The Association Between Child Abuse, Trauma and Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

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THE ASSOCIATION BETWEEN CHILDHOOD ABUSE, TRAUMA AND BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER.

Many research studies have shown that individuals who have suffered childhood abuse, trauma and/or neglect are very considerably more likely to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) as adults than those who were fortunate enough to have experienced a relatively stable childhood.

it is thought marilyn munroe suffered from BPD

It is thought Marilyn Monroe suffered from BPD

 

WHAT IS BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER (BPD)?

 

BPD sufferers experience a range of symptoms which are split into 9 categories. These are:

1) Extreme swings in emotions
2) Explosive anger
3) Intense fear of rejection/abandonment sometimes leading to frantic efforts to maintain a relationship
4) Impulsiveness
5) Self-harm
6) Unstable self-concept (not really knowing ‘who one is’)
7) Chronic feelings of ‘emptiness’ (often leading to excessive drinking/eating etc ‘to fill the vacuum’)
8) Dissociation ( a feeling of being ‘disconnected from reality’)
9) Intense and highly volatile relationships

For a diagnosis of BPD to be given, the individual needs to suffer from at least 5 of the above.

frequently rejected in childhood, BPD sufferers live in terror of abandoment

frequently rejected in childhood, BPD sufferers live in terror of abandonment

A person’s childhood experiences has an enormous effect on his/her mental health in adult life. How parents treat their children is, therefore, of paramount importance.

BPD is an even more likely outcome, if, as well as suffering trauma through invidious parenting, the individual also has a BIOLOGICAL VULNERABILITY.

In relation to an individual’s childhood, research suggests that the 3 major risk factors are:

– trauma/abuse
– damaging parenting styles
– early separation or loss (eg due to parental divorce or the death of the parent/s)

Of course, more than one of these can befall the child. Indeed, in my own case, I was unlucky enough to be affected by all three. And, given my mother was highly unstable, it is very likely I also inherited a biological/genetic vulnerability.

 

EXAMPLES OF DAMAGING PARENTING STYLES:

 

1) Dysfunctional and disorganized – this can occur when there is a high level of marital discord or conflict. It is important, here, to point out that even if parents attempt to hide their disharmony, children are still likely to be adversely affected as they tend to pick up on subtle signs of tension.

Chaotic environments can also impact very badly on children. Examples are:

– constant house moves
– parental alcoholism/illicit drug use
– parental mental illness and instability/verbal aggression

 

2) Emotional invalidation. Examples include:

– a parent telling their child they wish he/she could be more like his/her brother/sister/cousin etc.
– a parent telling the child he is ‘just like his father’ (meant disparagingly). This invalidates the child’s unique identity.
– telling a child s/he shouldn’t be upset/crying over something, therefore invalidating the child’s reaction and implying the child’s having such feelings is inappropriate.
– telling the child he/she is exaggerating about how bad something is. Again, this invalidates the child’s perception of how something is adversely affecting him/her.
– a parent telling a child to stop feeling sorry for him/herself and think about good things instead. Again, this invalidates the child’s sadness and encourages him/her to suppress emotions.

Invalidation of a child’s emotions, and undermining the authenticity of their feelings, can lead the child to start demonstrating his/her emotions in a very extreme way in order to gain the recognition he/she previously failed to elicit.

 

3) Child trauma and child abuse – people with BPD have very frequently been abused. However, not all children who are abused develop BPD due to having a biological/genetic RESILIENCE and/or having good emotional support and validation in other areas of their lives (eg at school or through a counselor).

Trauma inflicted by a family member has been shown by research to have a greater adverse impact on the child than abuse by a stranger. Also, as would be expected, the longer the traumatic situation lasts, the more likely it is that the child will develop BPD in adult life.

 

4) Separation and loss – here, the trauma is caused, in large part, due to the child’s bonding process development being disrupted. Children who suffer this are much more likely to become anxious and develop ATTACHMENT DISORDERS as adults which can disrupt adult relationships and cause the sufferer to have an intense fear of abandoment in adult life. They may, too, become very ‘clingy’, fearful of relationships, or a distressing mixture of the two.

This site examines possible therapeutic interventions for BPD and ways the BPD sufferer can help himself or herself to reduce BPD symptoms. It also discusses many other topics related to the experience and effects of childhood trauma (see CATEGORIES in sidebar).

