Talk

Advanced search

Addiction and dissociation in AGP courtesy of twitter

(60 Posts)
Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 10:26:26

I can't find a thread about this, but Tinsel just offered up this link on the Transwidows thread.

I was expecting to agree with the general thrust; I was surprised by the growing full-body horror-lurch I experienced while reading it.

The gist is: there's very valuable insight to be gained from analysing AGP through the lens of dissociation and addiction, which I thought would probably be of interest.

But if anyone wants to keep a tighter focus on the female experience - I've long suspected I'd have gone the ROGD route if I were a teenager, but it's often hard to adequately capture the reasons why, in words that resonate with people who've not had the misfortune to collect all these trauma-issues.

And I've just applied the lens used in this twitter thread to my own experience of being female and traumatised, and I've got a strong gut feeling that the latter part of the link (discussing how giving in to AGP demands doesn't help AGPs) is also very much applicable to the 'traumatised' aspect of the typical ROGD profile. But I'm still in the mulling-it-over and not-confident-putting-my-thoughts-into-words stage at the moment.

Would welcome others' thoughts and impressions.

threadreaderapp.com/thread/1171239053867569152.html

Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 10:28:15

Clicky link

Michelleoftheresistance Wed 11-Sep-19 10:35:01

Wow. Nail on the head, that articulates so many things that are obviously demonstrated over and over and over again.

And explains well the utter deafness to and fury with women trying reasonably to say, yes but we have needs too and you're trampling them. It really is shut up and gimme, now. Often accompanied by 'or else'.

It also voices something I've felt for a long time, since it's a dynamic that hits very painful buttons for me: that what is being demanded by the trans lobby is that all non trans people enter into being the provider in a codependent relationship. It's not healthy for anyone in that dynamic and no, I won't do it. It is not up to me to maintain someone else's illusion because it's too upsetting for them when reality intrudes. This can't ever be a solution.

darkriver19886 Wed 11-Sep-19 10:42:39

Dissociation is on a spectrum and at the serious end it's a psychiatric illness itself.

Funny enough 9 out of 10 people with severe dissociation issues are women. (Biological women) due to Sexual abuse mostly

I get what this article is saying though. They need to treat the issues lying under the surface but of course if you say that your being "transphobic"

TirisfalPumpkin Wed 11-Sep-19 10:53:49

I think there’s something to it. Obv a Twitter thread isn’t scientific evidence of how the AGP brain works. That said, it rings true for the real life examples I’ve seen.

Feel slightly called out as most of my hobbies are in some way ‘dissociative’ - roleplaying, gaming etc. I don’t think this is inherently unhealthy. It’s just what some people do for fun. Maybe it is a concern when appearing alongside other dissociative behaviours, or when engaging in RP hobbies showing inability to compartmentalise / taking ‘in character’ issues personally.

Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 10:53:55

what is being demanded by the trans lobby is that all non trans people enter into being the provider in a codependent relationship

There's that full-body horror-lurch again - it's exactly that, isn't it? And we're not even being asked to take on that role; we're being forced into it.

CharlieParley Wed 11-Sep-19 11:03:31

Thank you! We discussed this at our group meeting yesterday but I hadn't seen the original thread. Nail on the head, judging from the research I've read. Frightening, too.

darkriver19886 Wed 11-Sep-19 11:04:08

I had this experience a couple of weeks ago. I went to an LGBT night and get talking to someone who said she had 5 genders??? I am transwidow and I explained I broke up with him because he was abusive, she smiled and said "it was because he was trans right?"

Obviously the conversation ended at that point. I felt the pressure and the confusion.

CharlieParley Wed 11-Sep-19 11:16:55

Feel slightly called out as most of my hobbies are in some way ‘dissociative’ - roleplaying, gaming etc. I don’t think this is inherently unhealthy.

On the contrary, it can be a very healthy coping mechanism.

I have seen it used very successfully in managing certain negative behaviours in those with autistic spectrum disorders and in teaching and reinforcing certain desirable behaviours. To great effect.

I also know someone who has to analyse the worst of the worst with the aim of learning how to prevent it. Dissociative gaming is a tool to destress and detach sufficiently to sleep without nightmares. Mostly successfully. And when the nightmares do come through, as they inevitably do when children were involved, dissociative gaming helps to stop the flashbacks and the worry about not being able to stop the next terrible thing happening to one's own.

Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 11:23:25

I broke up with him because he was abusive, she smiled and said "it was because he was trans right?"

Oh, that is very revealing, isn't it?

You very explicitly communicate a fact: "X is abusive."
They immediately infer "X is trans."

The fact they immediately jumped to that conclusion means they've got a strong mental association between the label "trans" and the label "abusive." So strong, in this particular instance, that they've interpreted the two as being interchangeable in the context of relationships.

And this was one of the woke believers, you say?

Very, very revealing.

And chilling, that they have no self-awareness of this blind spot.

Plus I can't help but acknowledge the unintended unconscious consequences of adding a strong "trans/positive" association into that person's brain. "Trans/positive" and "trans/abusive" are in very real danger of eliding into "abusive/positive" in that person's brain, aren't they? Just holding those two associations in mind is going to exert a downwards pressure on their ability to really-truly-intuitively understand "abusive/negative."

