How C-PTSD Affects the Mind and Body

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From Complex PTSD Workbook:


Growing up afraid has ramifications on all aspects of development—cognitive, emotional, and physical.

The costs of childhood trauma can persist into adulthood until you find sufficient support to heal your past. The most common experiences among individuals with C-PTSD include:

Cognitive distortions: These include inaccurate beliefs about oneself, others, and the world.

Emotional distress: Frequent feelings of being overwhelmed, anxiety, helplessness, hopelessness, despair, deep loneliness, shame, unfairness, injustice, and depression and suicidal thoughts are often triggered by social loss, abandonment, and disconnection.

Disturbing somatic sensations: Historical threats are maintained as uncomfortable body sensations or somatization, in which psychological distress presents in the form of physical symptoms.

Disorientation: Inaccurate beliefs, emotions, and body sensations contribute to a loss of distinction between the past and the present.

Hypervigilance: High sensitivity to tracking nuances and subtleties in body language and facial expressions within other people is developed as an attempt to keep oneself safe.

Avoidance: Avoidance involves learned patterns of shutting out or pushing away uncomfortable sensations, memories, or emotions. This is often maintained by defenses such as denial, repression, dissociation, or addictive behaviors.

Interpersonal problems: Ineffective interpersonal relationship dynamics include withdrawing from, blaming, pushing away, or criticizing friends and loved ones unnecessarily. Patterns learned within dysfunctional family systems tend to get repeated in adulthood until new and effective interpersonal strategies are developed.

Brain development: Abuse and neglect produce measurable changes in brain structures that are associated with deficits in social skills and academic success. • Health problems: Unresolved C-PTSD is a significant cause of physical health concerns in adulthood.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by rudid96 on May 27, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    I hate C-PTSD. Today, I realized as a result of all the trauma, I probably will never have the connection with people that I ‘think’ I desire. Love / Hate – 2 sides of the same coin. I wrestle with all of the highlighted categories in this post. What about you?

  2. I can attest to all of them unfortunately

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