Category: domestic violence
Setting Boundaries with Manipulative People
- Other people do not get to decide what upsets you and what does not.
- Other people have no frame of reference about your life, to be able to decide if you are being “too sensitive” or “hyper sensitive” . No…they just don’t get to!
- Shaming someone is not love or support in any way, no matter how they attempt to twist things around to convince you. No shaming! Don’t accept it!
- People do not have the right to tell you how to perceive reality or to question you perception of reality. No they don’t! Just say NO !
- You are completely entitled to your feelings and to feel hurt when someone is….. mean, disrespectful, inconsiderate, selfish, sarcastic, deceitful, dishonest, disappointing, exploitative, condescending or minimizing to your reality. (image from Pinterest link HERE)
- Someone insisting you perceive things the way they tell you to all the time is gaslighting you.
- You have the right to a conversation with a loved one about abusive or hurtful behavior. You are not being abusive to them when you point out behavior that hurts you and express your feelings about that behavior!!!
- Conversations about your feelings that always turn around somehow to be about their feelings, is a red flag of narcissistic abuse.
- No demeaning behavior, embarrassing you, disrespectful behavior or condescending attitudes have to be tolerated. It does not prove that you love them…it is just evidence that you have been desensitized to that kind of treatment.
- Excuses for their behavior that make you the cause of it, are UNACCEPTABE !
*PLEASE NOTE **If you are in an abusive relationship with someone that you fear may become violent, then please do not provoke them ! …. Get help, and carefully plan your escape from them. …..Do not risk violence to yourself or your children….. Pathological people can suddenly become much more violent when confronted by a partner.
Thoughts on Depression and C-PTSD from emotional Abuse
Depression can make you feel like staying in bed and not interacting with other people. You know that if you go out of the house, you will feel different and out of place.
Other people will not understand your inner world. You feel like you will be forced to put on a mask to fit in. It is difficult to function.
You get more and more internalized. So you self isolate, and limit your social interactions. This is understandable because certain kinds of interactions can be emotionally traumatizing.
You feel like the one person that is out of place in the world. You sit alone and hear the thoughts that come up from your subconscious. Thoughts that there is something wrong with you.
Some of the feelings you get are from emotional flashbacks. There are things that happened and ways you were rejected during childhood that cause your subconscious to store these kinds of feelings.
If you can identify the false beliefs behind your thoughts, then the feelings can be sat with and calmed. You were not born feeling like you did not belong in the world. These thoughts were taught to you….even brainwashed into you.
When you have a feeling that is painful, like hopelessness…try to discover what core belief that thought is driven by. The belief might be that you are not as good as other people. .. Or that the world is unsafe.
If you are carrying the core belief that you are less adequate than other people…that is a bad programming. These things are programmed into children who do not have emotionally supportive childhoods.
Think back to your childhood and if you were made to feel insignificant, unworthy, unneccesary, or anything else negative. If your thoughts and feelings were dismissed, criticized, or made fun of then you are probably carrying CPTSD…complex post traumatic stress disorder.
People with C-PTSD often get depressed or feel extreme anxiety. You may have trouble keeping up with other people or feeling normal.
Those false core beliefs that were fed to you can be re-programmed. You need to question each one of those negative beliefs about yourself. Be like a scientist attempting to disprove a theory.
If you feel that something is wrong with you compared to other people, then ask what things are Right about you. Write them down. Engage in activities that prove you are as good or better at those activities, than other people are.
Look at the qualities of your parents and whomever fed those negative, false beliefs to you, about yourself. What kind of people are they?
Would you consider those people reliable critics? Did tbey have any agenda in which lowering your power would have helped them?
If those people told you something bad about the character of a person you love right now….would you believe their opinion without question? Or is their opinion not reliable?
You can begin to go out and interact with people in small increments. Go over your present state of mind, before you go out…and before you leave your car. You can just sit in your car for a few minutes and listen to music that calms or peps up your nervous system.
How you feel when you interact with others is based on the current state of your nervous system, how much sleep you have had, your mental state, and your blood sugar.
You can think of those categories and assess each of them, before you go into a store or any other place. Then you will feel more in touch with yourself and have some ways to help yourself.
