Tuesday, November 18, 2014


I like my word for the day.  I was talking to my counselor today that I have a mess I don't want to deal with right now.  I was thinking of it like controlled dissociating, she suggested this word, 'compartmentalizing.'  It is a purposeful decision to deal with something big, later.  I am not burying it.  I am not ignoring it.  I am just using a time and season for a big project.  Dissociation is uncontrolled and obliterates emotions.  Compartmentalizing is consciously choosing to set aside emotional baggage until a more appropriate time to unpack it.

Thanks Webster: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/compartmentalize
: to separate (something) into sections or categories
: to separate (two or more things) from each other
: to put (something) in a place that is separate from other things

From Forbes: http://www.forbes.com/sites/ryanblair/2012/06/26/5-steps-of-compartmentalization/

Psychology defines compartmentalization as a defense mechanism, or a coping strategy, which doesn’t impart a very good connotation. Put simply, it’s how our minds deal with conflicting internal standpoints simultaneously. Some examples would be: a doctor who is religious, but has to separate her belief system from her practice at a women’s health clinic; a man who leaves his office at 6pm, and refuses to think about work for the rest of the evening, so he can enjoy his time with his family or, at its extreme, soldiers who need to file away the trauma of horrific events in their minds, so they can continue operating in battle.

Coping strategies are short-term solutions, and they have positive and negative aspects. You want to compartmentalize, but not push out. For instance, those soldiers I just mentioned; pushing out trauma works in combat, but once they come back to their regular lives, they often find those pushed away memories coming back to haunt them, like in cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 Temporary is the key to making this work.  If that chunk of mess believes I am trying to ignore it forever, it will erupt again and again until it gets my attention.  However, if I assign the mess a box, number and due date, it will stay peaceful for a time.  It is a great coping mechanism if I don't over use it. 


mulderfan said...

I'm stealing your word!

jessie said...

I think this is a very good way of thinking about it. My counselor suggested something similar today. I was feeling overwhelmed by some issues and she pointed out that I've been sick and had some other medical issues and that it is OK to solve some problems after I'm feeling better instead of trying to take it all on at once.
Sending positive thoughts!

Ruth said...

Enjoy it mulderfan. Glad to share.

Thanks jessie, your positive thoughts are appreciated.