Isolation, Adverse Childhood Experiences and CPTSD Symptoms Live Q&A with Athena


Hi everybody. How are you?. Welcome. Welcome to live Q&A. This is the global community for adult survivors of complex trauma, survivors have adverse childhood experiences living with CPTSD symptoms and I’m hoping this is working. My apologies for the change of venue. If you were waiting on another stream, I stopped the life at and I set it up and when I went to go live it said you’re unable to livestream from this device. My laptop, you need to use your phone, your mobile device and unfortunately that would have meant that I wouldn’t be able to get your questions and this is Q%A, this is where you… you come here to get all you questions answered. …of a good situation, so I digress. Welcome. I am traveling. I am grateful to be here with you all. This is not a place for for crisis care. There are wonderful volunteers and moderators and team members that are in the live chat stream right now, if you’re here for the live discussion and they will direct you to places where you can receive crisis care and I want to make sure you get the crisis care that you need, this is just not that place, this is not a place for crisis care. This is a place for you to come and to connect with others who will see you and hear you and not judge you and welcome you into this space to get your questions answered, regarding adverse childhood experiences and complex trauma and CPTSD symptoms and specifically tonight we are going to be talking about isolation and I had written this out. The way that I wanted to frame our discussion tonight is… it’s important, the way I wanted to frame this discussion so that I can properly answer your questions and so I want to read this to you. I had it all lined up so that I could read this to you. Basically what I’m trying to say is, which I don’t have access to anything that I’ve done, this is not… Welcome back to my channel if you’re used to being here and you’ll know that this isn’t how the videos typically go. Typically I’m sitting in my office and everything goes very smoothly us questions I answer them, so please forgive the change of venue. What I’m trying… the conversation I’m trying to set up to answer your questions with tonight is that when we live in an environment when we’re younger and there is isolation involved, the dysfunction that you… Oh boy, I’m going to be waving at some … the whole time. Don’t you love live video?, thanks by the way for giving this video a thumbs up to outweigh all of the thumbs-downer who are like, what is this ridiculous girl doing?. You wouldn’t believe the hate mail I get for not being perfect on video, it’s like really, really. So the level of isolation that you experienced while growing up in your family of origin or the abuse that you endured or the adverse childhood experience, if there was isolation involved in what it is you experienced, that would mean that people who either facilitated your abuse or adverse childhood experiences or participated in your adverse childhood experiences were not held accountable for their actions and so that’s why it’s important for us to discuss isolation and what isolation does and the level of isolation you experience directly corresponds with the lack of accountability that came into play when you were experiencing the trauma that you were experiencing. So this conversation will be particularly helpful for you if you experienced adverse childhood experiences from the ages of 0 to 8, 0 to 12, even 0 to 18 and there was an element of isolation that was involved with your upbringing. Perhaps you weren’t allowed to? talk to other children about things that happened in your house, you weren’t allowed to have like sleepovers… Excuse me. I think it’s because maybe I’m sitting down here and it’s a little dusty, I’m sitting on the floor because this is like the only place where I could get like good light, that’s where the video wouldn’t be all dark. um I’m wearing a shawl and I’m in a place where it’s 10 degrees out or no, maybe it’s 12 sorry my bad and it’s a little warmer inside here, but I just didn’t want to run a whole bunch of heaters and stuff, I’d rather just cover up. So anyway, if there was isolation involved in your adverse childhood experiences, it’s going to be important for you to take these things in consideration, take these things into consideration and understand that abuse that happens in isolation, where people are not held accountable for their actions can be further traumatizing for you. Particularly if assimilating to society as a whole was difficult for you or you found yourself in situations where you’re like, oh I don’t know how to act. I don’t know how to communicate. This wasn’t taught to me. This isn’t something that I feel… this isn’t something that I understand and the relationships that I’m cultivating now in my adult life, I didn’t learn these things because I wasn’t allowed to ride the school bus or have sleepovers or go sleep over at other people’s houses like other kids do. I wasn’t allowed to attend birthday parties. There wasn’t any free time for me to just relax and enjoy being a kid, because perhaps you were working in the yard all the time, were always doing chores or taking care of your brothers and sisters or you know doing manual labor or being sent here and there and everywhere to do different things, because that’s how your family did it, you know and I want to be really clear when I’m discussing this with you, because I won’t… when you’re growing up in an environment that isn’t necessarily healthy you don’t know that you’re a child and you’re growing up in an environment that isn’t necessarily healthy. All you know is this is life, you don’t know that this is abuse or this is an adverse childhood experience, this is going to follow me around for decades to come and I’m going to need years of therapy in order to assimilate into society and figure out ways to communicate with other human beings and you know we have no way of knowing these things and having a cognizant thought along those lines when were a child and the reason it’s very important for us to take these things into consideration right now, as we’re having this discussion together tonight, is because if you are healing from complex trauma and you have… you take issue with how you were when you were a kid and you blame yourself for not knowing how to communicate with other people, not knowing how to set up a bank account, not knowing how to get a credit card, how to balance a checkbook, how to drive a car or get a driver’s license or apply for a mortgage or how to travel or how to get a passport or how to board an airplane, how to pack a suitcase, how to you know, even if you were in an environment and your parents were in the military and you moved schools every six months and you were always the new kid, that’s still an element of isolation that could come into play and could hinder the healthy development of adult relationships and I’m not trying to give you more things to feel bummed out about and frustrated about, I’m trying to help you to shame yourself less so that you can heal more and heal deeper and feel better about where you are in your life right now, because I had a tremendous amount of isolation in my life, yes I went to six different elementary schools, yes I was always the new kid for quite some time, I was passed around from family member to family member, whoever would take me, because I was unwanted, I was told that I was unwanted. I should have had an abortion. I didn’t want you anyway and so I went off with the aunts or the uncles or the neighbors or the friend’s parents or whatever and it wasn’t just friends parents like the healthy