Category Archives: David’s Personal Experiences

Traumatic Amnesia Resulting From Childhood Trauma

Traumatic Amnesia Resulting From Childhood Trauma

I can remember very little indeed about my childhood before the age of about eight, even major events that I am told happened to me.

For example, my school, when I was around this age, were concerned I was going deaf as I never answered my name when it was called in class.

Because of this, apparently I had my ears tested but my hearing was normal. In other words, my apparent ‘deafness’ was caused by psychological factors. Indeed, it was particularly pronounced when the subject of parents came up in class. The term psychologists use to describe the condition is dissociation.

However, I have no memory whatsoever of any of the above; that period of my life, as far as my conscious memory is concerned, may as well never have happened.

Traumatic Amnesia Resulting From Childhood Trauma

Research suggests (eg. Williams) that, for some their childhood trauma is so distressing that, in order to protect itself, the brain subjugates, or, represses, the memory of it, keeping it out of conscious awareness.

This is what’s known a defence mechanism. This mechanism works by not allowing distressing memories to encroach upon memory, due to the fact that, if these memories did penetrate consciousness, they would provoke intolerable psychological distress. This process of repressing painful memories operates automatically on an unconscious level as a means of self protection.

Not everyone who experiences significant childhood trauma will develop traumatic amnesia; whether or not a person develops it depends upon numerous factors which you may read about in another of my articles : Why Some Remember And Some Forget Their Traumatic Experiences.

In those who do develop traumatic amnesia, the condition may last for anything from hours to decades.

Traumatic amnesia does not necessarily mean that the individual who experiences it will forget everything connected to the traumatic experience/s; sometimes, the amnesia is only partial (ie. some of the traumatic experience is retained in memory, whilst elements of it are NOT remembered (in other words they are blocked off from conscious memory).

Further research (Henderson) suggests  that if a child’s traumatic experience is due to abuse by a person (normally a parent) who is, in actual fact, supposed to be caring for the child, and whom the child is dependent upon,  then that child is especially likely to develop traumatic amnesia (this is an unconscious means of retaining some sort of bond with parent, thus allowing the relationship with the parent to survive).

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

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Enduring Protracted And Unremitting Mental Agony

Enduring Protracted And Unremitting Mental Agony

For many years of my life, I was in a state of unremitting, intense mental pain; indeed, terms like mental agony and mental torture would be far from inappropriate ways of describing my psychological condition.

I was rendered almost demented mental turmoil, unable think with anything approaching clarity, make decisions, talk in much more than mono-syllables, or function in relation to even the most basic of everyday tasks (as I have written about elsewhere).

I constantly thought of suicide as a way to end my suffering. Paradoxically, this knowledge that I could end my pain allowed me to carry on (although one suicide attempt very nearly killed me, as I have also written about elsewhere).

Mental pain, then, caused me, and has caused countless others, profound and protracted suffering. Such pain is also sometimes referred to as emotional, psychological or psychic pain. As one would expect, such a state of mind involves the sufferer experiencing deeply negative beliefs, feelings, thoughts and behaviours (which are likely, frequently, to be highly self-destructive).

The psychologist, Schneider, attributed the cause of such excruciating pain in the mind to frustrated psychological needs.

Many social psychologists, more specifically, attribute this almost unendurable mental anguish to being rejected by society, humiliation, and hurt feelings on a profound level.

 Enduring Protracted And Unremitting Mental Agony

Mental Agony And Sufferers Of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):

We have seen in other articles that I have published on this site that those of us who suffered significant childhood trauma are at greatly increased risk of developing BPD than is the average person.

Research now indicates that those with this most serious of mental conditions (ie BPD) suffer more intense mental pain, on average, than those with any other psychiatric illness. This is borne out by the absolutely staggering statistic that 10% of BPD sufferers die by suicide suggesting that current care and treatment of such individuals is disgracefully inadequate. Indeed, much stigma still exists in association with a diagnosis of BPD, as the potentially fatal illness is generally very poorly understood.

The mental pain that sufferers of BPD experience is generally most intense in response to rejection and social isolation 

So utterly desperate can BPD sufferers become to escape their mental pain, with all its dementing effects, that they impulsively turn to behaviours that are self-destructive. These include:

– very excessive drinking

– self-harm (the self-inflicted physical pain floods the brain with endorphins which may temporarily alleviate psychologicaldistress).