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Emotionally Neglected As A Child? : The Possible Repercussions.

Emotional neglect by parents of their children tends to operate ‘below the radar’ as it’s more a matter of what the parents don’t do than it is about what they do. In other words, it tends to be an act of omission as opposed to an act of commission. Because of this, it frequently remains undetected, and the child, not knowing anything different, may well not be aware that s/he is being mistreated.

Nevertheless, the adverse effects of emotional neglect upon the child can be very serious and when s/he becomes an adult s/he may find s/he has a number of psychological problems but remains oblivious as to their origins (ie the fact that they significantly stem from the emotional neglect s/he suffered as a child).

So what are the psychological symptoms of having been emotionally neglected as a child? According to a leading authority on this area of study, Dr Webb, they include the following:

– a deep sense of being a fundamentally flawed individual

– difficulty self-soothing (comforting self when distressed)

– a preference for solitude/own company

– feel like an outsider

– often feel unhappy without knowing why

– often feel irritable without knowing why

– find it easier to express affection towards animals than towards humans

– have a poor view of self

– feel inadequate and essentially inferior to others

– highly self-critical

– feel awkward in social situations

– regarded by others as being distant and aloof

– feel a strong need to be self-reliant/ find it difficult to ask others for help and support

– frequently feel angry and/or disappointed with self

– when with family and friends have feelings of not belonging

 

NB : Webb (see above) concedes that these observations come from her two decade experience working with those who have suffered emotional neglect as children, rather than from rigorously controlled scientific experimentation.

Resources:

Above ebook now available from Amazon for instant download. Click HERE for details.

 

Hypnotherapy MP3, also available for instant download, entitled : ‘Meet Your Human Needs’.

Click HERE for more information.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

 

 

Psychotic Delusions: The Main Types

 

We have seen from other articles that I have published on this site that those who have suffered severe childhood trauma are more likely to develop various psychiatric conditions in adult life than those who avoided such experiences (all else being equal).

Two of these conditions : A) DEPRESSION WITH PSYCHOTIC FEATURES (click here to read my article about the link between childhood trauma and depression) and B) SCHIZOPHRENIA (click here to read my article about the link between childhood trauma and SCHIZOPHRENIA) may involve the sufferer developing psychotic delusions.

In this article, I will first define the term ‘PSYCHOTIC DELUSION’ and, then, describe the main types of such delusions:

What Is Meant By The Term ‘PSYCHOTIC DELUSION?’

A PSYCHOTIC DELUSION results from a THOUGHT DISORDER that gives rise to BLATANTLY FALSE BELIEFS. Whilst the belief is clearly and obviously false, the person who holds it has an UNSHKEABLE BELIEF that the belief is true, even in the face of utterly overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Classification of delusions:

Delusions can be classified as follows:

They can be:

A) Bizarre or non-bizarre

and:

B) Mood-congruent or mood- incongruent

I define these classifications below:

BIZARRE – extremely strange and odd beliefs that are CLEARLY IMPOSSIBLE. For example, a belief that the birds’ singing is really Morse code and they are communicating with each other in such code in order to form a plot to take over the world.

NON- BIZARRE – the belief held is still clearly wrong but, theoretically, not totally impossible. For example, a belief that the government has placed listening devices in every room of one’s house.

MOOD – CONGRUENT – the delusion is in line with the mood the person manifests as a result of his/her condition. For example, a depressed individual who believes that aliens have removed the part of his/her brain the used to give rise to the experience of pleasure. Or, a person who is manic may believe s/he has supernatural powers

MOODINCONGRUENT – the delusion is not obviously in line with the individual’s prevailing mood  (eg. a newsreader on the TV is talking about him/her. These are sometimes referred to as ‘mood-neutral’ delusions

Within these classification groups, delusions can also be of a specific type. I list these types below:

   – Delusions of jealousy : an all-consuming obsession that one’s partner is being unfaithful when there is no evidence this is the case and there is no objective reason for suspicion.

   – Delusions of nihilism : the belief that oneself, other people or the world do not really exist

   – Delusions of grandeur ,: a belief one is a person of massive importance such as Jesus, Emperor of the World etc. Or the belief one has made a great achievement (that the world refuses to recognise) such as a belief one has written plays vastly superior to those of Shakespeare when, in reality, they are barely literate.