ones, it was the ones that were part of the drug culture or the backwards nature of dysfunction that lined up with my family of origin and I don’t know if my abusers and enablers knew that they were stunting my growth. I don’t know that they had the intelligence or the forethought to go hmm we’re really screwing Athena up, she’s not going to be able to know how to get a job or balance a checkbook or get a credit card or a passport or pack a suitcase or travel or… she’s going to… she’s gonna have a tremendous amount of fear and hyper vigilance for most of her life and her relationships are going to be very, very painful and difficult and she’s going to be socially inept until she’s at least in her 20s, until she starts going to the library and maybe checking out books every chance she gets or throwing herself into different community organizations, just trying to you know figure out how people talk to one another and like what to do, you know I honestly don’t think that they had the level of intelligence necessary to even think those thoughts. I’m not absolving them of their responsibility, they did a poor job of preparing me for life. They did a poor job of preparing me for culture, for motherhood, for friendships, for jobs, for traveling, for just being a healthy contributing member to society. Partially because they were just so wrapped up in their own drugs and alcohol and you know addictions and pornography and extramarital relationships and excuses and apathy and just backwards, hillbilly dysfunction that they came from. That they didn’t know how to set a healthy example for me. Thank God I met some healthier individuals that saw that I was really struggling and didn’t know how to take care of myself and didn’t know what to do and you know thank God I met some of them that weren’t shaming and unkind and just like what’s wrong with that girl?, keep our kids away from her, you know, yes there were those people, but there were also very kind, loving people that were just giving and compassionate and altruistic and they had compassion on me and they wanted me to thrive in life somehow and if it wasn’t for them, I don’t know that I would have made it and I certainly wouldn’t have been able to break the cycle of intergenerational dysfunction and abuse within my… within the context of my family of origin. I wouldn’t have been able to break that cycle and prepare my son for a healthy life and a healthy future, so he could be a contributing member to society, so he could go to college someday, so that he could have healthy interpersonal relationships and have a healthy marriage and have healthy friendships and be able to live life and thrive in the world. If it wasn’t for those people who had compassion on me I honestly don’t know where my son would be and right now he’s in a really good place, doing really good things and so I’m very grateful to those people, not necessarily to my family of origin and the isolation that I experienced within the context of my family and those who enabled the abuse as well, not only just you know direct family, but extended family members as well, but when isolation comes into play, people are not held accountable for their actions and when people aren’t held accountable for their actions when you’re a child, you naturally take on the responsibility to yourself and you blame yourself is what is what the point is here and I really want to open up the lines of communication surrounding this topic because if you are the type of person that shames yourself for not being good enough and not being smart enough and not being savvy enough and not being together enough or educated enough or a good enough communicator or just not being enough in general, I need you to understand that you might have been set up to fail by others, but that does not have to be your future, you do not have to go well I was set up to fail, my family really didn’t know what they were doing. There was some isolation involved and I wasn’t fully prepared or set up for success so that I could do well in life and I guess that’s just my lot in life, no No, it doesn’t have to be that way. I know it doesn’t have to be that way because I wasn’t set up for success and I’m figuring it out and I’m figuring it out the hard way, so that you don’t have to, so I can give you guys shortcuts and sort of answer your questions. You don’t have to remain stuck, you don’t have to continue feeling as though you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t have to hobble along in life hoping that you’ll get lucky and find a good relationship where people are going to be patient with you. No,you can learn, you can learn communication skills, you can learn how to do things that were not taught to you. I was raised by two individuals in particular, one who spent money for fun and had secret P.O boxes and secret bank accounts and secret credit cards and ran them all up and was not a good steward of the money which was given and then the other person I was raised by when um… the rule of thumb was if there were checks in the checkbook that meant you had money to spend and so those are not good financial principles to live your life by or to raise another person by and teach them. Those are not healthy rules of thumb, especially if you’re trying to prepare another person to be a contributing member to society and know how to navigate life and so if I can figure out the healthy way to do things and not lean on the backwards thought processes and best practices of the people who I happen to be blood-related with and I can actually figure it out, then that means I can teach you and I can help you and you’re not going to be stuck for as long as I was stuck, so I’m probably losing some of you, this isn’t you know a discussion that everybody wants to have, but I’m grateful that each of you have chosen to be here, thank you for showing up for yourselves and thank you for understanding that if you had isolation as a part of your upbringing and people were not held accountable for their actions, you could feel as though you’re at a disadvantage and you have been at a disadvantage, but removing yourself from the equation and not shaming yourself for not having it all figured out, is a necessary part of the healing journey for you and I want to help you with that, okay?. So thank you for those of you who have sent in your questions. We will take questions for 3 more minutes and then the questions will be turned off for the night. You’d… you can tag Poppy or tag Matt and they will get me your question. Just so you know I’m not seeing all of you communicating with one another, because if I had all of the stuff going up on the screen, I would not be able to answer your questions. It wouldn’t be something that I could… I wouldn’t be able to get a thought in, I would not be able to actually complete a sentence and so the questions… for those of you who are new 6 p.m. Pacific, 9 p.m Eastern every single Monday, we do this and you tag one of our moderators and Matthew Pappas or Poppy’s Mission and then we are able… they send me your questions and I’m able to answer your questions. We take questions for the first half of the hour and for the second half of the hour, I do my best to answer your questions. So that’s how we have discussions like this every single day. I facilitate daily, recovery support calls through the foundation. So go to CPTSDfoundation.org and click on daily calls and I would love to just welcome you and to an amazing group of others who show up for themselves on a daily basis, you’re welcome, you’re welcome there and it would be an honor to welcome you in and to watch you grow and learn and thrive and reach your goals and have healthy relationships and do