Episode 1: This explores uncovers the origins of developmental trauma, also known as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and how it differs from the more commonly known PTSD. The main difference is that childhood trauma affects the developing brain, where PTSD in adult life is less severe as in many cases the adult brain has fully developed. The alteration occurring during child development account for identity and attachment problems as well as all the other common symptoms associated with adult PTSD, so in many respects CPTSD is much more difficult to recover from.

Exposure to life threatening circumstances commonly abandonment or threats of annihilation, are in of itself not the cause of PTSD & CPTSD. More accurately it is the inability of the individual to be unable to unable to use their own power of agency to neutralise the threat, remove themselves from harms way. The adrenalised fight, flight, freeze responses could not be employed, at the time, without exacerbating the situation, so energy gets trapped in the body, as the individual employs the only survival strategy remaining which is to collapse and shut down.

This is why not everyone who is exposed to trauma develops the condition of PTSD or CPTSD, because it has more to do with the individuals ability to express the right biological responses at the time without inhibition. with inhibition of fight or flight, the condition develops as adrenaline can not be discharges.  

This trapped energetic state shows up as learned helplessness, and an extreme negative cognitive bias effecting most of their life decisions thereafter.  Trauma corrupts healthy intuition leaving survivors with extreme difficult knowing and trusting their own instincts, as what they had to do, and what they needed to do to survive are conflicting interests. 

Although every individuals traumatic circumstances are differ, common biological adaptations can be observed, as common themes that unite the experiences of CPTSD & PTSD. 

 

 

 

Episode 2: . Its difficult to discuss trauma without acknowledging is detrimental impact on consciousness and self awareness.  Trauma undermines the healthy development a healthy regulated felt and safe sense of self. While scientist and neurologist still grapple to define the essence of consciousness, a simplified explanation that holds true is how we think and feel about ourselves at any given moment. In high states of stress the autonimic nerves system takes over the command of executive functioning and replaces it with lighting fast reactivity, based on immediate stimulus, often devoid of reason but gut reaction. 

Studies show that CPTSD victims suffer a phenomena known as 'Dissociative amnesia', during chronic periods of stress. This autonomic function is an ingenious way of the organism to cope with the horrors it has to endure, during time of abuse, neglect or annihilation. The more frequent the abuse, the more often the dissociation occurs. over time the individual looses their narrative, the story of their self, making it very difficult to negotiate who they are in the present even decades later.

As the child develops into adult, life enhancing decisions are illusive, and its not uncommon for individuals to have never considered wanting anything for themselves. Their capacity for prioritising healthy goals (which ultimately become who we are)  is completely disorganised. Decision making is severely compromised due to significant chucks of time spent on 'autopilot' or being hijacked by their autonomic nervous system, just our bodies are designed to do in the presence of overwhelming and unrelenting exposure to threats of annihilation. The biology trumps the executive functioning until such a time that crisis is everted. if crisis never ends then the executive functioning is never truly brought back online, so life becomes unworkable

.Descartes’ notion of dualism, which argues for the distinction between the mind and the body, has underpinned and subtly driven much of the confused thinking in medicine about psychiatric disorders. A substantial and still accumulating body of evidence about the extensive psychophysiological and somatic comorbidities of post-traumatic stress disorders, now challenges this notion, suggesting the need to reconceptualise PTSD as a systemic disorder rather than one confined to the mind.

We can only come to know ourselves through the eyes of caring others, through attunement/attachment, mirroring and mentalizing with our sound minded, and secure primary care givers.  We believe who we are, from what is reflected back to us by others, who care for us. (Especially in the very early stages of infant development, as parents are the infants lifeline). Children need to know others have them in mind, even when their careers are not present, this is an impossibility if the child can only trust themselves for their own welfare. With a habitual preoccupation about safety and threat reduction, there is little time in reserve for even considering the formation of beliefs, values, let alone discern what values and beliefs would be important to them.  

The somatic pathologies of CPTSD range from metabolic syndrome and related cardiovascular conditions to autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. Traumatic childhoods, or ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences) have devastating consequences on how one grows to feel about oneself, and these negative consequences last long after the abuse or abandonment has ended, haunting the adult for decades until such a time that this rupture can be repaired.Essentially trauma causes interpersonal conflicts so deep & disruptive to the child’s sense of safety, that a child’s true self never emerges, and they can never rest even when they are perceived to at rest, in fact CPTSD has been associated with a range of quantifiable abnormalities, including inflammatory cascades, altered psychophysiological reactivity and neuroendocrine function, and even shortened telomere lengths. It is only by effectively collating such evidence that we will realise that Descartes’ views on dualism are completely outmoded.

 

Creativity, imagination, hope, and desire, are severely under developed and substituted by hyper-vigilance, numbness and cognitive dissonance. Individuals can only really function in life by responding to external stimulus. Intrinsic motivation for self determination, was exiled long ago, as thinking aboutoneslef from the inside, often exacerbated trauma by enraging their narcissistic abuser. Their individuality and desire to have needs met, would often compromise their ability to survive physiologically.

