Childhood Abuse and Neglect and Why It Is So Often Misunderstood

Symptoms of PTSD, CPTSD and Childhood Abuse are many faceted, and act themselves out differently within different circumstances and are dependent on whomever you are interacting with, at any given moment.

Some of the more known activated responses of post-trauma are; hyper-vigilance, irritability, inability to relax, feeling emotionally overwhelmed, anger outbursts and tantrums, crying, sobbing breakdowns.

The above mentioned can easily be mistaken for; ADHD, personality disorder, being bi-polar, disruptive mood disorder, intermittent explosive disorder, and many more to mention with weird names.

Nervous System Freeze Responses of PTSD, CPTD and Childhood Abuse

Highs, of fight-flight activation of the nervous system, are, in case of post-traumatic stress disorder, almost always followed by lows which result in; lethargy, feeling depressed, feeling worthless, hopeless, despairing, dissociated and being insensitive to others.

Symptoms of PTSD, CPTSD and Childhood Abuse are many faceted, and act themselves out differently within different circumstances and are dependent on whomever you are interacting with, at any given moment.

This response, from a nervous system perspective, relates to a freeze response but can easily be mistaken for: burn-out, depression, dissociative disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, empathy deficit disorder and many, many more.

The Reality of Childhood Abuse Symptoms and Misdiagnosis

These symptoms are indications of the realities of a CPTSD, PTSD or Post Childhood Abuse state. When you get treated for only a certain set of symptoms without a full grasp of your whole condition, it becomes a hit and miss approach. This is frustrating when you're attempting recovery, as it will start to feel as though you're not progressing at all.

The Complexity of PTSD, CPTSD and Childhood Abuse doesn’t stop here. The fight-flight and freeze responses and their symptoms are often followed by forms of addictions and compulsions such as: binge eating, alcohol and/or substance abuse, self-harming, becoming suicidal, obsessive binge tv/internet watching, a workaholic, being promiscuous, obsessive cleaning, so on, and so forth.

Each of those mentioned have their own disorder labels to them, and along with that, impacting on the physical body’s health and associated health problems. For example; substance abuse disorder, self-injury disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, heart disorder, digestive disorder, immune system disorder, etcetera.

Dealing with PTSD, CPTSD and Childhood Trauma

This lack of a healthy overview of how a variety of symptoms are part of an overall PTSD, CPTSD and Childhood Abuse condition/disorder, hurts both the patient and practitioner.

There is a danger in focusing on one symptom only, because a practitioner along with the one who suffers, may find comfort or security in dealing with only one manifestation of trauma rather than the whole complexity of symptoms of PTSD, CPTSD and Childhood Abuse.

A focus that is partial, will never bring about a fully healed recovery of PTSD, CPTSD or Childhood Abuse, and it can become a life long occupation, exhausting for both the patient and practitioner alike.

How to Help Someone with PTSD or a History of Childhood Abuse

If you feel withheld and defined by a certain set of interpretations and limitations regarding your symptoms; start finding and connecting with people who understand you, and are able and willing to hold your space within their attentive grasp. Unfortunately, nobody apart from yourself is going to do this for you!

Which particular set of symptoms of post-trauma have you become overly focused on? Leave your comment below.

  • Bernadette says:

    Freeze response, tightness in body and makes u feel tired and all u can feel is that pain, bloated and fed up and wondering when i will come out of it. Closed off in heart but want to open up but afraid.

  • Travis says:

    Hopelessness, depression, abusive self- dialogue, workaholic I could go on but you get the picture

    • Kimberly says:

      YESSSSSSSS! The self abuse dialogue and hyper-vigilance that lead to anxiety, EXHAUSTION, hopelessness and depression must has me beat down! The most exhausting place on earth I’m convinced is in my own head! I’ve been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, PTSD and CPTSD as well as anxiety and depression. I’m a nurse! Um convinced my mental and emotional pain has been SO invalidated for so LONG that its now manifesting physically!

      • Patricia says:

        Amen, Ditto here!