If you are interested in learning. NLP State Management techniques, you can send me a message via my web site
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You are special. Your gifts and personality are an important part of the puzzle of humanity. You are connected with all living things in an important way.
You matter. You have a unique voice that other people need to hear. You have special characteristics that someone really needs right now.
You have innate value.
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Pathological People and Entropy
The Law of Entropy is defined by google as follows:
lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.
“a marketplace where entropy reigns supreme”
deterioration, degeneration, crumbling,decline,degradation, decomposition,breaking down,collapse
The concept of the Law of Entropy is that everything decays, deteriorates, gets weaker, or falls apart over time.
Narcissists believe that relationships follow this Law Of Entropy. They know in their minds that every relationship is doomed to end, after a period of slow torturous crumbling.
The only question to them is who is in control of the deterioration as opposed to who is at the receiving end of it.
Psychopaths and Malignant Narcissists are parasites.
They feed off of the energy, and the resources of other people. Most of the relationships they begin, are with the intention to drain as much from you as they can and use you up.
Pathological Narcissists choose to be the one who ends relationships before the other person can leave first. If the other person ended the relationship this would invalidate the narcissist’s need to be all powerful, all knowing and all desirable and sought after.
If anyone is going to end a relationship, it is going to be them.
Some malignant narcissists are co-morbid with borderline personality disorder. This adds another dimension to their pathology. The fear being abandoned, but they have no problem dumping their victims in the cruelest possible ways.
They take this Law of Entropy a step further and twist it into something that is sadistic. As long as the relationship is doomed and the victim is going to “turn on them” eventually anyway, the narcissistic psychopath will mentally torment them.…perhaps as a way to punish them ahead of time for the betrayal that the narcissist anticipates.
The devaluation phase will not only prove the Law of Entropy…it will take it to a whole new level. This is the design of the narcissist and the psychopath.
The relationship not only decays slowly and painfully, but the victim is broken down bit by bit psychologically so that when the “Zombie Witch Doctor” leaves the victim, they are a broken shell of who they once were.
The term “Zombie Witchdoctor” was coined by Richard Grannon and you can click on the term to watch the video where he describes this in detail. This is a great video that I would recommend you watch. It is not too long and you will see a new perspective on this issue of how narcissists break the victim down psychologically, as well as emotionally.
The Law of Entropy is learned by the victim. They are broken down emotionally, psychologically, financially, cognitively, and physically.
Victims of psychopaths, and other Cluster B disordered people, are often left with PTSD. This can lead to a compromised immune system, that causes the person to develop infections and disease.
*On a personal note… I was hospitalized for infection of internal organs three times after my relationship with a psychopathic narcissist. In addition I was in the emergency room with life threatening infections at least 6 times within a 6 month period.
The body does not escape the abuse, even if there is no physical striking, punching, kicking or bruising that can be seen by the naked eye. Mental pain always manifests itself in a physical way.
When there are severe levels of trauma, and ongoing periods of forced fear, the body is flooded with too much cortisol and other stress hormones.
Check out this article about Cortisol and Adrenal Function.
The victim’s cognitive function is been broken down along with their ability to work and function the way they used to be able to.
Their Executive Function part of the brain is compromised. You can see my video about this topic HERE.
The skills needed to get up, dust yourself off and recover from financial devastation are lacking. The narcissist will leave the victim in the worst financial state that they are able to. This adds to the suffering and the continued mental interference of the victim by the abuser.
The Law of Entropy states that things will continue to break down over time, until there is nothing useful left of them or they die. ‘
The psychopathic narcissist wants to leave the victim is an ongoing state of deterioration, so that they will continue to get worse after the narcissist is long gone from the scene.
They may even check in with you just to see how you are doing, in the hopes to hear how broken you are and how much of a affect they had on you. This makes them feel all powerful and enforces their grandiose sense of self.
Not only does the narcissist see relationships in relation to the Law of Entropy, they also see their pathological space this way too. The term pathological space was coined by Sam Vaknin. I recommend that you watch his video about this topic HERE.
The narcissist tends to move more frequently than other people. Over time their narcissistic environment is likely to break down because of all the wreckage in the lives of people that have interacted with the narcissist.
If you are in a relationship with someone who makes you feel bad much of the time, you should save yourself and get out.
