Category: gentle kindness coaching
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.
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Red Flags of a Psychopathic Narcissist
When you are with a devil of a partner, you do not see their dark side at first. The really good predators are skilled at creating a shared psychosis…an illusion that you are two perfectly matched souls….destined to be together
When you are with an authentic partner, who has true compassion for you, they do not feel the need to state things like….
I have compassion for you.
I don’t usually have compassion for other people, but I have compassion for you.
Other people do not really understand you or see you. But only I see the real you.
No one sees your talent but me.
I am the only one who has really loved you.
I am the only one who could really love you.
You are so different from other people that I am the only one who understands you.
You are too special to be with anyone but me.
No one will love you the way I do.
You are the only one who can save me.
I would die without you.
You would die without me.
You and I do not belong in this world.
We are nothing without each other.
You can only do great things if you are with me.
I will kill myself if you leave me.
I will kill myself if you….
I will kill myself if you don’t….
My life was nothing before you.
You don’t need anyone but me.
Your friends are not really your friends. Only I am.
Everyone always lets me down in the end.
Everyone disappoints me sooner or later.
Every relationship I have ends up with them abusing me. You will do the same.
Everyone leaves me. So will you.
No one is willing to give me what I need.
I never get enough help from anyone.
People should help me and do what I ask, without wanting something in return.
If you really loved me you would not expect things in return for doing everyhing I ask you to do.
How can I believe you love me if you are not waiting by the phone when I call?
How can you do things for other people when I am so needy?
How can you do things for yourself (like take a shower) without checking that I am okay first?
I should not have to be there for you to prove my love.
Love is about you being there for me and doing things for me that I can do myself.
Love is being there for me when you have an impotant business meeting to go to.
Love is being there for me, when your friend or family member has an emergency.
Love is about being there for me when you have an emergency.
Love is being there for me when you are sick or sleep deprived.
Love is giving up all your friends and family for me.
Love is you knowing that my job is more important than yours, but that I not help you pay your bills.
Love is YOU paying attention to MEEEEEE and me ignoring, rejecting, demeaning, minimizing and lying about you.
Nurturing Emotional Wounds
Emotions should be treated with kindness and a gentle spirit. When an emotions feels like it is too overwhelming you can console that feeling and care for it.
Think of your emotions and feelings as children who need to be taken care of and nurtured. If you abandon your feelings they will only grow more. You have to walk with them and hold their hand.
When you feel sadness, grief or anger there is always a reason for it. Sometimes the reason is obvious and other times the emotion is coming from an old emotional wound.
Emotions are always trying to tell you something. They are trying to protect you from something.
It can feel like we cannot handle feeling the emotions and so we try to bury and repress them. But this is a way of abandoning ourselves.
You have already been abandoned by other people in your life. You have been rejected by people and hurt by people. Your emotions are telling you that you need to be cared for.
Self love is a powerful thing. It is not selfish , even though you may have been taught that way. Often the people that discourage us from caring about our own feelings, do so for their own agenda.
In another words, they try to get you to forget about your needs and feelings, because they are protecting their own needs and feelings. This is kind of hypocritical …isn’t it?
Refusal to listen to your emotions will cause you to break down and become fractured. Emotional wounds are often fractures parts of you that were hurt and abandoned at an early age.
These fractured child parts are trying to get your attention. They want to know that you have not abandoned them. Your inner child needs to know that it has not been abandoned by you too.
Nurture your pain.
When emotional pain comes up please nurture it as you would a sick child. Care for your feelings and console those wounded parts of yourself. Ask them what they need and have not been getting.
You can find ways to heal the emotions if you listen to them first. It is not selfish to care about your own feelings and the needs of your emotional body. Your emotional health is connected to all of you.
Separation from the emotional body
In order to give of yourself, you have to have something left to give. When we neglect emotional wounds, part of ourselves becomes separated from the whole.
You need to be whole and your emotions need to be integrated with all of you. Your spiritual health and emotional health are connected. Your physical health is also connected to your emotions.
Listen to your inner child and all of your emotions and feelings. Nothing comes up for no reason. There is always a reason if you are feeling something.
