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Just a note that nowadays the SNR is considered to be fight/flight/freeze. Freeze response is just as common in nature but was largely ignored by psychology researchers due to a lack of access to female test subjects, who skew toward freeze more often than fight. I can't recommend The Body Keeps the Score enough, which goes into very deep and well-researched detail regarding trauma, anxiety, depression, and the body's response to it.
I'm sorry to hear that her therapy caused her flashbacks that were so bad that she had to quit. I don't know how long ago that was, but could she be convinced to try again? There are a lot of therapists now who specialize in trauma, and they have a lot of good evidence that somatic treatments like EMDR are extremely effective for PTSD and Complex PTSD.
It's only very recently that anyone has had any idea how to treat PTSD, and treatment is improving all the time. Check out The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk, it's an excellent overview of how PTSD and trauma affect the body, and the various treatment options.
She definitely needs a trauma therapist, though, especially since she's already had flashbacks. They will start the treatment with helping her grow her emotional resources so that the flashbacks won't overwhelm her. The whole idea is to take it at a manageable pace so it's not terrifying. As someone dealing with Complex PTSD, I can say that trauma therapy has been the hardest thing I've ever done, and also that it's only thing that could possibly help me live my life fully.
I'm sorry to hear that her health is failing. Her life is NOT over in her 60s, she still potentially has many years left, and it must be so hard to see her in despair like this. Hugs for you if you want them. <3
This is a great explanation.
The book “The Body Keeps the Score” by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk goes into the physical, physiological and psychological processes involved in experiencing trauma, storing it, and what happens later on in life as a result. I’ve been doing EMDR therapy for some time now, and it has really helped to start to heal the damage. The brain is an amazing thing, truly.
Thank you so much for the book and instagram recs. I started this one: [link] a few months ago but honestly wasn't in a place to take it all in so I am saving it for another time. Gets great reviews. I have briefly looked into EMDR before, but it sounds like I should give it more serious consideration. Thank you again! Off to check out that instagram account :)
Having emotionally unavailable parents is a major trauma for a child. So is having an abusive parent. Therapy can help when done with a therapist you can trust. You might also want to check out r/CPTSD. Finally, the book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk is an incredible source of information to make sense of one's childhood and it's effects on adult life when things didn't go well in the family. I wish you the best.
> Everybody has told me (including my therapist) that I just need to let it go. That it's in the past. And yet these sage-like elders of yore are somehow unable to give me any kind if advice on how to do that.
The past is present. That's the part that some people don't understand. These experiences don't go away until we've allowed ourselves to feel the emotions that have been buried and integrate those experiences back into our psyche.
Does your therapist do trauma work? It can be hard to resolve some of these deeper issues without someone with specialized training in working with childhood trauma. But many of us have healed. It is possible to do it. When you feel ready for it, maybe look into someone who does EMDR? Also The Body Keeps the Score is an excellent book if you want to read more about why "let it go" is so invalidating.
I'm proud of you for the work you've done and that you are in touch with yourself enough to know that there are specific things you want to work on. Hugs if you want them. <3
The book The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk was helpful to me when I was experiencing something that sounds kinda related.
He talks about how if, for whatever reason, a person’s body is lacking a visceral sense of safety they can potentially end up inhabiting states that are sort of dissociated from being completely present. He talks about ways that he’s found useful for folks to regain grounding in their own bodies, helping get back to the point where they feel ok “knowing what they know and feeling what they feel.”
If nothing else, it could potentially supply a more compassionate lens through which to view this sort of thing.
Hang in there. :)
It would be more than okay for you to let it ride, and do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel safe right now. Coping skills are just that--skills, which imply that they can grow/accumulate and develop over time, and the best coping skill is the one(s) you've got right now (not implying you can't post a thread for ideas).
Last month I read The Body Keeps The Score by Besser van der Kolk MD, and I'd recommend it to anyone. In many parts he went into the biology of what's happening in the brain when we're triggered or disassociated or hypervigilant, etc. and just sort of understanding what part of the brain is "in control" during these different states has helped me think about what's really going on and approach it in an appropriate manner ("Ok in this state I read that I'm being governed by my emotional brain and not the logical parts; I need to [cope accordingly]"). I know that not everyone benefits from understanding the mechanics of PTSD on the brain and body, but it might help a bit. Hope everything is better for you now.