      • Tracey says:

        Exactly how I feel… But not as far on as you. Only just getting professionals and family to understand what ive known and told them all along. Arrrr

      • Crystal says:

        Hi Kim, my symptoms have manifested physically and I’m only 21 I found out about ptsd anxiety and depression last year when I had been tested. Now I’ve developed psoriasis and my whole body aches to the point where I struggle to get up the stairs. I’m an obsessive TV and Internet watcher I spend more time watching TV shows than sleeping. I barley manage to sort myself out on a daily basis and I am a proud cannabis smoker because its the only thing that settles me. Otherwise I have seriously bad sensory input problems sort of like the advert to explain being autistic. I have had sooooo many breakdowns in the past year. And the pains just grow stronger. I wonder if I’ll be like this for the rest of my life

      • Mariaan says:

        Hi Kimberly

        My mental and emotional health affected my body with medical problems very badly!
        My turn around was somewhat extreme, I had to be institutionalised and thank the Lord I had a variety of passionate Drs helping me turn my life around. After a year of therapy, self-help, lots of commitment and some meds, my Dr was speechless when I went for a check up and every single medical problem was GONE!!
        Trust your body, and trust yourself. I could tick all the symptoms a few times over. For ME PERSONALLY, making the decision to be admitted was a choice I was making for ME. For the first time in my life I was being selfish (still felt guilty) and putting MYSELF FIRST no matter who said what! For me it was at the point of life or death, and I chose ME! Now I’ve learned that my body tells me when I’m being too stubborn to admit that I’m battling and that I need to catch a wake up and do what is necessary.

        Love and trust YOURSELF and your body!

        Hope it helps…

      • Beth says:

        I am/was a nurse too. Substance abuse got me. 🙁 now I am struggling to keep my nursing license but I think I have finally found a therapist who gets me & understands. Structural dissociation is the term she used & it makes so much sense to me. Hopeful for healing in the future.

  • Amy says:

    My ex recently re traumatized me. He turned my daughter against me calling me “a narcissist” which couldn’t be farther from the empathetic person I really am. Because of this, my daughter has abruptly cutoff contact with me and now I have lost a granddaughter as well who I love with all my heart. I’m struggling with this loss and how to advocate for myself. I put myself in therapy, but I’m not feeling the therapist is “getting it” as much as I would like.

    • Roland says:

      Hello Amy. Thanks for your comment. Hope you get reunited with your daughter soon and also find a therapist you resonate with.

      • Any says:

        Thank you for taking the time to respond.

      • Amy says:

        I was particularly thankful you had noted how sometimes PTSD has been mistaken for narcissism. It’s a harsh @no contact@ implication for someone to bear. Do you have any more info I might be able to share with my daughter? Thank you.

        • Roland says:

          Forward her the website. There is plenty of free material on here.

        • Crystal says:

          I think that you should tell your daughter that a narcissistic person always blames it on another. Hence him calling you narrsastic. My mom was the same except she never actually said the word. Just blamed me for everything. She is your daughter she will come back to you in time

    • Kathy says:

      So sorry to hear your story. I got divorced in November 2016 and my daughter has recently started to text with me again and share her life in the smallest way. Marriage is hard, divorce is life changing and parenting quite a journey. Keep working on yourself and find the answers that make sense to you. Good luck!

    • Lorraine says:

      Finding a therapist who has experience in PTSD is so important. I was very lucky accidentally finding one – the only psychologist who works in the same tiny practice. She knows all about ‘it’ after I have said only a few words or sentences on the particular problem I’m dealing with at the time. I was about 68 years old and suffering from CPTSD & PTSD.

      Also not surprised about him turning your daughter against you as this is one of the worst things they do. One of my daughters still doesn’t fully know the ‘real’ me and he has been dead 10 years. It has been horrible. So please find that specialist therapist quickly perhaps by researching links on this site and others like it.

      Best of luck

    • Michelle says:

      I’m finding my body psychotherapist incredibly succint in helping me to identify what is going on in a sensitive enough manner to not overwhlem me…bit by bit I learn to see my unhealthy attitudes, beliefs, behaviours and ways of recreating circumstances that can retraumatize me…it helps to reconnect the body to the mind and get them working together healthily

  • Jacqui says:

    Super interesting Roland! Are you saying that those other diagnoses could be part of a survival reaction? I reckon that many people repeat or seek situations unconsciously to help heal the early trauma. I myself fit into OCD and workaholism as a reaction to the small trauma of not being seen for who I am by mother. It was no biggie, in the realm of trauma. But symptoms of a brutal car accident(to get her attention?) then MS autoimmune system disease, and the cherry on the cake was a marriage with a perverse narcissist, which while divorced can still come up… Hey but I am healing and stopped walking with my stick 2 weeks ago.
    Happy days!!

