Posts Tagged ‘C-PTSD’

Inheriting Anxiety

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In a discussion with my daughter about my defense mechanism, she disagreed with me.

I judged my defense mechanism was broken, she said that judgment was erroneous.

My defense mechanism, my hypervigilance was very, very, very sensitive, she said, not broken.

In the right environment, a hyper-sensitive defense mechanism would keep me alive.

If spotting danger was an asset, I would thrive.

How do we navigate normal life with a nervous system like this?

I inherited anxiety.

Childhood abuse made the anxiety much worse.

Fear and intense anxiety are hard to differentiate.

How do you handle an active defense mechanism?
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My PTSD has exploded.

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My PTSD has exploded.

Somehow my body stays full of anxiety without any strong jolts from my fight or flight exploding.

My solar plexus and gut stay tense and agitated.

My mind is bombarded by negative traumatic thoughts.

PTSD dominates thought and emotion, I try to unplug this mechanism.

I fight to stay present.

My body feels paralyzed with abstract fear.

I fight to calm my anxiety, physically by hiking strenuously uphill and spiritually through meditation.
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PTSD: High Anxiety

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My body feels paralyzed from the level of anxiety and unrest in my solar plexus and gut regions.

At this intensity, my mind races, and it is hard to think level-headed.

It is almost overwhelming.

Funny, how we always try to escape intense anxiety.

I find myself pacing, trying to distance myself from anxiety.

Being on edge has always been close to me.

As a kid, my anxiety was so intense I would freeze up, finding it hard to speak.

My dad brutalized me, it made me an anxious mess, and I felt helpless to protect myself.

All this followed me into adulthood.

Hard for joy or happiness to exist inside intense anxiety and fear.

I fight for my security and sanity, happiness seems a pipe dream.
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Secret life of Fear

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From Dysfunctional family and ACA:


“Adult children often live a secret life of fear.

Fear, or sometimes terror, is one of the connecting threads that links the 14 traits together.

Two of the first three traits describe our fear of people.

While many adult children appear cheerful, helpful, or self-sufficient, most live in fear of their parents, and spouses in addition to fearing an employer.

Others are constantly afraid of failing finances, imagined health problems, or world disasters.

They have a sense of impending doom or that nothing seems to work out.

Even the seemingly bold adult child who shows bravado can be covering up a deep sense of feeling unsafe or unlovable.

At the core of these thoughts is usually the fear of being shamed or abandoned.

Shame is the deep sense that our souls are inherently flawed.

Abandonment means more than being left alone or left at a doorstep.”

The Laundry List – 14 Traits from a Dysfunctional Family or an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

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From https://adultchildren.org/literature/laundry-list/

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

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Our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals.”

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This sentence about child abuse and kids of alcoholics shocks me, “As children, our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals.”

It explains more accurately how PTSD impacts my body and nervous system.

We carry these hypervigilant drugs at higher resting levels than normal people without realizing it.

That makes sense.

I can not remember a time when my body was calm.

Our brains developed while we were in these hypervigilant and survivor modes.

Our brains were wired under duress and abuse, in a state of fear.

This is why we focus on spotting danger, why we worry constantly.

We live with that tightness in our solar plexus, it feels like fear, and we read it as danger.

When you value safety over all other desires, life becomes more and more narrow.

We find it extremely difficult to trust.

It is all stored in our cells and brain, our own body and mind carry PTSD through life.

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Part 2: Dysfunctional Households or Adult Children of Alcoholics: The Inner Drugstore

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Inner drugstore:


“Or perhaps we were ignored or emotionally abandoned by our parents, creating anxiety and the general feeling of being alone and unsafe.

Our normal can become anxiety and fear.

And since it is perhaps all we have ever known, and since we may already have learned to shut down access to our feelings and our bodies, we may not even be aware of our anxiety.

Hypervigilance creates a stress response in the body, it even releases dopamine in our brains.

As children, our small bodies are marinated in those chemicals.

Even if we have never taken a drink of alcohol nor any drugs, we are all addicts.

We, as Adult Children, learn to be addicted to our own inner drug stores.

We can subconsciously seek out situations which recreate these feelings.”
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My two cents: Our small bodies were marinated in these chemicals because of abuse?

That is an ominous claim, makes my body twitch a bit reading it.

We were innocent kids.

This is another PTSD layer that needs healing.

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Part 1: Dysfunctional Households or Adult Children of Alcoholics: The Inner Drugstore

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Inner Drug Store:

“For every emotion we feel, a corresponding biochemical substance is automatically released in our bodies.

Think about how the felt sense of anger is different from the felt sense of calm or amusement.

Especially for those of us who have trouble connecting with our bodies or our emotions, these chemical changes may happen below our level of awareness.

But they still happen.

The inner drug store is not all bad.

There are bottles of joy, peacefulness, and spirituality to name a few.

But we Adult Children often gravitate toward the drugs of negative excitement.

Growing up in dysfunctional households, our everyday state can become one of hypervigilance.

Am I safe?

What mood is Mom in?

We walk on eggshells trying to be invisible.

Dad’s car just pulled in the driveway, is he drunk?

We scan the house for things that might anger him and quickly try to neutralize them.”
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My two cents: My life has an abundance of hypervigilance like other abused kids, we grew up living in fear.

Yes, my fight or flight fired violently in the beginning but calmed with practice.

Meditation practice tells us to notice where emotions manifest inside our bodies.

Mine are located in my solar plexus or gut area for the most part.

I yearn for calm, for the constant feeling of upset to disappear.

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A blanket of Darkness

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PTSD feels like a heavy weight, a dark blanket of sadness.

A force applying pressure downward numbing my being.

When my symptoms momentarily subside, I feel lightness return.

I notice the difference, the feeling, the emotional freedom.

I have worked hard to heal, and to be aware of my symptoms traits, strengths, and weaknesses.

When PTSD and depression are active, my waking hours are filled with turmoil, anxiety, and danger.

Desire and opportunity disappear from consciousness, we return to some form of survivor mode.

Survivor mode shuts down parts of the brain, some executive functions while activating our defense mechanism.

Survival replaces desire. Or maybe our greatest desire is to survive above all other desires.

Desire needs a safe place to exist.

PTSD never feels safe to us.

After childhood, we do not trust the world, we fear what may happen to us next.

Maybe this is why we lack direction, confidence, and self-worth.

Survival mode has no direction, it is best used sparingly for a crisis.

Daily use is terrible for our health and emotional sanity.
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PTSD: Changes are happening

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My PTSD symptoms have spiked, and an intense change has happened in the last 10 days.

My stomach and solar plexus remain tight and agitated.

My sense of danger and fear is palpable.

It’s like looking down a dark alley sensing danger, nothing is concrete or visible, it is more intuitive, more abstract.

Two times now, PTSD has receded momentarily during this turmoil.

My symptoms stop, I felt desire arise and life opened up for a minute.

Most of the time it seems something worse than death is coming.

Now that’s contrast.

That’s how PTSD works, it creates disastrous scenarios of failure.

Am I in the middle of a breakthrough or am I going in the opposite direction?

Hard to tell inside this tsunami.
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