Posts Tagged ‘Self’

My childhood Abuse haunts me, it was hard wired

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I have been watching “Queens Gambit” on netflicks, so I find this pic funny. Yea nothing to do with the post but entertaining for me. That’s an active PTSD brain functioning, I think. The Jethro Tull t-shirt completes the picture.

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My childhood Abuse haunts me, it was hard wired into my brain and nervous system before it developed.

It is like a bad dream when it is awakened, it is intertwined with our brains normal development. It existed before some parts of our brain matured.

It is highly irrational by definition and ever so confusing.

I never had a healthy ego, autonomy, or even safety in my entire childhood. There is no core, no resilient piece developed, I functioned in survival mode.

Many healthy circuits are ignored and thus damaging our chances of ever being normal. Survival mode, means high alert, spotting danger replaces any creative endeavors, building deep attachments etc.

If you follow this blog, you have seen me as a crusader of healing and then other times like now, you have also seen me in the abyss of active suffering from PTSD.

It is a battle, those who suffer from childhood abuse, physical, emotional or even rape know the nightmare they live.

Our trauma scares the shit out of us, commandeers our nervous system, then floods our minds with intrusive thoughts.

My healing was like a war zone. Violent exits of childhood trauma that I finally integrated were the best feelings.

Then in a few days more trauma arrived. After five years of daily, 8 plus hours of meditation, reading and applying every healing technique I could find, it was frustrating to have more abuse always surface.

It seemed it was limitless and finding peace impossible.

My optimum space for healing, found me totally focused on my effort.

If things got worse, I practiced more.

Another big advantage, I learned from being a pro athlete.

We worked out five months in the offseason without worrying about results until next season.

Childhood PTSD (C-PTSD) is not going to change much in a day, a week, or a month, so I placed all worry or concern into more practice, more effort.

Worrying is a nasty form of Dissociation, our biggest enemy stopping us from improving.

No great direction in this post. My posts are so different when my PTSD is active or dormant.

It feels a little vulnerable sharing when my ptsd is this active.

Thoughts?

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Trust, is it possible for seriously abused kids.

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I am just realizing some of my habits were created from childhood trauma.

My Childhood was void of trust, it was a violent struggle for a little boy to survive. No attachments were created with my parents, I hated my father, my abuser.

After leaving the household for college, the first person I trusted betrayed me in a horrendous way.

Consequences: Life was much better not trusting people, being dependent on myself, especially when a crisis occurred.

How do you trust after a childhood where I was brutalized emotionally and physically until I left that house?

Childhood did not turn out ok, I was severely damaged and isolated from healthy connections to my peers. I was not allowed to dilute my father’s control with having close friends and a girlfriend was forbidden.

My brain lacked social skills to trust and bond with the group.

Do I cry about lacking, become a victim or do I learn to live without people’s help. That answer is quite obvious.

PTSD is an irrational disorder, we make decisions in survival mode that do not work in normal life. Things are extremely distorted inside our damaged brains.

How does a person like me get to therapy and then trust a therapist?

Trust is a shallow connection to another for me. I just realized how sad this is.

How do we trust on a deep level?

My only touch I received in childhood was getting beat. That does not promote trust or closeness.

Who do you call?

69 years of not trusting is a big mountain!

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PTSD is the biggest thief in the universe

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If you follow this blog, my decade long healing journey, triumphs and losses have been shared. I healed twice in that decade, great joy and accomplishment filled my being for a while.

Underneath my supposed healing, I felt PTSD still had power. Then four months ago the final piece of hidden trauma from college exploded. The most humiliating betrayal of my life.

It feels like my whole life has erupted into trauma and suffering again.

My childhood abuse changed the way my (your) brain wired. Our nervous systems became super sensitive to danger.

Our worry circuit was overdeveloped, danger was always close.

Instead of pursuing pleasure, we spend our time on point, protecting our being from attack.

Our mental resources focus to much in survival mode, which shuts down enjoyment and security (normal life).

We never really feel safe, feel like we are worthy or deserving. We are different than other kids.

My father isolated me more, severing my attachments at school.

The ACE study details how abusive childhoods will have more suffering, addiction, mental disorders, cancer, alcoholism, prostitution and suicide.

Birth is the ultimate lottery, some win big, others are severely abused.

Personally, being the target of daily criticism and violence, created a negative self image.

How do you spin a self who feels worthy out of constant criticism from your dominant first caregiver.

My life feels like it has been mostly pain and suffering to the point I have huge resentment Now.