– Delusions of control : a belief that one is having one’s thoughts and behaviour controlled by an external force eg. by aliens

Delusions of reference : a clearly false belief that people are talking about one or making reference to one when they are not eg. a belief that the newsreader on the radio is always referring to one in a or a coded or indirect manner

Delusions of guilt : a false belief one is responsible for some terrible event (such as a belief one is personally responsible for all the starving people in the world

Erotomania : the belief a famous person or person of high status (normally a person the sufferer of the delusion has never met) is deeply and passionately in love with one ( click here to read my article on this)

Delusions of mind-reading : the belief that others are reading one’s mind

Delusions of persecution : the belief that others are conspiring against one ( eg trying to poison or drug one)

Religious delusions: Delusions with a religious theme eg that one is a human incarnation of God

Somatic delusions : these are delusions about one’s body ( eg that ants are crawling under one’s skin)

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE (FAHE).

 

 

Were You A Depressed Child? The Possible Causes.

I was a depressed child myself – always crying or having some kind of hysterical tantrum, and, on top of this, I was precociously pessimistic and cynical – which is one of the reasons I opted to study psychology at University in London; I wanted to understand the illness better. Indeed, my undergraduate dissertation comprised a study of the effects of childhood depression on academic performance (the results demonstrated a significant inverse correlation, supporting my hypothesis).

In my experience, many people who study psychology are motivated to do so by a wish to understand their own psychological problems, or those of someone to whom they are close, so I was by no means an exception.

Above: Withdrawal: one (dysfunctional) coping mechanism young people may use to deal with depression

How Is Depression Manifested In Children?

Different children display signs of suffering from depression in different ways. Some symptoms that they have are similar to those of adults, whereas others are more age-specific.

Symptoms may include:

– needing too much sleep

– disrupted sleep (including insomnia and nightmares)

– a negative view of self, others and the world in general (this is sometimes referred to as a negative cognitive triad)

– poor concentration which can, in turn, lead to academic underachievement.  (Certainly, in my own case, I was frequently preoccupied with problems relating to my home- life when I was at school; a couple of times I even had to leave lessons due to fits of weeping. I sometimes wonder if I could have achieved more had my home life been less dysfunctional).

– irritability/general hostility/outbursts of rage and aggression (eg destroying household objects – plates, vases etc – in fits of temper).

– low self-esteem

– impaired concentration

– clearly failing to meet academic potential/ decline in academic performance

– loss of interest in personal hygiene/appearance

– loss of ability to derive any pleasure from life (sometimes referred to as anhedonia, click here to read my article on this)

– poor motivation

– unwarranted self-blame

– a pervasive sense of hopelessness and helplessness

– social impairment (often linked to loss of confidence or perceived sense of personal inadequacy)

– self-harm (requires professional intervention even in apparent absence of other symptoms)

– suicidal thoughts (requires professional intervention even in apparent absence of other symptoms)

– withdrawal (including from family and socially in general). After I was thirteen and had moved in with my father and step-mother I hardly ever spoke to them at all, nor did they give the impression of having an overwhelming desire to speak to me(!) When we did interact it was almost invariably confrontational. My father would leave for work early, leaving myself, my step-mother and step-brother. My step-mother and step-brother (her biological son) would have breakfast together and I would breakfast alone. This was an arrangement which seemed to suit both parties equally well; certainly no one ever suggested altering it

– delusions ( in very severe cases ) – requires professional intervention

But Aren’t All Teenagers Moody?

Many are, but clinical depression goes significantly beyond what some may describe as ‘normal teenage moodiness’. The more of the above symptoms a young person has, and the greater their intensity, the more likely it is that s/he is suffering from clinical depression.

The Statistics:

Approximately:

1 in a hundred pre-adolescents are suffering from clinical depression at any given time

3 in a hundred adolescents are suffering from depression at any given time

NB:

95% of clinically depressed young people have at least one of the following difficulties to cope with :

– divorced or separated parents

– witness domestic violence at home

– live in a dysfunctional family in which there is significant disharmony

– have suffered a form of abuse (sexual/physical/emotional)

– have a mentally ill parent (eg one who is clinically depressed)

– live in poverty

– are in local authority care

– are in a young offenders’ institution

– are significantly bullied at school

Other Factors Linked To The Development Of Depression In Young People:

– FAMILY DYNAMICS: research suggests that young people with demanding and critical parents are at greater risk of developing depression as are young people whose parents minimise their child’s successes and achievements whilst over-focusing on their perceived failures.