    • Roland says:

      Hi Jacqui. The various symptoms are part of survival coping reactions. Many of the diagnoses we have currently, what I see at least, are based on misconceptions or partial views. Neglect by a parent often runs deeper then accidents that happen in adult life. The impact might have been more spread out but as a child, with a developing nervous system, it affects often a deeper part of oneself and with it reenactments. Great you go without walking stick!!

  • Gina says:

    I was in a “relationship” with a man suffering from this. Needless to say we’re no longer together because he caused a lot of drama and chaos in our lives. I tried, I got him to agree to therapy, and have since found out he’s been medicated. Dealing with this is exhausting and abusive. His actions never matched his words. The entire thing was a facade. I feel used, a fool, but I loved him, he couldn’t love me in return.

  • Penny says:

    Yes, yes and more yes!! I was diagnosed with c-ptsd last fall after twenty years of other singular diagnoses. I’m finally able to seek the designated therapies as a group for the entirety of my c-ptsd in a trauma based hospital setting. I cannot get there fast enough. Thank you for your work and thanks for sharing this.

  • AD says:

    Thank you so much for this explanation. Fight, flight, fawn, freeze have been my companions since my MVA in 2012. Post-concussion added to the mix and it’s been quite the treat – not. Look forward to reading more of your material – most helpful resources I’ve come across so far.

  • karmen says:

    Depression,overwhelmed, helpless,venerable, followed by anger and irritation

  • Charmaine says:

    Fight and flight, disassociate, compulsive risk taking impulse. Obsession, addiction ,withdrawal , inability to commit. And one my psychologist hasnt worked on yet. I tell people, close friends, family I will be at a certain function ect, and I don’t show. I’ve been doing this for over thirty years. I really want to go, but then just don’t show and leave the person wondering why. I’ve lost allot friends because of this ..
    I’ve recently developed extreme anxiety attacks , but they are not sure if it’s linked to the depression or menopause. My issues are I’ve only seen a psychologist in the last year or so.. I couldn’t connect with anyone before that and never trusted them. As when I was abused, police, social workers, teachers all knew and chose to ignore it

    • Roland says:

      Thanks for sharing Charmaine. Post-trauma is tough and its symptoms varied. Isolation and avoidance certainly being one of them. Anxiety, in my experience, often relates to collapsed boundaries (suppressed anger).

      • Hilary says:

        That last comment about anxiety relating to collapsed boundaries has switched a light on….things I can’t control…..

  • Sharon says:

    You mentioned that dissociative disorder can easily be mistaken for nervous system freeze responses/highs and lows of C-PTSD/PTSD. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and Dissociative Disorder. How does one tell the difference between the DD and PTSD high/low responses? I am now seeing a specialist for DD as well as a trauma psychologist who recommended her. This has been a 10 year journey for me so far.

    • Roland says:

      Hi Sharon. Dissociation is part of overwhelming trauma. It does not stand on its own but comes as a symptom of PTSD. Hope this helps.

      • Hele says:

        For me… dissociating is very much a body feeling reaction, not an emotional response. For me, it is a felt separation from me and the world around me; like a glass wall suddenly formed. It is a body feeling. Paying attention to breathing or getting up and moving (using the large muscles) stretching, hiking swimming can lesson it depending how severe it is at that moment. Also at the beginning of it I tend not to hear as well when someone is talking to me. It’s as if I am going away, or going inward. Even though I am now aware of it, I can’t always stop it.

  • Lori says:

    I just don’t know. Im 53. I’ve been down this road what seems to me to be endless. It seems to me that there is no recovery, but rather a long list of changed response. Coping mechanisms… period.

    • Pia says:

      Lori I’m 62 and feel exactly as you do. I feel as though I just can’t get there and do as you. Coping mechanisms.
      Pretty horrible much of the time. I call myself a human yo—yo.

  • w says:

    I’m so lost, since being the first to discover my 33 year old son ended his life, I struggle with reason to live. I had to do everything alone. 18 months later my nephew died also by suicide, and my family dragged me through their trauma, refuling my own unresolved trauma.My husband of 40 years also has been an emotional vampire, is now in poor health and physically demanding for me. The only thread holding me up is the dog I rescued a month after losing my son, my only child. I have more loved ones in spirit.