– extreme overspending leading to massive and ruinous debt

– extreme gambling, leading to same effects as above

– violence/aggression (release of pent-up rage).

– sexual promiscuity/ sex addiction/ pornography addiction / sexual deviancy ( release of pent-up up tension, followed by self-loathing and self-disgust).

– hard drugs (in particular those with strong pain-killer effects such as morphine and heroin).

In fact, as may be partially inferred from the above list, research currently suggests that the mental suffering that BPD entails is even greater than was originally thought.

Possible Treatments:

This condition is so serious that expert help and advice is clearly essential.

Research suggests that some brain regions, such as the anterior cingulate cortex and the prefrontal cortex may be involved in the processing of both physical and mental pain. It follows from this that some treatments for physical pain, such a paracetomal, may, if taken over a long period, help to reduce mental  pain – however, more research into this is necessary.

Hypnosis, too, is used by some dentists in order to reduce the patient’s experience of pain so much that their dental work can be carried out without anaesthetic. Again, then, it follows hypnosis may be effective in also reducing mental pain.

Mindfulness, too, may help some individuals.

Resources:

Enduring Protracted And Unremitting Mental Agony Hypnosis For Pain Relief (click here).

eBook:

Enduring Protracted And Unremitting Mental Agony

 

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

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Night Terrors : Sleep Paralysis

Night Terrors :  Sleep Paralysis

Perhaps three of four dozen times in my life, a very unnerving thing has happened to me whilst in bed : I have awoken to find myself completely and utterly paralyzed. Mercifully, however, it never lasted for more than about a minute.

The first time it occurred, this transient quality, though, did not stop me worrying. Did I have a tumour pressing against my spine? Was it incipient Parkinson’s disease? Did I have some terrifying and irreversible brain disease? Would I be dead within a month?

Imagine my relief when I discovered from my doctor that this condition was, in fact, not all that uncommon and was, apart from the psychological distress it causes, completely harmless.

The condition is a type of parasomnia (sleep disorder) that sometimes occurs when we wake directly from REM sleep (rapid eye movement sleep – the stage of sleep in which we dream) and is called sleep  paralysis; it is also frequently accompanied by night terror (a feeling of intense anxiety, sometimes involving an irrational fear that one is under the control of some dark, malevolent, evil, omnipotent force).

During REM sleep the brain stem blocks bodily movement in order to prevent us from physically acting out our dreams. Also, during REM sleep, the brain produces images (the visual content of our dreams).

 

Night Terrors :  Sleep Paralysis

Above : During REM sleep we enter a state of atonia (paralysis). Sometimes, this persists for a short time on awakening abruptly from REM sleep, rendering us temporarily incapable of either movement or speech.

Sometimes, when we wake up abruptly from REM sleep, these processes are still operating (ie they have not switched themselves off). This results in us being awake and yet unable to move or, indeed, to speak. And, because the brain may still also be producing images, we may, as if being paralyzed and rendered temporarily mute were not enough to contend with, have also to endure frightening hallucinations, for good measure

Most unpleasant, you will agree.

A Simple Cure:

Fortunately, however, this distressing state is short lived – perhaps lasting a minute or less. Indeed, one can escape its grip by, if possible, initiating tiny bodily movements such as wiggling a toe, finger or, even, by just blinking.

Why Are Those Who Suffered Childhood Trauma At An Elevated Risk Of Experiencing Sleep Paralysis?

Because those of us who have experienced significant childhood trauma are more likely than the average person to suffer from sleep problems, it follows that we are, too, at an elevated risk of suffering from night terrors/sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis is also sometimes referred to as hynagogic or predormital sleep paralysis.

 

Resources:

Insomnia Beater Pack : Click here.

 

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

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

Jailed Parents: Effects On The Child

Jailed Parents: Effects On The Child

Whilst neither of my parents were ever imprisoned, when I was about ten or eleven years old, after my parents had got divorced, my mother’s mentally ill, alcoholic, live – in – lover was frequently in and out of jail (primarily Brixton and Pentonville in London, if memory serves).

Despite his criminal inclinations, he always treated me well – except, that is, for driving me about in his (stolen) cars whilst very drunk indeed ( him, not me). Why my mother allowed this to happen is unclear as she surely must have known, or, at the very least, have suspected, what was going on, would she not?

Because of the emotional bond I developed with this less than entirely responsible man (he seemed to like me a lot more than my parents or brother did), I found the unpredictability of his presence somewhat distressing. Sometimes, too, a police car would station itself outside our house, waiting for his return so they could arrest him, I presume; I never asked – but the presence of these police vehicles was,to a child, unsettling, disconcerting and vaguely menacing.

 

Because of such experiences, I was intrigued to find out what the current research had to say about the possible effects upon child of having an incarcerated parent or primary caregiver.

Jailed Parents: Effects On The Child

Whilst more research needs to be undertaken in connection with the question of the effects of parental imprisonment on the child (because, for example, some of the studies so far undertaken have been on a relatively low scale), evidence so far collected suggests the following effects may be experienced by children as a result of having a parent jailed:

Possible Effects On The Child Of Having A Parent Jailed:

– disruption in the development of the child-parent relationship

– poverty (due to loss of the parental income)

– social stigmatization

– reduced care

– reduced supervision

– development of mental health / behavioural problems, including anxiety, depression, regressive behaviour, aggression, running away, withdrawal, ‘clingy’ behaviour, eating disorders, poor school performance, sleep problems, hyperactivity and delinquency (Murray).

There also exists some evidence that girls may be more adversely affected by parental incarceration than boys and that having a mother jailed is more damaging than having a father jailed.

Finally, it should be pointed out, that, if the jailed parent was abusive, his/her imprisonment could actually benefit the child.

However, as I stated at the beginning of this article, more research in this area needs to be conducted.

Resources :

Children Of Incarcerated Parents (Youth.gov) : Click here.

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

 

 

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Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

We have seen that those who have suffered significant childhood trauma are at an increased risk of developing anxiety disorders in their adult lives. In extreme cases, this may lead to what is known as psychomotor agitation. I explain what is meant by this term below. However, I wish to start by recounting my own experience of this most distressing of psychological conditions.

For at least three years in total, off and on, I could not take a bath. The reason for this was that, when I was in this state (each episode could last several months) I was too agitated to do so – I couldn’t relax enough to lie down in the water, or even sit in it, any more so than I could voluntarily immerse myself in molten iron.

So I showered instead, right? Wrong. I felt too agitated to even indulge in this activity, even though most people find showering extremely relaxing and pleasurable.

Instead, I carried out my ablutions with a damp flannel; however, I confess that even this frequently proved to be a challenge I could not meet. Anti-social? Well, yes, if I saw anyone : but I didn’t. I was living as a virtual recluse.

Of course, for people who haven’t experienced severe agitated depression, it is extremely difficult to imagine how acutely distressing it is to have to endure such psychological torment on a constant and unremitting basis.

I couldn’t even sit back in an armchair; I was, quite literally, always on the edge of my seat’ (so it seems the expression is not merely a metaphor).

In other words, I existed in a perpetual and unrelenting state of the most intense kind of agitation – permanently distracted and distraught. This led to a suicide attempt which left me in a coma in intensive care for five days, followed by hospitalizations and several courses of electro-convulsive shock therapy (ECT).

The name for this kind of profound, and highly distressing, restlessness is psychomotor agitation. I describe what is meant by this term below:

Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

Symptoms Of Psychomotor Agitation:

– unintentional/ involuntary/ purposeless movement driven by an irresistible compulsion to do so,  feelings of inner tension, restlessness, anxiety and intense mental anguish and distress. These involuntary movements may include:

– pacing around the room

– hand wringing

 

Psychomotor agitation is found particularly frequently in those with bipolar disorder, substance abusers and those with psychotic depression (to read about all the other types of depression, click here).

Treatment:

Doctors may treat the disorder pharmacologically (ie. with medication) but it also often treated non-pharmocologically by means other F therapies such as meditation, mindfulness, yoga and other relaxation techniques.

Resources:

Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).    Overcome Fear And Anxiety. Click Here.

 

eBook:

Psychomotor Agitation (And My Experience Of It).

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

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

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Copyright 2016 Child Abuse, Trauma and Recovery

When Parents Evict Their Child.

When Parents Evict Their Child.

My mother forced me out of her house when I was thirteen.

I went to live with my father and step-mother.

They threw me out when I was barely out of my teens.

Did I steal? No. Did I take drugs? Had I ever laid a finger on any of them? No.

So why? I honestly don’t know. My father would only say I was ‘difficult’ and put a ‘strain’ on my step-mother (in fact, my father threw me out at her behest).

It is certainly true I was (as my father always taunted me) ‘morose’ and prone to outbursts of vebal rage. I also once, according to my step-mother, when I was fourteen, knocked a cup of coffee out of her hand (she had recently shouted at me in what she believed to be ‘tongues’ – she was a religious nutcase) although I have no memory of this.

Also, I once threw a set of keys at my bedroom wall, knocking out a little plaster from the wall. Essentially, my step-mother, I think, believed these were signs of some kind of particularly sinister demonic possession.

The final straw came when I told my parents I was gay (actually, I don’t like that word, it sounds so, well, for want of a better word, gay). This, according to my step-mother’s belief system, was unequivocal proof that I was evil beyond redemption, fit only to be eternally tortured in hell.

But the incident that immediately proceeded and finally provoked my banishment from the (soon to be inaccurately described as) ‘family’ home was almost absurd in its triviality:

My father and step-mother had been away on holiday. I took advantage of this by inviting some friends (who had always shown me the greatest hospitality) over for the evening. We drank and played cards. Inadvertantly, one of us (I don’t remember who, and it’s of no relevance) left a cigarette burning in a makeshift cardboard ashtray (the empty tray of a large matchbox).

The results were inevitable : a large, deep burn mark on the table.

On top of this, as the house had only two single bedrooms and one double bedroom (my father’s and step-mother’s) it seemed obvious that I would sleep in my own room, one friend in the other single room, and the two others (brothers) in the double. I did not give this a second thought.

However, on the return of my father and step-mother, the latter was overcome by an utterly irrational fit of moral outrage.

Now, you’d think, (wouldn’t you?), that she’d have been most angered by the burn mark in the table (which I and another friend had, absurdly, tried to paint over, with predictable results).

But, no.

Apparently, by my having allowed the two brothers to sleep in the marital bed (as she put it), it had been besmirched, nay, sullied! It was a crime against God! Against nature!

The next day I was out. My self-esteem was so low, and this seems incredible to me now, that I meekly accepted my forced eviction, feeling I must have somehow deserved it.

My step-mother’s reaction seems so extreme that I now wonder if, projecting her own sexual anxieties, she didn’t suspect that some sort of homosexual/incestuous/generally weird orgy had taken place in the bed.

Sadly, not.

The final irony is that my step-mother was once divorced, had an illegitimate son (from when it was frowned upon) from some transient and ephemeral lover, and was remarried to my father (which the Bible, if my ecclesiastical knowledge has not deserted me, regards as bigamy). Presumably, she only believed in the bits of the Bible she approved of and which she believed, or, rather, conveniently chose to believe, ‘justified’ her venomous prejudices and nauseating moral hypocrisy. How many gay people have killed themselves in response to such religious twaddle? And, fueled by such attitudes, how many have been imprisoned (and sometimes raped by the very people holding them prisoner)? How many tortured? How many executed? And why, will somebody please explain to me, is the Church so utterly obsessed with sex?

Oh, and by the way, she founded and ran a charity for the homeless which garnered her (much to my not inconsiderable chagrin) much social adulation.

 

 

PS. I have briefly recounted the story of being thrown out of my mother’s house elsewhere, so do not repeat myself here.

Resources:

Start to overcome being unloved as a child (instantly downloadable hypnosis audio): click here.

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

 

 

 

 

 

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The Relationship With The Sociopathic Mother

 

The Relationship With The Sociopathic Mother

According to the psychotherapist Christine Louise de Canonville, sociopaths tend to follow a particular pattern in their relationship with others, manipulatively guiding the relationship through three specific phases in a Machiavellian manner. These three stages are as follows:

PHASE 1 : The Idealization Phase

PHASE 2 : The Devaluation Phase

PHASE 3 : The Discarding Phase

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

1) Idealization:

In this phase the sociopath presents herself in a positive manner, in order to gain favour and admiration. She may use techniques such as extreme flattery.

If she can make the person she is targeting love and admire her, or, better still, as in the case of a child, become psychologically and emotionally dependent upon her, this makes that person highly vulnerable and gives the sociopath great power to hurt and control him/her.

2) Devaluation:

Once the sociopath has successfully completed phase one, phase two may begin : the devaluation phase. In this stage, the sociopath undermines the person’s self-esteem and confidence. She may deride and mock him/her, treat him/her with contempt and disdain, call him/her hurtful and insulting names, humiliate him/her, and become utterly cold, hostile and aggressive towards the person.

3) Having psychologically destroyed her victim, and the victim is of no further use to her, she loses interest and discards him/her like a plastic disposable razor.

The Relationship With The Sociopathic Mother

Case Study From Personal Experience:

Whilst my mother has never been diagnosed as a sociopath (to the best of my knowledge), my relationship with her as a child followed the above pattern so closely that it is somewhat disconcerting, to put it mildly; I illustrate this, briefly, below:

1) Idealizing : soon after my parents divorced, my mother started to use me as a kind of personal counsellor. She manipulatively reinforced this behaviour by telling me how caring, compassionate, sensitive and loving I was. She even proudly declared that I was her own, private, ‘Little Psychiatrist.’

2) Devaluing : however, my mother was highly unstable, unpredictable and and prone to fly into terrifying rages as a result of the most trivial ‘provocations’ (as she perceived them to be).

As I entered puberty, to defend myself against her random, devastating psychological assaults (trying to pacify her, even if I was in floods of tears as I did so, made her worse –  indeed, I used to get the strong impression she derived some perverse thrill from my ‘snivelling’, as she would term it).

In a vain attempt to avoid being psychologically crushed, I started to argue with her and stand up for myself. This she could not tolerate. She began to refer to me as ‘scabby’ (I had started to self-harm by picking at my skin), ‘poof’ (I was extremely sensitive) or simply, ‘that little bastard.’

On my thirteenth birthday, in the morning as I got ready for school, she completely ignored me, as did my sixteen year brother (who would always joyously join in and encourage my mother’s verbal assaults, or intentionally instigate them).

Not a syllable was uttered to me (even an insulting one, but somehow being treated as invisible/non-existant, was, if its possible, even worse).

She would also often tell me she wished I’d never been born or that she would throw me out of the house.

3) Discarding : indeed, she did throw me out of the house when I was about thirteen and a half. I was forced to go and live my father and his new wife. I almost immediately intuited I was not wanted there either.

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

 

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Ten Main Causes Of Childhood Trauma

 

Ten Main Causes Of Childhood Trauma

A major study into the effects of childhood trauma, the ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) study, which provided overwhelming evidence of the link between childhood trauma and the later development of various psychiatric illnesses, physical illness, and violent behaviour, considered the following ten events/experiences to be representative of the most traumatic a child is likely to experience:

1) Growing up in a household in which a parent/primary caregiver is an alcoholic/chronic abuser of narcotics

2) Growing up in a household in which a parent/primary caregiver goes to prison

3) Growing up in a household in which a parent/primary caregiver has a diagnosable psychiatric condition, such as major depression

4) Growing up in a home in which the mother is physically abused by the father/her partner

5) Experiencing emotional abuse

6) Experiencing sexual abuse

7) Experiencing physical abuse

8) Losing a parent through death/ divorce/separation

9) Experiencing emotional neglect

10) Experiencing physical neglect

Through my whole childhood, including first living with my (highly unstable) mother and (emotionally constipated) father, then with just my mother, then with my mother and her (schizophrenic/alcoholic/jail-bird) live-in lover, then with my father and (religious crackpot, ‘tongue-speaking’, demonizing) step-mother, I’ve just calculated I experienced eight of these; not quite a full-house, admittedly. However, in this context, the term ‘full-house’ is grotesquely ironic, of course.

Some people, alas, have experienced all ten (and possibly more, as the above list is not exhaustive – it does not include, for example, the experiencing of natural disasters).

An infographic, summarizing the above and also showing prevalence (by percentage of all individuals surveyed) is displayed below:

Ten Main Causes Of Childhood Trauma

 

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

 

 

 

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