Literally training their brains not to be able to see red flags.

darkriver19886 Wed 11-Sep-19 11:28:54

@charleyparley has it. Gaming helps me stay a lot more stable.

As it is I dissociate unhealthy as a coping mechanism but gaming grounds me.

*Oh, that is very revealing, isn't it?

You very explicitly communicate a fact: "X is abusive."
They immediately infer "X is trans."*

Yes in fact that opened my eyes a bit.

Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 11:43:13

I also know someone who has to analyse the worst of the worst with the aim of learning how to prevent it.

You mean it's not just me who does this, CharlieParley?

My thanks for a) the massive sigh of relief I just physically experienced and b) weakening my self-perception of abnormality (and getting that fucker down to a manageable level has been a very high level priority for me on the recovery front).

Feel slightly called out as most of my hobbies are in some way ‘dissociative’ - roleplaying, gaming etc. I don’t think this is inherently unhealthy.

Strong agreement with inherently.

Cross-reference your response (a feeling of being called out; slightly uncomfortable; instinctive defensiveness) with the knowledge that we have a general tendency to pathologise, criminalise, or otherwise apply negative designation, to extremes. Net result: outliers get a negative association.

Doesn't mean those outliers are necessarily a problem in any way - in other words you're very possibly using a healthy coping mechanism in a healthy enough way that enhances your life, and just tripping over the "outlier/negative" association that's built into your brain in case it collides with an "outlier/self" association.

(I wish my brain knew how to condense that into "Don't worry, you're probably fine" without going through all of the words first.)

Goosefoot Wed 11-Sep-19 11:48:08

I think it has some very interesting insights. I do tend to put them in the realm of opinion somewhat though, more like armchair psychology. With AGP in general, I find it frustrating that it's so disallowed as an idea that it's not easy to get a lot of good information about it from a rigorous scientific POV.

I do think there is something to the dissociative hobbies thing. I was really big into RPGs as a teen, and the SCA, so it's not that I don't get the appeal, they can be a lot of fun and very healthy. I have though seen something of a change over the years that has struck me as odd and disturbing, for example more people who seem to think of themselves as "identifying with fandoms." Comiccons have become huge since I was going to them, too, cosplay has become huge with classes at the local sewing shop and teen drop in centre. About the time that I was in university there seemed to be a change and some of it made me uncomfortable, which is why I got out of participating. It seemed for some people to begin to constitute their "real" life.

What other group, even heavily marginalized, has such an intricate script that must be read by all?

I agree with this to an extent, but I think that complicated scripting of language has become more prominent in many areas, and any deviations seen as hostile or microagressions, even when it's totally ahistorical. I don't know that it's just part of this sort of mental illness.

TirisfalPumpkin Wed 11-Sep-19 12:16:45

Tyro & Charley - thanks both for the reassurance and the interesting insights. I’m autistic and I think the slight abstraction of how gaming codifies the world to be more predictable, people have stats, social interactions can be selected from a pie menu etc, - all has been very helpful to me.

I think you see a lot of this in fandom too, as Goosefoot mentioned. It’s essentially a safe place to experiment in extreme emotions/situations via the avatar of a known fictional character, and now more and more conducted in complete isolation with a computer. Even when I used to write fic, I did chat to my fandom friends and occasionally go and visit them in person. I think maybe nerd culture has always been obsessive, but it’s lately shifted to be a bit more inward looking and identifarian, rather than collaborative effort to create an awesome shared reality and have fun there.

Darkriver, sorry you had that experience. What a bizarre thing to say to someone you just met. Clearly you needed to be slotted into this person’s narrative of victimisation/‘trans people are never abusers’ and they didn’t like it that you didn’t fit.

Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 12:31:10

It seemed for some people to begin to constitute their "real" life.

100% jiving with my lived experience.

This can be usefully linked to "^Feel slightly called out as most of my hobbies are in some way ‘dissociative’^"

Gaming etc as part of a balanced life-system and psychological-needs system, where everything's calibrated and interacting in a way that results in an adequately functioning organism in the world = absolutely fine, no problem, stop worrying.

But if something upsets the equilibrium, and internal and external pressures don't allow it to be restored - net result = spiralling unhealthy coping mechanisms, reduction of real world functioning, may or may not eventually find a new workable equilibrium. Doom-loop, basically.

What I saw in fandom (I basically lived there throughout the 00's) was this: people whose equilibrium was already precariously balanced or actively doom-looping, finding a coping mechanism and then doubling down on it when things in the real world got hard.

We all made a claim to the "healthy coping mechanism" label, but for some of us this turned out not to be as true as we thought.

People who were already so far out of equilibrium that they couldn't integrate well enough with the outside world to get their psychological needs met and thus have a chance at minimising doom-loop issues were pulled further from being able to integrate with the offline world. Because the coping mechanism itself was worsening the difficult issues they'd adopted it to manage.

