emotional abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, mental abuse, Uncategorized

PTSD and Retraumatization from Abuse

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psychopath image

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.

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ptsd bed

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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.

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psychopath bed

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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abuse, abusive men, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

PTSD from Mental Emotional Abuse

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All people have needs to survive. We need to have proper shelter, food and health care. People need to feel safe and that their needs will be met.

 

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Maslow developed the hierarchy of needs theory in 1943. He stated that people have needs that must be met before other ones. The basic needs for shelter and safety must be met for all people.

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There is no room for fun, learning, socializing or self-actualizing without the basic needs being met first.

The person fails to thrive. All the things other people do are just not the priority. The safety is the priority and dominates the person’s thoughts and emotions.

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When someone is in a living situation where these needs are not met, they are left feeling vulnerable and afraid. The situation is unsafe and potentially life threatening.

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There are different types of domestic abuse. All of them involve the person being stripped of their self-esteem and being denied basic needs that every human has.

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There are men and women who experience violence against them in their own home. There are episodes of violence and there is a constant threat of violence.

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This threat forces the brain to be on alert and suspicious all the time. Your brain learns that it needs to be on high alert at all times, to search the environment for danger. 

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The brain is not designed to be in this state for a prolonged periods of time and damage can occur to the way the brain assesses the possibility and level of potential threats for years to come.

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There are domestic abuse situations which involve financial abuse. People are controlled financially and cannot take care of their own needs. This kind of abuse can keep the victim feeling trapped into the relationship, because they have no means to support themselves on their own. 

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I lived in an abuse situation years ago in which I had to go without heat for most of a very cold winter.

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My money was controlled and I was not “allowed” to purchase heating oil. I still fear the cold and fee post traumatic stress reaction when the winter season begins to make its way into my state.

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When a person is not taken care of and not permitted to take care of themselves, it causes a trauma.

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It is terrifying to feel that you are in danger of freezing, going hungry, going without medical care and any other basic needs. When someone denies you basic human needs it is frightening and creates a horrible feeling of vulnerability.

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Living in these types of abusing situations also causes severe damage to a person’s self-esteem. They may doubt their own ability to provide for their own basic needs for years after the original trauma.

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The feeling of being vulnerable and in danger is carried in the brain and in the nervous system.

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Any situation which is a reminder of the original traumatic abusive situation can trigger a post traumatic stress attack. The person will collapse under the weight of the fear and not be able to function normally.

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In addition to traumatic attacks (like severe panic attacks), the person can have a constant feeling of being unsafe. They feel that any minute something could happen to put them in a place of fear and danger.

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Most people have never been in a dangerous situation of violence of of being in danger of starving or freezing to death. They have never been in a situation where someone threatened to cause them to lose their job unless they were compliant.

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We have lived through an on-going situation of terror and physical and mental abuse. Being forced to go without basic needs is mentally abusive as well as physically abusive.

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It is also emotionally abuse to be shunned and made to feel like an outcast in your own home.  We need to be loved. You need to be accepted and supported by others. It is a survival instinct to be part of a family or tribe of some kind.

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How could the person we trusted and loved, allow us to suffer like that? They made us feel that we were at fault or that we did not deserve to be taken care of?  We did not deserve to be able to take care of ourselves.

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It is difficult for people to understand the post traumatic stress that can result from living in a domestic abuse situation. It can take years to feel safe again or the person may never feel truly safe

 

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..A person who survived domestic abuse trusted someone who violated them in the worst possible way. They treated them like they were not human. It is very hard to truly trust anyone again after that happens to you.

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It is a terrible thing to live with post traumatic stress disorder. It is sad that so many people do not understand how we feel. 

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We have lived through situations where there was a very real threat. In our minds, what is to keep it from happening again. Our good judgement?

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We feel like our judgement let us down already. How can we trust ourselves? With time you can re-wire the neural pathways that have been affected by the abuse.

 

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One of the things to understand is that it is not your judgement that let you down. You probably had a gut feeling that something was wrong, early in the relationship. But you were conditioned during your lifetime to ignore that intuition, especially if the evidence you perceive tells you that your gut reaction is not warranted.

