Navigating the 3 Causes of Anxiety related to PTSD, Child Abuse and Neglect.
Unfortunately you can’t surgically dislodge anxiety and treat it as something separate from the rest of who you are.
And who you are is a little more complex.
Anxiety in itself is already confusing. It saps your energy away from reason and thinking clearly, stirring up other parts, making you either want to run, confront, or freeze altogether, each depending on their severity and your particular character.
Anxiety also curtails your self-esteem and projects itself onto… well pretty much everything; how people see you, your performance at work, how you look at your self in terms of body-image or sense of self.
In short anxiety can take over your life.
Anxiety as a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Symptom and How it is Part of a Bigger Picture
There are different ways through which fear and anxiety start to manifest themselves. It can be caused by:
- An incident or series of incidents that have been overwhelming to you and where your life was in danger.
- Prolonged periods of stress that split your sense of time and caused conflict.
- Early life Post-Traumatic Stress that hasn’t been dealt with.
Let’s go a little deeper into these separately:
1.) When your life has been in danger, for example; through an auto accident, being exposed to violence or (sexual) abuse and you feel you haven’t been able to fully process it, that can continue to fire up your alarm bells through projection or flashbacks, and give cause for anxiety.
2.) When you are continuously working to deadlines, or are in a relationship that isn’t working for you, but can’t move out of it, or other forms of prolonged stress that splits your sense of time and sense of self.
With deadlines you are concerned about a future goal to be achieved and finished while your body lives in the here and now. Within a conflicting relationship, part of you wants to get out while the reality might be that you stay with it, out of insecurity.
That sense of living in the future and wanting to be somewhere else from where you are creates division within yourself and hence there is anxiety. And when this goes on for too long it becomes chronic as your body chemistry start to adapt to it.
Child Abuse, Child Neglect and it’s contribution to PTSD Anxiety
3.) And the third one is much more likely to occur but far less recognizable, which is when your anxiety relates directly to your past:
Most anxiety doesn’t just start from one day to the next. There has already been a gradual emotional build-up that has started to compromise your healthy sense of self.
That initial build-up, when addressing developmental issues, is often anger and frustration.
Expressing one’s own meaning, truth, anger and frustration, in an abusive environment, is often met by more abuse or neglect, and so you learn to keep it locked inside. While on the outside you may have had to resort to: avoiding situations, withdrawing into yourself, pretend that all is OK, or please the ones around you, for your survival.
Persistence of Complex PTSD Symptoms and Anger
When that persists and continues for a longer period of time, while growing up, that very suppression of anger results in a lack of boundaries, and compromises your ability to say your own ‘yes’ or ‘no’ authentically.
And that absence of boundaries makes for confusion as to who you are and what you want, and also who the other is or what they want, as you are constantly adapting to others: (parents, siblings, teachers).
Hence, this is where anxiety slowly starts to take over.
This confusion which gives rise to a lack of ‘sense of self’ makes for anxiety and depression, and it is this anxiety that starts to project itself onto your life situations. It covers up the deep hurt and anger which sits deeper than that but is intimately related to anxiety.
It is by addressing, expressing and owning the deeper held anger, that anxiety will drastically diminish and can be transformed into healthy alertness and excitement.
Which expression of anxiety did you resonate with most? Leave your comment below.