Feeling Vulnerable is part of healing

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Feeling vulnerable has many different intensities, some minor while others are paralyzing.

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Feeling vulnerable was a constant childhood companion.

I was force-fed a food I vomited every week (lima beans) then dad would beat me with a specially made paddle with holes drilled in it.

He would scream and berate me like I committed a mortal sin, did other kids face these things weekly?

Forced feeding is considered torture in some circles.

Now, I avoid lima means altogether, a strategy, the easiest part of my PTSD. Is sarcasm part of an abused kids DNA?

If we are going to improve, we must be able to function when PTSD intensifies or explodes.

I have hunted down my original triggers, demystified them, and calmed the fight or flight mechanism surrounding them.

They do not pose the same threat but are awkward, uncomfortable, and still contain suffering.

Yes, I avoid many things and struggle with the depressive part of my complex PTSD more than the anxiety.

Complex PTSD still has its moments of destruction and turmoil.

My behavior is still impacted but that impact has lessened.

To heal we must take risks, and exist in very vulnerable spaces.

I risk, briefly join the masses, then retreat and hide.

Oh, it’s a well-practiced habitual pattern of mine.

Be aware of your patterns!
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Pendulation: from The Complex PTSD Workbook

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Pendulation involves alternating your attention between feelings of safety and feelings of distress as they are experienced in your body.

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The practice goes as follows:

. Within a safe environment, choose a recent distressing event to think about. Depending upon your comfort level, you can choose a relatively minor recent event or perhaps one where you found yourself triggered outside your window of tolerance. Mindfully observe any emotions, thoughts, and body sensations that you experience as you recall the event. Bring your attention to the areas of your body where you feel tension or discomfort. Stay with the sensations for a few breaths.

• Choose a descriptive word for your distress. Your word can correspond to a sensation, an emotion, a color, or an image. Some examples are “jumpy,” “angry,” “hot,” “locked,” “fear,” or “dark.”

Now, bring your attention to any area of your body where you feel calm and at peace. Maybe this resides around your heart, or perhaps in your hands or your legs. If you are unable to find any positive sensation, look for an area of your body that feels neutral. Again, allow your awareness to reside here for a few breaths.

• Choose a descriptive word for your calm or neutral sensation. Again, your word can correspond to a stay with the uncomfortable experience just a little longer. Then, return your attention to your calm or neutral sensation, any related image, and descriptive word. Perform several rounds, alternating your attention between your calm place and the distressing event.

Notice any new sensations in your body, including the desire to breathe deeply, let go with a sigh, or move your body in response to your felt experience. Perhaps you feel the impulse to shake or push your arms or legs. These impulses are part of sequencing—a normal and healthy resolution of the fight-or-flight reaction. Follow any urges to move until you feel complete.
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Reduced capacity for sensation and emotion

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Distress Tolerance from Complex PTSD workbook


“If the first goal of emotion regulation is to learn to sense the ebb and flow of your inner world, the second goal would be to increase the range of your window of tolerance.

Having a trauma history tends to result in a reduced capacity for sensation and emotion.

It is important learn how to exist with difficult feelings.

You can do this by slowly developing your ability to stay present with increasingly greater amounts of sensation.

You can broaden your capacity to handle distress by slowly stepping out of your comfort zone.

In somatic psychotherapy, you can learn to increase your window of tolerance through an activity called pendulation .

Pendulation involves alternating your attention between feelings of safety and feelings of distress as they are experienced in your body.”
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Influencing our Nervous System

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Window of Tolerance from The Complex PTSD Workbook


“The window of tolerance is a concept developed by clinical psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Siegel.

It refers to an optimal zone of nervous system arousal where you are able to respond effectively to your emotions.

When you are outside of your window of tolerance, you will go into survival modes.

Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or panicked is a sign that you are hyper-or over-aroused, whereas feeling shut down, numb, or disconnected is a sign that you are hypo-or under-aroused.

It is common with C-PTSD to alternate between the two extremes or to feel stuck in one or the other.

When you begin to practice emotion regulation, you focus on developing the capacity to stay within your window of tolerance by cultivating mindfulness of the fluctuations in your sensations, thoughts, and emotions.

Through this, you increase awareness of the subtle signs of dysregulation.

An early sign of distress might be a sense of slight irritability or growing frustration.

Maybe you observe that your breath has become shallow or that you are clenching your jaw.

When you are able to recognize the slight changes in your body, you can engage self-care resources before you get overwhelmed or shut down.
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PTSD: How do we handle making mistakes?

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I made a mistake yesterday on this blog.

While answering a response, trying to give a compliment, I did the opposite.

Hearing the word on the radio a few days earlier I thought it was an intelligent way of complimenting ones prose.

Now, I find out, what it means, to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner:

Instead of complimenting, I insulted a loyal viewer with the word Pontificate.

This started my PTSD brain dissociating:

Why didn’t I look up the definition?

All those negative sirens about unworthiness chime in.

We beat ourselves up after we mess up.

Subconsciously I still seek perfection and suffer when I fail.

Failure is a conduit to suffering for me.

Why do we beat ourselves up when we mess up?

Another habit I have become aware of.

