Research Repeated patters from childhood and adult sexual assault.

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @RebeccaReal , sure I don't mind answering your questions.

Glass ceiling: hmmmmm, in most ways I don't think so. I get anxious at work and 'beat myself up' if I think I make a mistake. I have very high standards and try to be perfect. Which is obviously impossible. I try and be kind to myself about it all and let the anxiety go. But financially: whilst I'm not rich! I'm comfortable. And content with my career. I have ambitions still and feel I can get to where I want, when I want. I'm proud of my achievements at work and where I am (but everything is relative and someone else may view my accomplishments as not as good as I do, but I'm proud of where I have come: it's down to my hard work.) So I don't think there is a glass ceiling for me.

In your previous post you also asked about:

Sex always being a problem or if this was new? This is hard to answer, as yes I think sex has always been a problem but I just wasn't aware of it as I dissaociated! Or blocked it out. Or re-enacted. I would have sex and enjoy it, but never really had emotional connection to it. Since therapy, I now cry after sex. I think I am feeling emotions of sex I never felt before, and it also triggers emotions of rape and assault that I never felt before. I'm hoping I'll find a healthy balance between the two extremes I seem to have been in.

And you asked what emotions I'm struggling with when thinking about the past:
Anger? I think so. I never liked to feel angry, so I decided I wasn't. But, like most things I decided, I don't think that is true. I'm learning to feel anger appropriately.
Shame? Oh yes! Again, I decided I never felt shame and had no regrets. But again, this is not true. I hold a lot of shame. I think people can see my shame, it then causes more anxiety. And then I have to block it out again. Working on shame in therapy.
Fear? Yes. My body goes in a fearful state when I'm around people who put me on edge.
I'm learning all these emotions, as before I just would plough on, be resigned to feeling odd but pretend I'm not and just get on with things. Now I'm learning what my emotions are, trying not to be scared or them, and learning how not to be overwhelmed by them. Am not there yet, but....!
 

RCReal

Learning
Hi @RebeccaReal , sure I don't mind answering your questions.

Glass ceiling: hmmmmm, in most ways I don't think so. I get anxious at work and 'beat myself up' if I think I make a mistake. I have very high standards and try to be perfect. Which is obviously impossible. I try and be kind to myself about it all and let the anxiety go. But financially: whilst I'm not rich! I'm comfortable. And content with my career. I have ambitions still and feel I can get to where I want, when I want. I'm proud of my achievements at work and where I am (but everything is relative and someone else may view my accomplishments as not as good as I do, but I'm proud of where I have come: it's down to my hard work.) So I don't think there is a glass ceiling for me.

In your previous post you also asked about:

Sex always being a problem or if this was new? This is hard to answer, as yes I think sex has always been a problem but I just wasn't aware of it as I dissaociated! Or blocked it out. Or re-enacted. I would have sex and enjoy it, but never really had emotional connection to it. Since therapy, I now cry after sex. I think I am feeling emotions of sex I never felt before, and it also triggers emotions of rape and assault that I never felt before. I'm hoping I'll find a healthy balance between the two extremes I seem to have been in.

And you asked what emotions I'm struggling with when thinking about the past:
Anger? I think so. I never liked to feel angry, so I decided I wasn't. But, like most things I decided, I don't think that is true. I'm learning to feel anger appropriately.
Shame? Oh yes! Again, I decided I never felt shame and had no regrets. But again, this is not true. I hold a lot of shame. I think people can see my shame, it then causes more anxiety. And then I have to block it out again. Working on shame in therapy.
Fear? Yes. My body goes in a fearful state when I'm around people who put me on edge.
I'm learning all these emotions, as before I just would plough on, be resigned to feeling odd but pretend I'm not and just get on with things. Now I'm learning what my emotions are, trying not to be scared or them, and learning how not to be overwhelmed by them. Am not there yet, but....!
Wow - you are really putting in the hard work - diving into to some heavy emotions... that's great!!. Thanks again for your feed back this has been really helpful to guiding my research. I get mixed responses - think some people have a feeling of they are not worthy and therefore struggle to make money... and then there is the opposite where you are able to see money as a resource for survival and are driven to make what you need and more! There is a piece of me that really wants to take brain scans of people with these two mentalities... but that is a total tangent to what I should be focusing on.

