A parent’s love is the most sacred of all emotional bonds. It creates the blueprint for how we love ourselves, shapes our beliefs and thoughts, affects how we express our feelings, and impacts how we form relationships throughout life. Yet, since there is no such thing as perfect parents we have all experienced emotional injuries as vulnerable helpless children. Thus, it becomes our responsibility as adults to explore and tend to those emotional injuries from childhood.
Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) is a mental health condition caused by the chronic, prolonged physical abuse, emotional abuse, or neglect of a parent or caregiver. As a result of this trauma, the child experiences intense fear, helplessness, anger, sadness, and shame. Complex PTSD makes us disconnect from our authentic needs and emotions and is the cause of anxiety, depression, personality disorders and relationship issues.
Trauma is not what happens to you; it’s what happens inside your mind and body when you feel overwhelmed and helpless.
C-PTSD Affects 3 Key Areas of Functioning
Research has shown that three distinct areas of life are affected by C-PTSD: self-image, the capacity to feel and regulate emotions, and the ability to maintain healthy relationships. Disruptions in these areas can cause the following issues:
- Emotional dysregulation: C-PTSD can cause people to suppress their emotions or aggressively act them out. Denying or judging our feelings causes us to feel depressed and anxious.
- Negative self-image: C-PTSD can create self-blaming and self-shaming (thoughts like “I am not enough,” “I have to be perfect,” “I must sacrifice myself,” “I am not worthy,” etc.).
- Relationship issues: Some may avoid relationships altogether because you fear criticism or mistrust people, while others may end up in abusive adult relationships since they do not know how to be authentic while connecting with others.
If any of these areas resonate with you, I encourage you to take the Complex Trauma assessment, which can reveal which areas of your life are affected by your unique complex trauma.
Free Complex Trauma Assessment
There are new, cutting-edge treatments to recover from C-PTSD.
The NeuroAffective Relational Model (NARM) is a therapeutic model for treating relational trauma that works with the physical body, mind, emotions, and relationships. NARM addresses the symptoms caused by developmental trauma and helps a person re-connect to their authentic emotions, needs, and aspirations so they can reach their unique potential in life and love.
Our greatest longing is to feel alive. When we feel alive, we feel connected. When we feel connected, we experience the opposite of depression: VITALITY.
Learn more on the NARM Transforming Trauma Podcast
On this episode of the Transforming Trauma podcast, I discuss how I utilize NARM therapy to treat C-PTSD. I share why I was drawn to NARM, how NARM informs my clinical work and especially the importance of being present with your emotions. And I delve into my clinical specialty, which is helping people recover from Trauma Bonds.
Find a NARM Therapist
If you’ve read this far, you’re likely interested in or personally affected by complex trauma. If you want to learn more about applying NARM to the treatment of complex trauma, I highly recommend this book, written by the creators of NARM.
Alternatively, if you’re ready to dive into some deep therapeutic work with a NARM therapist, you can search the directory using the link below. Keep in mind that many practitioners are still working virtually or have switched to Teletherapy entirely. So if you can’t find someone in your city, search for someone in your state!
Wishing you a month filled with connectedness and vitality