Category Archives: Bpd Articles

Emotionally Unstable Parents

The intense and constantly and dramatically fluctuating moods of the emotionally unstable parent permeate and dominate the household and can overwhelm the child, particularly when the intense emotions the parent is expressing are especially destructive ones such as hatred or suicidal despair.

Because the parent’s intense, destructive emotions are so unpredictable and can emerge ‘out of the blue’ the child can be made to feel constant trepidation, anxiety or fear, never knowing what to expect.

By definition, the emotionally unstable parent has great difficulty controlling his/her emotions; lack of control over one’s emotions is sometimes referred to as emotional dysregulation

This emotional dysregulation is likely to be most apparent when the individual is under stress (including minor stress that the majority of people would easily be capable of tolerating with relative equanimity).

Emotionally unstable patents often regard themselves as victims. Also, some may frequently use threats in order to manipulate others (without much in the way of guilt due to their lack of empathy).

Some may be suffering from personality disorders such as narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder or borderline personality disorder.

Children who grow up with such parents tend to become psychologically insecure due, in large part, to the the inconsistency and unreliability of the parent’s emotional support.

Such parents often exploit their children, viewing them more as possessions to be exploited for their benefit rather than as individuals with their own specific set of unique emotional and psychological needs.

And, because of this, the child-parent relationship may become inverted; this is sometimes referred to as the parentification of the child – s/he becomes, in many respects, the parent’s parent (e.g. perpetually providing the parent with emotional support; indeed, this happened to me, starting before I became a teenager – in fact, my mother used to refer to me as her ‘little psychiatrist’.

Because the child is often forced to live to fulfil his parent’s needs rather than his/her own, this can lead him/her to develop identity problems as an adult.

Often, the emotionally unstable parent is able to mask their problem outside the home meaning that nobody appreciates the great stress under which the child is forced to live. This makes intervention on the child’s behalf far less likely.

If a child is forced to live under severe and protracted stress, the physical development of his/her brain may be affected; you can read one of my articles on this by clicking here.

For details of eBooks, click below:

.    emotional abuse

 

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Abandonment Issues

childhood_trauma

If we were rejected as a child by parents/primary caregivers we are at high risk of growing up into adults with serious abandonment issues. This means we will be hypersensitive to rejection by others, deeply afraid of such rejection and profoundly hurt and distressed when we experience it.

Because we may be preoccupied with, or even obsessed by, the fear of rejection and abandonment we are likely to be constantly on ‘red alert’, looking for the smallest signs that someone may reject us.

Frequently, too, because of our constant anticipation that we are going to be rejected, we may believe we perceive signs of rejection where, in reality, they do not exist.

Rejection by others is so painful to us as it reminds us (consciously or unconsciously) of the intensely traumatic abandonment we experienced in childhood; therefore, when we are subsequently rejected in adulthood, we are, in effect, retraumatized.

Being intensely fearful of rejection can have numerous adverse effects on us. For example:

– we may become extremely ‘clingy’

– we may need constant reassurance from others that they are not going to leave us

– we may socially withdraw so that we don’t get close to others in order to avoid the risk of rejection

– we may be unconsciously motivated to reject others before they get the opportunity to reject us

Fear of abandonment

– we may feel constantly insecure

– in extreme cases we may threaten/attempt suicide in response to signs of rejection from others

Internalization:

Due to rejection in childhood, many with abandonment issues have inferred from this (erroneously) that they must be ‘bad’ people and have then gone on to deeply internalize this mistaken view of themselves. This means such individuals tend to have both extremely low self-esteem and confidence.

Also, wrongly believing themselves to be ‘bad’, they may feel constantly guilty, expect others to somehow ‘sense’ their ‘badness’ and, therefore, perpetually feel their ‘badness’ will be exposed and that they will, as a result, become social pariahs

Some may become excessively reliant on drink and/or drugs in an attempt to alleviate the emotional pain they feel.

Emotional Abandonment:

Finally, it should be noted that being abandoned as a child need not involve actual physical abandonment; it can, instead, involve emotional/psychological abandonment – this may come about by growing up with a parent who is cold and distant or who ignores his/her child.

Therapies:

Two therapies which may help with abandonment issues are dialectical behavior therapy and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization And Reprocessing).

