Weava Collection - Research on Trauma is Relative (trauma, experience, life, time, way)
- But Lancelot never believed he was good or nice. Under the grotesque, magnificent shell with a face like Quasimodo’s, there was shame and self-loathing which had been planted there when he was tiny, by something which it is now too late to trace. It is so fatally easy to make young children believe that they are horrible.”
- “It seems, in tragedy, that innocence is not enough.”
- Wrongs have to be redressed by reason, not force.”
- In the secret parts of his peculiar brain, those unhappy and inextricable tangles which he felt at the roots, the boy was disabled by something which we cannot explain.
- “It is generally the trustful and optimistic people who can afford to retreat. The loveless and faithless ones are compelled by their pessimism to attack.”
- The boy thought that there was something wrong with him. All through his life--even when he was a great man with the world at his feet--he was to feel this gap: something at the bototm of his heart of which he was aware, and ashamed, but which he did not understand. There is no need for us to try to understand it. We do not have to dabble in a place which he preferred to keep secret.”
- When crazy-making, no-win games dominate the relationship such as the silent treatment, blame-games, no-win arguments that spin around on you, there is no point in continuing in this battle. Verbal warfare is never the place you will convince them of anything and these kinds of verbal interactions are set up to be their way or the highway. If these are the negative consequences you receive each time this person or people don't get their way,
- When the relationship is based in any kind of abuse, mentally, physically, sexually, verbally or emotionally. When the relationship is based in manipulation, overt or covert, you can be sure you are being used and abused.
- When the relationship creates so much stress that it affects the important areas of your life at work, home or both. When your emotions are totally caught up in defending yourself
- The contact you have with them serves to bring you down,
- f you find yourself obsessed with the gossip about you and trying to right wrong information, and you are constantly being ostracized to the point you are losing sleep over it, you are becoming poisoned with their toxicity. Gossip only serves one family member to get others to gang up on you and you are left defenseless against the false beliefs about you being thrown your way. There is usually a ring leader gathering the troops for the assault and because they are joined together, you begin to wonder whether it is you that is the problem.
- In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself, in a dark wood, where the direct way was lost. It is a hard thing to speak of, how wild, harsh and impenetrable that wood was, so that thinking of it recreates the fear. It is scarcely less bitter than death: but, in order to tell of the good that I found there, I must tell of the other things I saw there.
- The time was at the beginning of the morning, and the sun was mounting up with all those stars, that were with him when Divine Love first moved all delightful things, so that the hour of day, and the sweet season, gave me fair hopes
- so that it seemed the air itself was afraid; and a she-wolf that looked full of craving in its leanness, and, before now, has made many men live in sadness. She brought me such heaviness of fear, from the aspect of her face, that I lost all hope of ascending. And as one who is eager for gain, weeps, and is afflicted in his thoughts, if the moment arrives when he loses, so that creature, without rest, made me like him: and coming at me, little by little, drove me back to where the sun is silent.
- I cannot rightly say how I entered it. I was so full of sleep, at that point where I abandoned the true way. But when I reached the foot of a hill, where the valley, that had pierced my heart with fear, came to an end, I looked up and saw its shoulders brightened with the rays of that sun that leads men rightly on every road. Then the fear, that had settled in the lake of my heart, through the night that I had spent so miserably, became a little calmer. And as a man, who, with panting breath, has escaped from the deep sea to the shore, turns back towards the perilous waters and stares, so my mind, still fugitive, turned back to see that pass again, that no living person ever left.
- But not so fair that I could avoid fear
- Often, an intractable problem includes the narrative that there is something intrinsically wrong with you, that instead of having a problem, you are the problem. This narrative and the shame that goes with it might be invisible, like the air you breathe.
The first step is to notice a toxic narrative. You might arrive there through despair.
- In freeze, immobility covers powerful impulses to DO SOMETHING about the emergency. This energy arises during the healing process, leading to the narrative, “I’m frozen. I have to do something!”
- Being abused is bad, but not intrinsic to the person. The problem lies not in being an abuse survivor, but in how society treats abuse survivors, and in the internalized shame and victim-blaming that impede healing
- Try a new narrative: “Freeze is self-limiting. In a safe environment, all I have to do is let the freeze be there, and my body will come out of it in time.” It is normal to come out of freeze the way we went in, terrified or furious or desperate for help. With kind attention, the feelings will resolve.
- When you have an intractable problem, look at the narrative around it. Analogies, metaphors, and narratives define the solutions we can imagine.
There might not be a narrative at all, just a nameless, amorphous unease.
- Whenever you find yourself thinking desperately that nothing will ever change, remember that “never” and “forever” are flashback markers. Try a new narrative: “Change is possible.” The present might already be moving toward the change you seek.
- An abuse survivor might feel that way before memories surface.
- If you have a problem without a narrative, hold the question of what it might be. Sit with the unease, and with what you do know about the problem. Keep an eye out for clues
- n this moment, you are safe from harassment. This month, you still have health care.
- Yes, this is happening. No, this is not normal.
Your reactions are valid. All of them.
- The world is still turning.
- As terrifying as the present may be, it is not a replay of childhood abuse. To find your adult witness self, remind yourself of today’s date and your current age. Push long with your feet and wide with your elbows to feel your full adult size and strength. Name aloud resources you have now that you did not have as a child, for example a bank account, driver’s license, more years of experience, and more connections with other people. Look around at your current environment, and name what is different from the past.
- Amid violent, dehumanizing rhetoric and actions, it helps to be in conversation with someone who responds to you as the living breathing valuable being you are. Positive connection is a balm in hard times. You can connect with other people, with pets, with Nature, and even with yourself. Look yourself in the eye in the mirror and say, “You matter.”
- It helps to remember that the body is still there, and feel its edges.
- ven though we feel overwhelmed, our future self may well have more resources to handle future events.
- As much as you can, continue with your daily routine, especially self-care like meals and sleep. As you navigate change, your body appreciates familiar patterns.
- From your contemplation of best and worst cases, from talking with others, from listening to your body, from any other ideas that float up, choose at least one action.
- helps to kindly name that triggering, finding an inner witness who says, “Yes, I feel terrible. I wonder which parts of this are old.” Let your child self know that you are listening, that you feel the terror and helplessness.
- In times of not-knowing, allow yourself some time with relief.
- make more flexible plans.
- Maybe new facts come to light that change the whole situation
- All your reactions are valid.
- What happens when the trauma, or similar threats, are ongoing?
- Allow yourself to connect with what is happening inside you. It might be uncomfortable or unexpected, and the same time, the distress and other reactions inside like to be heard and acknowledged.
- Gasping at a letter saying already minimal disability benefits will be cut further. Worrying whether health insurance through the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) will vanish and pre-existing conditions will once again put needed health care out of reach. Feeling personally targeted
- Find outcomes that bring relief. Maybe an ally steps in.
- Nobody can be saved from anything, unless they save themselves.”
- The baby might dissociate to contain the contradiction, a tearing dis-integration of consciousness from the body, with the wordless sense that this should not be happening, and the world is unutterably hostile and dangerous.
- gather a set of first-aid phrases and actions for when it happens again. Retreat under the covers, drink warm tea, call a reliable friend. Whatever helps you get through.
- Disorganized attachment
Sometimes carers are actively threatening, a source of terror as well as care. The baby’s nervous system is thrown into unresolvable conflict between the powerful need to flee, and the equally powerful need to move toward safety.
- Listen inside for what your body needs. It might be whispering, or loudly demanding.
- Insecure attachment strategies
To a baby, lack of welcome or even a brief abandonment is a threat to survival. Experiments have consistently shown three different responses to care that is not “good enough”: avoidant, ambivalent, or disorganized attachment strategies. Attachment strategies are stable through a person’s life and deeply affect relationships and happiness.
- what is triggering in the present. The recognition gives a sliver of breathing room, a place to stand and witness.
- You might get images or impressions of a narrative behind the intense emotions.
- Infant nervous systems are not yet fully formed and lack the capacity to self-regulate. Infants depend on their carers to directly soothe their nervous systems and to teach by example how to soothe themselves and return to calm after an emotional or physical disturbance.
- Begin to find words for the edges of your experience, from the outside looking in. Keep describing, and checking with the wordlessness, and refining the description.
- Preverbal flashbacks can be triggered by conflict between the need to connect and the bone-deep memory of abandonment.
- it is safe now to expand into life rather than contract against it
- All babies invite and deserve protection, care, and love, including you. If that does not feel self-evidently true, it might be time to build secure attachment with yourself. Listen with kind attentiveness to your sensations, emotions, preferences, and needs, especially the ones that seem “unreasonable.” Move toward what feels nourishing and healing. Protect yourself fiercely from harm. You deserve attunement and connection.
