Posts Tagged ‘Dissociation’

Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.” (PTSD)

Pixabay: www_slon_pics



“Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. . . .

Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past.”

—Bessel van der Kolk



My two cents: Let the storyline fade away, take the breath to the middle of the unrest, the body sensations.

Know where trauma manifests in your body.

Know where fear and anger reside, become familiar with the body sensations.

Does anger and fear manifest in the same spot?

We spend so much time worrying, doubting and fearing, why not connect these emotions with body sensations.

Mine manifest in my solar plexus.

That big cortisol jolt, paralyzes the center of my chest, violently.

My fight or flight roares with a vengeance when triggered.



PTSD’s schedule



PTSD has its own schedule, seemingly its own power source and strong stress hormones.

A trigger can explode at any time releasing cortisol, adrenaline and Norepinephrine into our blood stream.

High anxiety ensues.

The breath has great influence on our nervous system.

Until we learn to dissipate a trigger firing, we are at PTSD’s mercy.

I use ten, slow, focused breaths to accomplish this task.

Let the storyline fade, feel where your triggers manifest in the body.

Take your breath into the middle of your body sensation.

Know your fears physical manifestations.

Mine always jolts my solar plexus.



PTSD (trauma), Memory and Our “Ego”

Pixabay: trilemedia
Normal kids have good memories, solid attachments, support.

Abused kids have nightmares for memories. When we close our eyes, we see a real boogie man, our abuser

Even now, at 69, letting my mind wander into memory has awful consequences.

Life is a battle, constantly letting go of bad memories, coming back to this minute.

I can win that battle if my PTSD is inside my window of tolerance.

Twice in my life, when an old trauma exploded, my window of tolerance disappeared. Intrusive thoughts overwhelmed my being for a couple of months.

Memories can trigger our nervous system or support other triggers firing.

Remember, while meditating, we hook up to our divine self, our core, our true self, our soul.

It is the shining light of power for our being.

It is perfect, everyday since birth.

Abused kids, it is our “Ego” that is severely flawed not our true self, our soul.

With my old trauma exploding recently, I see how damaged my “Ego” is.

Subconsciously, he has always felt so unworthy, a failure, unredeemable, to his core.

Much of this is below consciousness and remains there without inner exploration.

I have been unaware of many habits, carrying a damaged “Ego” is my greatest failure.

That is shame!

Since we create our “Ego” my plight is not permanent.

We can change our “Ego”

Holidays do not mix with ptsd very well



If we do not have these warm feelings, these deep attachments, or dreams of people being trustworthy, what do we do?

I think my default stage around the holidays is a hybrid survival mode.

All those childhood memories, beatings, etc., visiting our consciousness, are upsetting.

Will there be a time, when this horrible shit will stay away?

Why does the worst stuff last forever, run on its own, have incredible power, while the good events fade helplessly.

The holidays bring that unknown, haunting feeling to me, like something is going to happen.

Kids of narcissists often spot danger, learn to be sensitive to future threats. We spend time and energy making sure we do not get ambushed.

It all goes back to our narcissistic parent, our habits formed to survive their abuse.

I was in danger when my dad was home, both physically and emotionally.

That fear has never left that little boys soul.

Now, it takes energy to unplug all this crap 💩.

To be normal, I have to meditate, focus and let all this crap go.

It seems we always need to do incredible work before we get to enjoy life.

At least we have a chance.



The Holidays and PTSD



The holidays highlight how many ways attachments are different for abused children. The dysfunctional family protects the abuser at all costs, the perfect family myth must live on.

We hear how the family is everything, most important thing in a persons life.

How do we handle that loss? Family contains our abuse, our abuser and a few enablers.

I made a new family.

I moved from San Diego to Eugene to help my daughter and three grandkids.

Now, I live in their midst, as grandpa.

For the first time, I witness a parent, my daughter, love, support and attach to each kid in the kindest way.

Strange to see kindness from a parent at my age.

Yes, I wonder how much better my life would of been, if someone would of just hugged me once in a kind way as a kid.