Thanks for sharing this with me.:)
 

Elsewhere

Learning
the Misophonia is huge for me...
Yeah, misophonia is nasty. Ppl tend to think you're a drama queen when you get triggered and start bugging--no one can understand unless they have it themselves. And it's invisible (so you could be "faking" it, right?) I also have misokinesia, but at least closing your eyes is generally easier than stopping sound by closing your ears. Either way, though, fun-fun!
I completely understand the missed opportunities... I always felt like I was missing the Secret Handbook to Happiness or something... and always feeling shame because i knew I wasn't living up to other peoples expectations- they thought I was a total flake! I would try to counter act this with hypervigilance ... and then I was going through a burnout cycle. I was totally dysregulated.
Yep. I finally realized that a lot of my shame comes from ppl judging me based on the manifestation of CPTSD symptoms. They don't realize how little control I have over certain behaviors. To them, I'm at turns lazy, or careless, or stupid, or intolerant, or malingering, or oversensitive, or whatever (the list is long). I'm trying, people! Oh well.... The way ppl react to me seems to have contributed substantially to my depression. It becomes a vicious feedback loop.
You mention autoimmune issues-- The reason for this is the epigenetic response from trauma.... I guess the easiest ways to explain this is- Trauma memories are like a black cloud that are stored in the body not the mind... the cloud basically covers the cells of the body- and cuts them off from normal and natural function of the brain... the brain sees these cells as a threat- ( even though its the trauma that the threat) and attack those cells... which then " turn on" genetic markers of disease and things...
I'm not up on this literature (thanks). I hope it's ok for me to ask some questions (I may be going overboard here, so bear with me)

Are you saying that the methylation patterns triggered by traumatic events can actually flag cells for attack by our immune system? I'm envisioning trauma as triggering (de)methylation leading to up/down-regulating the transcription of certain genes, which then effect all kinds of trauma responses... So, for the cells to be attacked, could the changes in methylation patterns, e.g., upregulate genes whose proteins are on cell surfaces and present as antigens... or perhaps downregulate proteins that identify the cells as "self" (i.e., not foreign?)? Just trying to envision how this might work. Very interesting, at any rate.

Also, how might all of this fit in with neuroplasticity? For instance, is there an epigentic component to the development and strengthening of trauma-shaped neural pathways in a way that explains the psychological fallout from trauma? What about production of neurotransmitters/receptors? Is it possible that all our trauma symptoms, both somatic and psychologial, are ultimately mediated via epigenetics?

How much is known about how (and how effectively) various treatments may operate through epigenetic pathways? E.g., Psychedelics? Neurofeedback? EMDR? Somatic approaches (I guess you address this a little below)? TMS? Pharmaceuticals? Talk therapy?

Have you tried somatic therapies?
No, but I need ideas. What exact type(s) would you recommend?
and also with some self hypnosis--- sounds all whoowhoo -but if you go into dissociations, you are actually in a "trance state" its a form of hypnosis
I dissociate a lot. I'm interested in hypnosis, too. Where does one learn how to self-hypnotize?
Would you say that the Dissociation, physical symptoms - (chronic pain and autoimmune issues)- and insomnia are your biggest issues?
I'd say my somatic symptoms are less troubling than my psychological ones are, most of the time (i.e., when I'm not having a somatic flare-up). But yeah, dissociation has been very problematic, along with depression/shame/toxic ruminations, and insomnia. They all seem to be related: dissociation causes various types of dysfunction, which feeds into various types of shame, which feeds the involuntary depressive ruminations about how much of a reject/loser I am, and my brain is generally buzzing with this type of junk (or panicking about some assumed future catastrophe), which (in addition to my general somatic hyperarousal) leads to the insomnia
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
Hello, grooming csa survivor and adult rape survivor here. I’m afab but non-binary but still “look” like a woman.

Oof where to start. Because a lot of stuff happened during my school years and I also had a neglectful/abusive home life, I just felt like I never achieved how I “should’ve” I also had undiagnosed dyslexia which held me back. I have tried a few times to study as an adult but it always becomes too much for me.

I’m currently unemployed and on disability from my last attempt to study. If I had realised we would be studying triggering subjects I would have chosen a different course. I’ve done a lot of work to be less activated by triggers but constant triggers got the better of me. I had lost weight but since my downward spiral put on again. The person who groomed me made me believe we were “breaking up” when I was a child because I’d put on weight so now I feel like my safe zone is being overweight.

I do have a group of very close friends and a partner who I’ve been with for a long time. In my single days I never had a proper romantic relationship only hook ups and a lot of them. I honestly don’t trust men aside from my partner and some family I have literally no want for any men in my life. I have male acquaintances but I’ve been rather disappointed by cishet men. Now I know that’s a me issue and probably isn’t very healthy but I’ve got bigger symptoms/issues to fry atm.

I really struggled with dissociative symptoms but I think they’re more manageable (sometimes) now. What I cant get a handle on is executive dysfunction symptoms which maybe due to dissociative symptoms but I don’t know.

I’m in the uk and the mental health services are...not the greatest but I can’t work and afford to pay for therapy. It’s very frustrating because I know I could be a lot better but not without proper treatment.

Depression really kicks my arse on the regular. With that comes all the associated aches and pains. I’ve literally never found an antidepressant that does anything but make things worse. Anxiety is horrible but at least I can get out of bed and if it’s really bad I can take a diazepam while I get my coping skills into check.
 

RCReal

Learning
Ok there is a lot to unpack here and I really want to get to everything... but i may have to circle back on the shame and other symptoms- but this other stuff supersedes symptoms anyway...


