Posts Tagged ‘Fear’

Another look: 18 Characteristics of Codependents and 9 Truths to Support Recovery By Carmen Sakurai

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Excerpt:

“What Is Codependency?

Also knows as “relationship addiction,” the codependent is addicted to relationships and the validation they get from them. They will do whatever it takes, including sacrificing their own personal needs and well-being, to keep receiving this validation.

Root Cause of Codependency

Codependency is usually rooted during childhood. The child grows up in a home where their emotions are ignored or punished because the parent (or parents) suffer from mental illness, addiction, or other issues. This emotional neglect results in a child having low self-esteem, lack of self-worth, and shame.

Common Characteristics of Codependents

You are hyper-aware of other people’s needs so you become a caretaker to avoid being blamed for other people’s unhappiness and/or to feed your self-esteem by making them happy.

You believe that love and pain are synonymous. This becomes a familiar feeling so you continue to allow friends, family, and romantic relationships to behave poorly and treat you with disrespect.

Your self-esteem and self-worth are dependent on those you are trying to please. Your self-worth is based on whether or not other people are happy with what you can do for them. You over-schedule yourself with other people’s priorities to prove you are worthy.

You people-please. As a child, having a preference or speaking up resulted in being punished. You quickly learned that letting others have their way spared you from that pain.

You’re afraid to upset or disappoint others, which often leads to over-extending yourself to avoid negative feedback.

You always put others’ needs before your own. You feel guilt if you don’t follow through even if it means sacrificing your well-being. You ignore your own feelings and needs, reasoning that others are more deserving of your time and help.

You lack boundaries. You have trouble speaking up for yourself and saying NO. You allow people to take advantage of your kindness because you don’t want to be responsible for their hurt their feelings.

You feel guilty and ashamed about things you didn’t even do. You were blamed for everything as a child, so you continue to expect everyone to believe this about you now.

You’re always on edge. This is due to growing up in an environment lacking security and stability. While healthy parents protect their children from harm and danger, dysfunctional parents are the source of fear for their children and distorts their self perception.

You feel unworthy and lonely. You were always told you are not good enough and everything is your fault. The dysfunctional parent conditioned you to believe that you are of no value to anyone, leaving you with no one to turn to.

You don’t trust anyone. If you can’t even trust your own parents, who can you trust? Your unhealthy childhood conditioning lead you to believe that you do not deserve honesty or to feel safe.

You won’t let others help you. You’d rather give than receive. You try to avoid having to owe someone for the help they give you, or have the favor used against you. You’d also rather do it yourself because others can’t do it your way.

You are controlling. You were conditioned to believe that you are a “good boy/girl” if those around you are OK. So when life feels overwhelming, you try to find order by controlling others instead of fixing what needs repairs in your own life.

You have unrealistic expectations for yourself as a result of the harsh criticism you constantly received as a child.

You complain about how unhappy your life has become then quickly take it back to protect your ego, trapping you in an unending cycle of complain/deny.

You melt into others. You have difficulty separating yourself from other people’s feelings, needs, and even identities. You define your identity in relation to others, while lacking a solid sense of self.

You are a martyr. You are always giving without receiving, then feel angry, resentful and taken advantage of.

You are passive-aggressive. You feel angry and resentful and complain about “having to do everything” – while you continue doing everything on your own.

You fear criticism, rejection, and failure so you procrastinate on your own dreams and goals. Instead, you manage and control people’s plans and extract fulfillment when they succeed.

These self-destructive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are based on distorted beliefs that developed as a result of emotional abuse during your childhood. As a helpless child, it was necessary to adapt these behaviors in order to survive.”

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Was you birthright peace, contentment and joy?

Pixabay: SarahRichterArt

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This morning in the meditation group, it was said our birth right was peace and contentment, joy.

Wow, it that really true, then what happened to those of us who were abused.

I love hearing others talk about how things should be, it gives me insight into my childhood, why I am like I am.

My birth right was violent abuse, criticism and fear.

My fathers goal was to never let me feel comfortable or content, he wanted to produce the ultimate athlete.

Wonder where forced feeding falls in the contentment scale.

PTSD is the farthest thing from contentment my being has experienced.

Contentment does not mix with abuse and trauma, the last thing we experience is contentment.

I have to scour my memory to find contentment, I do not remember a time.

These sentiments, feelings or emotions others describe, I have no clue what they are.

How about you?

Was you birthright peace, contentment and joy?

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PTSD was a Submarine, out of site, stealthy

https://pixabay.com/users/conmongt-1226108/

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PTSD was a submarine for me until my mid 50’s, stealthy, out of sight, right below the surface of consciousness.

There were no flashbacks, triggers firing, or any visible confirmation I was suffering from PTSD.

