Posted in Alienation, Complex Trauma, DESTRUCTIVE PSYCHOLOGICAL DISORDER, PERSONALITY DISORDERS, Post-traumatic Stress, Psychological manipulation, Recovery

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy 

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy ® publishes empirical research on the psychological effects of trauma. The journal is intended to be a forum for an interdisciplinary discussion on trauma, blending science, theory, practice, and policy.

The journal publishes empirical research on a wide range of trauma-related topics, including

  • Psychological treatments and effects
  • Promotion of education about effects of and treatment for trauma
  • Assessment and diagnosis of trauma
  • Pathophysiology of trauma reactions
  • Health services (delivery of services to trauma populations)
  • Epidemiological studies and risk factor studies
  • Neuroimaging studies
  • Trauma and cultural competence

The journal publishes articles that use experimental and correlational methods and qualitative analyses, if applicable.

All research reports should reflect methodologically rigorous designs that aim to significantly enhance the field’s understanding of trauma. Such reports should be based on good theoretical foundations and integrate theory and data. Manuscripts should be of sufficient length to ensure theoretical and methodological competence. Continue reading “Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy “

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Complex Trauma, Parental Alienation PA, Post-traumatic Stress

Effects | The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Long-term Consequences

Research has repeatedly shown that child sexual abuse can have a very serious impact on physical and mental health, as well as later sexual adjustment. Depending on the severity of and number of traumas experienced, child sexual abuse can have wide-reaching and long-lasting effects. Those who have suffered multiple traumas and received little parental support may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Their ability to trust adults to take care of them may also be jeopardized. Sadly, when children do not disclose sexual abuse and/or do not receive effective counseling, they can suffer difficulties long into the future. As one child expressed it, “Abuse is like a boomerang. If you don’t deal with it, it can come back to hurt you.” On the other hand, children who have the support of an understanding caregiver and effective treatment can recover without long-term effects.

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Child abuse, Child Maltreatment, Complex Trauma, Parental Alienation PA, Post-traumatic Stress

Effects | The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Immediate Reactions and Long-term Effects

Children’s immediate reactions to IPV may include:

  • Generalized anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Nightmares
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • High activity levels
  • Increased aggression
  • Increased anxiety about being separated from a parent
  • Intense worry about their safety or the safety of a parent

Long-term effects, especially from chronic exposure to IPV, may include:

  • Physical health problems
  • Behavior problems in adolescence (e.g., delinquency, alcohol or substance abuse)
  • Emotional difficulties in adulthood (e.g., depression, anxiety, PTSD)

Exposure to IPV has also been linked to poor school performance. Children who grow up with IPV may have impaired ability to concentrate; difficulty completing school work; and lower scores on measures of verbal, motor, and social skills.

In addition to these physical, behavioral, psychological, and cognitive effects, children who have been exposed to IPV often learn destructive lessons about the use of violence and power in relationships. Children may learn that it is acceptable to exert control or relieve stress by using violence, or that violence is in some way linked to expressions of intimacy and affection. These lessons can have a powerful negative effect on children in social situations and relationships throughout childhood and in later life.

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Child Maltreatment, Child Protection, Children's Rights, Complex Trauma, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, Parental Alienation PA

Intimate Partner Violence | The National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), also referred to as domestic violence, occurs when an individual purposely causes harm or threatens the risk of harm to any past or current partner or spouse. While abuse often occurs as a pattern of controlling and coercive behavior, an initial episode of abuse may also be cause for concern. Tactics used in IPV can be physical, sexual, financial, verbal, or emotional in nature against the partner. Individuals may also experience stalking, terrorizing, blame, hurt, humiliation, manipulation, and intentional isolation from social supports and family. IPV can vary in frequency and severity. Children are often the hidden or silent victims of IPV, and some are directly injured, while others are frightened witnesses. Children with IPV exposure are more likely to have also experienced emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse, and community violence.

As the scope of the problem has become understood, IPV is now identified as a significant legal and public health issue, not only a private family problem. Abuse can affect families and communities across generations, and can occur across the lifespan, from dating teens to elderly couples. There are laws in every state that address IPV. Abuse occurs in all types of relationships and among people with varying backgrounds of age, race, religion, financial status, sexual orientation, gender identity, and education. Although the majority of victims of IPV are women, it is important to acknowledge that men can be victims too. IPV disproportionately affects members of the LGBTQ community, who experience barriers to assistance from community resources such as shelters or police.