You have much to offer the world. You are a unique person with very special gifts to offer and to explore.
Acceptance of self
Everything about you will flow better when you nurture your feelings. Do not abandon yourselves by stuffing down your emotions. Allow your feelings to be accepted without judgement.
You can survive the feelings as you experience them as a caretaker. You may fear that you will be overwhelmed by your emotions but you cannot push them away from you.
Old emotional wounds
When you nurture and care for your feelings, the pain will release from you. You may find that the root causes are from long ago and the wounds have been re-opened by some person or situation.
If this happens then the old emotional wounds were never healed from the past. They are coming up in order to ask you to care for them.
Forks in the Road
This is my late night rambling. Any typos will be fixed tomorrow. This is a stream of consciousness writing. ….
Sometimes we grieve for a thing we missed out on. This might be a person we thought we were meant to be with. Or it might be a situation like a job or a certain path we imagined was right for us.
But we really do not know what would have awaited us, had we ended up with that thing we were sure we wanted.
Think of a person that you ended up wishing you had never wanted to be in a relationship with. You were sure it was what you wanted at the time, but as time passed it was not what you pictured the relationship to be.
There is also some situation that you were sure you wanted that eventually turned out to be a devastating disappointment. What if you had never gotten it?
You might still be grieving the loss of what you imagined the outcome to be.
There is no way to know if you really missed out on a “dream job” because what you imagined it would be like is probably not how you would have felt once you were in it.
And that person you thought would have been the perfect partner…so much so that you compare your other relationships to that one perfect relationship that you imagine you missed by a hair….
Maybe you did something that you consider a mistake and it kept you from following along that particular path you thought was the “right” one.
While you spend your energy lamenting these imagined scenarios and how well they would have gone, you may be missing the inner voice that is calling toward something much better.
Rather than a loss of great magnitude, some of these things you missed out on may have ended up being the very things that would have kept you from the wonderful things you have yet to experience.
We sometimes feel that we are at a “fork in the road” and that if we choose the wrong path it will completely change our lives. But you are still you even after a seemingly dramatic choice.
You never know where any path will lead or many more moments of truth will seem to present themselves. It could be that you would wind down one path, only to find it ended up joining with the second one anyway, further down the road.
It is important that you know your values and what you believe in. It is also important that you are open to seeing things in a new light, if the facts you come across show you a new way of looking at things.
There are very few, if any, paths that have a certain right or wrong way…at least not one you cannot correct , change or adapt to.
It is when you go against your inner voice and reject yourself that you get into trouble. You must honor your inner voice and allow it to guide you.
Do not reject yourself for the sake of pleasing someone else.
The sooner you learn to respect yourself and your resiliency, the sooner you can begin to have confidence that whatever direction you walk, that feels right, will eventually lead you someplace where you will be okay.
Follow Your Meaningful Path
Your life direction is inside of you. Don’t let other people talk you into following the wrong path.
If something does not feel right to you, then it isn’t right for you. Listen to your own feelings and the sensations on your body.
Your inner voice will direct you to follow your purpose.
You need to differentiate between your true voice and the inner tapes that were put into your brain by other people.
Negative thoughts about yourself are bad programming, usually installed during childhood and reinforced by abuse during adulthood.
Your dreams are important.
Your special talents are needed by people in the world. If you feel inspired to follow a certain path, don’t let people tell you that you cannot or should not do it.
Look into your own mind and soul for your purpose and for what really would make you happy.
Anxiety and depression are ways your true self has of letting you know that changes need to be made in your life.
Past trauma needs to be healed and memories need to be integrated. It is important that the inner tapes …that tell you that you are unworthy… do not hold you back.
Find your path. It is never too late.
Toxic Abusive Narcissistic People
Love and Magic is Still Left in the World
photo from thispets.com and pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/372250725428831322/
Look at this baby giraffe. Isn’t it cute? This reminds me that there is magic and love in the world.
photo by me. This is an old woman holding my hand. I used to take care of her years ago, She had a wonderful soul and heart. I have always loved this picture of our hands together.
picture from Pinterest https://www.pinterest.com/pin/372250725428847581/