YES its great to ask questions... I love it! if I can use my research to help people that's the whole point.., I'm not looking for lab rats ... I want to actually make real change in the world
Are you saying that the methylation patterns triggered by traumatic events can actually flag cells for attack by our immune system? I'm envisioning trauma as triggering (de)methylation leading to up/down-regulating the transcription of certain genes, which then effect all kinds of trauma responses... So, for the cells to be attacked, could the changes in methylation patterns, e.g., upregulate genes whose proteins are on cell surfaces and present as antigens... or perhaps downregulate proteins that identify the cells as "self" (i.e., not foreign?)? Just trying to envision how this might work. Very interesting, at any rate.

YES basically that's exactly what I'm saying.. I am not a geneticist, I stumbled on this correlation in my neuroscience and psych research actually - but so far has been the one answer to the dangling questions about trauma...
If you are into some light reading of research papers in the bathtub - here is a pretty good one that dives deeper to explain how this works probably better than I can..
my research is about how to functionally change epigenetics by way of psychology and neuroscience (so anyone can do it!)... I get flack by my collogues for not staying in my lane... but hey that's how history is made!!!


Also, how might all of this fit in with neuroplasticity? For instance, is there an epigenetic component to the development and strengthening of trauma-shaped neural pathways in a way that explains the psychological fallout from trauma?
Yes, its not super straightforward to explain without a lot of jargon but I will try.. ( I try really hard to keep things easy for people to understand on here) ... but you are totally on the right track with what you are thinking... So, we actually can inherit trauma from previous generations... ( yup you got it from your momma- or her mom... or even her mom.. and maybe even hers...) research suggests that this can go back like 4-5 generations... it's pretty crazy when you think about it... it has some crazy implications about social issues like generational poverty and racism, and psychological issues/ disorders like anxiety, depression, schizophrenia and what we all think are medical conditions like heart disease, Alzheimer's and autoimmune issues... and many many more things...
Basically we are top down/ bottom up beings- we are part nature and part nurture... right? - Let's say you never met you uncle Joe (He died before your were born)- but your mom says you have his same eyes... ok we believe that is genetics, and his same laugh, ok maybe also genetics, but what if you stick your tongue out the same exact way that he did when you tie your shoes... This is the neural pathway that is associated with epigenetics ... a specific behavior that could in no way be taught to us... but some how we inherited this behavior... So yes we are neuralgically programmed to have certain behaviors.. the psychological fall out you speak of is our conscious minds and unconscious ( our body) trying to make sense of what is happening on the cellular level... the information systems go both ways... it gets information from chemical experiences in the body... and tells the cells how to react... Ill come back to this below...

Also - Here is another real life example of how this really infiltrate's our lives... the Jim Twins...
What about production of neurotransmitters/receptors? Is it possible that all our trauma symptoms, both somatic and psychologial, are ultimately mediated via epigenetics?
YES but translated might be a better word?? (Technically-maybe not all - research is still going here) -But Basically This is exactly what I am saying.... Epigenetics IS the link between our DNA, and our thoughts, Feelings and actions... (this is a deep subject- i dont know if i can really fully explain this here...)
Ok so Epigenetics is literally a translator... we are born with it-it comes with our DNA- so part of it is NATURE,
however our lived experiences can modify and trigger changes the Epigenetic blanket over our DNA to change its translation and signal on a different DNA Markers - NURTURE
In other words it is plastic and can be modified from top down or bottom up... ( I think this is where you are going with this?)
Again trying to make this simple for everyone...
Neural pathways change constantly as we experience new things... but some neural pathways are like a deep rut... like water eroding the ground, the longer the water runs over the same spot, the deeper the rut... these are our repeated experiences- whether they are real or perceived ... ( like trauma memories) the mind doesn't know the difference between real or imagined, the original event, just a memory of the event, or a chemical surge similar to the event... it's why we can have visceral responses to thinking about a lemon for example...
The epigenetic response is the translation of experiences to trigger gene expression...the more often it gets the signal - ie from deep ruts- it is going to respond to say - "hey we need to change something in our DNA expression to stop this, because the rest of the systems in the body aren't doing it"... its the start button for evolution.... but it shows up as the body attacking itself... ( sort of a survival of the fittest - (which is actually not what Darwin said - he actually said something along the lines of "survival of the adapt-ist" - sorry tangent and almost irrelevant)

We get our DNA from our parents-- a combination of your mother and your fathers genome... but we also get our epigenetic translator too... so any of their experiences that were strong enough to turn on a genetic expression, we got that too... its a survival mechanism... then add in the nurture portion, ie the learned behaviors that your parents have based on their trauma... and double whammy... we inherit certain epigenetic translations that tell our brains to express certain chemicals based on certain situations... And then we create our own.

I know this is where i lose my fellow scientists... because people think its whoowhoo and not real science, maybe because they have seen too many Vegas hypnosis shows?? or it seems too simple? I don't know... I do not consider myself a spiritual person, I really am a curious scientist....

( Please note that many therapists and other professional often interchange unconscious and subconscious- i know and understand the Unconscious to be part of the active experience and is the Body - the subconscious to the neutral - un -feeling entity records all information without emotion.)
So if I haven't lost you yet let me try to explain it this way...