Those thoughts must be left alone or we suffer.

For me, my purpose is to stop the generational abuse and stabilize my grandkids.

I am the male caregiver, not father, who is consistent, there everyday and supportive.

My daughter has taught me through example what being a great parent looks like.

I am Amazed.

We can make a new family out of close friends if needed.

We have options and a path to being and feeling better.

Takes action in the face of trauma.

How do you navigate the Holidays.

Happy Holidays!



PTSD has a counterintuitive dimension

Pixabay: johnhain

Trauma, abuse, PTSD has an ironic, counterintuitive dimension for me.

The most influential people in my early life, task with loving and supporting me, did the opposite.

My defense mechanism tasked with protecting me from imminent danger, is now highjacked by trauma and fires whenever it damn well pleases.

The abuse and mechanism of PTSD attacks us inside our supposed safe zone.

Our greatest asset, our mind becomes our greatest enemy.

My mind, the implicit memory part (stored trauma) overrides all other functions when active.

I have learned some hard lessons for myself on this healing journey.

Certain events in my life will never go away and will haunt me in some form until I die.

Full recovery is a pipe dream, life is not even close to that miracle.

I am not pessimistic, more realistic, I continue to fight as hard as ever.

Expecting full recovery makes me suffer more thinking if only I could do this or that, life would be totally free.

I fight for small periods of freedom, letting go as many intrusive thoughts as possible.

When PTSD activates life is different, I go into survival mode, like childhood, it is my most practiced habit.

Wish I could say trusting and loving others is my most practiced habit.

Survival mode has no kindness, love, creativity, safety, socializing or calm.

We search for peace of mind, to feel complete, at ease, not needing to accomplish anything, like we are ok for the first time in our life.

I worked incessantly to be the professional baseball player my dad demanded, thinking this would change me.

After reaching that goal, I found my wellbeing was not connected to achievement.

I have been lost and searching ever since.

How about you?

Life demands much more effort and courage from us



From “Focused and Fearless”

Look into the stories, fantasies, fabrications, desires, aversions, reactions, and doubts that periodically occupy your thoughts.

Notice what your mind conjures up in the first moments after waking up in the morning—that period between waking and breakfast is a fascinating window into your habitual thought patterns.”



My two cents: Where does your mind go in the shower, first thing in the morning.

It is a time when the mind scans the day ahead.

Do you visualize opportunity, boredom, an enjoyable time, dread, fear or ambivalence?

Do you have to plan, avoiding some things at all costs.

Do you look forward to the challenge of today, or want to avoid it all together.

I learned about my mind, what it habituated on, from my early morning showers.

Abused kids, as adults have many days, when we dread going out into the onslaught.

For me, I never felt things would work out.

I carried worry, an internal fear life would always be like childhood.

No success, trophy or promotion changed that fear of failing inside me.

How do we undo a complete childhood with a damaged self from the experience.

Not quickly or easily.

For me, it takes moment to moment vigilance, my mind can be overrun by trauma thoughts if left unattended.

Life demands much more effort and courage from us, just to carve out a peaceful space, others take for granted.



Self image: An Affirmation can help



In this moment, right now, I feel my body overflowing with kindness and approval a warm, protective barrier that soothes my soul. I am safe, secure and at peace.

Record it five times and replay it during the day, often.

My healing happened from practicing certain skills, repetitively.

I used to get a chair and sit in front of the bathroom mirror, repeating a positive affirmation.

It was extremely awkward, I felt like I was lying, my self did not believe the affirmation.

It took a month before change subtlety unfolded.

Healing for me always entailed repetitive daily action.

Learning to let go of thought, still takes practice and vigilance.

Healing does not happen with a pill or a miraculous event, it happens in small increments.



I am two different people

Credit…The Mankato Free Press/Associated Press



Complex PTSD can cause some to dissociate severely. It is called dissociative identity disorder (multiple personalities or DID).

They have a host, themselves and numerous alters or other people inside their head. Some have 16 alters or other people sharing their headspace.

It is like the internal family therapy system but their inside family is real and have names. These alters can be any sex and age, some dominant, some submissive, some angry and a few frightened to death.

Severe sexual abuse endured as a child usually is the cause.

These alters are real inside their heads. DID sufferers have come to my in person mindfulness group .

If you discount their reality, they will never open up to you. The movie Sybil was about a multiple personality. A few DID people actually follow my blog.

The vast majority of abused kids do not have multiple personalities however we have a big dissociation problem.

PTSD has given me a split personality, a hybrid alter, a guy my regular everyday self does not recognize.

My true self was suppressed during my childhood abuse.

My true nature is a easy going extrovert. At work and on athletic fields I have been charismatic, a leader, a prankster and successful.

My PTSD self, is a depressive introvert. Somewhat hypervigilance and uncomfortable around strangers.

This Marty has parts of his personality stuck in childhood. Anger for example was never used by me. My dad would of hurt me more if I showed him anger.

He has low self worth, worries incessantly and spends enormous energy trying to protect Marty from danger (triggers firing).

Trust and love are strangers, unknown to him, awkward feelings for this Marty.

The extrovert Marty wants social contact, lively discussions and inclusion.

The introverted Marty, avoids people, adopts rigid black and white thinking, and starts to isolate from society.

Safety is such a hidden issue for us. I never understood why certain situations felt dangerous at times.

It’s like looking down an alley sensing danger.

Is it real?

PTSD is the unknown in our life.

Some people have physical issues, cancer, etc.,others are born into a narcissist lair.

We all have challenges, life is harsh.

How many different people do you have inside.

Is your PTSD self the same as the regular you?

I would ask which one of these guys is the real me, or am I both.



Awareness: know your trauma Patterns

An example of what a functional MRI scan looks like. Brain activation is averaged across 20 PTSD patients compared to healthy controls in an emotion regulation task.



Yes, I am drawing a pattern out of only two episodes of trauma in my life.

Here are a few patterns I notice.

The obvious, my trauma buries itself quite deeply for decades.

This pattern allows trauma to have subconscious impact without anytime spent trying to heal.

My childhood abuse did not erupt until I was in my fifties.

Secondly, the first couple of months are extremely intense.

My nervous system is agitated and intrusive thoughts seem to come at a rate of a Gatling gun firing.

I see that my whole personality changes.

One of my symptoms brings the feeling of imminent danger to my being.

It is irrational and very confusing.

Imminent danger for me is not physical, I fear the annihilating of my ego, emotional death in a sense.

I am intense, consumed and out of my gourd for a couple months.

You have witnessed this in my recent posts.

I sound and act like a victim, hopeless, helpless, it is embarrassing but sharing will help others push through their humiliating thoughts.

At my lowest, agoraphobic, hiding in my dark garage during the day, I thought something was going to come through the tile roof and do something worse than death.

Look how abstract that fear is. I have no idea what is coming through the roof, man, animal or alien.

My danger does not need a gender or even an origin but it is what I fear most, the unknown.

PTSD has that unknown quality about it.

The tragic memory is incomplete at the time trauma happens.

If it happened in childhood, the brain has not fully developed, storing an incomplete, distorted memory.

Somewhere in our background we need that skill that does not give up when all Common sense says it is the prudent choice.

At my lowest, Agoraphobic, contemplating suicide, a moment of clarity and strength surfaced for me.

From somewhere deep inside my head, the words, my abuser, my dad wins if I give up.

That may seem a feeble judgment by some, but every fiber in my body would not allow him to win.

In a crazy moment of crisis, I accepted my suffering, decided I would rather sit and suffer than let my dad win.

I did not realize this was a pivotal moment on my healing journey, inside my ego, that inner voice knew I would never give up.

Healing from PTSD is a war zone, expect the turmoil as part of the journey.

Ironically, surviving my fathers abuse developed the traits that helped me heal.

We have to fight for our wellbeing, fight the demons our childhoods created.




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