In the middle of PTSD, life is bleak and irrational.

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“All human experiences are suffering”. Is this actually true?

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Rick Hanson from “Neurodharma”

“There are times when the mind is filled with physical pain, grief, fear, outrage, depression, or other overwhelming kinds of suffering.

I’ve had those times myself, and and it feels like suffering is all there is. There are also countless people who each day must bear pain, illness, loss, disability, poverty, or injustice.

And in a blink of an eye something might happen–perhaps a car on the highway swerving into you, or a shocking betrayal by someone you’ve trusted– that changed the rest of your life.

Suffering is certainly around us, and often if not always inside us. And still– are all of our experiences suffering?

Suffering matters because it is a particularly kind of experience–one that is unpleasant— so there must be other kinds of experiences.

The pleasure in eating a juicy peach is not itself suffering. Nor is virtue, wisdom, or concentration. Awareness itself is not suffering.

Human experience certainly contains fear and grief, but that’s not all it contains.

Further, any experience, even a painful one, is highly pixelated, with many elements like the individual brushstrokes of a painting.

Most of those elements are not themselves suffering. The redness of red, the knowledge that a ball is round…none of these is itself suffering.

These points may seem merely technical, but if we overlook what is not suffering, then we won’t truly understand what is suffering.

And we will miss out on experiences and resources that we could use both for increasing health and and well-being and for reducing suffering.

Recognizing suffering in yourself and others opens the heart and motivates practice. But these good ends are not served by exaggerating it.”

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When you were young

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Rick Hanson:

Every child is particularly vulnerable during the first few years.

One reason is that the primary neural trigger for experiences of stress and fear—the amygdala—is fully formed before most babies are born.

This “alarm bell” in your brain was ready to ring loud as you took your first breath.

Second, a nearby part that calms down the amygdala–the hippocampus–deoesnt become completely developed until around the third birthday.

The hippocampus is key to forming episodic memories—specific recollections of personal experiences—and it’s slow maturation is why we we don’t remember our earliest years.

It also signals the hypothalamus to quit calling for more more stress hormones (”Enough already”).

The combination of a ready-for-action amygdala and a needs-years-to-develop hippocampus is like a one-two punch: young children are easily upset while lacking internal resources for calming themselves and putting events in perspective.

Third, the right hemisphere of your brain got a jump start in development during your first eighteen months.

This matters because that side of the brain tends to emphasize the perception of threats, painful emotions such as fear, and avoidance behaviors such as withdrawing or feeling… which intensify the negative effects of the amygdala-hippocampus combination.

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Self-Authorship part 2: “Living with your Heart Wide Open”

Pixabay: Ben_Kerckx

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We see ourselves in the mirrors of others’ eyes and behaviors, and our stories reflect what we see there.

Who you believe you are began in your early relationships with your caregivers, and it was in these exchanges that you decided if you were worthy or unworthy, adequate or inadequate.

Your story has developed within this original theme from then on.

If you feel inadequate, for example, you may seek a sense of adequacy from people or things, from what you’ve done, or from your appearance, your talents, or your performances.

This never works out.

A sense of adequacy doesn’t come from any of these things; it comes from who you are. This is why so many of us feel deficient and unworthy no matter what we do.

We perform. We get wonderful things.

We may even succeed in proving our adequacy to others, but we never quite prove it to ourselves.

Shortly after every standing ovation, the sense of inadequacy returns and follows us as inexorably as a shadow.

The sense of inadequacy also follows us into our love relationships, where we tend to play out our role in some of the most dramatic ways.

Surely the one who loves us will give us what we always longed for.

Surely this person’s love will be enough, and through it, we will finally be enough.

This never quite works out either, even when our partners do their best to assure us that we’re okay, or even far more than okay.

In fact, the distortions of our self-authorship often manifest more dramatically in these relationships than anywhere else, due to the extraordinary perceptual distortion known as projection—attributing your own thoughts and judgments to others.

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Self-Authorship part 1: “Living with your Heart Wide Open”

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The stories you repeat make up your personal history and identity.

They include the place and time you were born, the way it was in your family, the things that happened to you, the things you did, the things others did, your first love, and your first betrayal.

It goes on and on—as long as you repeat it.

When you really look at your self-stories, you may discover that they’re repetitive and even arbitrary, depending on your mood.

It’s likely that the details don’t even match up with those in the stories of your parents or closest siblings.

A good question is “Who would you be without your story?”

Seeing yourself without your story is an excellent way to let go of taking things personally (which can be very helpful with shame and inadequacy).

Self-authorship begins very early in life in our responses to our caregivers.

If we are raised in a safe and secure environment in which we feel accepted and validated, we tend to have more self-compassion and less self-criticism (Neff and McGehee 2008).

But if our caregivers are more critical or aggressive or we feel unsafe with them for any reason, we tend to become more self-critical and insecure as we grow older (Gilbert and Proctor 2006).

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The Self: Living with your Heart wide open 

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The self is conditioned primarily in early interpersonal relationships, and we then tend to see only those things that confirm who we think we are, and we screen out everything to the contrary.

This is what it means to self-seal: closing off possibilities for yourself and sealing your identity, and your fate, within whatever self-construct was created when you were quite young.

This self becomes a prison of beliefs that color and distort your experience of who you are.

Margaret Wheatley’s quote offers insight into how we can free ourselves from this prison of funhouse mirrors with distorted reflections that we mistake for reality.

If you can experience yourself from the immediacy of here-and-now awareness rather than through the narrowed perceptions of a self created long before this moment, you can find another way of being in the world.

How do you develop this here-and-now awareness?

Mindfulness is the key, and as you work your way through this book, we’ll offer many practices that will help you develop this perspective.

Because it’s important to understand where you’re starting from, in this chapter we’ll explore how an identity of deficiency is constructed and persists from a Western psychological perspective as well as from the point of view of Buddhist psychology.

As you learn to bring mindful awareness and inquiry into these self-limiting constructions, you’re likely to discover possibilities for greater freedom and peace.

It’s like the Zen cartoon that shows an anguished prisoner clinging to the bars of his cell while a small door in a dark corner of his cell is clearly open.

Until you let go of the bars of your prison of self and begin to explore the dark and unlit places within yourself, you can’t find the door to freedom.

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“Living with your heart wide open”: Self Authorship

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“Author and organizational consultant Margaret Wheatley describes this dynamic well: “We notice what we notice because of who we are.

We create ourselves by what we choose to notice. Once this work of self-authorship has begun, we inhabit the world we have created.

We self-seal.

We don’t notice anything except those things that confirm what we already think about who we already are…

When we succeed in moving outside of our normal processes of self-reference and can look upon ourselves with self-awareness, then we have a chance at changing.

We break the seal. We notice something new”.

This is a powerful insight into not only how the concept of self is perpetuated by habits of mind and perception, but also how you can free yourself and discover a much larger experience of who you are.

Perhaps none of us discovers who we really are until we free ourselves from concepts of who we are and are not.

Therefore we begin this book by exploring how the fiction of self is created and maintained.

The sense of self is formed in early childhood and gradually hardens into self-concepts and beliefs, creating a personal identity that can define and restrict you for the rest of your life.”

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Peeling the Onion: A meditative journey

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Think about the traumas in your life, it maybe one horrific accident or a complete childhood, as an onion, each one different than the next in size, taste, color and texture.

Our Onion grew as we aged, more layers added over the years.

Think of some of our awkward or embarrassing moments in life as smaller onions or scallions, much less formidable or detrimental than our big trauma Onion.

PTSD and our onion open up the same way, peeeling back the outer layers, exposing deeper trauma (Layers).

Meditation helped me first become aware of the subtleties of each layer, then helped me peel back the outer layer.

The process like meditation is repetitive.

I meditated everyday, observing my traumas storyline from a distance, becoming familiar with my fight or flight mechanism.

Our trauma Onion is extremely strong, capable of making us cry and suffer if not handled properly.

If we assume healing is the peeling away of all the layers until we hit our core, meditation was the scalpel that made the cuts.

We peel the onion by surrendering to the fear it lays at our doorstep. The deeper layers cause us to stop peeling, the fear is more formidable at these inner layers.

I have healed by sitting prone, focused, while surrendering to my fears, being vulnerable in the face of perceived danger.

Conclusion: That trauma Onion is a mirage, a past traumatic event, stored as an implicit memory with all the fear and emotion of that moment.

No real danger existed in any of my triggers.

The same external triggers exist, however my same mind does not react to them now.

I figured out organically, sitting quietly observing my trauma it was benign.

PTSD is the rerun of a traumatic event that we watch on our personal trauma T.V.

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A closed circuit showing of a past horrific event.

So why did ptsd live after my abuser, my father, died?

The memory does not need him being alive to exist. The onion has grown and now has a life of its own, inside our head unfortunately.

I have never seen an Onion peel itself or PTSD to heal with time.

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