Dissociation in James
Dissociation is an unconscious way of dealing with intolerable emotional pain, fear or trauma. It is probably the best defense mechanism the human mind can devise outside of a dependence and trust in Jesus Christ. It enables us to leave an intolerable situation mentally by deciding it never happened, that we were never there or we are someone else.
If we put on a pair of “inner healing glasses” we will find dissociation in the Bible in various places. The most obvious place is in James where he states, “a double minded man is unstable in all his ways” (James 1:8). The Greek word for “double minded” is dipsuchos which means “two souled.” This is what dissociation is—a divided soul that has split into two or more parts. My 1828 Noah Webster Dictionary defines double-mindedness as “having different minds at different times” and actually sites the James I passage!
We must turn to a more modern dictionary to find a definition for dissociation since it is a modern term. It defines dissociation as “a split in the conscious process in which a group of mental activities breaks away from the main stream of consciousness and functions as a separate unit, as if belonging to another person” (Webster). This process takes place to varying degrees in different people. Some people form a completely different personality that is not aware of other parts of the person’s soul. In others, the parts are co-conscious being aware of everything that happens to all the parts. Some people know they are divided but most people don’t recognize the fact of their dividedness. It seems normal to them because they have never known anything else. Additionally the process of splitting takes place unconsciously in most people so there is no memory of having done so.
James says that we are to ask God for what we need in faith, not wavering (James 1:6). The Greek word for “wavering” is diakrino which means “to separate thoroughly.” Seen in context, chapter one of James begins by telling us we are to meet life’s trials with joy because of the work of patience and wholeness God can work in us through these trials. However, if we do not face these trials with faith, if we waver (separate), then we are unstable in all our ways. “But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed” (James 1:6). If we have separated mentally in dissociation, we are not able to hold to a steady course as we meet the challenges of life. How could we if we have separated from a part of our self and our different parts have different characteristics?
James says that a double minded man is unstable in all his ways. “Unstable” in the Greek means “inconstant.” Webster defines “inconstant” as: “not remaining firm in mind or purpose; unsteady in affections or loyalties; fickle.”
A wife whose husband was dissociative once told me that she was aware that she was watching her husband every morning to see what kind of a person he was going to be that day. Would he be loving and openly sharing of his life, or would he be silent and withdrawn? Would he be intent on getting work done or ready to playfully wrestle with the kids on the floor. He could be angry and sullen or chipper and outgoing. She never knew from one day to the next what she was going to encounter. He was inconstant and one never knew which side of him would be out at any given time. She had always thought he was just moody. However, when ministered to for dissociation, he became constant in his daily walk. No longer did she have to fear who she would meet in her husband on any given day.
Dissociation occurs in people in varying degrees depending upon the frequency and depth of suffering experienced and their ability to dissociate. A person who is easily hypnotized is also able to dissociate with no difficulty. Over my twenty-three years of ministry to satanically ritually abused persons, I have encountered quite an array of dissociated parts that run the gamut from co-consciousness to alternate personalities who have no idea they share a body with other personalities and are intent on murdering the person in whose body they live! The latter type of alter often believes he is a distinct person with physical attributes that in no way resemble those of the person in whom he lives. Sometimes I have to hand him a mirror to convince him he is not who he thinks he is and that if he kills that person he will be killing himself! These kinds of alters are purposely formed and programmed by satanic cults.