Complex Trauma Disorder

IsabellaIsabella Citizen
edited November 2020 in Other Conditions

*copied from The Campsite:

As some of you know I struggle with C-PTSD from a prolonged period of violence, exploitation, theft, and manipulation from a group of people who brainwashed and controlled me.

The hallmarks of C-PTSD are outlined succinctly in these articles:

https://themighty.com/2017/08/life-impacting-symptoms-of-complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/complex-ptsd/#.XcHElkVKgWo

Guilt and shame are central to C-PTSD, so I'd like to contribute Dr Brené Brown for anyone who isn't already familiar with her work. She is known for her research on shame and vulnerability.

I also recommend Kim Barthel who is a PTSD Occupational Therapist who specialises in ASD, neurodevelopmental treatment, sensory processing, and trauma-informed practice. Her work with sexual trauma survivor Theo Fleury is especially powerful.

I recommend their book "Conversations with a Rattlesnake" which I first read in 2015, an interview with both of them, and more info about Kim:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/51931360-conversations-with-a-rattlesnake

https://www.kimbarthel.ca/kims-expertise

I'm also working on PTSD Occupational Therapy.

https://vitallinks.com/course/regulation-and-trauma/

I'm in pain and I always will be, because of shame, fear, vulnerability, and a struggle to feel worthiness.

I just wanted to share. I'll add to the thread when I have energy to explain more.

I'd like to use this space not just for describing C-PTSD, but also to educate others about the best ways to support a person experiencing Complex Trauma.

Perhaps there can be a different discussion thread for people with Acute PTSD because, although it has many similarities to C-PTSD, its cause and its psychological effects are quite different.

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Comments

  • I think I have PTSD, as a result of the gang-stalking I experienced, but I feel anger, defiance and contempt, rather than shame.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited November 2020

    It's possible you have Acute PTSD as opposed to Complex PTSD / Complex Trauma Disorder.

    https://www.beautyafterbruises.org/what-is-cptsd

    This article highlights the key differences of how each can develop, and about the lasting, psychological damage which each can produce.

    A key difference between Acute PTSD and C-PTSD is that Complex Trauma is the result of a longterm, ongoing situation in which the victim is trapped, kidnapped, held against their will, or incarcerated like a prisoner-of-war, with no hope of escape. Their survival depends on the other person and an element of Stockholm Syndrome is often formed. This is known as Trauma Bonding. Being trapped and helpless, the victim's mind adapts by internalising shame and guilt because their sense of self is dismantled, detracting responsibility from the assailant(s), but also because normal milestones of success, achievement, and confidence cannot be met in these life-or-death situations, wherein the person cannot experience liberty or exercise free will.

    Persons with C-PTSD suffer a number of psychological challenges in addition to those inherent with Acute PTSD. They also suffer extreme issues with trust, interpersonal difficulties, emotional dysregulation, emotional flashbacks (triggers) - as opposed to visual ones known in PTSD - and a skewed self-perception which is normally fraught with negative self-image.

    I'm sorry you think you have PTSD from the stalkers. Have you ever sought treatment?

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    I have PTSD and was violent crime victim when I drove taxi

  • Hugs, @Statest

    I hope you are receiving support and treatment for your trauma.

    If you'd like to share or talk about it, we're here for you.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    @Isabella said:
    Hugs, @Statest

    I hope you are receiving support and treatment for your trauma.

    If you'd like to share or talk about it, we're here for you.

    It was a long time ago,august of 03'
    He chose a dead end where a foot path would connect to a main st and could disapear,he put a knife to my throat and requested my money and I gave it to him.It was over fast

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    Wow Statest, yes that would be terrifying, did you continue taxi work afterwards?

    I estimate that for the person who deals with the trauma caused by acute PTSD, their lived experience of it is quite similar to that of CPTSD.

  • @Statest16 said:
    I have PTSD and was violent crime victim when I drove taxi

    That's awful, unfortunately, taxi drivers are often targets of violent crime.

    I hope you feel better these days, it can take a while to feel safe again.

  • That's really scary, Statest.

    I'm very sorry such a horrible thing happened to you.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    I was quite lucky,there was a guy who shot,luckely he survived,in the process of being shot the shooter shot his accomplice by accident and was caught at Mercy hospital seeking attention for the wound.The shooter was caught two weeks later by a fugative task force.

    There was also a woman who was stabbed and also survived.The taxi business was bad then.

  • verityverity Administrator, Citizen

    @Statest16 said:
    It was a long time ago,august of 03'
    He chose a dead end where a foot path would connect to a main st and could disapear,he put a knife to my throat and requested my money and I gave it to him.It was over fast

    Sorry this happened to you. You did the right thing.

