a lot of times during my adolescence, so no thanks. But there's a good, clean kind of anger, the kind that lets you see things for what they are, the kind that gives you the determination and energy to go protect yourself, or to fix things, whatever needs doing.

Two other things that helped were visualizations and humour. Freeze is caused when we're faced with overwhelming pressure, no? So anything that de-overwhelms this pressure has to help. Anything that makes things look smaller. And humour will do that. It doesn't even have to deal with my past - simply just listening to stand-up comedy has something reviving about it, something that wakes me up. Just the simple act of seeing a comedian face up to huge, overwhelming social pressure and cheerfully ridicule it - that has such power.

As for the visualizations - you probably know about how you're supposed to imagine that your past traumatic events are a black-and-white movie that you can then stop or fast-forward? Another thing that helps is imagining it's all just a tilt-shift picture, like a miniature train set, something I can look at from up above.

Soooo... if I'm to sum things up, I'd say it's rather like getting a car out of deep mud. You're pretty much stuck at first. But it's still possible to get out. Slow work, very frustrating, but not impossible.

I'm starting to suspect that Freeze is a part of my ability to stay with a problem, to see things accurately, to not simply decide that everything's hunky-dory, "what elephant in the room, there's no elephant, la la la la la I can't heeeaaar you", which was the official party line in my family of origin. The part of me that Freezes has always been the part that couldn't be fooled. The clear-sighted part. The part whose emotional reaction to what was happening was spot-on. That part was in an absolutely impossible position. This was the one thing left for it to do. Seeing it this way makes it possible to not feel quite so silly about Freezing. There's something of a Shakesperean tragedy about it. Maybe not exactly something heroic, but it's safe to say that Freeze isn't the same thing as simply "opting out", which I thought it was for decades.

Yikes, sorry this is so long. I'm a bit over-caffeinated. And also, many of these things are still just directions I'm moving towards, or trying to. So there's a LOT of failure and hit-and-miss and course corrections. Just in case I accidentally sounded like "hey, I got this figured out".

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Anamiame

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2015, 01:42:01 PM »
Thanks everyone. 

Wingnut, LOL YES!  Super-sonic hearing.  I had to be tested prior to being a therapist and I tested at 5 decibels, where most people hear at 25.  In HS, I'd sneak into the house super quiet and find my mother so she couldn't see me.  I could tell by how she wore her pants if I was safe or not.  If not, I hid.  Same thing with smell.  To me, it's the silver lining of the storm.  LOL

Bheart, thanks for the encouragement.  What's interesting is, I decided to post over a couple of days and I post, and forgot the MOST important thing!  I 'compartmentalize' emotions and have been doing inner child work in therapy.  Without going into detail, we've sort of 'mapped' it out.  I was trying to explain to my T that the fragmentations were 'normal' and she responded stating, "Come on, Ana, you know professionally that people don't normally do that."  That sort of affirmed the quote of it being 'untreatable.'  Also, that was the exact word.  I had been reading on links from OOTS, but I just can't find it.  I also can't find it in my journaling but I know my T has it. 

C.  Thank you SO much for your kind words...I think I really needed that--sometimes it's easy to over focus on the negative which blocks out the positive. 

SCat, I LOVE this!!!!
But there's a good, clean kind of anger, the kind that lets you see things for what they are, the kind that gives you the determination and energy to go protect yourself, or to fix things, whatever needs doing.

One of my 'fragments' is an angry teenager, which has a negative connotation, but it's not--it's EXACTLY what you wrote.  By the age of 14, I was sick and tired of the BS and called a spade a spade.  I was very good at righting wrongs for my siblings and even for myself.  I don't know where I got that chutzpah, but I think it's been the cornerstone of my life since that time.  The picture I get in my mind is one of the covers and videos of Avril Levine. 

Deep mud...I like that!  It's the perfect analogy. 

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marycontrary

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2015, 05:39:57 PM »
Just like S.cat said YES it is treatable. What kind of damned fool would say otherwise?  And Like S.cat, it will probably never completely go away, but it is a heck of a lot better than it was.

Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2015, 06:54:41 PM »
One of my 'fragments' is an angry teenager, which has a negative connotation, but it's not--it's EXACTLY what you wrote.  By the age of 14, I was sick and tired of the BS and called a spade a spade.  I was very good at righting wrongs for my siblings and even for myself.  I don't know where I got that chutzpah, but I think it's been the cornerstone of my life since that time.  The picture I get in my mind is one of the covers and videos of Avril Levine. 

