Ptsd Quotes

We've searched our database for all the quotes and captions related to Ptsd. Here they are! All 200 of them:

PTSD is a whole-body tragedy, an integral human event of enormous proportions with massive repercussions.
Susan Pease Banitt
The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
The problem with having problems is that ‘someone’ always has it worse.
Tiffany Madison (Black and White)
When we feel weak, we drop our heads on the shoulders of others. Don't get mad when someone does that. Be honored. For that person trusted you enough to, even if subtly, ask you for help.
Lori Goodwin
Trauma is personal. It does not disappear if it is not validated. When it is ignored or invalidated the silent screams continue internally heard only by the one held captive. When someone enters the pain and hears the screams healing can begin.
Danielle Bernock (Emerging With Wings: A True Story of Lies, Pain, And The LOVE that Heals)
After a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Often it isn’t the initiating trauma that creates seemingly insurmountable pain, but the lack of support after.
S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div. (Gift of the Dreamtime - Reader's Companion)
We don't heal in isolation, but in community.
S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div. (Gift of the Dreamtime - Reader's Companion)
You can't patch a wounded soul with a Band-Aid.
Michael Connelly (The Black Echo (Harry Bosch, #1; Harry Bosch Universe, #1))
Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.
Bessel van der Kolk (Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society)
No amount of me trying to explain myself was doing any good. I didn't even know what was going on inside of me, so how could I have explained it to them?
Sierra D. Waters (Debbie.)
Trauma does not have to occur by abuse alone...
Asa Don Brown (The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adult Perception and Worldview)
Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again ... we are survivors. If you are here today... you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it thru hell and are still standing? We bare a different name: warriors.
Lori Goodwin
There are edges around the black and every now and then a flash of color streaks out of the gray. But I can never really grasp any of the slivers of memories that emerge.
Katie McGarry (Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1))
Always remember, if you have been diagnosed with PTSD, it is not a sign of weakness; rather, it is proof of your strength, because you have survived!
Michelle Templet
Some people's lives seem to flow in a narrative; mine had many stops and starts. That's what trauma does. It interrupts the plot. You can't process it because it doesn't fit with what came before or what comes afterwards.
Jessica Stern
I’m reminded of Orville Tethington, inventor of the world’s first steam-powered fog machine. He’s also the guy who, after the Germans invented the flame thrower in WWI, decided to counteract it with his own creation, the candle thrower. The candle thrower was only battle tested once, and after fifteen minutes the war zone was littered with lit candles. Upon returning home after the war, some of the soldiers suffered such extreme and bizarre cases of PTSD that anytime a civilian lit a match or used their lighter, the soldiers would hit the ground and start singing “Happy Birthday.
Jarod Kintz (I Should Have Renamed This)
The blade sings to me. Faintly, so soft against my ears, its voice calms my worries and tells me that one touch will take it all away. It tells me that I just need to slide a long horizontal cut, and make a clean slice. It tells me the words that I have been begging to hear: this will make it ok.
A. S. (The Cliff)
Trauma is hell on earth. Trauma resolved is a gift from the gods.
Peter A. Levine
If the sound of happy children is grating on your ears, I don't think it's the children who need to be adjusted.
Stefan Molyneux
Childhood trauma does not come in one single package.
Asa Don Brown
When you notice someone does something toxic the first time, don't wait for the second time before you address it or cut them off. Many survivors are used to the "wait and see" tactic which only leaves them vulnerable to a second attack. As your boundaries get stronger, the wait time gets shorter. You never have justify your intuition.
Shahida Arabi
In situations of captivity the perpetrator becomes the most powerful person in the life of the victim, and the psychology of the victim is shaped by the actions and beliefs of the perpetrator.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Alone with thoughts of what should have long been forgotten, I let myself be carried away into the silent screams of delirium.
A. S. (The Cliff)
It's safer for you to stay with the others,' he said. Safer? He didn't realize. I was already dead.
Ruta Sepetys (Salt to the Sea)
Here, from her ashes you lay. A broken girl so lost in despondency that you know that even if she does find her way out of this labyrinth in hell, that she will never see, feel, taste, or touch life the same again.
A. S. (The Cliff)
we are threatened with suffering from three directions: from our body, which is doomed to decay..., from the external world which may rage against us with overwhelming and merciless force of destruction, and finally from our relations with other men... This last source is perhaps more painful to use than any other. (p77)
Sigmund Freud (Civilization and Its Discontents)
Beneath the surface of the protective parts of trauma survivors there exists an undamaged essence, a Self that is confident, curious, and calm, a Self that has been sheltered from destruction by the various protectors that have emerged in their efforts to ensure survival. Once those protectors trust that it is safe to separate, the Self will spontaneously emerge, and the parts can be enlisted in the healing process
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
When you have a persistent sense of heartbreak and gutwrench, the physical sensations become intolerable and we will do anything to make those feelings disappear. And that is really the origin of what happens in human pathology. People take drugs to make it disappear, and they cut themselves to make it disappear, and they starve themselves to make it disappear, and they have sex with anyone who comes along to make it disappear and once you have these horrible sensations in your body, you’ll do anything to make it go away.
Bessel van der Kolk
I cannot stand the words Get over it. All of us are under such pressure to put our problems in the past tense. Slow down. Don’t allow others to hurry your healing. It is a process, one that may take years, occasionally, even a lifetime — and that’s OK.
Beau Taplin
Boundaries are, in simple terms, the recognition of personal space.
Asa Don Brown (The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adult Perception and Worldview)
I keep moving ahead, as always, knowing deep down inside that I am a good person and that I am worthy of a good life.
Jonathan Harnisch
The brave men and women, who serve their country and as a result, live constantly with the war inside them, exist in a world of chaos. But the turmoil they experience isn’t who they are; the PTSD invades their minds and bodies.
Robert Koger (Death's Revenge)
Triggers are like little psychic explosions that crash through avoidance and bring the dissociated, avoided trauma suddenly, unexpectedly, back into consciousness.
Carolyn Spring
Recovery unfolds in three stages. The central task of the first stage is the establishment of safety. The central task of the second stage is remembrance and mourning. The central focus of the third stage is reconnection with ordinary life.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Dissociation is the common response of children to repetitive, overwhelming trauma and holds the untenable knowledge out of awareness. The losses and the emotions engendered by the assaults on soul and body cannot, however be held indefinitely. In the absence of effective restorative experiences, the reactions to trauma will find expression. As the child gets older, he will turn the rage in upon himself or act it out on others, else it all will turn into madness.
Judith Spencer (Satans High Priest)
If only I could tell someone. The humiliation I go through when I think of my past can only be described as grace. We are created by being destroyed.
Franz Wright
Gemma was so determined for me to deal with my PTSD, but I thought I was doing pretty well with it. We were friends now. I had my incontinence under control
Darynda Jones (Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson, #5))
Traumatic events, by definition, overwhelm our ability to cope. When the mind becomes flooded with emotion, a circuit breaker is thrown that allows us to survive the experience fairly intact, that is, without becoming psychotic or frying out one of the brain centers. The cost of this blown circuit is emotion frozen within the body. In other words, we often unconsciously stop feeling our trauma partway into it, like a movie that is still going after the sound has been turned off. We cannot heal until we move fully through that trauma, including all the feelings of the event.
Susan Pease Banitt (The Trauma Tool Kit: Healing PTSD from the Inside Out)
Hiding my pain and acting strong, afraid to cry and show my tears, I struggle with all this years later.
Erin Merryn (Living for Today: From Incest and Molestation to Fearlessness and Forgiveness)
By developing a contaminated, stigmatized identity, the child victim takes the evil of the abuser into herself and thereby preserves her primary attachments to her parents. Because the inner sense of badness preserves a relationship, it is not readily given up even after the abuse has stopped; rather, it becomes a stable part of the child's personality structure.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Am I awake or dreaming? It doesn’t matter anymore. When I close my eyes I dream of death and war. When I open my eyes I see death and war.
Michael Anthony (Mass Casualties: A Young Medic's True Story of Death, Deception, and Dishonor in Iraq)
Unspeakable feelings need to find expression in words. However... verbalization of very intense feelings may be a difficult task.
James A. Chu (Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders)
It is as though some old part of yourself wakes up in you, terrified, useless in the life you have, its skills and habits destructive but intact, and what is left of the present you, the person you have become, wilts and shrivels in sadness or despair: the person you have become is only a thin shell over this other, more electric and endangered self. The strongest, the least digested parts of your experience can rise up and put you back where you were when they occurred; all the rest of you stands back and weeps.
Peter Straub (The Throat)
...repeated trauma in childhood forms and deforms the personality. The child trapped in an abusive environment is faced with formidable tasks of adaptation. She must find a way to preserve a sense of trust in people who are untrustworthy, safety in a situation that is unsafe, control in a situation that is terrifyingly unpredictable, power in a situation of helplessness. Unable to care for or protect herself, she must compensate for the failures of adult care and protection with the only means at her disposal, an immature system of psychological defenses.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Self-destructiveness may be a primary form of communication for those who do not yet have ways to tame their excruciating inner conflicts and feelings and who cannot yet turn to others for support.
James A. Chu (Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders)
In World War One, they called it shell shock. Second time around, they called it battle fatigue. After 'Nam, it was post-traumatic stress disorder.
Jan Karon (Home to Holly Springs (Mitford Years, #10))
Resiliency is the essence of a global positive framework...
