Compartmentalising abuse

To compartmentalise is to repress painful emotional and psychological memories or experiences. Traumas from violent incidences are stored away in the sub conscious mind, in the hope that nobody will see them and remind them of the pain and hurt associated with that memory. Those traumas, for some small children, are deeply repressed. Repression becomes a compartment, safely tucked away in the sub conscious mind. As time evolves, the child becomes an adult, those experiences and memories that are repressed from childhood, shape the way you manage emotional and physical stress. During times of high conflict, such as physical and emotional abuse, Compartments help us to cope and manage with the carnage that is left from the chaos. Denial and minimisation are employed, to protect the wounded child from further shame as the experience is stored away, in the box labelled – Denial of shame.

Imagine your whole life experiences are stored on a train, with carriages. The carriages encompasses all the learning and memories that you have accumulated through life. Those carriages are connected by repressed experiences, traumas, fantasies, pain and heart break. Before long, you’re pulling along a train that is not only exhausting to pull, but also weighing you down, emotionally, psychologically and mentally.

At some point in your life, you will have no choice other than to stop the train and empty or release those overflowing carriages. For some people, horrific abuse is the catalyst for addressing their own inner turmoil and emotional pain. For others, they choose to continue compartmentalizing, to avoid addressing their attitude, motivations and early traumas, believing the version they see in the mirror. Those who choose to compartmentalize and refuse to acknowledge that they have work to do, on themselves, continue along the path of self-destruction. As they have chosen to keep themselves split and separate, in time, this could create serious psychological problems.

It could either lead into psychosis (personality disorder), or it will lead into depression. Neither disorder is relieved by pharmaceutical remedies. Both need the active participation of the owner to overcome the trauma.

By splitting off parts of your life, you are essentially disintegrating, becoming a shadow of your former self. Ignoring or denying the events that were too traumatic for you psyche to cope with leads us into addiction. If the problem is ‘disintegration,’ then the solution is ‘integration.’ Unfortunately, there is no pill to relieve this pain. You cannot resolve traumas through food or other substances. Words, whether they be kind or cruel, will not release or soothe those repressed memories.

To ‘reintegrate,’ or recover from emotional trauma, you have to go back through the past, uncover the pain or trauma, then release it. It takes real courage to relive a traumatising abusive memory. Each release of a carriage will lighten your journey as you learn to let go. Eventually, you can look behind you at your life experiences, with clarity and honour, that you, became the best version of yourself. You will feel liberated, authentic and whole.


16 thoughts on “Compartmentalising abuse

  1. Well written, I am experiencing dissociation more than it has ever shown up in the last few months while in therapy. It’s made me realize now that this has become a habit since childhood, seeking someplace else to escape from the emotional abuse or any difficult situation or perhaps confrontation. In my case, I had and still do have a habit of drawing boxes? Don’t know why boxes. Thanks for posting this. Deb

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s amazing what our young minds will do to protect our heart from feeling the pain. Memories of trauma, rarely leave of their own accord, we have to purge it the painful way.
      Mm, Art therapy is really good, let you mind draw box after box, see what picture or symbols your boxes make, it’s a useful unconscious way of engaging with yourself too. Mindfulness drawing is also a good.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for writing this. I once had a therapist tell me she had never seen anyone who could “click” on and off as quickly as I could. Cycling through emotions, self- comforting and uttering apologies for the outburst..all in the span of three minutes. Too bad we didn’t get trophies for it, hey? :/


  3. Great post! I’ve always compartmentalized. I even had a name for it. “Don’t mix business with pleasure.” I needed to keep everything separate. “Don’t let the right hand know what the left hand is doing” kind of thing. Now I see this is one of the survival skills I learned as a child. Amazing to, after all this time, to understand this some of my actions. Thank you for sharing this post.


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