There has to be a name for this...

grit

Not Active
Hi everyone,

Happy New Year!

I wonder about something that came back for me in therapy *again*.

I have this strong "belief" or "feel" cannot tell truly it is like wet skin but here it goes:

- The worst thing that could have happened to me happened already so what could I possibly be stressed out about today?

What is the name of this phenomenon in the psychology jargons or layperson's call in t-spheres.

I feel this may have something to do with the PTSD-cup but not sure and it is not ringing for me.

I am often not high strung on everyday's casual slights but when I feel triggered, the thing that gets triggered down there in the belly feels like a rock. So whenever I recover, I can always see the every day stress that "triggered me" but it is never as big or scary as the memory I attach to it in the past and I feel like...wtf. My body memories are much bigger than any stress I could have today. Also in all fairness perhaps I do not have much stress but I do normal level of anxiety.

Not sure I am wording this right so please ask for clarifications. Just wondering if anyone else has similar experience and provide me with some education about nothing is ever as big as the memory of my body!

Much appreciated your thoughts.
 

Friday

Moderator
- The worst thing that could have happened to me happened already so what could I possibly be stressed out about today?

What is the name of this phenomenon in the psychology jargons or layperson's call in t-spheres.
Depending on how it manifests?

Layperson
- I’ve had worse
- You just be at least this tall to ride this ride
- Not even on my radar
- Beating myself up
- Balking &/or wearing blinders
- Willful ignorance
- Right sizing / putting things in perspective -or- Minimizing
- Dismissive
- Pollyanna (refusal to see the bad, or give it any weight)

Psychbabble
- Minimizing
- Dissociating
- Denial
- Critical lack of self awareness
- Poor situational awareness
- a few others that are on the tip of my tongue that I just can’t remember right now

Cognitive Distortions
- Disqualifying the positive/negative (why XYZ “doesn’t count”)
- All or nothing thinking (if it’s not THIS, it’s nothing)
- Mental filter (pick a single detail and focus on it so exclusively nothing else matters / it colors everything else)
 

grit

Not Active
I’ve had worse
I never use this term but probably think of it though...or maybe act as if
Dismissive
I take my dismissive positively like cannot be bothered by this or that but I can see it covering my eyes!
Dissociating
Nothing to add here - my cousin Vinnie!
Poor situational awareness
I am surprised to resonate with this but maybe I put this under my dismissive when in dismissive mode!
- Minimizing
I would say I probably "minimize" my present issues (though again I cannot say honestly they are huge) but in comparison (and this could be the problem why am I comparing to the past so much - pssst traummamaa) and that may cause me minimizing unconsciously and so unnecessary.
Mental filter
This one is interesting to me again - words do have power! I do get stuck on words, phrases sometimes and lose my mind!

These make really sense to me. Thanks @Friday.

I am not so much gullible (my tiny defense here) but but only when I am triggered and then recover, it feels like what triggered me was not as big deal as what was triggered which could have been tsunami for a child.

I feel like I am still a child living in a adult body and so often my little body is more important than my adult comrade.

I hope this is another awakening.

Thank you so much.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I'm not sure if I have ever had the same experience as this. The heaviness of my traumatic past doesn't cause me to minimize my current stresses. If I ever care to think about it explicitly, I usually feel that the depth of my trauma helps to ground me. Nothing that can happen to me now is ever going to be as bad as my past, and I experience that as a really good perspective to have. For example, a colleague trying to sabotage me on the one hand will trigger me, but on the other hand, once I get a grip on the initial flight/fight response, I have another side of me that scoffs at the pettiness - 'You think that's going to hurt me? lol.' But that other part that does get triggered can put me into a tail spin. But if I understand you correctly, you were wondering about how the traumatic core plays a role in diminishing current stresses, and I would say that the awareness of my trauma helps me and does not further add to any current stresses by diminishing the experience.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I think it is healthy to put current things against the context of the past for perspective. Though I must say I experience the opposite, as I know there can be worse, and everything is fair game (no just world theory), and worse when it wasn't expected. Also perhaps recognizing I (personally) wouldn't call myself 'recovered' from the past (just standing, and even then sometimes sort-of), or not strong enough to deal with more or the consequences of it in the present, and the losses accumulate. So maybe all but the latter is affected by beliefs, +/or energy, +/or strength?
 

Renly

Confident
So whenever I recover, I can always see the every day stress that "triggered me" but it is never as big or scary as the memory I attach to it in the past and I feel like...wtf.
Are you always able to figure out the past memory attached? 9 times out of 10 I cannot…so it’s super frustrating. All I have is the everyday stress that triggered me ☹️ It makes me feel confused and hopeless. When I CAN attach a past memory it makes me feel way better because then I feel less “crazy” and can begin to work on the actual issues instead of feeling stuck in a “chaotic present” that there’s no real reason for.
 

grit

Not Active
@Renly

Yes I can often make the connection using my own words that I seem to utter in therapy unconsciously and make sense of it. I want to say we are all different and have different traumas that are manifested differently in our adult lives so please take this with grain of salt and note its ultimate subjectivity.

One time as I was "crying" in therapy about the amount of fear I have in my body that makes absolutely no sense for what is happening in the real life - my current present life - my biggest problem is finding a tenant for my condo (which also I can afford to keep it empty for few months a year) - other words, every day stress but not earth shattering one. I feel safe, loved and supported but yet here I was "crying" about the imminent fear in my body and losing my body. I used words and phrases that only made sense to me and my history such as "nose to nose" or "not being weaned properly in order to accommodate a new sibling" and "why is it I can clearly see with my mind that my body is out of control" and "this is definitely ptsd symptom so seems to me from the past - a real body memory" ironically I also used the words "this feeling is like life and death - earth shattering" etc.

