Thursday, October 16, 2014

On Complex PTSD, Part IV

Thursday, October 16, 2014

For the past three days I have more deeply explored the idea of Complex PTSD.  As I have already noted this week I learned of the idea of Complex PTSD this past summer.

Today I will examine one of the six phenomena that may be associated with it.  Among other issues those with experience of severe or long lasting trauma may carry not only distorted perceptions of themselves but also distorted perceptions of individuals who caused them harm.  As noted on this webpage, distorted perceptions of perpetrators may include ‘attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or being preoccupied with revenge.’

In my particular case much of the trauma I experienced was due to dysfunctional dynamics within my family of origin.  It would thus seem to make sense that this particular criterion connected to the proposed new term 'Complex PTSD' could be especially relevant to my own experience.

I think it's a bit natural to become preoccupied with a dysfunctional relationship when the relationship in question is the one you have with a parent.  Parents can exert such tremendous influence on our early developmental years...for both good and bad.  Much of the work I have done in therapy in the last sixteen months somehow connects to my relationship with my father.  Walking away from any relationship with my father whatsoever was one of the most difficult decisions I have ever made.  But I ultimately think I will ultimately be better off as a result of my choice.

I think it is generally true that issues which go unresolved in a family tend to inevitably be inherited by subsequent generations.  And yet this is a type of inheritance that a vast majority of us would rather not be unwitting recipients of.  Trauma, family dysfunction and the like can make for good source material when producing art but it sure can take a long time to work through.

Relationships with parents are also unique because there is an imbalance of power implicit in the relationship.  Even if you mature into an adult who is more educated, more successful in your chosen profession and more well adjusted as compared to your father (or mother) that parent will always be your (biological) parent.  And yet being a biological parent alone doesn't necessarily qualify a person to give advice to children.  Indeed, some people prove to be horrible parents.


I am going to stop with my PTSD related post for today.  I'm not having an easy day.  I awoke with a nosebleed and then coughed up phlegm that also had blood in it.  It was not an inspired way to start the day!  And unfortunately moments of illness such as what I have experienced the last few days can eventually leave me feeling especially down.  Why?  Because when I become sick it's still all too easy for me to remember how I felt I couldn't go to my own parents with my troubles when I was a child.  Why?  They were too plagued with their own issues to be able to effectively parent me in a consistent way.  That's a sad commentary on my earliest years of life.  But I speak the truth of how I feel.

Overcoming a legacy of early trauma can take some time to achieve.  Despite my crabby mood today I am nonetheless holding firm in my determination to focus on what is going well in my life.  It's just a bit challenging at the moment.

Post Script

Fifty Day Challenge, Day #21

  • Today I went to see an alternative primary care physician regarding my morning symptoms
  • I remained faithful to my daily writing commitment despite not feeling well

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I invite you to accompany me as I document my own journey of healing. My blog is designed to offer inspiration and solace to others. If you find it of value I welcome you to share it with others. Aloha!