PTSD – The Trauma Tree

I thought this was an excellent infographic explaining all forms of PTSD and displaying the horrific impact it has on a person in the future. 

Trauma Tree - this is a good graphic of how symptoms can grow from trauma and ignoring the issues. With good therapy, coping skills and support these symptoms can be more controllable:

Source: http://eyemovementdesensitizationandreprocessing.com/emdr-side-effects/

The Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Replace daughter with son and I know this mother... A "mothers unconditional love" does not exist within all mothers. This I know for sure. Some are too self-absorbed to truly love anyone.

Unfortunately, I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother, and the words above describe my mother to a tee.  Going “No Contact” with her in 2013 was difficult at first but the wisest decision I have ever made.

(I will be writing future articles on PTSD and emotional abuse relating to parental narcissism, as it crushed my soul and ruined my life for countless years.)

Deb

Dr. Karyl McBride’s Website

Other Links on here:
How PTSD Impacts Our Lives
Unloved Daughters and Problems with Friendship

How PTSD Impacts Our Lives

Been there, done that.

I’m unsure of the author of the above infographic, but I thought it showed a few examples of some regrettable symptoms of C-PTSD.

For me, to this day I experience triggers and flashbacks!  Recalling my childhood, should I spot a man who has dirty fingernails it will literally send me back fifty years with horrid memories. My abuser/neighbor used to work underneath the hood of his old car daily and always had dirty hands and filthy, greasy black fingernails.  It makes me want to vomit recalling him placing his hands on me.

Narcissistic Parenting – From the ‘roots’ up

A Narcissistic Parent will drench fresh water on their golden child s plant daily yet merely permitting the scapegoat child s plant to receive tiny sprinkles of water on the odd day forever shadowed by the sun Deb McCarthy

I learned this bit of wisdom from my therapist during one of our many sessions discussing my narcissistic mother.  She explained it very clearly how a parent has children (plants); she waters some and helps them grow and flourish, yet the others who aren’t so lucky receive less attention and ignored.  I now understood how my mother cared and treated my brother vs. myself.   Do any of you feel this way?

(This was very popular when first posted in April/2017, being one of the favorite quotes I wrote about narcissistic mothers.)

Quote – PTSD – Narcissistic abuse from mom

NARCISSISTIC MATERNAL ABUSE

My mother was uncaring and ignored me for most of my life...and wonders why I ve abandoned her now that she s elderly? cherished79.com blog "Living in Stigma"

I wrote this quote referring to my narcissistic mother. She fails to recall the days of ignoring me, criticizing or showing no empathy, nor caring about me the way a mother should. Her emotional abuse has had an enormous impact on my life, and I remain in psychotherapy to this day.

Now she is elderly, feels isolated and displays signs of illness questioning “Why don’t you ever visit or come over for lunch because it’s lonely every day in this apartment?”. Hmmm, I wonder why?  Typical narcissist, not recognizing their own personality.

I finally went NO CONTACT three years ago as I was tired of her never-ending abuse.  Best decision I ever made.

PTSD ~ When a child comes to you…

Make your own photo about LISTEN to the child BELIEVE them VALIDATE their feelings and PTSD Childhood Sexual Abuse ... on PixTeller

If my parents had of believed me when I was eight years old, I wouldn’t have been in therapy for 20 years healing from the impact of their ignorance.   Thank you, Mom and Dad

Guest Post ~ A Little Piece of Me

 

My guest poster today is J.E. from her blog “This is My Silence”. (Trigger Warning)

 Hello, I am J.E., 23 years old, and a PTSD survivor.

 I’m married to a wonderful man who has been my rock and encouragement throughout those days when I didn’t believe in myself, nevertheless, he believed in me.  I’m also delighted that I’m a working mother of two children (‘superheroes’), as the joy I see in their faces every day provides me with every reason, now realizing how past abusive years has an enormous impact on your life.

Writing is cathartic for me, and I’m using my healing journey to perhaps healing others.  “This is My Silence” is my first blog, and here is my story. 

https://thisismysilenceblog.wordpress.com/


A Little Piece of Me

Typing and deleting, typing and deleting.   As I am sitting on my couch, I’ve come to a realization that this is now my second draft and remain struggling with a conundrum.  It’s challenging to write about your journey, even though you may have memories floating around inside your head, writing them down on paper (computer) is difficult.