Our thoughts - the internal dialog that we speak- is actually understood by the Subconscious mind before we are even born and it starts recording everything...
when we are born ( or around then) our Conscious mind switches on, we begin to enhance this vocabulary with our experiences...
The thoughts we continue to think become beliefs... Sun= warm, snow = cold, we 'know' these things... and therefor this information is recorded by our subconscious mind and translated it to our UNconscious mind - which IS the BODY... This is where we experience emotions, feeling and creates behavior...
Memories of these experiences are just a cluster or collage of experiences with similar conditions that tell us what to do with the information. This is where the neural pathway is formed... the stronger the neural pathway the deeper the "rut" - so it becomes the path of least resistance... the more often we fire this neural pathway our epigenetic signals tell our DNA what to turn on and off... which type of cell to become etc.... Epigenetics keep score...
a Trauma memory is a collage of memories that is missing some information from the conscious and unconscious experience... basically you experienced new or heighten emotions or thoughts that were unlike anything you had experienced before, so there are holes in the collage... these trauma memories wait in the body for the rest of information to come along an fill in the banks so it can form a helpful neural pathway-so it can help inform you in the future as to what actions to respond with...
the rest of this information often doesn't come along for a while... so this incomplete collage sits, festering- it's literally chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline that hang out on the cells of your body... your epigenetics, sits on top of your DNA - which is inside the nucleus of the cells. It's watching from inside the bubble, and when the cortisol/ adrenaline black cloud covers the cell... your epigenetic observers watch, if it stays for too long, it starts switching on and off DNA markers - arming the cell to fight this enemy... cells fight from the inside and the brain feels the fight and cuts off that part of the body to protect itself.

Super good news - Epigenetic changes are totally reversible... it's malleable. there is no surgery or special medicine that can just target the trauma markers (yet) ... but if we can rise above our symptoms...( and I know this seems really hard for people who are crippled by the psychological and somatic responses.) and be deliberate with specific thoughts, and actions, we can re-wire new neural pathways, based on perceived experiences.... then once we have control of the language of the subconscious, we can then fill in the gaps of the memory collage... and release the black cloud over the cells... and then we can over-write the misfired epigenetic signals... This is some serious mind over matter kind of stuff...and where for me- hypnosis comes in.

My cousin is an illusionist by trade... and I knew some of her magic friends, so I was already open to and intrigued by hypnosis... and at first I thought it would just help me dissociate and numb what I was feeling- or that I could make the nightmares and flashbacks stop... but it was so much more than that...
I am now certified in hypnotherapy - ( I cannot treat you via this forum, and I don't feel comfortable sharing inductions in the public side of the forum because of the nature of the space... however I can totally get you pointed in the right direction after I get a little more info from you if you don't mind chatting via private massage :) )

I also worked with somatic body workers... Trauma informed massage therapist and physical therapists, who I spent nearly a year with, learning to walk again and correct neurological damage... Working with these body workers, sometimes I would cry out of the blue with just a simple touch on the small of my back.... I wouldn't be feeling overwhelming emotions, but I would have the physical symptoms of the emotions...it was a bit out of body ... I learned how to literally turn this on and off, then I learned how to turn on and off my pain ... my doctors would constantly tell me I shouldn't be able to do that... eventually they helped me release the trauma from my body..
Also, I worked with a therapist on some EMDR-- which I also recommend to help curb the symptoms -and allow you to get into a trance state more deeply so you can work on the neural pathways without the annoying distraction of anxiety and pain...

( you can read my welcome story for the details of what I went through- but basically I struggled with Complex Post Traumatic stress for 30+ years from childhood sexual abuse, and then my learned behaviors and epigenetic triggers actually programmed me to walk right into a totally unrelated s#!T storm... I was kidnapped, repeatedly beaten and raped and ultimately survived attempted murder....) I knew that it was not a coincidence that I kept experiencing traumatic events... I wasn't just unlucky.... or doomed... In my teen and early 20's I actually witnessed several accidents and even pulled a person out of a burning car- it was like I was still programmed to find trauma... but for a while I was on the other side of it where I was actually helping people...this period of time is when I was also experiencing the fewest or almost NONE of my PTS symptoms... ) I knew that there was something to it... and people tell my things like " it's gods plan for you" wasn't sitting well... so I put my hypervigilance to work and decided to go for my masters to understand what I had done for myself and how I can help others do this... I opened up a can of worms for sure... but it's all good stuff... that I know will someday help others who are struggling!
If any of this resonates with you- I hope it helps... I am sure that dealing with the autoimmune issues on top of the psychological symptoms feels like a lot to handle.... but I encourage you to keep chasing your curiosity... please let me know if you have any other questions ...