things that you didn’t think you could do, because when we show up for ourselves on a regular basis, we really heal and we get to do things that we never thought we could do. So I’m gonna to read some of some of the questions. First I want to thank those of you who sent in your questions, there’s still a minute left if you want to send in a question and tag someone, that would be great. So thank you to John Harvey. Thank you to Nexis. Thank you to Desi Pink. Thank you to Vi and to Angela and I think that there might be a couple questions coming in under the wire here for the next minute or so, so it’s not too late to send in a question on the topic of isolation and adverse childhood experiences and how that all relates to CPTSD symptoms and then how we can feel better. So just off topic, do you all just love this funkadelic sort of like red velvet couch with the green velvet pillows and the crochet and the shagadelic rug and it’s just… it’s this little… I have avocado green walls and fireplace and I like organic coffee and tea and like it’s you know 16 degrees outside I think, I think it’s 16 degrees, let’s just see real quick. It is going to be 16 degrees tonight, right now, my bad, it’s 27, much warmer than 16, but it’s gonna be 16. Tomorrow it’s gonna be 13. So in a few minutes it’ll be 24 degrees, so that’s kind of exciting. Anything you know, anything below freezing you all, like anything below freezing and that… isn’t that just cold enough?, so enough about the weather. Also thank you to Tracey, Tracey Jarrett, thank you for sending in your question, just into the wire and there might be a question or two still coming in and I want to do my best to answer all these questions, okay?. So John Harvey says; how can you get yourself to be around people when it feels normal and better to be alone. Well, thank you John Harvey. My answer to John Harvey’s question, how can you get yourself to be around people when it feels normal and better to be alone, is that if it feels normal and better to be alone, then that’s okay to be alone. To most people being alone doesn’t feel normal and better, but if you have a deep desire John Harvey to uh to connect with others, then… we’ve talked about this on this channel before, so forgive the reference and if all of you are rolling your eyes on this reference, then forgive me, come back in 60 seconds, but I’m going to reference how we do… how we create safe bubbles right, we create safe pockets of safety in our life and the way we do that, we test it out in ways that we know are safe and a virtual way that we do that is in our groups and in a physical way, the way we do that is we set ourselves up for success by putting ourselves in situations where we know we will not be rejected. This could stem, John Harvey, it could stem from a fear of abandonment or a fear of rejection and if that’s the case, then it can be very helpful to set ourselves up for success by going somewhere and interacting with another person where we know success is imminent and what I mean by that is you go to the bank and you ask if you can make a deposit the answer is going to be yes. If you go to the station to put fuel in your car and you say may I have ten dollars on number 3 and you give them ten dollars on number 3, they will say yes to you or if you go to Starbucks or a coffee shop and you say may I please order a latte or you know Grande drip with room for cream or whatever it is that you want to order and the answer… you set yourself up for success, the answer is going to be yes and those connections build into other connections with others when you feel safe going out and doing these things around town, because John Harvey I don’t know if you are living with any symptoms of agoraphobia, like getting out of your house and doing things out and about oh that is… frustrating for you or terrifying for you. I know for me personally, I was in a period of my trauma recovery journey when I just I didn’t feel comfortable and safe leaving the house. My world had become very, very, very small because I was thrown into an emotional flashback whenever I would go to the market or go to certain places, go to church on Sunday or go to the restaurant. I would… I was in a very delicate wobbly place in my trauma recovery journey, just… it was just the place I was in in my journey, it was a season that I was in, where my world became very small, but we can set ourselves up for success by putting ourselves out there in a way where we know that the answer is going to be yes and then when we feel comfortable doing those things, another way John Harvey, I’m not sure if where you live you can log on to an app called Meetup or they have Meetup.com and you type in your city or your zip code and I might actually be able to screen share this with you. So let’s just say Let’s just say Are you already let me know if you can see that Okay so This is the… This is the one I was I was trying to do and it wouldn’t let me for some reason it’s so odd, but so hopefully, let me see if… okay, so it’s… Alright, so I’m gonna go to meet up nd what do you love right?, so like you can go to a cooking class or you can go anywhere, like to do anything. So let’s just say you want to, like let’s say you’re really into writing, so you look for writing meetups within 50 miles of where you are. So here’s one called Shut Up And Write or this one is even more specific, Creative Non-Fiction, there’s 15 people, because let’s say 294 is a little bit overwhelming for you. So this is a Shut Up And Write Monday meet up. So today’s Monday and there’s 50 people that go to the Monday Meetup. There’s a screenwriting meetup for people who want to write screenplays and these people are wanting to write non-fiction. So let’s say I want to go and I want to join this non-fiction group, there’s a person here named Sandy T and they are the leader. So if I click on join this group, then something will pop up and it will ask me a couple of questions and I can go to a meet-up, okay? So I’m not sure if that type of thing helps you John Harvey, but I want you guys to know that these are things I’ve tried myself. I struggled getting out there, I struggled putting myself out there and feeling, you know feeling safe in you know an environment, meeting new people, it did feel safer for me to be by myself and the people that I had met up with previously, I didn’t want to continue meeting up with them. I wasn’t in a place in my life that I wanted to continue meeting up with them. SI wanted to try something outside of my comfort zone and so I did, I went on to meetup.com and I joined a group called Maui Business Brainstormers and there were all kinds of business people that were business owners like me and I would meet up with them once a month and then I ended up starting my own and teaching a group on effective communication in the workplace and it was something I was very passionate about, I’m very, very, very passionate about effective communication, talk about ironic, some girl who was very isolated as a child and socially enough to completely socially inept until my mid-20s, almost 30 and then there I was in my mid 30s, mid to late 30s teaching a group on effective communication in the workplace and it was a very well attended group and I got to do it at a county facility, the county just volunteered and offered their facility for free for me to invite people to come and learn how to be effective communicators. So I don’t know if that’s uh, if that’s helpful for you John Harvey, but you know the question of how you can get yourself to be around people when it feels normal and better to be alone, you know if it feels normal and better to be alone then be alone until it doesn’t feel good and if you feel yourself wanting to get out there, those are just some examples you know, going to bank, going to a coffee shop, perhaps joining a meetup group and then maybe even facilitating a meetup group if you’re feeling kind of bold. Whatever it is you’re interested in, there’s all kinds of interests, I just clicked on writing because I’m an author and I like writing… I don’t necessarily like writing, but I do write and I the way I write is different than the way other people write. I sort of speak and then I get it transcribed and then I edit it, just for my own personal reasons. So hopefully that was helpful. I hope that answered your question. Nexus says, I was socially deprived. How do I not… how… I’m gonna start over. Nexus’s question is I was socially deprived how to not say or act weird in social environments. It’s easier to be alone. So Nexus wants to know how do I learn to not say or act weird, say weird things or act weird in social environments. It’s easier to be alone. I too was socially deprived Nexus and how to not say wierd things or act weird. I was very socially awkward and for a while this caused me to want to drink alcohol. Whenever I was in public I was a social drinker, because I was so just terrified that I was doing it wrong that I would just you know put myself around others that drank a lot of alcohol, because I could tell that they just didn’t really care how I acted you know, they were more concerned with themselves and then that wasn’t really what I wanted, like I never really enjoyed and loved drinking a lot of alcohol, I just felt less socially awkward when I drank alcohol, because I knew that people didn’t care they were more concerned about drinking and finding people to hook up with or whatever, if they were out you know, trying to find somebody or do something like they were very clear on what it is that they wanted and so I didn’t have to worry about myself anymore, I just surrounded myself with people who were emotionally unavailable, perpetually, emotionally unavailable, because then I wouldn’t have to worry about not you know, about feeling… I wouldn’t have to worry about feeling socially inept and socially awkward. So you’re not alone, first of all Nexus and the way that you can learn to not act weird in social environments and break away from the trap of ‘it’s easier to be alone’ is very similar to the way I answered the previous question, which is set yourself up for success. Try new things that you wouldn’t normally try and you can practice in private, so that you feel more comfortable in public and what I mean by that is, there are ways that you can… If you have any, you know friends that won’t judge you, like for instance I had my one girlfriend, I would invite her over and I would serve something, like when she would come over I remember a couple times she was like well don’t you have any such-and-such utensils or whatever and I didn’t know that you had to have like certain utensils to serve different things, like, cuz you know, it wasn’t like I grew up in an environment where we entertained, so I mean I had like one or two people that were my you know friends that would sort of gently inform me that I didn’t know what I was doing and so I would practice in private, you know and that way if I went to a potluck or attended a function where I was supposed to be in charge of bringing something, I wouldn’t be embarrassed by not bringing the right thing or like, I didn’t, you know, I didn’t know for instance, Nexxus that when you go to a certain event and it’s like a potluck or a community meal where everybody brings something, I didn’t know that you needed to bring serving utensils or you needed to bring it in a nice dish, like I just brought it in something like really ugly or I would… I didn’t even bring a dish tip like sometimes I would bring like chips and dip and I wouldn’t even bring a dish to put it in and then I got… you know, it wasn’t that I got… I didn’t. I often didn’t get invited back, because I didn’t really know what to do or how to act. So if you can practice in private and also there are… I know it sounds like an awkward thing to do, but there are a lot of blog posts online these days, if you were to google back in my day you know when I was learning all this, there was no Google. You didn’t… you couldn’t google anything. If you wanted to know something, you went to the local library and you checked out a book. There was a book called Miss Manners. M I S S Manners and I learned about table manners and like what fork to use and like what drinking glass you’re supposed to drink, you know whatever, drink out of and you know like how to fold a napkin or what was the appropriate thing. When do you stand up. When do you sit down or you know do you put your napkin in your lap and then there’s this… all this talk about putting elbows up on the table when you go out to eat and how that’s like a faux pas and it’s something that nobody does and you know it’s much more relaxed now these days because it’s the year 2018 but this was back in the 80s and 90s I mean I didn’t know I mean early 2000s I mean we’re talking this is like 20 years ago and I just didn’t… I just didn’t know you guys, I just didn’t know anything. So I would say read Nexus, Blog posts, watch video’s… practice in private and like I said in some previous questions, set yourself up for success by going to a place where the answer is yes, like a restaurant and order something, where someone’s going to say yes and you know or join a meetup group, go to Meetup.com or if there’s something safe in your community that you feel comfortable trying. I hope that was helpful. Desi pink says my family moved very often and I was conditioned to always be busy and never talk about family business and now I find it excruciatingly difficult to attach to others. Do I need to?, like is attachment to others absolutely necessary for healing?.this is a great question. I would say… validate it and how real it is to have family that moves around often and it causes a feeling of not belonging, you’re not really sure if you belong or not and there are a lot of question marks to that and if your family is very protective of you or really makes it clear that they don’t want you talking about the family with other people because it was insinuated and it was expected of me to remain silent about everything, whether it was under the guise of oh, they wouldn’t understand. Just, wouldn’t understand. They won’t understand, don’t do that. You know, whether it’s that benign or it seems benign to you say a word you better watch it, you know say a word, you know and everything in between. Those were very real communications between my family and me. Everything in between don’t say anything. They won’t understand. No one understands us, we’re special special, you know, which like weird, hello,hello narcissism, to like the look, like don’t you even think about singing a word, you know where they talk through their teeth. That’s very triggering to even think about, like I remember those days. I want you to know something Desi pink, I want you to know that your feeling of having difficulty attaching to others is very, very, very real and it’s very common and it’s not necessarily necessary for healing for you to attach to many others, many other people, but in order for us to heal interpersonal trauma, we do have to be able to be in a safe relationship with at least one other human. That can be a therapeutically appropriate relationship. It can be a relationship with you and a therapist. It can be a relationship with you and a trauma-informed practitioner. It can be a relationship with you and your husband or you and a friend, but in order to heal relational trauma