So, Where is my beginning?

I lay my jars of memories around me and search, and peering into each jar I take a moment to remind myself to breathe for a moment after each one.  As I continue my search, slowly opening and closing each jar, I come to a standstill, noticing that every single one of these memories speaks my story, but only one conveys the beginning of my life. So I will begin like this:

Continue reading “Guest Post ~ A Little Piece of Me”

Narcissistic Parents – the most harmful type of parent

ptsdsad3

(I’m reposting this article from last year, as it was edited and updated)

“Deb, we talk about your weight almost every day and you’re still not losing any. You are just not listening to us. Just remember, if you ever want a boyfriend or get married then lose the weight.”    OR

“Deb, I don’t have time to read your “1st Prize” essay right now, I’ll read it later, I’m busy with my knitting and then I have to make supper. Just go and read a book or something”.

Other cruel communications were endless during my childhood, getting to the point where the words went in one ear and out the other ear or I disassociated. 

Those words continue to sting until this very day, for I lived in a household with toxic parents, and I’m the unloved daughter of a narcissistic mother.  I blame her for the viciousness, lack of empathy and relentless criticisms. Growing up was hell, and she accomplished that.

This well-written article below is from Gerald Schoenewolf, Ph.D. onNarcissistic Parents from PsychCentral.com/Psychoanalysis Now (blog)

Over the years I have often been asked what is the most harmful thing a parent can do to a child. There are many harmful things a parent can do, too many to point out. It is easier to focus on the kind of parent that does the most harm.

The most harmful parents are the parents who have a narcissistic need to think of themselves as great parents. Because of this need, they are unable to look at their parenting in an objective way. And they are unable to hear their children’s complaints about their parenting.

Continue reading “Narcissistic Parents – the most harmful type of parent”

PTSD ~ Marriage is Supposed to be for Love

My guest post today is from Mariah’s blog “Recluse“.

I remember the day I realized that I was in an abusive marriage. I called my mom, who lived 800 miles away blurting out my abuse and fear. I will also never forget how she responded. Mom expressed her opinions and words, and it was if blinders were removed from my eyes.

That was the day I recognized that my husband was violent and things weren’t about to change.

The Beginning

When I was in my first marriage, I was very young.  I was 20 when we were married, and I had been with him since I was 17.  Needless to say, I was hell-bent on making it work, because I was “an adult now” and that’s what “adults” did.  They kept their promises, paid their bills and took care of their responsibilities.  Except when they don’t things begin to change.

Soon after getting married, my ex-husband slowly started to show his true colors.  Long story short, he was emotionally and verbally abusive, manipulated our finances, was addicted to pornography and video games, had drinking problems, and he had an affair outside of our marriage.

Continue reading “PTSD ~ Marriage is Supposed to be for Love”

PTSD ~ Are you highly sensitive?

Hypervigilance | Highly Sensitive

This describes me.  As a person with PTSD, I always feel “on guard”, and automatically scan a room if it’s a gathering with friends, a crowd of people or anywhere outside my home.  Perhaps it’s a trust issue or maybe I don’t ever feel completely comfortable. Does this describe you?

Trauma Therapy ~ 4 Important Things to Look For

To heal from trauma means finally dealing with the source of the trauma, whether it’s childhood abuse or neglect, combat experiences, or a natural disaster or a violent assault. How can this be done, however, when trauma provokes such negative and overwhelming feelings – feelings that most try hard to keep safely buried?

Therapy can be a vital step, helping the person feel safe enough to revisit their trauma without being retraumatized in the process. Getting the right support is key, however. Not only is it important to connect with a therapist well-versed in effective therapeutic approaches, it’s also vital to seek out a person with whom you feel a personal connection.

Multiple studies confirm that a person who feels good about their relationship with their therapist is more likely to have a positive outcome. A recent study from Bowling Green State University researchers takes the concept a step further, noting that a deep connection between a therapist and patient can lead to “sacred moments” that increase well-being on both sides.