I'd say my somatic symptoms are less troubling than my psychological ones are, most of the time (i.e., when I'm not having a somatic flare-up). But yeah, dissociation has been very problematic, along with depression/shame/toxic ruminations, and insomnia. They all seem to be related: dissociation causes various types of dysfunction, which feeds into various types of shame, which feeds the involuntary depressive ruminations about how much of a reject/loser I am, and my brain is generally buzzing with this type of junk (or panicking about some assumed future catastrophe), which (in addition to my general somatic hyperarousal) leads to the insomnia
Ok and lastly - I actually want to chat with you more about this... may I message you directly and ask for some more specific details about what these experiences look like. ?

Thanks again for your help!
 

Elsewhere

Learning
Ok and lastly - I actually want to chat with you more about this... may I message you directly and ask for some more specific details about what these experiences look like. ?

Thanks again for your help!
Thank you for the additional information. It will take a bit to digest it all.

Yes, by all means, feel free to message me when convenient.
 

RCReal

Learning
Thank you for the additional information. It will take a bit to digest it all.

Yes, by all means, feel free to message me when convenient.
Yes I imagine it will take a bit... I know I threw a lot at you there...
I tried to condense some key points, but PhD students aren't know for brevity :)
Thanks! I will reach out directly with some questions in the next day or so :)

Hello, grooming csa survivor and adult rape survivor here. I’m afab but non-binary but still “look” like a woman.

Oof where to start. Because a lot of stuff happened during my school years and I also had a neglectful/abusive home life, I just felt like I never achieved how I “should’ve” I also had undiagnosed dyslexia which held me back. I have tried a few times to study as an adult but it always becomes too much for me.
Thank you for sharing with me. It will be helpful to my research...
Yes, most survivors also struggle with shame. Shame what we feel when we don't live up to other peoples expectations of us ... and Guilt is what we feel when we don't live up to our own expectations. Often times feeling shame about one thing actually conditions us to feel shame about most things we do.
(Its also interesting that you have dyslexia- I have never studied the correlation - however I was also undiagnosed dyslexic and struggled to with spelling and reading quite a bit in school finally diagnosed in High school- I don't' seem to struggle with this anymore after learning a second language... I do not know if this is correlated with trauma specifically - however I do know of other survivors who have issues with dyslexia... I did some research once on why my dyslexia would dissipate after learning a second language... there may be a psycho-somatic response to not wanting to see what I saw... but now I am more curious to look into this more...) Thank you for sharing.
I’m currently unemployed and on disability from my last attempt to study. If I had realized we would be studying triggering subjects I would have chosen a different course. I’ve done a lot of work to be less activated by triggers but constant triggers got the better of me.
I know you mention that therapy isn't affordable to you... I might suggest that you look into self induced EMDR... This practice is most effective when guided by a therapist... however you can do this yourself... there are several videos on YouTube that prompt you. This may help lesson the trigger effect you are feeling so that you might concentrate longer without the symptoms disrupting you.
I had lost weight but since my downward spiral put on again. The person who groomed me made me believe we were “breaking up” when I was a child because I’d put on weight so now I feel like my safe zone is being overweight.
YES... Weight is defiantly trauma driven...2 reasons... our bodies literally stop metabolism function in heighten stress, and we also psychosocially speaking -we feel safe with the extra weight because it repels our abuser. You are not alone in this.
I do have a group of very close friends and a partner who I’ve been with for a long time. In my single days I never had a proper romantic relationship only hook ups and a lot of them. I honestly don’t trust men aside from my partner and some family I have literally no want for any men in my life. I have male acquaintances but I’ve been rather disappointed by cishet men. Now I know that’s a me issue and probably isn’t very healthy but I’ve got bigger symptoms/issues to fry atm.
Kids who experience abuse don't stop loving their abuser, they stop loving themselves...which makes trusting others very difficult. This makes perfect sense to me.

I have not had much experience with the psychology/biology of non-binary and how you may experience trauma differently, however- this is not just a "you issue" .. yes we all have to own it so to speak... what we experienced is not our fault, however as survivors we all realize that it is our problem... my problems are mine, but your problems are mine too... if we are able to share these experiences with others it helps everyone... ( sorry if hat was a little too sappy for a research topic- but it's true... :)
I really struggled with dissociative symptoms but I think they’re more manageable (sometimes) now. What I cant get a handle on is executive dysfunction symptoms which maybe due to dissociative symptoms but I don’t know.

Can you tell me a little more about Executive Dysfunctions - how is this showing up in your life- could you give me an example?

I’m in the uk and the mental health services are...not the greatest but I can’t work and afford to pay for therapy. It’s very frustrating because I know I could be a lot better but not without proper treatment.

Depression really kicks my arse on the regular. With that comes all the associated aches and pains.
Yes this is also common and kind of a catch 22... it's not a lack of motivation.. its pure emotional exhaustion... it sounds to me like you might benefit from some somatic therapy... obviously best done with a therapist - however there are some great free resources on Youtube... look up Somatic Yoga or somatic release... You don't have to be like a yogi guru or anything... and even if you can't do all of the moves... just getting your body reconnected with the brain to help it function more in tune might help you get back on your feet :)



I’ve literally never found an antidepressant that does anything but make things worse.
Yes... I cannot diagnose you here at all.. however your symptoms may be showing up like depression, however if depression meds aren't helping, it may not actually be depression... depression is often a diagnosis, and for some this maybe true- however many times something that looks like depression shows up as a symptom of trauma stress... there are subtle nuances that only a psychiatrist can diagnose... maybe speak with your Dr about this...
Anxiety is horrible but at least I can get out of bed and if it’s really bad I can take a diazepam while I get my coping skills into check.
I strongly encourage anyone who is struggling with the debilitating symptoms of trauma to not only seek help for their symptoms ( anxiety depression, chronic pains disease etc... but also be working towards releasing the trauma memories that are causing the symptoms...


Thanks so much for sharing with me. It have definitely made me consider some things I hadn't thought of. I hope that you are able to find some relief an please let me know if you have any other questions :)
 

Sideways

Sponsor
Please bear with me - I'm not scientist! I've been reading along because I find the concept of inherited trauma responses really interesting. Although, I'm not sure that resolving ptsd by creating new neural pathways is a particularly new concept (isn't that how they came up with using TMS for psychiatric treatment? I'm probably wrong there)...

One of the problems we get with sooooo much research in this area is researchers using really small sample groups, often biased in favour of their hypothesis. It's a cause of huge frustration for me personally because of the limited amount of research on using SDs for psychiatric conditions other than ptsd (my issue, not yours!).

But it happens across the board - people come to research with an idea, then seek to prove it. And obviously there's confirmation bias in the way they set about proving it, and you end up with the kind of issues that we currently have with the narrow focus of psychiatry towards the issues and solutions for the population of the world who can afford psychiatric care, rather than actually looking more broadly at the human brain and how it works across the whole range of human experiences...bygones! My issue!

Anyway, what I'm thinking when I read your posts is a lot of confirmation bias. For example, if you want to see the difference between post traumatic stress, and inherited trauma reactions v's not-inherited trauma reactions, and you really wanted to differentiate between the 2 and find out for sure if your theory is right (or, to what extent it's right, because I suspect like all things related to human brains, epigenetics is a part of a much more complex picture), looking at a sample of people who have ptsd as a result of trauma arising in an interpersonal relationship would seem to me to be inherently problematic.

If you really wanted to test your theories, wouldn't you instead be more interested in a sample where the trauma responses are very clearly not inherited? Combat truama springs to mind as an obvious example, because it's reasonably simple to differentiate between people who have/have not got a family history of military service. For those who don't? Clearly the impact of their trauma is their own - it's not inherited, and it wasn't taught to them during their childhood. And you can much more easily define the traumatic experiences giving rise to their ptsd. And where/when in their life their ptsd started, as well as how it's changed their ability to function in their community (because you can compare post-combat ptsd, with pre-combat function).

That's going to be much harder (at least, in my very unscientific mind) if you were to use someone like me in your study. Because yes, I have some very clearly defined Criteria A traumas, but then I also have the early childhood, blurrier psychological and physical abuse from a dysfunctional family, and some of that is Crit A stuff, and some isn't, and it all gets blurry really quick. Nature and nurture can't be easily separated because there is no pre-trauma (or more relevantly, pre-disorder) version of me.

The potential side benefit for you from that approach (and not necessarily combat trauma - you could use any similar unusual traumatic stressor, like trauma among prisoners from experiences in incarceration) is that I think it would help distinguish for you in your mind the difference between a post traumatic stress responses, and post traumatic stress disorder.

Because there's a big difference. It's normal for people to have reactions to traumatic experiences. It's normal for people's brains to rewire themselves in response to significant and unusual (particularly traumatic) events. From my own experience spending time 'living' (cough! It's complicated!) with a group of combat trauma vets, and a group of child abuse trauma patients, is that the first group? There's a much clearer line as to where the trauma started, specifically where the disorder part of their condition started. Because it didn't start in the murky, complex world of unhealthy childhood relationships.

A combat vet who gets triggered by fireworks because they sound and smell like gunfire (and I mean triggered in an "Amygdala has hijacked the brain" way, not a "that stressed me out" way) for example - it's not a trigger they bad before their service, it's not a trigger they've inherited if they have no family history of service, and you can ask "Did you like fireworks before combat?".

From a research perspective, that's a nice, clear, non-inherited example of traumatic response, that clearly doesn't come from nature or childhood nurture, and that becomes a disorder when it prevents having a functioning place in their society. To me, that's a much clearer ptsd sample to test theories about resiring inherited and non-inherited trauma responses than taking someone like me, who has a complicated history of interpersonal traumas, some criteria A, some not, stretching back their whole life?

I mean, I was high functioning for most of my life, despite childhood trauma. And my parents both had their own versions of childhood trauma (who doesn't!?). Childhoor trauma defines our self-concept from day 1 of our life, and can't easily be distinguished from trauma responses that I would have inherited anyway through my parents' dysfunctional genes or the dysfunctional way they raised me! That's something that seems to me will always be present, and will always muddy the waters, if you focus only on interpersonal type traumatic events...
 