Resource:

Ten Steps To Overcome Insecurity In Relationships. Click Image Below:

Causes of insecuriy

 

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

 

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Does BPD Run In Families?

childhood_trauma

 

The short answer is yes.

If a first degree relative (such as our mother or father) has BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder), our chances of developing the disorder are about 1,000% greater than the average person’s (i.e. ten times greater).

Does This Mean The Disorder Is Genetic?

This fact in itself does not prove a genetic component to the disorder. For example, if our mother has BPD and we develop it ourselves during our adult life, it may be because having a mother with BPD has led us to have a very unstable childhood and it is this unstable childhood that has led us to develop BPD, not the genes we have inherited from our mother.

HOWEVER:

Although more research needs to be conducted in this area, currently researchers believe that our genes may play approximately a 50% role in the causation of BPD (this comes from studies comparing the incidence of BPD amongst identical twins with the incidence of BPD amongst non-identical twins; such ‘twin studies’ are intended to tease out environmental factors from genetic factors).

How Might Genes Increase A Person’s Risk Of Developing BPD?

Essentially, it is thought that the inheritance of certain genes have an adverse effect on the chemistry, structure and function of the brain and it is these adverse effects which heighten a person’s risk of developing BPD.

Let’s briefly look at each of these adverse effects in turn:

Adverse Effects On Brain Chemistry:

A current leading theory is that the way in which the brain uses the neurotransmitter serotonin is disrupted which may make a person more aggressive, more impulsive and more emotionally labile (i.e. much less able than the average person to control his/her emotional responses – this is also sometimes referred to as emotional dysregulation; in colloquial language, some, through lack of understanding of this very serious condition, may refer to such people as drama queens).

Adverse Effects On Brain Function:

A part of the brain called the executive system (which controls rational decision-making) is also thought to be disrupted in people with BPD.

Adverse Effects On Brain Structure:

Those with BPD are also thought, according to current research, to have damage to the area of the brain known as the amygdala (the amygdala is involved in emotional regulation) leading the individual to being highly prone to extremely intense emotional reactions, even over things that others may consider trivial or of no importance – essentially, their internal ’emotional reaction dial’ is set far too high.

To exacerbate the problem of dramatically high emotional reactivity yet further, the part of the brain that inhibits and controls emotional reactions (the frontal cortex) is also thought to be malfunctioning in BPD sufferers.

Conclusion:

Because BPD is believed to be intimately associated with organic brain dysfunctions, this may explain why BPD sufferers often do not seem able to learn from experience.

However, it should be stressed again that research into this area is in an early stage and it is still not clear if the brain abnormalities described above are the result of BPD or the cause of it.

Notwithstanding the above, a large number of BPD sufferers DO recover. Currently, one of the most effective treatments is Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

Recommended Book:

 

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

 

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Self-Defeating Personality? Its Link To Childhood Trauma.

self-defeating personality

Why Do Some Seem To Have A Self-Defeating Personality?

I have written elsewhere on this site about how my illness caused me to behave in ways that were self-sabotaging in the extreme.

Some psychoanalysts refer to people who are, to put it informally, their own worst enemy, as having a self-defeating personality disorder; below, I briefly explain how this disorder, according to psychodynamic theory, can be strongly connected to traumatic childhood experiences.

Stop_being_own_worst_enemy

Self-Defeating Behaviour And Its Relationship To Childhood Trauma:

Self-defeating and self-sabotaging behaviour in adulthood, with its roots in adverse childhood experiences, often lies at the heart of addictions (such as drugs and alcohol), compulsions (such as gambling) obsessions (e.g. in connection to romantic relationships), depression, low confidence, pride and poor self-esteem.

However, most people are unaware that the source of their problematic behaviours lies in their difficult early life.

This lack of awareness of what really lies behind our self-destructive inclinations is due to the fact (according to psychodynamic theory) that we repress (banish to the unconscious) the true cause (our painful childhood) as to be conscious of it would be too distressing. This is known as a psychological defense mechanism.

Psychodynamic theory also postulates that it is necessary to break through our psychological defense to bring into consciousness understanding and insight into these clandestine, dark and dysfunctional motivational forces.

Only then can we turn our behaviour around so that it helps, rather than hinders (putting it very mildly in many cases, including my own) us.