    • Roland says:

      Hi. Have you reached out for help? Please get in touch by private message.

    • Jennie says:

      Hi W. While I don’t know you, I would like to tell you that your comment touched me. I hope you find peace and that you stick around. We need good people. I’m sorry you’ve been through such horrible things. I’m sure you are world’s stronger than you feel. I’m rooting for you. Take care 🙂

    • Pia says:

      Dear W I don’t know you either but please get better. This is awful what you are going through. I hope you have a good friend to help get you thru. You are experiencing the worst a parent can, the loss of a child. My friend lost her 25 yr old son. It’s a dark time you are going thru and you will learn to live and you will luckily never forget your beloved son. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

    • Janey says:

      There’s a Facebook page called Suicide Shatters Families, for those who’ve lost loved ones to suicide. Perhaps you could look it up; it might help you.

    • Liz says:

      Omg I feel the same as you.. cptsd.. people dont even care.. im so sorry you feel this way..

  • Hele says:

    CPTSD without dissociation is hard, Roland, that is what I am focusing on. I am not sure I want it to go away, but I want to be healthy. I think I feel more depressed without it.

    • Roland says:

      Hi Hele. I understand what you are saying. Disconnection has its place and there needs to be a process of slow re-negotiation to come closer to the wound in order to heal. I often see that depression comes from the constant extremes of going between activation and collapse.

  • Dr. Terry says:

    Hi Roland, good article, thank you. I’m a physician, psychotherapist, author, mental health educator. You are so right about trauma. I work with many people who have been given various psychiatric diagnoses. I regularly see trauma, and the consequences of trauma, within these people and within their stories. The prevailing medically-dominated system not only regularly fails to recognise and identify trauma and its consequences; after much reflection, it appears to me that my medical colleagues seek to minimise trauma and its effects, as a way of minimising questioning of the current dominant biological model. They may not be conscious of this action, but I believe it is a common one. Trauma expert psychiatrist Bessel van der Kolk has a YouTube video entitled “Psychiatry must stop ignoring trauma”. I’m happy to share your post.

    • Roland says:

      Hi Terry. Thanks for your comment and input. It does feel like acknowledging post-trauma gets hidden behind all kinds of diagnoses. I like how you put it ‘seeking to minimize trauma and its effects.’ Thanks for sharing this post!

  • V says:

    Is it possible for people with childhood trauma and cptsd and depersonalization who experience most of the symptoms listed to still have empathy for others and not have angry outburst or other acting out negatively but instead just become withdrawn/ completely subdued?

    • DLM says:

      Your comment just described me. I am a very empathic person. I’ve just discovered my own CPTSD & it’s helping make sense of so many things that have been riddling me for so long.
      I believe my empathy & other healthy parts of myself came from my mother despite the emotional trauma from my father. My emotional journey with him reignited 2 years ago when we lost Mom. And I found myself in the role of his caretaker.
      Years of feelings I’d long since stuffed away have flooded back to the surface. Ugh…what a ride it has been. And I found myself VERY withdrawn & subdued…nearly to the point of giving up.
      So I absolutely believe we can feel empathy despite our CPTSD & can ultimately withdraw & become subdued to the point of laying down as if to be a door mat to the world. Praying for you V as you continue your own journey!

      • v says:

        DLM, thank you for your prayers. Just now somehow seeing your reply. I am sorry for all you are going and have gone through and am praying for you right now. Stay safe.

  • Steve says:

    Of course, the reason these “misdiagnoses” occur so frequently is because the DSM diagnostic categories are almost totally subjective and make it easy for people to choose the “diagnosis” that gives the authorities (including parents, teachers, doctors, therapists) to blame the client instead of looking at the real reasons that the “symptoms” are occurring. It’s always easier to blame the victim, and the DSM makes it even easier.

    • Roland says:

      Hi Steve. Thanks for your comment. I think a big part of it is misunderstanding rather than blame. Out of that misunderstanding and perhaps even feeling at a loss by the complexity of trauma, the need to do something, to label and to categorize has come into being.

  • Lee says:

    Thank you so much for this article. I’ve been misunderstood for so long and have completely internalized it. I’m 48 years old, single, with no kids. I’ve lived with depression for more than 20 years because of unaddressed/untreated CPTSD and have recently had a significant series of traumatic events result in lost relationships, employment, and often a loss of hope. My ‘family’ connection is practically nonexistent and when they are in contact, only eccasserbate the feelings of rejection and isolation because they don’t understand me or my mood fluctuations. I currently isolate most of the time and I’m trying to figure out how to recreate some sense of connection with people. I’m just not sure where to start. It’s so easy to feel like no one will ever understand, but then a thoughtful article sheds some hope that I’m not the only one feeling like this. So, thank you.

  • Erna says:

    Thank you for your insightful articles Roland. I have been diagnosed with chronic PTSD in 2014, however, treatment/therapy seem to be non-existent in South Africa. I have found wonderful ways to cope and relieve some of the symptoms through visual art, writing and crafting, but still feel that I’m just surviving, and not living. After a string of unfortunate and devastating incidents during the part three years, like an attempted car-jacking and robbery, a TIA attack, total collapse of my immune system, osteomyelitis, and the brutal killing of my dog, I find it increasingly difficult to leave home, sleep, and commit to any form of work. Menial tasks seem mountainous, and I am in a state of anxiety all the time. My bones and muscles ache constantly and I have muscles spasms and migraines frequently. The current political climate seem to aggravate my symptoms, and the my only solution to that is to avoid news via radio, tv and newspapers. Trying to cope is turning me into a recluse, and I feel I can’t prevent an emotional and mental collapse. I’ve discovered that although recognising and knowing symptoms of PTSD is helpful, it still plays only a small part in the healing process

    • Roland says:

      Hi Erna. Thanks for your comment. Fully agree that knowing the symptoms is a good start but doesn’t shift enough to address and process the emotional part.

  • Sarah says:

    I always circle back around to my negative internal dialogue. Doctors always want to treat my depression because it’s so outwardly apparent but all of my symptoms seem to just fuel my self doubt/negative thought patterns. I can’t seem to break free of that habit. Insomnia? I’m stuck in negative thoughts. Anxiety and isolation? Just me and my negative thoughts. Doctors don’t really ask about my negative thoughts.

    • Roland says:

      Hello Sarah. Perhaps it is time to start looking for people who resonate more with what you are looking for, in terms of healing. Keep at it.

  • Lorraine says:

    Thank you for this article also. Particularly the paragraph ‘Nervous System Responses of Freeze Responses of PTSD, CPT and Childhood Trauma’. I was experiencing this this afternoon and didn’t know what was happening. Thanks for all your work.

  • Annice says:

    I was diagnosed with PTSD in 2009 and never received any treatment other than medication until recently when I felt like my world collapsed again I hit another wall which has happened periodically since my diagnosis. I now have an amazing Pyschologist who is helping me understand my condition but I still feel so helpless like my bed is my safe place and therefore where I want to spend most of my time and have very few friends since my marriage fell apart in 2011 ( which in all seriousness was a good thing as it was quite verbally and emotionally abusive) I recently met somebody who has suggested I need to revisit the place of my trauma to retrain my brain with happy memories in a supportive environment when I’m ready although I feel like I will never be ready. I feel like I’m just going round in circles functioning for my children’s sake until I can die and be at peace, one step forward three steps back

  • Marlene says:

    My husband had a bad childhood. At almost 55 he still suffers because of that. It has never been dealt with.
    He is depressed and on medication that does not seem to help any more.
    In the last year we had much drama – my business closed down, our dog was killed by monkeys in our yard, our 2 boys, one of their fianceé and 2 grand daughters moved out of our home within 4 months time and my husband was in a big mva.
    He had serious PTSD after the accident. I believe he still does.
    His testosterone level is low, he has to inject himself every 6 weeks, which does not seem to be sufficient.
    AND he is an extreme introvert…
    He does not talk about his feelings.
    He lashes out, normally at me. I myself am at breaking point.
    I love him more than life itself but can not take the emotional and verbal abuse any more!!!
    We are married for 32 years. How do you just give up a marriage?!
    But how do I get him to anybody to be diagnosed and helped, if he believes that I am the problem???!!!

  • Andrea says:

    As a clinician I feel like it’s not possible to address one symptom without touching on others. I work in a high secure placement with juvenile felons who all have a trauma history. With many of them I start addressing their physiological responses, which are often extreme. What stems from those sessions is trust, boundaries and a healthy therapeutic relationship. It seems that best way to address trauma is to address the needs of the whole person because it was the whole person who experienced the trauma.

