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Twilightprincess
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29 May 2022, 6:33 pm

Sometimes I feel the need to talk about my trauma, but I can’t talk about it with people in person, not even my therapist who I’ve been seeing for years or close family members. Whenever I would try to do a trauma narrative in therapy, I was so distressed that we couldn’t get to it. It’s like I couldn’t talk. I did struggle with mutism when I was a young adult. This feels sort of similar.

For those that have had a similar experience, how do you deal with it?


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Twilightprincess
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29 May 2022, 10:11 pm

It’s just this millstone around my neck. I have been triggered recently by a couple of things, so that’s part of the problem.


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kraftiekortie
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29 May 2022, 10:24 pm

Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud, treated PTSD victims during World War II.

This might have more relevance to your situation than you think.

It’s good to talk about trauma….but it’s hard to know how it would affect you.

Trauma was done to you, and has forced you into a life you didn’t want. It’s not fair that you have to make the effort to alleviate it.



Dillogic
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29 May 2022, 11:16 pm

I never have problems with professionals and such as I guess that's how I see it, even though I liked my old psychiatrist as a person (we tended to talk more about life than therapy). The same with random people that have experienced similar.

I have trouble speaking about such with people that I know well, anyone ever close to me. I also don't like attention and/or people feeling bad for me (I appreciate the latter, but I guess that comes under feeling like a burden).

Maybe find a place where people talk about your specific trauma? Use that as a stepping stone or the final step if all you need is to put it out there.



Twilightprincess
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30 May 2022, 10:57 am

kraftiekortie wrote:
Anna Freud, daughter of Sigmund Freud, treated PTSD victims during World War II.

This might have more relevance to your situation than you think.

It’s good to talk about trauma….but it’s hard to know how it would affect you.

Trauma was done to you, and has forced you into a life you didn’t want. It’s not fair that you have to make the effort to alleviate it.


It’s not even like I’m worried about how it will affect me. It’s more like I can’t talk about it.


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Twilightprincess
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30 May 2022, 10:59 am

Dillogic wrote:
Maybe find a place where people talk about your specific trauma? Use that as a stepping stone or the final step if all you need is to put it out there.


I could maybe try something like that, but I don’t think there’s anything in my area.


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IsabellaLinton
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30 May 2022, 11:54 am

I have trouble speaking about trauma as well. In the beginning I was inpatient at hospital. When I met my trauma therapist I was mute for almost two months. I curled in a ball under his desk and wouldn't even look at him. That continued until I felt safe and our therapeutic relationship lasted ten years. He was old-school and did unusual things like meeting me out-of-office for exposure therapy (in shopping malls, parks, etc.) to help me overcome agoraphobia and walk me through the steps of talking to strangers. I didn't have to say a lot to him. He knew the basics of what I'd been through and could read my body language to see which skills I should develop next.

That being said I know he was one-of-a-kind and I was blessed to have him. I can't find anyone like that now.

Beyond therapy my greatest recovery has been through writing. I'm writing a semi-autobiographical book to purge my feelings. On days when I don't write, I write in my journal. Recording the bad memories and purging the feelings through written words is just as effective as talk therapy in my opinion, as long as you supplement the therapy with some sort of learning (videos, reading, OT, etc.)

Here's a few ideas if you don't like talk therapy:

Trauma is stored in our body, more than our cognitive mind.
You might want to google books or videos about "Trauma and the Body".

Here's a good one:

Image

There's a famous one by Van der Kolk but I don't like him (he was accused of sexual assault)



- TRE or Trauma Release Exercises:

https://osteopathyforall.co.uk/toolkits ... d%20stress.



- Somatic Therapy:

https://psychcentral.com/lib/somatic-th ... for-trauma



- Find a PTSD Occupational Therapist
They teach you how to process interoceptive feelings, alexithymia, and function in your daily life despite PTSD

*I've worked with a PTSD OT for two years and it's been a great help.