– FEELINGS OF HELPLESSNESS: because of the nature of childhood, young people often feel utterly trapped in their situation and powerless to do anything about it (click here to read my article that examines the link between feelings of helplessness and depression).

– GENES: Research suggests that young people may inherit a genetic predisposition to developing depressive illness but that this is not enough on its own to cause the illness – it seems environmental stressors must also be experienced for the predisposition to become actualised. However, the relationship between genetic inheritance and the development of depression is a highly complex one and requires further research.

Treatment:

Young people are often reluctant to talk about their mental state as they often feel (needlessly) embarrassed and ashamed about it. Certainly that was true in my own case. Young people tend not to like having such potentially stigmitizing attention drawn to them or being seen as ‘different’ from their peers. It follows, of course, that few are willing to put themselves forward for treatment. Because of this, depression can remain largely hidden in young people.

 

Above: Young people may not wish to discuss their inner feelings or may be embarrassed/ashamed about doing so.

The problem is made worse by the fact that parents, teachers and doctors are sometimes liable to underestimate a young person’s level of distress and inner emotional turmoil. Being repeatedly told to ‘cheer up’ or ‘count your blessings’ is not, sadly, going to cut it.

Due to the above, it is estimated that only approximately one in four young people who would be likely to benefit from treatment for their condition actually receive it.

It is vital that the treatment of depression in young people includes tackling its underlying environmental causes (such as a dysfunctional home life). Treatment options iinclude:

– cognitive-behavioural therapy

– guided self-help

– family therapy

– interpersonal therapy

– educational psychologists

– psychiatrists

– social workers

– family therapists

Above ebook now available on Amazon for instant download. Click here for details.

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

 

 

 

 

Insecure As Child? Were You Suffering From Separation Anxiety?

When I was twelve years old I went on a French exchange with my school. This involved me staying with a French family for a fortnight. Although they were all perfectly nice people (from what I could make out from my extremely limited ability to communicate with them) I became extremely homesick (even though my home life was very unhappy, but such is the paradoxical nature of the condition) and cried everyday, insisting I telephoned my mother. The parents of my French exchange partner were very tolerant,and, despite the cost, permitted me to do this uncomplainingly.

Then, when I was seventeen (I was now living with my father and step-mother), I was due to go on an American exchange trip ( this time for a whole month) but developed a mysterious fever a couple of days before I was due to go which was serious enough for my doctor to instruct me that I would be unable to travel.

Developing physical illness as a child in response to anticipated or actual separation from home is a classic symptom of a childhood psychiatric condition known as separation anxiety.

Before I talk about this condition more generally, here is one last example of how I manifested this form of anxiety as a very young child (long before the two examples given above occurred). Apparently, if I was out walking (or, in my case, toddling) with my mother and it was windy, I would become very frightened, hysterically so, in fact, that I would be physically blown away and would hold onto my mother’s (frigid) hand as if my very life depended upon it. This represents another classic example of separation anxiety.

Above: How I might have looked being carried off by the wind as a toddler and my mother’s likely obliviousness to the fact.

I have other examples, but these three will, I think, suffice for now.

How Common Is Separation Anxiety?

Separation anxiety is the most prevalent type of childhood anxiety condition (other types include obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobia, social anxiety and generalised anxiety disorder).

Approximately 1 in 20 children will suffer from it at any given time and females are more likely to be affected by it than males, all else being equal. The disorder is most likely to manifest itself when the child is between about 7 and 9 years of age but can also develop in children as young as 2 years old as well as in adolescents as old as seventeen years (myself being a case in point).

What Causes Separation Anxiety?

The condition can occur in response to traumatic, early childhood experiences such as the mother not being reliably available (physically, emotionally or both) during the child’s babyhood. Also, it can manifest itself after a major traumatic family event such as parental divorce or life-threatening illness of a parent. Also, if a child is emotionally insecure and feels deprived of love, attention and protection, the condition is also much more likely to develop. Finally, it is likely that certain genetic and biological factors can make a child more susceptible to the adverse effects of early stressors like those described and, therefore, such a child is at increased risk.