Essentially, then, to cure ourselves we need to resolve our, thus far, unresolved childhood emotional conflicts; these may include, for example:

– having been rejected or abandoned by our parents

– having been unloved by our parents

– having been emotionally deprived by our parents

– having been excessively controlled and manipulated by our parents

If we do not resolve these issues (again, according to psychodynamic theory) we will continue to be unconsciously driven to put ourselves in situations that cause us to re-experience the highly distressing emotions originally generated by our traumatic childhood experiences.

BUT WHY ON EARTH WOULD WE BE UNCONSCIOUSLY DRIVEN TO RE-EXPERIENCE THESE DISTRESSING EMOTIONS TIME AND TIME AGAIN?

Well, according to Sigmund Freud, the answer is that this repetition compulsion (as he phrased it) represents our inwardly driven frantic and desperate attempts to gain mastery over the original trauma and its associated negative emotions, something we (inevitably, because we were powerless) failed to do in childhood.


Example:

A woman rejected in childhood by her parents may be unconsciously driven to try to form relationships with utterly unsuitable men who are bound to reject her.


Yes, incredible as it may sound, according to psychodynamic theory, her unconscious mind compels  her to form relationships that are doomed to failure (some go as far as to say all our behaviours are, in the final analysis, unconsciously driven and our sense of control over our own fates is a foolish fantasy; but we are submerging ourselves in murky and hazardous philosophical waters here).

Finally, it is also theorised that we will also interprete events negatively, when it is not objectively justified, in an attempt to recreate our adverse childhood experiences and the negative emotions which pertained to them at the time.

So, following on from the example above, if we were rejected by our parents as children, we may constantly believe others are rejecting us when this is, in fact, NOT the case.

Resource:

Stop_self_sabotage STOP SELF SABOTAGE

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

BPD – A Masked Illness : And Why It’s Hard To Identify

Bpd_and_childhood_trauma

We have seen from other posts how childhood trauma, especially multiple and cumulative trauma, is strongly associated with the development of borderline personality disorder (BPD) in adult life.

However, many BPD sufferers are at risk of going undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

The reason for this is that BPD can generate a number of symptoms associated with other conditions that mask the underlying illness (BPD).

Sadly, because of this, BPD can go undiagnosed for years, decades or a whole lifetime. This means many go without the proper treatment they require.

When one considers that approximately ten per cent of those diagnosed with BPD end their lives by suicide, the full, tragic implications of this failure of accurate diagnosis can be appreciated.

What Symptoms Of BPD Can Mask It, Thus Making It Less Likely To Be Accurately Diagnosed?

They include :

– excessive use of alcohol, leading to a diagnosis of alcoholism

self-harm / suicidal thoughts, leading to a diagnosis of depression

instability of mood, leading to diagnosis of cyclothymic or bipolar disorder

aggression/violence, leading to diagnosis of sociopathy (sometimes still referred to as psychopathy)

eating problems, leading to diagnosis of anorexia nervosa or bulimia

Whilst this list is not exhaustive, it represents some of the ways in which BPD can seemingly, upon preliminary invetigations, present itself as other psychological conditions, leading to misdiagnosis or incomplete/partial diagnosis.

bpd

Because, too, many with BPD are able to work successfully, and/or socially integrate successfully, much of the time without displaying blatant signs of psychological pathology, identifying BPD in individuals becomes trickier still.

However, such individuals are still likely to display tell-tale signs of the disorder due to sudden, dramatic and unpredictable shifts in mood (such as explosions of rage) which may, by the layman (or even the professional) be put down to ‘a difficult temperament’.

In order to correctly diagnose BPD it is necessary to look at the whole tapestry of the interplay of the individual’s behaviours and emotions in the context of their lives as a whole, with a particular focus on their relationship history (tends to be tumultuous), mood stability/instability, drug/alcohol use, sexual history (tends to be promiscuous and high risk), internal/mental life (often marked by feelings of chronic emptiness and lack of identity), emotional reactiveness/lability, and, vitally, of course, experience of childhood trauma.

In short, accurate diagnosis calls for a holistic approach; only then will all BPD sufferers get the treatment they both desperately need and deserve.

Resources:

 

BPD

Above eBook now available on Amazon for instant download. Click here.

 

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

BPD : How It Affects Men And Women Differently

Bpd_and_childhood_trauma

We have seen that those who have experienced significant childhood trauma are more likely than the average person to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) in their adult lives.