Is Your Partner Abusive?
image from the back of a pamphlet displayed on facebook
Please know that the behaviors on this list are not normal. If your partner is displaying any combination of these behaviors you need to get out. It is not always easy, but you can get advice and help from local sources like a women’s shelter. your primary care doctor, social services organizations and your police.
Abusers become more abusive with time. The abuse always escalates. Be safe and leave in a way that does not anger them. Do not confront them. Remove important documents from your home and keep them in a safe place, along with other necessities. You can leave them at a house of someone you trust.
Take every safety precaution that the women’s shelter tells you to. You do not have to stay with an abuser. You do not deserve the abuse. It is a lie they tell you, to make you put up with it.
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Mental Emotional Violence and Psychopaths
Psychopaths and narcissists will intentionally get into your head. They distort your reality and isolate you from anyone who would warn you about how they are treating you.
They use their minions to back them up and to manipulate you, and the people around you. Your mind in attacked by a kind of psychic violence that breaks down your critical thinking.
The only thing you can do is to leave. If you have to interact with them, then take proactive measures to protect your own brain from their mental attacks.
They will strip you of your dignity and your identity. There is no end to their tactics . These are people with no remorse and no conscience. If you are dealing with someone who never admits they are wrong,. always shames you, or makes you feel bad every time you interact with them…then stay away as best as you can.
Psychopaths are 1 in every 25 people. This is 4 percent of the population. Psychopaths are pathological liars. Pathological liars are psychopaths. If you are dealing with someone that lies all the time, and contradicts their own stories, please get away from them.
The abuse escalates over time. They are nice to you at first to charm you. This is the idealization phase, to lure you in. After that comes the degrading stage, called the devaluation stage. They will intentionally, systematically break you down, in order to control you.
They are control freaks with huge egos. Do not let their masks fool you. They can portray any personality, and pretend to have your values. Watch the behavior of anyone who makes you feel like there is something wrong with them…or they make you feel like there is something wrong with you.
Recovering from abuse from a psychopath or a narcissist, is a painful process. There are many resources to help you to heal and to overcome narcissistic abuse.
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Invisible Illness and Isolation
Invisible suffering..Invisible illness…Invisible pain…Chronic illness….Mental suffering…Domestic abuse…Mental abuse..Narcissistic Victim Abuse Syndrome…PTSD…Chronic Pain…
These are all real illnesses and disorders, that other people cannot see. It can be hard for other people to understand what it is like for you. The lack of people supporting you…or even believing you …causes re-traumatization.
There is the initial trauma of the illness, pain, or abuse and then there is a whole new kind of painful suffering caused by what happens next.
People do not see your suffering and so..
…some people do not believe you at all..
…they do not believe that it is that bad..
…they think you can just “shake it off”…
…they do not believe that you cannot do the things that they can easily do.
…they think you are lazy…
…they think you are a big baby…
..they think you should have gotten better by now..
…they forget that you “still have” that invisible illness…
…they get tired of hearing the same things…
..they lose patience with you..
…you do not want to tell people..
…you lose friends…
..You self isolate…
Yes, that is often what ends up happening. Self isolating can be a relief from dealing with interactions with people. Over time the isolation can cause worse depression.
The only people who really understand are people who have been through it or are going through it.
The isolating process can begin with other people giving up on you, getting tired of you, or not wanting to listen to you anymore. You lose one ot two friends and family members. The you are afraid to lose the rest of them.
You do not actively go out and seek new people because you fear the pain of rejection from them. “Why should you put yourself through this again”….is what your brain is saying.
The isolating can begin with ourselves, because it is too much effort or too painful to interact with other people, especially if they do not believe or understand what we are going through.
The retraumatization can be severe. When people just simply do not believe you or think you are exaggerating, that is one of the worst things you can go through.
Then, of course, there are people who are predators, and they prey on the weak ones, who are desperate for understanding and companionship. If you have been set up and abused, because of your invisible condition, then it is very difficult to trust people again…or to trust your own judgement of who is safe and who is not.
We can also be retraumatized by bad therapists, counselors and insensitive doctors and nurses. I have heard horror stories of what people have gone through at treatment facilities, rehab facilities and emergency rooms. I have also experienced insensitive therapists and healthcare workers.
