How Narcissistic Parents Weaken Our Sense Of A Personal Boundary.

weak personal boundaries

Because narcissistic parents are so unpredictable, and their mood changes so mercurial and frightening, the young child quickly learns, largely on an unconscious level, that s/he (i.e. the young child) must be able to ‘read’, with great precision, such a parent’s feelings and emotions lest s/he fails to respond in such a way that meets the parent’s emotional needs and, as a result of such failure, inadvertently upsets him/her (sadly, this is never possible to fully achieve as the narcissistic parent’s emotional needs are infinite and cannot ever be fully sated).

In other words, the child is driven and compelled to develop a profound level of empathy for the narcissistic parent as a means to helping to ensure his/her (i.e. the child’s) psychological survival (the alternative is to be psychologically crushed). I remember, as a child of about four, I had a recurring nightmare of being a tiny insect next to an enormous boulder which was invariably and inexorably rolling towards me, threatening to crush me. In fact, sometimes this image would intrude on my mind when I was awake, seemingly out of nowhere. At the time, of course, I could not discern its (now) all too obvious meaning.


By the time I was eight or nine years old my empathy for my mother was so acute that she (in her typically melodramatic manner) would tell me that I had ‘a sixth sense’ and could ‘read her mind’ or, even, that I was ‘psychic’, so good was I at being able to tell exactly what she was feeling within a second of her entering the room. Absurd nonsense, obviously. The truth is, I’d simply had no choice, and no conscious control, over developing my unusual empathetic abilities.

There is a heavy price to be paid for this process. When my mother was very depressed, for example, I felt her pain as my own and would become obsessively preoccupied by her unhappy condition, able to think of nothing else. This could last for days at a time.

Indeed, because the child of the narcissist becomes so deeply attuned to his/her parent’s mental state, this substantially interferes with his/her own sense of self as a separate, distinct, individual person in such a way that his/her sense of a personal boundary between him/herself and the parent becomes blurred and nebulous. This, in turn, is highly likely to lead to a collapse of his/her incipient and precarious sense of a personal identity as well as of his/her sense intrinsic value (if, indeed, any has been allowed to develop).

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

How Childhood Trauma Can Make You Oversensistive To Light, Sound And Touch

light oversensitivity

Before babies and young children are able to learn through the use of language, they learn through the information they receive through their senses (i.e. taste, touch, smell, sight and sound) and by integrating this information in meaningful ways.

The main part of the brain that is responsible for putting together this sensory information in ways that facilitate learning is the CEREBELLUM, located at the back of the head (see diagram below).

How Childhood Trauma Can Adversely Affect The Development Of The Cerebellum : 

Neuroscientific studied suggest that the development of the cerebellum depends significantly upon the perceived security, consistency, reliability and rhythmicity of the mother’s (or primary carer’s) physical holding of the infant.

Neglect :

If the mother (or primary carer) is neglectful and does not hold the baby sufficiently frequently in a manner that transmits to him/her (i.e. the baby) feelings of deep and meaningful emotional connection , this may lead to impaired development of the cerebellum which, in turn, can lead to cerebellar dysfunction.  It is this dysfunction of the cerebellum which may then cause problems integrating sensory information (Teicher st al., 2003).

Effects Of Cerebellar Dysfunction :

Dysfunctions which may result from impaired development of the cerebellum due to the kind of neglect described above include :
  • extreme sensitivity of touch. Examples include the affected individual  :

– being easily irritated by ‘coarse’ feeling clothing

– being easily made to feel uncomfortable by the touch of others (therefore the individual may feel compelled to actively avoid coming into physical contact with others and to be averse to their touch). Alternatively, s/he may crave tender, physical contact with others, as adults, in order to to compensate the perceived lack of loving, nurturing touch by his/her mother (or other primary carer) in early life.

  • extreme sensitivity to light (e.g. having to wear sunglasses in conditions the vast majority of people would not feel the need to do so)


  • extreme sensitivity to sound / noise (e.g. feeling intense irritation or anger in response to small sounds that the vast majority of others would not find bothersome).
  • learning difficulties : problems organising sensory input can lead, in turn, lead to difficulties organising a cohesive sense of the world.

Also, according to Doyon (1997), the cerebellum represents the brain’s main seat of PROCEDURAL MEMORY – this is a part of long-term memory that stores information about how to do things (i.e. carry out procedures, skills and actions, both cognitive and motor, such as talking, reading, walking) and FORMS THE FOUNDATION OF ALL LEARNING.

  • lack of co-ordination and clumsiness



  •  RHYTHMIC DYSREGULATION (this is too complex to go into detail about here, but you may wish to read more about it by clicking on this link)


David Hosier BSc Hons: MSc; PGDE(FAHE)

Study Shows PTSD Sufferers Can Be Willing To Risk Life For Cure

PTSD sufferers

Anybody who has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) / complex post traumatic stress disorder (cPTSD) knows that the mental torment and anguish it entails can be extreme and unremitting.

Frustratingly (putting it mildly), such pain is impossible to describe in words to those who have been fortunate enough never to have experienced such conditions much in the same way as it would not be possible to describe to a person who has been blind from birth what it’s like to experience the color red (or any other color, for that matter).

It may well be useful, therefore, to outline the findings of the following study which helps to demonstrate how desperate sufferers of PTSD may become to be free from their ineffable suffering.


Zoellner and Feeny (2011) carried out interviews with 184 individuals who had been diagnosed with PTSD.


Two main findings that help convey just how desperate people can be to be free from the constant distress PTSD can induce were as follows :

  1. On average, participants in the study said they would be prepared to undergo a treatment that would completely cure their PTSD even if such a treatment carried 13 per cent risk of resulting in their immediate death.
  2. On average, participants said they would be prepared to give up 13.6 years of their lives to be relieved of their PTSD symptoms.

Through the interviews conducted in the study, it was also found that symptoms linked to hyperarousal, hypervigilance, insomnia and irritability were particularly difficult to tolerate.


eBook :

Above eBook now available for immediate download from Amazon. Click here, or on image above, for further details (other titles available).

Downloadable Self Hypnosis Audios / MP3s / CDs :

Overcome Hypervigilance | Self Hypnosis Downloads. Click here for further details.

Further information about PTSD and complex PTSD. Click link below :

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

Marriage Counseling can Help with Childhood Trauma Affecting Your Marriage

Is Your Childhood Trauma Affecting Your Marriage?

(Guest post by Marie Miguel).

It’s no secret by now that the trauma you experience as a child can haunt you into adulthood. Being abused as a child can make you aggressive, timid, or experience other emotions or behaviors that can affect your marriage.


If you believe that your childhood may be affecting your marriage, it’s worth it to talk to a counselor. Here are a few ways a traumatic childhood can change your marriage.


Neglect Can Make You Feel Avoidant or Fearful


If your needs were neglected by your parents, you may have a difficult time trusting your partner, even if all evidence points to them being loved. You may feel that one day, your partner will leave you, and you don’t want to show any affection because you feel your partner will not like it. You may not express your feelings and you may even keep secrets because you don’t want your partner to be mad at you.


A Violent Childhood Can Make You Violent


There is no excuse for yelling at your spouse or assaulting them. However, it’s also undeniable that a violent past can make you more violent. If you were hurt as a child, you may be prone to anger or outbursts. If you find yourself being violent, seek help as soon as you can.


When Your Parents Were Both Neglectful and Provided


Sometimes, your parents could have changed from being providing and loving to neglectful. Maybe a change cause this, or another reason. Either way, it can make you feel clingy as an adult. You want your partner to always be around you, and any change in your relationship makes you feel paranoid.


These are just a few ways how a traumatic childhood can affect you. It’s no excuse for any of these behaviors, but instead an explanation. In the end, it’s up to you to get the help you need, and a marriage counselor can help. Here are a few ways the can help.


Helps You Identify the Source of Trauma


Sometimes, you may not know that your childhood trauma is making you act this way. Other times, you may have blocked the trauma out of your memory, and it’s lurking in your unconscious mind. A counselor helps with both of these situations by talking to you and allowing the memories to come out naturally. Once you’re able to find the source, you can work to fix it.


Helps Your Partner Understand


It can be hard for your partner to understand why their spouse behaves in a certain way, even if they know about the past trauma. They may not realize how the trauma can change how they see things and how they act. A counselor will help the partner to empathize while the person is being treated.


They Can Help the Person Move On


The goal of counseling is to help the person move on from the trauma. This isn’t to say they’ll forget it, but instead not let it affect their life. This can be difficult and can require much therapy. Sometimes, it may require the person to act out their trauma and have a favorable outcome. Other times, they use cognitive behavioral therapy to change how they think. Either way, this can allow the person to move on.


Seek Help!

If you’re having trouble in your marriage, speak to a counselor. Online counseling services such as BetterHelp allow for counseling at any time and for any situation. Don’t let a past trauma ruin your relationship. Learn how you can move on and enjoy your life.

Marie Miguel Biography


Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.



Theories Concerning BPD And Anger

causes of anger

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) And Anger :

As we have seen from numerous other articles that I have published on this site, those who suffered significant and chronic childhood trauma are at much increased risk of developing borderline personality disorder (BPD) in their adult lives compared to those who were fortunate enough to grow up in relatively stable, non-threatening, loving and nurturing families.

And, as we have also seen, one of the most common and predominant features of BPD is intense feelings of rage and anger which are difficult to control, particularly in stressful situations (even situations which others may perceive as non-stressful or only very mildly stressful).

causes of anger

Theories Relating To Anger :

There are various theories which seek to cast light upon the origins of such feelings of aggression ; four main such theories are as follows :

  • psychoanalytic theory
  • behavioral theory
  • cognitive theory
  • neurobiological theory

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



Early psychoanalytic theorists attributed the source of anger in the child to deep feelings of frustration caused by not having their fundamental needs met (including unsatisfactory breast-feeding).


The psychoanalyst, Otto Kernberg (b. 1929), who carried out important early research into the borderline personality, was one of the first to suggest that temperament (individual differences in personal traits that are biologically / genetically based and relatively independent of the influence of learning) may play a significant role in the development of the adult BPD sufferer’s propensity to be easily moved to feelings and expressions of intense anger. Kernberg referred to those with such temperaments as possessing ‘an excessive nature of primary aggression.’



Linehan, an expert in borderline personality disorder (BPD) who devised the therapy for the condition known as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), proposes the idea that aggression in BPD sufferers has its roots in the individual growing up in an ‘emotionally witholding environment‘ thus thwarting the child’s need to have his/her fundamental emotional needs met.



According to cognitive theory, one of the main functions of anger is to operate as a defense (a defense which has been unconsciously learned in early life to protect one in a threatening environment) against real or imagined exploitation (e.g. because a parent has used,,  taken advantage of  and manipulated the individual as a child).



PET (positron emission tomography) scans have revealed that those individuals who have significant problems in connection with their feelings of anger and have histories of aggressive behavior can show abnormalities in the brain region known as the LIMBIC SYSTEM, or, more specifically, in the amygdala and hypothalamus (these are both sub-components of the limbic system) as well as abnormalities in the brain’s prefrontal cortex).


Various research studies have also revealed that impulsive aggressiveness in individuals with BPD is associated with abnormally low levels of serotonin (a neurotransmitter) in the brain.


Anger Management Hypnosis | Self Hypnosis Downloads

eBook :

childhood anger ebook

Above eBook now available for immediate download from Amazon. Click here for further information.

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

Personality Disorders Often Existing Simultaneously Alongside BPD


If, as adults, we have been unfortunate enough to develop the condition known as borderline personality disorder (BPD), a very serious mental health problem  that those who have suffered severe and protracted  childhood trauma are at much higher risk than average of developing, it is quite possible that we have also developed other personality disorders that exist alongside it concurrently (or, more technically, COMORBIDLY).

Which Other Personality Disorders May Exist Comoridly With BPD?

According to Zananni et al. (1998, 2004b) the four personality disorders that are most likely to exist simultaneously alongside (comorbidly with) BPD are as follows :

  • Avoidant personality disorder (35-45℅)
  • Dependent personality disorder (30-40℅)
  • Paranoid personality disorder (20-30%)
  • Anti-social personality disorder (15-25℅)

(For those who are interested, there are eleven personality disorders in total).

The percentages given in brackets after each of the four personality disorders displayed above represent the chances of an individual having that particular personality disorder existing comorbidly alongside his/her BPD.

personality disorders

Why Is It Common For These Four Personality Disorders To Exist Comorbidly Alongside BPD?

  • Avoidant Personality Disorder : BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because, as children, they are likely to have felt threatened by, and been betrayed by, significant others leading them, as adults, to view people in general as potentially dangerous (to their emotional, or, even, physical wellbeing) and therefore best kept at a distance.
  • Dependent Personality Disorder : BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because they are likely to have grown up in an environment which caused them to fail to develop confidence in their own coping skills and to feel vulnerable, hopeless and helpless.
  • Paranoid Personality Disorder : BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because they are likely to have grown up being perpetually harmed by significant others and / or living with the constant fear that significant others may hurt them at any (unpredictable) moment (psychologically, physically or both).
  • Anti-social Personality Disorder : BPD sufferers are at risk of also suffering from this because, as children, they are likely to have lacked positive role models, been mistreated and abused leading to them, as adults, to have internalized few, if any,  positive values, to be distrustful, cynical, angry and resentful. Such feelings can then be projected onto society as a whole and ‘dog -eat-dog’ / ‘every-man-for-himself’ / ‘look-after-number one-because-nobody-else-will’ / ‘everyone -is-essentially-selfish-and-will-ultimately-betray-you’  and nihilistic view of the world may develop.



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

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


Emotional Dysregulation : The Vital Importance Of Reducing It.

emotional dysregulation

Childhood Trauma Leading To Emotional Dysregulation In Adulthood :

If we have suffered significant and chronic childhood trauma we are at increased risk, as adults, of suffering from ’emotional dysregulation.’ Indeed, if our traumatic early experiences were so severe that we have gone on to develop borderline personality disorder (BPD) then this is especially likely to be the case (emotional deregulation is a classic feature and hallmark of BPD and one of the nine key symptoms of the disorder listed in the Diagnostic And Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders, 5th edition, or, in its abbreviated form, DSM V).

What Is Meant By The Term ‘Emotional Dysregulation?’ :

Other terms for ’emotional dysregulation’ include ’emotional instability’, ‘affective volatility’ and high ’emotional lability.’ In other words, an individual who is emotionally deregulated is prone to experiencing extreme and rapid fluctuations in his/her moods and feelings.


Recent Research Into Emotional Dysregulation In BPD Sufferers :

Recent research into BPD suggests that, in the case of individuals afflicted by this disorder,  not all emotions are involved in these dramatic fluctuations of mood. The main emotions that ARE involved have been found to be :

  • anger
  • anxiety
  • depressive feelings

To elaborate a little further, anger appears to be the emotion most strongly associated with BPD and severe swings between feelings of depression and anxiety have been found to be particularly prevalent in those suffering from the condition.

Devastating Effects On Life :

Anyone who suffers from, or has suffered from, significant emotional deregulation knows the devastating effects the condition can have on various aspects of one’s life : it can ruin friendships, family relationships and intimate relationships ; it can also cause problems at work, including job loss ; it may even lead to legal difficulties (and these examples by no means constitute an exhaustive list).

If, then, we suffer from emotional dysregulation, it is vital, if we wish to reclaim, and establish some semblance of control over, our lives, that we reduce our level of emotional deregulation and, thus, become more emotionally stable.

How Can We Reduce Our Level Of Emotional Dysregulation And Regain Some Control Over How We Feel And Behave?

A study carried out by Bailey and Chambers (2016) found that by undergoing an eight week course in mindfulness meditation, it was possible for an individual to increase the volume of the dentate gyrus, an area of the hippocampus (the hippocampus is the part of the brain responsible for emotional regulation) by 22.8% – this is possible because of a quality of the brain known as neuroplasticity.

And other research has found that mindfulness meditation can also have beneficial effects upon other brain regions and their associated functions. For example, a review of research, carried out by the researchers Tang, Holzel and Posner (2015) and published in a journal called Nature Reviews Neuroscience focused upon 21 studies on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the brain. Findings of the studies include :

Mindfulness meditation can increase the size of the following brain regions :

  • anterior cingulate cortex and striatum (involved in attention control)
  • multiple prefrontal regions and limbic region (involved in emotional regulation)
  • insula, medial prefrontal cortex (involved in self-awareness)

Resource :

Mindfulness Meditation Hypnosis Pack | Self Hypnosis Downloads

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



What Is The Difference Between Flashbacks And Intrusive Memories?


If, as adults, we are suffering from complex posttraumatic stress disorder as a result of our childhood experiences we may, in the absence of effective therapy, be very prone to experiencing both distressing intrusive memories and frightening flashbacks. But what is the actual difference between intrusive memories and flashbacks? I briefly explain this difference below:


Intrusive memories enter conscious awareness against the individual’s will (often, the person experiencing them will try to block them out‘) and are very similar to the original traumatic event that is being recalled ; however, the individual having these memories is aware they they are, indeed, just that – i.e. memories / recollections – and that the incident being recalled is NOT actually happening in the ‘here and now.’ However, they can still be extremely distressing and may produce unpleasant physiological symptoms such as rapid, shallow breathing (hyperventilation) and increased heart rate.


In contrast, when an individual has a flashback s/he re-experiences the traumatic event as if it IS actually happening in the present. FLASHBACKS seem so real because sensory information (which can include sights, sounds, smells, tastes and tactile information) that has been stored in memory (albeit in an only partially processed and fragmented way) can be replayed in the mind extremely vividly ; to the person having the flashback, it is as if s/he is reliving aspects / fragments of the original trauma all over again and this can be quite terrifying.



Meichenbaum (1994), who alikened flashbacks to ‘waking nightmares‘, identified three typical stages that the flashback experience can be broken down into. The three stages are as follows :


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


Triggers can include anything perceived by the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, smell, touch), thoughts, events, incidents etc that have something in common with the original, traumatic event. Triggers may remind one of such events on either a conscious or unconscious level. If the flashback is initiated by a sub-conscious / unconscious trigger then, disturbingly, the flashback may seem to ‘come out of nowhere.’


This is the stage during which the (potentially terrifying) experience of ‘reliving’ the original trauma in one’s mind occurs. This stage can include the illusion of ‘seeing’, ‘hearing’, or, even, ‘smelling’, ‘tasting’ or ‘physically feeling’ things that occurred at the time of the original trauma. Indeed, as already alluded to, it feels to the individual as if s/he is going through the trauma all over again, in the PRESENT, even though his/her rational mind may be aware, on another level, that this is illogical ; the confusion that comes about as a result can torment person experiencing the flashback further by inducing in him/her the fear that s/he is ‘going mad.’

Frequently, too, this stage involves considerably increased physiological arousal (racing heart, sweating etc.).

Furthermore, during this second phase one may become very emotionally dysregulated (e.g. one may become deeply distressed or extremely angry).


After the experience of reliving the original trauma has passed, physiological arousal (such as increased heart rate etc.) may still be high but gradually abates. Because one enters a dissociative state during the flashback, once it is over the individual is likely to feel highly confused and disoriented.

Despite the highly disturbing nature of flashbacks, it is important to remember that they are the brain’s way of trying to process / ‘make as of’ one’s, as yet not fully processed, traumatic memories and ‘heal itself’ from the deep, psychic wound incurred from the experiencing of the original trauma.



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

Obsessively Worried You’ll Do Something Terrible? ‘Pure O’ Explained.

what is purw O?

What Is Pure O?

Pure O (which stands for ‘purely obsessional’) is (at the time of writing) a little known term used to refer to a form of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) ; OCD, as we have seen from other articles that I have previously published on this site, is a disorder that we are at higher risk than average of developing if we have suffered from significant and chronic childhood trauma.

Spikes :

‘Pure O’ manifests as internal, mental rituals that involve a compulsion to obsessively ruminate upon, and to turn over and over in one’s mind, the same repetitive, disturbing thoughts ad infinitum. These  intrusive thoughts, which the affected individual finds impossible to dismiss from conscious awareness, are sometimes referred to as ‘spikes.’

Typically, the content of these distressing, intrusive and unbidden thoughts center upon irrational fears of carrying out a behavior that are abhorrent to one and utterly contrary and antithetical to one’s set of values, ethics and morals such as rape, murder or, if one is religious, some terrible form of blasphemy.


Example Of Pure O :

Indeed, I once saw a documentary about a man who suffered from this condition. He was obsessed by the idea that he might commit murder whilst sleepwalking at night and took his concern so seriously that, as a result, he never went to sleep without first chaining his ankle, complete with padlock, to the metal bed-frame each night (however, the hypothetical question of whether he could, in theory, retrieve the key, open the padlock and then commit murder – all in his sleep – was left unaddressed!). In any event, he was no more likely to commit murder in his sleep than anybody else – his concern was what could be termed a ‘delusional concern’ and solely a symptom of his psychiatric condition as opposed to being based on any real, objective risk.

How Does Pure O Differ From Main Forms Of OCD?

Pure O differs from the main forms of OCD in so far as the rituals one feels compelled to carry out are mental, internal, and, therefore, hidden from others and (unless one chooses to confide in others about them) secret ; this contrasts with the rituals carried out by those suffering from the main forms of OCD that tend to be observable by others (such as compulsive hand-washing or checking doors, windows etc are locked and secure).

Statistics Relating To Pure O :

The onset of Pure O tends to be between the ages of approximately 13 years of age and 25 years of age. It has been estimated that it affects about one per cent of individuals. However, this could be an underestimate as it is probable that many individuals don’t realize that they have the disorder or do not wish others to know about it so keep it secret and never seek professional help.

Therapy :


eBook :

childhood trauma and depression

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

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

Questionable Reasons For Having A Baby

reasons for having a baby

Questionable reasons mothers and / or fathers may have for having a baby :

– by accident

– for financial gain (in the form of benefits) or to avoid having to work

– to gain access to social / council housing

– to trap the father into a long-term relationship / marriage or to use as a ‘weapon’ or ‘pawn.’

– as a desperate bid to ‘save’ a relationship / marriage (for example, in my own case my mother was persuaded by her psychiatrist to have me to increase her chances of keeping her marriage with my father together)

– primarily for what they can ‘get out of the baby’ e.g. unconditional love and attention to compensate for what they did not receive in their own childhoods

– to have someone who will care for them in later life

to have someone to take care of their emotional needs

– to have someone who will provide them with an identity e.g. to ‘prove ‘ manhood and ‘virility’ in the case of the father

to have someone through whom they can live their lives vicariously in order to compensate for their own lack of success, achievement and fulfillment (e.g. by trying to turn their child into a sports star, movie star or otherwise famous person).

– to have someone who will make them feel powerful and respected.

having a baby

When The Child Does Not Fulfill The Parents’ Expectations :

When the child inevitably ‘fails’ to live up to the parents’ unrealistic expectations, and their fantasies of an idealized family do not materialize, there is a danger that they will start to resent their child and view him/her as an unwanted household guest, annoyance and  a source irritation, as well as a strain upon both financial and temporal resources. Some parents may even hate and despise their child and do their best to avoid interacting with him/her by spending long hours in the office, gardening, socializing, on hobbies which do not include the child etc.

The Unwanted Child Will Sense He Is Not Wanted, Even If The Parental Rejection Is Not Direct Or Overt :

A child will almost certainly sense whether or not s/he is truly loved and wanted by his/her parents. If the parents perpetually do not want the child  around, or to interact with him/her in any meaningful way, s/he (i.e. the child) is highly likely will to pick up on this devastating, often tacitly and unconsciously conveyed, information ; even being occasionally told by such parents that s/he is loved is likely to ring hollow and lead to feelings of confusion and distrust.


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