How Is Separation Anxiety Diagnosed?

As the name of the condition suggests, a child who suffers from it displays severe anxiety if s/he has to separate from his/ her primary care-giver for a period of time (or anticipates having to do so). For a formal diagnosis (and that can only be made by a properly qualified and experienced professional) the level of anxiety the disorder gives rise to in the child must cause him/her significant distress. A further stipulation for a formal diagnosis is that symptoms of the condition must have been present for a minimum time period of 4 weeks.

What Specific Symptoms Can Separation Anxiety Produce?

A child who is suffering from separation anxiety may:

– exhibit extreme homesickness when away from home

– refuse to be left alone in a room

– refuse to sleep in a room alone

– suffer nightmares that centre around themes of abandonment, rejection and separation from caregivers

– exhibit extreme distress when separated from primary caregivers or when anticipating such separation

– refuse to go to school

– continually follow the primary caregiver around the house

– exhibit fear of primary caregivers dying or becoming seriously ill even when they are perfectly healthy

– display a constant need to know where parents are

– become extremely distressed if primary caregivers are late arriving home

– develop somatic (ie physical) conditions (such as headache, nausea, stomach upset etc) when separated from primary caregivers or anticipates separation

Possible Treatments:

Separation anxiety can only be diagnosed and treated by appropriately qualified and experienced professionals. Available treatments include cognitive behavioural therapy and certain medications. In the UK, the first port of call is likely to be a GP or school psychologist/ counsellor.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

 

Ten Methods For Reducing Anxiety

As  I explain elsewhere on this site, those of us who have experienced significant childhood trauma are more likely to suffer from anxiety as adults than those who were spared such adverse experience (all else being equal). Severe anxiety is devastating and utterly debilitating. Indeed, in my own case I was almost unable to function at all, even in the most basic areas of life such as washing, shaving, having a conversation (I became almost monosyllabic) and shopping for food (I would frequently rely on having takeaways delivered to my flat) as well as feeling constantly, unremittingly suicidal.

When in such a state, it can feel almost impossible to help oneself and professional help, medication and possibly hospitalisation may be required (as it was in my own case). However, when anxiety is not totally paralysing or when we have recovered from an anxiety condition and wish to prevent relapse there are certain things we can do to help ourselves. I outline ten of these below:

1) Modelling : this involves thinking of someone we know personally or someone in the public eye whom we admire in relation to their ability to cope with stress and overcome adversity. We can then use this person as a role model; for example, when we find ourselves in an anxiety provoking situation we may ask ourselves how the person we have selected as our model would respond and then try to emulate such a response.

2) Altruism : eg volunteering/ charity work – perhaps a contradiction in terms, but benefits of altruism (there is not room in this article to go into whether ‘pure’ altruism can actually exist) can include distracting ourselves from our own concerns, getting our own difficulties into a better perspective and generally raising our own opinion about ourselves.

3) Take time to enjoy leisure activities (and stop feeling guilty about it) : one unhealthy attitude that high anxiety can lead to is perfectionism which can manifest itself in various ways, a common example being ‘workoholism’. We can fall into the trap of trying, obsessively, to reach the pinnacle of success in all that we undertake (or as much success as our talents will permit). However, paradoxically, we are likely, overall, to be more productive and efficient if we allow ourselves guilt-free time to simply enjoy ourselves. The alternative may be utter exhaustion, burnout and psychological breakdown and/or stress induced physical illness.

4) Look after our physical health – including ensuring that we get enough sleep ( having to work when tired can feel tortuous and is highly stressful).

5) Pursue that which is meaningful to us : sometimes we can become so caught up in what society or other people expect from us and with the daily struggle merely to keep our heads above water that we fail to stand back and examine whether we are finding our lives fulfilling and meaningful. Instead, we live in a kind of fog, preoccupied merely with existing and surviving, that prevents us from seeing life’s potential.

It can be life changing and, indeed, life-affirming, to consider if we would benefit from altering our direction in life in such a way that it becomes more aligned with our values. This could involve, for example, retraining to enable us to undertake a career that we find truly rewarding – a vocation as opposed to a job. We then need to make such a change feasible (see item number 6 beneath the chart).