- When an extreme emotional experience does not obviously connect to the present and is difficult to describe in words, check inside if it might be old.
- TOPIC: TRAUMA EFFECTS, PTSD
NAME MEMORIES WITHOUT WORDS
Infants are born with survival drives to learn about the world, and to bond with their carers. They absorb information with their whole bodies, gathering sensory impressions and learning basic skills of responsiveness and movement. Physical and relational lessons learned in infancy inform every moment of our lives.
- With time, the intensity itself becomes a familiar cue, the way “always”, “never”, and “forever” are flashback markers.
- Flashbacks to preverbal memories are intense, all-consuming, boundaryless. The body feeling might be raw terror, or blank detachment, or inconsolable despair. The world feels huge, overwhelming, unmanageable. There is a sense of fundamental helplessness, failure to connect, inability to reach safety. With all of itself, the body demands to be held, rescued, enfolded in care.
- In the current psychiatric and medical climate pathologizing grief, psychiatrists (and even general practitioners!) are conflating painful feelings with clinical syndromes and prescribing anti-depressant medication for naturally occurring intense or prolonged sadness and grief.
- If we are to be an understanding relational home for a traumatized person, we must tolerate, even draw upon, our own existential vulnerabilities so that we can dwell unflinchingly with his or her unbearable and recurring emotional pain. When we dwell with others’ unendurable pain, their shattered emotional worlds are enabled to shine with a kind of sacredness that calls forth an understanding and caring engagement within which traumatized states can be gradually transformed into bearable painful feelings. Emotional pain and existential vulnerability that find a hospitable relational home can be seamlessly and constitutively integrated into whom one experiences oneself as being.
- articulating the unbearable and the unendurable, saying the unsayable, unmitigated by any efforts to soothe, comfort, encourage, or reassure—such efforts invariably being experienced by the other as a shunning or turning away from his or her traumatized state.
- “secure attachment,” "trauma recovery” is an oxymoron—human finitude with its traumatizing impact is not an illness from which one can or should recover.
- "Pain is not pathology," I wrote in my book, Trauma and Human Existence (Stolorow, 2007, p. 10; http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780881634679/). The enormity and everlastingness of the grief following the loss of a loved one are not manifestations of psychopathology; they are a measure of the depth of love for the lost beloved. Traumatic states of sadness and grief can devolve into clinical depression when they fail to find a context of emotional understanding—what I call a relational home—in which they can be held, borne, and integrated. In a psychiatric climate that pathologizes grief and that advocates treatments aiming at emotional riddance, such a relational home for emotional pain is becoming ever more difficult to find. Such a circumstance is actually likely to increase the incidence of clinical depression.
- The DSM is a pseudo-scientific manual for diagnosing sick Cartesian isolated minds. As such, it completely overlooks the exquisite context sensitivity and radical context dependence of human emotional life and of all forms of emotional disturbance. Against Descartes and his legacy, the DSM, I am contending that all emotional disturbances are constituted in a context of human interrelatedness. One such traumatizing context is characterized by relentless invalidation of emotional experience, coupled with an objectification of the child as being intrinsically defective. No wonder receiving a DSM diagnosis can so often be retraumatizing!
- Emotional trauma is an experience of unendurable emotional pain. I have claimed (Stolorow, 2007) that the unbearability of emotional suffering cannot be explained solely, or even primarily, on the basis of the intensity of the painful feelings evoked by an injurious event. As I alluded in the previous paragraph, painful emotional states become unbearable when they cannot find a relational home in which they can be shared and held. Severe emotional pain that has to be experienced alone becomes lastingly traumatic and usually succumbs to some form of emotional numbing. In contrast, painful feelings that are held in a context of human understanding can gradually become more bearable.
I have also contended that the existential meaning of emotional trauma lies in the shattering of what I call the absolutisms of everyday life—the system of illusory beliefs that allow us to function in the world, experienced as stable, predictable, and safe.
- platitudes only demonstrated to him that no one wanted to be close to him in his traumatized state. Having gone through my own experience of devastating trauma, I knew what he needed instead. I said, “Dad, you have been terrified of blindness for nearly your entire life, and there’s a good chance that this surgery will blind you! You are going to be a fucking maniac until you find out whether the surgery blinds you! You’re going to be psychotic; you’re going to be climbing the walls!” In response to my dwelling with his terror, my dad came together right before my eyes and, as was our custom, we had a couple of martinis together.
- there is internal pressure to talk about our abuse history. We want to share important truths rather than hide behind a bland facade. We want to be visible. We need validation, acknowledgment, and support.
- There is an additional pressure to be heard after abuse: the burning memory of not being heard during abuse. People give clear distress signals when something hurts or is unwanted. An abuser intentionally overrides those signals or blocks them out.
- When caring is mixed with unwillingness to hear, it creates painfully confusing mixed messages.
- When the abuser is a parent, partner, or other trusted figure in our lives, we experience their ignoring our distress as a fundamental betrayal from someone who should protect us. We try to be louder and clearer, desperate to be understood. We wonder why this person believes that we deserve abuse. We begin to believe that there is something intrinsically wrong with us.
- We hope friends or professionals will come through
- Not being heard can be exhausting and triggering. It erodes trust. It generates a gaslighting effect where the person is so oblivious to our reality that we doubt ourselves.
- holding space for our stories.
- The experience of emotional trauma is a two-way psychological bridge joining what I call post-Cartesian psychoanalysis and existential philosophy (Stolorow, 2011). Existential philosophy provides invaluable philosophical tools for understanding trauma’s existential significance, and the experience of emotional trauma discloses a fundamental constituent of authentic existing.
- Stolorow, R. D. (2007). Trauma and Human Existence: Autobiographical, Psychoanalytic, and Philosophical Reflections. New York: Routledge.
Stolorow, R. D. (2011). World, Affectivity, Trauma: Heidegger and Post-Cartesian Psychoanalysis. New York: Routledge.
- As a child, I was experiencing a world where there was no emotional safety while being consistently told that I had a beautiful and happy childhood and that I was ungrateful. What was I complaining about? Yet what I was exposed to caused me to feel unsafe. And those feelings had a verifiable origin. Whether it was witnessing violent arguments or being on the receiving end of inappropriate behavior, when I confronted my mother with the truth, it was denied; my reality was disavowed and asserting it would only instigate conflict. I was told that what I saw with my own eyes hadn’t happened.
- “I had always wondered how that little girl would survive. I had thought her only choices were suicide or murder.”
- Let go of the wish for things to be different
The wish for things to be different is very powerful and inoculates you to the tumult. It allows you to continue to believe logic and reason will prevail. You want to believe the person will change. You want things to make sense. But they won’t. You want to feel you are on safe ground. You have to let go of this wish. Because things will never make sense. You will never be heard.
- The person who is gaslighting you will never be able to see your point of view or take responsibility for their actions. They will never get it. They will never say, “Oh, you’re right – you have a point.”
Acknowledgement is not on the cards. And asserting yourself is not just useless but harmful.
- When I would confront my mother with things that she had said, or things that she had done, she would say I was making it up, that it was a lie. When I confronted her with facts, they were batted away. So it wasn’t just that my reality was canceled, but that my perception of reality was overwritten.
- It does not tell us why your fear continues today,
- to an early childhood encounter
- racing your current fear
- what may have initiated the patient's problems with a more important search for what may be perpetuating the problem in the present.
- They are at cross purposes to your pursuit of life and self-expression.
- oncretely, you can expect persons who are good for you to come into your life. Or circumstances will arise that give you increased freedom or an opportunity to do something that you have never done before. Educational opportunities may come to you at this time, or a chance to travel.
- Saturn square Venus: A sense of tension
End of December 2016 until mid-October 2017: This is a time of considerable tension and difficulty in your relationships.
- Saturn conjunction Saturn: Pruning your life
End of January 2017 until mid-November 2017: This is one of the most important times in your life. A major cycle of experience is closing, and great changes are about to take place. How great these changes are depends largely on what you have been doing with your life over the past several years. Have you been living as you feel you should or as you think others want you to? If you have been doing the latter, this influence will have a greater impact.
- Every relationship must be an honest expression of yourself. But we often get into relationships that have little to do with our true selves, usually because of fear, a need for security, or a sense of personal inadequacy.
- you have been dominated by an urgent feeling that if you don't do everything you have always wanted to do, you will never have another chance. And now, at about fifty-eight, you will feel that a substantial portion of your life has passed and that you had better get on with making it all work.
- Consciously or unconsciously, you are pruning your life of everything that is not relevant to what you really are as a human being. If this process is not happening consciously, you may experience a sense of loss for the elements of your life that are coming to an end now. However, do not dwell upon these losses, for they are necessary in order to clear the decks for the major period of action in your life.