    Taxi/Uber drivers are vulnerable.

  • I’m sorry, too.

    You didn’t deserve to have that happen to you.

  • I was stabbed in the head in 1990, and robbed of about $200. I tended to look over my shoulder for a long time afterwards.

  • SheldonSheldon Citizen
    edited November 2020

    🙃

  • @Isabella said:

    I'm sorry you think you have PTSD from the stalkers. Have you ever sought treatment?

    Nope.
    I soldiered on by myself.

    I had a lot of flashbacks, recently, that caused a lot of emotional instability, eventually causing the loss of a very valued friend.

    I'm pretty sure I am over it and have reconciled with my former suppressed memories.
    Focusing on emotional stability, through food choices, such as removing caffeine from my diet, and now including significant exercise, has helped enormously.
    I'm pretty much emotionally bullet-proof, these days. 😎

  • SheldonSheldon Citizen
    edited November 2020

    @Isabella said:
    It's possible you have Acute PTSD as opposed to Complex PTSD / Complex Trauma Disorder.

    Well, if one considers a period of 20 years of acute gang-stalking a considerable time, then I may qualify for having Complex PTSD.
    Yay Me! 🙃

    I will have to study this.

    BTW, It has only been recently that I was able to confront my history of being abused.
    The reason being, it is akin to telling a child that they will be killed if they tell anyone. 😲

  • @Statest16 said:
    I was quite lucky,there was a guy who shot,luckely he survived,in the process of being shot the shooter shot his accomplice by accident and was caught at Mercy hospital seeking attention for the wound.The shooter was caught two weeks later by a fugative task force.

    There was also a woman who was stabbed and also survived.The taxi business was bad then.

    I am so relieved that you lived to tell the tale Statest. That is extremely traumatic. I am glad that you are safe and very glad that you are here with us.

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    @Teach51 said:

    @Statest16 said:
    I was quite lucky,there was a guy who shot,luckely he survived,in the process of being shot the shooter shot his accomplice by accident and was caught at Mercy hospital seeking attention for the wound.The shooter was caught two weeks later by a fugative task force.

    There was also a woman who was stabbed and also survived.The taxi business was bad then.

    I am so relieved that you lived to tell the tale Statest. That is extremely traumatic. I am glad that you are safe and very glad that you are here with us.

    Thanks teach,glad your here on NV

    Funny story about guy shooting his accomplice🙂

  • @Isabella said:
    It's possible you have Acute PTSD as opposed to Complex PTSD / Complex Trauma Disorder.

    https://www.beautyafterbruises.org/what-is-cptsd

    This article highlights the key differences of how each can develop, and about the lasting, psychological damage which each can produce.

    A key difference between Acute PTSD and C-PTSD is that Complex Trauma is the result of a longterm, ongoing situation in which the victim is trapped, kidnapped, held against their will, or incarcerated like a prisoner-of-war, with no hope of escape. Their survival depends on the other person and an element of Stockholm Syndrome is often formed. This is known as Trauma Bonding. Being trapped and helpless, the victim's mind adapts by internalising shame and guilt because their sense of self is dismantled, detracting responsibility from the assailant(s), but also because normal milestones of success, achievement, and confidence cannot be met in these life-or-death situations, wherein the person cannot experience liberty or exercise free will.

    Persons with C-PTSD suffer a number of psychological challenges in addition to those inherent with Acute PTSD. They also suffer extreme issues with trust, interpersonal difficulties, emotional dysregulation, emotional flashbacks (triggers) - as opposed to visual ones known in PTSD - and a skewed self-perception which is normally fraught with negative self-image.

    I'm sorry you think you have PTSD from the stalkers. Have you ever sought treatment?

    C-PTSD seems very probable for children from dysfunctional households. That strange bond and dissolvement of self don't need dramatic external circumstances, at least in my case, they didn't. However, with sensory issues, tortures are possible without any extraordinary or criminal activities.

  • I researched C-PTSD before because I struggled with it, too. I believe it's multi-generational in my family.
    My trauma turned out to be moderate enough to get largely disentangled and processed during four years of hard work in therapy.

    In the article, the thing that got my attention was: C-PTSD includes serious alterations in cognition in order to be able to feel safe in spite of evidence. If it happens for long time, the changes become lasting, while the trauma prevents facing the reality to reverse them.

    At least this is my current understanding of the mechanics.

  • IsabellaIsabella Citizen
    edited November 2020

    I'm sorry you experience C-PTSD as well, magpie. It's interesting to think it can be multi-generational. Given the basics I recall from your childhood story, it does seem very likely. I also remember how hard you fought for appropriate trauma diagnosis and effective therapy.

    Therapy is indeed hard work and involves reintegrating or redirecting one's entire concept of self, and the world around them. It takes a very skilled practitioner to understand and recognise the nuance in our thought patterns. Complex Trauma involves such pervasive damage and dysregulation to the psyche, that I consider it a type of developmental disability. Layer this with Autism and the therapy becomes even more challenging.

    I agree with you. C-PTSD includes serious alterations to cognition as a mode of self-protection. Rather than "just" living in fear or with hyper-vigilance (common to survivors of Acute PTSD), people with C-PTSD have difficulty with their place in the world. Their challenges may include:

    • emotional regulation
    • self-perception and perception of others
    • assessing character and motive
    • interruptions of consciousness
    • interpersonal relationships
    • notions of faith, truth, and time
    • trust (not just of people, but of probability and consistency in general)
    • guilt, shame, and feelings of unworthiness
    • dissociation and derealisation

    Thanks for taking the time to read the article and to offer your insight.

    Based on your experiences (therapeutic, and in general), what do you think are the best ways to support a person with Complex Trauma as a friend, colleague, or family member?

  • Statest16Statest16 Citizen, Mentor

    @Isabella said:

    Based on your experiences (therapeutic, and in general), what do you think are the best ways to support a person with Complex Trauma as a friend, colleague, or family member?

    I not real great knowing what to say be supportive in the positive but I have restraint and wisdom to not say the harmful things other people might say.I am more try not to harm then being proactive.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    @Statest16 said:

    @Isabella said:

    Based on your experiences (therapeutic, and in general), what do you think are the best ways to support a person with Complex Trauma as a friend, colleague, or family member?

    I not real great knowing what to say be supportive in the positive but I have restraint and wisdom to not say the harmful things other people might say.I am more try not to harm then being proactive.

    It would be the same for me as any other mental health condition, help by being a listening ear.

    Without formal training a person cant do anything else safely, it is outside their limits of ability, there is a reason why mental health professionals undergo education and training.
    Equally a person with a mental health condition must not expect others to behave as trained professionals.

    In the peer support situation it will similar to the outline above, realistic and ethical expectations, with a reciprocal element.

  • Exactly. That's why we are here as listening ears for one another, having collegial conversations about conditions that many of us have in common. That's the core principle of Neurovoice.

  • AmityAmity Administrator, Citizen

    A culture of equality is indeed key, no one among us is above us.

  • @Isabella said:
    Based on your experiences (therapeutic, and in general), what do you think are the best ways to support a person with Complex Trauma as a friend, colleague, or family member?

    For me, the most important keywords:
    Acceptance, Honesty and Boundaries. They helped me anchor in reality and re-learn to navigate it.

  • @Isabella said:
    I'm sorry you experience C-PTSD as well, magpie. It's interesting to think it can be multi-generational.

    Imagine being a woman in Germany when the Russians came in.
    The constant fear of being raped, or worse.

    Some women resorted to putting rotten chicken carcases down their blouse, to ward off unwanted attention.
    Is there any wonder why my mother had mental issues that were passed on down the line, to her children? 🤔

  • @Amity said:
    A culture of equality is indeed key, no one among us is above us.

    Well, almost none of us. 😎

  • No one is below us either. Thank goodness we are all equal despite our differences and unique stories.

  • Well, we are all equal in membership rights, here on NV, and we are all equal in being able to voice our own unique POV on life, the universe, and everything/k. 😎

  • magpiemagpie Citizen
    edited November 2020

    @Sheldon said:

    @Isabella said:
    I'm sorry you experience C-PTSD as well, magpie. It's interesting to think it can be multi-generational.

    Imagine being a woman in Germany when the Russians came in.
    The constant fear of being raped, or worse.

    Some women resorted to putting rotten chicken carcases down their blouse, to ward off unwanted attention.
    Is there any wonder why my mother had mental issues that were passed on down the line, to her children? 🤔

    My great-grandmother was half Russian, which helped a lot when the Red Army came and she was at home with two daughters, age 17 and 23.
    A solid bunch of native Russian swearing turned out surprisingly effective in keeping the soldiers away.

    But yes, I understand my family history as multi-generational C-PTSD. I can trace it to my grandmother, a very sensitive person who survived WWII in Warsaw, but I suspect the roots to be deeper - her mother survived 3 wars and 2 revolutions.

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