Asa Don Brown (The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adult Perception and Worldview)
when a child is ridiculed, shamed, hurt or ignored when she experiences and expresses a legitimate dependency need, she will later be inclined to attach those same affective tones to her dependency. Thus, she will experience her own (and perhaps others’) dependency as ridiculous, shameful, painful, or denied. - Dependency in the Treatment of complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders 2001 Authors: Kathy Steele, Onno van der Hart, Ellert R. S. Nijenhuis
Kathy Steele
If your parents’ faces never lit up when they looked at you, it’s hard to know what it feels like to be loved and cherished. If you come from an incomprehensible world filled with secrecy and fear, it’s almost impossible to find the words to express what you have endured. If you grew up unwanted and ignored, it is a major challenge to develop a visceral sense of agency and self-worth.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
The inability to get something out of your head is a signal that shouts, “Don’t forget to deal with this!” As long as you experience fear or pain with a memory or flashback, there is a lie attached that needs to be confronted. In each healing step, there is a truth to be gathered and a lie to discard.
Christina Enevoldsen
We mute the realization of malevolence- which is too threatening to bear - by turning offenders into victims themselves and by describing their behavior as the result of forces beyond their control.
Anna C. Salter (Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders)
Unlike simple stress, trauma changes your view of your life and yourself. It shatters your most basic assumptions about yourself and your world — “Life is good,” “I’m safe,” “People are kind,” “I can trust others,” “The future is likely to be good” — and replaces them with feelings like “The world is dangerous,” “I can’t win,” “I can’t trust other people,” or “There’s no hope.
Mark Goulston (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder For Dummies)
Today I wore a pair of faded old jeans and a plain grey baggy shirt. I hadn't even taken a shower, and I did not put on an ounce of makeup. I grabbed a worn out black oversized jacket to cover myself with even though it is warm outside. I have made conscious decisions lately to look like less of what I felt a male would want to see. I want to disappear.
Sierra D. Waters (Debbie.)
The victims of PTSD often feel morally tainted by their experiences, unable to recover confidence in their own goodness, trapped in a sort of spiritual solitary confinement, looking back at the rest of the world from beyond the barrier of what happened. They find themselves unable to communicate their condition to those who remained at home, resenting civilians for their blind innocence. The Moral Injury, New York Times. Feb 17, 2015
David Brooks
The brain-disease model overlooks four fundamental truths: (1) our capacity to destroy one another is matched by our capacity to heal one another. Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being; (2) language gives us the power to change ourselves and others by communicating our experiences, helping us to define what we know, and finding a common sense of meaning; (3) we have the ability to regulate our own physiology, including some of the so-called involuntary functions of the body and brain, through such basic activities as breathing, moving, and touching; and (4) we can change social conditions to create environments in which children and adults can feel safe and where they can thrive. When we ignore these quintessential dimensions of humanity, we deprive people of ways to heal from trauma and restore their autonomy. Being a patient, rather than a participant in one’s healing process, separates suffering people from their community and alienates them from an inner sense of self.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
You are not broken and in need of fixing. You are wounded and in need of healing.
Danu Morrigan
It is more like carrying something really heavy, forever. You do not get to put it down: you have to carry it, and so you carry it the way you need to, however it fits best.
Roxane Gay (Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture)
To be groomed is to be loved and handled like a precious, delicate thing
Kate Elizabeth Russell (My Dark Vanessa)
People generally don’t suffer high rates of PTSD after natural disasters. Instead, people suffer from PTSD after moral atrocities. Soldiers who’ve endured the depraved world of combat experience their own symptoms. Trauma is an expulsive cataclysm of the soul. The Moral Injury, New York Times. Feb 17, 2015
David Brooks
Resiliency is not gender-, age-, or intellectually specific...
Asa Don Brown
The happy family is a myth for many.
Carolyn Spring
Loving someone but not trusting them is a spiritual emergency.
S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div.
Been under treatment for PTSD and bipolar since 1992. I’m not ashamed of my illness. I’ve been shunned by many and I feel for those shunned, too.
Stanley Victor Paskavich (Stantasyland: Quips Quotes and Quandaries)
As a civilian, I know nothing about combat, the Marine Corps experience or modern man's struggle adjusting to peace after war. I only know what's been shared with me; confidences I would never betray, nor use as details in a novel.
Tiffany Madison
The ORDINARY RESPONSE TO ATROCITIES is to banish them from consciousness. Certain violations of the social compact are too terrible to utter aloud: this is the meaning of the word unspeakable. Atrocities, however, refuse to be buried. Equally as powerful as the desire to deny atrocities is the conviction that denial does not work. Folk wisdom is filled with ghosts who refuse to rest in their graves until their stories are told. Murder will out. Remembering and telling the truth about terrible events are prerequisites both for the restoration of the social order and for the healing of individual victims. The conflict between the will to deny horrible events and the will to proclaim them aloud is the central dialectic of psychological trauma. People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory, and fragmented manner that undermines their credibility and thereby serves the twin imperatives of truth-telling and secrecy. When the truth is finally recognized, survivors can begin their recovery. But far too often secrecy prevails, and the story of the traumatic event surfaces not as a verbal narrative but as a symptom. The psychological distress symptoms of traumatized people simultaneously call attention to the existence of an unspeakable secret and deflect attention from it. This is most apparent in the way traumatized people alternate between feeling numb and reliving the event. The dialectic of trauma gives rise to complicated, sometimes uncanny alterations of consciousness, which George Orwell, one of the committed truth-tellers of our century, called "doublethink," and which mental health professionals, searching for calm, precise language, call "dissociation." It results in protean, dramatic, and often bizarre symptoms of hysteria which Freud recognized a century ago as disguised communications about sexual abuse in childhood. . . .
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Rose lived the same life I did, but she doesn’t have PTSD. No bad dreams, no missing memories. Sometimes I’m jealous that she seems to deal with everything better than I do. But then I’ll catch her with this hollow look in her eyes and think maybe she just disguises everything for my benefit. Maybe she’s broken on the inside too.
Paula Stokes (Vicarious (Vicarious, #1))
The initial trauma of a young child may go underground but it will return to haunt us.
James Garbarino
It is a rare person who can cut himself off from mediate and immediate relations with others for long spaces of time without undergoing a deterioration in personality.
Harry Stack Sullivan (The Interpersonal Theory of Psychiatry)
Pigpen got excited because he made me grin when he told me that he thought PTSD stood for Probably There's Something wrong but Dunno what.
Katie McGarry (Long Way Home (Thunder Road, #3))
Attitude Is Everything We live in a culture that is blind to betrayal and intolerant of emotional pain. In New Age crowds here on the West Coast, where your attitude is considered the sole determinant of the impact an event has on you, it gets even worse.In these New Thought circles, no matter what happens to you, it is assumed that you have created your own reality. Not only have you chosen the event, no matter how horrible, for your personal growth. You also chose how you interpret what happened—as if there are no interpersonal facts, only interpretations. The upshot of this perspective is that your suffering would vanish if only you adopted a more evolved perspective and stopped feeling aggrieved. I was often kindly reminded (and believed it myself), “there are no victims.” How can you be a victim when you are responsible for your circumstances? When you most need validation and support to get through the worst pain of your life, to be confronted with the well-meaning, but quasi-religious fervor of these insidious half-truths can be deeply demoralizing. This kind of advice feeds guilt and shame, inhibits grieving, encourages grandiosity and can drive you to be alone to shield your vulnerability.
Sandra Lee Dennis
BEFRIENDING THE BODY Trauma victims cannot recover until they become familiar with and befriend the sensations in their bodies. Being frightened means that you live in a body that is always on guard. Angry people live in angry bodies. The bodies of child-abuse victims are tense and defensive until they find a way to relax and feel safe. In order to change, people need to become aware of their sensations and the way that their bodies interact with the world around them. Physical self-awareness is the first step in releasing the tyranny of the past. In my practice I begin the process by helping my patients to first notice and then describe the feelings in their bodies—not emotions such as anger or anxiety or fear but the physical sensations beneath the emotions: pressure, heat, muscular tension, tingling, caving in, feeling hollow, and so on. I also work on identifying the sensations associated with relaxation or pleasure. I help them become aware of their breath, their gestures and movements. All too often, however, drugs such as Abilify, Zyprexa, and Seroquel, are prescribed instead of teaching people the skills to deal with such distressing physical reactions. Of course, medications only blunt sensations and do nothing to resolve them or transform them from toxic agents into allies. The mind needs to be reeducated to feel physical sensations, and the body needs to be helped to tolerate and enjoy the comforts of touch. Individuals who lack emotional awareness are able, with practice, to connect their physical sensations to psychological events. Then they can slowly reconnect with themselves.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
She's terrified that all these sensations and images are coming out of her — but I think she's even more terrified to find out why." Carla's description was typical of survivors of chronic childhood abuse. Almost always, they deny or minimize the abusive memories. They have to: it's too painful to believe that their parents would do such a thing.
David L. Calof
Secure attachment has been linked to a child's ability to successfully recover and prove resilient in the presence of a traumatic event.
Asa Don Brown (The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adult Perception and Worldview)
Intimidated, old traumas triggered, and fearing for my safety, I did what I felt I needed to do.
Sierra D. Waters (Debbie.)
See it for what it is and own it, rather than rethink it so you don't have to deal with the trauma of the abuse. This is the only way to move on--through acceptance.
Shannon L. Alder
If you live your life to please everyone else, you will continue to feel frustrated and powerless. This is because what others want may not be good for you. You are not being mean when you say NO to unreasonable demands or when you express your ideas, feelings, and opinions, even if they differ from those of others.
Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself)
I'm not crazy, I was abused. I'm not shy, I'm protecting myself. I'm not bitter, I'm speaking the truth. I'm not hanging onto the past, I've been damaged. I'm not delusional, I lived a nightmare. I'm not weak, I was trusting. I'm not giving up, I'm healing. I'm not incapable of love, I'm giving. I'm not alone. I see you all here. I'm fighting this.
