Posts Tagged ‘Complex ptsd’

Thoughts again bring so many issues!

Bowie my grandson



Hooking up to our Aware Presence? What is it?

You can observe your Aware Presence when thought fades, when focus sharpens, when clarity arrives.

What is it, though? It does not have any memory, any idea of a past or future, and lacks ability to judge.

I am happier in a place where judgment fades. Lost in thought is a recipe for suffering.

If you believe happiness is connected to our Aware Presence, meditation is the train we ride, together.

Are you happier lost in thought or connected to your Aware Presence?

If we looked at the big picture, we would change the way we live.



Judging and Comparing

Pixabay: AbsolutVision



Judging consumed many, many hours throughout my life. Another form of judging, comparing myself with others took another chunk.

Judging brought worry, comparing gathered that sense of lack.

Judging and Comparing are never extinguished.

Meditation, focuses on the breath, slowing, calming, sensing, observing. No effort is given to changing or destroying any thought.

Judgements and Comparisons are transparent, fading on their own without attention or emotion.

Imagine a thought right now. Hold that thought, sarcasm intended.

If you do not express that thought to anyone, does anyone else know of its existence?

Is that thought real if no one hears or reads it.

Thoughts can be irrational, incorrect and incomplete.

Some thinking and thoughts are harmful to our wellbeing.

No thought exists when we travel to the right hemisphere.

That must have some significance.

Some designer created a wordless, thoughtless side of the brain to balance the literal cognitive side.

Spend some time on your expansive side of your brain/mind.

It is brilliant, has no worry, doubt, judging or comparing.

It is always available through the cloud of thought and emotion.



The Haunted Self: Structural Dissociation and the Treatment of Chronic Traumatization

Pixabay: PublicCo



The first category of action systems that make up personality involves action systems that support individuals in efforts to adapt to daily life; the second category pertains to the action systems for defense from major threat, and recuperation.

Whereas evolution has prepared us both for tasks of daily living and for survival under threat, we are not able to engage with ease in both simultaneously.

Thus when both are necessary, particularly for long periods of time, some individuals develop a rather rigid division of their personality to deal with these very discrepant goals and related activities.

For example, Marilyn Van Derbur (2004), the former Miss America who was molested as a child, described her personality as being divided into a “day child,” that was avoidant, numb, detached, amnesic, and focused on normal life, and a “night child” that endured the abuse and focused on defense.

The lack of cohesion and integration of the personality manifests itself most clearly in the alternation between and coexistence of the reexperience of traumatizing events (e.g., a “night child”) and avoidance of reminders of the traumatic experience with a focus on functioning in daily life (e.g., a “day child”).

This biphasic pattern is a hallmark of PTSD (APA, 1994) and is also observed in patients with other trauma-related disorders.

It involves a division between action systems for defense, those which guide us to avoid or escape from threat, and for functioning in daily life—systems that are primarily for seeking attractive stimuli in life that help us survive and feel well.

This division is the basic form of structural dissociation of the personality.

Trauma-related structural dissociation, then, is a deficiency in the cohesiveness and flexibility of the personality structure (Resch, 2004).

This deficiency does not mean that the personality is completely split into different “systems of ideas and functions,” but rather that there is a lack of cohesion and coordination among these systems that comprise the survivor’s personality.



The Connection Between PTSD and Suicide By Matthew Tull, PhD Updated September 02, 2019

Artur Borzecki Photography/Getty Images



“In the United States, more than 40,000 people commit suicide each year. Although women attempt suicide more so than men, men are more likely to succeed in killing themselves during a suicide attempt. In addition, people who have experienced a traumatic event and/or have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may be more likely to attempt suicide.

Trauma, PTSD, and Suicide

In a survey of 5,877 people across the United States, it was found that people who had experienced physical or sexual assault in their life also had a high likelihood of attempting to take their own life at some point:

Nearly 22% of people who had been raped had also attempted suicide at some point in their life.

Approximately 23% of people who had experienced a physical assault had also attempted suicide at some point in their life.

These rates of suicide attempts increased considerably among people who had experienced multiple incidents of sexual (42.9%) or physical assault (73.5%). They also found that a history of sexual molestation, physical abuse as a child, and neglect as a child were associated with high rates of suicide attempts (17.4% to 23.9%)

People with a diagnosis of PTSD are also at greater risk to attempt suicide. Among people who have had a diagnosis of PTSD at some point in their lifetime, approximately 27% have also attempted suicide.

There Is Hope: Seeking Help

Experiencing a traumatic event and/or developing PTSD can have a tremendous impact on a person’s life. The symptoms of PTSD can make a person feel constantly afraid and isolated. In addition, depression is common following a traumatic event and among people with PTSD.

A person may feel as though there is no hope or escape from their symptoms, leading them to contemplate suicide.

It is important to realize that even though it may feel as though there is no hope, recovery and healing is possible. If you are having thoughts of ending your life or if you know someone who is having these thoughts, it is important to seek help as soon as possible.”

Recovering From A Polarized Freeze Response

Pixabay: geralt



“Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving”

Recovery for freeze types involves three key challenges. First, their positive relational experiences are few if any. They are therefore extremely reluctant to enter into the type of intimate relationship that can be transformative.

They are even less likely to seek the aid of therapy. Moreover, those who manage to overcome this reluctance often spook easily and quickly terminate.

Second, freeze types have two commonalities with fight types. They are less motivated to try to understand the effects of their childhood traumatization. Many are unaware that they have a troublesome inner critic or that they are in emotional pain.

Furthermore, they tend to project the perfectionistic demands of the critic onto others rather than onto themselves. This survival mechanism helped them as children to use the imperfections of others as justification for isolation. In the past, isolation was smart, safety-seeking behavior.

Third, even more than workaholic flight types, freeze types are in denial about the life narrowing consequences of their singular adaptation. Some freeze types that I have worked with seem to have significant periods of contentment with their isolation.

I think they may be able to self-medicate by releasing the internal opioids that the animal brain is programmed to release when danger is so great that death seems imminent.

Internal opioid release is more accessible to freeze types because the freeze response has its own continuum that culminates with the collapse response. The collapse response is an extreme abandonment of consciousness.

It appears to be an out-of-body experience that is the ultimate dissociation. It can sometimes be seen in prey animals that are about to be killed. I have seen nature films of small animals in the jaws of a predator that show it letting go so thoroughly that its death appears to be painless.

However, the opioid production that some freeze types have access to, only takes the survivor so far before its analgesic properties no longer function. Numbed out contentment then morphs into serious depression. This in turn can lead to addictive self-medicating with substances like alcohol, marijuana and narcotics.

Alternatively, the freeze type can gravitate toward ever escalating regimens of anti-depressants and anxiolytics (anti-anxiety drugs). I also suspect that some schizophrenics are extremely traumatized freeze types who dissociate so thoroughly that they cannot find their way back to reality.

Several of my freeze type respondents highly recommend a self-help book by Suzette Boon, entitled Coping with Trauma-related Dissociation. This book is filled with very helpful work sheets that are powerful tools for recovering. More than any other type, the freeze type usually requires a therapeutic relationship, because their isolation prevents them from discovering relational healing through a friendship.

That said, I know of some instances where good enough relational healing has come through pets and the safer distant type of human healing that can be found in books and online internet groups.



Recovering From A Polarized Fawn Response

Pixabay: Ri_Ya



Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. A guide and map for recovering from childhood trauma by Pete Walker

“Fawn types typically respond to psychoeducation about the 4F’s with great relief. This eventually helps them to recognize the repetition compulsion that draws them to narcissistic types who exploit them.

The codependent needs to understand how she gives herself away by over-listening to others. Recovery involves shrinking her characteristic listening defense, as well as practicing and broadening her verbal and emotional self-expression.

I have seen numerous inveterate codependents become motivated to work on their assertiveness when they realize that even the thought of saying “no” triggers them into an emotional flashback. After a great deal of work, one client was shocked by how intensely he dissociated when he contemplated confronting his boss’s awful behavior.

This shock then morphed into an epiphany of outrage about how dangerous it had been to protest anything in his family. This in turn aided him greatly in overcoming his resistance to role-playing assertiveness in our future work together.

With considerable practice, this client learned to overcome the critic voices that immediately short-circuited him from ever asserting himself.

In the process, he remembered how he was repeatedly forced to stifle his individuality in childhood. Grieving these losses then helped him to work at reclaiming his developmentally arrested self-expression.

Recovering from the fawn position will be explored more extensively in the next chapter.”




The four F’s, fight, flight, freeze and fawn: Fawn types!

Pixabay: Couleur



Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. A guide and map for recovering from childhood trauma by Pete Walker


Fawn types seek safety by merging with the wishes, needs and demands of others. They act as if they believe that the price of admission to any relationship is the forfeiture of all their needs, rights, preferences and boundaries.

The disenfranchisement of the fawn type begins in childhood. She learns early that a modicum of safety and attachment can be gained by becoming the helpful and compliant servant of her exploitive parents.

A fawn type/ codependent is usually the child of at least one narcissistic parent.

The narcissist reverses the parent-child relationship.

The child is parentified and takes care of the needs of the parent, who acts like a needy and sometimes tantruming child. When this occurs, the child may be turned into the parent’s confidant, substitute spouse, coach, or housekeeper.

Or, she may be pressed into service to mother the younger siblings. In worst case scenarios, she may be exploited sexually.

Some codependent children adapt by becoming entertaining. Accordingly, the child learns to be the court jester and is unofficially put in charge of keeping his parent happy.

Pressing a child into codependent service usually involves scaring and shaming him out of developing a sense of self.

Of all the 4F types, fawn types are the most developmentally arrested in their healthy sense of self.



A follower answers “Why is it so hard to take action”

Pixabay: johnhain



I am reflecting. For me I think part of it is being beat down to low or no self esteem. You get so convinced you cannot do anything right that you just quit trying. Why try one more thing so you can fail again? Just hide in the hole that has been dug for you to live in instead of taking the chance of crawling out by the fingernails one more time.




Thank you for your input. PTSD is epidemic, how to heal is complex and not easily found or understood.

Without proper tools and direction, PTSD can be a formidable opponent. I tried to think my way out and ended up agoraphobic.

Can you tolerate trying one more time with some key wisdom and mindfulness skills?

PTSD will get worse as we heal. Healing was violent internally, highly emotional and anxious as my abuse integrated and let go.

Meditation is a roto rooter, it will dig up unworthiness, anxiety and trauma.

Meditation plots a course directly at the center of our trauma. We are on a collision course, the path less travelled.

I guess my blog and mindfulness group is about hope.

Giving hope to those who think getting better is impossible.

I failed over and over, tried one therapy after another, holistic healers, acupuncture, massage and out of the box cures. Nothing helped, I got worse.

My fathers abuse built a strong sense of determination, I was lucky.

We all have inner strengths and boundless worth inside us.

I would encourage everyone to start meditating, applying mindfulness daily.

Healing is incremental, a little each day.




Sheila Catherine: subtle motivations behind your speech today


Pixabay: vinsky200


Notice the subtle motivations behind your speech today. When is the primary communication merely your own existence?

Sometimes what is said is not very important; what we are really saying is, “notice me, I’m here, I’m special, I am like this, I am.”

It can be useful to grow sensitive to the tendency to seek respect, appreciation, confirmation, praise, or recognition.

You don’t need to squelch these desires should they arise, but notice how they contribute to the development of self-formations.

Are you in a phase in your life when self-formations are valuable, or are you ready to deconstruct these processes?

You can also observe your internal dialog, ruminations, and daydreams.

“Make a note of moments when the thought “I am” forms. How much of your thinking is recreating and reinforcing the story of being you?

What would the experience of your life be like without the burden of incessant becoming?”

Our doors are open



It takes strong focus skills to withstand a trigger firing. Our defense mechanism has detected a life threatening situation, reason stops working when this fight or flight fires.

The mind speeds up, time is distorted, perception clouds, panic spreads.

Irrational or PTSD fear makes no difference to a body trying to survive a perceived lethal threat. Cortisol and adrenaline are dumped, respiration, BP and heart rate spike.

Loss of fine motor skills and tunnel vision add to our time distortion and confusing state.

We try to escape at all costs. It is an internal hurricane blowing 200 mph scary thoughts at us.

Sitting quietly, grounded, surrendering to these fears is our ultimate goal.

This is the door to wellbeing, a healing portal of transformation.

We heal by not running, not avoiding, not thinking but accepting, then surrendering to our thoughts (trauma).

This seems an enormous, complex undertaking.

Start with mastering one breath.

Build focus, practice daily, progress to five breaths, then ten, etc.

This simple, specific, concrete, immediate task holds gargantuan, humongous, colossal power.



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