Hey look it’s only 2.99 on kindle! the body keeps score
I was raped when I was 17 and it has cast a long shadow over my life & sexual development. I didn't disclose to anyone until I was 25 & I didn't seek professional help until I was 27. I did 12 weeks of closed-group therapy when I was 27 & then dropped it until this year. Both my husband & I are seeing the same psychologist (a specialist in sexual trauma) individually & together.
I would highly recommend buying a copy of The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk. He also has videos on YouTube. Sexual trauma is extremely complicated and cuts to the heart of human identity. Unfortunately trauma cannot be "cured." The work around trauma has a lot to do with identifying triggers & finding ways around & through them. It sounds like your girlfriend has identified some of her triggers and you are accommodating them in your sex life - that's great!
A good way to open a conversation about this would be to say, "I have been thinking about what you said during sex and would like to know if something triggered you. We don't have to talk about it now, but I would like to at some point so we can make sure sex is enjoyable between us and for you to feel safe."
I do wonder if she asked you to do something that was historically triggering for her (fast intercourse with a partner on top), because she feels safe with you and wanted to see if she could do it. I have tested the limits of my abilities to do certain things with partners as a way to gauge if I was "better" in the past. Something to consider!
You are not overthinking this and you sound like a thoughtful partner. It can be hard to have a partner with sexual trauma and you may find yourself grieving the violence that your girlfriend experienced; this is something that has come up for my husband.
Best wishes & DM me if you would like!
You’ve been severely traumatized and at such a young age where you are still learning how to trust people and think of them as safe. Those evil people hurt you and it’s hard to talk about it. It can shake your faith in the world. You can feel shame and fear about it so it’s understandable why it’s so hard to talk about. It definitely affects your body and mind and there is help. So take it as slowly as you want. You don’t have to tell your family yet if you aren’t ready. Don’t force yourself. Telling your doctor will help them help you better. You don’t have to tell them details yet. You can write on a piece of paper that you were sexually assaulted as a child and want help but don’t want to say more. Then hand that paper to your doctor. If they ask for more details, you don’t have to tell them if you aren’t ready. This is a time to protect your boundaries. Especially since your boundaries were attacked when you were a child. They will most likely recommend therapy and so ask them to recommend someone.
You can start by reading about sexual assault and abuse and how it affects you, like shame. You learn the shame belongs to your attackers. You did nothing wrong. And child sexual abuse is so hard because you are forming your personality and how you belong in the world. It’s shaken.
Read up on ptsd and how it can affect you. The events and memories don’t get processed so it affects you everyday. Here is a book about trauma when you are ready to read it. [link]
Go at your own pace. Opening up helps but open up when you feel ready and safe. Ask about grounding techniques and ways to feel in control.
I’m glad you reached out for help. It’s hard to do and you did it. Find someone that you find trustworthy and caring and that won’t rush you. You’re starting your healing journey.
I hear you. I also have childhood trauma from my physically abusive father. It kept me from feeling God for years. I couldn't connect to God until I had worked through it. I just went through cycles of depression and anxiety and anhedonia. The Body Keeps the Score has been very instrumental in my healing process. I highly recommend reading it combined with therapy.
> while prayng/talking at night I couldn't help the feeling I was talking to my ceiling and nobody else. My feeling for religious people is that they just find refuge and relief into their imaginary God.
This in particular stuck out to me because of my own experience. Secular people find refuge and relief in meditation and mindfulness, and there is nothing wrong with that. But my therapist tells me that people with solid spirituality have higher rates of trauma recovery, and I think Orthodoxy has wonderful spirituality and you were born into a precious treasure that is waiting for you to engage with it. God and psychotherapy are not opposed to one another, God can work in you through psychotherapy.
Have you ever tried praying in a meditative way? By that I mean less talking, and more just being. Just sitting silently before God, clearing the thoughts and images from your mind, accepting whatever emotions or memories come to you and offering them to Him, and just occasionally saying the Jesus prayer if you can. But if you can't that's okay, sometimes words aren't sufficient.