- Events now, such as meetings with persons or even changes in your psyche, open the way for you to become wiser and more mature and to have a broader understanding of the world. At this time you will reach out consciously and unconsciously and ask more of the world, but at the same time you are willing to give more to the world.
- Jupiter conjunction Jupiter: Wonderful opportunities
From 14 September 2017 until 24 September 2017: This influence indicates the beginning of a new cycle of growth and progress.
- Last year, many aspects of your life have begun to change
- A narcissist reacts with so much contempt when you assert any needs that you feel like the selfish one.
- If someone questions your memory, you can look back at your notes. If items mysteriously appear and disappear, you can take strategic photographs of problem areas.
- When you have been taught to doubt your perceptions, it is difficult to assert that doubt is caused by something outside you. Suspect gaslighting when you notice:
Confusion. You feel confused and off-balance when you interact with someone. You receive puzzling responses to ordinary actions, and your reactions are labeled wrong or unreasonable.
Fears about mental stability. You worry that you are going crazy. Someone repeatedly expresses concern that you’ll have a nervous breakdown.
Conflict about memory. You hear, “I never said that,” when you clearly remember hearing it. You frequently hear, “You’re imagining things,” or “You remember that wrong.” Memory differences can be expressed respectfully by saying, “I don’t remember saying that,” or “I don’t remember it that way.”
Emotional vertigo. You have a sense of dizziness, or no place to stand, when you try to make sense of a situation. The facts do not add up, but you see that as a flaw in yourself rather than in the situation. This can lead to obsessive thoughts as you try to figure it out.
Distrust of your perceptions. You ask others to confirm what you notice. When someone disagrees with you, you immediately assume you were wrong. Do you remember a time when you did trust your perceptions? When did that change?
- Gaslighting occurs in more subtle ways as well, any time someone responds as if your reality does not exist.
- Turn your attention toward what is true for you.
- Sometimes gaslighting helps an abuser maintain a more sympathetic self-image as well as concealing abuse.
- As explained in detail elsewhere , sensory input triggering a trauma flashback stimulates hormonal secretions and influences the activation of brain regions involved in attention and memory. This discovery sheds light on why conscious control over the patient’s actions is limited . Reminders of the past can activate specific neurobiological responses. Thus survivors of trauma are vulnerable to react with irrational and sub-cortically initiated responses that are irrelevant, and even harmful, in present circumstances or situations . Triggered responses are often found to be coupled to ego state dependent defense mechanisms learned in early life [9,10].
- Consistent findings revealed neurobiological shifts that were specifically associated with the focused attention and heightened arousal of reliving the trauma. The findings showed that patients who were exposed to traumatic reminders (triggers) displayed increased cerebral blood flow in the right medial orbito-frontalcortex, insula, amygdala, and anterior temporal pole. However, in the left anterior prefrontal cortex coincident relative deactivation was noted. The deactivation was especially dramatic in Broca’s area. This expressive speech center of the brain is essential to communicate thoughts and feelings. Subsequent research showed that when a previous personal trauma is triggered, regions of the brain that experience intense emotions are activated. The activity of brain structures involved in the control of emotions and the translation of experience into communicable language is simultaneously decreased [18-21]. PTSD patients may display inappropriate emotions, bizarre reactions, and/or “freeze up” when confronted with seemingly normal challenges . The Broca’s area of the brain may shut down, so these patients become extremely limited in their ability to communicate what it is they are feeling. In an attempt to cope with these events, those with PTSD are thought to regress to primary process thinking [9,10]. Thus, they respond to reminders of the past by automatically engaging in thinking and actions that were once appropriate and adaptive at a primary level but are now maladaptive in response to the current presenting stimuli.
- Exposure to a traumatic event activates subcortical structures. Thus, trauma memories become encoded in the subcortical-subconscious brain regions. Watkins  foreshadowed a bottom-up explanation of the neurobiological underpinnings of trauma reactions in his classic book Hypnotherapy of the War Neuroses. Decades later, van der Kolk  explained that traumatic memories stay “stuck” in the brain in the nonverbal, subconscious, subcortical region (hippocampus) where they are not accessible to the frontal lobes—the understanding, thinking, and reasoning part of the brain
- The imprint of the trauma is not accessible via the verbal, intellectual, defensive, or executive parts of the brain because it AbstractA single manualized abreactive hypnosis session (5-6 hours) based on Ego State Theory (EST) was recently subjected to two placebo-controlled investigations meeting evidence-based criteria. Thirty-six patients in study #1 and 30 patients in study #2 who met PTSD criteria were exposed to either 5-6 hours of a manualized treatment or a placebo in a single session. Abreactive hypnosis emphasized hypnotically activated “reliving” of the trauma experience to physical and psychological exhaustion. In study #1 hypnosis and control group’s reduced PTSD checklist (PCL) scores immediately post treatment (placebo PCL score mean reduction 17. 34 and EST treatment PCL mean reduction 53.11). However, only the hypnosis patients maintained significant treatment effects at follow-ups. Study #2 used the Davidson Trauma Scale (DTS), Beck Depression II (BDI – II), and Beck Anxiety Scales (BAI). Only the hypnosis group showed significant positive effects from pretreatment to all post treatment measurement periods. Abreactive EST was shown to be a highly effective and durable treatment for PTSD. Apparently, EST works because it is emotion focused, activates sub-cortical structures, and because the supportive, interpretive therapist reconstructs the patient’s personality to be resilient and adaptive.
Citation:Barabasz A, Barabasz M (2013) Hypnosis for PTSD: Evidence Based Placebo-Controlled Studies. J Trauma Treat S4: 006. doi:10.4172/2167-1222.S4-006Page 2 of 5J Trauma Treat ISSN: 2167-1222, an open access journalPost Traumatic Stress Disordersis deeply entrenched in the subcortical subconscious (amygdala, hippocampus), which are at best only peripherally affected by thinking and cognition [1,23].
- expanding awareness on how, and through what means, individuals can grow from, rather than be inhibited by, childhood trauma. Specifically, I’m devoting this time and space to adult survivors of complex childhood trauma and how writing fiction and other health and well being strategies can assist in post-traumatic growth
- For an adult survivor to effectively confront and manage the ongoing struggles frustrating one’s ability to stay present in daily life and function is incredibly challenging but I think there’s a point at which we know that it’s actually much harder to continue as we are. Even though we might not know what needs to be done in order to initiate positive change, we know that there has to be a better way to live.
- How and why fiction can assist in the Post-Traumatic Growth process? It is precisely what I experienced but I felt compelled to understand why it worked when so many other things I’d tried hadn’t.
- My Practice-Led Research findings supported my hypothesis that fiction writing alongside therapy is a challenging but empowering and safe way to process traumatic experience, so that the survivor may go onto have a life and story outside trauma and enjoy what it means to live, love, be loved and grow. An adult survivor need not be determined by their traumatic past if adequate awareness can be gained alongside a willingness to take action and persist.
- From this investigation I found that fiction writing offers a powerfully transformative experience and that under adequate guidance it can provide a safe way to process and overcome traumatic childhood events and to learn how to effectively engage in adult life.
- They may have difficulty taking responsibility for their actions. Instead, they deflect the blame onto you.
- You may feel intimidated or scared when voicing an opinion.
- They may have no regard for, and no interest in, the way you feel.
- They may accuse you of things that you never did.
They may degrade or subtly humiliate you in front of other people.
- They may control your money and your spending.
- Emotional abuse is also known as psychological or mental abuse. It’s aim is to control, belittle, isolate and shame other people into subservience. This happens little by little overtime, so that the victim’s sense of self-worth, self-confidence, self-concept and own ideas and perceptions erode.
- They may treat you as an inferior person.
- “Emotional violence is another kind of abuse … it’s not about words because an emotionally abusive person doesn’t always resort to using the verbal club, but rather the verbal untraceable poison.” ~ Augusten Burroughs
- They purposely neglect to share important pieces of information with you.
They may neglect to give you privacy, or purposely disrespect your boundaries.
- They may, in fact, speak very kind words to you. And appear nothing but supportive to those around you. Their covert abuse is administered in small, cunning ways over time. So the impact is gradual, not fist-to-the-eye immediate.
- Have parents that are inappropriately intrusive,
- motional needs of adults (e.g., protecting a parent or cheering up one who is depressed).
- One or both parents
- parents in dysfunctional families often feel threatened by changes in their children. As a result, they may thwart your efforts to change and insist that you “change back.” That’s why it’s so important for you to trust your own perceptions and feelings. Change begins with you.
- Be restricted from full and direct communication with other family members.
