Tag Archive: Cptsd


Many complex trauma survivors walk away from their religious beliefs. For example, to believe in a good and loving God who allows suffering and heinous abuse to occur can feel like the ultimate betrayal. This is something needing considerable compassion. – https://themighty.com/2017/08/life-impacting-symptoms-of-complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/

It’ strange for me think about how when I was a kid and first heard about God and Christianity I was fascinated, I fell in love with the faith and felt safe knowing there was this God up there watching over not just me, but everyone. I listened to the bible stories and the heroes who God chose, protected, saved and rewarded for their efforts and sacrifices. I wanted to be a champion of God like none other, I wanted to believe that everything had its purpose. Even as a kid, I was determined to discover my purpose, I grew up hearing how I was almost never even born, how my mother abandoned me when I was just a few months old, just to be saved by my father, who claimed God told him to go home, when he didn’t want to and only wanted to go to his mom’s to avoid having to put up with my mother, which would lead to yet another argument.
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So I believed there was a reason why I was such a freak, why I was so unwanted. I grew up with warts on my left hand, buck teeth, speech problems, I wasn’t particularly coordinated, good at sports, I had no talents that I knew of. My hair never did look right until I grew older and started spiking it. I suffered horrible abuse from my mother, was often teased and made fun my older brother, some of my family members and I faced bullies every day in school. More than anything I wanted to believe there was a purpose to it all, a reason behind it all. Because it’s what Christians often told me, that I would need to give my pain to God and he would deliver me from it. But he never did. Since I was six years old, I prayed to God every day, begging him to allow my mother to love me and treat me like a son. Of course, I’ve prayed for a variety of things and for people, I prayed to God to take away my warts, to fix my speech, my teeth and when I noticed my vision was beginning to deteriorate, I prayed for God to restore my vision. I’ve already had enough issues with my appearance and didn’t want to give the bullies any more ammunition against me. As I’ve said once in an earlier post, I’ve been called names and I’ve been called them all. I heard time and again of adults and people older than me how they were bullied too and how it’s so bad. But every year, bullying gets worse I know this from experience. I never got good advice or help in any way. The schools always say you should talk to a teacher, go the principle, or even your parents, doing so however only makes things 10 times worse. Kids are often ostracized by their peers it, called and viewed as a narc. Even worse, it’s never an easy thing to talk about when you’re a victim.
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I often would pray to God to move for me and those bullies who targeted me, I asked him to make them my friends, I prayed for my parents to get back together because I missed my dad, I prayed to be accepted, to feel loved. I prayed these things every day until I was thirteen years old. Then I changed, I began praying for God just to end it, to take my life, I didn’t care how. I just wanted to die. This I kept up, praying every day until I was fifteen. That’s when I finally gave on God. I gave up on Christians never wanting to listen to me, always saying the same diatribe over and over again, while I was very clearly crying out for help. I got tired of hearing Christians telling me, “God is trying to break you, he wants you to be more broken, so that he can heal you!” And a part of me always wondered,

“How much more broken do I have to be? I’m a kid, I shouldn’t have to deal with what I’ve been dealt with. I shouldn’t have heard my mother tell me that she wanted me to snap and hit her, so that she could pull some strings and have me locked up, just because she wanted to ruin my life. I shouldn’t have spent countless nights crying myself to sleep because I was so broken, so lonely and tired of feeling like I didn’t belong.”

Oh I would hear that it was God testing me, which I believed for years and after a while I began to wonder, why? What was he testing my faith for? I was a child, a kid, no kid should think the world would be better off if they died.