It is now known that borderline personality disorder (BPD) affects men and women in equal numbers. However, the way this serious condition (one out of ten BPD sufferers, tragically, end their lives by suicide) affects individuals’ emotions and behaviour tends to differ depending upon whether the sufferer is male or female.

I outline these differences below:

1) Men are less likely than women to seek psychotherapy for their condition, often because they see seeking help as a sign of weakness and, therefore, a source of shame

2) However, if men do seek treatment, because BPD is stereotypically associated with females and therapists may be poorly trained in recognizing BPD in men, they are frequently misdiagnosed. Such misdiagnoses include :

– addiction to alcohol or drugs (when, in fact, this should not be the primary diagnosis as it is a symptom of the underlying BPD)

– bipolar disorder

– antisocial personality disorder

– narcissistic personality disorder

3) Men do not obtain medication for the treatment of their condition as much as women do (due to receiving a wrongful diagnosis or because they do their best to conceal their illness from the medical profession and from society in general).

4) Men who have BPD are more likely to:

– act impulsively

– thrill/sensation-seek

– take high risks

– seek out novel and exciting experiences

Bpd_in_males

5) Men are more likely, also, to suffer from intermittent explosive disorder (I.E.D) running alongside BPD than are their female counterparts

6) Men are five times more likely than women to take their own lives.

However, it is also true that women are more likely to attempt suicide than men are – it’s just that a much higher proportion of their suicide attempts do not ‘succeed’ (this is, in part, due to the fact men tend to use more lethal methods to try to kill themselves than women).

It may also be that women’s suicide attempts may, sometimes, be more half-hearted, or more of  ‘a cry for help’, although this, of course, is by absolutely no means always the case.

7) Women are more likely than men to also suffer from eating disorders, mood disorders and anxiety disorders if they have a primary diagnosis of BPD

 

NB :  Anyone who thinks they may have BPD should consult an appropriately qualified and experienced professional for advice. Therapies can include, CBT,  DBT  and/or medication.

Resources/Links:

Famous People With BPDclick here.

 

More information :

To find out more about BPD, its effects and available treatments, click here.

ebook:

BPD

Above eBook available for immediate download from Amazon. Click here for more details.

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

 

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Brain Areas That May Be Adversely Affected By Childhood Trauma

BPD_and_brain_areas

We have already seen in other posts that I have published on this site that, if we have been unfortunate enough to have been subjected to severe and chronic childhood trauma, it is possible that this adversely affected how our brain physically developed during our early life.

And, if we have been particularly unlucky, this disrupted brain development could have made us highly susceptible to developing borderline personality disorder (BPD) in our adult lives.

 

Indeed, research involving brain scans suggest that sufferers of BPD can have abnormalities in the following brain areas :

– prefrontal cortex

– anterior cingulate

– medial frontal cortex

– subgenual cingulate

– ventral striatum

– ventromedial prefrontal cortex

– amygdala

 

Below : Brain Areas Which May Have Had Their Physical Development Adversely Affected By Our Traumatic Childhood Experiences, Particularly If We Have Developed Borderline Personality Disorder ( BPD) :

BPD brain

 

What Are These Brain Areas Associated With?

The function of these brain areas are described below:

PREFRONTAL CORTEX:

– decision making

– conscious control of social behaviour

– speech / writing

– logic

– purposeful (as opposed to instinctual) behaviour

– planning for the future

– expression of the personality

ANTERIOR CINGULATE :

– decision making

– heart rate

– blood pressure

– impulse control

– emotions

MEDIAL PREFRONTAL CORTEX:

– decision making

– memory

SUBGENUAL CINGULATE :

– sleep

– appetite

– anxiety

– mood

– memory

– self esteem

– transporting serotonin

– our experience of depression

VENTRAL STRIATUM :

– decision making

– emotional regulation (the control of emotios)

– the extinction of conditioned responses

AMYGDALA :

– appetite

– emotion

– emotional content of memories

– fear

The Effects Of Disruption Of The Above Brain Areas :

Poor decision making ; poor control of social behaviour ; impaired ability to think rationally ; poor planning for the future ; dysfunctional personality ; increased physiological response to stress ; poor impulse control ; poor emotional control ; insomnia ; changes in appetite ; severe anxiety ; mood instability ; low self-esteem ; impairment of the brain’s ablity to make effective use of serotonin leading to clinical depression ; changes in appetite ; emotionally charged memories leading to flashbacks, nightmares, intrusive thoughts, panic attacks ; feelings of being under constant threat, fear, terror and extreme vulnerability.

