Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, abbreviated as CPTSD, is a complex form of PSTD. CPTSD is a disorder where the sufferer experiences the usual symptoms of PTSD coupled with additional symptoms such as difficulty controlling emotions, feeling agitated or distrustful towards others, and feelings of emptiness or hopelessness, among others, all do to dis-regulation within the learned “processing” parts of the brain. There is a healing that begins…when we know what we’re working with.
Unlike PTSD, CPTSD is a result of repeated trauma, usually beginning in childhood, such as abuse, neglect, abandonment, ongoing domestic violence, repeatedly witnessing others’ violence, narcissism, bullying and so on.
Common Symptoms of CPTSD
People with CPTSD have all the symptoms related to PTSD with additional symptoms, including:
Lack of emotional regulation
Changes in consciousness/memory
Difficulty with relationships/distrust
Distorted perception of abusers/attachments to abusers despite trauma
Loss of systems of meanings (religion; belief of society; the world)
Emotional Avoidance and CPTSD
Avoidance in relation to CPTSD refers to the behaviors or actions that prevent difficult emotions from surfacing (thus avoidance of dealing). Research shows that people with PTSD and CPTSD often try to push away and avoid their emotions. These victims use emotional avoidance to escape the memory of painful events, as well as, push away the accompanying emotional trauma of those memories. This, often taught or acquired early on, TOUGH LOVE approach us how CPTSD sticks around way longer than desired!
ANDDDDD, the emotions we avoid are not just about the traumatic experiences, but everyday stress emotions in general. We learn to "run" from normal stress because any stress can begin to feel like trauma-triggers if it is not dealt with. Some of these daily emotions trigger familiar sadness, shame, fear, and anxiety from the past we have not yet learned to process. These emotions become too overwhelming when our brain doesn’t know what to do about them. This is why we use avoidance as a coping tool…but, it eventually catches up!
Consistent avoidance of emotions always makes the symptoms of CPTSD worse! This occurs gradually over time when we build habits to alter or avoid the frequency, form, or contexts of aversive internal experiences. WHEN WE DON’T DEAL INTERNALLY, we have no choice but to become obsessed EXTERNALLY!! External focusing causes deep co-dependence to others, lack of self-trust, lack of self-love, and eventually LACK of IDENTITY.
Avoidance Starts Like:
As a victim of CPTSD, we can sense our gut (subconscious mind) saying: “Try it not to dwell on it” or “Don’t think about it”, “Damn, I was feeing so good”, “Why does this happen to me”, “F*ck them”, etc. and the overthinking begins (peptides and nuerons in the brain are FAMILIAR with firing off a certain learned way). To avoid going down the “rabbit hole”, self-avoidance will be chosen as a tool to not “feel”.
Familiar avoidance habits may ensue:
Over Religious Activities
Isolating from Others
Just to name a few…
Self-Avoidance and Self-Abuse can be FAMILIAR from Early Development
Self-abuse usually refers to destructive behavior or patterns of behavior that inflicts metaphorical or literal harm on oneself. Self-avoidance is a form of self-abuse that causes several emotional harms to a person, as self-avoidance often leads to drug use, self-medication, or engagement in unhealthy behavior that never helps address core CPTSD trauma.
Hence, people who indulge in self-avoidance are predisposed to have a vibrational attraction to others who engage in other forms of self-abuse
(read that again)
Wrapping It Up
Self-avoidance serves as a coping mechanism for victims of CPTSD but must be addressed at some point and time. Dezi, here at HelpOthersJunkee.com specifically works with helping clients Feel*Deal*Heal their CPTSD symptoms away, when they so desire, by using triggers as an indication to bring the Right and Left Brain Hemispheres together when processing a trauma, for LASTING healing and ease.
Some of these triggering indications are as follows:
Distressing thoughts, feelings, or memories that are about or closely related to traumatic events (overthinking begins and lasts more than three hours to days)
External reminders like places, smells, people, conversation, activities, etc., that lead to distressing feelings, memories, or cravings for substances (even sugar)
Feelings of detachment from people
Feelings that others should “suck it up buttercup” or NOT feel so much, themselves
It’s true we live in times where it’s more acceptable or “cool” to be emotionless and hardened to the world but, it’s still proven that the strongest humans studied are those who allow vulnerability, emotion, and self-love to rule their own lives! We have choices, and if what we’re doing is not giving us a feeling of love or freedom, then it’s time to FEEL into making some changes.
Are you self-avoidant when it comes to feeling about something?
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below or even anonymously at email@example.com.