Rene Smith
The contrast with the scans of the eighteen chronic PTSD patients with severe early-life trauma was startling. There was almost no activation of any of the self-sensing areas of the brain: The MPFC, the anterior cingulate, the parietal cortex, and the insula did not light up at all; the only area that showed a slight activation was the posterior cingulate, which is responsible for basic orientation in space. There could be only one explanation for such results: In response to the trauma itself, and in coping with the dread that persisted long afterward, these patients had learned to shut down the brain areas that transmit the visceral feelings and emotions that accompany and define terror. Yet in everyday life, those same brain areas are responsible for registering the entire range of emotions and sensations that form the foundation of our self-awareness, our sense of who we are. What we witnessed here was a tragic adaptation: In an effort to shut off terrifying sensations, they also deadened their capacity to feel fully alive.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Amnesia, which is a loss of memory, is a symptom of many different trauma and/or dissociative disorders, including PTSD, Dissociative Fugue, Dissociative Disorder Not Otherwise Specified and Dissociative Identity Disorder. Amnesia can affect both implicit and explicit memory.
Ruth A. Lanius (The Impact of Early Life Trauma on Health and Disease: The Hidden Epidemic)
Wars damage the civilian society as much as they damage the enemy. Soldiers never get over it.
Paul Fussell
If you're selfish enough to kill yourself write your suicide note on the back of your will
Stanley Victor Paskavich
You’ve got to reach bedrock to become depressed enough before you are forced to accept the reality and enormity of the problem.
Jonathan Harnisch (Jonathan Harnisch: An Alibiography)
When he first said my diagnosis, I couldn't believe it. There must be another PTSD than post-traumatic stress disorder, I thought. I have only heard of war veterans who have served on the front lines and seen the horrors of battle being diagnosed with PTSD. I am a Beverly Hills housewife, not a soldier. I can't have PTSD. Well, I was wrong. Housewives can get PTSD, too, and yours, truly did.
Taylor Armstrong (Hiding from Reality: My Story of Love, Loss, and Finding the Courage Within)
Blame is a Defense Against Powerlessness Betrayal trauma changes you. You have endured a life-altering shock, and are likely living with PTSD symptoms— hypervigilance, flashbacks and bewilderment—with broken trust, with the inability to cope with many situations, and with the complete shut down of parts of your mind, including your ability to focus and regulate your emotions. Nevertheless, if you are unable to recognize the higher purpose in your pain, to forgive and forget and move on, you clearly have chosen to be addicted to your pain and must enjoy playing the victim. And the worst is, we are only too ready to agree with this assessment! Trauma victims commonly blame themselves. Blaming oneself for the shame of being a victim is recognized by trauma specialists as a defense against the extreme powerlessness we feel in the wake of a traumatic event. Self-blame continues the illusion of control shock destroys, but prevents us from the necessary working through of the traumatic feelings and memories to heal and recover.
Sandra Lee Dennis
But on Kwajalein, the guards sought to deprive them of something that had sustained them even as all else had been lost: dignity. This self-respect and sense of self-worth, the innermost armament of the soul, lies at the heart of humanness; to be deprived of it is to be dehumanized, to be cleaved from, and cast below, mankind.
Laura Hillenbrand (Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience and Redemption)
I have met countless patients who told me that they “are” bipolar or borderline or that they “have” PTSD, as if they had been sentenced to remain in an underground dungeon for the rest of their lives, like the Count of Monte Cristo. None of these diagnoses takes into account the unusual talents that many of our patients develop or the creative energies they have mustered to survive.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
When she entered the sitting room she was not at first noticed. The music had changed now, to something slower, and the women were dancing; Harri’s dark head against the breast of Gwen’s white shirt, Gwen’s hand low on Harri’s back. Gwen’s eyes were closed and the look on her face, serene and blissful, sent a fright through Clem.
Lesley Glaister (Blasted Things)
P.T.S.D. doesn't make you weak. It makes you a survivor.
DaShanne Stokes
Survivors who don’t stand up for themselves often develop physical and emotional illnesses. Many become depressed because they feel so hopeless and helpless about being able to change their lives. They turn their anger inward and become prone to headaches, muscle tension, nervous conditions and insomnia.
Beverly Engel (The Nice Girl Syndrome: Stop Being Manipulated and Abused -- And Start Standing Up for Yourself)
Dissociation can enable us to withstand pain and loss under which we would otherwise break. It enables us to survive and pull through. But, a habit of continual dissociation – especially after the trauma has passed – leads to the shut-in feeling I was experiencing. While I imagined I was being strong in the face of pain, in reality, I was merely hiding.
Sarah Hackley (Women Will Save the World)
Even in times of trauma, we try to maintain a sense of normality until we no longer can. That, my friends, is called surviving. Not healing. We never become whole again ... we are survivors. If you are here today... you are a survivor. But those of us who have made it through hell and are still standing? We bare a different name: warriors.
Lori Goodwin
The power we discover inside ourselves as we survive a life-threatening experience can be utilized equally well outside of crisis, too. I am, in every moment, capable of mustering the strength to survive again—or of tapping that strength in other good, productive, healthy ways.
Michele Rosenthal (Before the World Intruded)
This book is a memoir - not of specific life events, but of the processes of dissociation, and of re-enlivening emotions that are shameful to admit or even to feel. It is an account of the altered states that trauma induces, which make it possible to survive a life-threatening event but impair the capacity to feel fear, and worse still, impair the ability to love. (292)
Jessica Stern (Denial: A Memoir of Terror)
We are Craiglockhart's success stories. Look at us. We don't remember, we don't feel, we don't think - at least beyond the confines of what's needed to do the job. By any proper civilized standard (but what does that mean now?) we are objects of horror. But our nerves are completely steady. And we are still alive.
Pat Barker (The Ghost Road (Regeneration, #3))
Who supports the troops? The troops support the troops.
Clint Van Winkle (Soft Spots: A Marine's Memoir of Combat and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Phrases such as "I'm beside myself," "I was frightened to pieces," "I feel lost," "I feel like part of me is missing," originated from a sense of soul loss.
S. Kelley Harrell, M. Div. (Teen Spirit Guide to Modern Shamanism)
when children were hospitalized for treatment of severe burns, the development of PTSD could be predicted by how safe they felt with their mothers.31 The security of their attachment to their mothers predicted the amount of morphine that was required to control their pain—the more secure the attachment, the less painkiller was needed.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
I am continuously struck by how frequently the various thought processes of the inner critic trigger overwhelming emotional flashbacks. This is because the PTSD-derived inner critic weds shame and self-hate about imperfection to fear of abandonment, and mercilessly drive the psyche with the entwined serpents of perfectionism and endangerment. Recovering individuals must learn to recognize, confront and disidentify from the many inner critic processes that tumble them back in emotional time to the awful feelings of overwhelming fear, self-hate, hopelessness and self-disgust that were part and parcel of their original childhood abandonment.
Pete Walker
Traumatic events destroy the sustaining bonds between individual and community. Those who have survived learn that their sense of self, of worth, of humanity, depends upon a feeling of connection with others. The solidarity of a group provides the strongest protection against terror and despair, and the strongest antidote to traumatic experience. Trauma isolates; the group re-creates a sense of belonging. Trauma shames and stigmatizes; the group bears witness and affirms. Trauma degrades the victim; the group exalts her. Trauma dehumanizes the victim; the group restores her humanity. Repeatedly in the testimony of survivors there comes a moment when a sense of connection is restored by another person’s unaffected display of generosity. Something in herself that the victim believes to be irretrievably destroyed---faith, decency, courage---is reawakened by an example of common altruism. Mirrored in the actions of others, the survivor recognizes and reclaims a lost part of herself. At that moment, the survivor begins to rejoin the human commonality...
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Trauma can have a masking effect.
Asa Don Brown (The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adult Perception and Worldview)
Gaslighting are lies with a purpose to confuse and control.
Tracy Malone
The infant’s eyes were as black as if night were trapped behind his lids, and when he opened them she feared she’d be consumed.
Lesley Glaister (Blasted Things)
Complex PTSD consists of of six symptom clusters, which also have been described in terms of dissociation of personality. Of course, people who receive this diagnosis often also suffer from other problems as well, and as noted earlier, diagnostic categories may overlap significantly. The symptom clusters are as follows: Alterations in Regulation of Affect ( Emotion ) and Impulses Changes in Relationship with others Somatic Symptoms Changes in Meaning Changes in the perception of Self Changes in Attention and Consciousness
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
In response to threat and injury, animals, including humans, execute biologically based, non-conscious action patterns that prepare them to meet the threat and defend themselves. The very structure of trauma, including activation, dissociation and freezing are based on the evolution of survival behaviors. When threatened or injured, all animals draw from a "library" of possible responses. We orient, dodge, duck, stiffen, brace, retract, fight, flee, freeze, collapse, etc. All of these coordinated responses are somatically based- they are things that the body does to protect and defend itself. It is when these orienting and defending responses are overwhelmed that we see trauma. The bodies of traumatized people portray "snapshots" of their unsuccessful attempts to defend themselves in the face of threat and injury. Trauma is a highly activated incomplete biological response to threat, frozen in time. For example, when we prepare to fight or to flee, muscles throughout our entire body are tensed in specific patterns of high energy readiness. When we are unable to complete the appropriate actions, we fail to discharge the tremendous energy generated by our survival preparations. This energy becomes fixed in specific patterns of neuromuscular readiness. The person then stays in a state of acute and then chronic arousal and dysfunction in the central nervous system. Traumatized people are not suffering from a disease in the normal sense of the word- they have become stuck in an aroused state. It is difficult if not impossible to function normally under these circumstances.
