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Trauma! A PTSD Blog

Parenting is tough in general, but when you are raising children while living with complex PTSD, sometimes parenting seems impossible. Often trauma survivors hold themselves to a higher standard when it comes to parenting in an attempt to avoid repeating the abusive patterns of prior generations, or the opposite may happen. When you are stressed as a parent, you may overreact and be unfairly harsh with your children. As trauma survivors, it's important to stay mindful in order to avoid passing your traumas on to your kids. 
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness week, so this seems like a good time to address the connection between complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders. Research has shown a very strong correlation between the two. Just as people who live with complex PTSD often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, some people use eating disorders as a form of coping as well.
One of the greatest challenges of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is quieting the inner critic. The critic develops as a result of a neglectful or abusive home in which caregivers do not provide a sense of a safe attachment in the child. Many children in this situation will enact perfectionist mode, believing if they could just be good enough or do things well enough, they can prove their worth and earn parental love. However, over time, as perfectionism fails to create the bond the child so desperately needs, anxiety and sadness build in the child.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and shame have a very tight relationship. So tight, in fact, the more shame you experience, the worse your PTSD symptoms can be. Often though, you may not realize shame is what is driving your PTSD.
Black-and-white thinking is common to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you are traumatized, especially repeatedly, you begin to believe that life is all good or all bad. Unfortunately, it’s more common to lean towards all bad, because that is what the traumatic experiences you lived through taught you. 
How does complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interact with making new year resolutions? Society pressures us to make grand commitments for the new year related to how we will improve, maybe even completely change, our lives. Now don’t get me wrong, I think improving your life is a great thing, but the problem is, when you have complex PTSD, failing to commit to a New Year’s resolution can result in your year beginning with shame and depression.
Most people have a tendency to minimize traumatic life events that continue to be distressing well after the event has occurred. We shame ourselves and think, "I should be over this by now," or "it wasn't that bad." Adding even more shame, family and friends may say "Why can't you just let it go?" The problem is, trauma often doesn't go away on its own and no amount of trying to convince ourselves we should be over it will change that. 
Generational silence surrounding complex posttraumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD, often shortened to C-PTSD) and the abuse that can cause it makes growing up in a physically, mentally or emotionally abusive family especially hard. When family members tell you that you need to just shut up and accept it's just how the family is, you can be left feeling hopeless and broken. This attitude is passed on from generation to generation with the expectation that the next generation will also keep quiet. It is the curse of generational silence and it can feed complex PTSD, but it's a curse that you can break.
Thanksgiving is here, which means the holiday season is upon us; for me, the holidays come with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (complex PTSD, sometimes shortened to C-PTSD). Many people find this time of year joyful and triumphant, loving the hustle and bustle. When you live with complex PTSD, however, this can be an overwhelming season filled with many emotions.
To stay present in the here and now is one of the great challenges of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Flashbacks and triggers can pull you back to the past and a world that is no longer reality. With practice, however, you can train your brain to stay present instead of tormenting you with the past.
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