You were able to stand up for defenceless people even though you were in a precarious situation yourself? That's usually what the hero is able to do at the end of a twohundred-page novel once he's been handed a magic sword.   :waveline: 

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Kizzie

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2015, 07:09:15 PM »
Hi Ana - FWIW, given there isn't much you've been able to find that does actually confirm the Freeze response is untreatable, maybe you can take that to mean it actually is treatable? (i.e., there's more evidence to the contrary than there is to support the idea it isn't treatable)

Like many here, I am a freezer but nowadays I do so a lot less intensely and often, and it's through practising many of the strategies Cat talked about. There is some nice, warm sunshine around the corner for you and we're all here to help you get your car unstuck from all that childhood mud.  :sunny:

« Last Edit: February 27, 2015, 01:29:59 AM by Kizzie »

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Trees

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2015, 10:39:55 PM »
Hi Ana, I do plenty of freezing, although I don't think I could quite be defined as a Freezer, because of my angry side.   I do thoroughly understand that feeling of hopelessness of ever "recovering" from this condition we have.  I have had a long hard time fighting off the despair.

What I tell myself, FWIW, is that this condition has been and will be a chronic thing in my life.  Some people spend their lives fighting off Diabetes Type I.  I will spend my life fighting off Cptsd.   I will continue to work toward recovering my self, in all sorts of ways, inch by inch.  I will consult "experts" of all sorts, take what works for me and leave the rest.  I will value all anecdotal evidence from people like us, take what works for me personally and leave the rest.  I will seek far and wide for tidbits of information and wisdom, even from unusual sources.

Life is as full of miracles as it is of tragedies, I believe, or at least I keep telling myself that.  Anomalies happen all the time, for better and for worse.  Tiny bits of information, tiny freaks of nature, can save lives, or can take lives.  Lots of "experts" are wrong lots of times.  They are not prophets.  Even "science" and "scientists" are often wrong.

Many people can only offer us love and comfort and encouragement in the journey.  How wonderful there are people who can offer that!  Even if they prove to be wrong about what else would help me, even if I know right away they are clueless about what else would help me, I am grateful for a flash of compassion from a person with a generous loving nature.    :wave:

Any "diagnosis" or "prognosis" from any kind of "expert" can never be taken as the word of god or the prediction of one's fate, IMHO.

There is some nice, warm sunshine around the corner for you and we're all here to help you get your car unstuck from all that childhood mud.  :sunny:

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C.

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2015, 11:22:58 PM »
One other thing I'd like to mention.  I went to a training recently.  We discussed the F's (they mentioned 3, but we know there are 4), and the "new" awareness about all of this is they believe that freeze is always the first response, then comes flight or fight.  A normal first response, a chance to assess a situation.  I just found that interesting.  It makes sense in light of the need to anger or relax...kind of like healthy versions of fight or flight.

There is so much wonderful information and support here.  Thank you for bringing up the topic.

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Anamiame

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2015, 04:02:19 AM »
What I tell myself, FWIW, is that this condition has been and will be a chronic thing in my life.  Some people spend their lives fighting off Diabetes Type I.  I will spend my life fighting off Cptsd.   I will continue to work toward recovering my self, in all sorts of ways, inch by inch. 

Trees--THANK YOU for this!!!  I have Lupus and I have to fight it every day.  I've never thought of CPTSD as the same.  It gave me that 'AhHA' moment!

As is typical on therapy days, I was 'out' of that EF/state of mind, whatever and was in a very upbeat jovial mood.  I told T what happened and all of your responses.  She let me 'report' information today without trying to connect feelings.  I was telling her some of the really gross details of how my mother lived.  I think I've told her before--but 12 years is a long time...so I can't remember.  However, her reaction to the info said she had never heard it before.  I literally laughed at one point and told her that I do get a perverse type of pleasure out of shocking her.   ;D

Once again though...she did everything 'right.' 

She asked if I could agree to not question my memories or be 'afraid' of lying...and she is right, every single session I come in and question.  It's hard not to though.  I couldn't agree to it then, but as I thought about it on the way home, it does make sense...especially for where we are now.  So...another step in trusting. 

I can't thank everyone on here enough for the support, ideas and kind thoughts.  I truly believe it helped me to get centered again.  I'm still trying to get the 'hang' of all of this. 

