Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

Join the Conversation on
Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
45.2K people
0 stories
7.8K posts
Note: The hashtags you follow are publicly viewable on your profile; you can change this at any time.
  • Explore Our Newsletters
  • What's New in Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder
    Community Voices

    Progress, parental volatility and neglect/isolation as trauma

    Hello. I wanted to post some more thoughts today.

    I was out walking around today and noticed things had changed a bit already. I think it is because I have been coming on here and talking about my past along with the flashback I had. It wasn't really clear to me before that I had never talked about these things so frankly to others who may have experienced similar. Basically, I had only really told friends who hadnt had the same intensity of issues or my ex who was just a blackhole for my emotions to get sucked into.

    It was apparent to me that my deep hatred for what my ex had done to me eased and was replaced with some level of human sympathy. Although I'm still not interested in talking to her, I feel less distraught when thinking about what happened between us. I feel like I am sensing slightly more of my surroundings, like the smell of a particular food near my apartment that I had not noticed before. Another thing that happened is that I could sense more clearly why I had my flashback and it had to do with fears of failure from earlier in my life.

    I had time to think about this fear of failure and realized a lot of it came from particular experiences in my childhood. My mother was a very cruel disciplinarian and often shouted things at me when I failed. At times she would call my a copout who would get nothing done in life with my attitude and that I was headed for failure. I realized the experience of an adult shouting this at me in anger during weak moments of my life took a heavy toll. The intense isolation she imposed on my childhood combined with over a decade of this kind of treatment was likely my initial trauma.

    Thinking about these sorts of ways she treated me makes me realize how diseased her mind really was and is. She stored up all of her discontent with herself and all of her anger, then poured it over me in a wild attempt to "help me". Of course, if she couldn't even come close to helping herself how was she ever going to help me? I began to grow and triage the moment I stopped living with her, and to this day believe that it was the best decision of my life. Thank God that my parents divorced when they did or else I would have lived with her longer.

    It has become apparent to me that I am unsustainably asocial. I spent an enormous amount of time during my formative years alone. When I think back to it, it seems like this endless expanse of isolation. My mother isolated me socially when I was younger due to the chaos of her own mind and her selfishness. Then I spent a long time outside of formal education due to my emotional volatility caused by this. Overall, I was never socialized like most people and spent huge spans of time by myself, thinking.

    To this day it's hard for me to socialize, although I am an empathetic person. Probably too empathetic, and this causes me to be easily used by others. I think being used and abused by my ex was a grievous rewounding that spurred on my recent seemingly PTSD stress responses. It's not a totally bad thing in some sense because now I at least know for sure that something is wrong in my head. However, I just wish it weren't so hard for me to connect with others at this point as it is really holding me back.

    I believe that the isolation of my youth may have been my greatest trauma. Even with how horribly my mom treated me emotionally and at times physically, this devouring void of loneliness and despair seems the most frightening for me to think about. I had more of these flashbacks when my abusive ex and I broke up, and I realized then that there was some kind of trauma in me from being alone. I could feel this creeping, cold fear toward being alone again. When I was young and removed from education I had no one to rely on emotionally. My brother had his own life and my father was simply too calloused from his own trauma. This experience of being totally and absolutely alone, no friends or romantic interests or people to make mistakes along seriously harmed my mind, I think.

    When I think back to this isolation I experienced first with my mom and then essentially with no one, it feels like I'm looking deep into an endless void. It's possible that my mind blocks out the memories of my thoughts and feelings from that time because they are too grim and stressful. I spent all day reading when I could, and the rest of the time I was probably disassociating. Who knows what kind of strange stress hormones and bodily chemicals were coursing through my veins due to this unnatural isolation. My life was like that so long that it was a miracle when I one day got me high school equivalence education and moved on from there some time in my twenties.

    It sounds weird when I put it like that, trauma from isolation. I guess it makes me wonder how someone can even be traumatized by this when usually people have trauma from violence or more direct things like that. However, I really do think it's true. Maybe it is just an unusual way to become traumatized because humans are so social. I was not and still am not that social, though. When I think about my chronic isolation from others, that even includes my adult life, it makes me sad and shameful. It always feels like other people find socializing to be the most natural thing in the world.

    Chronic isolation does something terrible to the mind. Although I have online friends and such these days, I always prefer to recede into my own head. People stress me out and I often don't have a filter or become very tired from physical excitement when around others. I think for a long time my mind blocked out how stressful other people are to me, and I can sense this more clearly these days. Spending so much time by myself and most likely being neglected as a child caused me to get locked up in my own head at all times, which does not seem to have gone away in my adulthood.

    I can't ever seem to stick to the same group of friends or social circle for a long time. Really, I have only had one semi-persistent social circle between my teenage years and adulthood. I never thought about it before, but this is probably a symptom of my mistreatment. It just tends to happen for some reason or another, I become established among some group of people and accepted. Then I find a reason to disconnect from them and delete my social progress. My ex who probably has CPTSD did this in even more extreme ways, but I realize now that it has defined my social life, too.

    It's very likely that these wild swings between isolated neglect and intense emotions that my mother (and father to a far lesser extent) put me through damaged my ability to interpret social reality. I am very sensitive to the emotions of others likely as a survival mechanism to interpret the chaotic emotions of my mother. It is also very likely that these cruel emotions she hit me with as a child extended into my infancy, and I often wonder if this was where her abuse of me began. If that were the case, it would make even more sense how I ended up this way. Of course, I can't remember these things and only have suspicions.

    I really wish I weren't like this and I have to say that I daydream at times about getting emotional revenge on my family. My brother is the only one who tried to protect me from things, although my father tried to make it up to me later in life as well. I don't think that I love my mother and I don't accept most of my extended family as family. I was clearly abused by a narcissistic monster as a child and almost no one did anything about it.

    Although I am glad that I have progressed emotionally as much as I have, I realize that I have been barely holding on for years. It's dangerous for me when the pressure grows as I seek out abusive familiarity or abuse my own body to fill any effort gap. It's simply unsustainable and I need to find a better path forward.

    Thanks and have a good day.

    #PTSD #CPTSD #Abuse #EmotionalAbuse #Trauma #ChildhoodAbuse

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    When your Disney story is different than others’.

    <p>When your Disney story is different than others’.</p>
    5 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    How do you prepare and plan out your day when you wake up with anxiety?

    <p>How do you prepare and plan out your day when you wake up with anxiety?</p>
    8 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    What is your most frustrating PTSD symptom? How do you cope with it?

    <p>What is your most frustrating PTSD symptom? How do you cope with it?</p>
    18 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    People will always have something to say!

    <p>People will always have something to say!</p>
    3 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Grounding Exercise

    See how bright the sun is,
    how blue the sky,
    that the early Autumn breeze is still warm?

    The trees sound as if they cheer its arrival as the gentle wind plays with its leaves,
    and birds still call for one another,
    the grass is still a lush green,
    and the shade is inviting,

    in my here and now.


    Community Voices

    Repair is so hard but necessary #CPTSD

    <p>Repair is so hard but necessary <a class="tm-topic-link ugc-topic" title="Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder" href="/topic/cptsd/" data-id="5b23ce7300553f33fe990854" data-name="Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder" aria-label="hashtag Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder">#CPTSD</a> </p>
    5 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Can anyone relate?! Here’s a suggestion:

    <p>Can anyone relate?! Here’s a suggestion:</p>
    36 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    How do you feel about the mask mandates disappearing? Are you scared, ok or excited?

    <p>How do you feel about the mask mandates disappearing? Are you scared, ok or excited?</p>
    10 people are talking about this
    Community Voices


    Reawakened are the memories
    that I try so desperately
    to keep at bay.

    I forget I should be wrestling,
    meeting these images head-on
    or I'll not heal.

    I steel myself, ready for the charge,
    remembering this is life-long-
    On to battle!