With that in mind, here are four things to look for to make your therapeutic experience most effective:

Knowledge. Your therapist should, of course, be up to date on treatment options – techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches new ways of thinking of old experiences; neurofeedback, which can help rewire the brain to overcome trauma-induced changes; equine therapy, which can be a helpful supplement for those who find it hard to trust human connections; and EMDR, which can help with the process of moving beyond the past.

Continue reading “Trauma Therapy ~ 4 Important Things to Look For”

Little Girl

LITTLE GIRL

Hey, little girl, I saw you with that man

what were you doing, letting him have his way

didn’t you know it was wrong, why didn’t you stop it?

you could have said no, but you still let it happen

what’s wrong with you? how could you not know?

~~~~

I tried to say no, he was bigger than me

yet he made me feel wanted and special for once

I was his “princess” and he said I “danced like an angel”

and I was invisible to everyone else

even though it hurt, it was worth the warm feelings

that I craved so much, and he granted me so lovingly

but then came anguish and pain

~~~~

Finally, I did try to tell, but no one would listen

the words came out, yet no words were heard

no one will really know

that my mind and my heart

died back then

I was little and

I didn’t know how to say no

_______________________________________________________

Written & copyright Deb McCarthy/2017

*I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, and it feels so much better to be able to say ‘survivor’ rather than ‘victim’ now.

Mother, Do you deserve a Card? PTSD – Survivors of Abuse

As an unloved daughter of a narcissistic mother, the cards or flowers I handed to her with ‘love’ throughout the years were given with the expectations and desires that one day she would hug me with love.  Giving her a card each year was presented or mailed with a fake smile or strained “Love you always mom.”

She by no means ever deserved a card, lunch or dinner out, and especially a visit when I was an adult.  When I moved across the country, there was one year I ‘neglected’ to send a card or call.  This resulted in a ‘hissyfit,’ possibly threw one of her notorious tantrums including tears, resulting with my father phoning me, blasting “how could you treat your mother like this?”  I can’t recall my reply, but more than likely, I said I was sorry.

A few days passed, and what do I receive in the mail, a multi-page letter from my mother ranting how self-centred I am, this is the way I treat her after everything she’s done for me throughout my life, took care of me, and will sever our relationship now.  This was due to not sending a card?

To be honest, I feel jealous of others who have/had a wonderful mother.

So to all of those who are survivors of narcissistic emotional abuse, or never received the kind of motherly care, empathy, encouragement, and love; this post is dedicated to you. You are all Warriors!

Hugs,
Deb

Broken Trust

Trust was broken

you knew it was

But that didn’t stop your

desire and craving

~~~

My hands were tied

literally

above my head

to the bed

Who cares, you thought

I’m getting what I want

~~~

This secret between us

no one will know

I’d never tell

because you persuaded me

told me I was lucky and special

to have someone like you

a special person

for protection and care

Trust wasn’t broken

You were was entitled to this

______________________________

Written and copyright by Deb McCarthy/2017

Would saying good-bye to your therapist cause you trauma?

If you're looking for a therapist, keep these things in mind. 50 Signs of Good Therapy:

Would this be a tough decision? Have you prepared yourself?

Presently, I still require individual therapy from my therapist, for she has been the most successful in tackling the secrets and hurts that I’ve been holding onto for so many years. I remain needy to be heard and reassurance from her, so I will continue on for now, and for me at this moment, it’s distressing to consider parting ways, but I recognize that day will come and I will have to prepare myself for it.

How gruelling therapy is in the first place, and yet to be so secure with a stranger, to trust and disclose your most private inner thoughts, secrets, feelings and emotions; a person who listened to you when no one else does or ever did, never criticized, nor judged and was actually absorbed in what you had to say. It’s a reassuring relationship.

Continue reading “Would saying good-bye to your therapist cause you trauma?”

Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?

I have CPTSD (sexual and emotional abuse), and just hearing the word “fake” & “scam” was an enough to cause an actual trigger to my past, coupled with huge anxiety and intense anger.

Yesterday, while sitting in a coffee shop sipping tea and reading a book, two women around 30 – 40 years of age sitting behind me, actually had this conversation. True story. I’ll call them A & B.

A –Do you believe in all of this PTSD shit?

B –I don’t know what to think sometimes. I do know a co-worker who’s sister is going to therapy for it, I don’t know what exactly for, but she just said something that happened to her when she was young and has PTSD now.

A –Do you think it’s for real, or is she looking for attention? How old is her sister?

B –I think she’s in her 30’s, not sure. It’s something about molestation or something, I didn’t want to ask and be nosey.

A –Yeah right, like she can remember things that happened when she was a kid!

B –Well it’s her business

A –I’m just asking because I saw a show last night showing how some men in the military and some police are actually faking having this PTSD, just to collect disability. Some of them have collected $100,000.00, what a shame when people that have an actual disability need it.

And, their discussion continued……..

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, rape, or other violent personal assault. PTSD is a real illness that causes real suffering. (source: psychiatry.org/ptsd) Continue reading “Are you faking PTSD for attention? or is this a scam?”

What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?

There has been a secret you’ve been concealing, that’s most likely eating you up inside, however, you now have mustered enough courage to tell someone you trust. It’s rough, and you’re just a kid.

Protection and trust have already been shattered by your abuser; you just couldn’t take it anymore, now it’s time to receive compassion, tenderness and told you were so courageous for coming forward and that person will be punished.

It may perhaps have been very positive for you, you were believed, acknowledged, obtained love, affection, sorrow and apologies for this ever happening; possibly counseling. You went on to recover with perhaps some difficulty, but you received support.

OR

Instead, it was the most regretful day of my life.

Continue reading “What happened next when you told someone about your sexual abuse?”

Finally, a clearer understanding of Narcissism & how it relates to CPTSD

If you are a survivor of PTSD, CPTSD or raised by a Narcissist this video is a must.  Don’t worry about emotions, I was tearful throughout the entire video. This gentleman showed empathy and shared his experiences.

TRIGGER WARNING!!!!  This may be upsetting for some people.

He has a series of excellent and informative videos on YouTube explaining various Narcissism and Complex PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) traits. Source: (https://youtu.be/L6l59nEn2ZY)

Religious Abuse ~ A Psychological Trauma

Religious Abuse

Each time I hear a mention of this abuse, I shake my head thinking “here we go again, another child/adult child sexually abused, coming forward despite their courage and pain, to be treated like garbage or accused of making it all up and the church deals with it in their own way, which is nothing”.  I seethe inside.

It is difficult to define what “religious abuse” means, as it carries with it implications of forcing someone to believe in a faith, but principally it is abuse committed by someone who is a representative of a religious body.

Usually, the abuse takes the form of:

~ physical abuse

~ sexual abuse

~ emotional abuse

~ neglect

The abuse occurs as a result of the religious representative taking advantage of his/her position of responsibility within the religious organisation.

There has been widespread publicity surrounding the abuse by and criminal conviction of priests of the Catholic Church all over the world leading to several leading legal precedent judgments in the higher courts concerning the scope of the responsibility of the church for the criminal behaviour of priests.

Continue reading “Religious Abuse ~ A Psychological Trauma”

Toxic Mothers: “How was I supposed to handle your sexual abuse?”

“Well back in the ‘60’s, we didn’t know how to handle things like that”

That was my mother’s asinine come back to my question, “Why didn’t you even take me to the doctors’ as a caution?” when discussing the sexual abuse a few years ago. I’ve always questioned this, whether it be any decade, wouldn’t a mother ensure her child was ok? All around, I am the daughter of a narcissistic mother which explains everything.

My parents didn’t believe me when I was 8 years old, revealing that our neighbor was sexually abusing me, and making matters worse, had to ask for forgiveness from the abuser. I doubt my mother truly believes me to this day or recognized that she made a huge mistake or perhaps ashamed how it was all handled.

She has never fully expressed regret for her actions, never acknowledged or empathized with the crap I went through (PTSD, major depression, hospitalizations, etc.) including years of therapy to heal and wipe up her mess. (Showing no validation or empathy is a common trait of a narcissist).

She slept peacefully at night during my hellish years, while I was awake feeling guilt, shame, and worthlessness. I finally severed ALL contact with my mother a few years ago, which was the wisest decision and the only alternative allowing me to continue healing and living freely.

(I finally received validation from a stranger (therapist) 45 years later which began my healing journey from feeling anguish and pain).

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy 2016

Reminds me of my Narcissistic Mother In Law and how her adult children's are always turning a blind eye towards her bad behaviour. My narcissistic mother in law got all her adult children to worship and fear her.:

How true is this?  Hugs to all, Deb

PTSD Survivors: Why is validation so important for healing?

dissociation 3

Throughout my years in therapy, validation was comparable to receiving a gift, at times triggering tears of sadness, yet happiness and contentment at the same time.   Finally, someone was not ignoring me, was respecting my feelings and best of all, no interruptions with cruel words.  As a daughter of a narcissistic mother, very rarely showing any validation, empathy and usually telling me “you’re making things up again.”, this was all new to me.

Validation means to express understanding and acceptance of another person’s internal experience, whatever that might be. Validation does not mean you agree or approve. Validation builds relationships and helps ease upset feelings. Knowing that you are understood and that your emotions and thoughts are accepted by others is powerful. Validation is like relationship glue. – psychologytoday.com

This article from PsychCentral.com explains ‘Validation’.

Have you ever wished you could take back an email that you sent when you were emotionally upset?  Or maybe you made some statements when you were sad that you didn’t really mean or agreed to something when you were thinking with your heart that you later regretted? Or maybe you wanted to be supportive and helpful to someone you love but couldn’t because your own emotions made it difficult?

Communicating when overwhelmed with emotion does not usually work well. Being overwhelmed with emotion is not a pleasant experience. For emotionally sensitive people, managing their emotions so they can communicate most effectively and with the best results means learning to manage the intense emotions they experience on a regular basis. Continue reading “PTSD Survivors: Why is validation so important for healing?”

PTSD: Why do I have a ‘short fuse’?

Image: pixabay.com
Image: pixabay.com

“She’s such a nice girl”.

I’ve never recognized why I developed a short fuse or experience sudden outbursts of anger while growing up until I was in my therapy session last week. My therapist and I are seldom at odds, yet one particular thing she said ticked me off and I snapped at her which resulted in anger.

We talked it through and resolved the issue, but I was shocked when she said, “when angry, the PTSD kicks in just like that”. I never connected anger, irritability or having a short fuse before with PTSD, but it makes sense.  Yes, I have a ‘short fuse‘ and I’m terribly impatient at times.

I’ve been termed ‘such a nice girl’ often, and to others, I suppose I am. Well-mannered, respectful, soft-spoken, compassionate, but underneath, I’ve held back anger on many occasions. Outside smiles, inside tears.

Continue reading “PTSD: Why do I have a ‘short fuse’?”

Quote: Emotional Abuse

My therapist was the first person who ever validated my feelings, allowed me to speak, and believed what troubled me throughout my adult years due to Emotional Abuse.  My mother is a Narcissist and void of empathy, never taking the time or ignoring any feelings that I had. The only words out of her mouth were cruel and nasty.

 

What about the Funeral? ~ When Your Abuser or Estranged Relative Dies

Yes, what about the funeral.  Are you expected to attend, expected to pay for costs, feel guilty and makes excuses for not attending?  It’s a crappy time for everyone.

My narcissistic mother is not in the picture anymore, however, if she passed away how would the funeral be handled?  (I’ve already answered that, but will keep my answer private).

Searching high and low for a detailed answer, I came across this well-written article:


One of the biggest dilemmas faced by escapees from abusive families is what to do when our abuser or estranged relative dies. Should we make an appearance at the wake and funeral, or not? Should we go to the burial?  Should we send flowers? Should we offer our condolences- and if so, to whom?

To the very people who took our abuser’s side against us or shunned us from their family?  What kind of an act will we have to put on if people offer condolences to US?  How will we be able to pretend that the death of our abuser was a great loss, when we can’t even come up with one nice thing to say about him?

