Why are intrusive thoughts (trauma memories) so destructive?

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Childhood abuse (PTSD) changes life, memories are abnormal.

Our memories are experienced (felt) through the emotional prism of worthlessness, damage, failure, or abuse.

Abused kids feel worthless, flawed, or just too damaged for anyone to love or respect.

My intrusive thoughts carry these sentiments, it makes them powerful and scary. As innocent children, we never understood being beaten, raped or emotionally terrorized.

They are not normal memories, highly charged as Stephen Cope describes, “Sometimes we encounter experiences that so violate our sense of safety, order, predictability, and right, that we feel utterly overwhelmed—unable to integrate, and simply unable to go on as before.”

My whole childhood violated my sense of safety, emotionally which has left an indelible mark.

How are we ever supposed to feel safe, normal? We carry a form of terror that changed the size of certain brain organs and functions.

Our nervous systems do not resemble a regular person’s nervous system.

They do not experience the terror, the hyper-vigilance, the flashbacks, the adrenal stress response firing repeatedly, the intrusive thoughts, the emotional deregulation, the avoidance, and the loneliness of complex PTSD.

Intrusive thoughts have the emotional content we felt when abused, they transport us back in time or bring the past to life.

My intrusive thoughts become a rapid, non-stop assault on my wellbeing. It is part of the vapor my brain brings every day, part of the 60,000 thoughts that cross my consciousness daily.

They never stop or slow down when triggered.

Unfortunately, we carry this abuse with us, whether we improve or falter, childhood trauma will always be with us.

I did not have a choice at birth, I did not have any skills as a child to defend myself.

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I have always been afraid of what will happen next, even on my best day.

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When I look back on my life, my memories carry extreme humiliation and worthlessness, they will haunt me till I die.

We can improve, have brief moments of calm but we will never heal, never be free from PTSD exploding.

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