- Equine Therapy
I went to a horseback riding trauma program and highly recommend them if you can find one


- EMDR -- Works for many people but personally, it was too much and gave me a stroke


- Watch videos of other survivors. I go through mini-obsessions of watching TedTalks or YouTube videos of people who have survived similar horrors. It doesn't even need to be the same type of trauma, but hearing another person speak about their journey with PTSD can be very moving and therapeutic. For instance, a few years ago I watched an entire YouTube series called "I Survived Columbine". (There is also one about Parkland). The Columbine series consisted of one-on-one interviews with survivors, years after the event. Survivors mentioned trauma support groups that I could access online (e.g., Resilient Hope https://www.resilienthope.org/), but mostly I was helped by witnessing their strength and seeing how they'd managed to integrate trauma to their current lives. I wasn't in a school shooting but that didn't matter because trauma is trauma, and we all heal by the example and influence of positive role models.

-If you do go the therapy route, try a few modalities including DBT. In my experience CBT isn't helpful for trauma, especially trauma experienced by Neurodivergent minds. Keep in mind that you are ND and this will have a bearing on the types of therapy that will work for you.

- Art therapy and Music therapy might be more powerful than traditional talk therapy.

- The most powerful recovery I've found, personally, is through acts of goodwill to other people. I had to stop feeling withdrawn and afraid so I used that energy to help others with trauma, or others who needed help in my community (volunteer work, working with animals, writing about it online, etc.)

- Writing has been far more powerful for me than talking. Perhaps you could write a book or start a blog site about your area of trauma, to help others?

- Lastly, remember that C-PTSD therapy should be different than therapy for Acute PTSD. It should be focussing on your broken self-concept and the way you view the world, instead of recounting a specific event in detail. You might have a combo of CPTSD and PTSD, so that should be measured as well, prior to any therapeutic treatment.



ThisTimelessMoment
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30 May 2022, 12:48 pm

^all of this is very good advice.
TRE - Yes!
Somatic experiencing - Yes!
Writing - Yes!

The only thing I would add it to take it slow. Every time we access the deep recesses of trauma it releases a lot of emotional energy. If this is done too quickly it can be retraumatising. That can lead to very negative consequences which can take a long time to recover from. Less is more with trauma work. Go in a little way and allow some time to deal with it.
And as said above, it really is all about your relationship with yourself. Once that starts improving, everything else begins to follow. Slow and steady.


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Twilightprincess
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30 May 2022, 1:43 pm

@Isabella

Thanks! I’ll look into that stuff.

I started out inpatient, too, but didn’t really share why I was there. I specifically remember one thing related to the trauma that I did while I was there, but when I combed my medical records years later, no record of it was to be found.

I’m not sure if that’s some sort of false memory or if paperwork got lost in the shuffle. Maybe that specific thing doesn’t leave much of a paper trail.


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IsabellaLinton
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30 May 2022, 5:13 pm

ThisTimelessMoment wrote:
... it really is all about your relationship with yourself ...


I agree.
C-PTSD damages our self-concept and our ability to trust other people or feel understood.

People with Complex Trauma Disorder are often plagued by feelings of guilt and shame.
This is because our self-confidence was damaged and we blame ourselves instead of the perp.
Guilt and shame can lead to emotional triggers in seemingly unrelated ways, for the rest of our lives.

I've had to learn what real, appropriate feelings of "guilt" and "shame" are, vs. the trauma feeling.
My mind likes to trick me and tell me that everything is always my fault, but that's trauma talking.
In some situations it's right to feel guilty or ashamed, so I've spent 12 years to understand the difference.

One of the most important lessons for me, has been how to feel vulnerable again -- in a healthy way.
It's hard at first because a traumatised person will automatically withdraw and fear vulnerability.

One step at a time is right.
It's not a sprint to the finish line but an ongoing reevaluation of who you are.

Here's Brené Brown who has some good starter videos for people interested in guilt / shame or vulnerability:



The Power of Vulnerability - TedX



Twilightprincess
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30 May 2022, 6:30 pm

Guilt and shame are definitely things that I’ve struggled with. It didn’t help that I was raised in a victim-blaming atmosphere.

I feel like I’m doing better with this than I used to, but I’m still not to where I can talk about it in the way I need to.


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Twilightprincess
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30 May 2022, 6:34 pm

Here’s an example of victim-blaming from a JW book for young children that I was frequently read. It’s from the Bible account about Dinah:

Trigger Warning





“One day when Diʹnah came on a visit, Sheʹchem took Diʹnah and forced her to lie down with him. This was wrong, because only married men and women are supposed to lie down together. This bad thing that Sheʹchem did to Diʹnah led to a lot more trouble.

When Diʹnah’s brothers heard about what had happened, they were very angry. Two of them, Simʹe·on and Leʹvi, were so angry that they took swords and went into the city and caught the men by surprise. They and their brothers killed Sheʹchem and all the other men. Jacob was angry because his sons did this bad thing.

How did all this trouble get started? It was because Diʹnah made friends with people who did not obey God’s laws. We will not want to make such friends, will we?”

https://www.jw.org/en/library/books/bib ... ter-dinah/

This is just one example. It was pervasive, and it gets much worse in the publications directed towards adults.


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IsabellaLinton
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30 May 2022, 6:44 pm

Recognising the feeling of guilt / shame is a good first step.
You'll start to recognise guilt / shame and how they feel in your body.
I had no name for it before.

Cognitively, I knew I wasn't guilty -- so I didn't think I was feeling guilt.
I ignored and mislabelled all that guilt because I didn't know what it was.
Now I know to read my body when identifying emotions.
Our body is more accurate about feelings than our rational minds. ^

Minds operate by censoring what we "should" or "shouldn't" feel.
Our bodies know better most of the time. ^

Guilt and shame aren't synonymous but they work in tandem with CPTSD.

Guilt: The feeling or belief that you did something bad.

Shame: The feeling or belief that you ARE something bad.



We experience both because we were so helpless during trauma.
We allowed other people to define our self-worth with a series of harsh judgements.

The first step in therapy is to identify those feelings.

If you aren't ready to talk about it, don't talk about it.
You might still want to write about it, even if it's a private journal.
You don't have to publish a book or led a group for trauma survivors.
Learning from others (e.g., videos, books) is a great way to feel less alone.



Twilightprincess
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30 May 2022, 6:53 pm

One for adults:

“Selma recalls a lesson she learned from the Witness who studied with her. “On one particular day,” says Selma, “I didn’t want to have a Bible study. The night before, Steve had hit me as I had tried to prove a point, and I was feeling sad and sorry for myself. After I told the sister what had happened and how I felt, she asked me to read 1 Corinthians 13:4-7. As I did, I began to reason, ‘Steve never does any of these loving things for me.’ But the sister made me think differently by asking, ‘How many of those acts of love do you show toward your husband?’ My answer was, ‘None, for he is so difficult to live with.’ The sister softly said, ‘Selma, who is trying to be a Christian here? You or Steve?’ Realizing that I needed to adjust my thinking, I prayed to Jehovah to help me be more loving toward Steve. Slowly, things started to change.”After 17 years, Steve accepted the truth.Watchtower 2012 Feb 15 p.29


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IsabellaLinton
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30 May 2022, 6:54 pm

I'm not trying to be an amateur counsellor here, and I urge you to see a licensed mental health professional if you need to. But, for the sake of your recovery, I'm glad you're writing a bit about it.

What you posted is hogwash, as you likely know. Whoever wrote that was trying to guilt / shame victims into accepting responsibility for perps' actions. Because you were a child, you had no way to escape that type of brainwashing or to defend your point-of-view that it was wrong.

There's a chance you still feel guilt / shame about not standing up to those people or defending victims' rights. This is an example of how you might feel guilty (meaning "I did something wrong by not speaking up") or ashamed ("I'm a bad person overall, for not speaking up" (or, successfully speaking up).

You were a child / adolescent.
You depended on those people as your primary caregivers.
You feared the consequences of speaking up.

The important thing is that even if you feel guilty, you know you shouldn't. You've grown up and you got away from that type of control. You risked a lot by standing up for what you believe, and you know right from wrong.

I've seen you defend right from wrong, here on WP.



Last edited by IsabellaLinton on 30 May 2022, 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kraftiekortie
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30 May 2022, 6:57 pm

Ive been fortunate that Ive been able to “talk” about my trauma here on WP.

Memories I had totally forgotten revealed themselves to me.