Posted in Alienation, Complex Trauma, EMOTIONAL ABUSE, Narcissism, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), Parental Alienation PA, Post-traumatic Stress, Recovery, Self Help

Self Help

Let us start the first exercise: Find a secure mode of expressing whatever emotions you have bottled up. For example, take pen to paper and write about your emotions. Emotions such as intense anger, pain, sadness, fear, grief, longing, etc., ? are some manifestations of having been subject to a relationship that is, or was, belittling to you ? an insult to your soul. Once you have appropriately and sufficiently expressed your emotions (not necessarily in just one sitting), you may have cleared some of the way for trusting in your own basic goodness and worth. This starts by taking a spiritual look at your value, through a practical and spiritual lens. It is said that we human beings are spiritual beings having a human experience. We are different than non-human forms of life, with a consciousness and ability to reason, among other characteristics. We are not just our mind, our intellect, our body: we have a spiritual aspect to us, which remains a mystery to a great degree.

This spiritual aspect, referred to by different names and concepts depending on person and affiliation, is part of a power greater than our human selves. It is that mysterious component that sets us apart, that can be understood as ‘a power greater than ourselves’. Having a power greater than yourself, and greater than your narcissist, is a fantastic consideration given the level of subservience, feelings or the need to ‘worship’ him/her, or repulsion and rage towards them. Such a reflection can begin to loosen the cords that ensnare you to such a person. Pause now to consider what your inherent worth would feel like to you, if it were based on strong spiritual truths, and NOT on the beliefs and lies that the narcissist hopes you will continue to believe in about yourself, your power, your worth, your role in their life and life in general. If you believe in a higher power, consider this higher power as being: a) greater than your wounds, and b) has the perfect capability to help in your healing no matter what you suffered.

Since the dawn of time, people have been searching to answer the question of why there is human suffering, and more specifically, what is the role of a higher power in ‘bad things happening to good people’. Those who suffer in the hands of the narcissistic despotic rulers, have offered up many cries towards the heavens, begging for a “why?!”

For survivors, this is an even more burning question, usually with intense pain and anger attached to it. Going through life blocked from trusting, loving, reciprocal relationships, is a tough call, with denial being the warm blanket of protection. Naturally, these strong emotions are directed towards the concept of a higher power, with many people denying the existence of one altogether. Included in this approach, can be for some people, a fear of such a ‘power’ that includes distrust that is cemented at the core of their psyche. If you apply this to your circumstance, and are seeking a spiritual connection, understanding impact of victimization can be of great aid to you. It is typical for survivors to be well-defended against pain, as this defense, at the core, is necessary self-protection. Naturally, you want to prevent yourself from being hurt again. This desire is especially urgent, when you feel life cheated you out of your birthright for true emotional freedom. If you have been betrayed by other people, let alone if caregivers were the perpetrators, your need for this self-protection, may also provide you with an illusion of control.

When you go about your life this way, you are left with a life that is more difficult and empty because you have a deep sense of isolation. Mistrust takes away the very search for meaning. You need someone or something in life that you can believe in, trust in, and rely upon.

In my work with survivors, I have observed the following emotional conditions that have their origins in traumatic experiences. Such conditions will pose as a great challenge for the survivor wanting to take a close look at their inner wounds, external life situations, and perhaps an outlook that incudes useful tools for reparation to the Self.

  1. Belief that I am to blame for what happened, so why would anyone, including a ‘higher power’ do anything good for me? (I am undeserving.)
  2. Belief that I am as powerless as I was when traumatized (so how will trust help if I am powerless and I cannot ‘see’ this spiritual entity?)
  3. Loss and betrayal is doomed to be repeated, so why try? I don’t need the heartache! (Anticipation that all relationships will ultimately end up in disappointment.)
  4. Having a sense of deep shame and alienation from others because of my experiences, which no one can ever find out about! (I am doomed to be shamed and rejected.)
  5. Acting on destructive tendencies which may include addictive behaviors and other destructive coping mechanisms. (If I am bad, which I must be since no one rescued me, who cares what I do to myself?)
  6. Attachment and/or sexual disorders (a genuine block to experiencing long-lasting trust and intimacy).
  7. Abandoning myself to support, please, placate, or rebel against others; instead of being firmly on my own side.