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If you grew up in an emotionally abusive house as a child, then your feelings were not given any priority. Your thoughts and feelings were shut down. So you learned to discount them as an adult. 

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You have to learn to listen to your intuition and know that your feelings are there to guide you, as well as to protect you. Your feelings will warn you about predators and people that are unhealthy for you to be with.

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My hope is for awareness that will generate some understanding. I also pray that all of the many people suffering PTSD from domestic abuse are able to one day find peace and a feeling of safety.

Namaste,
Annie

abuse, abusive relationships, aftermath of abuse, anti-social personality disorder, healing from narcissistic abuse, narcissism, narcissist, narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

Can you Warn the New Victim of Your Narcissist?

Just because we point out the hole someone is about to fall into, does not mean we are being cruel to the person who dug the hole.

We are just trying to keep the person from falling in, because we recognize the hunter who is patiently watching them….and waiting for that person to fall into their carefully crafted trap. 

When the prey sees the hunter through the rose colored glasses he gave them, they think we are demonizing the hunter. 

They are under the spell of the narcissist. The narcissist usually anticipates that their discarded victim will try to warn other about them. Always 5 steps ahead of you, the narcissist has already gotten to the people you might warn, before you ever think of telling them the truth. 

You have most likely already been discredited by your abuser, with lies about your anger disorder, your mental instability and your desire to be vindictive. It does not have to be the truth for the new victim to believe it. It simply has to come out of the mouth of the narcissist that they are now under the spell of. 

You have little to no chance to convince the new victim to believe you about the nature of the abuser. It is just the same as when you were first under the spell of the predator yourself.

You probably would not have believed an emotional ex girlfriend who they had already told you was abusive to them. They will think you are either trying to get the narcissist back for yourself, or that you want to break them up to prevent their happiness.

abuse, anxiety, domestic abuse, healing after narcissistic abuse, healing from domestic abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, overcoming narcissistic abuse, Uncategorized

PTSD from Narcissistic Abuse – Technique for Calming

abuse, abusive men, abusive relationships, aftermath of abuse, aftermath of narcissistic abuse, anti-social personality disorder, dating a narcissist, dating an abusive guy, emotional abuse, gaslighting, healing after narcissistic abuse, healing from domestic abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, malignant narcissistic personality disorder, mental abuse, narcissistic abuse, narcissistic psychopath, Narcissists, overcoming narcissistic abuse, Psychopath, PTSD from domestic abuse, red flags of a narcissist, Uncategorized, victim of narcissist, women abuse, women in history, women's history month, women's issues

Victim Blaming and Re-traumatizing Abuse Victims

Being in an intimate relationship with a psychpath awakens your reality to a darkness you never knew existed. You always knew that there were serial killers and rapists in the world, but you never knew they could be hidden behind a charming exterior.

You consented to being close to the person they presented themselves to be. But you never consented to being intimate with someone who carries darkness within them.

When you hear people say that you chose to be in a relationship with an abuser, it is confusing and re-traumatizing. They make their point by saying that you had free will and walked into the relationship with open eyes.

They do not understand the mind manipulatiin of a psychopath and how your reality was very different at the beginning of the relationship than it is now.

Not only do you have to come to terms with the cognitive dissonance of the two different realities…the person you thought you were sleeping with….and the person you were actually sleeping with……

You now have to listen to this other proposed reality that you went into the relationship with an abuser with open eyes and free choice.

Only two kinds of people would say this to you….Pathological narcissists….and very closed minded judgemental people who think they are better than you, because of course…it would never have happened to them!

The narcissists that post comments like this on the youtube blogs of survivors are sadistically gaslighting the victims. They are intentionally twisting your reality,  which they are fully aware has already been twisted by one of “their kind.”

Victim blaming is most often instigated by pathological narcissists. Other people may believe their lies because they are being manipulated by the narcissist. So the very people saying that no one can have their mind manipulated….are having their own minds manipulated….and their beliefs fed to them by a narcissist.