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RCReal

Learning
I appreciate your feedback and I can see where you are coming from... to be clear I am not actively engaged in any research studies at the moment this thread was started for me to connect with real people who are suffering with trauma related symptoms, not just a prescreened group in order to help me choose what I want to explore further in my dissertation. The previous response you have read regarding epigenetics etc.. is related to the original thread but a bit of a tangent based on some questions asked of another user- who to add more confusion, started on a different thread.... sorry if this led you down a rabbit hole.

Please bear with me - I'm not scientist! I've been reading along because I find the concept of inherited trauma responses really interesting. Although, I'm not sure that resolving ptsd by creating new neural pathways is a particularly new concept (isn't that how they came up with using TMS for psychiatric treatment? I'm probably wrong there)...

One of the problems we get with sooooo much research in this area is researchers using really small sample groups, often biased in favour of their hypothesis. It's a cause of huge frustration for me personally because of the limited amount of research on using SDs for psychiatric conditions other than ptsd (my issue, not yours!).

But it happens across the board - people come to research with an idea, then seek to prove it. And obviously there's confirmation bias in the way they set about proving it, and you end up with the kind of issues that we currently have with the narrow focus of psychiatry towards the issues and solutions for the population of the world who can afford psychiatric care, rather than actually looking more broadly at the human brain and how it works across the whole range of human experiences...bygones! My issue!
There is a lot here - and you're not wrong, confirmation bias is unfortunately the entirety of research... double blind studies help to combat this... but yes the entire scientific method is flawed in the sense that you hypothesize something and either work to prove or disprove it... you set your mind to seek evidence to support your beliefs... Ironically (or not so much) everyone - trauma survivor or not- does this in our daily lives... we think and act and look for evidence to support our beliefs about the world around us- and we live experiences that are aligned with these beliefs. This is where my research is leading me... to determine if these 'beliefs' are psychologically derivative or if they can actually be programmed onto ones DNA....

Anyway, what I'm thinking when I read your posts is a lot of confirmation bias. For example, if you want to see the difference between post traumatic stress, and inherited trauma reactions v's not-inherited trauma reactions, and you really wanted to differentiate between the 2 and find out for sure if your theory is right (or, to what extent it's right, because I suspect like all things related to human brains, epigenetics is a part of a much more complex picture), looking at a sample of people who have ptsd as a result of trauma arising in an interpersonal relationship would seem to me to be inherently problematic.

If you really wanted to test your theories, wouldn't you instead be more interested in a sample where the trauma responses are very clearly not inherited? Combat truama springs to mind as an obvious example, because it's reasonably simple to differentiate between people who have/have not got a family history of military service. For those who don't? Clearly the impact of their trauma is their own - it's not inherited, and it wasn't taught to them during their childhood. And you can much more easily define the traumatic experiences giving rise to their ptsd. And where/when in their life their ptsd started, as well as how it's changed their ability to function in their community (because you can compare post-combat ptsd, with pre-combat function).
If that is what I was looking to research yes- this potentially would be a good example- However as you later point out the unlikelihood of finding these subject... although every human does inherit epigenetic traits, and it would be near impossible to completely identify 5 generations of know or unknown trauma-- for a few reason- the obvious- that records wouldn't be that thorough... for example up to 60% of women today do not report a rape/ assault ... and that's with massive women's empowerment movements- 30-50-100 years ago the numbers would be far less. Also another reason this is impossible to differentiate... is that a 10 for me on the "how traumatizing was that event " scale, could be a 5 for you... this could cause issues both ways....

That's going to be much harder (at least, in my very unscientific mind) if you were to use someone like me in your study. Because yes, I have some very clearly defined Criteria A traumas, but then I also have the early childhood, blurrier psychological and physical abuse from a dysfunctional family, and some of that is Crit A stuff, and some isn't, and it all gets blurry really quick. Nature and nurture can't be easily separated because there is no pre-trauma (or more relevantly, pre-disorder) version of me.
This is exactly my point... there is no way to separate nature vs nurture... you may have combat related Post traumatic Stress, however would those experiences resulted in such a strong stress response if you did not have your adverse childhood experiences... and would you have had these experiences if your parents(?- not sure the specifics of your abuse) didn't also experience 'trauma' or dysfunction in their childhood--- this is why I am trying to actually study a deep understanding of a broad concept... instead of a broad understanding of a specific and deep concept...


The potential side benefit for you from that approach (and not necessarily combat trauma - you could use any similar unusual traumatic stressor, like trauma among prisoners from experiences in incarceration) is that I think it would help distinguish for you in your mind the difference between a post traumatic stress responses, and post traumatic stress disorder.

Because there's a big difference. It's normal for people to have reactions to traumatic experiences. It's normal for people's brains to rewire themselves in response to significant and unusual (particularly traumatic) events. From my own experience spending time 'living' (cough! It's complicated!) with a group of combat trauma vets, and a group of child abuse trauma patients, is that the first group? There's a much clearer line as to where the trauma started, specifically where the disorder part of their condition started. Because it didn't start in the murky, complex world of unhealthy childhood relationships.
( Side note My beliefs- may not be widely accepted- however they have served me quite well in my recovery) - I actually do not subscribe to the D in PTSD... the symptoms people experience after a traumatic event are disturbing and uncomfortable! I will totally agree with this because I too experienced them- but the are not a disorder, they are normal... we don't like them, because they suck and we inherently want more pleasure less pain... I actually have experienced that the idea of labeling myself with a disorder offered some relief because it explained that what I was going through had a name and it was real... it was validating... and eventually I got to a breaking point and came to a deeper understanding that the label that had brought me relief, actually began to be one of the major things holding me back... Not only because of the stigmatizing effect, but also because I began to understand the profound effect that language - especially our internal dialog has on the actual physical responses of the body... This is my experience... I don't want to offend anyone who is struggling... ( also I am not saying that changing one's beliefs is an easy thing to do... but neither is living with the symptoms either...)

I don't know it this thread is exactly the right place for this as its not exactly research specific but if it can help someone then here goes... I do not know you or anyone's circumstances or choices, life styles, but something you mention here reminded me of something that made a huge difference in my recovery process. Please know that I am not suggesting anything nor do i intend to offend you if this doesn't apply... You mention living with trauma survivors combat and child abuse.... I actually did this as well ( DV survivors...) also did some group therapy... this was again validating and helpful for a while, however I also got to a point where I felt like i was on the verge of something... and then i would fall back down again... this happened a few times for me... I finally decided to step away from others who were struggling... this felt weird at first because I shamed myself for abandoning them... and I missed them because they were my support system... however I made a conscious effort to find a new support system of people who more closely represented the person I was trying to become... The other women I was spending time with were great people, however I realized that their beliefs and world view was affecting my mine... its a weird phenomena of assimilation ... eventually my guilt of leaving the group got to me, but now i go back a volunteer with this group and know that it was a 'secure my own oxygen mask' thing... I have never been in the military but I understand their is a "brotherhood" that may play differently into this situation. I hope that is well received ... and I don't know if you will find it helpful -- or maybe someone else will... even though it's way off topic of the original thread :)
Thanks again for your thoughts... I appreciate an objective point of view :)
 

Sideways

Sponsor
I hope that is well received ... and I don't know if you will find it helpful
Yeah, no worries. I go in and out of group therapy settings, depending on the group and content, and depending on where I am with my symptoms. I definitely think it's healthy to consider yourself as having graduated from group therapy if you reached a point where defining and participating more in your own life became more realistic for you:)
 

NoWhereKnowWhere

MyPTSD Pro
might suggest that you look into self induced EMDR...
Hahaha that’s awful advice. Literally terrible.
Can you tell me a little more about Executive Dysfunctions - how is this showing up in your life- could you give me an example?
Memory issues. Misplacing literally everything. Really struggling to stay focused and retain information. Etc.
some somatic therapy... obviously best done with a therapist -
I have done some on my own.
Yes... I cannot diagnose you here at all.. however your symptoms may be showing up like depression, however if depression meds aren't helping, it may not actually be depression... depression is often a diagnosis, and for some this maybe true- however many times something that looks like depression shows up as a symptom of trauma stress...
I have MDD as well as ptsd.
strongly encourage anyone who is struggling with the debilitating symptoms of trauma to not only seek help for their symptoms ( anxiety depression, chronic pains disease etc... but also be working towards releasing the trauma memories that are causing the symptoms...
Erm thanks. I just came here to answer some of your questions really didn’t need nor want advice from you. You probably shouldn’t be giving advice (ethics).

I’ve done trauma work with a clinical psychologist that didn’t go great and I ended up hospitalised. You telling me to do self induced emdr is not ok. I know you don’t know me or my story that’s all the more reason to maybe not offer unsolicited and bad advice.
 

Friday

Moderator
I haven’t responded, as I don’t fit the criteria you’re looking for... but did want to hit this, real quick:
.. you may have combat related Post traumatic Stress, however would those experiences resulted in such a strong stress response if you did not have your adverse childhood experiences... and would you have had these experiences if your parents(?
Word to the wise.... it’s been consistently disproven than childhood trauma MUST exist for PTSD to form later in life from things like combat, rape, car accidents, terror attacks, kidnap&ransom, mountain climbing accidents, domestic violence, etc. Regardless of what anyone’s childhood was like? A person has about a 20% of chance of developing PTSD when they live through trauma as an adult.

The US Military, in particular, keeps funding studies attempting to prove otherwise, but they keep getting the same results over and over and over.

As you’re studying repetition in trauma patterns from childhood to adulthood, naturally your focus is on people who have both childhood trauma & adult trauma... but I would be very careful in accidently conflating those results -with very narrow focus- to PTSD at large. Adults with no prior trauma history can experience trauma, or complex trauma, and develop PTSD. (And CPTSD. But just like trauma PTSD, Complex Trauma CPTSD).
 
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