Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

My Spiritual Teacher poses questions for me

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My spiritual teacher says, my “Ego” did his job extremely well and helped me survive childhood. Wow.

Thank him and soothe him, do not battle and interrogate him.

She talks about our divine masculine and feminine sides.

Funny, she says my feminine side is active, look at my empathy not repeating what my dad did to me. Interesting concept.

Had to digest those words for a while.

Maybe having the abuse I endured through childhood, gave me a better life than being in another environment. Her words bring ideas I have never imagined.

I realize all my PTSD symptoms are directly related to my “Ego”.

If I meditate, focus intently, my PTSD goes away, along with my “Ego” for a while.

My era is filled with toxic masculinity, a denial of emotions being thought of as strength.

That adds up to a flawed “Ego”, an intolerant, angry, anxious guy.

I need to filter my “Ego” through my heart. Cleanse it of the damage it accumulated navigating through childhood trauma.

Rarely, if at all, has therapy addressed my heart.

When the heart is in observer role, we are at a deeper, spiritual level.

This all resonates with me.

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Is their Purpose in our PTSD suffering, meaning?

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I asked my therapist about me finding meaning or purpose in my suffering. He chuckled, amazed that I thought there was a meaning for my suffering, that it even mattered in recovery.

Must be a disconnect between theory and reality.

My suffering in childhood did not lead to any joyful moments, did not lead to me becoming something special. Life was painful, I felt unworthy, hopeless and depressed.

I find a horrific meaning, a terrible result, a life of pain. Where is the good in all of this?

It escapes my feeble traumatized brain. I did nothing to cause my abuse, so finding purpose seems very strange.

This great epiphany of meaning and purpose has eluded me, my trauma ruined my life, if that was the purpose, it succeeded.

oh yes, I know it was not me, it was others mental frailties and issues that caused my Trauma, but the the suffering was mine alone.

Knowing my PTSD is not my fault does nothing to make it better or help me lessen the pain.

my therapist did say this quarantine has exacerbated all his trauma clients and especially his complex PTSD patients.

He said it will get worse before improving, so set expections.

. The irrational seems rational, feels real,

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The irrational seems rational, feels real, it’s called childhood PTSD, developmental trauma to be more exact.

I understand the mechanics of PTSD very well, I have no idea why my mind makes old trauma so important, so alive, so persistent, so damaging.

Irrational, I know that but knowing has not healed it.

My mind is mush, confused, anxious, worn out, in and out of survivor mode.

My mind is alert for danger, emotional danger at all times again.

This has a big impact, it isolates me and takes enjoyment out of life.

Emotional fear is so abstract when attached to violent trauma.

Its like an evil ghost haunting me.

Irrational but automatic, it happens without my input, it is exhausting and painful.

Working on forgiveness has just stirred up the shit even more.

I could scream, this is so frustrating, I have done the hard work for over a decade.

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8 Keys to Forgiveness: Part 4

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6. When forgiveness is hard, call upon other strengths

“Forgiveness is always hard when we are dealing with deep injustices from others. I have known people who refuse to use the word forgiveness because it just makes them so angry. That’s OK—we all have our own timelines for when we can be merciful. But if you want to forgive and are finding it hard, it might help to call upon other resources.

First remember that if you are struggling with forgiveness, that doesn’t mean you’re a failure at forgiveness. Forgiveness is a process that takes time, patience, and determination. Try not to be harsh on yourself, but be gentle and foster a sense of quiet within, an inner acceptance of yourself. Try to respond to yourself as you would to someone whom you love deeply.

Surround yourself with good and wise people who support you and who have the patience to allow you time to heal in your own way. Also, practice humility—not in the sense of putting yourself down, but in realizing that we are all capable of imperfection and suffering.

Try to develop courage and patience in yourself to help you in the journey. Also, if you practice bearing small slights against you without lashing out, you give a gift to everyone—not only to the other person, but to everyone whom that person may harm in the future because of your anger. You can help end the cycle of inflicting pain on others.