After years of this modus operandi, Individuals feel lifeless, numb trapped in a body devoid of meaning purpose and social interconnectedness. The recovery process is no longer about simply changing ones thinking, although CBT plays a part, it must be understood that the individuals whole constitution, has been reorganised. The autonomic functions have taken hold and provide much conflicting information as perceptual congestion. the individual is essentially now at war with the different parts of themselves. This biological functioning is at war with cognitive reasoning, in much the same way as an autoimmune disease works. what was helpful is not threatening ones own survival by impeding control of executive functioning.  The process of recovery is therefore a matter of reconnecting the individual with their authentic and intrinsic self, restoration of fragmented memories to give contact to the present, analysing cognitive distorted perceptions, while at the same time wrestling with autonomic disregulation that results in flashbacks, insomnia, and paralysis.  

Episode 3: This episode explores the insidious narcissistic grooming of their children to satisfy their own selfish needs and desires. The narcissist grooms their children to fulfil their own aspirations,  at the expense of the Childs personal growth, safety, and development. We explore the Golden Child & Scape Goat family dynamics, while examining other controlling techniques employed by the narcissist in order to maintain their exclusive control over the entire family system. 

Pleasure & pain, safety & abuse, seem to be offered by the same person, who the child perceives as someone who has their best interest at heart, the child has to believe this as the thought of the parent not caring is to devastating a proposition to even think of. sadly the children are extremely loyal and bonded to the pattern of abuse and acceptance. 

If narcissistic abuse was your early childhood experience, then as adults one can easily fall victim to this toxic paradigm, when the same partner is the source of love and abuse in equal measure, we seek what is familiar even if it's bad for us, until we realise it doesn't have to be this way.  Perhaps even more devastating then experiencing repeated toxic relationships, is the knowledge that your authenticity was taken from you before you were even consciously aware you had been the victim of narcissistic abuse.

The devastating impact of the narcissistic parenting, is so routine that children often loose the ability to imagine a future and a life beyond the immediate and perpetual state of crisis at home.  The childs world becomes one of complete servitude, chronically adrenalised, their world is perpetually unstable and life threatening they become chronically hyper-vigilant, loosing all sense of playfulness. Life becomes burdensome & highly unpredictable and something to escape from, as opposed to embracing it with healthy optimism, desire and seeing the abundant possibilities.

Episode 4: This podcast episode looks at how the childs intrinsic motivation and self exploration is thwarted, and replaced with an unhealthy compulsive compliance to meet the needs of their narcissistic parent. The Narcissist uses fear of abandonment or annihilation to mould the child into servitude.  The childs authenticity is discouraged from forming, as child healthy development & desire for independence threatens the narcissists control. The Childs true self can coexist with the demands of the narcissist, as physiological survival wold be compromised.

To cope with this dilemma the child exiles parts of themselves that trigger abuse for the narcissistic parent. A false sense of self emerges, or an unauthentic ego state becomes the Childs new identity. A learned sense of helplessness and self abandonment become the only way to function. this pattern is well established before the child is even aware that their emotional development has been compromised.

Overtime without correction and therapeutic intervention, the child losses complete Intrinsic motivation and the ability to sense and feel ones own body and becomes conflicted by thoughts and emotions that are fragmented, and seem to be dialectally oposed. 

The abused child becoming an adult, becomes fearful of their own bodies and being in their own skin. As being and knowing themselves bring with it horrible emotional flashbacks that are life threatening, just as they were in the presence of their narcissistic parent.  An individual can not live without self acceptance and self compassion, desires hopes and aspirations for a future, yet the mere thought of these concepts are inconceivable because the mere thought of considering themselves, reflexivly trigger emotional flashbacks so server that they are confronted with the prospect of psychological death every time they attempt to consider normal healthy desires, wants and needs. 

This has devastating effects on social and civic participation, relationships, career orientation, and even identifying a safe place to call home. Its no surprise that homeless and poverty are often undesirable consequences of child abuse, wanting and asking for basic human needs, historically brought with it threats of abandonment and annihilation, so the individual now avoids the very things they need to make life liveable, as they were conditioned to never seek desire or want for themselves. 

Episode 5: This episode looks at the indelible impact upon the mind and bodies of children subjected to extreme forms of abuse and neglect.  The wounds sustained remain active well into adult life not only because of the altered cognitive perceptions, but because of a completly reorganised neuroception. in this regard thoughts alone do not shape out behaviour and how we feel, but our viscera also inform our felt sense of being.  This episode we will investigate the impacts of trauma on cognition and execxutive functioning, and in later episodes we will investigate the changes in the limbic & autonomic nervous system, that must be dealt with somatically.

 The cognitive domains effected include but are not limited too:

1. Lack of Attachment/Attunement

2. Loss of Agency

3. Locus of control (Externalised)

4. Impaired Sense of Self

5. Lack of self efficacy 

6. Low Self Esteem (inc. shame & guilt)

7. Cognitive Processing difficulties

8. Arrested development

9. Identity distirbances.

The result of these compromised domains leads to a multitude of distressing thoughts and related feelings, resulting in a drastically altered felt sense of being, compared to un-traumatised people.  The world for trauma survivors is perceived as inherently dangerous, well outside the context of normal healthy adult experience, so much so that Tonic Immobility (TI) can result with such cognitive disorganisation that the individual looses the capacity to think and link thought with action, a truly terrifying experience.

These compromised psychic domains leave the individual feeling dissociated & depersonalised, Chronically Anxiety & Depression with such Poor Executive Functioning and impaired sense of self that life may become completely devoid of meaning and purpose and social connectedness.

 

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