Above- how the typical person spends time worrying.

6) Taking small steps: once we have decided what we would like to do in order to make our lives more meaningful, we can then set up a plan that will facilitate this. Often, so that we do not feel overwhelmed, it can be best to break the ultimate goal down into a series of more modest subgoals. It is then useful to set ourselves a timetable of by when we would like each small step to be completed. Each step needs to be realistic and achievable and we need to plan in advance how each small step can be achieved. The timescale we give ourselves to achieve our ultimate goal is up to us – for instance, we may have a one year plan, five year plan or even ten year plan.

7) Practice mindfulness : there is now very strong scientific evidence that learning mindfulness is an extremely effective way to reduce anxiety

8) Restart an old hobby : if we become very unwell with anxiety and depression it can stop us doing things that we used to enjoy (indeed, we can develop a condition that prevents us from enjoying anything called anhedonia – click here to read my article about this). However, doing nothing and just sitting at home (or lying in bed) negatively ruminating perpetuates the problem. Whilst it can seem almost impossible, taking up hobbies we used to enjoy before we became ill can help to kick-start some significant, positive change (the potential  to enjoy these activities is still there, however we may feel).

9) Take up a new hobby : the rationale here is the same as above

10) Connect with nature : a walk in the woods or other natural environments can be surprisingly therapeutic – the effect can be very soothing. A camping trip could be especially beneficial.

 

Above ebook now available from Amazon – click HERE for details.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Manipulative Parents: Techniques They May Use To Gain Power.

In this article, I want to look at five examples of psychological techniques a manipulative parent might make use of in order to gain power and control over his/ her offspring (there are many more than five of these techniques, but I will cover those in later articles).

Five Manipulative Techniques That Manipulative Parents May Use:

1) Preventing the victim from expressing negative emotions:

With this technique, the parent maintains that it is not what they themselves have done that is the problem – according to them, the ‘real’ problem is the offspring’s reaction to what they have done.

For example, according to the manipulative parent, if the offspring is distressed and upset by what the parent has done then this is due to the ‘fact’ that the offspring is oversensitive.

Or, if the offspring is angry about how s/he has been treated by the parent, the parent may say that the offspring’s anger is caused by him/her being so unforgiving.

A final example: if the offspring feels a desperate need to express how hurt s/he is by the parent’s behaviour, and so keeps bringing the subject up in an attempt to understand and process what has happened, the parent may high-handedly dismiss the victim as ‘sounding like a broken record’.

In such cases, then, it can be seen that the manipulative parent can be skilfully adept at redirecting blame onto the victim and invalidating his/ her claims.

In this way, the offspring is forced to suppress powerful emotions at the expense of his/ her mental health – such suppression actually has the effect of intensifying the emotions, and, therefore, it is only a matter of time before they burst out again, their vigour redoubled. This process will frequently lead to the development of a vicious cycle.

2) Blaming the victim :

For example, a father who hits his son may claim that it was the son’s behaviour that ‘drove him to it’

Or a drunk parent may blame his/ her habitual drinking on the stress of bringing up the offspring.

In my own case, my mother threw me out of the home when I was thirteen. Due to my ‘behaviour’, apparently. And, whenever I cried (pretty much a daily occurrence around this age, admittedly), her favourite cutting, demeaning and belittling response (and the contemptuous tone in which it was delivered is still ringing in my ears, decades later) was that I should ‘turn off the waterworks.’

3) Inappropriate personal disclosure:

Prior to my forced eviction when I had only just become a teenager, my mother had essentially used me as her personal counsellor; indeed, she used to refer to me as her ‘Little Psychiatrist’. During these, for want of a better term, ‘counselling sessions’ she would very frequently discuss with me the problems she was invariably experiencing with the latest man she was seeing (particularly one who was highly unstable and frequently in and out of jail and lived with us for two years, but that’s another story).

She would also discuss her sex-life. She once told me, for example, that, despite the fact that she had been married to my father for about fifteen years (before they divorced when I was eight), she had only ever had sex with him twice. As she has two children (I have an older brother) this was highly unlikely (and subsequently transpired to be a falsehood). Manipulators often disclose such inappropriately intimate details to encourage the other person to feel close to them, which, in turn, makes the victim easier to take advantage of and exploit.

