Archive for the ‘Assorted’ Category

My take: Codependent

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The previous codependency post is painful to read, every molecule wants to deny all of it.

Many things about boundaries, love and pain, unworthiness, shame and guilt plus the desire for approval ring so true.

I entered adulthood without a clear autonomy, few boundaries and a ton of anxiety.

This is how childhood trauma impacts our brains, this is the area we need to heal, to integrate and work to change.

Remember, awareness is always first, take stock and identify what codependent traits you own.

I have changed some of these symptoms but stress will bring my old behavior out to play.

My meditation practice, spiritual journey allowed me to step back and observe my behavior without being part of that behavior.

We believe we are what we think or what we do.

That could not be farther from the truth.

Hell,wait til you get my age, who cares what we did at 70.

I guess high accomplishment attracts attention on the senior dating apps, but any connection to happiness is a mirage.

Healing is an inward exploration, then a clearing out of the trash, that trauma has created in our brains and bodies.

Healing is taking care of these small pieces of trauma.

Your next trigger is an opportunity to heal.

Can you take three breaths before you avoid, deny, distract or freeze.

Next time maybe we take five breaths before we scatter.

Healing happens in small increments with daily work, my opinion.

You have to take action to improve.

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Another look: 18 Characteristics of Codependents and 9 Truths to Support Recovery By Carmen Sakurai

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Excerpt:

“What Is Codependency?

Also knows as “relationship addiction,” the codependent is addicted to relationships and the validation they get from them. They will do whatever it takes, including sacrificing their own personal needs and well-being, to keep receiving this validation.

Root Cause of Codependency

Codependency is usually rooted during childhood. The child grows up in a home where their emotions are ignored or punished because the parent (or parents) suffer from mental illness, addiction, or other issues. This emotional neglect results in a child having low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, and shame.

Common Characteristics of Codependents

You are hyper-aware of other people’s needs so you become a caretaker to avoid being blamed for other people’s unhappiness and/or to feed your self-esteem by making them happy.

You believe that love and pain are synonymous. This becomes a familiar feeling so you continue to allow friends, family, and romantic relationships to behave poorly and treat you with disrespect.

Your self-esteem and self-worth are dependent on those you are trying to please. Your self-worth is based on whether or not other people are happy with what you can do for them. You over-schedule yourself with other people’s priorities to prove you are worthy.

You people-please. As a child, having a preference or speaking up resulted in being punished. You quickly learned that letting others have their way spared you from that pain.

You’re afraid to upset or disappoint others, which often leads to over-extending yourself to avoid negative feedback.

You always put others’ needs before your own. You feel guilt if you don’t follow through even if it means sacrificing your well-being. You ignore your own feelings and needs, reasoning that others are more deserving of your time and help.

You lack boundaries. You have trouble speaking up for yourself and saying NO. You allow people to take advantage of your kindness because you don’t want to be responsible for their hurt their feelings.

You feel guilty and ashamed about things you didn’t even do. You were blamed for everything as a child, so you continue to expect everyone to believe this about you now.

You’re always on edge. This is due to growing up in an environment lacking security and stability. While healthy parents protect their children from harm and danger, dysfunctional parents are the source of fear for their children and distorts their self perception.

You feel unworthy and lonely. You were always told you are not good enough and everything is your fault. The dysfunctional parent conditioned you to believe that you are of no value to anyone, leaving you with no one to turn to.

You don’t trust anyone. If you can’t even trust your own parents, who can you trust? Your unhealthy childhood conditioning lead you to believe that you do not deserve honesty or to feel safe.

You won’t let others help you. You’d rather give than receive. You try to avoid having to owe someone for the help they give you, or have the favor used against you. You’d also rather do it yourself because others can’t do it your way.

You are controlling. You were conditioned to believe that you are a “good boy/girl” if those around you are OK. So when life feels overwhelming, you try to find order by controlling others instead of fixing what needs repairs in your own life.

You have unrealistic expectations for yourself as a result of the harsh criticism you constantly received as a child.

You complain about how unhappy your life has become then quickly take it back to protect your ego, trapping you in an unending cycle of complain/deny.

You melt into others. You have difficulty separating yourself from other people’s feelings, needs, and even identities. You define your identity in relation to others, while lacking a solid sense of self.

You are a martyr. You are always giving without receiving, then feel angry, resentful and taken advantage of.

You are passive-aggressive. You feel angry and resentful and complain about “having to do everything” – while you continue doing everything on your own.

You fear criticism, rejection, and failure so you procrastinate on your own dreams and goals. Instead, you manage and control people’s plans and extract fulfillment when they succeed.

These self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are based on distorted beliefs that developed as a result of emotional abuse during your childhood. As a helpless child, it was necessary to adapt these behaviors in order to survive.”

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Sense awareness and focusing inward

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Awareness is ever present in its purest form, our observer senses now, this present moment, unencumbered by judgment or thought.

Awareness always starts change, a healing journey, impossible to fix that which is hidden. Narcissists rarely change, they never become aware of their weaknesses. It’s like a peacock totally focused on spreading those feathers, pumping up that ego, at all costs.

Reflection never starts, behavior never modified.

Examples of awareness: hearing, listening. We fine tune our listening skills, deepening our capabilities. I sit quietly listening for the lowest decibel sound in my environment.

Then I travel beneath it, noticing the sound of my inhales and exhales first. With this accomplished, I move on to listening for my heartbeat. After that I turn my hearing inward, I listen inside my head, exploring my inner world.

All healing happens inside, this is excellent practice for integrating trauma, later on.

I have heard a symphony playing inside my head on high focus days. It was startling the first time it played.

We have an entire world inside our mind and body, this inside wellbeing impacts our external wellbeing.

If we can quiet down this much, thoughts fade away, the mind steadies and starts repairing itself.

For extra credit visualize a scenario: Sitting in a chair, back to the edge of a dense jungle, it has not rained in six months, listening like your life depended on it.

Something is coming at you from deep inside that jungle.

Instead of trying to listen far out into the jungle, quiet down inside your ears.

Be so quiet internally that the tiniest sound will ring out.

We can use our senses to ground us quickly, in a second, bringing us back to now.

Future posts about our visual awareness, smell and tactile senses to follow.

Please add your awareness insights and practices.

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Repairing Childhood Traumas impact on the 🧠 brain

https://irishroversbooks.wordpress.com/2012/02/23/lest-we-forget/

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What changes occur in the brain in childhood trauma? What are their effects?

• Reduced activity in Broca’s area (this is the area for speech). This can make it difficult to talk about trauma and describe it with detail (Hull, 2002). This is additional to trauma which is pre-verbal.

I have trauma that is pre verbal, it has a ghostly feel. It took years of meditating to be able to share my trauma with others.

• The hippocampus becomes smaller and its structure is interrupted (Wilson et al., 2011; McCrory et al, 2010). This can affect attention, learning and memory (Hedges and Woon, 2011; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011).

Nothing has brought my memory back intact, many trauma memories are unfinished and confusing, incomplete and choppy.

• The corpus collosum which connects the left and right sides of the brain, is reduced. This prevents the two sides of the brain working in a coordinated way (Wilson et al., 2011)

Experienced meditators have a wider and thicker corpus collosum.

• Changes to amygdala function (Wilson et al., 2011; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011). This can make a person more likely to react to triggers, especially emotional ones. People can experience emotional extremes and struggle to regulate their emotions.

My meditation practice calmed my amygdala and brought some balance. I could take the cortisol and adrenaline away with long deep,focused breaths.

• Reduced activity in different parts of the cortex- frontal lobes (McCrory et al, 2012). This can mean a survival response/s is triggered in absence of danger (Ali, et al., 2011).

Neuroscientists say meditation repairs the damage trauma does to the left prefrontal cortex.

• Changes in ‘reward pathways’. This can mean that survivors anticipate less pleasure from different activities, and may appear less motivated (Pechtel and Pizzagalli,)

I have been extremely motivated to heal. It’s just not an appearance of less pleasure, we serious abused kids suffer throughout life. Childhood trauma never totally leaves our being..

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Childhood trauma and the brain

Pixabay: OpenClipart-Vectors

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From https://www.blueknot.org.au/Resources/Information/Understanding-abuse-and-trauma/What-is-childhood-trauma/Childhood-trauma-and-the-brain

Excerpt: How does childhood trauma impact on brain development?

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Our childhood brains develop from the ‘bottom up’ i.e. the brain stem first. The survival functions develop before those for planning and impulse control. Our brainstem works fully when we are born. It controls basic survival functions such as heart rate, breathing, sleep and hunger.

We are also born with a functioning ‘threat detection’ system. In fact the amygdala can register a fear response in the final month before we’re born (Cozolino, 2006). We can develop a ‘memory’ of fear before we have language (i.e. this is pre-verbal), or can understand where the fear comes from. These ‘memories’ are stored in our body as body memories and emotions.

The hippocampus develops in response to our world into adulthood (Cozolino, 2006). Before the hippocampus develops we can’t consolidate ‘autobiographical’ memories. The pre-frontal cortex only matures in our mid-twenties.

Some parts of the brain grow and develop rapidly at certain ages. Overwhelming stress in childhood affects the way the brain develops (Gunnar and Quevedo, 2007; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011). During critical periods of development, trauma can badly affect different areas. Positive experiences can help development. Negative experiences impair development (Wilson et al., 2011).

What changes occur in the brain in childhood trauma? What are their effects?

Childhood trauma can affect different parts of the brain. This helps explain many of the challenges survivors experience.

• Reduced activity in Broca’s area (this is the area for speech). This can make it difficult to talk about trauma and describe it with detail (Hull, 2002). This is additional to trauma which is pre-verbal.

• The hippocampus becomes smaller and its structure is interrupted (Wilson et al., 2011; McCrory et al, 2010). This can affect attention, learning and memory (Hedges and Woon, 2011; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011).

• The corpus collosum which connects the left and right sides of the brain, is reduced. This prevents the two sides of the brain working in a coordinated way (Wilson et al., 2011)

• Changes to amygdala function (Wilson et al., 2011; Pechtel and Pizzagalli, 2011). This can make a person more likely to react to triggers, especially emotional ones. People can experience emotional extremes and struggle to regulate their emotions.

• Reduced activity in different parts of the cortex- frontal lobes (McCrory et al, 2012). This can mean a survival response/s is triggered in absence of danger (Ali, et al., 2011).

• Changes in ‘reward pathways’. This can mean that survivors anticipate less pleasure from different activities, and may appear less motivated (Pechtel and Pizzagalli,)

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This type of meditation is easier to start and follow

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If you are a novice, kundalini yoga, a form of meditation, is much warmer and easier to start a practice.

Oh I value my meditation practice but it was a cold, a silent journey. All of us in that zen center had no idea what enlightenment was, or if we were really meditating. We would sit for 30 minutes, then do a 3 minute walking meditation, followed by a final 30 minute meditation.

Going around the room after a five day retreat, most said they fought thoughts the whole time. This takes a lot of willpower and a firm purpose to stick with it.

Focusing solely on the breath chases so many future practitioners away. It is mundane, boring and extremely difficult for most.

My first zoom session with Kundalini yoga was much different. Jennifer started with an introduction to the divine teacher inside us. We focused on a candle as she intermittently guided our journey.

Next we recited a mantra to background music, followed by a short song of gratitude then a nice ending.

We shook our arms at one point balancing and clearing our being.

It is a friendly and warm way to meditate.

Many more people would meditate if they tried kundalini yoga, in my opinion.

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Here is the zoom class I do every morning at 7:00weekdays ; 8:00 am on weekends Pacific time zone

Jennifer is an amazing leader

Virtual FREE 40 Day Meditation – ZOOM ID 229 287 318
Jennifer Lakhmi Chand Kelly

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Going deeper into Kundalini Yoga, new hope I hope

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I am going deeper into Kundalini Yoga to try and heal more.

This will expand and enhance my Soto Zen meditation practice. My Meditation with movement, mantras and sound added.

What is Kundalini yoga? From https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/kundalini-yoga-101-everything-you-wanted-to-know

“First introduced to the western world in the late 70s by Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini yoga is a combination of breath, movement, and sound. It derives from the Sanskrit word kundal, which translates to “coiled energy.” The idea is that we all have energy gathered at the base of our spine and, through the practice of Kundalini, we bring that energy up our spine through the seven chakras, and out the crown of our head.

“The process of growth through Kundalini Yoga is a natural unfolding of your own nature,” Yogi Bhajan has said. “Like a snake, you will need to shed old skins to be more of who you are.” The ultimate goal of Kundalini is to increase your self-awareness by silencing your mind and unblocking your chakras so that your vital energy can flow freely.

“The practice of kundalini is filled with really challenging breath exercises coupled with asanas and meditation,” says yoga instructor Caley Alyssa in our 28 Days To Yoga Bliss class. “These are often practiced in repetition for a pretty lengthy period of time and move a lot of energy around in your body.”

There’s a reason why the practice has gained popularity only recently: The ancient teachings of Kundalini yoga were kept secret for a very long time, only taught to royalty and nobility for thousands of years until Bhajan brought it to the West in the late 1960s and began to teach it publicly.”

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Was you birthright peace, contentment and joy?

Pixabay: SarahRichterArt

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This morning in the meditation group, it was said our birth right was peace and contentment, joy.

Wow, it that really true, then what happened to those of us who were abused.

I love hearing others talk about how things should be, it gives me insight into my childhood, why I am like I am.

My birth right was violent abuse, criticism and fear.

My fathers goal was to never let me feel comfortable or content, he wanted to produce the ultimate athlete.

Wonder where forced feeding falls in the contentment scale.

PTSD is the farthest thing from contentment my being has experienced.

Contentment does not mix with abuse and trauma, the last thing we experience is contentment.

I have to scour my memory to find contentment, I do not remember a time.

These sentiments, feelings or emotions others describe, I have no clue what they are.

How about you?

Was you birthright peace, contentment and joy?

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PTSD: I hurt

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I hurt!

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Where did that other Guy go?

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This morning meditating my childhood trauma, my old triggers began running.

The triggers do not fire with much force now, the issue is what my mind will do to me for four or five days.

All those thoughts raced through my cognitive mechanism, once healed or absent for five years, now appear.

I went back through my favorite posts, amazing how free, positive and energetic I was.

Who is that guy, where did he go, I feel none of that power right now.

Some of us would be good test subjects for PTSD.

I would love to have a functional MRI on my brain for PTSD and seeing the change meditations has made physically.

Those close to me, want me to engage life more, distract myself more.

I am searching for ways to neutralize all these symptoms.

It’s a difficult balance, life has no safety for me right now.

It is abstract and irrational, primal from early childhood, violent and abusive.

I still fight this everyday, it is winning today, maybe not tomorrow.

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