See the remainder of this article at:
http://www.luke173ministries.org/655609

(reposted with editing)

MOM, WHY DID YOU HAVE ME?

Mom, why did you have me?

A question I often ask
making no sense at all
for a woman so resentful and hateful

Bringing children into this world
as her own emotional punching bag
used for criticism and anger
against the daughter, who only craved for
a mother to love her

Mom, were you unhappy as a little girl?

I’m sorry if you were
but for you as my mother
you’ve damaged two lives now
that wonderful opportunity at a relationship with me
and my fantasy mom that I forever aspired you to be

I fantasized that we would bake cakes and chocolate chip cookies together,
perhaps getting flour over each other and laughing
Sewing, cooking, reading stories and joking
trying on your clothes, lipstick and shoes
going shopping like two girls together and giggling
but you seldom had patience for me and
I just appeared an annoyance in your eyes

your cruel words brought tears, unable to ever do anything right
starved of empathy and hugs, and hearing only critical remarks
sitting in my bedroom closet where there was peace and no yelling
I tried telling myself, why do I always make her so angry?
I ask once again

Mom, why did you have me?

~~ Deb

Narcissism ~~ Dear Mom, are you listening…

For my Narcissistic mother.

It’s been two years since I’ve cut off ties with her, and although she treated me like crap, I still miss having a ‘mother‘.  In therapy, I’m working on the impact of how living as a daughter of a narcissist has affected my life.

Trust has been a huge problem for most of my life, starting in childhood.  Firstly trust was broken by the neighbor who sexually abused me, followed by both parents who refused to believe, thus making me apologize.  Learning to earn trust again with adults has taken years, mostly through therapy, after all, trust must be earned.

— Deb

 

PTSD ~ Sexual Abuse: When parents fail to believe

I read this captivating book: The Loveless Family by Jon P. Bloch, which described me and my own family to a T.  This paragraph in the book really touched on a nerve, acknowledging how much harm my parents did, not believing me about the sexual abuse.  The wounds haven’t entirely healed and dancing lessons, upscale clothing and oodles of Xmas gifts never swayed my painful memories.

From the book:

“Between children and adults, there may be lifelong disappointment over a child’s failure to meet the parents’ expectations.  The child, in turn, may spend a lifetime fluctuating between guilt for having failed and having resentment for being expected to succeed in the first place.  When parents failed to help when they could and should have – if the child was being sexually abused, for example, and the parents chose not to believe it – the wound may never heal, despite superficial niceties.  Sometimes, too, parents resent never having had their own chance at success.”

image source: differentdream.com

“Once a Victim ~ Now a Survivor Award” for Everyone who is a Warrior

I created and designed this “Once a Victim, Now a Survivor” award in March/2015, as I wanted it to represent and award those who have struggled with mental illness, and especially everyone who is living with C/PTSD (complex/post-traumatic stress disorder).   PTSD includes those dealing with trauma, abuse and for many childhood sexual abuse.  We were victims once, but now we are Survivors

So pay it forward if you’d like and nominate others; it’s a way to recognize some of the bloggers you’ve discovered who are worthy of this award OR accept it for yourself.  You can display it on your own blog and be proud of it.  Congrats!

Deb

 

PTSD Triggers – This time at the grocery check-out

Triggers are so unexpected, although years of therapy have calmed waters and allowed me to cope with PTSD, in an instant a flashback sends me into panic mode.  In this situation, I had unloaded my groceries prepared for the cashier checkout, when I noticed the guy behind me unloading his.  It was his black, greasy fingernails that triggered me.

Continue reading “PTSD Triggers – This time at the grocery check-out”

What is CPTSD?

Definition of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be defined as a psychological injury which results from ongoing or repeated trauma over which the victim has little or no control, and from which there is no real or perceived hope of escape.   This accumulation of trauma distinguishes CPTSD from the better known Post Traumatic Stress Order (PTSD) in which trauma typically involves a single event or a group of events of limited duration (e.g., witnessing a tragedy, being the victim of a violent act, short term military combat exposure).

What Causes CPTSD?

Continue reading “What is CPTSD?”