Posts Tagged ‘Emotions’

Feeling Vulnerable is part of healing

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Feeling vulnerable has many different intensities, some minor while others are paralyzing.

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Feeling vulnerable was a constant childhood companion.

I was force-fed a food I vomited every week (lima beans) then dad would beat me with a specially made paddle with holes drilled in it.

He would scream and berate me like I committed a mortal sin, did other kids face these things weekly?

Forced feeding is considered torture in some circles.

Now, I avoid lima means altogether, a strategy, the easiest part of my PTSD. Is sarcasm part of an abused kids DNA?

If we are going to improve, we must be able to function when PTSD intensifies or explodes.

I have hunted down my original triggers, demystified them, and calmed the fight or flight mechanism surrounding them.

They do not pose the same threat but are awkward, uncomfortable, and still contain suffering.

Yes, I avoid many things and struggle with the depressive part of my complex PTSD more than the anxiety.

Complex PTSD still has its moments of destruction and turmoil.

My behavior is still impacted but that impact has lessened.

To heal we must take risks, and exist in very vulnerable spaces.

I risk, briefly join the masses, then retreat and hide.

Oh, it’s a well-practiced habitual pattern of mine.

Be aware of your patterns!
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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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What do you do when Dad is your bully?

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What do you do when the person bullying you is your dad?

Many midwestern fathers wanted star athletes at all costs.

The end justified their means.

This could be labeled conditioned love.

Self-worth equals performance, you never reach worthy in their eyes.

Some mothers and daughters have their destructive dance through childhood also.

My father told me I needed to be twice as good as everyone else, so no one would question his coaching decisions.

Some moms and dads use their kids to fulfill their lost dreams or bring them adulation from parenting.

My family had discussions on how we looked to the world, and how we were judged by others.

The highly dysfunctional family strives to look perfect, they strain to present a positive image.

Not protecting the family’s secret of child abuse was a mortal sin.

I was afraid to report my father, I was a kid, and I was isolated without any support.

No child wants to be abandoned, we need our abuser to survive.

There is no escape, some of us lost the birth lottery.

My father tried to control my entire existence, he ignored my younger sister.

Narcissist value their kids differently, they need adulation and the kid who delivers gets the attention.

That attention brings anger, violence, and criticism, dad demanded perfection.

Their children battle to survive the traumatic situation.

I never thought what happened 60 years ago would be more powerful today than as a kid.

A soldier seems to never be able to forget or let the war go.

Trauma brings the past to life in our subconscious.
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The ACE Study

https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/aces/about.html

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Beginning in 1994, the “adverse childhood experiences” (ACE) Study, a partnership between the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Kaiser Permanente assessed the relationship between adult health risk behaviors and childhood abuse and household dysfunction.

  • The study began with a sample of 9,508 individuals representing a 70.5% response rate.
  • Respondents were given a score of one for each ACE category that they experienced.

Findings showed that people who experienced four or more adverse childhood events had:

  • increased risk for smoking, alcoholism and drug abuse
  • increased risk for depression and suicide attempts
  • poor self-rated health
  • 50 or more sexual partners
  • greater likelihood of sexually transmitted disease
  • challenges with physical inactivity, and severe obesity

A follow-up sample combined with baseline data for a total sample of 17,337. Additional findings show that ACE Score is associated with:

  • likelihood of attempted suicide across the lifespan
  • increased risk for broken bones
  • heart disease
  • lung disease
  • liver disease
  • multiple types of cancer

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Check out the blog: https://ccsme.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ACE-Chart-and-ACE-Score-Questions-Feb-2011.pdf

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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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Part two: How Emotional Abuse in Childhood Changes the Brain

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“This outcome could be related to attachment theory, or the idea that our early relationships with caregivers influence the way we relate to people later on in life.

Emotional abuse and neglect don’t allow for a secure attachment to form between a child and caregiver, which causes distress for the child and influences the way they see themselves and others.


Adults who went through childhood emotional abuse or neglect may also experience:

. Emotional dysregulation

. Feelings of hopelessness

. Low self-esteem

. Negative automatic thoughts

. Problems coping with stressors

How childhood abuse or neglect affects children later in life depends on a variety of factors:

. How often the abuse occurred

. The age the child was during the abuse

. Who the abuser was

. Whether or not the child had a dependable, loving adult in their life

. How long the abuse lasted

. If there were any interventions in the abuse

. The kind and severity of the abuse

. Other individual factors”
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How PTSD and Emotions Like Worry Are Connected

Thomas Barwick/Stone/Getty Images

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By Matthew Tull, PhD

PTSD and Worry

“Several studies have found that people with PTSD may be more likely to worry than those without PTSD.

Why do we often see excessive worry among people with PTSD?

Well, PTSD is associated with high levels of anxious arousal, as well as other strong emotions.

In addition, people with PTSD may have difficulties identifying healthy ways of managing these intense emotional experiences.

Therefore, given that worry may temporarily bring down arousal and can distract people from more emotionally distressing topics, people with PTSD may worry in order to obtain some relief from their distress.

In fact, one study found that desires to avoid emotions explained the association between PTSD and worry.

Unfortunately, as with other emotionally avoidant coping strategies, this relief will be short-lived.

Because the anxiety is not really being addressed or processed, it will only come back and sometimes stronger than before.“
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My two cents: Worry is connected to fear, survival mode, and PTSD.

Worry helps spot danger, in a way my subconscious uses it to protect me.

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Old age and PTSD

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At 70, therapy has been productive, however, the residual trauma combined with my dysfunctional brain wiring brings suffering.

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It is all emotional but powerful, mostly abstract, and always confusing.

I fight for free parts of my day, space where PTSD thoughts fade for a while.

I do not trust the universe, the unknown, or what else could happen today, tomorrow, or next week.

I am old and weak now, the mirage of being healed has long passed me by.

It has been a driven life, grinding through decades without direction, running from something deep inside.

Deep attachments have been few, as fear and distrust made relationships shallow and dysfunctional.

Covid and old age have given my PTSD enormous power over the last two years.

Life changed instantly and drastically when my PTSD exploded during a family crisis over a decade ago.

It wears you out, even if you are brave enough to take action and improve.

It’s never-ending, the thoughts never stop, and the pain never leaves for good.

How do you stop a brain wired to spot danger, set up to worry for protection?

Therapy never rewired my brain.

How much rewiring is possible?

Do they even know?
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PTSD: our inner world is a Battlefield

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Being aware of my internal world, spotting the negative undercurrent, the danger, exposes some of my daily battles.

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Worry arrives early in the morning, before the sun is up my consciousness is greeted by perceived danger.

During my morning meditation, the unrest enters my consciousness.

When you slow down, focus on the breath, letting thought evaporate, the undercurrent is exposed and inflamed.

It takes special tools to let it go, to be able to come back to now, to my focus.

I avoid things that carry danger and worry as much as possible, now.

Other times it can be white knuckle exposure therapy, tiptoeing into perceived danger, feeling about to explode, or faint.

Some things are just too painful to be worthwhile, crowds and people ignite my distrust, and it is a arduous ordeal that leads to more isolation.

We avoid it differently as PTSD ages, as we slowly heal certain areas.

My fight or flight does not erupt for triggers but my intrusive negative thoughts have taken over carrying my danger.

The time and energy spent dealing with all this turmoil are enormous.

My internal world as you can see is a battlefield.

It is a war created by childhood abuse.

Old age has either weakened me or PTSD has gained power or a combination of both.

There are many pitfalls to combating this mental illness, the chance of self-medicating to stop the pain, the chance of becoming a victim, or the chance of self-harm.

Giving up brings real danger, real consequences.

Be strong, discount the noise, and keep swimming upstream.

Life has always arrived at a fervent pace for us, always too quick and with way too much danger.
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