Peter A. Levine
A child who suffers from PTSD has made unsuccessful attempts to get help, and as the victimization continues, he stops asking for it. He withdraws socially, because he’s never quite sure when interaction is going to lead to another incident of bullying…. Different people have different responses to stress. In Peter’s case, I saw an extreme emotional vulnerability, which, in fact, was the reason he was teased. Peter didn’t play by the codes of boys. He wasn’t a big athlete. He wasn’t tough. He was sensitive. And difference is not always respected – particularly when you’re a teenager. Adolescence is about fitting in, not standing out.
Jodi Picoult (Nineteen Minutes)
Combat and rape, the public and private forms of organized social violence, are primarily experiences of adolescent and early adult life. The United States Army enlists young men at seventeen; the average age of the Vietnam combat soldier was nineteen. In many other countries boys are conscripted for military service while barely in their teens. Similarly, the period of highest risk for rape is in late adolescence. Half of all victims are aged twenty or younger at the time they are raped; three-quarters are between the ages of thirteen and twenty-six. The period of greatest psychological vulnerability is also in reality the period of greatest traumatic exposure, for both young men and young women. Rape and combat might thus be considered complementary social rites of initiation into the coercive violence at the foundation of adult society. They are the paradigmatic forms of trauma for women and men.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Being stress and anxiety free is a human preset, I just show you how to 'flick the switch' to off. Permanent stress and anxiety recovery is possible quickly and simply despite what many are told.
Charles Linden (The Linden Method: The Anxiety and Panic Attacks Elimination Solution)
Ultimately, forgiveness is usually about one thing—“This is for me, not for you.” Hatred is exhausting; forgiveness, or even just indifference, is freeing. To quote Booker T. Washington, “I shall allow no man to belittle my soul by making me hate him.” Belittle and distort and consume. Forgiveness seems to be at least somewhat good for your health—victims who show spontaneous forgiveness, or who have gone through forgiveness therapy (as opposed to “anger validation therapy”) show improvements in general health, cardiovascular function, and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Chapter 14 explored how compassion readily, perhaps inevitably, contains elements of self-interest. The compassionate granting of forgiveness epitomizes this.41
Robert M. Sapolsky (Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst)
Closeness was the promise of suffering and pain
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
The most common emotional defense is avoidance (an ineffective coping skill for any stressor) as expressed through denial (e.g., "That wasn't really bad, I barely remember it").
Brian Luke Seaward (Managing Stress in Emergency Medical Services)
Eighty two percent of the traumatized children seen in the National Child Traumatic Stress Network do not meet diagnostic criteria for PTSD.15 Because they often are shut down, suspicious, or aggressive they now receive pseudoscientific diagnoses such as “oppositional defiant disorder,” meaning “This kid hates my guts and won’t do anything I tell him to do,” or “disruptive mood dysregulation disorder,” meaning he has temper tantrums. Having as many problems as they do, these kids accumulate numerous diagnoses over time. Before they reach their twenties, many patients have been given four, five, six, or more of these impressive but meaningless labels. If they receive treatment at all, they get whatever is being promulgated as the method of management du jour: medications, behavioral modification, or exposure therapy. These rarely work and often cause more damage.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
The symptomatology of PTSD. In PTSD a traumatic event is not remembered and relegated to one's past in the same way as other life events. Trauma continues to intrude with visual, auditory, and/or other somatic reality on the lives of its victims. Again and again they relieve the life-threatening experiences they suffered, reacting in mind and body as though such events were still occurring. PTSD is a complex psychobiological condition.
Babette Rothschild (The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment)
Fear and anxiety affect decision making in the direction of more caution and risk aversion... Traumatized individuals pay more attention to cues of threat than other experiences, and they interpret ambiguous stimuli and situations as threatening (Eyesenck, 1992), leading to more fear-driven decisions. In people with a dissociative disorder, certain parts are compelled to focus on the perception of danger. Living in trauma-time, these dissociative parts immediately perceive the present as being "just like" the past and "emergency" emotions such as fear, rage, or terror are immediately evoked, which compel impulsive decisions to engage in defensive behaviors (freeze, flight, fight, or collapse). When parts of you are triggered, more rational and grounded parts may be overwhelmed and unable to make effective decisions.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
I have met many, many severely distressed people whose daily lives are filled with the agony of both remembered and unremembered trauma, who try so hard to heal and yet who are constantly being pushed down both by their symptoms and the oppressive circumstances of post traumatic life around them.
Carolyn Spring
It is not a single crime when a child is photographed while sexually assaulted (raped.) It is a life time crime that should have life time punishments attached to it. If the surviving child is, more often than not, going to suffer for life for the crime(s) committed against them, shouldn't the pedophiles suffer just as long? If it often takes decades for survivors to come to terms with exactly how much damage was caused to them, why are there time limits for prosecution?
Sierra D. Waters (Debbie.)
The human need to be visible is countered by the need to be invisible to avoid further abuse, and the need for intimacy and the dread of abuse, all pose insoluble dichotomies which promote further withdrawal from human contact, which reinforces the sense of dehumanisation.
Christiane Sanderson (Introduction to Counselling Survivors of Interpersonal Trauma)
Changes in Relationship with others: It is especially hard to trust other people if you have been repeatedly abused, abandoned or betrayed as a child. Mistrust makes it very difficult to make friends, and to be able to distinguish between good and bad intentions in other people. Some parts do not seem to trust anyone, while other parts may be so vulnerable and needy that they do not pay attention to clues that perhaps a person is not trustworthy. Some parts like to be close to others or feel a desperate need to be close and taken care of, while other parts fear being close or actively dislike people. Some parts are afraid of being in relationships while others are afraid of being rejected or criticized. This naturally sets up major internal as well as relational conflicts.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
And then came Mrs Fletcher, snapping her scissors, the soft scrunch of the blades through thick hanks, the gradual sensation of lightness. Now every scrap of hair that Powell had touched was gone.
Lesley Glaister (Blasted Things)
Alterations in regulation of affect (emotion) and impulse: Almost all people who are seriously traumatized have problems in tolerating and regulating their emotions and surges or impulses. However, those with complex PTSD and dissociative disorders tend to have more difficulties than those with PTSD because disruptions in early development have inhibited their ability to regulate themselves. The fact that you have a dissociative organization of your personality makes you highly vulnerable to rapid and unexpected changes in emotions and sudden impulses. Various parts of the personality intrude on each other either through passive influence or switching when your under stress, resulting in dysregulation. Merely having an emotion, such as anger, may evoke other parts of you to feel fear or shame, and to engage in impulsive behaviors to stop avoid the feelings.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
The open road. Seemingly my only friend for years upon end since leaving war. The road embraced me, let me breathe, and more importantly, did not judge me.
M.B. Dallocchio
People who have survived atrocities often tell their stories in a highly emotional, contradictory and fragmented manner.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Adversity has the remarkable ability of introducing the real you to yourself.
M.B. Dallocchio (The Desert Warrior)
Taran. We go down fighting.
Elizabeth Wein (Rose Under Fire)
I spent many years trying to make up reasons about why I had the flashbacks, memories, continuous nightmares. When I finally decided to quit trying to hide from truth, I began to heal.
Karen Marshall (Amongst Ourselves: A Self-Help Guide to Living with Dissociative Identity Disorder)
Pretending you’re OK when you aren’t isn’t strength.” “Well, that’s where you’re wrong,” Robin contradicted him. The champagne had fizzed on her tongue and seemed to give her courage even before it hit her brain. “Sometimes, acting as though you’re all right, makes you all right. Sometimes you’ve got to slap on a brave face and walk out into the world, and after a while it isn’t an act anymore, it’s who you are. If I’d waited to feel ready to leave my room after—you know,” she said, “I’d still be in there. I had to leave before I was ready.
Robert Galbraith (Lethal White (Cormoran Strike, #4))
First, the physiological symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder have been brought within manageable limits. Second, the person is able to bear the feelings associated with traumatic memories. Third, the person has authority over her memories; she can elect both to remember the trauma and to put memory aside. Fourth, the memory of the traumatic event is a coherent narrative, linked with feeling. Fifth, the person's damaged self-esteem has been restored. Sixth, the person's important relationships have been reestablished. Seventh and finally, the person has reconstructed a coherent system of meaning and belief that encompasses the story of trauma.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
The traumatic moment becomes encoded in an abnormal form of memory, which breaks spontaneously into consciouness, both as flashbacks during waking states and as traumatic nightmares during sleep. Small, seemingly insignificant reminders can also evoke these memories, which often return with all the vividness and emotional force of the original event. Thus, even normally safe environments may come to feel dangerous, for the survivor can never be assured that she will not encounter some reminder of the trauma.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
It fascinated me how depression and anxiety overlap with post-traumatic stress disorder. Had we been through some trauma we didn't know about? Was the noise and speed of modern life the trauma for our caveman brains? Was I that soft? Or was life a kind of war most people didn't see?
Matt Haig (Reasons to Stay Alive)
A nightmare has taken hold of my body. Lunacy has dug its way inside my mind.
A. S. (The Cliff)
Yes, she fears the cuffs, the cross and the whip, but she will get past this. Such problems, even with time, do not go away on their own. They must be addressed. André Chevalier
Nikki Sex
Gaslighting is implanted narratives cloaked in secrecy.
Tracy Malone
I am hyper alert to people turning away from me. I have a perennial sense of being an outsider.
Wendy Hoffman (White Witch in a Black Robe: A True Story about Criminal Mind Control)
Gaslighting is mind control to make victims doubt their reality.
Tracy Malone
Gaslighting is an attempt to change the truth.
Tracy Malone
The scientific study of suffering inevitably raises questions of causation, and with these, issues of blame and responsibility. Historically, doctors have highlighted predisposing vulnerability factors for developing PTSD, at the expense of recognizing the reality of their patients' experiences… This search for predisposing factors probably had its origins in the need to deny that all people can be stressed beyond endurance, rather than in solid scientific data; until recently such data were simply not available… When the issue of causation becomes a legitimate area of investigation, one is inevitably confronted with issues of man's inhumanity to man, with carelessness and callousness, with abrogation of responsibility, with manipulation and with failures to protect.
Bessel van der Kolk (Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body, and Society)
In the culture people talk about trauma as an event that happened a long time ago. But what trauma is, is the imprints that event has left on your mind and in your sensations... the discomfort you feel and the agitation you feel and the rage and the helplessness you feel right now.
Bessel van der Kolk
Perhaps there was no more detrimental consequence of our childhood abandonment than being forced to habitually hide our authentic selves. Many of us come out of childhood believing that what we have to say is as uninteresting to others as it was to our parents.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
Perfectionism. My perfectionism arose as an attempt to gain safety and support in my dangerous family. Perfection is a self-persecutory myth. I do not have to be perfect to be safe or loved in the present. I am letting go of relationships that require perfection. I have a right to make mistakes. Mistakes
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
Psychological trauma is an affliction of the powerless. At the moment of trauma, the victim is rendered helpless by overwhelming force. When the force is that of nature, we speak of disasters. When the force is that of other human beings, we speak of atrocities. Traumatic events overwhelm the ordinary systems of care that give people a sense of control, connection, and meaning.… Traumatic events are extraordinary, not because they occur rarely, but rather because they overwhelm the ordinary human adaptations to life.… They confront human beings with the extremities of helplessness and terror, and evoke the responses of catastrophe.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Trauma destroys the fabric of time. In normal time you move from one moment to the next, sunrise to sunset, birth to death. After trauma, you may move in circles, find yourself being sucked backwards into an eddy or bouncing like a rubber ball from now to then to back again. ... In the traumatic universe the basic laws of matter are suspended: ceiling fans can be helicopters, car exhaust can be mustard gas.
David J. Morris (The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
To hold traumatic reality in consciousness requires a social context that affirms and protects the victim and that joins the victim and witness in a common alliance. For the individual victim, this social context is created by relationships with friends, lovers, and family. For the larger society, the social context is created by political movements that give voice to the disempowered.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Their manipulation is psychological and emotionally devastating – and very dangerous, especially considering the brain circuitry for emotional and physical pain are one and the same (Kross, 2011). What a victim feels when they are punched in the stomach can be similar to the pain a victim feels when they are verbally and emotionally abused, and the effects of narcissistic abuse can be crippling and long-lasting, even resulting in symptoms of PTSD or Complex PTSD.
Shahida Arabi (Becoming the Narcissist's Nightmare: How to Devalue and Discard the Narcissist While Supplying Yourself)
In lieu of letting go of our trauma and rather than healing completely, in my experience, we learn how to carry it and there are some days when it is heavier than others. Some days, I hardly know it is there, distracted as I am by present joys and excitement; while other days, the burden is cripplingly-heavy and I can hardly breathe under the weight of grief.
L.M. Browning (To Lose the Madness: Field Notes on Trauma, Loss and Radical Authenticity)
For anyone who wonders what it's like to have a tragedy shatter your existence, this is what I would tell them: it's like going through the motions of everyday life in a zombified state. It's having outbursts of anger for what seems like no apparent reason, for even the smallest of offenses. It's forgetting how to be your once cheerful, perky self, and having to relearn basic social skills when mingling with new people (especially if those people are ignorant, or just plain terrible at showing sympathy). It takes a while to re-learn all those basic skills. Maybe...it's possible. Maybe you have to want your life back first, before it can start repairing itself But then you also have to accept that the mending process may take the rest of your life. I don't think there's a set time limit for it.
Sarahbeth Caplin (Someone You Already Know)
I had built such a wall between my experiences and how I felt about those experiences that I was incapable of reliving both simultaneously. I could talk about my traumas, even walk through them, but I couldn’t feel them. When I tried to bring it all together, when I tried to remember how I had felt, I disappeared in my own head. My to-do list took on grave importance. The book I read the night before filled my thoughts. Yesterday’s article suddenly called out to be rewritten. I couldn’t get inside myself.
Sarah Hackley (Women Will Save the World)
Somatic Symptoms: People with Complex PTSD often have medical unexplained physical symptoms such as abdominal pains, headaches, joint and muscle pain, stomach problems, and elimination problems. These people are sometimes most unfortunately mislabeled as hypochondriacs or as exaggerating their physical problems. But these problems are real, even though they may not be related to a specific physical diagnosis. Some dissociative parts are stuck in the past experiences that involved pain may intrude such that a person experiences unexplained pain or other physical symptoms. And more generally, chronic stress affects the body in all kinds of ways, just as it does the mind. In fact, the mind and body cannot be separated. Unfortunately, the connection between current physical symptoms and past traumatizing events is not always so clear to either the individual or the physician, at least for a while. At the same time we know that people who have suffered from serious medical, problems. It is therefore very important that you have physical problems checked out, to make sure you do not have a problem from which you need medical help.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
Attachment. A secure attachment is the ability to bond; to develop a secure and safe base; an unbreakable or perceivable inability to shatter to bond between primary parental caregiver(s) and child; a quest for familiarity; an unspoken language and knowledge that a caregiver will be a permanent fixture.
Asa Don Brown (The Effects of Childhood Trauma on Adult Perception and Worldview)
I know you're in a world of pain, but that pain will lessen. At the beginning you can't see that. You can only see your pain and you think it will never go away. But the nature of pain is that it changes— it changes like a sunset. At first, it's this intense red-orange in the sky, and then it starts getting softer and soften. The texture of pain changes as you work through it. And then one day, you wake up and realize that life isn't just about working through your incest; it's about living, too. - survivor of child sexual abuse
Ellen Bass (The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse)
Those who were molested or beaten as children or teenagers might later be vulnerable to sexual abuse or violence, because their natural impulses to protect themselves and protest (physical and verbal) were extinguished. Expectation of hurtful treatment by others or one's own failed capabilities can stubbornly persist despite overwhelming evidence that such is no longer the case.
Babette Rothschild
Recovery can take place only within then context of relationships; it cannot occur in isolation. In her renewed connection with other people, the survivor re-creates the psychological facilities that were damaged or deformed by the traumatic experience. These faculties include the basic operations of trust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, and intimacy. Just as these capabilities are formed in relationships with other people, they must be reformed in such relationships. The first principle of recovery is empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery. Others may offer advice, support, assistance, affection, and care, but not cure. Many benevolent and well-intentioned attempts to assist the survivor founder because this basic principle of empowerment is not observed. No intervention that takes power away from the survivor can possibly foster her recovery, no matter how much it appears to be in her immediate best interest.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
I grabbed the closest box of books and heaved it onto my bed. It contained all the books I had read in Iraq. Dog-eared, with broken spines, speckled with dirt, food, and even a little blood, most of the copies were marked up with notes in the margins. The better the book, the worse it looked--that's the way it should be. As I saw it, they were almost more like diaries than books.
Michael Anthony (Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir)
Early relational trauma results from the fact that we are often given more to experience in this life than we can bear to experience consciously. This problem has been around since the beginning of time, but it is especially acute in early childhood where, because of the immaturity of the psyche and/or brain, we are ill-equipped to metabolize our experience. An infant or young child who is abused, violated or seriously neglected by a caretaking adult is overwhelmed by intolerable affects that are impossible for it to metabolize, much less understand or even think about.
Donald Kalsched (Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption)
Normal people who weren’t raised by mentally ill goats probably took the feeling of safety for granted. They only noticed when they suddenly felt unsafe. When the hands reach up for under the bed and grab their ankles, they scream, whereas I’m like “Wait, can you scratch my knee before you kill me?
Augusten Burroughs (Lust & Wonder)
What do I want now? I want to be treated with the respect I deserve in the current VA system and not be retraumatized. I want the men who did this to me to be punished and if that isn't possible, I want reassurance what happened to me will never ever happen to another woman in the Armed services. I want some restitution of the damage I have.
Diane Chamberlain (Conduct Unbecoming: Rape, Torture, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Military Commanders)
Reparenting Affirmations I am so glad you were born. You are a good person. I love who you are and am doing my best to always be on your side. You can come to me whenever you’re feeling hurt or bad. You do not have to be perfect to get my love and protection. All of your feelings are okay with me. I am always glad to see you. It is okay for you to be angry and I won’t let you hurt yourself or others when you are. You can make mistakes - they are your teachers. You can know what you need and ask for help. You can have your own preferences and tastes. You are a delight to my eyes. You can choose your own values. You can pick your own friends, and you don’t have to like everyone. You can sometimes feel confused and ambivalent, and not know all the answers. I am very proud of you.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
People with Complex PTSD suffer from more severe and frequent dissociation symptoms, as well as memory and attention problems, than those with simple PTSD. In addition to amnesia due to the activity of various parts of the self, people may experience difficulties with concentration, attention, other memory problems and general spaciness. These symptoms often accompany dissociation of the personality, but they are also common in people who do not have dissociative disorders. For example everyone can be spacey, absorbed in an activity, or miss an exit on the highway. When various parts of the personality are active, by definition, a person experiences some kind of abrupt change in attention and consciousness.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
Tonight the thoughts were about how to end things, with a heavy emphasis on the how. The process of suicide isn't exactly easy. It takes preparation, scheduling, and a certain level-headedness to kill yourself. A person has to be ready for it. He has to make the necessary plans, take the necessary steps. And, most importantly, he has to not only feel like dying, but also like killing. And the two feelings couldn't be more different.
Michael Anthony
Carla's description was typical of survivors of chronic childhood abuse. Almost always, they deny or minimize the abusive memories. They have to: it's too painful to believe that their parents would do such a thing. So they fragment the memories into hundreds of shards, leaving only acceptable traces in their conscious minds. Rationalizations like "my childhood was rough," "he only did it to me once or twice," and "it wasn't so bad" are common, masking the fact that the abuse was devastating and chronic. But while the knowledge, body sensations, and feelings are shattered, they are not forgotten. They intrude in unexpected ways: through panic attacks and insomnia, through dreams and artwork, through seemingly inexplicable compulsions, and through the shadowy dread of the abusive parent. They live just outside of consciousness like noisy neighbors who bang on the pipes and occasionally show up at the door.
David L. Calof (The Couple Who Became Each Other: Stories of Healing and Transformation from a Leading Hypnotherapist)
A successful suicide doesn't just happen, although, of course, there are exceptions. Someone happens to be walking across a bridge when the feeling hits. Or they're on the roof of a building and realize they have nothing to live for. But most of the time, suicide takes planning. That's the way I figured. The was I was figuring...
Michael Anthony (Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir)
Changes in Meaning: Finally, chronically traumatized people lose faith that good things can happen and people can be kind and trustworthy. They feel hopeless, often believing that the future will be as bad as the past, or that they will not live long enough to experience a good future. People who have a dissociative disorder may have different meanings in various dissociative parts. Some parts may be relatively balanced in their worldview, others may be despairing, believing the world to be a completely negative, dangerous place, while other parts might maintain an unrealistic optimistic outlook on life
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
For our physiology to calm down, heal, and grow we need a visceral feeling of safety. No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love: These are complex and hard-earned capacities. You don't need a history of trauma to feel self-conscious and even panicked at a party with strangers – but trauma can turn the whole world into a gathering of aliens.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
I have tried to communicate my ideas in a language that preserves connections, a language that is faithful both to the dispassionate, reasoned traditions of my profession and to the passionate claims of people who have been violated and outraged. I have tried to find a language that can withstand the imperatives of doublethink and allows all of us to come a little closer to facing the unspeakable.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
In this climate of profoundly disrupted relationships the child faces a formidable developmental task. She must find a way to form primary attachments to caretakers who are either dangerous or, from her perspective, negligent. She must find a way to develop a sense of basic trust and safely with caretakers who are untrustworthy and unsafe. She must develop a sense of self in relation to others who are helpless, uncaring or cruel. She must develop a capacity for bodily self-regulation in an environinent in which her body is at the disposal of others' needs as well as a capacity for self-soothing in an environment without solace. She must develop the capacity for initiative in an environment which demands that she bring her will into complete conformity with that of her abuser. And ultimately, she must develop a capacity for intimacy out of an environment where all intimate relationships are corrupt, and an identity out of an environment which defines her as a whore and a slave.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Skilled therapists and caregivers learn to discriminate between active and passive suicidal ideation, and do not panic and catastrophize when encountering the latter. Instead, the counselor invites the survivor to explore his suicidal thoughts and feelings knowing that in most cases, verbal ventilation of the flashback pain underneath it will deconstruct the suicidality.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
Generally the rational brain can override the emotional brain, as long as our fears don’t hijack us. (For example, your fear at being flagged down by the police can turn instantly to gratitude when the cop warns you that there’s an accident ahead.) But the moment we feel trapped, enraged, or rejected, we are vulnerable to activating old maps and to follow their directions. Change begins when we learn to "own" our emotional brains. That means learning to observe and tolerate the heartbreaking and gut-wrenching sensations that register misery and humiliation. Only after learning to bear what is going on inside can we start to befriend, rather than obliterate, the emotions that keep our maps fixed and immutable.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
A lot of people don’t heal, and it manifests in a lot of different ways throughout their lives,” she said once. “Because when trauma doesn’t get to work itself through your system, your system idles at a heightened state, and so getting more really intense input calms your system down.” Which is why, Meredith said, “A lot of folks who’ve survived trauma end up being really calm in crisis and freaking out in everyday life.
Mac McClelland (Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story)
One thing is for sure. Nothing in life is easy or certain. You'll be fighting until the end. And when you've overcome all chaos has to offer, those who had it easy will struggle. By fighting through it, you are giving yourself a skill some just do not have. When the world, and the realm, erupt into chaos, you'll be the one standing with a sword still in your hand. Be proud of yourself. You're more of a warrior than you know.
Lori Goodwin
So, what role does memory play in the understanding and treatment of trauma? There is a form of implicit memory that is profoundly unconscious and forms the basis for the imprint trauma leaves on the body/mind. The type of memory utilized in learning most physical activities (walking, riding a bike, skiing, etc.) is a form of implicit memory called procedural memory. Procedural or "body memories" are learned sequences of coordinated "motor acts" chained together into meaningful actions. You may not remember explicitly how and when you learned them, but, at the appropriate moment, they are (implicitly) "recalled" and mobilized (acted out) simultaneously. These memories (action patterns) are formed and orchestrated largely by involuntary structures in the cerebellum and basal ganglia. When a person is exposed to overwhelming stress, threat or injury, they develop a procedural memory. Trauma occurs when these implicit procedures are not neutralized. The failure to restore homeostasis is at the basis for the maladaptive and debilitating symptoms of trauma.
Peter A. Levine
Changes in the Perception of Self: People who have been traumatized in childhood are often troubled by guilt, shame, and negative feelings about themselves, such as the belief they are unlikable, unlovable, stupid, inept, dirty, worthless, lazy, and so forth. In Complex Dissociative disorders there are typically particular parts that contain these negative feelings about the self while other parts may evaluate themselves quite differently. Alterations among parts thus may result in rather rapid and distinct changes in self perception.
Suzette Boon (Coping with Trauma-Related Dissociation: Skills Training for Patients and Therapists)
One of the paradoxical and transformative aspects of implicit traumatic memory is that once it is accessed in a resourced way (through the felt sense), it, by its very nature, changes. Out of the shattered fragments of her deeply injured psyche, Jody discovered and nurtured a nascent, emergent self. From the ashes of the frantically activated, hypervigilant, frozen, traumatized girl of twenty-five years ago, Jody began to reorient to a new, less threatening world. Gradually she shaped into a more fluid, resilient, woman, coming to terms with the felt capacity to fiercely defend herself when necessary, and to surrender in quiet ecstasy.
Peter A. Levine
There is often a close relationship between emotion and physical sensation. Physical sensations in the body often co-occur with feelings. Moreover, sensations of tightness and tension can develop as a defense against feelings. As unexpressed feelings accumulate, a greater degree of muscular tension is necessary to keep them under wraps. A child who is repeatedly punished for emoting learns to be afraid of inner emotional experience and tightens [armors] the musculature of her body in an effort to hold feelings in and to banish them from awareness. Holding your breath is a further manifestation of armoring. It is an especially common way of keeping feelings at bay, as breathing naturally brings your awareness down to the level of feeling.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
Don't ever believe that Narcissists don't understand they have hurt you. They know exactly what they did and why they did it. The reason they can't stop their abuse is because the narcissistic supply is their addiction. Unlike, drug addicts that need their fix to feel normal, narcissists need to feel significant. This is their addiction. Even if it takes destructive ways to have this emotional balance they will pursue it. Your feelings don't count only the supply does. The greater the supply the greater the drama in your life as they pursue it. So, get over believing they don't understand. They do understand. You just found out and got in the way of their easy access to greater supply than you.
Shannon L. Alder
The traumatic stress field has adopted the term “Complex Trauma” to describe the experience of multiple and/or chronic and prolonged, developmentally adverse traumatic events, most often of an interpersonal nature (e.g., sexual or physical abuse, war, community violence) and early-life onset. These exposures often occur within the child’s caregiving system and include physical, emotional, and educational neglect and child maltreatment beginning in early childhood - Developmental Trauma Disorder
Bessel van der Kolk
What I had was classic short-term PTSD. From an evolutionary perspective, it’s exactly the response you want to have when your life is in danger: you want to be vigilant, you want to avoid situations where you are not in control, you want to react to strange noises, you want to sleep lightly and wake easily, you want to have flashbacks and nightmares that remind you of specific threats to your life, and you want to be, by turns, angry and depressed. Anger keeps you ready to fight, and depression keeps you from being too active and putting yourself in more danger. Flashbacks also serve to remind you of the danger that’s out there—a “highly efficient single-event survival-learning mechanism,” as one researcher termed it. All humans react to trauma in this way, and most mammals do as well. It may be unpleasant, but it’s preferable to getting killed. Like
Sebastian Junger (Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging)
Cermak said, “Those therapists who work successfully with this population have learned to honor the client’s need to keep a lid on his or her feelings. The most effective therapeutic process involves swinging back and forth between uncovering feelings and covering them again, and it is precisely this ability to modulate their feelings that PTSD clients have lost. They must feel secure that their ability to close their emotions down will never be taken away from them, but instead will be honored as an important tool for living. The initial goal of therapy here is to help clients move more freely into their feelings with the assurance that they can find distance from them again if they begin to be overwhelmed. Once children from chemically dependent homes, adult children of alcoholics, and other PTSD clients become confident that you are not going to strip them of their survival mechanisms, they are more likely to allow their feelings to emerge, if only for a moment. And that moment will be a start.” (58)
Charles L. Whitfield (Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families)
One of the reasons a survivor finds it so difficult to see herself as a victim is that she has been blamed repeatedly for the abuse: "If you weren't such a whore, this wouldn't have to happen." Each time she is used and trashed, she becomes further convinced of her innate badness. She sees herself participating in forbidden sexual activity and may often get some sense of gratification from it even if she doesn't want to (it is, after all, a form of touch, and our bodies respond without the consent of our wills). This is seen as further proof that the abuse is her fault and well deserved. In her mind, she has become responsible for the actions of her abusers. She believes she is not a victim; she is a loathsome, despicable, worthless human being—if indeed she even qualifies as human. When the abuse has been sadistic in nature...these beliefs are futher entrenched.
Diane Langberg (Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse)
I couldn't see killing myself if I had a book that was only half-read: Fountainhead, Catcher in the Rye, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, One Hundred Years of Solitude? No. I figured that those who killed themselves first had to finish whatever book they were reading...if it were any good, that is. Of course, there's always the occasional book that makes you want to throw yourself off a bridge just for having wasted your time reading it. But I usually finished those ones, too.
Michael Anthony (Civilianized: A Young Veteran's Memoir)
Survivors are damaged to different degrees by their experiences. This does not depend on what happened physically. A Survivor who has been raped will not necessarily be more damaged than a Survivor who has been touched. The degree of damage depend on the degree of traumatic sexualization, stigmatization, betrayal and powerlessness, the child has experienced. This in turn depends on a number of factors such as: * who the abuser was; * how many abusers were involved; * if the abuser was same-sex or opposite sex; * what took place; * what was said; * how long the abuse went on for; * How the child felt and how she interpreted what was happening; * if the child was otherwise happy and supported; * how other people reacted to the disclosure or discovery of the abuse; * how old the child was
Carolyn Ainscough (Breaking Free: Help For Survivors Of Child Sexual Abuse)
Origins Of Cptsd How do traumatically abused and/or abandoned children develop Cptsd? While the origin of Cptsd is most often associated with extended periods of physical and/or sexual abuse in childhood, my observations convince me that ongoing verbal and emotional abuse also causes it. Many dysfunctional parents react contemptuously to a baby or toddler’s plaintive call for connection and attachment. Contempt is extremely traumatizing to a child, and at best, extremely noxious to an adult. Contempt is a toxic cocktail of verbal and emotional abuse, a deadly amalgam of denigration, rage and disgust. Rage creates fear, and disgust creates shame in the child in a way that soon teaches her to refrain from crying out, from ever asking for attention. Before long, the child gives up on seeking any kind of help or connection at all. The child’s bid for bonding and acceptance is thwarted, and she is left to suffer in the frightened despair of abandonment. Particularly abusive parents deepen the abandonment trauma by linking corporal punishment with contempt. Slaveholders and prison guards typically use contempt and scorn to destroy their victims’ self-esteem. Slaves, prisoners, and children, who are made to feel worthless and powerless devolve into learned helplessness and can be controlled with far less energy and attention. Cult leaders also use contempt to shrink their followers into absolute submission after luring them in with brief phases of fake unconditional love.
Pete Walker (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving)
over and over victims are blamed for their assaults. and when we imply that victims bring on their own fates - whether to make ourselves feel more efficacious or to make the world seem just - we prevent ourselves from taking the necessary precautions to protect ourselves. Why take precautions? We deny the trauma could easily have happened to us. And we also hurt the people already traumatized. Victims are often already full of self-doubt, and we make recovery harder by laying inspectors blame on them.
Anna C. Salter (Predators: Pedophiles, Rapists, and Other Sex Offenders)
By listening to the “unspoken voice” of my body and allowing it to do what it needed to do; by not stopping the shaking, by “tracking” my inner sensations, while also allowing the completion of the defensive and orienting responses; and by feeling the “survival emotions” of rage and terror without becoming overwhelmed, I came through mercifully unscathed, both physically and emotionally. I was not only thankful; I was humbled and grateful to find that I could use my method for my own salvation. While some people are able to recover from such trauma on their own, many individuals do not. Tens of thousands of soldiers are experiencing the extreme stress and horror of war. Then too, there are the devastating occurrences of rape, sexual abuse and assault. Many of us, however, have been overwhelmed by much more “ordinary” events such as surgeries or invasive medical procedures. Orthopedic patients in a recent study, for example, showed a 52% occurrence of being diagnosed with full-on PTSD following surgery. Other traumas include falls, serious illnesses, abandonment, receiving shocking or tragic news, witnessing violence and getting into an auto accident; all can lead to PTSD. These and many other fairly common experiences are all potentially traumatizing. The inability to rebound from such events, or to be helped adequately to recover by professionals, can subject us to PTSD—along with a myriad of physical and emotional symptoms.
Peter A. Levine
Childhood trauma can range from having faces extreme violence and neglect to having confronted feelings of not belonging, being unwanted, or being chronically misunderstood. You may have grown up in an environment where your curiosity and enthusiasm were constantly devalued. Perhaps you were brought up in a family where your parents had unresolved traumas of their own, which impaired their ability to attend to your emotional needs. Or, you may have faced vicious sexual or physical attacks. In all such situations, you learn to compensate by developing defenses around your most vulnerabe parts.
Arielle Schwartz (The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole)
Conviction rates in the military are pathetic, with most offenders going free AND THERE IS NO RECOURSE FOR APPEAL! The military believes the Emperor has his clothes on, even when they are down around his ankles and he is coming in the woman's window with a knife! Military juries give low sentences or clear offender's altogether. Women can be heard to say “it's not just me” over and over. Men may get an Article 15, which is just a slap on the wrist, and doesn't even follow them in their career. This is hardly a deterrent. The perpetrator frequently stays in place to continue to intimidate their female victims, who are then treated like mental cases, who need to be discharged. Women find the tables turned, letters in their files, trumped up Women find the tables turned, letters in their files, trumped up charges; isolation and transfer are common, as are court ordered psychiatric referrals that label the women as lying or incompatible with military service because they are “Borderline Personality Disorders” or mentally unbalanced. I attended many of these women, after they were discharged, or were wives of abusers, from xxx Air Force Base, when I was a psychotherapist working in the private sector. That was always their diagnosis, yet retesting tended to show something different after stabilization, like PTSD.
Diane Chamberlain (Conduct Unbecoming: Rape, Torture, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Military Commanders)
A few days later, Tuesday quietly crossed our apartment as I read a book and, after a nudge against my arm, put his head on my lap. As always, I immediately checked my mental state, trying to assess what was wrong. I knew a change in my biorhythms had brought Tuesday over, because he was always monitoring me, but I couldn't figure out what it was. Breathing? Okay. Pulse? Normal. Was I glazed or distracted? Was I lost in Iraq? Was a dark period descending? I didn't think so, but I knew something must be wrong, and I was starting to worry...until I looked into Tuesday's eyes. They were staring at me softly from under those big eyebrows, and there was nothing in them but love.
Luis Carlos Montalván (Until Tuesday: A Wounded Warrior and the Golden Retriever Who Saved Him)
The observer self, a part of who we really are, is that part of us that is watching both our false self and our True Self. We might say that it even watches us when we watch. It is our Consciousness, it is the core experience of our Child Within. It thus cannot be watched—at least by anything or any being that we know of on this earth. It transcends our five senses, our co-dependent self and all other lower, though necessary parts, of us. Adult children may confuse their observer self with a kind of defense they may have used to avoid their Real Self and all of its feelings. One might call this defense “false observer self” since its awareness is clouded. It is unfocused as it “spaces” or “numbs out.” It denies and distorts our Child Within, and is often judgmental.
Charles L. Whitfield (Healing the Child Within: Discovery and Recovery for Adult Children of Dysfunctional Families)
Playing nice" comes naturally when our neuroception detects safety and promotes physiological states that support social behavior. However, pro-social behavior will not occur when our neuroception misreads the environmental cues and triggers physiological states that support defensive strategies. After all, "playing nice" is not appropriate or adaptive behavior in dangerous or life-threatening situations. In these situations, humans - like other mammals - react with more primitive neurobiological defense systems. To create relationships, humans must subdue these defensive reactions to engage, attach, and form lasting social bonds. Humans have adaptive neurobehavioral systems for both pro-social and defensive behaviors.
Stephen W. Porges (The Polyvagal Theory: Neurophysiological Foundations of Emotions, Attachment, Communication, and Self-regulation)
Patients with complex trauma may at times develop extreme reactions to something the therapist has said or not said, done or not done. It is wise to anticipate this in advance, and perhaps to note this anticipation in initial communications with the patient. For example, one may say something like, "It is likely in our work together, there will be a time or times when you will feel angry with me, disappointed with me, or that I have failed you. We should except this and not be surprised if and when it happens, which it probably will." It is also vital to emphasize to the patient that despite the diagnosis and experience of dividedness, the whole person is responsible and will be held responsible for the acts of any part. p174
Elizabeth F. Howell (The Dissociative Mind)
Their experiences led them to create assumptions about others and related beliefs about themselves such as "this is my lot in life" and "this is what I deserve". Some also learned that personal safety and happiness are of lower priority than survival and that it may be safer to give in than to actively fight off additional abuse and victimization. When abuse is perpetrated by intimates, it is additionally confounding in terms of attachment, betrayal, and trust. Victims may be unable to leave or to fight back due to strong, albeit insecure and disorganized, attachment and misplaced loyalty to abusers. They may have also experienced trauma bonding over the course of their victimization, that is, a bond of specialness with or dependence on the abuser.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)
If there is a dark and hostile power, laying its treacherous toils within us, by which it holds us fast and draws us along the path of peril and destruction, which we should not otherwise have trod; if, I say there is such a power, it must form itself inside us and out of ourselves, indeed; it must become identical with ourselves. For it is only in this condition that we can believe in it, and grant it the room which it requires to accomplish its secret work. Now, if we have a mind which is sufficiently firm, sufficiently strengthened by the joy of life, always to recognize this strange enemy as such, and calmly to follow the path of our own inclination and calling, then the dark power will fail in its attempt to gain a form that shall be a reflection of ourselves.