So where does this leave us? In pain…suffering…in need of human compassion…and isolated…
Some people physically isolate themselves in their homes. Other people build walls up around themselves and self isolate by disconnecting from other humans emotionally.
We can be around people all day long, yet be completely alone.
Some people cannot leave their house or apartment.
Other people just leave the house to go to work, and do necessary errands, and then self isolate themselves in their house, the rest of the time. This would be me…
When you have reached your limit of being traumatized and re-traumatized, then your mammalian instinct of self protection is going to kick in. Your brain wants to protect itself from any more trauma and abuse.
Sometimes the world appears to be a dark and dangerous place. Interact with people is just a risk of being injured, when you are suffering from an invisible enemy.
No one can see your enemy and therefore it feels like you are fighting alone.
You energy is going into fighting against your invisible illness, mental illness, or trauma from abuse. You do not have a whole lot of energy left for reaching out to people who might end up hurting you. You do not have a lot of energy to explain and re-explain to people about your invisible illness.
You do not have energy to make new friends, knowing that at some point you have to explain to them about your invisible enemy. There is no guarantee they will understand you or stick around once they find out, anyway.
Your energy is focused on survival. Your little bit of energy that is left, is focused on just getting through one day at a time. Relationships take time and energy and after a while it can seem like there simply is not enough energy to go around.
I do not have any simple answer for this problem. I wanted to at least validate the people who are nodding their heads up and down, as they are reading this.
You are not alone, in being alone. You may be alone in your house at this moment, feeling isolated and different than everyone else. But there are other people who feel the same way.
The isolating is a normal reaction to being traumatized, suffering mental wounds and suffering pain of any kind. It is an instinct to survive be separating from potential danger.
It is also an instinct to preserve whatever energy is left, in order to use to heal and survive.
If there is any approach to this problem that could work, it would lie in the matter of balance. We have to constantly balance the various aspects of our lives. Find new methodologies for healing and for dealing with stress.
We cannot have the same amount of energy every day. Some days we feel better than other days.
On our better days, we can try to reach out a little bit. Go somewhere with people or call someone on the phone. Text someone or send and email. Whatever is in your comfort zone for that particular day.
There will be days when interacting with others is impossible. But some days we might be able to reach out, just a little bit.
Do what you can and take advantage of any days that are kind of good. If you cannot go out, then try to find people online to connect with.
Who you should reach out to and talk to, depends on what is good for you. Some of you have friends that you can all on the phone. Some people would be able to go out to a place where there are strangers and interact a little bit with them.
Another way to get some compassionate human interaction, is to do some volunteer work. Nursing homes will often let you come and visit.
You may have to set things up, to be a volunteer ahead of time. The people you visit at places like this, will not judge you in the same ways that you are afraid of your friends or family judging you.
Going out of the house depends on your condition. Some people are completely housebound. Reaching out to those people can be a way of helping yourself too.
Animals are also great. Pets are good companions. As you know, if you read my blog, I get great joy and comfort from my bunny. I also like to go to places with a animals. There is a place called Sun High Orchard, near my house. They have bunnies and sheep that you can pet and feed.
Sometimes you can go to speciality stores where the people will talk with you. Some places like that would be: comic book stores, craft stores, tattoo parlors, hobby shops and book stores. Any place where people gather, that have a similar interest.
It is okay to self isolate to a point. Sometimes we need to self isolate for a while to heal our brains. But if the isolation is becoming a problem for you, then do a little bit of interacting on the good days and just rest in bed on the harder days. Balance is the key to most problems in life.
We are supportive of each other here and WordPress has been a blessing for me. I love hearing from the people that follow my blog and I consider the interactions meaningful.
Blessings to all,
Holistic Approach to Healing from Abuse
I recently came across the Native American Shaman concept of Soul Sickness. I found this idea very interesting and it seemed to coincide with other things that I write about. There is a phenomenon that occurs with many abuse victims, which is a kind of leaving one’s own body during the abuse.
The idea is that the victim’s brain cannot accept the level or type of abuse into their reality.
In order for the brain to protect itself from trauma, it takes itself into a derealization / depersonalization state. This is something that you may have experienced if you ever in an abusive situation, or even any life threatening situation.
Depersonalization is a state the brain goes into, in order to protect you.
The feeling of this state is likely somewhat different for different people, but there is similarity in the way people describe this state. The feeling is as if one can see their body and how it is involved in the event, but it is as if the body belongs to another person.
The order of the events is processed, but it is like someone else is doing the motions, and handling the things that are happening. If someone was hitting you, then you would see the body being struck, but not really relate to that body as being your own. You could block your face from being hit but it would feel like someone else was actually controlling those hands which no longer feel like you are attached to your hands.
Derealization is the feeling that the whole scene is like you were watching it in a movie. You may not even really know for sure if it were really happening. You might wonder if it is actually a dream or a nightmare that you are actually in. The scene does not feel like you are an active part of it. It is more like observing a dream or watching a movie.
Soul Sickness. as the Shamans see it, is when the soul has become ill, or parts of it have left the body all together. During a situation, such as sexual abuse, the soul was going to be damaged by experiencing it, so rather than be there for the trauma, it just left the body entirely.
This idea of part of you leaving the situation, because it could not endure it, is the same as the derealization and depersonalization experience. The person is there, but not all of them is there to be traumatized.
But trauma is sustained nonetheless, because the very situation of being forced to go into a derealization state is traumatizing. If the soul, or part of the soul was forced to exit from the body, then you were left with something missing.
Either way, there is a damage sustained by the soul, or the spirit part of you, in a addition to your brain and body.
It is often discussed these days that mental abuse is the worst part of physical or sexual abuse. It is clear that the emotional / mental trauma is even worse than the physical experience, or the bruises which are left.
Even the women who have had acid thrown in their faces, now live with extreme mental pain, and humiliation to have to be forced to exist every day with those scars….reminders of the cruelty and heartlessness of the men who inflicted them.
The Shaman theory is that the soul has left the body and now the person lives as an incomplete person, because that important part of them has fled. The soul need to be retrieved.
They believe in doing rituals called Soul Retrieval, in order for that person to get the missing part back. Before the soul retrieval, the person will live with depression. anxiety and all manner of mental, and physical illness. The soul retrieval process is to help the person to become whole again.
Many abuse survivors experience a feeling that something is wrong with them, even years after the abuser has left.
There is sense that they are different than other people, in a way that makes them carry toxic shame. This is very difficult to explain to anyone who has not been through abuse.
During verbal and emotional abuse, people are called names, degraded, gaslighted, demeaned, and treated as non-humans. Their humanity is stripped from them, as is the humanity stripped from people who are sexually and physically abused.
The experience of sexual abuse is too much for a person to bear that their own body was involved in the acts, so they detach from their bodies in a way to not be a part of the sexual abuse. Later on, this can lead to eating disorder, cutting and other kinds of self harm. There is a disharmony between the body and the mind. The mind no longer accepts the body as its own.
The missing link between the mind and the body could be spiritual in nature. I think that it makes sense to try to include a spiritual element to healing from abuse. When someone experiences rape, or the on-going abuse of a narcissist, they are broken in some way. There is a lack of wholeness that stays with you.
While medications for the depression, and anxiety disorders, which usually follow abuse, can be helpful, it is not the entire picture. We are spiritual beings, and having your soul raped by a personality disordered person, is traumatizing on every level.
I believe that healing needs to be all encompassing of the entire person.
A holistic approach to healing is more likely to generate healing, than by simply dealing with it from one angle. If you are healing from abuse, I would recommend trying a variety of healing modalities.
Traditional therapy and medications need to be complemented by healing methods which speak to other aspects of the entire person. We are emotional beings and mental and physical beings. But we are also spiritual beings, and the spirit is sensitive to being traumatized by abuse, just as much, or more than the other aspects of ourselves.
Most people that have been abused feel that there is a darkness about it.
There is a malicious, dark element to abuse that is carried by the survivor. It is hard to explain to people who have not experienced it.
It is like a feeling of darkness that is carried with you.
I think that this darkness has something to do with the spiritual aspect of abuse.
When someone who has a darkness about them, invades your personal freedom, and boundaries, there is something that you pick up from them. The darkness feels like it follows you into your nightmares, and lingers around you.
I do not think this darkness can be ignored, if we are to heal from abuse. Many people do not speak of it, because it is so hard to define and explain. It is beyond the physical world.