I spent a few years out of fandom and when I went back they'd all lost the plot and drunk the kool-aid, and a lot of people I cared about and felt a strong group-identity with are now identifying as queer and unwittingly bullying lesbians and reinforcing patriarchy and so on.

So it turns out, fandom wasn't an acceptably healthy coping mechanism for a lot of the people who were drawn to it. It felt healthy in the short time but for some people it has the seeds of a massive long-term problem built in.

I do tend to put them in the realm of opinion somewhat though, more like armchair psychology.

Point noted, but when I started the thread I was operating in the realms of 'analysing the patterns in the data we have available.' I acknowledge the current lack of robust scientifically-acquired data; there is merit in analysing the currently-available data nonetheless. And our real-world experiences of whatever phenomenon we happen to be talking about = data. Its acquisition didn't follow the principles of the scientific method but it is data nonetheless and thus may be analysed usefully.

NKFell Wed 11-Sep-19 13:03:20

I also thought she's hit the nail on the head.

The part about role playing and cos play games really stuck out to me. Whenever I get into Twitter 'arguments' I tend to look at the profile of the person I'm arguing with and I've found that a good 9/10 times they have pics of anime style characters that are 'them'.

TinselAngel Wed 11-Sep-19 13:37:04

Definitely helps to explain all the animé avatars.

I hope this thread is allowed to stand. AGP threads often tend to disappear on here.

I always think that all the people who claim AGP has been "discredited" should just spend 5 minutes talking to the many women who have been married to them.

NKFell Wed 11-Sep-19 14:10:10

Absolutely Tinsel, they should be directed to your trans widow threads.

Oh and yes, 'Avatar' was the word I was looking for. It's just interesting when I look on my Twitter, it's honestly a good 9/10 have them

Inebriati Wed 11-Sep-19 14:21:13

Archived;
web.archive.org/web/20190910230128/https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1171239053867569152.html

Feel slightly called out as most of my hobbies are in some way ‘dissociative’ - roleplaying, gaming etc. I don’t think this is inherently unhealthy. It’s just what some people do for fun.

But thats the difference, its for fun. You have a 'gaming identity', but you don't believe that you will be erased or die if someone else can't see you in your gaming identity.

TowelNumber42 Wed 11-Sep-19 14:35:43

The codependency angle on trans allies would help to explain why young women are willing to be cheerleaders even for a trans individual whose behaviour is clearly wrong. It's their fix.

NKFell Wed 11-Sep-19 15:35:45

Tirisfal Just to be clear, I'm not saying all people who play games that disassociate with the 'real world' or their real self are a problem at all. I just find it interesting that nearly all of the people I find myself arguing with also play these types of games. I think it's what you said: Maybe it is a concern when appearing alongside other dissociative behaviours, or when engaging in RP hobbies showing inability to compartmentalise / taking ‘in character’ issues personally.

Tyrotoxicity Wed 11-Sep-19 17:19:43

* Maybe it is a concern when appearing alongside other dissociative behaviours*

Nodding along here.

The behaviour itself isn't inherently bad or good; and it does have a lot of good points. But if it's been locked into a self-reinforcing system of behaviours then it's in danger of becoming unhealthy rather than healthy in the event of change to other parts of that system.

It occurred to me about an hour ago that, as a very small child, I used books as an escape, a way to dissociate, a way to cope - and no one's going to say "reading books is bad for you" (or at least not unless they want to put up with my righteous indignation filling up the next thirty nine pages) - but as part of a self-reinforcing system of behaviours operating in permanent doom-loop mode it had some subtle long-term negative effects.

Themyscira Wed 11-Sep-19 18:09:44

* I think that complicated scripting of language has become more prominent in many areas, and any deviations seen as hostile or microagressions,*

This, in my opinion, is down to neo-liberalism and the cult of the self. Gail Dines' lecture on YouTube about how neo-liberalism has de-fanged feminism explains it a fair bit.

Goosefoot Wed 11-Sep-19 18:35:15

and now more and more conducted in complete isolation with a computer.

Yes, I think this is important. When I was playing, RPGs were done in person, at someone's home, or sometimes in a shop or club. I was quite shy, it sometimes really required me to get out of my comfort zone to find a group. It also involved planning, making snacks, being hospitable to others, cleaning your room, meeting people's parents. You often got to know people pretty well, you found other interests in common.

It occurred to me about an hour ago that, as a very small child, I used books as an escape, a way to dissociate, a way to cope

You probably know there is some good research saying that books, or at least good books, aren't just an escape but help us understand ourselves and others at a deeper level. I have noticed that role-players now, like a lot of young people, seem to read a lot less than they used to - they are far more immersed in screen-based narratives, films or television. This seems like a big change to me, books were far more dominant when I was playing, most films were seen as not as good. And it wasn't all pulp books by any means, many people were reading fairly high level sci-fi and fantasy. I'm not convinced that the fandoms that are big now are overall at the same level.

Goosefoot Wed 11-Sep-19 18:37:06

This, in my opinion, is down to neo-liberalism and the cult of the self.

Yes, but it has infected even a lot of people on the left. You hear how the language and thinking has crept into what people are thinking of as class analysis quite often.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »