Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

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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Matthew Ricard: Aversion

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Aversion is the negative side of attachment; we may have aversion to failure, loss, instability, or discomfort; and we usually believe that if the things toward which we feel aversion happen, we’ll surely be unhappy.

It can’t be emphasized enough that to experience genuine happiness we first have to recognize what blocks it.

This includes seeing our attachments, the things we believe will bring us happiness, but which actually do just the opposite.

We will continue to pursue the conditioned strategies of behavior that we hope will bring us happiness as long as we believe they are working.

And because they sometimes do bring us some degree of personal happiness, these behaviors can get reinforced for a long time.

That’s how people get caught on the treadmill of their attachments and routines for a lifetime without making any effort to change.

Paradoxically, we’re actually fortunate if life occasionally serves us a big dose of disappointment, because it forces us to question whether our attachments and strategies really serve us.”
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3 Bullying Facts

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From https://positivepsychology.com/bullying/


What Is Bullying? 3 Facts

  1. When does bullying most often occur?

Bullying persists at epidemic levels among children and adolescents (Harris, Lieberman, & Marans, 2007). It has been described as an adverse childhood experience (Stopbullying.gov, 2017).

Bullying is most common in childhood and adolescence (Aalsma & Brown, 2008). Up to three-quarters of young adolescents experience bullying (e.g., name-calling, embarrassment, or ridicule), and up to a third report coercion and even inappropriate touching (Juvonen, Nishina, & Graham, 2001).

  1. Does bullying affect only the victim? How long do the effects last?

Bullying has been found to affect the bullied person as well as the bully. Both are at greater risk of mental and behavioral problems, including a higher risk of depression (Smokowski & Kopasz, 2005).

The poor physical and emotional outcomes of bullying can affect an individual, both in the short and long term (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021).

A plethora of research shows that bullying experienced in childhood can go on to cause anxiety and depression (Stapinski et al., 2014) in young and middle adulthood (Copeland, Wolke, Angold, & Costello, 2013).

Adult suicidal attempts (Stapinski et al., 2014), poor financial management (Wolke, Copeland, Angold, & Costello, 2013), and poor career success as an adult are all negative outcomes (Takizawa, Maughan, & Arseneault, 2014).

  1. What type of profile does a bully or a victim possess?

There is not one single profile of a bully or someone affected by bullying. Bullies and victims can be socially included or marginally excluded (Stopbullying.gov, 2021). Either the bully or victim may have been in the role of a perpetrator and victim of bullying at some point in life (Leiner et al., 2014).

One interesting study found that bullies, victims, and those who have experienced both have a plethora of emotional, psychosocial, and behavioral problems (Leiner et al., 2014). This highlights that interventions are equally important for all groups, not only the victims.
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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: 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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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

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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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