So, let us treat ourselves as whole humans, including all the aspects of our humanity.
You have innate self worth, and that reality was stripped from you be a person that has elements of darkness about them.
It does not make you dark like they are, but you may be carrying that feeling that the abuser’s darkness somehow was stuck to you and you are doomed to carry this darkness in your mind .
There is nothing wrong with you that makes you less worthy than other people.
You would not feel that way, if it were not for the abuse you endured and suffered through. Psychopaths and narcissists have a way of leaving a part of themselves to haunt you, but it is time to get rid of that.
It is unfair for you to have to carry toxic shame, feelings of darkness and low self esteem, just because someone decided to use you as an object for their own dark designs. They wanted to strip you of your power to blossom and to be free. We do not have to let them have their way, years after the abuse is over.
I wish you all healing and peace of mind, as you continue on your journey of healing, love and empowerment. You have a greater purpose in the world than you are even aware of. You are a light that can bring light to others.
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Depression is a serious illness that reduces the quality and length of people’s lives. If you suffer from depression you probably feel very alone because the people around you do not understand.
Having your serious mental health disorder minimized, disregarded, or disbelieved can make the feelings worse. Over time negative emotions that are repressed will manifest themselves into mental disorders and eventually physical illness.
There can be more involved at the root of depression than people realize. Most sufferers of depressive disorders, and anxiety disorders, have old emotional wounds from childhood that were ignored and not tended to. The inner child is fractured and left in an unsafe place.
Feeling unsafe in the world, is rooted in childhood neglect of emotional needs. You did not have to be physically beaten in order to sustain serious emotional wounds as a child and a teenager.
If your feelings were minimzed, especially during traumatic events like divorce, alcoholic parents, violence in the home, poverty, dislocation or other things where you felt powerless….then you were left being taught that the world is emotionally unsafe and that you had to repress your feelings about that.
It does not go away until the inner child is recognized and nurtured. The fractured parts of you are crying to be heard. Continuing to ignore, shove down and minimize the inner child will further traumatize you.
Society wants you to shove down your feelings and stop being a baby. But what if the infant was never loved properly or cared for in a way it felt safe? Time does not remove that infant part from you.
You are not separated from your younger selves. They are a part of your entire being. It all needs to be validated, including fractured child parts that were not loved in the way they needed to be.
It is no wonder that after years of being told to move on, “leave the past behind you” that you now have serious depression illness. It is the same as a Soul Sickness.
We are made of different perceptions and realities. Our emotional and spiritual realities are very important. Putting on a mask every day, and ignoring those parts of you will lead to severe depression and anxiety disorders.
Any pain in the body, or the mind is always telling you that something has been neglected. There are no amount of pills that will fix the Soul Sickness.
Your brain looks for ways to replay out scenarios from your childhood that were neverresolved. You will continue to find yourself in circumstances, and with people that bring up the old emotional wounds.
You have to find ways to connect with, communicate with and comfort the inner child , so that they feel heard and safe.
*for more info, articles, affirmations, and info about coaching for Soul Sickness, narcissistic abuse, hypnosis and NLP healing…please join the mailing list at gentlekindnesscoaching.com
PTSD Re-traumatization and Self Isolation
PTSD is a term most people have heard, but often they do not really know what it means.
If you tell someone you have PTSD, it may be hard for them to know what you mean by that, unless they have it themselves or maybe they have a close friend or family member with it.
People with PTSD have trouble with relationships, but not for the reasons people think.
Once you have been traumatized, and then re-traumatized by triggering situations, you feel generally unsafe and there is a natural tendency to want to retreat…back up your steps and run for cover.
People with PTSD can be re-traumatized by people who do not understand, and by people who are more concerned with their own agenda than really understanding.
When someone with PTSD has certain triggers, and explains those triggers to someone, it is important that they are validated and respected. If someone wants to care about a loved one with PTSD, they need to really listen to that person, when they talk about what triggers them.
*A person that intentionally uses your triggers against you is dangerous to your mental well being.
But then there are people who just don’t want to listen to or respect your boundaries. Your perceptions are not of an significance to them.
Everyone has personal boundaries, but people with post traumatic stress disorder can suffer severe re-traumatization when a loved one does not honor their trigger boundaries.
