My personal experience with CPTSD
Over the past year or so I have dedicated myself to healing & gaining a greater understanding of CPTSD (complex post traumatic stress) induced in early childhood. When I was 21 (I’m 25 now) my father went to prison for attempted murder I could see there was something different about my family & my personal relationships with others, my relationship with myself & my relationship with life in general. Something I only became aware of in university 2013. I remember coming across a video on ‘codependency’ and view other videos surrounding living in a traumatic household as a child. It was a massive ‘eureka moment’ & breakthrough moment for me. It was a massive discovery for me & a major missing puzzle piece I had been seeking. It provided a lot of answers towards something which was a massive question mark for a large portion of my life.
Core symptoms of CPTSD
The core symptoms including: toxic shame, chronic social anxiety (feeling of social endangerment), total self-abandonment, having an extremely violent inner / outer critic, obsessive / compulsive habits /, a false self (codependency or narcissistic personality disorder) & a malfunctioning fight response which causes difficulty expressing anger or too much of it, a malfunctioning fight response leads to difficulty setting boundaries relationships and also living by personal boundaries which disrupts a persons ability to be self-disciplined (ultimately saying no to yourself).
The major difference between CPTSD and more traditional PTSD or ‘shock trauma’ induced in a car crash or a soldier at war is the violent inner / outer critic, low / no self-esteem and how it affects you on a ‘interpersonal level’ aka socially (talking to strangers, in friendships and intimate relationships). The debilitating symptoms cause the trauma survivor to be riddled with self-doubt, minimal confidence & unbelievably low self-esteem amongst many other painful aftereffects.
Addictions & personal traits of addictiveness
This often leads to high levels of ‘addictiveness’ and addictions to minimise pain, warped ego defences / distorted & covert ways of building attachments with others to gain more love, approval and a sense of control over people & reality to avoid more pain. This leads to personality disorders such a codependency & narcissistic personality disorder. EVERYTHING BECOMES AN OUTSIDE REACH FOR INSIDE SECURITY e.g. people, food, drugs, alcohol, betting & sexual acting out all used in order to keep pain bay and to feel temporary whole. “Pleasure is not the same as joy.”
Often in very ‘dysfunctional’ or what I prefer to call ‘low nurturance family units’ (most families are not perfect and are dysfunctional to some degree) a child’s will is crushed for expressing anger or trying to individuate from their parents… This often leads to addictions in adulthood or at least addictive tendencies.
However, in 2013 because of my own protective layer denial (often an early developed coping mechanism to block / minimise pain) and how triggering I found looking into the aftermath of CPTSD symptoms and the harsh truths surrounding my own family of origin , I didn’t want to look into at all…
The problem with this is that as many trauma survivors know CPTSD is a vortex that only replicates off itself if gone unresolved and symptoms only get worse over time if the survivor doesn’t engage in any self-healing work, group therapy or one to one counselling.
Benefits of healing the emotional wounds surrounding CPTSD
After really going deeper with my CPTSD recovery / self-healing work and researching the topic as best I can, I have tried to narrow down the specific core childhood wounds as best I can so people can begin nurturing & facilitating healing these primal wounds to ensure:
1) They feel better & can express themselves fully without CPTSD symptoms & addictions
2) They can create healthier relationships: friendships, intimate relationships, healthy relating to strangers & ultimately creates an empowering ‘self to self relationship’ aka an healthy ‘intrapersonal relationship with self’.
3) Finally, so they don’t pass on the legacy of abuse & highly dysfunctional behaviours when they have children & start their own family units.
**** IMPORTANT NOTES****
Children by default model their parents behaviour as a relationship template (based on the relationship between mum & dad) & parents behaviour is modelled as a way to develop their own personality. Unfortunately as well dysfunctional parents will ‘most likely’ reenact their own childhood style of parenting on their own children, as thats the only way they know how to parent.
So all in all, its highly important that on a global scale, WE ALL HEAL AS BEST WE CAN. The sum total is greater than the individual parts. Saying this, one person healing from CPTSD could potentially prevent many others suffering inside family units or social circles.
“Through the one come the many, and through the many come the one.” I call this ‘self-relationship theory’. By one person healing from CPTSD that person generates an empower self to self relationship, which then increasing the probability of attracting someone else in with healthy levels of strong self-esteem in intimate relationships, which then if these two people become parents, their childhood will model healthy / strong self-esteemed behaviours which allow them then to move through the world with strong protective boundaries, decreases the likelihood of them having problems with addictions & allows them to love themselves fully & co-create with others in healthy functional ways & THE LEGACY OF ABUSE ENDS ONCE AND FOR ALL!!!
I personally think highly dysfunctional / traumatising families / low nurturance families are responsible for a lot of violence in the world / crimes / terrorism, personality disorders, eating disorders, body image disorders, sex & love addictions, alcoholism, substance addictions, low self-esteem and the majority of the mental health issues. Picture a world where everyone takes part in reducing their own wounds and become walking role models & lower the overall pain & distress of the planet.
Here is the list of the core primal wounds induced in early childhood which are affecting your current adulthood:
**NOTE** Essentially these are mainly interpersonal fears. Some do in fact overlap with others but I tried to be very specific and avoid generalisations. There maybe more or less be these seem to get to the centre of the issues surrounding CPTSD for the most part.****
Here is the list of core childhood emotional wounds:
Primary emotional wounds:
- Fear of rejection
- Fear of humiliation
- Fear of disappointing others
- Fear of negative social judgement
- Fear of not being good enough as you are
- Fear of being alone
- Fear of abandonment
- Fear of verbal & physical conflict
- Fear of communicating honestly
- Fear of experiencing unpleasant emotions
- Fear of full self-expression (fear of expressing both negative & positive emotions authentically)
- Fear of intimacy
- Fear of trusting others
- Fear of failure
- Fear of injustice (fear of being taking advantage of)
Arguably the core emotional wounds could be narrowed / simplified down even further to 4 core primal wounds:
- Fear of transparency (or authenticity)
- Fear of abuse
- Fear of neglect (or being ignored)
- Fear of abandonment
***Note*** You could argue the fundamental core emotional wound of childhood trauma is a fear of not being able to express yourself fully & authentically safely (fear of transparency). Which subsequently leads to the remaining 3 fears listed above.
Hope this has shed some light on your own level of ‘woundedness’ and some food thought on specific areas or blind spots regarding where to put your efforts in order to heal your own emotional wounds and childhood traumas. I know this topic can be a very hard topic to read about and exposes a lot of things you most likely find hard accept & cope with but trust me, healing is SO worth it because you can live of life of emotional & social freedom. I’m not their myself fully yet but the journey has been totally worth it & so glad I embarked on it.
In second part of this article I will begin to write about the manifestations of these emotional wounds in how they affect your relationship with life, yourself & others and showing you the beginning stages of how to heal these core primal wounds.
Until next time
From your friendly neighbourhood coach
– Joshua Leo Stuart