we have to be in a relationship and mend what was what was broken. There was trust broken, there was a betrayal that happened and we heal that betrayal that happened in an interpersonal relationship within the context of a healthy relationship. So you do not necessarily need to attach to many others in order to heal, but we do need… in order to heal that interpersonal trauma, we need to attach to at least one other person and in my experience that other person can be a trauma-informed practitioner. These videos are very helpful for a lot of people, so I’ve heard, because they feel as though they are able to connect with me, they get to know me over the last four years, since 2014, they feel like I stand up for myself and therefore give them permission to stand up for themselves. They often say that they will hear my voice you know like I’m sitting on their shoulder telling them, you do not need to allow them to treat you that way. It’s okay to say no. Like your sanity matters more than their approval. No, no, no you do not even need to allow them to treat you that way, you know sort of a mama bear situation. I get that you know, but it is important to do that hard work and do your best to be vulnerable, be seen, be heard in the context of a safe relationship, so that you can heal the wound that began early on, perhaps in utero or in early, early childhood – attachment trauma attachment disorder is real. Desi pink I know I’ve shared this with you before, but there is a website by Cathy Brows. Healingattachmentdisorder.com, I believe is her website. She wrote a great book called Don’t Try This Alone and I highly recommend it to anyone who has early childhood trauma and struggles to attach to others and feels safer all alone, so that would be for you Desi Pink. For you Nexus and for you John Harvey, from what you shared here. So I hope that was helpful. So Vi has a question. Vi’s question is I took care of my older siblings and my parents. I didn’t matter. Life was difficult and I always thought something was wrong with me. How do you let go of those old beliefs?. So Vi, first of all, I’m sorry that all the responsibility was put on you and that you have a deeply held belief that you don’t matter and that something’s wrong with you. I know I’m not the first person to say this, but I want to be one of hopefully many people to tell you that there’s nothing wrong with you and you… a appropriate kindness and love and to be seen and to be heard and to feel safe and to not be treated poorly. You deserved for someone to take care of you and to teach you right from wrong and to love you, not because of what you could do for them, but just for being you, you’ve always deserved that and so your core question is how do you let go of those old beliefs. The best way that I have found to let go of those old beliefs is not to try to let go of those old beliefs right away, because that will feel unsafe to you and if I can just talk right to you Vi and just let you know those old faulty beliefs are kind of like a security blanket for you right now, okay, you’ve had them for a long time, they’re kind of like an old worn-out teddy bear they’re kind of like mango, but mango is a healthy teddy bear and a healthy comfort, sort of security blanket and these old beliefs that something’s wrong with you are just as dear to younger parts of you as mango is and if you try to get rid of them there will be parts of you that reject that completely and that will not feel safe. So the best way to get rid of these old beliefs is by building up a pile of newer, true beliefs that align with who you are in your healing self. Like I deserve love and kindness and safe appropriate love and I am worthy of healthy friendships and relationships and it’s okay for me to say no and it’s okay for me to be safe and it’s okay for me to be in relationships with others where there is reciprocity and I’m not the only person giving in the relationship, that there’s actually give and take and it’s a two-way street and these are new beliefs and so we’re gonna do… where you stack up all those new beliefs so high that the smaller stack of the old beliefs seems like hmm I might not need those old beliefs anymore, I’m not sure if they serve me. So, it can be… not that you would want to… let’s say replace mango right, because mango is this precious part of your family, it’s a security blanket, like a fuzzy, stuffed animal that is yours, that is comforting and brings a smile to your face, so you wouldn’t be like I’m gonna replace mango, but let’s say you had you know one similar to mango, but different, that was old and maybe was not good memories and not something that served you, if you build up the pile of true beliefs about true to who you are today and what you truly deserve that it’s safe to be seen and heard by a select few number of people and I deserve to be considered, I deserve to be seen and heard. I deserve to be treated with kindness and respect then sooner or later you won’t feel the need to pull in those old beliefs and you’ll all of a sudden be cruising along and be like wow it’s been like a month since I thought about you know such-and-such and it was something that you used to think about like everyday. So it might not seem like that’s the way it’s gonna go down, but it will over time, it will over time. So I hope that was helpful. Oh my neck is hurting me. Um Angela says I’m trying to forgive, but it’s really hard. Were you able to forgive Athena?, if so how did you do it?. You know what Angela, that is a really good question. Forgiveness is something that is a personal decision and it needs to happen when the individual person is ready and yeah I’ve experienced forgiveness, but I honestly don’t believe that forgiveness… I’m gonna get a drink water really quick because my throat’s dry. So once again, okay… so I don’t believe forgiveness as a one-and-done. I believe that we forgive and then we re-forgive and then we re-forgive and we re-forgive and I believe most importantly that forgiveness is a choice and even more importantly than that, forgiveness is something that is for you. If I choose to hold on to bitterness and resentment, you’ve probably heard the the phrase, holding on to bitterness and resentment is like wanting to poison someone else, but you’re actually drinking the poison expecting it to hurt someone else and so it will actually eat you up inside and cause ulcers and pain and sometimes autoimmune and sometimes heart disease and stroke and cancer and other physical ailments, because it truly eats you alive and so one day I just decided that forgiveness was different for me than it was for others and to me forgiveness did not equal reconciliation. To me forgiveness did not equal relationship with others, for me forgiveness did not equal, like saying that it was okay the way everything went down. For me forgiveness was more about me releasing my need to change the past and if I think about it, I don’t really have the ability to change the past, that’s not something I can do anyway, so I can’t change the way things happened before and it’s never gonna be okay, the way things happened will never be okay, it’s always gonna be wrong, really, really, wrong, like really wrong, I mean there’s no other way to put it other than the way I was treated by people who were supposed to love me and protect me was atrocious and inappropriate and let’s just face it, criminal. There were crimes committed against me and that is never gonna be okay, however since I can’t change the way it all happened and I’m not really choosing to go after them and put them in prison, in jail because half of them are dead anyway, already and the other half aren’t worth fighting with or talking to because it’s just not worth it for my own physical health. So I chose to release the need to change the past and my version of forgiveness which is something that I believe is for me, is that I don’t choose to be in touch or cultivate a relationship with people who chose to abuse me and commit crimes against me and blame me and scapegoat me and torture me and make fun of me and bully me and it really had nothing to do with them and I had everything to do with me is what it all boils down to. So I do feel like I’ve been able to forgive. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t still get frustrated and angry sometimes. If I didn’t feel betrayed and frustrated and then in those moments I have to go, well I can’t control anybody but me and I can’t change the way things happened, all I can do is either choose to accept the way things happened or choose to dwell on something I can’t change. So I’m choosing to accept the way things happened and move forward and not really look back, because it takes up too much emotional energy and to be quite honest at me it made me really physically ill, like I was suicidal, because I was trying to figure out why?, why?, why?, why would they?, who… who would do such thing?, why?, what did I do?, how… how could they think I deserve something like that?, why would… why would that…why would they do… now… who… could do?,… who… who… why…? how?, I mean I was literally torturing myself and finally I was just like, I will never have answers to these questions. First of all, they don’t care, no one cares no one’s apologized, no one cares, no one ever will and so if I care about myself, which I do, then I will take the hand I’ve been dealt and I’ll do with it what I will so I choose to… release the need to change the past… unsafe people, it’s my policy. I have a policy, you too can have a policy Angela. It could be your policy to release the need to change the past and not cultivate relationships with unsafe people, it’s just part of your policy, because your sanity matters more than their approval and I certainly haven’t arrived Angela and I don’t have it all figured out and I still struggle, it’s still hard sometimes, but those are the nuts and bolts and kind of the framework that. I’m used to to feel okay with the decisions that I’ve made about the relationships that I allow into my life now. So I hope that was helpful for you. Okay, so Tracy Jarret says is it possible to just be realizing that I have been zoning out lately, just since starting therapy. I don’t remember… I don’t remember it when I was younger. Yes it’s absolutely possible Tracy. That is… I don’t know your story, but what you’re describing sounds like dissociation and it is possible to realize that you’re just recently dissociating and you know this happens when we get into our 30s and sometimes our 40s, I’m not sure your age, but when we turn 30, when we’re women and for men when they get closer to 40 they start noticing dissociation, anxiety, PTSD symptoms, our brains are very complicated and very good at protecting us, it is possible that your brain has been protecting you all these years and didn’t feel that you were in a safe enough place to be experiencing healing, so yes it is absolutely possible and Tracy has a second question, how do I get out there and out of my box to have friends. I’m scared to death. I’ll probably refer you Tracy to the other ways that I’ve answered the other questions, you know I’ve given a lot of really good examples, really practical examples, such as you know joining a meetup group, setting yourself up for success,practicing in private before you go into public, starting small, you know your world becomes very, very, very small when you are triggered into PTSD sort of a flashback state and you’re trying to navigate that, be kind and gentle and very patient with yourself though, is what I will say Tracy, for sure and yes it absolutely is possible to just be realizing that your dissociating. Dissociation is a response to trauma and I I’m hoping and praying that you have access to a trauma-informed therapist that will be able to help you through that. Well hope that was helpful Tracy. Skylight At Dusk says, now I self-impose extreme isolation, like a safety blanket. I want to have people in my life, but I can’t trust enough and therefore I do not know how to break this pattern. I want to start by saying to skylight At Dusk that I too have experienced this and the extreme isolation, like a safety blanket that you describe is a very accurate description that safety blanket is something that feels almost like real, like were wrapped in a cloak of safety when we are by ourselves and that is a result of isolation when we were younger, usually an isolation was the norm and we weren’t allowed to do other things or connect with other people and so that feels familiar and therefore that feels safe and if we experienced interpersonal trauma, trauma perpetrated upon us by another human, then other humans feel unsafe and so it’s very common for you to be experiencing this phenomena, especially if you’re in in that season of your trauma recovery journey where you’re just uncovering memories and your world is still very small and you don’t have a lot of trauma-informed friends and relationships or even a trauma-informed practitioner. So please be very patient and kind to yourself and to answer your direct question which is how to break this pattern. I will likely, again refer you to a lot of the practical examples that I’ve mentioned earlier, placing yourself for success, placing yourself in situations where you’re not going to be rejected or retraumatized, starting small, practicing in private, not pushing yourself too hard. I want everyone here to know that pressing yourself too hard if you’re feeling really wobbly and like you’re having PTSD flashbacks, that can actually retraumatize you and be detrimental to your health so please be very patient and kind with yourself, please don’t push yourself too, too, too hard it’s good to start small and to practice in private or you know start off going through the drive-through and you know ordering something and feeling like you’re getting out there and then maybe you know, once a month go in to you know order something and, or you know go in to the market one of the ways that we assimilate… when we’re struggling PTSD and anxiety and if we have any type of dissociation and this is regarding interpersonal trauma, Skylight At Dusk is I mean we can do our grocery shopping at nighttime when there are fewer people or we can just do our best to navigate life in a way that feels safe to us and if we start shaming ourselves about that, please connect with others like our here in this community so that you don’t shame yourself and cause yourself to be retraumatized. There’s no, shame in starting small, there’s no shame in being afraid to reach out there’s no shame in taking it slow, there’s no shame in not knowing what to do or how to do it, okay. So I hope that was helpful. MsBeachboxer says what drives me crazy is that while I could deny it, I functioned well. Now that I know, I am paralyzed and I isolate to hide, help?. So if I’m understanding MsBeachboxer correctly, what she’s saying is, what drives me crazy is that while I could deny that I was abused, then I functioned really well and now that I know that I experienced adverse childhood experiences or childhood abuse or childhood maltreatment or trauma in childhood, now I’m paralyzed and I isolate and I hide. I want you all to know that the isolation phase and the phase that you might be in and your trauma recovery journey does not last forever, it will feel like it lasts a really long time and then you will slowly but surely get yourself out there, The more we show up for ourselves on a daily basis and on a regular basis, the safer life feels. For instance, a year or so ago in trauma therapy, I was unable to travel on business. I was terrified to travel, I was terrified, I was in a phase of my trauma recovery journey that I had reverted back to where I really felt like I needed to just pull money out of the bank and go to a remote area of the island I live on and just live by myself because I felt so unsafe and I literally needed my trauma therapist to hold me accountable to not do that, because while I felt that way, while I was in a triggered state I could find evidence, through my journal of my daily feelings, it’s important to journal, it’s important to know where you are on a daily basis, your feelings tracker and you know the way you feel on a regular basis, what triggers you, are you triggered at a certain time of day more often than not. What are your symptoms, is it nightmares, is it social anxiety, is it people coming to the door, is it certain smells, it’s important to log all of these things and track all of these things MsBeachboxer and the more we show up for ourselves on a regular basis the more gains we will have, the more safe we will feel in our own body and we will realize that it is not our hyper-vigilance which has kept us safe, it is actually our ability to create pockets of safety in our life that have kept us safe and that we have everything we need to create safety in our life but we won’t learn that unless we put ourselves out there little by little by little by little, slowly. So I also want to acknowledge something MsBeachboxer, I want to acknowledge how real it is that back before I even you know admitted and accepted the reality of my abuse, I was able to adult all over the place, I was peopling, I was adulting, I was doing my career, I was you know, a sports mom and the mom with the SUV and I drove all the kids around and I traveled here and there on business and I had this relationship and that relationship and I went to that potluck and I volunteered for that you know PTA or that event or whatever, I mean I did so much and then as I started to accept the reality of my trauma, my adverse childhood experiences, the maltreatment that I experienced and memories would trigger new memories which would trigger new memories which would trigger new memories then all of a sudden my world became very small and I was paralyzed and I was terrified all the time and so I just needed to work with a good trauma-informed practitioner that would help me find those things in myself that I was learning to trust. so that I could lean on those little parts about myself that I could trust and build upon those. I promise you, you won’t stay stuck in this place forever MsBeachboxer, I promise you, you will move past this place, but you will need to show up for yourself on a regular basis and you’ll begin to feel safer in your body. I’m gonna do another shameless plug, if you want to have conversations like this and heal at deeper and more exponential rate, please reach out and go to CPTSDfoundation.org and click on daily calls. you know we have an amazing group of people that show up for themselves on a regular basis and if they’re not able to be there, they’re not able to be there, they just listen to the replays, but they’re showing up for themselves on a regular basis and they are getting their life back, they’re able to function, they’re able to enjoy their life and I would not be able to sit here and tell you that it works unless I did it myself and I realize that it’s working. So I hope that that’s helpful you guys, like seriously it’s life changing when we show up for ourselves. … the shift in the way we think, a shift in the way we show up, a shift in how we feel in our body, we feel safer in our body, we learn to trust ourselves more, we’re not so terrified, we’re not so paralyzed, we’re not stuck comparing our life now with the life we had before we realized and admitted our trauma, we’re actually like, okay I can do this, I can do this, I can do this, I know I can do this and we start to journal, we start to see the difference and we’re tracking this and we’re really doing the work, you guys, it works, recovery works, you can recovery, you will recover, please don’t give up. I hope that was helpful MsBeachboxer. Last question. Carol wants to know, is being ignored the same as isolated. So great question Carol. Is being ignored the same as being isolated?. So if we’re talking about in childhood, being ignored by our primary object or our primary caregivers, typically a mother or father or whomever the adults are that are raising us, if it’s a foster care environment these are the foster family, if it’s in… you’re being raised by your grandparents, that would be you know… your grandparents are your primary object, if you are going to boarding school then it would be the headmaster or the person in charge, if it’s in a traditional family,then it would be your two parents or if it’s a single family a single parent home, then it would be the parent, the one adults in the family, then that person ignoring you, that is called neglect. So being neglected is not… while it does show up similarly and create similar things in us, I cannot use the word neglect as a synonym to the word isolation, they’re very similar, but they’re not synonyms, they’re not used interchangeably, in the context that we’re talking about right now. So what this would look like Carol is, let’s say… let’s say I live in a home with my father. My father is emotionally unavailable or perhaps he’s even physically unavailable because he’s working a lot, so that is neglect. Now if I am told by my father who is my primary object that I need to not talk to other people and I need to stay home, I’m not allowed to go to school or I’m not allowed to participate in after-school activities, I’m not allowed to go to friends houses, I’m not allowed to have friends, I’m not allowed to talk to other people, I’m not allowed to do any type of community activities or attend a carnival or a fair or a baseball game or a swim meet or a choir practice or a band concert. If I’m isolated and I’m kept in and we’re all I’m allowed to do is interact with a particular group of people and I’m told, shh, don’t communicate with other people, don’t talk about what we do in this family with others then that is isolation. You live an isolated life when you’re either prohibited from or just unable to connect with other humans. So being ignored is you not being able to connect with the people that you want to connect with because they’re ignoring you. If you withdrawal and just go to your room and you don’t have anybody and the one person you do have isn’t available to you because they’re either physically not there or they’re emotionally not there, then that is neglect and isolation because you’re isolating and you’re unable to connect with other people. So they’re very similar, but they’re not synonymous, they’re not the same. So I hope that is helpful, Carol. That is the definition of neglect versus isolation and how they are similar and how they would play out. So great question I hope that this has been helpful for you guys. My deepest desire is for you to feel safe here, for you to feel seen and heard and acknowledged and validated and for you to know that you’re worth it, you’re worth healing, healing is possible and it’s worth it and you can heal, even if you’re just starting right now, even if you’re 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, we have one of the women in our in our daily recovery support calls, I believe if I’m not mistaken she’s in her 70s and when we first started