Some triggers cannot be avoided, such as loud noises that may occur independently from either person. However, talking someone into going to a loud dance club, or guilting them into going to fireworks, when it has been made clear that loud noises are triggers, is abusive.
People who have PTSD from the military, and people who have PTSD from domestic abuse have different causes for their symptoms, but some things are the same.
The fight-or-flight mode is activated by the amygdala. If the brain perceives a threat, even if that threat is not real, the amygdala will send chemicals into the body like adrenaline and cortisol.
The feeling in the body of a “perceived threat” and a real threat is exactly the same. The same physiological responses occur, including blood pressure elevation, and feeling of extreme fear and the feeling that you have to act right away.
Someone who had their jaw fractured by an abusive boyfriend, who suddenly stormed towards them in a fit of anger, may be triggered by someone coming quickly into their personal space, especially if that person is angry.
Once you have asked someone not to do certain things which trigger you, it is a terrible feeling when they still continue to do them. It feels very violating, and only serves to break the trust bond.
Relationships need to be based in trust. Intimate relationships, as well as friendships and family relationships have to feel safe. If one person does not feel safe, then there is a lack of understanding and a lack of trust.
Without both parties feeling safe, the relationship will break down. People with PTSD can find it difficult to trust again, after others have invalidated them about their symptoms.
Sometimes someone will disbelieve you, minimize your trauma, or accuse you of trying to manipulate them with your explanations about your trauma and your triggers. This is very painful and re-traumatizing.
People who have PTSD or C-PTSD from abuse were invalidated as part of the abuse process. Their emotions were minimized, disregarded and made fun of.
To have someone close to you minimize your PTSD, or disbelieve you is re-traumatizing. It gives the victim into an emotional flashbacks or actual sensory flashbacks.
You can only tolerate being traumatized and re-traumatized so many times.
Soldiers that come back from war only to be disrespected by civilians, or invalidated and ignored by the Veterans Administration, are being re-traumatized.
It is a way of invalidating a person’s reality. This has negative effects on the person’s mental and emotional state.
People with PTSD can be perfectly good and caring partners and friends. They just need validation, respect and understanding.
But after repeated re-traumatization, a person feels isolated and too vulnerable to take a chance on trusting another person again. This leads to self isolation, depression, and often suicidal thoughts.
Evolutionary psychology tells us that our subconscious brain feels threatened by the potential that we would be completely isolated, shunned or thrown out of the social circle.
A Little Evolutionary Psychology
In the past, humans lived in social survival groups called tribes. Being accepted and included by the tribe was critical for survival. Being shunned would have meant death !
Our primal brain (called the reptilian brain) perceives rejection by the tribe to be potentially life threatening. When we are feeling a similar kind of threat, it triggers the fight or flight response in our limbic system of the brain. The amygdala becomes active and send all kinds of alerts and chemicals into the body.
Technically, we could survive living alone and isolated these days, but we were not meant to live in isolation… especially isolation due to “mobbing” or “scapegoating” by the tribe.
This is one of the reasons that scapegoated family members, suffer such severe mental and emotional trauma.
People with PTSD need to feel that they will still be accepted by the Tribe (family, community…whatever applies to the situation…).
They need to know that their personal reality will be validated, even though it may be very different from that of other people. The experiences someone with PTSD has endured may seem strange to people that have not ever had that kind of trauma in their reality.
Isolation can cause death by suicide or “failure to thrive.”
Self isolation will almost always cause severe depression. But being re-traumatized is just as bad, and the brain will try to lead people away from that pain.
Our primal brains are designed to take us away from danger, or perceived danger….and towards pleasure. But the “away from danger” is the priority.
Re-exeriencing the feelings of danger, fight or flight chemicals and physiological responses, is not something that anyone could tolerate on a regular basis.
We were not built to feel in danger all the time. Being in a state of hyper-arousal all the time depleats the immune system and causes mental disorders.
People with PTSD need understanding and validation.
They need their loved ones to be sensitive to their triggers, and to pay attention to what the person asks and needs.
Otherwise. the relationships cannot continue in a way that is safe for the PTSD sufferer. The person with PTSD will shut down and crawl inside of themselves. No healthy relationship can be sustained without safety for both people.