  • Simon says:

    I practice TIR ( traumatic incident reduction) and have helped many people suffering from PTSD and have had some very positive results.

  • Chantelle says:

    This is what I’ve been trying to tell my doctor/doctors for a long time. I’ve been diagnosed with depression, anxiety, borderline personality disorder, an auto immune disease, I’ve had high blood pressure since I was 15 yes as well and believe it or not but there are about 5 to 10 other diagnoses too. I’m have opiate use disorder, diabetes, fatty liver disease, and glaucoma too and I’m only 35 years old. I was beaten by one brother, molested by my step brother, my mom and her boyfriend were alcoholics and emotionally abusive. I was left to fend for myself every weekend to the point were I would walk an hour to the shopping center because there were restaurants(McDonald’s and burger King) and at the time kids got free meals on their birthdays so I would pretend it was my birthday and that’s how I fed myself… I have so much hurt still that it consumes me and I don’t leave my place for days and weeks on end. Every doctor sends me to another because no one knows how to fix me or they don’t deal with something or another that’s wrong with me. It been getting better recently but I’ve been saying for a long time that I think it’s Pstd and this article explains me so much. It reassuring to know I’m not a lone but its also sad to know that others have to feel this way too. I wish I knew how to fix me but it always comes back to my childhood.

  • Vivian says:

    For me, it mostly but not always, the fight or flight.

  • Kristy says:

    I live in a small town where any help is limited. I have literally been at my wits end for over a year now from a retraumatizing relationship followin a severely abusive one. Looking back into my childhood I see triggers too. I am so frustrated with diagnoses, counsellors, Dr’s., psychiatrist, and med changes. I feel like printing this damn article. I actually feel SO relieved to know I’m not so alone. I’m not the only one but now as a single mom of 3 with limited options I need help getting my point across so I can actually get help. I’m so exhausted, in physical pain, depressed, anxious all at the same time 24/7 I remember the old me. It’s heartbreaking to feel so distant from that and wanting it back when you feel so misunderstood. I have said I’m not crazy I’m traumatized a bilion times!!

    • Steve says:

      Sadly, most MH professionals have no grip on these issues. It is especially bad in small communities where you have limited options. Wish I had a great solution. Posting on supportive websites may be your best choice, or maybe finding a friend who has been through something similar. Any support groups within reasonable distance? Anyway, it sucks, but at least now you know that you’re not the crazy one! Or at least that you’re no more crazy than those supposedly trying to help.

  • Dibi says:

    I’ve been fighting for the past 18 months for support for help for my children, both boys are struggling with what is obviously CPTSD, but trying to explain to people that don’t understand is like banging your head against a wall. A year in camhs and still fighting for them to be screened for trauma. So hard when you see their struggles, but others mainly teachers just see naughty boys.

    • Jane says:

      Yes, I feel you. Complex trauma, myself and 5 children. Still in a narcissistic situation. My kids are just bad, not traumatized. I am lazy, not depressed. And how others do not realize that these projections cause further trauma. And how backed in a corner one feels, especially children by not being understood. There is a therapist, William Krill, who has written an amazing book. Gentling: A practical guide for ptsd in children. He is exceedingly compassionate. He also does online counseling. So helpful for parenting children with trauma.

  • Amanda says:

    I was diagnosed with ptsd about 2 years ago. I’ve went to a therapist who i really liked and who i felt really helped me bur as time passed something triggered me and my depression got bad again i started to cancel appointments and ended up quitting. now i cant seem to open up to anyone about it because i fear they are judging me instead of trying to understand. ive come to the conclusion that you cant trust anyone so i push everyone away including people ive been friends with for 11 yrs. i know ive changed and there are days im all about peace love and healing and other days i feel like burning the whole world down. its exhausting to even get out of bed and sometimes i dont even want to be around myself. and no matter how hard i try to fix myself through research and prayers and finding even the simplest things in life as blessings the dark days always come back. i hate asking for help bc i feel like i can help myself but ive realized this is one battle i cant fight alone because as of right now im losing. i try to stay positive but its always there and something always triggers it. it feels hopeless.