- Be slapped,
- Experience rejection
- Abuse and neglect inhibit the development of children’s trust in the world, in others, and in themselves. Later as adults, these people may find it difficult to trust the behaviors and words of others, their own judgements and actions, or their own senses of selfworth. Not surprisingly, they may experience problems in their academic work, their relationships, and in their very identities.
- In common with other people, abused and neglected family members often struggle to interpret their families as “normal.” The more they have to accommodate to make the situation seem normal (e.g., “No, I wasn’t beaten, I was just spanked. My father isn’t violent, it’s just his way”), the greater is their likelihood of misinterpreting themselves and developing negative self concepts (e.g., “I had it coming; I’m a rotten kid”).
- Experience “reality shifting” in which what is said contradicts what is actually happening (e.g., a parent may deny something happened that the child actually observed, for example, when a parent describes a disastrous holiday dinner as a “good time”).
- Be ignored, discounted, or criticized for their feelings and thoughts.
- threaten to withdraw, financial or basic physical care for their children. Similarly, one or both parents fail to provide their children with adequate emotional support.
- Children learn their self-worth from the reactions of others, particularly those closest to them. Caregivers have the greatest influence on a child’s sense of self-worth and value. Abuse and neglect make a child feel worthless and despondent. A child who is abused will often blame him- or herself. It may feel safer to blame oneself than to recognize the parent as unreliable and dangerous. Shame, guilt, low self-esteem, and a poor self-image are common among children with complex trauma histories.
- Beliefs about themselves, others, and the world diminish their sense of competency. Their negative expectations interfere with positive problem-solving, and foreclose on opportunities to make a difference in their own lives. A complexly traumatized child may view himself as powerless, “damaged,” and may perceive the world as a meaningless place in which planning and positive action is futile. They have trouble feeling hopeful. Having learned to operate in “survival mode,” the child lives from moment-to-moment without pausing to think about, plan for, or even dream about a future.
- that they are powerless to change their circumstances.
- Choosing partners or friends who are not available emotionally, unreliable and hurtful, like family scapegoaters.
- Dissociation is one of the few tools that young children have to cope with trauma and abuse, especially if they lack a secure attachment to a parent or caretaker. Recurring trauma can eventually lead to compartmentalized awareness
- Dissociation can be short-term, such as listening to headphones and spacing out during a dental appointment, or long-term, such as feeling floaty and disjointed for months
- leaving the body entirely
- They may also start to see the ways in which they were effectively groomed, manipulated, threatened and through no fault of their own too naive to know any better. It is common for a survivor to internalise the blame and shame and believe him or her self to be evil
- Trauma is experienced when an event, encounter or happening is so overwhelming that it cannot be consciously or emotionally contained or known by the person who survives it. Humans are designed to protect their chances of survival at all costs; in times of crisis and threat automatic reactions, and instincts are motivated to facilitate this. Therefore, when a child whose physical safety or life seems threatened and the degree of pain felt is that of dying or breaking, all of the limited resources a child has are drawn on to protect the self from complete annihilation. To survive what is traumatic experience to the individual, in this case the child, is to cease being fully present during the experience. This dissociative reaction as well as other adverse responses is what identifies an experience as traumatic.
- Through the process of interpretation a cathartic transformation takes place like when reading a powerful work of literature, film or art.
- to interpret and engage with an emotional journey “pictured out” is to consciously become aware of the content, process it and assimilate it via the meaning and significance attributed
- The conscious mind does not know what happened exactly throughout the traumatic experience; the unconscious records it through the body, senses and it has an archetypal impact at the level of human development the individual is at when this trauma takes place. All future transitions into the stages of human development are cognitively and emotionally compromised as the survivor remains developmentally arrested in parts, stuck at the age of their traumatic experience. Consequently, the trauma continues to be unknown, undigested and yet to be assimilated by conscious awareness.
- In addition to the human design and will to survive at all costs is the need to grow and this sets a survivor’s inner world in terrible conflict.
- The unconscious speaks in symbols, symptoms and metaphors in the “picturing out” process and together the patient and analyst interpret what this might mean and engage in a dialogue to make sense of what has been experienced, the effects it has had and often through such discussions it becomes clear to the survivor why they think, feel and behave the way they do and how this informs the present life they are living.
- It seems the elephant is unaware of how large it is and how harmless and tiny by comparison the mouse actually is. This image is perfect for how an adult survivor of complex childhood trauma might “picture out” their internal reality before processing that she or he is now an adult whose childhood perpetrator no longer has access to. In fact the perpetrator being the one who committed the crime is the one with something to fear.
- To recognise the traumatic event or period of life is now over it needs to be consciously registered
- The parts of the self frozen in the age the trauma occurred are protected from knowing, feeling, consciously digesting and assimilating the trauma to prevent the feared total annihilation. Yet without doing this there is no growth, integration or actual life being lived.
- involves a process of writing which includes revising and rewriting until finding what works. This process and writing practice makes unconscious content conscious because it both speaks the language of the unconscious and makes unconscious content consciously bearable.
- A trauma survivor is often unable to feel anger at his or her perpetrator and guardians because it is too threatening
- he unconscious records and expresses traumatic experience and memory somatically (within the body) and via the senses
- For the trauma survivor to survive s/he has become an accumulation of deeply rooted defense mechanisms that are hypervigilant in their efforts to protect and defend against all threats of the individual coming to consciously know or feel the traumatic experience that at the time of trauma seemed powerful enough to annihilate or murder the self.
- In this writing space of invention and imagination the survivor writer has a proxy digestive system through which to process and assimilate traumatic experience.
- All of these unconscious ways of remembering send the survivor into an indirect re-experiencing of the past as if still at the age they were when the original trauma took place.
- As fiction involves both the conscious and unconscious in the writing practice through each draft the survivor writer gets familiar with and less threatened by the traumatic content.
- Therefore the unconscious is compelled to continue raising the unconscious traumatic content to the somatic, sensorial and emotional level as well as through compulsions to behave and react in certain ways that are self-sabotaging and result in reinforcing limiting beliefs about the self, others and world.
- The horror or terror experienced by the child reigns over unconscious life which is a psychic state without the concept of time or its passing and therefore the means with which to chronologically organise one’s life narrative and where or how the trauma fits within it. Traumatic experience, which is always stored in the unconscious, is literally unspeakable and without words because conscious life is structured by language, words (constituting the symbolic order), grammar and time, not the unconscious.
- the unconscious “picturing out” of traumatic experience through nightmares and visual art
- to keep a sense of the adult self’s cognitive and emotional functioning in tact which is essential for the processing of such content.
- This experience of being in control is very important to counteract the previous powerless position of the original trauma and subsequent post-traumatic effects. It also creates a means through which the survivor as writer can retain a sense of their adult self while engaging with traumatic experience instead of regressing to the child that they were at the time.
- a survivor writer can express and give form to his or her psychological and emotional truth. Metaphor and context makes it possible to tell a truth of what it feels like to go through a certain set of experiences.
- until the fear is reduced and no longer limits their ability to do things they want. For example attend a social event, speak publicly or go to a supermarket.
- “I don't think things ought to be done because you are able to do them. I think they should be done because you ought to do them.”
- “When shall I be dead and rid
Of all the wrong my father did?
How long, how long 'till spade and hearse
Put to sleep my mother's curse?”
- He has never witnessed the last hour, but, because of his folly, was so near it, that there was little time left for him to alter. As I said, I was sent to rescue him, and there was no other path but this, along which I have come.
- The little boat of my intellect now sets sail, to course through gentler waters, leaving behind her a sea so cruel.
- We walked along the solitary plain, like those, who turn again towards a lost road, and seem to go in vain, until they reach it. When we came where the dew fights with the sunlight, being in a place where it disperses slowly in the cool air, my Master gently placed both hands, outspread, on the sweet grass: at which, I who understood his intention, raised my tear-stained face towards him: there he made my true colour visible, that Hell had hidden.
- the task of telling a story gave me the creative license to imagine a way out of my psychodrama (mental and emotional reality)
- Like many adult survivors of complex childhood trauma I didn’t have the knowledge required to know I didn’t need to be living the compromised life I was or that the ‘weirdness’ in me wasn’t inherent but the effects of trauma.
- As far as I saw it I couldn’t win regardless of what ways I tried to manage the constraints the effects of complex childhood trauma had on me.
- I continued to struggle daily to leave the apartment I rented, answer the phone and shower.
- “It’s the action, not the fruit of the action, that’s important.
- The present moment, with all its feelings, thoughts, and events, is the only leverage point for change.
- Through receiving gentle, respectful, skilled touch, I learned how to connect with my body, my breath, and my own truth. I learned to sit with the feelings and memories rather than running away, and to ask quiet questions rather than shout fierce judgments at myself.
- “I am no longer one of them, however. They are up there, on the face of the earth; I am down here, in the bottom of a well. They possess the light, while I am in the process of losing it. Sometimes I feel that I may never find my way back to that world, that I may never again be able to feel the peace of being enveloped in the light…. Down here there are no seasons. Not even time exists.”—Haruki Murakami, The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle
- This felt incommensurability, in turn, contributes to the sense of alienation and estrangement from other human beings that typically haunts the traumatized person. Torn from the communal fabric of being-in-time, trauma remains insulated from human dialogue.
- Where the earlyenvironment failed to provide needed psychological requirements,a second chance at beneficent internalization can be provided in analytic treatment.1
- Anobstacle to progress is the patient’s fear of beingre-traumatized bythe therapist’s reaction to his orher expression of needs and wishes.
- Transmutinginternalization describes the person’s innate, archaic, buddingcapacities that arepotentiallyavailable in the course of development.9
- Ornstein and Ornstein17state more positively, with an embedded quote, that the “empathic-introspective stance of observation and communication positions the analyst insidethe subjective(intrapsychic) world of the patient and he thus focuses his attention on 'how it feels to be the subject,rather than the targetof the patient’s needs and demands...’” [italics added](Schwaber, 1979).22
- Within the relationship with an empathic and mirroringtherapist, the patient mayrisk dealingwith long-held maladaptive protective defenses against his or her frustrated needs and wishes.
- Self object transferences that occur inpsychoanalysis temporarilyprovide these functions, therebyenablingthe client to experience self-cohesion.
- Essentially, self psychologyis a positive psychologyrather than anegative bio-psychological view of humanity. Kohut believed in intergenerational continuityratherthan inevitable biological conflict between generations.
- The analyst needs to be reliable, willingto accept responsibility, able to listenwith care and concern, and tactful, so that individuallyandtogether the patient can correct for defects in relational qualities. The therapist offers himself orherself as an object in the here and now through which transference conflicts can be experienced asreal.19Much of this interpersonal exchange is carried out throughthe useoflanguage whichmaintains a tolerable empathic distance in the transference.2
- Treatmentdepends upon upon a corrective therapeutic experience that allows healthystructure to be belatedlyformed in a relationship with an empathic therapist. It is believed thattheinfant is equipped atbirthwithadaptive patterns for relatingto adults.1
- Through the relationship with self objects we develop the core constituents of ourpersonality— the self.
- The obstacle to progress is the patient’s fearof being re-traumatized or inability to receive empathic understanding by the therapist.
- Post-traumatic growth begins to take place for each protagonist once s/he stops hiding the truth and protecting the perpetrator through silence
- many adult survivors,
- This is a tough fact to swallow because undoing the damage of childhood complex trauma inflicted upon a survivor is long and hard work. There are a multitudinous aspects and areas life that are typically adversely effected and compromised unless attended to. For example old maladaptive thought processes and behaviour needs to be unlearned and effective, healthy and sustainable ways of thinking and behaviours established in their stead.
- it requires a survivor’s willingness to fight, learn and be vulnerable rather than remain fractured and alone in the dark that is not ours.
- The Wound and the Voice’ (1995) acknowledges the symbolic richness of imaging an invisible psychic state as a wound. Unlike physical wounds, the psychic wound is unknown and unable to heal and so compelled to repeat itself.
- it is family members who betray them and act against them.
- Like physical injury leaves a trail of scars across the skin, traumatic experience maintains a somatic presence through physical ailments (such as digestive problems, sweating, dissociation and paralysis) as well as a shattered internal state needing to be integrated, known and put in chronological order. It is possible for a survivor to grow and move beyond traumatic experience, however the wound cannot and does not disappear without a trace from the psyche; rather it is actively involved in what the adult becomes.
- Every minute is an opportunity to change by choosing to do things differently one action, thought, hour at a time.
- assume a responsibility that logically and factually is not, and cannot be theirs.
- Whether or not trauma continues to deny them a present, or a future of their own is something they alone are accountable for.
- the re-enactment a survivor is compelled to do is the sound or voice of the wound. She poignantly reminds us that Sigmund Freud’s writing on trauma expresses this repetitive state of being as ‘…always the story of a wound that cries out, that addresses us in the attempt to tell us of a reality or truth that is not otherwise available’ (Caruth 1996, 4).
- These experiences typically result in feelings of terror, horror or helplessness that are too overwhelming to be felt in the moment and thus cannot be articulated or processed. Children exposed to this often feel as though their life is at risk or that they are dying.
- Adult survivors of this are susceptible to acute fear; insecure attachment styles; emotional dysregulation; maladaptive behaviour; inability to trust; difficulty cultivating and protecting personal safety and boundaries. They carry an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt over what they were physically, mentally, and emotionally too young to understand, protect themselves against, or do anything about. Primary caretakers failed these children
- doubt your ability to survive after admitting the loss to yourself. In other words, complicated grief is a form of denial.
- . Acknowledge the Impact
Identify the personal cost of mistreatment by your family – fear, anxiety, sadness, depression, grief, self doubt, rage, insecurity, relationship problems, work difficulties, addictive habits, sleep disorders, etc. Do not minimize the harm to you,
- Counselling can help you grasp and feel – deep down – that you are not ‘the problem’, but rather the target of abusive family dynamics, and deserving of better treatment.
- 4. Untie From the Shame That Binds You
This is usually the biggest hurdle and most important healing step. Shame – or self hatred – stems from the experience of being dishonored, disgraced and condemned. Shaming happens when a scapegoated family member undergoes recurring criticism, blame, disapproval, rejection or abandonment. Often this mistreatment begins in childhood. During this process, the abused child learns ‘I am bad, unlovable and lack worth’. At the same time, the abuse is either denied, minimized or rationalized by the perpetrators. In this way scapegoats are further injured for being victimized. This false – or pathological – shame is internalized over time and viewed as the truth. The ‘Inner Scapegoat’ that takes hold convinces targets that they are fundamentally flawed because they are being mistreated.
- There may be feelings of grief that arise now that you are no longer in a pattern of holding onto false hope with abusive family members. You may feel lonely as family dynamics, even though toxic, have taken up much of your time.
- Anxiety and Trauma
It’s likely no surprise that scapegoats tend to suffer from high anxiety. Anxiety is the body’s threat response system that throws us into fight, flight or freeze mode. If you have been repeatedly scapegoated over many years, then you have been continually traumatized. Repeated trauma tends to create a state of permanent anxiety. It will take your nervous system time to calm down. You must distance from abusive family members in order to overcome anxiety and trauma symptoms.
- Scapegoating creates an adversarial atmosphere of winners and losers, where loyalty is for sale to s/he who will submit to the will of the main bully/bullies.
- Your peace of mind is likely on shaky ground due to being scapegoated. You have been under attack – mentally and emotionally assaulted – likely repeatedly. This causes psychological injury. In order to recover from this injury, make your mental health your top priority and safeguard it at all cost.
- Ending or limiting abusive relationships, results in a shift in identity. Many scapegoats have lost years and decades of their lives trying to work out impossible relationships. It’s a demoralizing process that erodes self esteem, optimism and happiness
- the ability to challenge anxiety based beliefs (e.g. I will always be alone; I can’t survive without my family; No one is on my side, I can’t risk getting close to anyone or they’ll hurt me, etc).
- Scapegoaters often have inflexible personality problems, such as narcissism, that reinforce their lack of insight and bad behavior.
- What do you need to do now to help yourself feel better and begin to heal?
- People who choose to abuse family members are doing this deliberately, even if they rationalize their behavior to themselves and others.
- Scapegoats must consistently stand up to the idea that they are bad or unlovable. This will likely take a lot of practice. Self hatred can also be triggered by ongoing mistreatment, so it’s important that distancing from abusive family members or unsupportive friends takes place.
- many find they need to distance themselves from family in order to preserve their sanity and dignity, and get on with their lives.
- Targets of family scapegoating are blamed and shamed inappropriately for the problems in their family. They endure ongoing, multiple losses and harm to their sense of self from this form of abuse. Foremost, targets experience tremendous grief through rejection by family, as well as loss of self worth by being shamed, invalidated and abandoned. Scapegoating causes high levels of anxiety as the target never feels safe emotionally in the family, and can lead to depression, anxiety or post traumatic stress. Damage to self worth can cause relationship and vocational problems as well.
- This unrealistic hope makes you vulnerable to self blame and depression as you discover that no matter how caring, gracious or forgiving you are, the scapegoating still persists. Believing that you can’t survive without abusive family members because you can’t cope with the truth of loss is a set up for chronic repressed grief, depressed mood and low self worth. Complicated grief is the mind’s way of warding off the reality of the loss inherent in family abuse.