If you are still finding it hard to forgive, you can choose to practice with someone who is easier to forgive—maybe someone who hurt you in a small way, rather than deeply. Alternatively, it can be better to focus on forgiving the person who is at the root of your pain—maybe a parent who was abusive, or a spouse who betrayed you. If this initial hurt impacts other parts of your life and other relationships, it may be necessary to start there.”

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My two cents: I find these keys to forgiveness informative so far but have little impact on me forgiving.

I lost the ability to trust, to view the world as safe, forgiveness scrambles my brain, I still feel the shame.

PTSD brings trauma to life, like it happened last week for me.

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Eight Keys to Forgiveness: Part 3

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5. Find meaning in your suffering

When we suffer a great deal, it is important that we find meaning in what we have endured.

Without seeing meaning, a person can lose a sense of purpose, which can lead to hopelessness and a despairing conclusion that there is no meaning to life itself.

That doesn’t mean we look for suffering in order to grow or try to find goodness in another’s bad actions. Instead, we try to see how our suffering has changed us in a positive way.

Even as one suffers, it’s possible to develop short-term and sometimes long-range goals in life. Some people begin to think about how they can use their suffering to cope, because they’ve become more resilient or brave.

They may also realize that their suffering has altered their perspective regarding what is important in life, changing their long-range goals for themselves.

To find meaning is not to diminish your pain or to say, I’ll just make the best of it or All things happen for a reason.

You must always take care to address the woundedness in yourself and to recognize the injustice of the experience, or forgiveness will be shallow.

Still, there are many ways to find meaning in our suffering. Some may choose to focus more on the beauty of the world or decide to give service to others in need.

Some may find meaning by speaking their truth or by strengthening their inner resolve. If I were to give one answer, it would be that we should use our suffering to become more loving and to pass that love onto others.

Finding meaning, in and of itself, is helpful for finding direction in forgiveness.

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My two cents: At 69 it is hard to find meaning in my suffering. Finding purpose has been just as difficult.

My purpose was to survive my childhood, direction got lost as my safety was at great risk.

As far as purpose, my father told me what to think, how to act, who to hate and how much better I needed to be than everyone else.

I never developed my own purpose, it was not allowed in my childhood.

At 69 all I can remember is the battle to survive, not to repeat the abuse I endured or commit suicide.

I do not see the purpose of my suffering.

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Eight Keys to Forgiveness: Part 2

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3. Address your inner pain

“It’s important to figure out who has hurt you and how. This may seem obvious; but not every action that causes you suffering is unjust. For example, you don’t need to forgive your child or your spouse for being imperfect, even if their imperfections are inconvenient for you.

To become clearer, you can look carefully at the people in your life—your parents, siblings, peers, spouse, coworkers, children, and even yourself—and rate how much they have hurt you. Perhaps they have exercised power over you or withheld love; or maybe they have physically harmed you. These hurts have contributed to your inner pain and need to be acknowledged. Doing this will give you an idea of who needs forgiveness in your life and provide a place to start.

There are many forms of emotional pain; but the common forms are anxiety, depression, unhealthy anger, lack of trust, self-loathing or low self-esteem, an overall negative worldview, and a lack of confidence in one’s ability to change. All of these harms can be addressed by forgiveness; so it’s important to identify the kind of pain you are suffering from and to acknowledge it. The more hurt you have incurred, the more important it is to forgive, at least for the purpose of experiencing emotional healing.

You may be able to do this accounting on your own, or you may need the help of a therapist. However you approach looking at your pain be sure you do it in an environment that feels safe and supportive.

4. Develop a forgiving mind through empathy

Scientists have studied what happens in the brain when we think about forgiving and have discovered that, when people successfully imagine forgiving someone (in a hypothetical situation), they show increased activity in the neural circuits responsible for empathy. This tells us that empathy is connected to forgiveness and is an important step in the process.