I know that many Orthodox look down on yoga, but my personal experience has been that physical trauma necessitates engaging the body in some way if you want to become whole again. By this I mean simply the asana poses, not the spiritual side of yoga. All the spirituality you will ever need is in Orthodoxy.
The Body Keeps the Score explains the neurology of this. Engaging my body caused me to recognize the damage that had been done to me and face it, and in the end brought me to a place where I could connect to God again which has in turn drawn me to Orthodoxy. I do not know if there is an Orthodox way of doing something similar, but I do wish that I had known the Orthodox way of praying at that time in my life. I think those things combined would have been wonderful for healing. Perhaps a priest could help you discern if there is an Orthodox way of doing this.
What I read about therapy is that they should first teach you grounding and coping skills. Like how to regain your balance so you can do things. And this includes helping you to enjoy and move forward in life. You have the right to say you don’t want to talk about something. Even if they ask you a question and say they would like to hear more, you can say no, I don’t want to talk about that right now. This gives you strength because you are strengthening your boundaries and are seeing how they respond so you feel you can trust them or not. If you don’t feel they respect your boundaries, then yes, moving on to a different therapist is a good idea. Therapy really can be helpful so try not to give up on it yet. Now you know what you want better in therapy that you can interview people to find one that listens to you and helps you with what you want.
Yeah, talking about the past helps heal you but only if you feel grounded and safe to talk about it. I see nothing wrong with wanting to work on other parts of your life first. And then if talking about your past will help with your present goals, explore it for a bit. And always feel ok about stopping the conversation if it’s just too much to handle. There’s no one right way to heal. And do some reading too that can help you understand the healing process. This is a good one [link]
You’re doing great. I like that you are trusting your instincts and that you know what would help you. That’s a huge step. It really is. And discuss this first with your current therapist. Usually they need feedback from you to tell if they are going to fast and if they are on the same path you want to take. If they take your suggestions and change, it could improve your therapy experience. But if they resist and insist on pushing you, I would see someone else. There really are healing, good, and helpful therapists out there. Annoyingly, it means trying a few to get there.
Well that's one for Kindle.
A link to the book on amazon. The Body Keeps The Score to get a kindle sample or whatever.
Okay lots to unpack here.
First, you need healing. Life has a habit of pushing your buttons as time goes on, and trying something new/uncomfortable like entrepreneurship is only adding to the pressure.
Second, healing can come in different ways; therapy, self-help, mentors, reflection etc. Spend some time with yourself in a quiet space, park, lake, hotel and ask yourself what you want your life to be like, and visualize what that is. Then realize that whatever you were doing BEFORE is _NOT_ working. Give yourself motivation to change.
Third, until you get this healing you will repeat yourself over and over and over. Why do I know? Because I did the same. Only until this year where I'm getting a better idea of what my limitations were. I'm married, with a happy wife, with a working business! The shit you learn about yourself amazes me still.
Where to start? I can't speak to the exact specifics of what you are going through. But what I do recommend is finding a therapist, meet with them every other week to build a rapport. Also be prepared to find a new therapist if you don't gel with one. No shame, you need help, get help. Just as if you had a complex Tax situation you'd hire a CPA that you feel comfortable with.
Here are some resources I found helpful recently. Mostly books, I recommend the audio books most of the time.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G3L1C2K/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1 - This was amazing for me to listen to on Audible, I have some family with severe trauma and I better understood myself by listening to this book.
https://www.amazon.com/Unfuck-Your-Boundaries-Relationships-Communication-ebook/dp/B07T33HT42/ - I found this incredibly helpful for re-focusing business boundaries, expectations, etc,.
https://www.amazon.com/Four-Agreements-Practical-Personal-Freedom-ebook/dp/B005BRS8Z6/ - Was super helpful for someone like me that didnt initially understand the eastern traditions of meditation etc, but to understand a coda on how to approach the world. I thought it was important enough adhere to it personally.