Other times they would blame Satan, telling me everything I was dealing with was the devil and he was trying to beat me down and I couldn’t help but wonder, why God wasn’t protecting me. I was a good kid, I always tried to be kind, generous, giving, supportive and forgiving. Granted I had a few small selfish moments as all kids do, but I was a pretty good kid. All I ever wanted was to be happy, to feel loved, wanted and needed. So, I started cutting myself, I started doing it just to give myself something else to focus on. But in truth, I was really just practicing to kill myself.

depression-im-fineDuring this period of dark inflection, I adapted a mode of thinking, that maybe God was an absentee father, that he created us in a bit of a rush and once he was finished with his little science project he abandoned his creation. Thinking this, I began rebelling against God, believing if I could make him angry, make him hate me, he would finally stop and take notice, then maybe he would care. So I tore apart my bibles, tossing them in a fire. I began cussing like a sailor, mocking Christian teachings and beliefs. Then I began to study other religions and briefly practicing the other faiths I’ve read about. I became a Wiccan, for about a year, then I began reading about Pagan beliefs, I soon found myself reading more and more about philosophy and religions around the world, where I found something quite odd. They were all mostly the same, even Satanism. Compare any religion you want, don’t just go off what you think, or heard, but actually get their bible and read the tenants of other faiths, with an open mind and you’ll begin seeing similarities. Yet we build these factions, mock and make fun of, or even harass anyone who believes in something else, we wage war, kill one another over petty differences that don’t matter.

I have found many Christians (again not all) to be a very toxic people and I’m not saying anything against the bible or anything, granted I really don’t know what I myself believe in these days, but I do believe that the bible has some really worthwhile tenants and values. Most Christians however seem to suffer from old bigotry that pastors and leaders had used the bible to enforce their beliefs and force them on others. By this I mean when I read the bible, I read about a very loving and forgiving God, one who gave his only begotten son to die on a cross for our sins. It always felt wrong to me when I heard religious leaders speak out against homosexuals, or anyone in the LGBT community, even being an heterosexual man myself, but I know what it’s like to be an outcast, to be treated less of a human being just for being who you are. Then they always want to say “Well in the bible it says…”And I always counter with, the bible also says we shouldn’t pass judgment on others, or force our personal views, religious or otherwise on anyone else. Also the bible speaks out against gossiping. Worse is some the non-sensible things the bible also says.

Here are but a few.

Don’t have a variety of crops on the same field. (Leviticus 19:19)
Don’t wear clothes made of more than one fabric. (Leviticus 19:19)
Don’t cut your hair nor shave. (Leviticus 19:27)
Any person who curseth his mother or father, must be killed. (Leviticus 20:9)
If a priest’s daughter is a whore, she is to be burnt at the stake. (Leviticus 21:9)
People who have flat noses, or are blind or lame, cannot go to an altar of God. (Leviticus 21:17-18)
From the book of Deuteronomy:
If anyone, even your own family, suggests worshipping another God, kill them. (Deuteronomy 13:6-10)
Women are not allowed to wear the clothing of men and men are not allowed to wear the clothing of women (Deuteronomy 22:5)
From the New Testament:
Slaves must be submissive and obedient to their masters. (Ephesians 6:5)
Women must be submissive to their husbands. (1 Peter 3:1 and 3:5)
Women should not style or braid their hair or wear any adornments (jewelry) or fancy clothing. (I would also presume that wording to include the wearing of make-up and coloring of hair in that context. – 1 Peter 3:3, 1 Timothy 2:9)
Women should be generally submissive and should be quiet, never teach or hold any authority over men. They should just be silent. (1 Timothy 2:12)
Women must wear head coverings in any place of worship. (1 Corinthians 11:4-7)

When I attended Sunday school and I was brought up with the belief that God was supposed to be good, who wanted us to love on another. The bible in my opinion often contradicts itself, which often made me wonder, if someone didn’t add or tweak things here and there. Because the message I got from the Bible was how we should be compassionate to others, accept them for who they are, because they are created by God, love or hate them, they were created by the same God who made you, to argue against a person’s sexual preference or ideals is to say God has no idea what he’s doing.

self-hate-depression.jpg I know my struggle with faith and religion is in part because I suffer from c-ptsd, but it’s also because when I was crying out for help. The Christian church let me down, instead of trying to dive deeper and getting me help, I got lectured, prayed to, prayed out, given quotes from the bible, or reasons and excuses about why my life is the way it is. Others felt the need to compare their lives, and problems to my own and tell me they know how I feel, or want to tell me everything Jesus went through before he died and tell me to suck it up.

But I’m broken and have been broken for a very long time. I searched for God, I worshiped him, loved him despite how much my life was falling apart. It’s hard to believe in something when you’ve felt abandoned for so long. When you’ve prayed for small, simple miracle over and over again, just be denied that small amount of love. I wasn’t even supposed to be born, I was an unwanted child, an accident, an abortion survivor and for what, why?
More than anything I wish I was normal and wasn’t such a mess and I know if I ever come face to face with my mother again, I would like to look her in the eye and just say, “You can’t just make someone and throw them away, it’s not right.”

If you’re still reading this. I’m sorry for the downer of a post, which I’m still probably made some of you very angry at me. But, if you could do me a quick favor, and go over to my friend’s pateron and donate just a dollar to her goal of becoming a writer, I would greatly appreciate it and you’d be able to make someone’s day. She’s incredibly talented, a warm and loving person and in all honesty someone who’s kept me from giving up.

https://patreon.com/ARStuff?utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=tyshare2

My very personal PSA

I have depression, anxiety and recently been diagnosed with C-PTSD.

Several people like to tell me I should get over it, or say “Oh I’ve been depressed a few times, but I did this thing and it stopped it.”

Truth is, depression isn’t cute or funny and it’s definitely not sexy. It’s a living thing. It exists by feeding on your darkest moods and emotions and it’s always hungry. It never really goes away. Anything that challenges it, anything that makes you feel good, anyone who brings you joy, it will drive them away so it can grow without interference. Its goal is to isolate you. At its worst, it will literally paralyze you, rather than allow you to feel anything at all. At its worst, you are numb and you are drained and immobilized by it. And it’s not that those of us who suffer from the disease want to push you away. For there have been times I could be in a room surrounded by friends and family and still feel no one else’s’ warmth or touch. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been surrounded by people and still felt alone, hurt and like a burden or a joke to all those I loved and care about. Always thinking that everyone else would be so much happier if I just went away. You see Depression sucks, I mean it literally sucks, it takes away your happiness, your joy, leaving you as nothing more than a hollowed out husk of the person you were before. But that’s how depression works; it’ll drive you to your knees with the soul crushing weight that no one should ever have to bare alone. It will prey on your darkest thoughts, telling you that no one loves you and it’ll you that every negative thought you ever had about yourself is true, and how bleak your future really is. I’ve come to learned that depression lies. But I still wrestle with my depression; I have good days, bad days, and worst days. I often try to combat it by keeping myself busy.

Having anxiety on top of depression often validates your depression. Anxiety is debilitating. It feels like a constant heaviness in your mind; like something isn’t quite right, although oftentimes you don’t know exactly what that something is. But it feels like acid in your stomach, burning and eating away at the emptiness and taking away any feelings of hunger. It’s like a tight knot that you can’t untwist. Anxiety feels like your mind is on fire, overthinking and over analyzing every little, irrelevant thing. Sometimes, it makes you feel restless and constantly distracted. It feels as if your thoughts are running wild in a million different directions, bumping into each other along the way. Other times, it makes you feel detached, as if your mind has gone blank and you are no longer mentally present. You dissociate and feel as if you have left your own body. For me anxiety feels like there is a voice in the back of my mind telling me that everything is not okay, when everything in fact is. Sometimes the voice tells me that there is something wrong with me and that you are different from everybody else.

It’s like this voice that tells you that your feelings are bad and that you’re a burden to the world and that you should isolate. It makes everyday tasks, such as making simple decisions, incredibly difficult. Anxiety can keep you up at night — tossing and turning.
It’s like a lightbulb that comes on at the most inconvenient times and won’t switch off. Your body feels exhausted, but your mind feels wide awake and racing. You go through the events of your day, analyzing and agonizing over every specific detail. Much like depression, anxiety never really goes away.

When I discovered I’ve also been dealing with C-PTSD from the years of childhood abuse I’ve endured. I was like “Wow…aren’t I lucky.” You see In PTSD, your brain may replay a incident over and over again to help you process your emotions. It can become an endless loop that is actually more upsetting than the initial incident, as your unexpressed emotions continue to pile up.

C-PTSD is ongoing or repeated interpersonal trauma, where the victim is traumatized in captivity, and where there is no perceived way to escape. Ongoing child abuse is captivity abuse because the child cannot escape. Domestic violence is another example. Forced prostitution/sex trafficking is another.

The following are some of the symptoms and impact most felt by complex trauma survivors.

1. Deep Fear Of Trust People who endure ongoing abuse, particularly from significant people in their lives, develop an intense and understandable fear of trusting people. If the abuse was parents or caregivers, this intensifies. Ongoing trauma wires the brain for fear and distrust. It becomes the way the brain copes with any further potential abuse. Complex trauma survivors often find trusting people very difficult, and it takes little for any trust built to be destroyed. The brain senses issues and this overwhelms the already severely-traumatized brain. This fear of trust is extremely impactful on a survivor’s life. Trust can be learned with support and an understanding of trusting people slowly and carefully. This takes times and patience. Believe me when I say, people like me are trying.

2. Terminal Aloneness
This is a phrase I used to describe to my Therapist — the terribly painful aloneness I have always felt as a complex trauma survivor. I often feel little connection and trust with people, people like me often remain in a terrible state of aloneness, even when surrounded by people. I described it once as having a glass wall between myself and other people. I can see them, but I cannot connect with them. Another issue that increases this aloneness is feeling different to other people. Feeling damaged, broken and unable to be like other people can haunt a survivor, increasing the loneliness.

3. Emotion Regulation
Intense emotions are common with complex trauma survivors like myself. It is understandable that ongoing abuse can cause many different and intense emotions. This is normal for complex trauma survivors. Learning to manage and regulate emotions is vital in being able to manage all the other symptoms, but it’s not easy and incredibly difficult. Best way I can describe this is, imagine you’re on a strict, healthy diet, and every day you have to drive in a car, or sit at a table watch someone eat your favorite food, where they’re always asking you if you want some and you always have to say “No.” Now multiply that by like a thousand.

4. Emotional Flashbacks
flashbacks are something all PTSD survivors can deal with, and there are three types:

Visual Flashbacks – where your mind is triggered and transported back to the trauma, and you feel as though you are reliving it.
Somatic Flashbacks – where the survivor feels sensations, pain and discomfort in areas of the body, affected by the trauma. This pain/sensations cannot be explained by any other health issues, and are triggered by something that creates the body to “feel” the trauma again.
Emotional Flashbacks – the least known and understood, and yet the type complex trauma survivors can experience the most. These are where emotions from the past are triggered. Often the survivor does not understand these intense emotions are flashbacks, and it appears the survivor is being irrationally emotional. When I learned about emotional flashbacks, it was a huge lightbulb moment of finally understanding why I have intense emotions, when they do not reflect the issue occurring now, but are in fact emotions felt during the trauma, being triggered. But, there is no visual of the trauma – as with visual flashbacks. So, it takes a lot of work to start to understand when experiencing an emotional flashback.

5. Hypervigilance about People
Most people with PTSD have hypervigilance, where the person scans the environment for potential risks and likes to have their back to the wall.
But complex trauma survivors often have a deep subconscious need to “work people out.” Since childhood, I have been aware of people’s non-verbal cues; their body language, their tone of voice, their facial expressions. I also subconsciously learn people’s habits and store away what they say. Then if anything occurs that contradicts any of this, it will immediately flag as something potentially dangerous.
This can be exhausting. And it can create a deep skillset of discernment about people. The aim of healing fear-based hyper-vigilance is turning it into non-fear-based discernment
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6. Loss Of Faith
Complex trauma survivors often endure a loss of faith. This can be about people, about the world being good, about religion, and a loss of faith about self.
Complex trauma survivors often view the world as dangerous and people as all potentially abusive, which is understandable when having endured ongoing severe abuse.
Many complex trauma survivors walk away from their religious beliefs. For example, to believe in a good and loving God who allows suffering and heinous abuse to occur can feel like the ultimate betrayal. This is something needing considerable compassion.

7. Profoundly Hurt Inner Child

Childhood complex trauma survivors, often have a very hurt inner child that continues on to affect the survivor in adulthood. When a child’s emotional needs are not met and a child is repeatedly hurt and abused this deeply and profoundly affects the child’s development. A survivor will often continue on subconsciously wanting those unmet childhood needs in adulthood. Looking for safety, protection, being cherished and loved can often be normal unmet needs in childhood, and the survivor searches for these in other adults. This can be where survivors search for mother and father figures. Transference issues in counseling can occur and this is normal for childhood abuse survivors. I can’t tell you how many times I met a girlfriend’s parents and would often begin viewing their mother as a motherly figure for me. Even my last supervisor, I found myself thinking of her as a motherly figure and she inherently had a very motherly personality, where my department would often refer to her as the mother of the circulation department.

8. Helplessness and Toxic Shame
Due to enduring ongoing or repeated abuse, the survivor can develop a sense of hopelessness — that nothing will ever be OK. They can feel so profoundly damaged, they see no hope for anything getting better. When faced with long periods of abuse, it does feel like there is no hope of anything changing. And even when the abuse or trauma stops, the survivor can continue on having these deep core level beliefs of hopelessness. This is intensified by the terribly life-impacting symptoms of complex PTSD that keep the survivor stuck with the trauma, with little hope of this easing.

Toxic shame is a common issue survivors of complex trauma endure. Often the perpetrators of the abuse make the survivor feel they deserved it, or they were the reason for it. Often survivors are made to feel they don’t deserve to be treated any better.

9. Repeated Search For A Rescuer
Subconsciously looking for someone to rescue them is something many survivors understandably think about during the ongoing trauma and this can continue on after the trauma has ceased. The survivor can feel helpless and yearn for someone to come and rescue them from the pain they feel and want them to make their lives better. This sadly often leads to the survivor seeking out the wrong types of people and being re-traumatized repeatedly.

10. Dissociation

When enduring ongoing abuse, the brain can utilize dissociation as a coping method. This can be from daydreaming to more life-impacting forms of dissociation such as dissociative identity disorder (DID). This is particularly experienced by child abuse survivors, who are emotionally unable to cope with trauma in the same way an adult can.

11. Persistent Sadness and Being Suicidal

Complex trauma survivors often experience ongoing states of sadness and severe depression. Mood disorders are often co-morbid with complex PTSD.

Complex trauma survivors are high risk for suicidal thoughts, suicide ideation and being actively suicidal. Suicide ideation can become a way of coping, where the survivor feels like they have a way to end the severe pain if it becomes any worse. Often the deep emotional pain survivors feel, can feel unbearable. This is when survivors are at risk of developing suicidal thoughts.

12. Muscle Armoring
Many complex trauma survivors, who have experienced ongoing abuse, develop body hyper-vigilance. This is where the body is continually tensed, as though the body is “braced” for potential trauma. This leads to pain issues as the muscles are being overworked. Chronic pain and other issues related such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia can result. Massage, guided muscle relaxation and other ways to manage this can help.

All of these issues are very normal for complex trauma survivors. Enduring complex trauma is not a normal life experience, and therefore the consequences it creates are different, yet very normal for what they have experienced and endured.

Not every survivor will endure all these, and there are other symptoms that can be endured. I always suggest trauma-informed counseling if that is accessible. There are medications available to help with symptoms such as anxiety and depression. But they tend to be fairly expensive.

Lastly, I advise that empathy, gentleness and compassion are required for complex trauma survivors. We are not people and trust me when I say, we are trying and doing our best.