Oh a trained therapist would have spotted my PTSD easily!

The sad thing about my trauma being hidden, it grew in power, unnoticed as it impacted critical parts of my wellbeing.

Vital parts of my wellbeing were severely damaged and not working for decades.

One of my major deficiencies was my ability to trust and feel good enough, worthy.

In childhood, my narcissistic father tried to take over my being, live through me, since I came into his life unexpectedly when he was 16.

I took his childhood so he repaid the favor, he never said a kind word to me, never letting me feel comfortable was his goal.

He thought it would make me a better baseball player, his ultimate goal.

So that narcissist owned me, treated me as an it, I was his pit bull he took in a cage to the fight.

My value was totally contained in my performance, showing his peers his coaching talent.

Some would call this conditioned love, that is a misnomer, there was no love, only a narcissist cold ownership of his first male child.

How do you explain love to an abused child like this?

Love is something I do not pine for, being able to trust would be nice.

I wonder if my father has any remorse being dead now, looking down or up at me.

Lots of thoughts haunt us, what is real and what is trauma?

Is there love, trust and loyalty out there?

I was birthed into violent abuse and criticism.

Love and trust are strangers to me.

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PTSD fears: avoid or face?

27 Deep Dark Fears That Will Make Your Skin Crawl

Animator Fran Krause

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We can not be afraid of our pain, of our triggers, of our thoughts, unless we can still take action and face them.

In the beginning I was petrified of triggers firing violently, albeit I was frozen, paralyzed with the biggest jolt of cortisol ever experienced.

Showing very little courage describes the first couple of months when trauma exploded. Hell, I did not understand anything about PTSD or how it worked.

It took time to face my fears, but my meditation practice headed directly at the center of my abuse. My meditation practice worked like a big auger, whatever sludge trapped inside was going to come up in due time.

Exposure therapy became one of the bravest things I repeatedly practiced every week.

Real courage is taking action in the face of our PTSD fears. Have you ever faced your PTSD fears?

I was scared to death, the monster inside is powerful and invisible to others, so my words fall on ears that do not understand.

You have to face these PTSD fears to get better.

No pill is going to do it.

I would run into a person suffering from PTSD who was desperate.

They had hit bottom, the decision to take action had been made.

Their current life was unacceptable, all they needed were tools and direction.

Please be desperate, everyday PTSD rules your life, it grows more powerful.

You can take action in the face of your fears.

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3 tools for calming the nervous system

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I know of three ways of depleting cortisol and adrenaline.

First is our diet, what we eat and how much body fat around our belly is influenced by our cortisol levels. Certain foods help deplete cortisol.

Second tool is Slowing the breath, focusing intently, activates our parasympathetic nervous system, applies the brakes.

This calms us, settles us down and lowers cortisol and adrenaline. It’s called meditation, it has many variations.

The third way is purely physical, aerobic exercise works like a charm.

Aerobic exercise to near failure works like a miracle. Start slow and adapt, then build up so you can exert maximum energy.

We have to want to heal more than any desire we entertain. I have never read that in any psychology book.

Therapy and my two therapists, one in San Diego then another in Eugene , helped me on my journey. I was encouraged to explore and try new things outside therapy.

Aerobic exercise and meditation were my two most valuable skills. Being a former pro jock, aerobic exercise was easy for me.

All my friends doubted I could ever meditate, I was always amped up, excitable and kind of high strung.

Do not let other people’s judgments rule our behavior. We get lost and run over by others because we are different, stay strong and try like hell in the face of worry and doubt.

I laughed at my friends, you think focusing on the spin of a baseball while hitting with 25,000 screaming fans can not be turned internally.

For a jock, being told we can not do something, is not something you want to bet against.

When my mind was frozen from trauma, my legs could still move and my willpower drove me to exhaustion.

Mechanically I can calm my body completely down.

We can not separate our mind from our body, they work as one.

There are many skills or tools we can learn to improve.

Yesterday, I started hiking to exhaustion again.

It’s half mental and half physical. It builds willpower.

How bad do you want to heal?

What is your level of commitment, are you in a little, a medium involvement or are you all in.

Intensity is a necessity for optimum results.

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An abused childhood brain

Pixabay: Anemone123

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There are events that change a life forever, the winner of the harmful events, trauma.

Can you think of the time before your trauma? How did your mind function? You have experienced the mind without trauma, remember back and mimic that experience.

You have a much better chance at healing than a kid abused throughout childhood.

For childhood trauma, many never knew a time without abuse, their minds were always in some form of survival mode.

We have to watch healthy people live or read books about what a mind without serious abuse feels like.

My childhood PTSD did not explode until my mid fifties, but I always had symptoms.