 :hug:

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Butterfly

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2015, 11:12:20 AM »
. . . Probably an EF...but whatever it was went directly to what I have thought/felt since I was a little girl...that I can't be helped.  That I am broken beyond repair.  . . .

Of course, the IC comes in and berates me with 'you are such a stupid idiot!  What the * were you thinking???  You were at a great place, why are you doing this now?  How utterly stupid are you!"
Actually this sounds like two distinct inner critics at work here.

Frozen, hyper aware out of necessity from childhood also and *shudder* still in contact with uPDm. What has helped me out my foot down and unfreeze some is as SC mentions anger and humor. Coming OOTF and finding strength in having my own mind and preferences has been empowering. Mindfulness practice and guided audio relaxation has helped EF immensely.

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Gashfield

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #12 on: March 15, 2015, 11:40:27 PM »
Probably an EF...but whatever it was went directly to what I have thought/felt since I was a little girl...that I can't be helped.  That I am broken beyond repair.  Looking at it from ALL angles (Intellectually, professionally, emotionally, spiritually, and realistically), this does NOT end well for me.  There is not one scenario that I can play out in my head that has this ending well.   

I have felt exactly like this.  Those are almost exactly the words I used to describe how I felt at the time.  It is so comforting to hear others mirroring my own experience. It makes me feel validated, which is really important, because, like everyone else here, I missed out on this as a kid.

I have always struggled when a T has asked me how I was feeling.  I have lied before because they clearly were expecting some response and I didn't want to let them down!  But the truth is I often haven't got a clue.  I am also trying to learn about feeling and the fact that thought and feeling are not the same.  I feel a bit cheated actually because I am getting the impression this "feeling" stuff can be very rewarding and help you decide what you want in life.  It's really hard to learn about this stuff and I find it's as exhausting as if I were breaking stones!  It's really really really slow progress but I might be a tiny bit better at it.  At least, I think I can be honest if I don't know how I'm feeling and I can forgive myself for not knowing, and I really want to feel sometimes.

I don't know if being a freeze type is treatable or not but I want to believe it is.  I want the full experience.  I want to try.  I now understand that what I do and how I react in some circumstances is perfectly normal given my experiences, even if I don't always have a narrative to fully explain what just happened.  I also appear to have found some self compassion, which means I learned something!, and I'm going to try and not beat myself up about reacting differently to other people.  I don't know if it's that self compassion or something else I've learned but I am more likely to notice when I am feeling something (not always sure what, can't name them yet) and try and respond to that by being kinder to myself.

I don't know if I will ever be in a position to trust people fully.  That still sounds like a really scary prospect.  I suspect I will need a lot more face to face therapy with a good T.  I do think that having my experiences validated through reading other members posts on this site will make me more confident in finding a good T.  Some Ts want to tell me what is wrong with me and how it can be fixed.  I now feel I have a much better idea about what is wrong with me and I am more likely to say so.

I try and approach learning about feeling like learning any new skill.  If I bought a violin today, I'm not going to be a virtuoso by the end of the year.  I may never be a virtuoso but I might be able to stop making that awful screeching noise at least lol.  That is a terrible analogy.  Sorry!  Basically, I think what I mean is, I need to work hard and remember I'm a beginner.

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Anamiame

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #13 on: March 16, 2015, 02:10:45 AM »
Gashfield: 

Glad you are here!  And I'm glad that my experience helped you!   :hug:

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Rrecovery

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Re: Freeze/Dissociation Type, "Untreatable"?
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2015, 04:32:15 PM »
Hi Ana, I'm a freeze and I've made a lot of progress.  It has been a long road, 30 years and counting, but I feel like I'm "a million" times happier and healthier than I used to be.  I don't believe that any psychological condition is untreatable if the sufferer is open, willing and motivated (except, perhaps, if the person is neurologically incapable of empathy).  Even many PDs are being successfully treated these days. I know the feeling of "I can help others but I cannot help myself."  At times I have felt this and it was excruciating.  But I was wrong. I have helped myself and am continuing to help myself.  One thing I'm thinking as I've read this thread is that I think freezing as a strategy has a lot of merit - to "pause" things while a strategy can be figured out can also be transformed into a strength - not feeling compelled to act until we are ready.  Thank you for sharing and I wish you every success in your therapy  :hug: