Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

Do we ever break free of childhood abuse and habits?

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I find the isolation and lack of autonomy the most damaging scars from my childhood.

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My father was a puppetmaster, he told me who I would be, what I would believe in, and who I could be or could not be friends with.

He controlled the depth of all friendships, and others he did not like.

All the stats say community, having support is excellent for healing.

I have no history of community except for team sports and I guess work.

My dad isolated me for greater control, whether it damaged me or not, a narcissist does not give a shit.

I could not function inside my house, how would I survive the outside world.

My dad assumed part of my being, autonomy was too risky for him.

No way he would even let a thought of going against his will survive.

His hair-trigger volatility and penchant for violence against me were always loaded.

To this day I struggle to know who I am or repair my damaged ego.

Abused kids are rarely trusting or open to others, many warm feelings are unknown to us.

What a dilemma!

As an old retired guy, reaching out has become much harder, my trauma erupting has brought suffering and fear.
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Writing a blog brings many emotions for me.

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Reading some of my latest posts, I am embarrassed, shocked at how hopeless my words convey.

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Deep depression does not look good in person or on paper.

Dealing with my childhood abuse, I have done a great job of calming my nervous system and integrating significant parts of my trauma.

I guess I handle anxiety, the firing of my fight or flight mechanism, the symptoms of hypervigilance, fear, and avoidance better than depression.

Ptsd brought desperation but it was for short periods, it was a battle with Ptsd.

My strength is handling the physical challenges, the pain, the injuries, my vulnerability is the emotional betrayals and losses.

In my 60’s, Guilian Beret left me paralyzed from the neck down, ICU for two months, followed by another two months in rehab.

Doctors, physical therapists, occupational therapists all said I would be in a wheelchair for a minimum of a year and possibly two.

Ten days later I got up from that wheelchair and took three very shaky steps.

The doctors and nurses were stunned, I was a devoted meditator and a former pro athlete, this was my element.

As accomplished at physical challenges as I am, it highlights my weakness with emotional betrayal and depression.

We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and then we have our blind spots.

Betrayal and depression are my vulnerabilities.

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I favor Ptsd over Depression

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PTSD has energy, cortisol and adrenaline, fear and danger, it’s much more exciting and enjoyable than deep depression.

Depression sucks the life out of you, for abused kids it is devastating.

My legs have stopped moving while hiking from depressive thoughts and emotions.

PTSD, I can engage and battle, calm my fight or flight mechanism while observing my trauma.

Depression, I have no answer for the shame it carries.

It is an awful mental disorder, it drained the little peace of mind my life enjoyed.

Seriously abused kids get crushed by betrayal.

We fear the outside world, when we get betrayed from inside our circle, life collapses.

We will never understand how a mate betrays us, a permanent scar will make trusting another impossible.

It’s such a narrow and risky existence, death does not scare me, being ridiculed or betrayed scares me.

Death before dishonor rings true in my world, my father drilled that into me.

I have experienced a betrayal that bad, publicly shamed for a mate’s actions.

What is your worst betrayal since childhood?

Is depression or PTSD harder for you?
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Depression for Dummies

. Smile, greet people with a little enthusiasm, say you feeling great, depression can hide in that smokescreen.

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Learn to sit in the middle of your depression, observe the feelings without assigning emotions.

Long-term Depression matures, it stabilizes, then builds resistance and strength with duration.

Realize PTSD and depression are two separate animals.

PTSD brings fear, intense anxiety from stored abuse, it is a highly active disorder with volatile energy.

Depression is the opposite, it rarely brings high energy or fires our fight it flight mechanism.

It lacks energy and drive, depression sucks the life out of us while PTSD scares the shit out of us.

Ptsd is comorbid with depression, they go hand and hand, but are completely different disorders.

It’s like a game of ping pong when both are active.

I would much rather deal with Ptsd symptoms than depression.

If you watch older soldiers or homicide detectives, many have an event, a crime scene they will never forget.

It is emblazoned in their psychic, the best efforts to bury this trauma fail hopelessly.

You can not unring a bell. How many hours have been spent trying to change an event, change our behavior, our response, our thought process?

I have an event in my life long-buried, that has surfaced.

It is emblazoned inside, carries intense shame, as it runs like a movie on its own.

I feel trapped, unable to escape, my PTSD skills do little to heal it.

Ten years of therapy, meditation, and daily practice have improved my PTSD, my depression resists.

It is tied to an event that haunts me, mine is different than a sadistic murder or the savagery of war, but it carries the same fear and damage.

Ptsd brings such intense energy, fight or flight mechanism firing, high levels of anxiety.

Depression sucks the energy out of us.

Depression can save lots of money, we do not want to do anything or go anywhere.

I hide whether it is ptsd or depression.

One you avoid at all, costs, the other you seem to lose the ability to resist. . .

Emotional Regulation: Yikes!!!!!!

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Excerpt: From Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD

“The Body Keeps the Score”

“When trauma emanates from within the family, children experience a crisis of loyalty and organize their behavior to survive within their families. Being prevented from articulating what they observe and experience, traumatized children will organize their behavior around keeping the secret, deal with their helplessness with compliance or defiance, and acclimate in any way they can to entrapment in abusive or neglectful situations.

Being left to their own devices leaves chronically traumatized children with deficits in emotional self-regulation. This results in problems with self-definition as reflected by a lack of a continuous sense of self, poorly modulated affect and impulse control, including aggression against self and others, and uncertainty about the reliability and predictability of others, expressed as distrust, suspiciousness, and problems with intimacy, resulting in social isolation.

Chronically traumatized children tend to suffer from distinct alterations in states of consciousness, including amnesia, hypermnesia, dissociation, depersonalization and derealization, flashbacks and nightmares of specific events, school problems, difficulties in attention regulation, disorientation in time and space, and sensorimotor developmental disorders. The children often are literally are “out of touch” with their feelings, and often have no language to describe internal states.

When a child lacks a sense of predictability, he or she may experience difficulty developing of object constancy and inner representations of their own inner world or their surroundings. As a result, they lack a good sense of cause and effect and of their own contributions to what happens to them.

Without internal maps to guide them, they act, instead of plan, and show their wishes in their behaviors, rather than discussing what they want. Unable to appreciate clearly who they or others are, they have problems enlisting other people as allies on their behalf. Other people are sources of terror or pleasure but are rarely fellow human beings with their own sets of needs and desires.

These children also have difficulty appreciating novelty. Without a map to compare and contrast, anything new is potentially threatening. What is familiar tends to be experienced as safer, even if it is a predictable source of terror.

Traumatized children rarely discuss their fears and traumas spontaneously. They also have little insight into the relationship between what they do, what they feel, and what has happened to them. They tend to communicate the nature of their traumatic past by repeating it in the form of interpersonal en- actments, both in their play and in their fantasy lives.

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PTSD has a physical part and an emotional part

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When my childhood trauma ignited in my mid 50’s, the physical side of PTSD exploded along with these nasty intrusive thoughts.

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The physical, my fight or flight mechanism erupted 10 to 15 times a day. Our nervous system has another controller, another entity that can take over the operation now.

He/She is called PTSD.

My first goal focused on calming the fight or flight mechanism, trying to shut down the PTSD explosions.

We need our fight or flight mechanism for normal danger, for defense and protection, not for the abstract danger of PTSD.

After we have calmed this adrenal stress response, what remains are the symptoms, dissociation, hypervigilance, avoidance, flashbacks, emotional deregulation, startle response, difficulty concentrating, sleep issues, distortion of time, and unlimited intrusive thoughts.

Intrusive thoughts remind me of a Gatlin gun firing, they are much faster and much more numerous than normal.

Time spent ruminating in the past or trying to predict the future fuels PTSD. It is similar to pouring jet fuel onto a fire.

Dissociation is the kingpin of all these symptoms.

PTSD thrives when we leave the present moment, grasping intrusive thoughts in the past leads to suffering.

PTSD is confusing, time is distorted, usually, we have a beginning and a middle for our trauma narrative, the lack of an ending is the issue.

Healing is not a cognitive journey. Words will not heal us.

Our trauma is stored on the side of the brain that contains no words, no good or bad, no right or wrong.

Trauma is stored at the time it occurs with our abilities at that age.

Childhood trauma is stored at a young age without the brain being developed, so our abilities are limited.

Certain parts of the brain needed to heal are not yet online and functioning.

Our goal is to bring all old trauma into the present moment, so we can integrate it.
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Waking up in the Morning with PTSD

I wish it would stay dark, morning would not arrive, prolonging my avoidance of the world


Laying in bed early in the morning, a new day greets me with Ptsd symptoms, anxiety, depression, fear, worry, and a foreboding sense of shame.

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Danger, violence, and betrayal surround me, knowing it is irrational does not stop that snowball from rolling down that hill.

The symptoms and damage are real. The thoughts are irrational and biased, called implicit memory (stored trauma).

Abused kids’ brains are wired differently, altered to survive childhood, sensitive to danger, and proficient at surviving and avoiding.

Life is reactionary and premeditated, we feel vulnerable around people, taking risks is dangerous.

My symptoms and thoughts tell one side of the story, the way I live my life shines a light on the damage done.

I avoid people when possible, limit my contact and chances for betrayal.

Ptsd brings enough fear that it destroys desire, it diminishes the little pleasure I enjoy.

Ptsd has made me a loner of the highest degree.

I would be content if my suffering and isolation would calm.

My PTSD has exploded again, trying to stop the pain has become a mission.

My mind has become the enemy, abuse has overwhelmed my sense of value.

Weakening as I age has made my PTSD more powerful.

It is not the explosion of my fight or flight mechanism, the dumping of cortisol and adrenaline anymore, it is a deep depression, worthlessness, and harsh betrayal that haunts my waking thoughts.