E.T.A. Hoffmann (Der Sandmann)
Too often the survivor is seen by [himself or] herself and others as "nuts," "crazy," or "weird." Unless her responses are understood within the context of trauma. A traumatic stress reaction consists of *natural* emotions and behaviors in response to a catastrophe, its immediate aftermath, or memories of it. These reactions can occur anytime after the trauma, even decades later. The coping strategies that victims use can be understood only within the context of the abuse of a child. The importance of context was made very clear many years ago when I was visiting the home of a Holocaust survivor. The woman's home was within the city limits of a large metropolitan area. Every time a police or ambulance siren sounded, she became terrified and ran and hid in a closet or under the bed. To put yourself in a closet at the sound of a far-off siren is strange behavior indeed—outside of the context of possibly being sent to a death camp. Within that context, it makes perfect sense. Unless we as therapists have a good grasp of the context of trauma, we run the risk of misunderstanding the symptoms our clients present and, hence, responding inappropriately or in damaging ways.
Diane Langberg (Counseling Survivors of Sexual Abuse)
I think the therapists around this place think that if you know yourself, then somehow you’ll be better and healthier and you’ll be able to leave this place and live out your days as a happy and loving human being. Happy. Loving. I hate those words. I’m supposed to like them. I’m supposed to want them. I don’t. Don’t like them, don’t want them. This is the way I see it: if you get to know yourself really well, you might discover that deep down inside you’re just a dirty, disgusting, and selfish piece of shit. What if my heart is all rotted out and corrupted? What about that? What am I supposed to do with that information? Just tell me that. Most of the time I get the feeling that I’m just an animal disguised as an eighteen-year-old guy. At least I’m hoping that maybe deep down inside I’m a coyote.
Benjamin Alire Sáenz (Last Night I Sang to the Monster)
It is morally impossible to remain neutral in this conflict. The bystander is forced to take sides. It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement and remembering... In order to escape accountability for his crimes, the perpetrator does everything in his power to promote forgetting. Secrecy and silence are the perpetrator's first line of defense. If secrecy fails, the perpetrator attacks the credibility of his victim. If he cannot silence her absolutely, he tries to make sure that no one listens. To this end, he marshals an impressive array of arguments, from the most blatant denial to the most sophisticated and elegant rationalization. After every atrocity one can expect to hear the same predictable apologies: it never happened, the victim lies, the victim exaggerates, the victim brought it upon herself; and in any case it is time to forget the past and move on. The more powerful the perpetrator, the greater is his prerogative to name and define reality, and the more completely his arguments prevail.
Judith Lewis Herman (Trauma and Recovery: The Aftermath of Violence - From Domestic Abuse to Political Terror)
Although it is important to be able to recognise and disclose symptom of physical illnesses or injury, you need to be more careful about revealing psychiatric symptoms. Unless you know that your doctor understands trauma symptoms, including dissociation, you are wise not to reveal too much. Too many medical professionals, including psychiatrists, believe that hearing voices is a sign of schizophrenia, that mood swings mean bipolar disorder which has to be medicated, and that depression requires electro-convulsive therapy if medication does not relieve it sufficiently. The “medical model” simply does not work for dissociation, and many treatments can do more harm than good... You do not have to tell someone everything just because he is she is a doctor. However, if you have a therapist, even a psychiatrist, who does understand, you need to encourage your parts to be honest with that person. Then you can get appropriate help.
Alison Miller (Becoming Yourself: Overcoming Mind Control and Ritual Abuse)
He's tried to explain this a couple of times to a few of his buddies after about five beers. Like listen, listen. Imagine you live in this country, right? And there's a brutal war, and you witness and maybe participate in a horrific amount of violence, and you lose absolutely everyone you care about. Then you end up in this other country, where the culture and ways of doing things are completely foreign to you, and random assholes make fun of you for how you dress and act and talk while you're still coming to grips with the fact that everyone you love is gone and you can never go home again. Meanwhile, everyone around you is like "smile, motherfucker, you're in the Land of Plenty now, where there's a Starbucks on every corner and 500 channels on TV. You should be grateful! Why aren't you acting more grateful?" So you have to pretend to be grateful while you're dying inside. Sound like an traumatized, orphaned refugee? Also sounds like Steve fucking Rogers, Captain Goddamn America. Except that most refugees were part of a community of other people who were going through the same thing. Steve is all alone, the last damn unicorn, if the last unicorn had horrible screaming nightmares about the time when it helped to liberate Buchenwald.
spitandvinegar (Ain't No Grave (Can Keep My Body Down) (Ain't No Grave, #2))
As I discussed in the previous chapter, attachment researchers have shown that our earliest caregivers don't only feed us, dress us, and comfort us when we are upset; they shape the way our rapidly growing brain perceives reality. Our interactions with our caregivers convey what is safe and what is dangerous: whom we can count on and who will let us down; what we need to do to get our needs met. This information is embodied in the warp and woof of our brain circuitry and forms the template of how we think of ourselves and the world around us. These inner maps are remarkably stable across time. This doesn‘t mean, however, that our maps can‘t be modified by experience. A deep love relationship, particularly during adolescence, when the brain once again goes through a period of exponential change, truly can transform us. So can the birth of a child, as our babies often teach us how to love. Adults who were abused or neglected as children can still learn the beauty of intimacy and mutual trust or have a deep spiritual experience that opens them to a larger universe. In contrast, previously uncontaminated childhood maps can become so distorted by an adult rape or assault that all roads are rerouted into terror or despair. These responses are not reasonable and therefore cannot be changed simply by reframing irrational beliefs.
Bessel van der Kolk (The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma)
Being Scared-off by Evil Lastly, we deny the presence of evil because we are terrified by the horrendously hurtful, cruel, and bloody kinds of evil people tell us about—if we are willing to listen. This was poignantly brought home during an interdisciplinary case conference involving a resident who was counseling for the first time a woman who had been sexually abused. As we worked with him, it became clear that he was resisting entering what he called the 'psychic cave" of her sealed—off experience from which she was shouting for assistance. Because of his resistance, he was not providing her the support and guidance she so desperately needed, and he was not facilitating her working through the abuse and hurt that were continuing to impact her life. As he was confronted about this at one point in the conference, he stated tearfully: "I'm afraid if I help her move into her memories. I will have to go with her, and if I go with her, my view of the world as a basically good and safe place will be shattered. I'm not sure I can handle that for myself, or be able to think about the fact that my wife and kids may be more vulnerable living in this world than I can be comfortable believing" (Means 1995, 299).
J. Jeffrey Means (Trauma and Evil: Healing the Wounded Soul)
THE RETURN OF THE REPRESSED: RELIVING DISSOCIATED EXPERIENCES The reexperiencing of previously dissociated traumatic events presents in a variety of complex ways. The central principle is that dissociated experiences often do not remain dormant. Freud's concept of the “repetition compulsion” is enormously helpful in understanding how dissociated events are later reexperienced. In his paper, "Beyond the Pleasure Principle," Freud (1920/ 1955) described how repressed (and dissociated) trauma and instinctual conflicts can become superimposed on current reality. He wrote: The patient cannot remember the whole of what is repressed in him, and what he cannot remember may be precisely the essential part of it. .. . He is obliged to repeat the repressed material as a contemporary experience instead of remembering it as something in the past. (p. 18) If one understands repression as the process in which overwhelming experiences are forgotten, distanced, and dissociated, Freud posited that these experiences are likely to recur in the mind and to be reexperienced. He theorized that this "compulsion to repeat" served a need to rework and achieve mastery over the experience and that it perhaps had an underlying biologic basis as well. The most perceptive tenet of Freud’s theory is that previously dissociated events are actually reexperienced as current reality rather than remembered as occurring in the past. Although Freud was discussing the trauma produced by intense intrapsychic conflict, clinical experience has shown that actual traumatic events that have been dissociated are often repeated and reexperienced.
James A. Chu (Rebuilding Shattered Lives: Treating Complex PTSD and Dissociative Disorders)
Many survivors of relational and other forms of early life trauma are deeply troubled and often struggle with feelings of anger, grief, alienation, distrust, confusion, low self-esteem, loneliness, shame, and self-loathing. They seem to be prisoners of their emotions, alternating between being flooded by intense emotional and physiological distress related to the trauma or its consequences and being detached and unable to express or feel any emotion at all - alternations that are the signature posttraumatic pattern. These occur alongside or in conjunction with other common reactions and symptoms (e.g., depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem) and their secondary manifestations. Those with complex trauma histories often have diffuse identity issues and feel like outsiders, different from other people, whom they somehow can't seem to get along with, fit in with, or get close to, even when they try. Moreover, they often feel a sense of personal contamination and that no one understands or can help them. Quite frequently and unfortunately, both they and other people (including the professionals they turn to for help) do misunderstand them, devalue their strengths, or view their survival adaptations through a lens of pathology (e.g., seeing them as "demanding", "overdependent and needy", "aggressive", or as having borderline personality). Yet, despite all, many individuals with these histories display a remarkable capacity for resilience, a sense of morality and empathy for others, spirituality, and perseverance that are highly admirable under the circumstances and that create a strong capacity for survival. Three broad categories of survivorship, with much overlap between them, can be discerned: 1. Those who have successfully overcome their past and whose lives are healthy and satisfying. Often, individuals in this group have had reparative experiences within relationships that helped them to cope successfully. 2. Those whose lives are interrupted by recurring posttraumatic reactions (often in response to life events and experiences) that periodically hijack them and their functioning for various periods of time. 3. Those whose lives are impaired on an ongoing basis and who live in a condition of posttraumatic decline, even to the point of death, due to compromised medical and mental health status or as victims of suicide of community violence, including homicide.
Christine A. Courtois (Treatment of Complex Trauma: A Sequenced, Relationship-Based Approach)