I heard a man say, "I zoned out," and it's not a new term; I understood what he was trying to say. I would say that I went numb. He had emotionally detached himself is a simple explanation. He felt detached from his body or his conscious awareness.
Zoning out occurs during a traumatic event, such as molestation, and it's not that uncommon. He said, "It was like being a spectator and watching the abuse."
And it worked for him. "I survived childhood without being filled with anger."
But like many short-term methods that work, it has a drawback. As an adult, it ruins relationships. The man who talked to me had been in therapy for more than a year and could finally say, "I'm beginning to feel sadness and anger—two emotions I didn't understand when I was seven." He's now 41. It took him a long time to learn to feel.