Structural dissociation is an event, pure and simple as that. It’s a point in time where the mind and brain have become so overwhelmed with trauma that could not be processed into memory that it caused the personality to literally change in response. To understand the process one must engorge themselves with neurology and psychobiology, but the offset can be explained rather simply. It goes like this. A child is overwhelmed due to inattention to their basic innate human needs and as a result parts of their brain do not form correctly resulting in an inability of the mind and brain to successfully connect in such a way that it would allow for trauma material entering the mind to be picked up by the brain, the hippocampus of the brain to be more exact, and then be sent along its way to storage in the memory system of the brain. That’s normal; what’s not normal is the following. (Lanius et al., 2014) (Giuseppe et al.,2014) (Vermetten et al., 2007) (van der Hart et al., 2006)
Structural dissociation as it’s related to dissociative identity disorder is a comparison of innate evolutionary lines that were crossed, exposed and determined by the human condition known as life. It’s imperative that humans relate to one another in a kind and welcoming fashion because anything else in perceived as a danger, and an infant picks this up. A child in the wrong hands can be fashioned to become anything. It is interesting that while there are fixed behaviors, levels of intelligence, genetic traits and diseases, the bulk of the rest is maintained by insolence. A baby who is coddled can become an overbearing child and an anxious and unfriendly adult, while an infant that is severely abused can become needy, with fluctuating emotions and behaviors. Beyond what is innate is indeed in the hands of our caregivers. (Lanius et al., 2014)
Structural dissociation is a process that culminates in creating a distinct, and a less than distinct state, and it results in the ability to isolated trauma from the distinct state, to a certain degree, depending on the resulting mental disorder. Once this happens then the child is able to calm for what might be the first time in their young life. Prior to structural dissociation, a child will have been residing in the polyvagal response of fear. Their brain has been unable to calm due to many factors, but most of all due to a lack of soothing by their primary caregiver. In the case of dissociative identity disorder, these children are also in pain, isolated, lacking proper temperature regulation and their bellies are empty. They are in a state of distress, which would do little harm if they were comforted. (van der Hart et al., 2006)
A baby and young child needs a consistent adult in which they can mirror and who shows them kindness. Consider a relatively young child who instead of a kind parent, had a mother who hated the very site of him. That child would find out eventually that other parents are not like her. He would be confused as to why he was hated so, and nothing would make sense. He has to attach to the woman who is mean to him, but it’s not something that is done in a few weeks time. He has to form the bond throughout his childhood. (van der Hart et al., 2006)
After structural dissociation takes place and personality states have been created then different states can attempt to bond, and if they fail they are replaced by another one. Eventually there will be one distinct state that is able to form some type of attachment with their prim nary caregiver.