Two types of therapy that may be useful are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT).

Resources :

General Information :

NHS information about borderline personality disorder (BPD). Click here.

EBook :

brain damage caused by childhood trauma

Above eBook now available for instant download from Amazon. Click here for more details.

Self-help :

For immediate help with many of above problems click here.

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

BPD And The Triune (3 Part) Brain

reptilian_brain

Our brains can be divided into three parts (hence the term, triune brain) as follows:

1) Reptilian Brain (also called the brain stem):

This part of our brain is the oldest in evolutionary terms, and, therefore, the most primitive. It reacts to events instinctively without conscious deliberation ; in particular, it gives rise to :

– our fight / flight / freeze / fawn responses

– our immediate biological sexual responses

Essentially, then, this part of our brain is responsible for our survival. If we feel seriously threatened, it over-rides the two other parts of our brain (see below).

Also, if we drink too much, the influence of the reptilian brain becomes more dominant, as alcohol can significantly reduce the activity of the two (mammalian and neomamallian) higher parts of the brain; when drunk, therefore, we are more likely to get into fights or indulge in promiscuous and/or unsafe sex.

2) The Mammalian Brain (also called the limbic system or midbrain)

This was the second part of our brain to evolve. It is involved in :

– the generation and experience of our emotions

– memory and other aspects of learning

3) The Neomammaliam Brain (also called the neocortex) :

This is the most recently evolved part of our brain and is involved with :

– decision making

– conscious control of social behaviour

– speech / writing

– logic

– purposeful (as opposed to instinctual) behaviour

– planning for the future

– expression of e Triune Brain :

triune_brain

Which Animals Do We Share These Three Parts Of Our Brain With?

1) Reptilian Brain :

reptilian_brain

We have this part of our brain in common with crocodiles and snakes

2) Mammalian Brain :

mammalian_brain

We have this part of our brain in common with cats and dogs

3) Neomammalian Brain :

neomammalian_brain

We have this part of our brain in common with chimpanzees and gorrilas.

What Has All This Got To Do With Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)?

If we have suffered significant childhood trauma, it is possible that the physical / biological development of our brains has been adversely affected. And, if we are unlucky, and, especially, if we have a genetic susceptibility, we may, as a result, go on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) as adults.

Indeed, a leading theory relating to BPD, is that the brain has developed in an atypical and detrimental manner in connection with our ability to regulate our emotions and control our behaviour.

As such, the neomammalian part of the brain (responsible for conscious control of behaviour, decision -making, planning and logic) may be underactive.

AND :

The more primitive parts of the brain (the reptilian brain and the mammalian brain) may be overactive and too easily to being triggered (e.g. even a very small threat may trigger great activity in the reptilian part of the brain which is responsible for the fight or flight response.

This combination of faulty brain areas can mean that individuals with BPD experience emotions, such as anger and fear, far more frequently, and far more intensely, than the average person; and, also, have a significantly impaired ability to exercise control of their behaviour, make sensible decisions, plan for the future and think rationally.

How Can BPD Sufferers Gain More Control Over Their Feelings And Behaviour?

In order to gain greater control of their lives, it follows from the above theory that it is necessary for BPD sufferers to make the neomammalian part of the brain more dominant and to quieten the more primitive brain areas.

Research shows that an effective way to do this is to practice mindfulness meditation – if possible, on a daily basis.

Resources:

brain damage caused by childhood trauma.

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

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Suicide : Who’s Particularly At Risk?

effects_of_childhood_trauma

We have already seen that those who have suffered severe and chronic childhood trauma are at an increased risk of ending their lives by suicide than the average. Indeed, an astonishing ten per cent of those suffering from borderline personality disorder, or BPD (a severe mental illness linked to childhood trauma) die by their own hand.

I myself made a suicide attempt, at the peak (or should that be trough?) of my illness which left me in a coma in intensive care for five days.

So, apart from those suffering from BPD, which other groups of individuals are at a heightened risk of commiting suicide?

At greatest risk, as one would imagine, are individuals who are mentally ill – nine out to ten people who die by suicide are suffering from a diagnosable mental illness.

