Posts Tagged ‘Ego’

PTSD: How do we handle making mistakes?

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I made a mistake yesterday on this blog.

While answering a response, trying to give a compliment, I did the opposite.

Hearing the word on the radio a few days earlier I thought it was an intelligent way of complimenting ones prose.

Now, I find out, what it means, to speak in a pompous or dogmatic manner:

Instead of complimenting, I insulted a loyal viewer with the word Pontificate.

This started my PTSD brain dissociating:

Why didn’t I look up the definition?

All those negative sirens about unworthiness chime in.

We beat ourselves up after we mess up.

Subconsciously I still seek perfection and suffer when I fail.

Failure is a conduit to suffering for me.

Why do we beat ourselves up when we mess up?

Another habit I have become aware of.

It all stems from childhood abuse and the formation of an unworthy self (”I”).
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Our Inner Condition


Matthew Ricard from “Happiness”

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“We willingly spend a dozen years in school, then go on to college or professional training for several more; we work out at the gym to stay healthy;

we spend a lot of time enhancing our comfort, our wealth, and our social status.

We put a great deal into all this, and yet we do so little to improve the inner condition that determines the very quality of our lives.

What strange hesitancy, fear, or apathy stops us from looking within ourselves, from trying to grasp the true essence of joy and sadness, desire and hatred?”

Fear of the unknown prevails, and the courage to explore that inner world fails at the frontier of our mind.
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My two cents: What an ominous phrase, at the frontier of our mind. That means our mind is massive.

Talking with my grandson’s soccer and baseball coach, he said confidence, the attitude of the mind means everything even at 9.

Can we have a good attitude living with PTSD?

Our mental attitude means everything when dealing with PTSD.

What does your scoreboard look like, time of day with good versus bad attitude?

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PTSD: Avoidance

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The question is not if we avoid, but how much.

I avoided the most when my fight or flight mechanism was firing 10 plus times a day.

My agoraphobia lasted six months, it left me scarred, afraid, and lost.

Meditation and exposure therapy helped me past agoraphobia.

It was a great victory however it was painful and I suffered.

Childhood abuse (Complex PTSD) wires the brain differently, mine searched for danger, then fired my fight or flight mechanism for protection.

Remember that shuts down some of the executive branch, our prefrontal cortex.

Triggered, we sense a near-lethal threat, the prefrontal cortex is confused and partially offline.

Our whole being shifts to surviving, we are scared to death.

Thinking is confused as cortisol and adrenaline flood our system.

Forget trying to explain this to others, you have to experience an out-of-control nervous system, the severity, and FEAR produced.

My PTSD and avoidance have matured.

Now, I navigate life a little better but do not even think about going to social functions, crowds, or certain events.

If I have to go to a function, I can block out and distract myself to limit the damage.

Normal people do not understand how much energy and pain we go through preparing to face our PTSD Triggers.

Then there are all the questions and exploration of the interaction afterward.

Our mind wants to judge, and prepare for the next time we venture into dangerous waters.

Childhood abuse brings a danger that never leaves our brain, it is like a big stain ruining the whole carpet.

How does avoidance impact your life?
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PTSD: Failure is Subjective

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My father raised me to fear failure and demanded perfection, a regular narcissistic behavior.

He told me I needed to be twice as good as everyone else, it was not a suggestion.

It was hard to fit in, to make friends when I was tasked with destroying them.

He wanted me to be separate, and isolated to strengthen his influence.

I was a thing to my father, a tool to make him look good.

Lacking empathy, he enforced his doctrine with violence and criticism, the whole experience was abusive.

Most of my desires in life were connected to this pursuit. Failure would trigger me, fear of failure impacted my behavior and nervous system

I would do almost anything to not fail.

This was true at 10, at 25 and now at 70. It has survived untouched for six decades.

How?

The drive to be perfect, a success, dominated a frantic childhood, then followed me into baseball and adult life.

Survivors of serious abuse live a life without direction, it is a dysfunctional and confusing existence.

At 30 I felt like a failure after graduating college and playing 6 years of pro baseball.

The only explanation is Complex PTSD?

Normal kids acted differently than me when I entered school.
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“Buddhas Brain”: the Self

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“Thoughts, feelings, images, and so on exist as patterns of information represented by patterns of neural structure and activity.

In the same way, the various aspects of the apparent self—and the intimate and powerful experience of being a self—exist as patterns in the mind and brain.

The question is not whether those patterns exist.

The key questions are: What is their nature? And does that which those patterns seem to stand for—an “I” who is the unified, ongoing owner of experiences and agent of actions—truly exist?

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Or is self like a unicorn, a mythical being whose representations exist but who is actually.”
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My two cents: Follow any thought, the concept of “I” back to its source and you will find a mirage.

We create “I” from our childhood, what we think of ourselves combined with how the world treats us, then we roll it all together and call it “Marty” or “I”.

“I” is a creation, a magical being we invent for identity.
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Swimming Upstream

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For abused kids, PTSD happens way before we have any understanding of trauma.

For me, PTSD came into my consciousness around 55 after a family crisis.

Many subconscious symptoms had become habits, under the radar during those 50 years.

I always avoided, isolated without knowing the reason.

We call ourselves homebodies, a pleasant way of saying, loners.

My circle of friends was small, trust was always an issue in my life.

As I peruse my life at 70, this is the landscape.

I can change some things and strive to improve what is possible.

Even if we have to swim upstream, we have to swim or suffer.

We just do not get as far as regular humans.

I never expect to be normal, my expectations are grounded and doable.

We all can improve, that is our daily challenge.

This is our daily battle of doing the work, the road less traveled.

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It is easy to give up, to numb ourselves, to act like a victim.

Being scared, vulnerable but still taking action is our goal.

PTSD is a very personal disorder, our sanity is at stake.
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PTSD: Are we the walking wounded?


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We do not want to be part of the walking wounded, we yearn to be normal, to fit in, to feel safe and accepted.

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We loathe how we feel about ourselves, unworthy, flawed, outcasts!

All the hard work to improve and act normal still finds us more isolated and buried in traumatic thoughts.

After a decade of intense healing, PTSD still haunts my being.

PTSD has changed over the years, gone is the fight or flight mechanism firing, gone is the intense fear, replaced by thoughts, hate, resentment, and depression.

Where others see attachments as beneficial, I see the chance for betrayal, this perceived danger is powerful inside my brain.

All therapeutic endeavors and meditation have helped me improve, healing is impossible in my opinion.

Show me serious childhood abuse being healed completely. Show me a happy, free-flowing life after serious childhood abuse. Show me more than a few isolated successes.

How do you heal completely? I see a sea of suffering and pain instead.

It is a fear that revs up my nervous system and makes suffering a part of every thought, life is worse than miserable.

PTSD people will understand the last sentence, and normal people will have no clue what I meant.

I guess our dreams were shattered in childhood, and our ability to trust pretty much destroyed.

I fear certain things more than death, always have.

Of course, I envision a peaceful death, not being burnt alive or tortured.

Do you have these thoughts, my normal friends never do.

What is the craziest thing a friend has commented on your PTSD behavior?

Do you feel broken?

I walk zombie-like around people, feeling vulnerable, exposed, fearful, and anxious.

Is that PTSD or just my personality after childhood?


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Matthew Ricard: Authentic Happiness

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Authentic happiness is not linked to an activity; it is a state of being, a profound emotional balance struck by a subtle understanding of how the mind functions.

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While ordinary pleasures are produced by contact with pleasant objects and end when that contact is broken,

sukha (happiness) —lasting well-being—is felt so long as we remain in harmony with our inner nature.

One intrinsic aspect of it is selflessness, which radiates from within rather than focusing on the self.

One who is at peace with herself will contribute spontaneously to establishing peace within her family, her neighborhood, and, circumstances permitting, society at large.

In brief, there is no direct relationship between pleasure and happiness.

This distinction does not suggest that we mustn’t seek out pleasurable sensations.

There is no reason to deprive ourselves of the enjoyment of a magnificent landscape, of swimming in the sea, or of the scent of a rose.

Pleasures become obstacles only when they upset the mind’s equilibrium and lead to an obsession with gratification or an aversion to anything that thwarts them.
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PTSD: The past is a minefield

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A great PTSD skill would be faulty memory or bad memory.

It is difficult because PTSD is stored in the right amygdala, a place where we have no conscious access.

So trauma memory is offline, but amazingly active when PTSD comes alive.

Time is distorted, the sequence of events gets jumbled, and confusion reigns as part of the brain goes offline.

We enter the damaging abstract time zone of PTSD.

Even when we are strong, we avoid future unrest with a passion.

I avoided triggers until I found myself in my dark garage for six months.

Our defense mechanism takes over control, we isolate and manage risks.

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Lately, I am winning, intrusive thoughts have calmed, and letting go works better, not flawless or bulletproof.

PTSD: No guarantees, no safe spaces, life will have more risks and drama.

Accept this fate and try to improve or be a victim.

No ties in this battle, PTSD wins or we do.

Happy healing.
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Helping Others Help Us DISTANCE FROM THE EGO!

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Writing this blog is overwhelmingly positive.

It helps me and others improve, and feel connected.

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It is a special action shared by both participants.

Volunteering is precious.

Giving is divine and a blow to our PTSD.

I think giving unconditionally, that is without regard for reward or recognition, is as far away from our Ego as we can get consciously.

That is a great thing, a healing, safe place for us to thrive.

We need this positive energy, this connection to balance the negativity of trauma.

Taking action is critical for our well-being.

I hike five days a week, rain or shine, I am a grinder and find solace in energetic action.

That is a highly coveted place for PTSD sufferers.

Our Ego wants to control whether it helps or hurts our wellbeing.

Limit the Egos’ power, he/she is for identity, not governance.

Find a spot where you can volunteer, and give in a way that is meaningful to you.

Special benefits are waiting for us.

We are on this path in unity, traveling together, not in competition.

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Helping others without concern for recognition or reward brings a special soothing, healing energy.

We heal in increments, this is a powerful one.
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