Eight Contributing Factors to the Development of C-PTSD



From Complex PTSD Workbook: part one

Why will two people with similar histories have different outcomes?

Why is it that multiple children can grow up in the same household, but only one feel traumatized? The development and expression of C-PTSD is multifaceted, and is not just influenced by exposure to childhood trauma.

Let’s look at why some people may be more susceptible to developing an adverse reaction to trauma than others:

1 Intensity, duration, and timing:

Needless to say, the longer the abuse or trauma continues and the greater its intensity, the greater the likelihood you will develop C-PTSD. It is also important to consider the timing of the traumatic stress. Children are most susceptible to the impact of such stressors during critical growth periods, such as the first three years of life when the nervous system is extremely fragile and during adolescence when they are forming their identity.

2 Genetics:

Research indicates that anxiety disorders, including PTSD, tend to run in families. While not a direct cause of PTSD, having a parent with PTSD is associated with a greater risk for the development of PTSD after exposure to a trauma. Research suggests that there is a biological predisposition among these children.

3 Environment:

Parents with PTSD respond differently to their children, resulting in greater disruptions in care and attachment. Mothers with PTSD tend to be both overprotective and overreactive, which can result in children feeling both intruded upon and abandoned. As children respond in fear or anger, an environmental cycle of abuse can occur, in which a parent may become increasingly abusive.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rudid96 on May 25, 2022 at 1:47 pm

    It seems like I’ve been stuck on the same radio station for most of my life. The same tunes keep popping up, only the volume changes. I’ve read that this is often found in the lives of those with C-PTSD

  2. I have not read that but can identify with it

    Our childhood plays on, fuzzy some days and weak, clear and intense other days

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