https://www.amazon.com/Hypomanic-Edge-Between-Craziness-Success-ebook/dp/B000SEJEAK/ - Most of America is crazy, own it, embrace it, understand it.
https://www.amazon.com/I-Love-Capitalism-American-Story-ebook/dp/B076GMVSF1/ - I loved this book, I dont model myself a Ken Langone, Home Depot is a bit shitty as a large public company now a days. But he dealt with a lot of shit in his journey.
https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/national-public-radio/how-i-built-this/e/51949855?autoplay=true - Last one, the Burton Snowboards founder Jake Carpenter. This podcast is great to connect with the journey of Entrepreneurship. Its rough, but likely only we can enjoy it. The how I built this podcast with guy raz is great.
https://www.amazon.com/Rich-Dad-Poor-Teach-Middle-ebook/dp/B07C7M8SX9/ - This was my first "entrepreneur" book I read back when I was in high school (some 15 years go), and it straight pissed me off, but I get it. Money has a lot tied up in it, but my message to you about money is dont let it own you. Its a resource like air, water, food etc,. Good money is enriching, crap money demoralizes. The money itself was the same, how you came about it is the important part.
I admire your vulnerability. It sounds as if you're feeling a loss of control in your environment and it's setting off your CPTSD alarm bells (also called, physiological arousal). I'm sorry you're experiencing this, it must be painful for you.
You are not alone. I've historically struggled with my symptoms flaring up in these moments too. I remember what it was like, so in hopes of helping you get a full night's rest, I'll share a few of my approaches. One resource in particular, was essential for me in learning coping strategies: "The Body Keeps the Score" by Bessel van der Kolk. Truly, it's made a world of difference in my life. Not only in how I organize my lifestyle, but in how I reflect rather than instinctually react in heightened situations (and even in spite of PMS!).
For the symptoms you're describing, these 5 approaches helped my symptoms subside significantly:
Here's a brief overview on psychomotor/somatic therapy (<em>link</em> if you'd like to learn more)
>In psychomotor and somatic therapy...the goal is to form new memories that live side by side with the painful realities of the past. These new memories provide sensory experiences of feeling seen, cradled, and supported in ways that can serve as antidotes to memories of hurt and betrayal.
>In order to change, people need to become viscerally familiar with realities that directly contradict the feelings of being frozen or panicked. They need to replace them with sensations rooted in safety, mastery, delight, and connection. A bottom-up approach trains people in reactivating the brain structures that were knocked out during the original experience of trauma.
Beyond these strategies, one rule I've maintained (which might make you smile!): no major decision-making during my time of month, 🙃
It's okay to feel what you're feeling now. I'm glad you reached out to our community and I'm happy to hold a space for you and listen without judgement if you have questions or thoughts -- only a DM away 🕊
>I think a part of me is afraid to get close to people because they can engage in deceptive behavior that could plunge me into chaos.
It is important to spend time defining your personal boundaries and differentiating your emotional/psychological life from other people's so that you may have more balanced and even closer relationships, yet not identify/invest too much in others. There is a sort of healthy, grounded, and earned trust, attenuated by the knowledge that no one is infallible or unsubject to change, and then there is a sort of impetuous/idealistic/infantile trust, that does not account for anyone's darker half and expects the impossible from others.
I encourage you, if you have the means and haven't already, to find a therapist that specializes in areas you want to face/develop in yourself and in methods that you gravitate towards. Maybe look up terms like cognitive-behavioral, psychoanalytic/ psycho-dynamic, artistic/creative, mindfulness, person-centered, interpersonal, trauma, etc. type therapies. (*Remember I can only infer from what you've posted, you obviously know better than I do what you're dealing with.) You're already here and reading Jungian thought and asking pertinent questions so you probably know fairly well or are at least beginning to see what is working for you and what isn't. Writing about your emotional states/thoughts/past trauma/anything will help you consciously trace your behavioral and thought patterns, so that you may become more conscious in the moment and exercise the little choice that you have more effectively. You might wanna read up on the long term effects of trauma if this is an issue for you that you have not consciously revisited as an adult. Maybe try a book on the subject: The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk
>"chaos resistance muscle."
I like it! �� Follow that thought.