Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving

[1] a minor upset feels like an emergency; [2] a minor unfairness feels like a travesty of justice. In

Create vivid pictures of attainable futures that are safer, friendlier, and more prosperous. Cite

Dysfunctional emotional matching is seen in behaviors such as acting amused at destructive sarcasm, acting loving when someone is punishing, and acting forgiving when someone is repetitively hurtful. I

Finally, positive visualization can be a powerful adjunct to thought-substitution. Some survivors gradually learn to short-circuit the fear-mongering processes of the critic by invoking images of past successes and accomplishments, as well as picturing safe places, loving friends or comforting memories.

For many survivors, authority figures are the ultimate triggers. I have known several survivors, who have never gotten so much as a parking ticket, who cringe in anxiety whenever they come across a policeman or a police car. It

Horrible world events, difficult choices, illnesses and periodic feelings of abject loneliness are common examples of existential pain.

I also hope this map will guide you to heal in a way that helps you become an unflinching source of kindness and self-compassion for yourself,

jeopardy, but that he is also “a sorry excuse for a human being”. Over time, the look can make the recipient feel terrified and repugnant, as it drives him into an emotional flashback of fear and shame. When

Natural anger eventually arises when we really get how little and defenseless we were when our parents bullied us into hating ourselves. Most

Origins Of Cptsd How do traumatically abused and/or abandoned children develop Cptsd? While the origin of Cptsd is most often associated with extended periods of physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood, my observations convince me that ongoing verbal and emotional abuse also causes it. Many dysfunctional parents react contemptuously to a baby or toddler’s plaintive call for connection and attachment. Contempt is extremely traumatizing to a child, and at best, extremely noxious to an adult. Contempt is a toxic cocktail of verbal and emotional abuse, a deadly amalgam of denigration, rage and disgust. Rage creates fear, and disgust creates shame in the child in a way that soon teaches her to refrain from crying out, from ever asking for attention. Before long, the child gives up on seeking any kind of help or connection at all. The child’s bid for bonding and acceptance is thwarted, and she is left to suffer in the frightened despair of abandonment. Particularly abusive parents deepen the abandonment trauma by linking corporal punishment with contempt. Slaveholders and prison guards typically use contempt and scorn to destroy their victims’ self-esteem. Slaves, prisoners, and children, who are made to feel worthless and powerless devolve into learned helplessness and can be controlled with far less energy and attention. Cult leaders also use contempt to shrink their followers into absolute submission after luring them in with brief phases of fake unconditional love.

Perfectionism. My perfectionism arose as an attempt to gain safety and support in my dangerous family. Perfection is a self-persecutory myth. I do not have to be perfect to be safe or loved in the present. I am letting go of relationships that require perfection. I have a right to make mistakes. Mistakes

Reparenting Affirmations I am so glad you were born. You are a good person. I love who you are and am doing my best to always be on your side. You can come to me whenever you’re feeling hurt or bad. You do not have to be perfect to get my love and protection. All of your feelings are okay with me. I am always glad to see you. It is okay for you to be angry and I won’t let you hurt yourself or others when you are. You can make mistakes - they are your teachers. You can know what you need and ask for help. You can have your own preferences and tastes. You are a delight to my eyes. You can choose your own values. You can pick your own friends, and you don’t have to like everyone. You can sometimes feel confused and ambivalent, and not know all the answers. I am very proud of you.

Skilled therapists and caregivers learn to discriminate between active and passive suicidal ideation, and do not panic and catastrophize when encountering the latter. Instead, the counselor invites the survivor to explore his suicidal thoughts and feelings knowing that in most cases, verbal ventilation of the flashback pain underneath it will deconstruct the suicidality.

There is often a close relationship between emotion and physical sensation. Physical sensations in the body often co-occur with feelings. Moreover, sensations of tightness and tension can develop as a defense against feelings. As unexpressed feelings accumulate, a greater degree of muscular tension is necessary to keep them under wraps. A child who is repeatedly punished for emoting learns to be afraid of inner emotional experience and tightens [armors] the musculature of her body in an effort to hold feelings in and to banish them from awareness. Holding your breath is a further manifestation of armoring. It is an especially common way of keeping feelings at bay, as breathing naturally brings your awareness down to the level of feeling.

The survivor may, seemingly without reason, visualize someone being abusive.

The worst thing about having been traumatized with the look in childhood is that we can erroneously transfer and project our memory of it onto other people when we are triggered. We are especially prone to doing this with authority figures or people that resemble our parents, even when they are not sporting the look. Internal

This appears to be a mechanism of dissociation, and in this instance, it rendered my client amnesiac of my high regard for our work together. I

Those who are repetitively traumatized in childhood often learn to survive by over-using one or two of the 4F Reponses. Fixation in any one 4F response not only limits our ability to access all the others, but also severely impairs our ability to relax into an undefended state. Additionally, it strands us in a narrow, impoverished experience of life.

We need to understand exactly how appalling parenting created the now self-perpetuating trauma that we live in. We can learn to do this in a way that takes the mountain of unfair self-blame off ourselves. We can redirect this blame to our parents’ dreadful child-rearing practices. And we can also do this in a way that motivates us to reject their influence so that we can freely orchestrate our journey of recovering.

When abuse or neglect is severe enough, any one category of it can cause the child to develop Cptsd. This is true even in the case of emotional neglect if both parents collude in it, as we will see in chapter 5. When abuse and neglect is multidimensional, the severity of the Cptsd worsens accordingly.

When fear is the dominant emotion in a flashback the person feels extremely anxious, panicky or even suicidal.