- Once you have decided on the relationship boundaries you need to set and keep, turn your attention back to yourself. Wh
- You will likely be experiencing some difficult emotions, such as fear about setting limits, or grief over the loss of family you never had. Take time to understand and experience these feelings, no matter how difficult, as they point to your true needs. Mourn the absence of family support and love that was your birth right. This loss probably led to feelings of extreme loneliness, and may have impacted negatively on past and current relationships, or your ability to reach your potential.
- Forgiveness does not require letting unrepentant victimizers off the hook, forgetting or ignoring unacceptable behavior. It is more about letting go of anger, guilt and hurt towards scapegoaters
- a lie designed to elevate the status of abusive family members while keeping you down at the same time. You will steadily grasp that you have been mistreated by people you should have been able to trust and feel loved by, due to their character defects.
- Scapegoating is a deliberately alienating experience, designed to harm you.
- Your life is a house and the house is on fire.
- Josie’s parents were emotionally abusive. Rather than support and celebrate her individual self, they narcissistically expected her to echo their opinions. When she stood up for herself, they responded with cruelty and contempt.
- It can feel risky, even life-threatening, to take a stand in our story if it led to punishment in the past.
- “It is only people who are lacking, or bad, or inferior, who have to be good at things. You have always been full and perfect, so you had nothing to make up for.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- I have long contended (Trauma and Human Existence) that the mangling and the darkness can be enduringly borne, not in solitude, but in relationships of deep emotional understanding. In such relationships, we do not encourage the traumatized person to “get over it and move on.” Instead, we dwell with him or her in his or her endlessly recurring emotional pain, so that he or she is not left unbearably alone in it. As Bob Dylan sang it mournfully in his album, Modern Times, “I’ll be with you when the deal goes down.”
- Trauma devastatingly disrupts the ordinary linearity and unity of our experience of time, our sense of stretching-along from the past to an open future. Experiences of emotional trauma become freeze-framed into an eternal present in which we remain forever trapped, or to which we are condemned to be perpetually returned through the portkeys supplied by life’s slings and arrows. In the region of trauma all duration or stretching-along collapses, past becomes present, and future loses all meaning other than endless repetition. Trauma, in other words, is timeless. Further, because trauma so profoundly modifies our ordinary experience of time, the traumatized person quite literally lives in another kind of reality, completely different from the one that others inhabit. This felt differentness, in turn, contributes to the sense of alienation and estrangement from other human beings that typically haunts the traumatized person.
- Throughout the 20 years since the morning when my world was shattered, I have relived that devastating moment again and again in all its terrible emotional intensity.
- Portkeys to trauma return us again and again to an experience of traumatization. The experience of such portkeys fractures, and can even obliterate, our sense of unitary selfhood, of being continuous in time.
- As a philosopher, he metaphorically captured the impact of trauma on our experience of time in The Gay Science, where he introduced his famous doctrine of “the eternal return of the same”:
- “The greatest burden.—What would happen if one day or night a demon were to steal upon you in your loneliest loneliness and say to you, ‘You will have to live this life—as you are living it now and have lived it in the past—once again and countless times more; and there will be nothing new to it, but every pain and every pleasure, every thought and sigh, and everything unutterably petty or grand in your life will have to come back to you, all in the same sequence and order…. The eternal hourglass of existence turning over and over—and you with it, speck of dust!’…. If that thought ever came to prevail in you, it would transform you, such as you are, and perhaps it would mangle you.”
- As a wizard, he encountered portkeys—objects that transported him instantly to other places, obliterating the duration ordinarily required for travel from one location to another.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- here are 5 kinds of abuse: physical, sexual, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. Abuse can be overt or covert.
- Neglect and abandonment are also forms of abuse
- Abuse can also be covert or hidden.
- Resentment and self –pity are important when we feel someone has wronged us and treated us as if we were worthless.
- Although we’re all born with certain innate characteristics and tendencies, children are “calibrated” by their family of origin. If their family is chaotic or violent, over time they will adjust to that level of chaos or violence. They don’t have a choice. They become desensitized and habituated. That’s why, as adults, we’re attracted to what’s familiar, even if it’s dysfunctional or abusive.
- Victims of childhood trauma who do not get treatment are allowing their perpetrators to continue victimising them day after day. Most do so in ignorance, not even understanding why they feel the way they do, but that does not change the reality of continuing victimisation.
- If it were, and could be, readily articulated and made coherent, it would not have a traumatic hold over the protagonist. However, fiction, like the unconscious, allows the writer to work creatively through metaphor (setting, place, time, objects, events, encounters, characters, dialogue and register) around the problem of trauma being outside language, just as the unconscious does via symptoms. This indirect approach makes engaging with trauma both relatively safe and bearable. Both the unconscious and fiction use form, sequence of events, characters, settings and physicality of the body as an external means to express or allude to what cannot be said or known of inner reality and emotional experience by manifesting a presence that communicates something of what is not said or processed.
- For adult survivors to recover a capacity to recognise and render intelligible the connection between their present way of life and past trauma, they need to be able to—like fiction—have a holding a space within which to observe, know, give meaning to and see the structure in their personal story.
- By observing a survivor within their story, or by reading a survivor’s writing, the reader gains a similar ability to find clarity, to recognise and speak of what is going on or has gone on. Trauma can be worked through in therapy, theorised in psychology, read about in trauma fiction and written as fiction by an adult survivor of childhood complex trauma and each approach asserts an intelligible pattern. In doing so it builds a kind of mastery over, or independence from, the perverse, destructive power of abuse. These different, yet similar ways of knowing, engaging with, listening to, articulating and working through trauma create different experiences, dialogues, outcomes and values, which together, broaden and thus enrich and empower our understandings, creating more effective ways to alleviate suffering.
- The effects of complex trauma on a survivor’s adult life are far-reaching and yet defy being consciously known. They may not always be able to be put into words but in fiction can be indirectly represented by showing how unmanageable and dangerous content is when it is sublimated through symptoms, reactions and fear.
- To observe in fiction a protagonist/survivor coming to see things differently, and in turn to be different, builds an awareness of how survivors in life can come to know their trauma, what the experiences have meant to them, and how this knowledge is implicated in who they have become. This, in turn leads to a realisation that, as adults, they can create better lives for themselves and give new meaning to their traumatic experience.
- To varying degrees, the memory of the battering incidents is state-dependent or dissociated, and thus only comes back in full force during renewed situations of terror.
- A central component is captivity, the lack of permeability, and the absence of outside support or influence.31,62,119,145
- Studies in the Wisconsin primate laboratory have shown that, even after an initial good social adjustment, heightened emotional or physical arousal causes social withdrawal or aggression.86 Even monkeys that recover in other respects tend to respond inappropriately to sexual arousal and misperceive social cues when threatened by a dominant animal.4,95,101
- Janet75 thought that traumatic memories of traumatic events persist as unassimilated fixed ideas that act as foci for the development of alternate states of consciousness, including dissociative phenomena, such as fugue states, amnesias, and chronic states of helplessness and depression. Unbidden memories of the trauma may return as physical sensations, horrific images or nightmares, behavioral reenactments, or a combination of these. Janet showed how traumatized individuals become fixated on the trauma: difficulties in assimilating subsequent experiences as well.
- In one study of adults who who had recently been in accidents,68 57 per cent showed behavioral re-enactments, and 51 per cent had recurrent intrusive images.
- The frequency with which abused children repeat aggressive interactions has suggested to Green53 a link between the compulsion to repeat and identification with the aggressor, which replaces fear and helplessness with a sense of omnipotence. There are significant sex differences in the way trauma victims incorporate the abuse experience. Studies by Carmen et al.22,71 and others indicate that abused men and boys tend to identify with the aggressor and later victimize others
- People who are exposed early to violence or neglect come to expect it as a way of life.
- here is often persistent chronic anxiety that can be interpreted as partial somatosensory reliving, dissociated from visual or linguistic representations of the trauma.141
- They sum up the conclusions of many students of this problem in stating that "self-destructive activities were not primarily related to conflict, guilt and superego pressure, but to more primitive behavior patterns originating in painful encounters wih hostile caretakers during the first years of life."
- Several neurotransmitters have been shown to be affected by inescapably fearful experiences in animals; they have low resting cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) norepinephrine, but under stress they respond with much higher elevations than other animals. Something has disturbed the organisms capacity to modulate the extent of arousal.37,95,115,116,142 Dysregulation of the serotonin system has been implicated in this.123,139
- Human beings are strongly dependent on social support for a sense of safety, meaning, power, and control.14,15,93 Even our biologic maturation is strongly influenced by the nature of early attachment bonds.137 Traumatization occurs when both internal and external resources are inadequate to cope with external threat. Physical and emotional maturation, as well as innate variations in physiologic reactivity to perceived danger, play important roles in the capacity to deal with external threat.77 The presence of familiar caregivers also plays an important role in helping children modulate their physiologic arousal.146 In the absence of a caregiver, chidren experience extremes of under-and over arousal that are physiologically aversive and disorganizing.38 The availability of a caregiver who can be blindly trusted when their own resources are inadequate is very important in coping with threats. If the caregiver is rejecting and abusive, children are likely to become hyperaroused. When the persons who are supposed to be the sources of safety and nurturance become simultaneously the sources of danger against which protection is needed, children maneuver to re-establish some sense of safety. Instead of turning on their caregivers and thereby losing hope for protection, they blame themselves. They become fearfully and hungrily attached and anxiously obedient.24 Bowlby16 calls this "a pattern of behavior in which avoidance of them competes with his desire for proximity and care and in which angry behavior is apt to become prominent."
- In a state of low arousal, animals tend to be curious and seek novelty. During high arousal, they are frightened, avoid novelty, and perseverate in familiar behavior regardless of the outcome. Under ordinary circumstances, an animal will choose the most pleasant of two alternatives. When hyperaroused, it will seek the familiar, regardless of the intrinsic rewards.99 Thus shocked animals returned to the box in which they were originally shocked, in preference to less familiar locations not associated with punishment.
- McLean93 suggests that language is an evolutionary development from the mammalian separation cry that induces caregivers to provide safety, nurturance, and social stimulation. Primates react to separation from attachment figures as if they were directly threatened. Thus, small children, unable to anticipate the future, experience separation anxiety as soon as they lose sight of their mothers. Bowlby has described the protest and dispair phases of this response in great detail.14,15 As people mature, hey develop an ever-enlarging repertoire of coping responses, but adults are still intensely dependent upon social support to prevent and overcome traumatization, and under threat they still may cry out for their mothers.57 Sudden, uncontrollable loss of attachment bonds is an essential element in the development of post-traumatic stress syndromes.45,88,92,138 On exposure to extreme terror, even mature people have protest and dispair responses (anger and grief, intrusion and numbing) that make them turn toward the nearest available source of comfort to return to a state of both psychological and physiologic calm.
- Chronic physiologic hyperarousal to stimuli reminiscent of the trauma is a cardinal feature of the trauma response, well documented in a large variety of traumatized individuals, including victims of child abuse, burns, rape, natural disasters, and war.2,78,84,107,133,142 Because of their decreased capacity to modulate physiologic arousal, which leads to reduced ability to utilize symbols and fantasy to cope with stress, they tend to experience later stresses as somatic states, rather than as specific events that require specific means of coping.142 Thus, victims of trauma respond to contemporary stimuli as if the trauma had returned, without conscious awareness that past injury rather than current stress is the basis of their physiologic emergency responses. The hyperarousal interferes with their ability to make calm and rational assessments and prevents resolution and integration of the trauma.142 They respond to threats as emergencies requiring action rather than thought.
- In the past few decades, these notions have gained scientific confirmation with the discovery of state-dependent learning; for example what is learned under the influence of a particular drug tends to become dissociated and seemingly lost until return of the state similar to the one in which the memory was stored. State dependency can be roughly related to arousal levels.
- When Harlow observed this in nonhuman primates, he stated that "the immediate consequences of maternal rejection is the accentuation of proximity seeking on the part of the infant."114
- Both Janet74 and Freud observed that early memory traces can be activated by later events that cause partial reliving of earlier traumas in the form of affect states, anxiety, or re-enactments.
- Reiker and colleagues113 have pointed out that "confrontations wih violence challenges one's most basic assumptions about the self as invulnerable and intrinsically worthy and about the world as orderly and just. After abuse, the victim's view of self and world can never be the same again: it must be reconstructed.to incorporate the abuse experience." Assuming responsibility for the abuse allows feelings of helplessness to be replaced with an illusion of control
- Many traumatized people expose themselves, seemingly compulsively, to situations reminiscent of the original trauma. These behavioral reenactments are rarely consciously understood to be related to earlier life experiences. This "repetition compulsion" has received surprisingly little systematic exploration during the 70 years since its discovery, though it is regularly described in the clinical literature.12,17,21,29,61,64,65,69,88,112,137
- reinforce the traumatic bond between victim and abuser.31,145
- People in general, and children in particular, seek increased attachment in the face of external danger. Pain, fear, fatigue, and loss of loved ones and protectors all evoke efforts to attract increased care,8,41,111 and most cultures have rituals designed to provide it. When there is no access to ordinary sources of comfort, people may turn toward their tormentors.14,38,80,102 Adults as well as children may develop strong emotional ties with people who intermittently harass, beat, and threaten them.
- Traumatization also causes dysregulation of the endogenous opioid system in both animals and humans. We will discuss this phenomenon and how this could explain the clinical phenomenon of compulsive re-exposure to trauma.
- As children mature, they continually acquire new cognitive schemata in which to frame current life experiences. These ever-expanding cognitive schemes decrease their reliance on the environment for soothing and increase their own capacity to modulate physiologic arousal in the face of threat. Thus, the cognitive preparedness (development) of an individual interacts with the degree of physiologic disorganization to determine the capacity for mental processing of potentially traumatizing experiences.137,141
- During states of massive autonomic arousal, memories are laid down that powerfully influence later actions and interpretations of events. Long-term activation of memory tracts is observed in animals exposed to a highly stressful stimulus.51,81
- he trauma permanently disturbed the capacity to deal with other challenges, and the victim who did not integrate the trauma was doomed to "repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience in instead or . . . remembering it as something belonging to the past."44 In this article, I will show how the trauma is repeated on behavioral, emotional, physiologic, and neuroendocrinologic levels, whose confluence explains the diversity of repetition phenomena.
- Exposure to inescapable aversive events has widespread behavioral and physiologic effects on animals including (1) deficits in learning to escape novel adverse situations, (2) decreased motivation for learning new options, (3) chronic subjective distress,94 and (4) increased tumor genesis and immunosuppression.143 All this is the result not of the shock itself but of a helplessness syndrome that is a result of the lack of control that the animal has in terminating shock.
- the fantasy of fusion and symbiosis.87,140
- abused children often cling to their parents and resist being removed from the home;31,80
- Interestingly, nonhuman primates subjected to early abuse and deprivation also are more likely to engage in violent relationships with their peers as adults.13
- Children are even more likely to blame themselves: "The child needs to hold on to an image of the parent as good in order to deal with the intensity of fear and rage which is the effect of the tormenting experiences."113 Anger directed against the self or others is always a central problem in the life of people who have been violated. Reikers concludes that "this 'acting out' is seldom understood by either victims or clinicians as being a repetitive re-enactment of real events from the past."
- Because novel stimuli cause arousal, an animal in a state of high arousal will avoid even mildly novel stimuli even if it would reduce exposure to pain.
- Revictimization is a consistent finding.35,47,61 Victims of rape are more likely to be raped and women who were physically or sexually abused as children are more likely to be abused as adults.
- When such negative reinforcement occurs intermittently, the reinforced response consolidates the attachment between victim and victimizer. During the abuse, victims tend to dissociate emotionally with a sense of disbelief that the incident is really happening. This is followed by the typical post-traumatic response of numbing and constriction, resulting in inactivity, depression, self-blame, and feelings of helplessness.
- Walker145 and Dutton and Painter31 have noted that the bond between batter and victim in abusive marriages resembles the bond between captor and hostage or cult leader and follower.
- Reactivation of past learning is relatively automatic: contextual stimuli directly evoke memories without conscious awareness of the transition. The more similar are the contextual stimuli are to conditions prevailing at the time of the original storage of memories, the more likely the probability of retrieval. Both internal states, such as particular affects, or external events reminiscent of earlier trauma thus can trigger a return to feeling as if victims are back in their original traumatizing situation. Thus, battered women who otherwise behave competently may experience themselves within the battering relationship like the terrified child they once were in a violent or alcoholic home.119
- This pheromenon has been attributed to massive noradrenergic activity at the time of the stress.129 In traumatized people, visual and motoric reliving experiences, nightmares, flashbacks, and re-enactments are generally preceded by physiologic arousal.30 Activation of long-term augmented memory tracts may explain why current stress is experienced as a return of the trauma.
- Unlike guilt, which is a negative judgment about an action and is open to amends, shame is a negative judgment about the self and feels permanent.
- If we received abuse, we also absorbed the deeper shame of being victimized. Sadly, the shame that belongs to the abuser is often carried by the survivor, who tries ever more desperately to deserve the respectful treatment which is already everyone’s birthright.