4) Empty words (talk is cheap):

Examples of this include:

I’d make any sacrifice for you.’

or

Your happiness is my number one priority.’

or

I think about you all the time.’

However, the manipulator’s actions fail to substantiate these claims time and time again. Indeed, the contrast between his/her words and actions is depressingly stark. Empty words, of course, cost the manipulative parent nothing but s/he knows that by using them s/he can gain great power and control over the offspring, even making the victim feel ungrateful and indebted to him/her. It can also cause mental illness in the victim by invalidating his/her own perceptions and making him/ her question his/her very sense of reality. Indeed, it places the victim in a double bind (click here to read my article about this).

5) Minimising :

For example, I was always told I was overstating the negative effect my childhood had on my psychological well-being (I have since discovered, however, that I was dramatically understating it).

Minimisation, then, involves the manipulative parent telling the offspring that they are essentially ‘making mountains out of molehills’, even ( or, indeed, especially), when the accusation is grotesquely inaccurate.

Resources:

Downloadable hypnosis MP3 :  Dealing with shame. Click here.

EBook:

 

 

For details of above ebook, available to download from Amazon : Click here.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).

Twelve Signs We Are Recovering From The Effects Of Childhood Trauma

Hypnosis_and_visualization

 

These 12 signs that we are recovering from our traumatic experiences are as follows:

 

1) More able to live in the present:

We finally come to the full realisation that the past is truly over and that the trauma we experienced need no longer be central to our identity nor define us as a person

2) Greater inclination to contemplate the future:

This is due to the fact we are no longer trapped in our past nor obsessed with ceaselessly analysing it

3) Become less avoidant:

Before, we may have felt it necessary to avoid situations and people which reminded us of our traumatic experiences. However, we no longer feel compelled to do this as we find such reminders less difficult for us to cope with

4) Able to participate more fully in life:

Our energy is no longer exhausted by merely just about managing to cope and survive ; we can begin to start actively pursuing positive activities

5) Our trauma-related thoughts, feelings and memories become easier to deal with :

We still experience such thoughts, feelings and memories but no longer with the intensity which we previously found so overwhelming

6) Become less reliant on dysfunctional coping mechanisms :

For example,we may find we have more control over drinking too much alcohol, drug use, over-eating etc

Above: Posttraumatic growth. See number 12 below.

7) More able to control our emotions :

For example, anger and fear (emotional volatility and dysregulation is often one of the hallmark symptoms resulting from the experience of childhood trauma).

8) Reduction in negative thoughts about ourselves:

Another extremely common symptom of having experienced significant childhood trauma is the development of the false belief that we are an intrinsically bad person (click here to read my article about this phenomenon).

Part of our recovery involves rediscovering our positive qualities which may have been lying dormant or may have been masked by feelings of anger, self-absorption, resentment and cynicism.

9) Reduction in feelings of helplessness :

It is also extremely common for survivors of childhood trauma to develop a condition known as learned helplessness (click here to read my article about this).

However, when we start to recover, this feeling of helplessness begins to disperse and we subsequently become more aware that we are in a position to choose to do things to help ourselves and to exert some control over our future. In short, we start to feel more empowered.

10) Feeling that we are starting to get back some self respect :

(Many who experience childhood trauma lose their self-respect – this may involve self-sabotaging behaviour, continuously putting oneself at risk, believing oneself to be unworthy of love or happiness, complete lack of interest in appearance etc).

11) A cessation in the forming of unhealthy relationships:

If we have suffered severe childhood trauma, many of us develop what is known as a repitition compulsion (click here to read my article on this) which involves us (unconsciously) seeking out relationships with others who are likely to treat us very badly. We may, too, put up with bad relationships as we have developed (again, quite possibly unconsciously), a kind of ‘ I don’t deserve any better’ mentality.

However, with the return of our self-respect, we can decide to no longer tolerate such destructive relationships.

12) No longer feel like a victim:

Instead, we can start to concentrate upon posttraumatic growth. This may entail, for example, using our former deep suffering to initiate positive change eg becoming a stronger and more resilient person, gaining a better perspective on life, developing a better ability to empathise with the suffering of others, and to help them.

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE).