Tag Archives: trauma

Dissociative Amnesia

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Here are bits and pieces of an article about Dissociative Amnesia from the blog: TraumaDissociation.com.

 

3 Types of Dissociative Amnesia - localized, selective and generalized

 

Dissociative Amnesia Dissociative amnesia is the most common Dissociative Disorder. There are several different types of amnesia, and many different causes. Dissociative Amnesia is not caused by head injuries or physical damage to the brain, it is amnesia which has a psychological cause. It can occur as part of a number of other mental health conditions, including posttraumatic stress disorder and acute stress disorder, dissociative identity disorder, somatoform disorder, and anxiety disorders, [3]:298, [7] in any of those cases it would not be classed as a separate disorder. Dissociation Amnesia can last for between a few days to a few years, but is typically less than a week.[4] The period of time which cannot be remembered can range from minutes to decades. Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

Because there is no neurobiological damage or toxicity, and the difficulties are in retrieving a memory which was successfully stored, the amnesia is always “potentially reversible”. [3]:298-299, [7] Neurocognitive disorders involving memory loss usually include cognitive (thinking) and intellectual impairments in memory, these are not present in people Dissociative Amnesia. [3]:300-301 Dissociative amnesia is more likely in people with a history of multiple adverse childhood experiences (especially if they include physical or sexual abuse), people who have experienced interpersonal violence (for example, domestic violence or physical assaults), and the risk increases with the “severity, frequency, and violence of the trauma”. [3]:298-299 Clinical interviews to diagnose Dissociative Amnesia include the SCID-D (revised) by Dr Marlene Steinberg, and the Dissociative Disorders Interview Schedule (DDIS). Both of these are capable of diagnosing any dissociative disorder and a number of other disorders as well. [1]:124 Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

The three common types of dissociative amnesia are localized amnesia, selective amnesia (which may occur along with localized amnesia), and generalized amnesia. Generalized amnesia may involve the complete loss of a person’s identity, in addition to all memories of their past. Other forms of dissociative amnesia can also occur; people with generalized amnesia (the most severe type) may also lose semantic knowledge (previous knowledge about the world) and procedural knowledge (forgetting well-learned skills). [3]:298-299 Systematized amnesia is amnesia for a category of information (e.g., no memory of family, no memory of a specific person, or childhood sexual abuse). Continuous amnesia is unable to form new memories. [3]:298-299 Micro-amnesias are also typical in dissociative disorders, the amnesia is for very, very brief periods of time. The International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation gives the example of forgetting the contents of a conversation from one moment to the next. The person may struggle to work out what was discussed while trying to avoid the other person realizing this. [7] Dissociative Amnesia has been previously known as Psychogenic Amnesia, and Hysterical Amnesia. Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

Dissociative amnesia occurring with fugue should be treated as soon as possible; psychotherapy is the recommended treatment. This should involve a safe environment for therapy and a strong therapeutic alliance. Treatment goals include the recovery of the person’s identity, identifying the triggers linked to the start of the fugue, and working through the traumatic material. Medication given during interviews, and hypnosis may be also help.[7] Recovery is often rapid. [8] When memories begin to return a person often experiences emotions such as grief, rage, shame, guilt, depression and inner turmoil. Many people with Dissociative Amnesia develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at some point in their lives. [3]:302 Read more: http://traumadissociation.com/dissociativeamnesia

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Here’s the Reason People Grow Up Idealizing Their Childhood and Parents

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An unexamined life is a gray life. You miss the explosions of insight and groundedness of maturity. Here is a wonderful article by Darius Cikanavicius of the Facebook page: Self Archaeology. He explains the realities of the survival skills children need to survive in precarious situations.

Why People Grow Up Idealizing Their Parents and Upbringing

“With nothing and no one to judge them against, we assume them to be perfect parents. As our world broadens beyond our crib, we develop a need to maintain this image of perfection as a defense against the great unknowns we increasingly encounter. As long as we believe our parents are perfect, we feel protected.”
— Susan Forward, Toxic Parents
Babies and small children are new to the world and their brains and minds are still developing. The biggest influence on a child’s development is their primary caregivers and their immediate environment. That’s where we get our understanding of concepts like love, care, empathy, trust, healthiness, goodness, worth, value, and so on.

Inherently, children believe and trust their caregivers. A child’s parents, other family members, teachers, and similar authority figures shape the child’s beliefs about the world and about themselves. This is how a child learns about self-worth and self-esteem, and about estimating others.The problem is that children have no objective ability to evaluate what they are taught.

As I write in my book Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults, “Children do not have a healthy frame of reference regarding their family environment and their treatment by their caregivers. Children have only experienced what they have experienced and have nothing to compare it to.” And so the smaller the children, the more likely they are to accept the teachings of their caregivers without questioning. This includes explicit teaching and implicit or non-verbal messages. Since children see their parents as all-knowing, all-powerful, and infallible, they also tend to blame themselves for how they are treated. Often they actually are blamed – and actively or passively punished – for disagreeing, being disobedient, or “acting badly.”

The truth behind this is children need their caregivers to survive. The child will die without their caregiver. Therefore, children are extremely sensitive to rejection and have no other choice but to ultimately be as their primary caregivers want them to be. So idealizing them is vital for their survival.

This dependency on a caregiver for survival follows people long into their adulthood. It manifests in different irrational beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. People grow up with a lot of accumulated pain and chronic psychological trauma. For the most part, even as adults most people remain psychologically dependent on their primary caregivers, unable to feel free and happy.

The beliefs people developed and internalized growing up haunt them throughout their lives. Most people idealize their parents even as adults because they have never truly examined their childhood and their early relationships and resolved the root issues, or at least not to the degree where they would feel safe and secure enough to let go of all their illusions and fantasies about an ever-loving parent.

It is extremely difficult to accept that perhaps how you were treated as a child was not normal even when you are a self-sufficient adult; it is impossible to accept when you’re a child. It is so hard because, for most people, it is unbearable to even contemplate risking their bond with their caregiver, no matter how toxic or downright abusive that dynamic may be.

Healing from all of it and growing is a long and complicated process. It often involves feeling emotional pain and discomfort. But it is necessary in order to finally set yourself free and live a happy and authentic life.


For more on these and other topics, check out the author’s books: Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults and Self-Work Starter Kit.

Darius Cikanavicius

Darius is the founder of Self-Archeology. He is a writer, educator, mental health advocate, and traveler. Darius has worked professionally with people from all over the world as a psychological consultant and a certified life coach. His main areas of expertise and interest are inner work, childhood trauma, social anxiety, self-esteem, self-care, perfectionism, emotional well-being, narcissism, belief systems, and relationships.

Darius is an author of two books: Human Development and Trauma: How Childhood Shapes Us into Who We Are as Adults and Self-Work Starter Kit.

For more information about Darius and his work, please visit selfarcheology.com. If you consider Darius for online consulting/coaching, you can find his contact information here or email him.

 

Thoughtful Thursday #208 – Trauma Can Define Your Entire Life

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It doesn’t matter what the trauma is, whether  physical, sexual,  emotional, neglect, serious accident, assault, illness, medical procedure, victim or witness to domestic violence, bullying, war, traumatic grief, homelessness, or natural disaster. Trauma is a deeply distressing and disturbing experience.

Just about everyone has experienced a trauma. When we are very young we don’t have the words or resources to express what has happened to us. As an adult our protective defences can kick in to protect us and we are at a loss to express our emotions about the trauma.

Trauma ends up defining our entire lives for the good or the bad. But mostly the bad. Trauma always permanently changes our lives. We end up changing how we view the world with defense mechanisms like repression, denial, intellectualization, rationalization, acting out, projection, isolation, dissociation, and avoidance just to name a few. This is the tragic and sad result of trauma.

Each defense mechanism is there to protect us. These are learned behaviors that our mind creates to protect us from the terror of trauma. And that is OK.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can 100% recover from the damage of trauma and all its destructive power and regain your life.

You can’t recover alone. Defenses don’t help. Fear will keep you isolated. The work of self discovery is not easy, it can be raw and scary and uncomfortable and it is an everyday effort no matter how small the effort is.

It takes just a little bit of courage in making your mental health a priority, find a therapist who specialized in trauma, research the subject, talk it out with a trusted person, write and write again, find an activity that will ground you like art, walking, exercise, and meditation.

The deeper you go in uncovering the effect a trauma has had the faster the recovery and the recovery will be permanent.

Making your mental health a priority will bring inconceivable benefit to you and your universe. You will no longer be held hostage to victimization. Never again to be taken advantage of, free to be who you were meant to be. Happy, calm, progressive, and healthy.

 

 

Thoughtful Thursday #207 – Separation

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Many of us have grown up in either mildly dysfunctional or maddeningly dysfunctional family systems. We could have lived through addictions, violence, mental illness, instability, abandonment and the result was trauma. At some point we have to stop seeking validation from those in our family system who can’t even  validate themselves.

It’s time to separate. It’s time to let go of believing that they will change. It’s more probable that toxic people will always let you down and you deserve so much more. It’s time to miss events with those who are emotionally unavailable and toxic. When we separate we can acknowledge our pain and the depth of our family’s broken and unfit system. When we recognise our pain the healing begins.

When the healing begins you will regain your health, sanity, dignity and wholeness with this important and critical self-care. Will it be easy, nope. But so worth the effort.

It’s time to find out who you are in your own wholeness, separate from the trauma, drama and maladaptive idea of who you are.  It’s time for you to go back to the  unbroken and undamaged person you are meant to be, in one piece, peaceful and confident.

You are worth it.

Thoughtful Thursdays #180 – Emotional Trauma in the Body

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It is common information about emotional trauma being trapped in the body. Google it or go to the library for reading material.

However, how do we uncover emotions without the long stretches in therapy or costly physical therapies?

Start with walking more, take the stairs, swim, dance, rent a bike, work out, walk your neighbor’s dog, garden, yoga on youtube.

The next step to exorcise those pesky emotions that sneak up on you and settle in your body, sit with paper and pen or open a word document  and pour your mind onto a page.

By exercising you can release trauma from your body which is connected to your mind.

By writing you exorcise trauma from your mind which is connected to your body.

Find your balance.

Thoughtful Thurdsays #152 – Trauma

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Trauma is when your mind is stuck on a difficult situation from the past. Let me explain. Perhaps you fell on ice and broke your leg. You then needed surgery to fix it. After much healing you are healthy again.

You decide to take a walk and happen upon the same street where you fell. Dread sets in, flashbacks of falling ignite your memory, fear of having surgery again zings in your head. So you avoid that street. You will never walk down that street again because it reminds you of when you fell.

Not every one would react that way but it is not uncommon that our minds go into survival mode after a trauma and reminds us not to venture down that block again. Your mind is trying to protect you and has no sense of time. This is the nature of trauma.

Our minds become frozen in time over an unpleasant event. Trauma is epidemic. If you have lived, you have experienced trauma.

What can we do to become unstuck. Find trauma support groups, trauma therapy, writing, meditation. Do whatever needs to be done to heal. There is no one way, or right way, there is only your way to heal. Push through the fear just for a little while and begin your healing journey. You are worth it.

Thoughtful Thursdays # 120 – When You Were Little You Believed Some False Stuff

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When you were little you learned lots of stuff. How to play and cooperate and dream. However, if you have had a childhood you have had a trauma. What happens when there is neglect and harassment and trauma?

All memories are held in your body. Your mind does not have to recall exact situations but your body will remember. For example, have you ever heard, smelled or tasted something reminiscent of the past? Did it make you sick to your stomach or happy? Those are held memories in your body.

At some point, if situations are too much, your mind may shut down to protect you. Your body will remember seeing your pet killed. Your body will remember verbal abuse. Your body will remember everything that had a negative impact. Your mind will see something similar to the trauma experienced and you will feel it in your body.

Any belief about abuse being normal is never true. The person doing the abuse believes that its OK to abuse. That is a false belief. The child takes on the belief that they deserve to be abused. That is a false belief. These false beliefs become intrinsic as if they are normal and true. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is if your life is less than desirable and you are stuck, examine your beliefs. Look for an experienced trauma therapist. Find it in yourself to learn why you make the choices that you do.

One of the simplest free ways of healing is to listen to mediation videos or music. There’s plenty on youtube.com and with the help of a therapist you will transcend false beliefs and live a much happier life.

 

Thoughtful Thursdays #102 Trauma

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“Trauma survivors have symptoms instead of memories.” (Harvey, 1990) Adapted from Bremner & Marmer, 1998, Copyright 2007 Dr. Fisher

Trauma comes in many forms. Violence of any kind, addictions in both the user and observer, unavailable caregivers, isolation, and poverty are just a few ways of experiencing trauma.

Trauma is toxic mentally and physically because it stops you from maturing and living a full life.  The symptoms of trauma are depression, irritability, loss of interest, numbing, decreased concentration, insomnia, emotional overwhelm, hopelessness, shame and worthlessness, little or no memories, nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, mistrust, anxiety, panic attacks, chronic pain, headaches, substance abuse, eating disorders, feeling unreal and out-of-body, self-destructive, loss of a sense of “Who I am”.

That’s a lot of information and possible triggers but they are symptoms of something that holds you back. Trauma effects everything you do with and without your awareness.

To heal from trauma is obvious. Find a trauma therapist. There are tons of information available to read and passionate therapists who want to help you heal.

If you realize you have been a victim that’s good. You will move from victim to survivor to one who thrives to a warrior.

You are strong, reach out and heal.

Thoughtful Thursdays # 88 – Sit With It

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I had a very interesting experience this week. I was extremely emotional. I had racing thoughts and crying outbursts. This experience was brought on by a series of events that tapped into my fears.

I remembered Pema Chodron’s suggestion. Sit with it. Sit with the feelings that are troubling you without picking up food, a drink, or any other distraction.

I did sit with the feelings and it hurt really bad. I wanted to run away, disappear, die, dive into a pie and surf the web, cry and throw up.

But I didn’t. The troubling feelings lasted about three days.

The fear I was feeling was from a past trauma. Each event reminiscent of the trauma flashed before my mind and it all made sense. All the times I ran away from feeling the fear, all the times I distracted my self, all the times I made excuses, basically to protect myself.

The fear left because I faced it. My feelings are still raw but the intensity of the fear on a scale of one to ten is a one.

Next time you are emotionally out of control, depressed, sad or troubled. Just sit with it. Don’t run away. Feel everything.

You will expand your understanding of how you operate. From understanding and knowledge about yourself changes your entire life for the better. That’s a guarantee.

Happy exploring.

OM

Adult Children of Alcoholics

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Adult Children of Alcoholics
World Service Organization, Inc.

The Laundry List

The Laundry List – 14 Traits of an Adult Child of an Alcoholic

We became isolated and afraid of people and authority figures.

We became approval seekers and lost our identity in the process.

We are frightened of angry people and any personal criticism.

We either become alcoholics, marry them or both, or find another compulsive personality such as a workaholic to fulfill our sick abandonment needs.

We live life from the viewpoint of victims and we are attracted by that weakness in our love and friendship relationships.

We have an overdeveloped sense of responsibility and it is easier for us to be concerned with others rather than ourselves; this enables us not to look too closely at our own faults, etc.

We get guilt feelings when we stand up for ourselves instead of giving in to others.

We became addicted to excitement.

We confuse love and pity and tend to “love” people we can “pity” and “rescue.”

We have “stuffed” our feelings from our traumatic childhoods and have lost the ability to feel or express our feelings because it hurts so much (Denial).

We judge ourselves harshly and have a very low sense of self-esteem.

We are dependent personalities who are terrified of abandonment and will do anything to hold on to a relationship in order not to experience painful abandonment feelings, which we received from living with sick people who were never there emotionally for us.

Alcoholism is a family disease; and we became para-alcoholics and took on the characteristics of that disease even though we did not pick up the drink.

Para-alcoholics are reactors rather than actors.

Tony A., 1978

Note: The Laundry List serves as the basis for The Problem statement.

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