- To help us guess what would win the approval of the people around us, we internalized their judging voices to form a governing committee. The committee could be drawn from parents, teachers, community leaders, religious leaders, siblings, school chums, co-workers, TV personalities, and random encounters, like the guy who sneered as you walked by 3 years ago.
- the incarcerating past
- she is able to stand up to her mother, speak, and leave
- When trauma ceases to interfere with or disconnect the survivor from his/her emotional, and mental life, it creates space within the survivor to give and receive love. The process of translating complex childhood traumatic experience into words moves a survivor from a passive position to an active one.
- I lived in a world of shame. I hid my bruises as if they were evidence of crimes I had committed.
- With this continual addition to the suffering of their in many ways limited and fear-based lives, they become further starved of genuine pleasure, love, security, solid foundation, and understanding, which in effect strengthen a survivor’s false core beliefs about life. By adulthood, the effects of complex childhood trauma are ingrained at a core level and structurally distort an adult survivor’s cognitive and emotional experiences in life, adversely effecting their body and relationship to it. For example, Precious in Push regards her body as an abject object:
- They are overwhelmed and all-consumed by the past, which remains a drama circling their mind, emotions and separating them from others,
- Enunciating what she wants to say and knowing how to write is fundamental to empowering her and connecting her with others, which is essential for her to move forward, have new experiences, and realise her desires. Once she has connected with the outside world, her self-worth, life and world expand beyond what life with her parents has previously shown her.
- He’d always looked fine. The way he looked, that had never been the problem. Or maybe it had been the problem.
- These false generalised beliefs about others and themselves influence their thoughts in any situation that they are in, which in turn creates a perceived reality that mirrors their beliefs and therefore results in self-fulfilling prophecies. In this way survivors inevitably unconsciously recycle their inciting trauma/s (‘repetition-compulsion’), perpetuating what remains unresolved about their former distressing experiences.
- To shrink the past’s domination over the survivor’s present state of consciousness is to free him/her into a life that can authentically proceed as his/her own.
- not only do adult survivors find it difficult to trust but they also find it hard to recognize safe people.
- allows into their world others who are safe to bear witness to their pain, shame, guilt, anger, and body of abuse and consequently experience the unconditional acceptance and support through which they are able to grow, instead of just survive
- mirrors the emotional and cognitive developmental stage that childhood trauma occurred and froze further growth. This creates a lot of pain for the adult survivor because it adversely impacts on social and intimate interactions with others.
- His counselor’s constant questioning of his false self-perception results in Andrés’s coming to see himself as something other than hateful, finished, guilty and evil.
- recongnise the abuser to be human, flawed and complex.
- omplex childhood trauma can, and often does, predispose an adult survivor’s life to unconscious ‘repetition-compulsion’, this need not remain the case. That it is indeed possible for an adult survivor to choose and be differently in the world and so take hold of the driver’s seat of his/her life. However for this to be an option there needs to be an active willingness and persistence towards the necessary internal and external work required to surpass the limiting effects of complex childhood trauma. Commitment, desire to learn, openness to change and a tolerance for uncertainty are necessary to develop the resources and understanding required
- she must come to speak or write her truth instead of hiding it symbolically within her morbidly obese body and out of fear and shame.
- no matter how bad I feel my heart don’t stop beating and my eyes open in the morning.
- xposure to other heroes’ journeys through adversity appears to catalyse their post-traumatic growth.
- that she has been treated as since infancy.
- Trauma not only impacts the body at the site or location of the past abuse, but it is also expressed somatically via paralysis; hyperventilation; pain, sweat; mechanical movement; reactions to stimulus; hypervigilance; dissociation; migraine; night terrors; appetite; flight or fight; acute fear, and paranoia.
- becoming able to write and speak about
- hame and confusion is what facilitates her awareness that she is not the ‘nothing’
- to establish a sense of one’s story assists in deactivating the negatively charged dominance traumatic experience sickens the adult survivor with. By the adult survivor coming to know their complex traumatic experiences in childhood through ‘picturing out’ with words either spoken or written, it assists in cultivating the survivor’s ability to think beyond their childhood perspective and engage with the ways their past negatively informs and prohibits present life. Consequently, this shift in perception forges a way out of being hostage to irrational assumptions, fears, impulsive behaviour and polarised thought processes holding the adult survivor in a child’s simplistic ways of looking, experiencing and reacting to the world.
- her tendency to dissociate from a sense of linear time.
- Mansplaining is when a man condescendingly explains to a woman something she already knows. He assumes he knows more and she knows less simply because of gender. He keeps talking even if she tries to interrupt to correct his assumption. His internal worldview is impervious to her experience and expertise.
- everyday gaslighting is more insidious
- Persistent “unexplained” anger, confusion, and distress are warning signs for everyday gaslighting.
- Harassment and bullying often have an element of everyday gaslighting.
- one person repeatedly ignores the clearly stated preferences of the other person.
- Out of convenience or obliviousness, people respond based on their internal version of reality instead of what happens in the outside world.
- Everyday gaslighting, not acknowledging someone’s words, actions, or perceptions,
- “The most difficult thing in the world is to know how to do a thing and to watch someone else do it wrong without comment.”
― T.H. White
- “The bravest people are the ones who don’t mind looking like cowards.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- “It is so fatally easy to make young children believe that they are horrible.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- “Perhaps we all give the best of our hearts uncritically--to those who hardly think about us in return.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- “Education is experience, and the essence of experience is self-reliance.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- “We cannot build the future by avenging the past.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- That is the only thing which the mind can never exhaust, never alienate, never be tortured by, never fear or distrust, and never dream of regretting. Learning is the only thing for you. Look what a lot of things there are to learn.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
- “It is so fatally easy to make young children believe that they are horrible.”
― T.H. White, The Once and Future King
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SUICIDE, CREATIVITY, DEPRESSION AND THE SOLACE OF SOLITUDE
by Mateo Sol View Comments
Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. ~ Ernest Hemingway (The Garden of Eden)
I’ve been reading Infinite Jest for the last few days, and was saddened to find out that the brilliant author of the book (David Foster Wallace) committed suicide.
I’m not surprised though. For a long time I’ve thought suicide and depression are signs of sensitive intelligent minds. Many online have also speculated that there’s a correlation between high IQs and suicide, as a higher IQ causes the person deal with complex challenges in life.
From my own experience and observations dealing with mentally ill people: when an individual with a higher IQ possesses acute maladaptive emotional sensitivity, it leads them to depression, neurosis and anxiety.
SUICIDE AND THE SELF
Animals rarely commit suicide. So why do we? Perhaps the cause of our own species suicide is that we are the only creatures aware of our mortality and the responsibility of our survival.
A few hundred years ago, life was different. It was simpler. Our sense of ‘individuality’ was way less than it is now. For instance, if you were born into a carpenter family you had to be a carpenter as well. That’s how it worked.
There wasn’t a decision involved on our part, instead, we were part of groups (families, castes etc.) and had jobs and statuses in society. Marriages were more for convenience than for love, Kings only married into their own blood and if you were born a peasant you could never have the aspiration to be a King, like you can now to become a President. Back then, our stories were already written. All we had to do was act them out.
But slowly, as our society has evolved, and we’ve been given the responsibility for our destinies and futures, we are told that we can become anything we want if we try hard enough. Thus, our lives have become much more troublesome. Freedom can become a burden.
Freedom of choice places the whole blame and regret of failure on the shoulders of the individual. In the old Indian cast system, for example, suicides were almost non-existent. An untouchable never aspired to become a Brahman, rather, he accepted his cast, and his main concern was to find food and shelter. There was no time to worry about depression and suicide.
These days, intelligent people can truly see the magnitude of the scope of possibilities available to them, more than the rest of people around them. This causes them to see through many of the fallacies of society and the meaninglessness of the routine existences and pursuits we all value so dearly.
THE SELF AND OTHERS
When I write of the ‘self’ I refer to our ego, our sense of identity and separateness from everyone else.
With Western ‘Individuation’, we have the gift and curse of ambitions, the pressure of comparing ourselves against each other, and the tension of considering how much we’ve progressed towards our goals of success. Not only that, but with “individuality” comes a stronger sense of who we are, a personality. You can’t be conscious of yourself as a separate individual unless you have another person to compare yourself with.
With this sense of self or ‘identity’ comes a sense of self-worth, which is easily malleable, especially during childhood. Any traumatic experience in our formation years can lead to a maladaptive emotional sensitivity.
- Therefore, as we can see, your social development influences your emotional development which is responsible for your ability to cope with risky or stressful situations. Your emotional development is also influenced by your relationship with your parents as you grew up. Bad experiences or poor relationships lead to greater mistrust and unhappiness in life, and eventually even suicide.
- Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know. ~ Ernest Hemingway (The Garden of Eden)