If you examine some of the details in the life of the person who harmed you, you can often see more clearly what wounds he carries and start to develop empathy for him. First, try to imagine him as an innocent child, needing love and support. Did he get that from the parents? Research has shown that if an infant does not receive attention and love from primary caregivers, then he will have a weak attachment, which can damage trust. It may prevent him from ever getting close to others and set a trajectory of loneliness and conflict for the rest of his life.

You may be able to put an entire narrative together for the person who hurt you—from early child through adulthood—or just imagine it from what you know. You may be able to see her physical frailties and psychological suffering, and begin to understand the common humanity that you share. You may recognize her as a vulnerable person who was wounded and wounded you in return. Despite what she may have done to hurt you, you realize that she did not deserve to suffer, either.

Recognizing that we all carry wounds in our hearts can help open the door to forgiveness.

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Eight Keys to Forgiveness: Part 1

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Forgiveness can be incredibly difficult. Robert Enright explains where to start.

BY ROBERT ENRIGHT

“Sometimes the hurt is very deep, such as when a spouse or a parent betrays our trust, or when we are victims of crime, or when we’ve been harshly bullied. Anyone who has suffered a grievous hurt knows that when our inner world is badly disrupted, it’s difficult to concentrate on anything other than our turmoil or pain. When we hold on to hurt, we are emotionally and cognitively hobbled, and our relationships suffer.

Forgiveness is strong medicine for this. When life hits us hard, there is nothing as effective as forgiveness for healing deep wounds. I would not have spent the last 30 years of my life studying forgiveness if I were not convinced of this.

Many people have misconceptions about what forgiveness really means—and they may eschew it. Others may want to forgive, but wonder whether or not they truly can. Forgiveness does not necessarily come easily; but it is possible for many of us to achieve, if we have the right tools and are willing to put in the effort.

Below is an outline of the basic steps involved in following a path of forgiveness, adapted from my new book, 8 Keys to Forgiveness. As you read through these steps, think about how you might adapt them to your own life.

1. Know what forgiveness is and why it matters

Forgiveness is about goodness, about extending mercy to those who’ve harmed us, even if they don’t “deserve” it. It is not about finding excuses for the offending person’s behavior or pretending it didn’t happen. Nor is there a quick formula you can follow. Forgiveness is a process with many steps that often proceeds in a non-linear fashion.

But it’s well worth the effort. Working on forgiveness can help us increase our self-esteem and give us a sense of inner strength and safety. It can reverse the lies that we often tell ourselves when someone has hurt us deeply—lies like, I am defeated or I’m not worthy. Forgiveness can heal us and allow us to move on in life with meaning and purpose. Forgiveness matters, and we will be its primary beneficiary.

Studies have shown that forgiving others produces strong psychological benefits for the one who forgives. It has been shown to decrease depression, anxiety, unhealthy anger, and the symptoms of PTSD. But we don’t just forgive to help ourselves. Forgiveness can lead to psychological healing, yes; but, in its essence, it is not something about you or done for you. It is something you extend toward another person, because you recognize, over time, that it is the best response to the situation.

2. Become “forgivingly fit

To practice forgiveness, it helps if you have worked on positively changing your inner world by learning to be what I call “forgivingly fit.” Just as you would start slowly with a new physical exercise routine, it helps if you build up your forgiving heart muscles slowly, incorporating regular “workouts” into your everyday life.

You can start becoming more fit by making a commitment to do no harm—in other words, making a conscious effort not to talk disparagingly about those who’ve hurt you. You don’t have to say good things; but, if you refrain from talking negatively, it will feed the more forgiving side of your mind and heart.

You can also make a practice of recognizing that every person is unique, special, and irreplaceable. You may come to this through religious beliefs or a humanist philosophy or even through your belief in evolution. It’s important to cultivate this mindset of valuing our common humanity, so that it becomes harder to discount someone who has harmed you as unworthy.

