Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

My history with triggers

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In the beginning, I learned to avoid my triggers, yearned to keep my fight or flight mechanism from firing, and yearned to let go of all the intrusive thoughts.

Using meditation, I learned to focus and stay present when amid a trigger firing. This was the first step in trying to neutralize the impact of my adrenal stress response.

My nervous system settled, limiting both the intensity and frequency of triggers firing.

The next step was searching out trigger situations, then sitting in the middle of them until they calmed.

This part of healing was gratifying and freeing.

Then covid quarantine uncovered more trauma and all hell broke loose again.

My triggers do not fire violently anymore but my system still fills with anxiety and negative emotions.

After all this healing and hard work, avoiding and isolating are still coping strategies.

Some of the deep, dark vulnerabilities are hard-wired from my childhood.

How normal people socialize so freely and without fear or anxiety puzzles me.

Looking back, I can see high levels of anxiety and fear were always present in my life.

From childhood on these high levels were normal for me.
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The Wounded Heart

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Excerpt from The Deep Heart

“We are continuing to learn more about the origins and impacts of childhood conditioning, particularly when it comes to developmental trauma.

Researchers have discovered that children respond differently to traumatic events than adults do.

In part this is due to their undeveloped nervous system, in part due to the ongoing nature of the traumas, and in part due to the fact that their primary caretakers — those the children rely on for stability, guidance, and protection — are the source of these traumas.

Developmental traumas arise from ongoing neglect, abandonment, or abuse.

The impacts of chronic, relationally oriented trauma are pervasive and long lasting.

All aspects of children’s experiences become distorted.

Their ability to self-regulate, experience relative control and mastery, think clearly, self-soothe, take care of themselves, recognize and articulate needs and feelings, feel worthy, focus attention, learn, trust others, bond, and stay physically healthy are all compromised, sometimes severely.

Studies have shown that 75 percent of prison inmates suffer from developmental trauma.”
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Achievement equaled my self worth

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My healing journey uncovered many of the reasons that make me who I am.

In my father’s eyes, I needed to outperform others to have value.

I had no intrinsic value besides my ability to achieve for him.

The constant criticism and violence lay waste to my ego and self-worth.

Now, I realize this has always been with me.

My life is filled with achievements.

I learned to persevere, focus and exert all-out effort over long periods.

Piece of mind, self-worth, or happiness was never connected to any of these achievements.

Achievement brought distraction and momentary joy, then the next test was upon me.

Achievement does not last long, my trophies collect dust.

The fear of loss always came back after any achievement.

I have always searched for self-worth, a calm peace of mind.

Do we ever get there?
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My traits from childhood abuse

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Traits from my Childhood abuse (Complex PTSD):

Fear of abandonment, low self-esteem, lack of trust, heightened sense of danger (hypervigilance), the anticipation of significant loss or worry, and a strong drive to avoid or isolate.

As everyone describes the benefits of community, of healthy attachment, we feel the opposite and take action to avoid people and organizations.

We have an issue with our safety, as a child, we never felt safe.

I think this fear drives us to isolate or avoid people.

It is hard to understand this cognitively, most feelings are subconscious, abstract, and confusing.

All of this is complicated by the way trauma is stored in a high-priority way and in a place we do not have conscious access.

PTSD has its own key to our defense mechanism, and our fear drugs (cortisol and adrenaline).

This feels like real power, real danger, and real harm.

Knowing these mechanisms of PTSD can help us navigate better.
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How Does Social Anxiety Affect the Brain?

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Excerpt from PyschCentral

“Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, is a form of anxiety that causes intense fear and embarrassment in social situations.

For example, it’s common to feel slightly nervous when meeting new people or speaking in public. People with social anxiety disorder can experience a paralyzing fear that makes it hard for them to live everyday life.

We now know that social anxiety disorder affects more than just relationships, work, and other daily activities — it also affects the brain.

Researchers have found that critical areas in the brains of socially anxious people function differently. These areas mainly involve processing emotion, danger, and social cues.

What causes social anxiety?


It’s still not clear exactly what causes social anxiety. Research from 2022 suggests that genetic and environmental influences cause social anxiety, such as upbringing and life experiences.

Research has revealed certain areas of the brain that play a role in fear and anxiety, and we know that genetics affects their function. But researchers don’t yet know which specific genes those are.

Children of controlling, overprotective, or intrusive parents are more likely to develop a social anxiety disorder.

Stressful life events such as sexual or emotional abuse also increase the risk of developing the disorder.

The hope is that by studying how the brain is affected by social anxiety, researchers can develop more effective treatments for the disorder.”

Continued in response

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PTSD: trauma over time

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Childhood abuse impacts our life and does the most damage by repeatedly exploding month after month, year after year.

This strengthens the symptoms of PTSD and makes them almost a habit. We adjust our behavior, avoid triggers, while trying to limit the danger we feel.

Then, we start to anticipate danger, it feels like real fear.

It sure secretes our fear drugs (cortisol and adrenaline) numerous times a day.

We navigate life by avoiding triggers and danger subconsciously. It becomes a habit over time.

Hypervigilance becomes a way of keeping safe.

Avoiding calms our hypervigilance for a while but narrows life.

Hypervigilance happens quickly without thought, every time I go out, enter a building, or plan an outing.

I have never been able to stop my hypervigilance from happening but I can ignore the danger as not real at times.
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My PTSD has exploded.

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My PTSD has exploded.

Somehow my body stays full of anxiety without any strong jolts from my fight or flight exploding.

My solar plexus and gut stay tense and agitated.

My mind is bombarded by negative traumatic thoughts.

PTSD dominates thought and emotion, I try to unplug this mechanism.

I fight to stay present.

My body feels paralyzed with abstract fear.

I fight to calm my anxiety, physically by hiking strenuously uphill and spiritually through meditation.
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PTSD: High Anxiety

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My body feels paralyzed from the level of anxiety and unrest in my solar plexus and gut regions.

At this intensity, my mind races, and it is hard to think level-headed.

It is almost overwhelming.

Funny, how we always try to escape intense anxiety.

I find myself pacing, trying to distance myself from anxiety.

Being on edge has always been close to me.

As a kid, my anxiety was so intense I would freeze up, finding it hard to speak.

My dad brutalized me, it made me an anxious mess, and I felt helpless to protect myself.

All this followed me into adulthood.

Hard for joy or happiness to exist inside intense anxiety and fear.

I fight for my security and sanity, happiness seems a pipe dream.
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Secret life of Fear

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From Dysfunctional family and ACA:


“Adult children often live a secret life of fear.

Fear, or sometimes terror, is one of the connecting threads that links the 14 traits together.

Two of the first three traits describe our fear of people.

While many adult children appear cheerful, helpful, or self-sufficient, most live in fear of their parents, and spouses in addition to fearing an employer.

Others are constantly afraid of failing finances, imagined health problems, or world disasters.

They have a sense of impending doom or that nothing seems to work out.

Even the seemingly bold adult child who shows bravado can be covering up a deep sense of feeling unsafe or unlovable.

At the core of these thoughts is usually the fear of being shamed or abandoned.

Shame is the deep sense that our souls are inherently flawed.

Abandonment means more than being left alone or left at a doorstep.”

The Laundry List – 14 Traits from a Dysfunctional Family or an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

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From https://adultchildren.org/literature/laundry-list/

  1. We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.
  2. We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.
  3. We are frightened by angry people and any personal criticism.
  4. We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.
  5. We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.
  6. We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.
  7. We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.
  8. We became addicted to excitement.
  9. We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”
  10. We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).
  11. We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.
  12. We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.
  13. Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.
  14. Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

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