back in 2014, we had a woman who was in her 80s and you know they had no… … spoken about their childhood trauma, their abuse that happened in their family of origin, because where they come from you keep your mouth shut, you don’t mention it, you don’t talk about it, period and so if that’s you and you are in your 20s or 30s or 40s or 50s or 60s or 70s or even your 80s or I don’t know even your 90s and you’ve never uttered a word to anyone about childhood maltreatment, adverse childhood experiences and you believe that you’re experiencing Some difficulties in your present-day life as a result of your adverse childhood experiences and you’ve typed into the Google CPTSD and you’ve hit enter and then Wikipedia pops up and it tells you what complex post-traumatic stress disorder is and it describes your life, those symptoms describe your life. You were stuck in a situation in childhood, there was an uneven power dynamic, you had no chance of escape and you were traumatized for a long period of time and now you’re not sure about your identity, you’re not sure who you are or what you like or what you don’t like you feel very withdrawn you feel like you feel a lot of shame and you’re afraid all the time and you’re very hyper vigilant and you have an exaggerated startle response and you don’t feel safe around people and you’re just unsure and you just sort of check out and you just don’t really remember things and you just feel low and afraid and you have anxiety and possibly depression or you know other PTSD symptoms, maybe you’re just confused and you just feel like you just don’t know what’s going on and you’re really frustrated, then please don’t go it alone. You can heal and healing is possible and healing is so worth it, regardless of how old you are you can heal and when you’re around another person that has been through what you have been through and they validate your human experience and they really see you and they really hear you and they don’t shame you, they let you know you’re not alone, it’s like the shackles of shame just fall to the ground and then you’re able to heal, healing becomes possible. So please don’t give up, okay, please don’t give up, you can do this and again, if you are not involved in our daily calls and you want to be go to CPTSDfoundation.org and click on daily calls and if you know someone that you think would benefit from free resources or a free Facebook group and there’s a spot on the website there where you can click on free groups as well and you’ll fill out the little form and then my assistant Lisa will contact you and she’ll welcome you into the groups that you’re interested in and we also have a healing book club, it’s only $5 a month and you can read books about trauma and about healing from trauma so that you feel like healing is possible, all right?, you don’t have to do this alone, there are thousands of us, statistically there’s actually a billion of us, a billion with a B, on the planet right now, so you’re definitely not alone you’re in good company and oh before I forget, I still have some of you here, oh good. I’m looking for someone who is familiar with YouTube, here you are on YouTube. I’m looking for someone who is, who would be… who has a good internet connection. I’d have a good internet connection and you are willing to upload some videos for us. We want to begin uploading videos on a daily basis I have a team of people working behind the scenes, taking a whole bunch of our videos of these livestream Q and A’s and cutting them up into smaller videos, so that we can reach more people who don’t want to sit here for an hour or an hour and a half, they only have 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 10, 15 minutes and so the goal is to upload one video a day, every day… I need help, okay?. So whoever would like to apply you can go to CPTSDfoundation.org, there’s a little button that says contact and you can just let us know, I would like to be involved with uploading one video a day to the YouTube channel, because I want to help other survivors heal and get the resources that I have access to and then we will take all of the people who apply and we will contact you personally and we will let you know when we fill the position, but it’s a volunteer position it could turn into a paid position in the future, once we you know get some funding, when we have our dun & bradstreet number and our 501C3 designation, which is a non-profit designation with the federal government in the United States which makes us a legitimate charity, so I want to continue making these free videos for you. I want to continue sharing this with people who need it and in order to do that I need funding and in order to get funding I need more followers and subscribers and in order to do that I need to make shorter videos and the best way for me to make shorter videos right now is to chop up the videos that I’ve already made and to upload one a day, every day, one a day, every day, one a day, every day, maybe even more than one a day, but we’ll start off with one a day. So if that’s something that you’re interested in, please go to CPTSDfoundation.org, please fill out a form when you hit the button that says contact and let us know that you would like to volunteer. It’s probably, I don’t know, maybe 20 minutes a day, maybe it’s 30 minutes a day, 20 minutes a day, I can’t picture it taking longer than that, I don’t really know, but what I do know is that you would be instrumental in changing the lives of thousands of other people and helping us reach more trauma survivors who are suffering in silence and they think that they’re all alone in that no one cares and that no one understands. So if your hearts beating faster and you’re just like, oh, maybe I can do that, I don’t know, I’m not very techy, I don’t really understand it, but you have a desire to want to help and you have an internet connection, then what the heck, give it a try, reach out, connect with us. I don’t ever ask you guys for anything, so this is me asking for help if you’re, if you’re willing to help, if you’re able to help. Wouldn’t cost you anything, but it would cost you like 20 minutes of your time,every day and you would have someone walk you through and train you, step by step, you wouldn’t have to figure it all out on your own, but you do need an internet connection and you do need about 20 minutes a day to spare. So if you can’t do it every day maybe you could just do it on one day, I don’t know, just get in contact with us and we’ll see what we can do and we just appreciate you even considering volunteering. So if this channel has ever helped you with anything and you would like to make those videos available to other people you want to volunteer them, please do so, so thank you so much for uh for hanging out and for getting your questions answered and thank you for considering going to CPTSDfoundation.org and volunteering a few minutes of your time every day to reach a lot more people, the goal in 2019 is to take our subscriber count from five thousand, which is where it’s at right now, to ten thousand by this time next year. Christmas of 2019 we want to have ten thousand YouTube subscribers and in order to do that I need to have shorter videos go out, like every day. So there, I asked I could get completely rejected, it’s terrifying, but there, I just did it. I put myself out there. Alright, I will see you all here next Monday and every Monday 6 p.m. Pacific 9 p.m Eastern right here, but if you do want to have conversations like this every single day then go to CPTSDfoundation.org and click on daily calls and I will see you on the daily calls. Bye everybody, love you.

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