You can show love in small ways in everyday encounters—like smiling at a harried grocery cashier or taking time to listen to a child. Giving love when it’s unnecessary helps to build the love muscle, making it easier to show compassion toward everyone. If you practice small acts of forgiveness and mercy—extending care when someone harms you—in everyday life, this too will help. Perhaps you can refrain from honking when someone cuts you off in traffic, or hold your tongue when your spouse snaps at you and extend a hug instead.

Sometimes pride and power can weaken your efforts to forgive by making you feel entitled and inflated, so that you hang onto your resentment as a noble cause. Try to catch yourself when you are acting from that place, and choose forgiveness or mercy, instead. If you need inspiration, it can help to seek out stories of mercy in the world by going to the International Forgiveness Institute website: http://www.internationalforgiveness.com.

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A conversation with my therapist

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My relationship with my therapist is unique, very open, and I sense a true concern for my healing. He recognizes my knowledge of PTSD and effort trying to heal.

Serious trauma before the brain develops has so many more tentacles hidden inside. Survival mode shuts down many needed brain developmental functions. Building attachments, social skills, feeling safe and trust suffer in survival mode.

He said some childhood trauma gets hard wired inside brain development, unplugging this will be arduous if possible.

My mind learned to lock on to my fathers mood at all times. My therapist said this was real, abuse happened every week, and I lived in survival mode. A mind does not develop correctly while in survival mode.

PTSD being a choice: He laughed and said very few people understand serious childhood trauma. What people say can do damage, it’s like others trying to place blame or guilt on us for our PTSD.

A response yesterday: “Try focusing on something else besides all your traumas. Design & build something with your hands. Incorporate your grandkids into new projects.”

A normal brain can not fathom intrusive thoughts. That is your mind running full speed on its own, bombarding us with zillions of trauma dangers. Building things is a distraction, a good action but does nothing to heal trauma or stop the intrusive thoughts.

Subconsciously our minds search for danger in every situation without thought. This is survival mode or the hybrid that still lives inside me.

Loss is big for serious abused kids.

At 69 I still fear being a failure. I had to search deep while meditating to uncover these subconscious worries.

My actions mirror this behavior but consciously I did not have those thoughts.

I see now that I have always lived in some semblance of survival mode.

That’s all I knew as a kid. It is hard wired. I hit overload if you put me in a crowd.

It is not enjoyable. How do you fix not trusting on top of all the other PTSD symptoms?

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The Frozen Mind of PTSD

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My first surge of PTSD happened over a decade ago. My therapist was flexible and had many therapies we worked through.

She encouraged me to look outside the box, to search holistic and intuitive healers.

Here are some of the therapies I tried: Emotional Freedom Technique, TFT, EMDR, hypnosis, cranial sacral, acupuncture, CBT, Acceptance and Committment Therapy, EDIT, bio feedback, holistic, two intuitives and a daily meditation practice.

Some gave me incremental improvement, some did nothing. That’s fairly normal I would guess.

I gave all out effort with everyone of these healing paths.

Now, another trauma has exploded and my skills have not worked. Going back to therapy only helped for a few days.

My daily meditation practice gives me some quiet for short periods but the thoughts run full blast for days.

My brain is overloaded, stressed, confused and partly frozen.

It feels hopeless at times.

In the midst of this, I still try to improve. I have learned to never give up along time ago.

I meditate, let thoughts go, try all I can to distract my mind and exercise till near exhaustion some days.

The battle continues, living like this is painful, happiness is never glimpsed from this cavern.

Giving up would be disastrous, I can not change that fact.

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Is PTSD a choice?

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A friend told me, PTSD or not, we all have a choice. That hit a nerve, do I really have a choice?

Can I decide not to have PTSD?

I sure wasted a decade of therapy and practice, if it’s true.

I have never read PTSD is a choice or heard a therapist describe PTSD this way.

Therapy would be quick and simple.

One or two sessions would heal us.

Do you think you can choose not to have PTSD?

Seems others think I am weak minded, flawed, incapable of choosing.

Friends can do more damage with their words.

Not safe to share our trauma with others.

One more time, it is not safe to trust others.

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