Of the mentally ill, those suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are especially at risk (like those suffering from BPD, one in ten with either of these mental health conditions eventually commits suicide).

suicide_risk_factors

Hopelessness:

Of course, whilst about ten per cent of those suffering severe mental illnesses such as BPD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia end their lives by suicide, we need not be mathematical geniuses to deduce from this that 90℅ do not. So what tips people in these groups over the edge?

Research suggests that the main predictor of an individual with severe mental illness commiting suicide is if they also experience a profound sense of hopelessness. Like me, when I made the suicide attempt I referred to above, they feel that their intolerable mental pain will never end, that everyday will be a day of intense psychological suffering and turmoil, and that there is absolutely no way out whatsoever.

An aspect of the tragedy is, of course, that a person’s state of mind can make the individual believe 100℅ that things can never get better when, objectively, this is not the case. There are many who can vouch for this, happily, from their own former bitter experiences.

Rejection:

Feeling rejected by family, friends and society in general is another important predictor of suicide.

Impulsivity:

Whilst some suicide attempts are methodically planned (as my own was), others are made on impulse. It follows, of course, that those who have an impulsive type personality (impulsivity is often a feature of BPD) are also at higher risk.

Being Male:

About twice as many men die by suicide than women.

However, unsuccessful suicide attempts are approximately twice as likely to be made by females than by males.

The Paradox Of Getting ‘Better’:

Those suffering from severe depression, at their illest, may be so lacking in motivation, and so close to being in a catatonic state, that they wish to die but cannot muster the mental energy required to end their lives (they may, too, in such a state of illness, lack the requisite planning and decision making abilities necessary). Paradoxically, it is sometimes only when such depressive symptoms start to lift slightly that they find themselves able to make a suicide attempt.

 

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

 

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Why We May Severely Over-react To Minor Stressors.

Over react stress

We have seen from previous articles that I have posted on this site that, if we suffered chronic stress during our childhood, our ability to deal with stress as adults can be drastically diminished, making it difficult to cope with the daily stressors that others may easily be able to take in their stride.

We may, for example, become disproportionately enraged if we temporarily misplace our keys, inadvertently snap a shoe-lace, or are thwarted in our vehicular progress down the street by a succession of obstinately and infuriatingly red traffic lights.

The reason for such overreactions can lie in the fact that our chronically stressful childhoods have disrupted the process in the brain associated with the production of stress hormones.

In particular, levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol may have become chronically too high.

It follows that, when we experience a minor stressor, too much adrenaline and cortisol are released. Let’s look at the effect that these two stress hormones have upon the body:

1) The Effect Of Adrenaline On The Body:

– causes heart rate to increase

– causes blood pressure to go up

– causes breathing rate to become more rapid (sometimes leading hyperventilation, a distressing reaction associated with panic).

2) The Effect Of Cortisol On The Body:

– transports energy to muscles by diverting it from areas of the body where it is not immediately needed (such as the stomach).

So, the effects of adrenaline and cortisol combined are to prepare the body for ‘fight or flight’, as if we were being threatened by a ravenously hungry tiger (when, in fact, we are just stuck in traffic or have mislaid our keys etc). In such a case, energy builds up in the body which is not dissipated, causing great tension.

 

Why do people overreact?

Above: Over-reacting to minor stressors can be caused by chemical/hormonal inbalances resulting from a chronically stressful childhood.

In order to attempt to free ourselves from this unpleasant feeling of tension, we may try to partly dissipate it by shouting obscenities or pounding our fists against some wholly innocent inanimate object (this is sometimes referred to by psychologists as a displacement activity).

In other words:

We are responding to minor stressors as if they posed severe, even life-threatening, danger. Our brain is preparing us for fight or flight because it has grossly overestimated the risk the minor stressor poses to us. It is ‘fooled’ into making this error due to the disruption of the body’s system that produces adrenalin and cortisol caused by our chronically stressful childhood.

And, following the same logic, when we’re unfortunate enough to experience major stressful events in our adult lives, we may find ourselves going into nuclear meltdown, utterly overwhelmed and unable to cope.

eBook:

brain damage caused by childhood trauma.  depression and anxiety

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MP3/CD

Reduce everyday stress.      Reduce Everyday Stress. Click here for further information.

 

 

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

 

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery