Sufferer childhood abuse --> adult problems

Elsewhere

Learning
Hi all,

I've been lurking for a long time and finally decided to jump in. It's an impressive forum (thank you) and I'm glad to have found it.

I'm a middle-aged survivor of childhood abuse that began as early as can I remember (I've been told there was already violence in the household before I was born), and lasted over a decade. My father was a hot-headed, disturbed man with a hair-trigger. He was seemingly angry about his responsibilities as a parent, in addition to whatever other issues he may have had, and he liberally took things out on my sibling and me, as kids. I both witnessed and received beatings regularly enough that the threat was ever-present. There was a sadistic-ish ritual that whomever he was going to be beating was usually made to participate in, the lead-up of which had the effect of magnifying and prolonging the terror felt, knowing that a beating was just around the corner. My father seemed to like that effect on us. The smallest infraction, e.g., breaking or losing some cheap item or other due to being a child still trying to develop motor coordination and a sense of taking care of property, would immediately cause him to go off on the "offender". No matter how trivial the matter at hand, there would always be (at least) a deafening explosion of verbal abuse, and often enough, it would end in having to be put through some kind of physical abuse, ritual or otherwise. Because yelling always preceded beatings, yelling itself became a trigger. I don't recall him often speaking to me in a non-yelling tone. There was some sexually inappropriate stuff (very sporadic and not very "extreme" in the grand scheme of things) going on, too.

I lived in constant fear as a child because of him, and never felt safe in the house. We were always walking on eggshells. My mother did nothing to protect me; I don't think she even soothed me. (I don't recall any such thing, but I dissociated a lot--still do--so who knows?) She later admitted that she had been worried that if she tried to intervene, he'd start beating her. She did, eventually, find the wherewithal to leave him, once it was discovered he'd been cheating. No more beatings after that.

I have experienced frequent suicidal ideation since I was a child (~8 yo), and it's never really gone away. (FWIW, I've never attempted and don't have any plans.) In a nutshell, I've never known what it's like to actively want to exist. It feels like there's been just too much pain in life, and it has only snowballed over the years (for reasons that I'm still trying to understand).

After decades of suffering post-traumatic-stress symptoms without realizing that I was injured by the early abuse and its repercussions (for a long time, I hadn't thought to investigate whether I had a problem), my quality of life and basic level of functionality have eroded considerably (and I'm exhausted). I was somewhat-recently diagnosed with PTSD, but I'm definitely experiencing CPTSD (also). Interestingly, my symptoms are much worse now, in middle age, than when I was younger, even though the worse of the trauma had already ended before I hit my teens. I wonder if that's common. I haven't been able to find a lot of data that speak directly to this. I just keep wondering why I could function (and I felt) better earlier in life than I do now.

So far, I haven't been able to benefit much from talk therapy. In my last (fairly recent) experience, the therapist was surprisingly dismissive and invalidating, to the point of coming across as almost hostile (and yet, she claimed to specialize in PTSD - ?!), so I'm currently very reluctant to go back to a therapist. I'm also finding myself in doubt as to how well talk therapy (alone) can really help with early-childhood-abuse CPTSD. I guess it's because it feels as though it's what I "am"*; i.e., like I never had the opportunity to be anything but traumatized because trauma was always there while my brain was developing. I guess this makes me feel like I need some approach that has the capacity to burrow more deeply into my brain, so I'm currently exploring what other therapeutic alternatives could be available for my situation. I'm interested in psychedelic-assisted therapy, since that seems to be a brute-force way to rewire the brain, which is what I think I need, but I don't have any way to access it where I am (and that's extremely frustrating). *BTW, what I mentioned above doesn't mean I'm defining myself in terms of CPTSD--just that it feels like it is so deeply programmed into me that it seems unreachable, and I'm wondering what kind of treatments could help, if any.

Sorry so long -- thanks for reading
 

Friday

Moderator
Welcome to the community!! 😃
so I'm currently very reluctant to go back to a therapist. I'm also finding myself in doubt as to how well talk therapy (alone) can really help with early-childhood-abuse CPTSD
I tend to doubt how much talk therapy can help ANY kind of PTSD. Not that it’s not useful, or even necessary, but even including really exhaustive trauma therapy? My experience still says 99% or more of the work done is still outside of the office, in real life, in my own life.

Again, welcome.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome to the forum:
As you noted there are many ways to treat childhood trauma including meds depending on any comorbidity and other conditions that can happen. In my case, conscious life experience (taking responsibility and accountability as an adult), talk therapy, and healthy and safe intimate relationship is what helped me get on my healing journey. However, I feel there are as many ways to get healing and healthy as life paths available. Hope you truly find many ways to get there.
 

RCReal

Learning
So far, I haven't been able to benefit much from talk therapy. In my last (fairly recent) experience, the therapist was surprisingly dismissive and invalidating, to the point of coming across as almost hostile (and yet, she claimed to specialize in PTSD - ?!), so I'm currently very reluctant to go back to a therapist. I'm also finding myself in doubt as to how well talk therapy (alone) can really help with early-childhood-abuse CPTSD. I guess it's because it feels as though it's what I "am"*; i.e., like I never had the opportunity to be anything but traumatized because trauma was always there while my brain was developing. I guess this makes me feel like I need some approach that has the capacity to burrow more deeply into my brain, so I'm currently exploring what other therapeutic alternatives could be available for my situation. I'm interested in psychedelic-assisted therapy, since that seems to be a brute-force way to rewire the brain, which is what I think I need, but I don't have any way to access it where I am (and that's extremely frustrating). *BTW, what I mentioned above doesn't mean I'm defining myself in terms of CPTSD--just that it feels like it is so deeply programmed into me that it seems unreachable, and I'm wondering what kind of treatments could help, if any.

Sorry so long -- thanks for reading
Hello, welcome... I understand your reluctance to therapy- not all therapist are created equal, so I would definitely recommend you reach out and interview a few more therapists before you throw in the towel. This is a person you will develop a relationship with so don't just pick the first one you talk to. Also yes it does sound more like Complex Post traumatic stress. Secondly - you are also correct that "talk therapy" probably isn't going to be enough here... but I would caution you in looking at Brut-force solutions also... you need to b more like Goldie Locks and find something in the middle... a few things I have found in my research that might be helpful here:
1. Trauma memories are stored in the body not the mid - Take a look at Somatic therapy - its a body centered approach.
2. Most time spent with Talk Therapy or CBT ( Cognitive behavior therapy ) addresses the symptoms, but not always the root of the trauma...
3. Medications are one way to cope - but it sounds like you are looking to get rid of your trauma, not just the symptoms... I have read about psychedelic's an the research for helping with trauma release... from what I understand they actually alter your state of consciousness - chemically and allow you to access your subconscious mind... (I am allergic to like every medication out there so the idea of taking a substance scares me a little bit- my luck i would be allergic an the treatment would actually kill me :) An alternative to altered states is hypnosis- not easy for people who suffer from anxiety or stress because of the inability to relax and let go so to speak... but I actually found it very effective in working with a Trauma Informed Hypnotherapist.... not easy to find BTW... but he taught me some self hypnosis techniques...

I think it's awesome that you are looking outside the box - for me it was the only way I was able to recover...by taking things into my own hands and not just sitting back and expecting some therapist to "fix me" I found that there were really three things that led to my recovery...
1. resources- education, therapy and support
2. understanding how trauma is stored in the body and that until you release that, no amount of work with symptoms or coping mechanisms were going to change anything...
3. trauma changes us on the cellular lever ( look into Epigenetics of trauma) and it starts to switch on different genetic markers... it all sounds a little whoo-whooo but these "markers" actually effect our behavior, thoughts, and beliefs ... which are the key to changing how we respond to our trauma response... This is where the subconscious mind stuff comes in....
Your instincts are right on- you cant just "talk it out." you gotta work it from all three sides.... mind( conscious) , body( unconscious), and subconscious... If you do find a way to try out the psychedelic's I would be curious to how well that works to tap into things... I would have to live vicariously through your experience of course.

Oh and one more thing... I really appreciate what you said about Not Defining yourself with CPTSD... I don't like to use PTSD - specifically the "D" ... You are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress... but it is not actually a "disorder". these responses are actually completely normal psychological and physiological responses of the body... Some people are more naturally programmed to re-organize themselves after stress, and others need some additional resources... that's all...I feel like the "D" is more stigmatizing than anything... I worry that people who use PTSD to define themselves are actually having more influence on themselves than they think... labeling themselves with a disorder, may actually be making it more difficult to overcome what they are experiencing...

Sorry for the long winded reply... I hope that I have helped in some way... I wish you the best of luck and I totally feel like you' re on the right track... keep it up!!!
 

Elsewhere

Learning
Hello, welcome...
Thanks for all this. I didn't see it until I had already responded to you on your other (research/studies) thread, where some of the same topics are discussed.
I am really curious about both the somatic and hypnosis approaches that worked well for you

Also, regarding psychedelics, my understanding is that ppl like me who readily dissociate tend to be more responsive to psychedelic approaches, as it's so easy for us to go into the state that allows us access to our subconscious. I feel like I'd be a great candidate. I'm sick of hearing about how there's all this promise in psychedelics, and yet, accessing them safely is still nearly impossible. It's like having something magical within sight, but not within reach
 

RCReal

Learning
Thanks for all this. I didn't see it until I had already responded to you on your other (research/studies) thread, where some of the same topics are discussed.
I am really curious about both the somatic and hypnosis approaches that worked well for you

Also, regarding psychedelics, my understanding is that ppl like me who readily dissociate tend to be more responsive to psychedelic approaches, as it's so easy for us to go into the state that allows us access to our subconscious. I feel like I'd be a great candidate. I'm sick of hearing about how there's all this promise in psychedelics, and yet, accessing them safely is still nearly impossible. It's like having something magical within sight, but not within reach

No worries at all...:) Yes I know... the research is still new on the psychedelic's, and they are a controlled substance... so access is near impossible and will be for years until research goes through the proper channel (unless you know a guy who knows a guy - hahah which I do not! ) I will note however- I know there is a desire for a magical fix-all elixir... however, I doubt that magic mushrooms will be the cure-all... I am sure they will be helpful for some, as we talked about RE: the subconscious access part of things, but there are the other parts of trauma that need to be addressed at the same time... I responded ( with a novel :) ) in the research thread about hypnosis and epigenetics and a lot more... I know I floated across subjects (psychology, Epigenetics, Neuroscience, and even the whoowhoo stuff...) quite a bit, please let me know if something needs more clarification... I know I glazed over the somatic stuff in my reply to you on the other side... I can definitely get you more info on this stuff, I have 3 years of research plus my own experience on this... I am currently working on putting together a course for my students to teach them the key points and how to use this with their clients.... I will share with you what I can and point you in the right direction where I am limited... I cannot treat you through the forum... but you are obviously very curious and I have no doubt you will do the research for yourself I don't have a problem guiding you towards so self treatment options.... :)
 

Ruby_

New Here
Thank you for your heartfelt post. You described so eloquently what I can’t put into words. I hope you find a way 💕 I’m searching for the same
 
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