It all stems from childhood abuse and the formation of an unworthy self (”I”).
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Our Inner Condition


Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

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“We willingly spend a dozen years in school, then go on to college or professional training for several more; we work out at the gym to stay healthy;

we spend a lot of time enhancing our comfort, our wealth, and our social status.

We put a great deal into all this, and yet we do so little to improve the inner condition that determines the very quality of our lives.

What strange hesitancy, fear, or apathy stops us from looking within ourselves, from trying to grasp the true essence of joy and sadness, desire and hatred?”

Fear of the unknown prevails, and the courage to explore that inner world fails at the frontier of our mind.
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My two cents: What an ominous phrase, at the frontier of our mind. That means our mind is massive.

Talking with my grandson’s soccer and baseball coach, he said confidence, the attitude of the mind means everything even at 9.

Can we have a good attitude living with PTSD?

Our mental attitude means everything when dealing with PTSD.

What does your scoreboard look like, time of day with good versus bad attitude?

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Matthew Ricard: Aversion

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Aversion is the negative side of attachment; we may have aversion to failure, loss, instability, or discomfort; and we usually believe that if the things toward which we feel aversion happen, we’ll surely be unhappy.

It can’t be emphasized enough that to experience genuine happiness we first have to recognize what blocks it.

This includes seeing our attachments, the things we believe will bring us happiness, but which actually do just the opposite.

We will continue to pursue the conditioned strategies of behavior that we hope will bring us happiness as long as we believe they are working.

And because they sometimes do bring us some degree of personal happiness, these behaviors can get reinforced for a long time.

That’s how people get caught on the treadmill of their attachments and routines for a lifetime without making any effort to change.

Paradoxically, we’re actually fortunate if life occasionally serves us a big dose of disappointment, because it forces us to question whether our attachments and strategies really serve us.”
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3 Bullying Facts

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From https://positivepsychology.com/bullying/


What Is Bullying? 3 Facts

  1. When does bullying most often occur?

Bullying persists at epidemic levels among children and adolescents (Harris, Lieberman, & Marans, 2007). It has been described as an adverse childhood experience (Stopbullying.gov, 2017).

Bullying is most common in childhood and adolescence (Aalsma & Brown, 2008). Up to three-quarters of young adolescents experience bullying (e.g., name-calling, embarrassment, or ridicule), and up to a third report coercion and even inappropriate touching (Juvonen, Nishina, & Graham, 2001).

  1. Does bullying affect only the victim? How long do the effects last?

Bullying has been found to affect the bullied person as well as the bully. Both are at greater risk of mental and behavioral problems, including a higher risk of depression (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005).

The poor physical and emotional outcomes of bullying can affect an individual, both in the short and long term (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).

A plethora of research shows that bullying experienced in childhood can go on to cause anxiety and depression (Stapinski et al., 2014) in young and middle adulthood (Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013).

Adult suicidal attempts (Stapinski et al., 2014), poor financial management (Wolke, Copeland, Angold, & Costello, 2013), and poor career success as an adult are all negative outcomes (Takizawa, Maughan, & Arseneault, 2014).

  1. What type of profile does a bully or a victim possess?

There is not one single profile of a bully or someone affected by bullying. Bullies and victims can be socially included or marginally excluded (Stopbullying.gov, 2021). Either the bully or victim may have been in the role of a perpetrator and victim of bullying at some point in life (Leiner et al., 2014).

One interesting study found that bullies, victims, and those who have experienced both have a plethora of emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral problems (Leiner et al., 2014). This highlights that interventions are equally important for all groups, not only the victims.
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PTSD: A contracted state of Mind

Pixabay: Care2 is the world’s largest social network for good, a…


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From Bouncing Back by Linda Graham

“When we find the space between the stimulus and the response, we alter the rhythm of our doing; we wake up and create space for being.

Awareness is the knowing, not the contents that are known.

We can experience it as a vast sky that can hold all the clouds and storms moving through it.

We usually pay more attention to the contents of clouds and storms than to the sky that contains them.

As the Zen teaching tells us, when we are in a contracted state of mind, it’s like looking at the sky through a pipe.

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With mindfulness of awareness, we become adept at putting down the pipe and looking at the whole sky again.“
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My two cents: Even with PTSD I have developed an awareness practice.

It transports me out of dissociation and back to this moment.

Develop all the tools you can.

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How can PTSD sufferers ignore their PTSD then choose to be happy?

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Yesterday during a conversation, a friend told me they choose to be happy.

I think I need to choose to be healed first. Which is easiest, to be healed or be happy?

That hit a nerve, I knew the implication was aimed at me, my PTSD.

Is our problem with PTSD the inability to choose happiness?

I can say the words, my PTSD pays no attention.

My symptoms come from a place where words can not reach.

How can PTSD sufferers ignore their PTSD then choose to be happy?

How do you accomplish this?

This means symptoms disappear, anxiety, unworthiness, fight or flight firing, depression, hypervigilance, and intrusive thoughts.

I know words do not heal PTSD.

From my vantage point, PTSD has to recede to a level few of us reach to be happy.

I would settle for being out of suffering.

Me, not healing, angers some of my friends.

They need easy solutions to all life problems.

I frustrate them.
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