Take time to reflect and consider the questions/points, because by doing so, you may initiate the process of transferring power from the narcissist in your life, to a power greater than yourself. This restorative process can occur by examining your hidden internal messages to yourself, and bringing them into consciousness for authentic evaluation. Most often, we think, act, believe and perpetuate unexamined internal messages, put there by the narcissist to maintain their own agenda, so laying all the subconscious cards out on the table, so to speak, is a critical component of authentic recovery.

Consider your higher power as a spiritual entity that is a constant, loving presence, whether you feel you deserve it, understand this power, love this power in return, feel it, accept it, or can explain it. It always exists as a safe, gentle, and unconditional love, demanding nothing in return. According to Kabbala (Jewish mysticism), God chooses to be right here with our human experiences: our suffering, tragedy, joy, and everything in between. These are the attributes of a highly personal and compassionate Creator, who desires closeness with all of creation. Continue reading “Self Help”

Posted in Alienation, Complex Trauma, Narcissism, Narcopath, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder), Parental Alienation PA, Recovery, Self Help

Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse through a Spiritual Lens

As a first step in addressing this issue, is the need to admit to oneself, who is the narcissist that has effected, or is currently effecting one’s life. There are several important considerations for the survivor: perhaps the survivor has been previously unconscious to this reality, are actively in denial, are aware of it but have chosen to ignore it, and try to move away from the person, or are currently actively engaged with such a person. If you are facing this for the first time, you may ask yourself if you have frozen pockets of pain, which is also referred to as emotional numbness. Given the varying levels of narcissistic abuse, people will experience and relate to this in different ways.

Consider the following analysis of the narcissistic person, from the perspective of Annie Reich (Psychoanalytic Contributions, 1973):

According to Reich, the narcissist has weak sense of their “self”, and a fragile ability to maintain self-esteem. They have an ongoing dependence on other people, experienced narcissistically. Associated with this vulnerability were repeated fluctuations between primitive idealization and overvaluation of the self and/or of others, and

corresponding reciprocal fluctuations between intense self-hatred and self-devaluation and contempt and devaluation of others. Reich also discussed the specific types of anxiety, particularly annihilation anxiety, severe separation anxiety, and hypochondriacal anxiety; the vulnerability to depression and shame propensity [2, 3].

If you are in a relationship with such a person, or have been and not yet healed from it – it is common and understandable to want to hide your painful reality from others. It is logical to feel generally unhappy in life, and to even become an expert at hiding and keeping secrets of your difficulties. An abuse survivor can have all the trappings of a good lifestyle, and still feel that they just “don’t measure up”. Just being aware of this makes one feel so raw and vulnerable. For some survivors, seeing through one’s own denial cannot be done in one sitting, or alone.

The pain and fear at the anticipation of frozen pockets of pain beginning to thaw, old anxieties and needs, not yet processed or faced beginning to surface, can be looming and daunting. So many survivors of narcissistic abuse can appear to be strong and competent. But internally, there is a sense of being out of touch and unfamiliar with trusting what is safe and real ? plagued by guilt, anxiety, depression, and strong feelings towards authority figures. Such strong feelings can be the likes of distrust, rage, fear, passivity, complete submission, a deep need to hide or be dishonest to protect themselves. Such emotions and behaviors make sense considering what the survivor experienced in relation to the narcissist ? with varying degrees depending on the person and circumstance. Although these maladaptive behaviors are understood, there is suffering that they instigate: living in constant fear and dread of ‘being found out’, chronic avoidance of the authority figure, uncontrollable rage and/or the need to be in charge. The following exercises are simple, and based on spiritual principles. Continue reading “Recovery from Narcissistic Abuse through a Spiritual Lens”

Posted in Alienation, Complex Trauma, Narcissism, Narcopath, Parental Alienation PA, Post-traumatic Stress, Recovery, Self Help

Narcissistic Abuse Inflicts Long-Term Trauma Leading to PTSD

You’re probably already familiar with the link between emotional abuse and post-traumatic stress disorder. Emotional and verbal abuse can produce psychological consequences just as devastating as one-off violent events.

When you survive a terrorist attack or car accident, however, it’s easy to identify the incident as a one-off traumatic event. Healing and coping with the aftermath are certainly not easy – but it’s obvious that you were exposed to trauma.

Narcissistic trauma is different.

(Read:  Why Narcissistic Abuse is So Damaging)

It’s not a one-off event. In fact, narcissistic trauma creeps in very slowly and can occur over many months, years, or even decades. Continue reading “Narcissistic Abuse Inflicts Long-Term Trauma Leading to PTSD”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Complex Trauma, Parental Alienation PA, Post-traumatic Stress, Recovery, Self Help

Trauma Reactivity, Avoidant Coping, and PTSD Symptoms

In the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event, many individuals experience physiological reactivity in response to reminders of the traumatic event that typically lessens over time. However, an overreliance on avoidant coping strategies may interfere with the natural recovery process, particularly for those who are highly reactive to trauma reminders. In the current investigation, we examined avoidant coping as a moderator of the association between heart rate reactivity to a trauma monologue measured shortly after a traumatic event and severity of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms measured several months later. Fifty-five female survivors of assault completed PTSD diagnostic interviews and a self-report coping measure and participated in a trauma monologue procedure that included continuous heart rate measurement. These procedures were completed within 1 month of the assault and again 3 months postassault. After we controlled for the effect of initial symptom levels, the interaction of heart rate reactivity to the trauma monologue and avoidant coping measured at Time 1 was associated with PTSD symptom severity at Time 2. Individuals who are relatively highly reliant on avoidant coping strategies and relatively highly reactive to trauma reminders may be at greatest risk of maintaining or potentially increasing their PTSD symptoms within the first few months following the trauma. These findings may help inform early intervention efforts for survivors of traumatic events. Continue reading “Trauma Reactivity, Avoidant Coping, and PTSD Symptoms”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Complex Trauma, Post-traumatic Stress, Recovery, Self Help

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

What Are the Different Types of Avoidance?

Emotional avoidance is when a person avoids thoughts or feelings about a traumatic event. For example:

  • Someone who experienced a sexual assault may try to create distance from unpleasant emotions, like fear, when reminded of the trauma. A combat Veteran may try to shut down feelings of sadness about a deployment or war zone.
  • Someone who survived a serious accident may say things like, “Don’t go there,” or “Don’t think about it.”

Avoiding reminders—like places, people, sounds or smells—of a trauma is called behavioral avoidance. For example:

  • A combat Veteran may stop watching the news or using social media because of stories or posts about war or current military events.
  • Someone who lived in New York City might have moved out of the area after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
  • Assault survivors might go out of their way to stay away from the scene of their attack or places that remind them of the assault.

What Are the Consequences of Avoidance?

Growing up, you may have heard advice like, “just try not to think about it” or “don’t dwell on it.” But if you go out of your way to avoid thoughts and feelings related to a traumatic event, your symptoms may get worse. Using avoidance as your main way of coping with traumatic memories can make it harder to move on with your life. Continue reading “PTSD: National Center for PTSD”

Posted in Alienated children, Alienation, Complex Trauma, Parental Alienation PA, Post-traumatic Stress, Recovery, Self Help

Why People With PTSD Use Emotional Avoidance to Cope

Emotional avoidance is a common reaction to trauma. In fact, emotional avoidance is part of the avoidance cluster of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms, serving as a way for people with PTSD to escape painful or difficult emotions.

Avoidance refers to any action designed to prevent the occurrence of an uncomfortable emotion such as fear, sadness, or shame. For example, a person may try to avoid difficult emotions through the use of substances or dissociation.

Avoidance Cluster Behavior

The avoidance cluster of PTSD symptoms is categorized as the attempt to avoid distressing memories, thoughts, or feelings as well as external reminders such as conversations about the traumatic event or people or places that bring the event to mind. Avoidance behaviors are effectively an effort to withdraw from situations and feelings that produce trauma-related symptoms.

Moreover, people engaging in avoidance may have emotional numbing symptoms such as feeling distant from others, losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, or having trouble experiencing positive feelings such as happiness or love. Avoiding emotional experiences is common among people who have PTSD. Continue reading “Why People With PTSD Use Emotional Avoidance to Cope”