Pain and suffering are daily companions, feeling worthy, feeling attached and calm are foreign emotions.

I can not find the door out this time.

The escape route is hidden in the confusion of latent trauma.

My life is highly irrational, I search for the key to enter a calmer existence.

Will I ever trust or feel a little contentment?
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Fear has a relationship with childhood Abuse

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I was afraid as a kid, my earliest memories contain fear, an invisible demon.

Without a developed brain to deflect the abuse, fear became a dominant emotion.

Fear negatively impacted my nervous system, instead of attachment, my brain was on high alert for danger.

So many of our habitual behaviors were to avoid danger.

We anticipated danger, analyzed every situation before going anywhere.

This does not develop a positive attitude, an open heart or a curious mind.

My childhood was about pleasing then avoiding my father.

The specific do not matter, my brain wired under extreme duress and fear. So did many of your brains.

Somehow, from reading, meditating and therapy, I feel free to share, helping others I hope.

We do not cure serious childhood abuse, we navigate the triggers, hopefully make their duration less, then try to live in the present.

Mundane things others do effortlessly, take an emotional and physical toll on us.

We are different.

We are more serious, more cautious, we fear shame and betrayal more than wanting pleasure.

No normal person can get their head around that concept.

My advice, retreat when necessary, accept the difficulty, but never, ever give up.

I have woken up to my trauma fears every day of my life.

I am not the only one.
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What are the social-community expectations of appearance?

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“First, what are the social-community expectations of appearance?


Brene Brown:

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From a societal level, appearance includes everything from hair, skin, makeup, weight, clothing, shoes and nails to attitude, confidence, age and wealth.

If you pile on community-specific expectations, you might have to add things like hair texture, hair length, skin color, face and body hair, teeth, looking “done-up,” not looking “done-up,” clothing and jewelry.

Why do appearance expectations exist?

I would say they exist to keep us spending our valuable resources—money, time and energy—on trying to meet some ideal that is not achievable.

Think about this: Americans spend more each year on beauty than we do on education.

How does it work? I think the expectations are both obvious and subtle—they are everything we see and everything we don’t see.

If you read fashion magazines or watch TV, you know what you are “supposed to” look like and how you are “supposed to” dress and act.

If you look hard enough, you also see everything that’s missing—the images of real people.

If you combine what’s there and what’s missing, you quickly come to believe that if you don’t look a certain way, you become invisible; you don’t matter.

What is the impact of these expectations? Well, let’s see. . . .

• About eighty million Americans are obese.

• Approximately seven million girls and women suffer from an eating disorder.

• Up to nineteen percent of college-aged women are bulimic.

• Eating disorders are the third most common chronic illness among females.

• The latest surveys show very young girls are going on diets because they think they are fat and unattractive. In one American survey, eighty-one percent of ten-year-old girls had already dieted at least once.

• A research survey found that the single largest group of high-school students considering or attempting suicide are girls who feel they are overweight.

• Twenty-five years ago, top models and beauty queens weighed only eight percent less than the average woman; now they weigh twenty-three percent less.

The current media ideal for women is achievable by less than five percent of the female population—and that’s just in terms of weight and size.

• Among women over eighteen looking at themselves in the mirror, research indicates that at least eighty percent are unhappy with what they see.

Many will not even be seeing an accurate reflection.

Most of us have heard that people with anorexia see themselves as larger than they really are, but some recent research indicates that this kind of distorted body image is by no means confined to those suffering from eating disorders—in some studies up to eighty percent of women overestimated their size.

Increasing numbers of women with no weight problems or clinical psychological disorders look at themselves in the mirror and see ugliness and fat.

• According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, since 1997, there has been a 465 percent increase in the total number of cosmetic procedures.

• Women had nearly 10.7 million cosmetic procedures, ninety percent of the total. The number of cosmetic procedures for women has increased forty-nine percent since 2003.

• The top five surgical procedures for women were: liposuction, breast augmentation, eyelid surgery, tummy tuck and facelift.

• Americans spent just under $12.5 billion on cosmetic procedures in 2004.”
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What does happiness look like for you?..

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Failure or should I say fear of failure has followed me subconsciously since early childhood.


If happiness depends on being normal, thinking like an unabused person, we are doomed to failure.

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Some failure is beyond our control.

My father never said a kind word to me, he criticized my every action then physically beat me severely.

The world holds so much more danger and loss for me.

My dad demanded perfection, nothing less than a great professional baseball player was acceptable.

I failed him, miserably, I was a thing to him.

I feel at risk around people, I do not trust them, do not know how to trust them.

Betrayal left a permanent stain in college, intimacy died in the face of opportunity.

People have been treacherous in my life.

Happiness for me does not involve lots of people or any somedays.

At 70, I can not change the damage, the impact on my life.

I strive to improve every day but I have avoided people, groups, crowds, and organizations.

Solitude is much safer and more fulfilling in my world.

What does happiness look like for you?
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