I was puking by the time high school arrived, my stomach and nervous system had PTSD symptoms. There was no safe place for me at school and especially at home.

Of course I hid any weakness from my father, I was terrified by that monster.

My anxiety levels were off the chart, there was no escape.

I have no idea what a mind without serious childhood abuse feels like. My mind never fully relaxes, ever, he is always on guard, always somewhat hyper vigilant.

Trust is something I tried once, it turned out to be the worst event of my life. We are terrible at picking a mate that is trustworthy.

I have read that we are incapable of having a healthy relationship, I finally agree. It is a consequence beyond our control, we did not ask to be abused as children.

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Navigating life with PTSD active

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My PTSD has come alive again with a repressed memory. How do I navigate life until this new trauma is integrated?

For most of us, PTSD either survives our healing efforts or there is much more trauma below the surface.

How do we live life until we heal? How do we respond to our trauma, do we avoid going near anything that feels dangerous?

I sure did for a long time. PTSD got much worse avoiding.

At my worst, agoraphobic for six months, I started a weekly exposure therapy. I would pick one day a week and go out and face my triggers.

The emotionally tainted fear was palpable, my resistance acute, it felt extremely dangerous. Part of PTSD’s irrational nature, it is an invisible battle inside our body and mind.

What is real and what is trauma? I do not have an answer for that, I am way to close.

Looking back, it took enormous courage to face mundane, neutral situations other people take for granted.

Where others see opportunity for attachment, we see danger.

How do we act like normal people who feel no danger, no anxiety? I have never pulled it off when my PTSD was active.

Even if I had the courage to practice exposure therapy, I was a mess, anxious and guarded the whole time.

My mind could hardly think, it was scouting for imminent danger instead, confused and nervous.

A few minutes felt like an hour, I was heading right at my trauma fears, the opposite of avoidance.

All of this is invisible to everyone around us. It is a lonely journey until we improve.

Afterward, I was euphoric, in the face of PTSD fear, I had triumphed. A small victory, but a vital one.

For me and for you, we must find the courage to face our trauma fears or we will suffer.

I focus on improving, healing is to large a concept for us.

Work to improve a little each day, healing is so much bigger an animal. Keep it simple.

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PTSD: a mental illness?

This Pinterest poster made me uncomfortable, so I used it.

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“Trauma disorders are mental illnesses that are caused by traumatic experiences or significant stress.”

https://www.bridgestorecovery.com/trauma-disorders/

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My two cents: I believe serious childhood abuse is a significant mental illness.

Many harsh connotations for people with mental illnesses.

Hell, I have always been different than all the rest, why change now.

There is an internal war going on, battles are intermittent but intense.

Hard to ignore triggers firing, hypervigilance and intrusive thoughts.

It’s like warring with yourself, any wound harms both participants.

See how irrational PTSD can be.

Does admitting we have a mental illness, help us?

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Dissociation again

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“The Body Keeps the Score”:

The overwhelming experience is split off and fragmented, so that the emotions, sounds, images, thoughts, and physical sensations related to the trauma take on a life of their own.

The sensory fragments of memory intrude into the present, where they are literally relived.

As long as the trauma is not resolved, the stress hormones that the body secretes to protect itself keep circulating, and the defensive movements and emotional responses keep getting replayed.

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My two cents: Dissociation is the king of all PTSD symptoms, it is where trauma fuels itself and takes over large pieces of time.

Conversely, PTSD has a difficult time functioning in this present moment, when we are focused.

It is simple, not easy, in fact our biggest challenge Childhood abuse brings to our doorstep.

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Bad days look like this now

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/types-of-anxiety/ptsd

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How do we describe something no one else can feel or see? It is PTSD of course.

Yesterday my nervous system ramped up enough to make me uncomfortable.

I felt something bad was going to happen, it is a theme that has played since my earliest childhood memories.

It is subconscious and insidious. Certain feeling predate my brain developing, so it feels ghostly to me.

Life became guarded, like someone with a gun was going to ambush me. Abstract and unknown.

PTSD does not explode with triggers anymore, it manifests like this now.

Unworthiness and shame have replaced triggers firing violently. It is a vast improvement but PTSD survives.

Damn, I have worked hard and long to kill all my trauma but some always survives.

I play defense until it breaks.

It is a day of letting go and distracting myself with chores, tasks, meditating and exercise.

It is a time to let thoughts about depression and unworthiness flow on through.

It is a time when PTSD steals my opportunity to feel normal, happy.

It unplugs all my healing as PTSD raises its ugly head again in my life.

I have to control my anger at my abusers and betrayers.

PTSD has become much more stealthy and subtle, not the triggers exploding mess it once was.

People without childhood abuse have no idea, no clue what life is like for us.

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