    • Lorraine says:

      I’m so sorry to hear you’re at this stage of your yourney. Congratulations for making it this far. This is by far as bad as the trauma that caused it. Triggers will happen until they are identified corrrectly. I AM NOT A PROFESSIONAL. I am a survivor as are you. I think I’m nearing the end of this stage of the journey but don’t know. You need as much specialist CPTSD OR PTSD professional to help you through this part of the journey. If you feel judged by your psychologist maybe you need another even if you like your current one. If you don’t have the effective coping mechanisms in place you NEED HELP. Please search until you find it. The results will be amazing. My life is now changing although those nasty triggers and reminders are still there and can still be overwhelming. Good luck!

  • Niki says:

    I go through periods of obsessing over something like writing my trauma story, proving to the court of public opinion that the bar is liable for my sons fathers death, proving to my parents and relatives alike that generational trauma is real and they can heal, ways to beg for financial help/advocate following a violent (victim violent crime board), etc. during this period sleep does not come easy and it’s unwanted because I need to do this. It needs to be done now because what if I’m depressed and exhausted tomorrow and I can’t get it done and I lose my job, house, car, etc.

    The second one that’s hard to get over is the ‘low’ state. I’m tired. I’m depressed. I’ve done everything wrong. I’m going to lose everything. No one cares. Why can’t I understand myself. I hate myself.

    I’ve become more aware, noticing that I am dissociative at times but In my own unique way (withdrawing emotionally but I’m unable to notice when it shifts… I also have only a few memories of childhood and forget nearly everything.. conversations … where I went and what I did on vacation.. spending hundreds of dollars at the store then feeling ashamed and guilty afterwards wondering why I did it) and that when I obsess over things I’m hyperactive .. irritable and angry… unable to really feel anything but that and maybe resentment and shame… idk

  • Jen says:

    I’m mostly battling that fight or flight.wgen something comes up with my fiancee, kids,parents,work I blow up and get defensive or I push the whole thing under the rug.either way and even when I believe I handled something well I start around guessing my self which leads to feeling incompotant, worthless,and spirals down.i have been to a counter in past yrs and taking pills for depression but I’m know it’s doctor has mentioned it in past but nothing in my records.somedays I feel I have real control over it then something triggers it were I can’t get past it for few days.its so frustrating to be looked at as a strong reliable put together person while knowing all I need is on triggers and I’m in bed crying feeling hopeless and not wanting or feeling I can handle anything.keeping that secret from others is exhausting.

  • Nikki says:

    I can’t have sex without crying, shaking, and hyperventilating.

  • Marléne says:

    All of the symptoms. All side effects. And more than what’s listed. It’s severe and I can’t cope with the multitude of mental, physical, emotional things happening now as its accelerated faster than I can even attempt psychoanalysing . I’m beyond frozen. I’m now truly afraid. I’ve been through hell and naively labelled myself a survivor. I am strong but I now need serious help. I’ve been praying through my blasphemous tirades for the right person to help me.
    Multiple abusers sexual abuse 2 until 10. Too many traumatic experiences thereafter.. Last year experienced horrific trauma towards others and life altering trauma in all that I believed validated my existence. I’m exhausted. I desperately want to heal and there’s simply no other choice. I need someone to hold my hand gently yet firmly and guide me on my path. I want to live and I want to know my identity. I want to heal. I want to live. I want life.

  • Tia says:

    I’m pretty sure i’m in the freeze mode. Recent anxiety attacks leave me uselessly tired. I’ve felt this way before, but now it seems costant. I have no desire to do anything anymore.

  • Kim Wallace says:

    Im overly focused on my attachment issues.

  • Laraine says:

    Your articles always resonate with me. I have an eating disorder (anorexia) and am an alcoholic (over 9 1/2 years without alcohol) a problem I have had for a long time is foot pain. It has gotten significantly worse through the years. I can’t figure out what is causing it. I never brought it up to a doctor because I have really had medical trauma (from not only being dismissed by doctors but also unreliable test results). I only go to the doctor for synthroid. I recently started thinking this pain may be from PTSD. My whole life whenever I tried to stand up for myself I was treated horribly (by parents, partners, doctors, colleagues, bosses……). I just connected the dots. I feel I can’t stand up for myself. I wonder if that is why I have foot pain. I will have to bring this up tomorrow to my therapist. Thank you Roland for your articles. I really think they helped me realize this. Hopefully I am correct.

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