I write down what I can remember from every session right after. Then I focus on the words and the context and try to make a sense as if I am the therapist to my inner child.
By this session, I could tell I was very young age, pre-verbal, and my mind though present and adult like (felt weaker to understand) so then it was a real body memory before I develop my mind and definitely I had serious issue during weaning. I am just putting my own unconscious into story and as I do my body tension lessens cause it feels I feel and heard and understand. All of sudden, after I realized I never learned how to feel my own senses during that formative time when a baby needs a person to play with look at your ear, eyes, mouth and cheeks! so I realized wow! here I am for the first time learning my body is machine that shows all its workings in tensions, discomfort, air moving inside, pain here and there and longer I ignored the worst it gets and all of sudden a real peace of the body and mind overcame me.

I realize I either over focus on every little discomfort of body sensation like a baby and cry out like I did when I do not get it. or I dissociate from it until I am completely in real pain and then wonder when did this start....both were my symptoms of ptsd - body memory - implicit memory. and this is what the therapist hears and tries to tell me back in more meaningful way.

I always love and respected my body but this time I actually felt the love and respect of my body when I listened its little tension (like a baby) and responded to I really love my body is telling me that I feel tired, hungry, sad, ridiculously happy when I realize - I knew my sensation as adult but not as a baby.

Of course it took long time to unthaw the frozen hearing sense in the first place. From what I heard from other people, sometimes some people do not hear or see due to the trauma while triggered...I was one of those people. Now my senses are working, I can hear, observe, listen, and almost make my own interpretation better than the therapist cause I have more access to the body to see a real release of tension. In fact, I am finding the therapist talk now almost distracts me. But I promised myself to stay in therapy for 5 or so years so I am staying for a while.

Like I said this is my own experience and processing. We are all different and for the record, I am not dealing with attachment issues - this can add a real layer much deeper work. I am more dealing with dissociation that is sort of like a curtain, covers one thing while another is functioning fine.
 

grit

Not Active
@PreciousChild

I see what you are saying and if I understand it correctly I think what you are describing in the example can have greater repercussions in intimate and adult relationship if it is not processed with the past and present issues and make a sense of it. To me, this may create a tit for tat or competition in relationship where it becomes who can put up with more shit at any given time.

What I was struggling was in all fairness, I am not at the moment in struggle of relationships but more about external - looking for a tenant, doing school, doing a good job and hopefully getting a perm job etc. but yet in therapy, I find often I completely fall back into the past - pure post trauma and I was trying to break this damn chain.

For example, a colleague trying to sabotage me on the one hand will trigger me, but on the other hand, once I get a grip on the initial flight/fight response, I have another side of me that scoffs at the pettiness - 'You think that's going to hurt me? lol.'

I am trying to learn how to move from the past since its benefits are ingrained in me now, I need to leave the rest of it there temporally where it belongs and thank you for giving me another version that I did not even consider and this example even makes me open my eyes as if I do this sometimes too.
 

grit

Not Active
@Rosebud
I wonder if you are saying the same thing as PreciousChild. I never thought of my trauma as an entity until I hit the therapy trail and completely and utterly fell from grace of dissociation. So now I am in the process of understanding and trying to get back to the present. I literally became between 0 to 5yrs old for the past 5yrs in therapy every single time. I will leave a session and depending on the topic, will come back to normal baseline - the longer therapy went though the weirder it got and now I feel perhaps there is a sweet spot in therapy where it is good to take what learned and move on rather than be an open wound forever.

My childhood trauma is 18yrs long of cruelty by my mother and few others who molested me. I cannot find anything worthwhile in it but yet I cannt discount the love given to me now in my life. The reason I did not focus or wanted to leave it to the past is cause I was too old to be abused as I did - it is not distant memory as it is purely a real memory. I completely and utterly fell into terror of my parents for a long sustained time. at 18, I got up one day and left and never look back.

I think what I am learning is that if I am thinking correctly, some of us see the trauma as gaining strength and do not want to let it go because of fear of what else may fill the gap. Where I feel it is my weak and unhealthy parts and I want to acknowledge but ultimately move on and focus on love and support I have.

I did not expect this conversation and wonder if I am even understanding it fully. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
 

Rosebud

MyPTSD Pro
I think what I am learning is that if I am thinking correctly, some of us see the trauma as gaining strength and do not want to let it go because of fear of what else may fill the gap. Where I feel it is my weak and unhealthy parts and I want to acknowledge but ultimately move on and focus on love and support I have.
I don't want to focus on past traumas, only the present and ideally anything positive within it. But I can't say the past doesn't interfere when I'd rather it didn't. But I seem to have very little choice in that matter. The only choice I have is my interpretation, response and thoughts about it. It does use up a lot of energy (spoon theory) though, and I can't say it's painless or not fear-inducing. But everything takes skills or tools, practise and even support, I suppose.

Good luck to you @grit . I don't think having a sense of courage or peacefulness or strength or gratitude need be apologized for. If it's simply denial it won't last forever, but if it's healing or growth it will. And a lot of that will be helped along by your choices. 🤗
 

grit

Not Active
I don't want to focus on past traumas, only the present and ideally anything positive within it. But I can't say the past doesn't interfere when I'd rather it didn't. But I seem to have very little choice in that matter. The only choice I have is my interpretation, response and thoughts about it. It does use up a lot of energy (spoon theory) though, and I can't say it's painless or not fear-inducing. But everything takes skills or tools, practise and even support, I suppose.

Good luck to you @grit . I don't think having a sense of courage or peacefulness or strength or gratitude need be apologized for. If it's simply denial it won't last forever, but if it's healing or growth it will. And a lot of that will be helped along by your choices. 🤗
It feels absolutely amazing to be understood and be heard. Thank you @Rosebud for giving me this feeling today. It is as if I really needed it.
 
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