Thursday, November 24, 2022

Sometimes Family is Hard


No lie: family knows how to push our buttons because they installed them.

If you are spending the Thanksgiving holiday with your family of origin and feeling a little cagey, you are not alone. Rather than hit you with a long post, I want to encourage you to engage in self-care today. This may look like taking a walk outside, going to a movie, engaging in some guided meditation - or even choosing to go home early from your family visit.

Healthy boundaries make healthy relationships, and we deserve to be loved, honored, respected, and valued.

How are you handling family drama during this holiday season? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****


Holidays, especially with family, can be hard. We hope this helps. Pick up your copy of Acknowledge & Heal: A Women-Focused Guide to PTSD and The Soldier's Guide to PTSD at a deeply discounted price  Black Friday through Cyber Monday over on Amazon!

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Friday, November 18, 2022

Holidays are Hard: Narcissistic Caregivers and Trauma

Children affected by narcissistic parents or caregivers are often subjected to years of emotional manipulation, neglect, and abuse which goes unnoticed by outsiders. These children are often not even aware of the abuse they are experiencing until it manifest later in life as difficult to diagnose mental health issues. 

But before we can understand how the narcissistic caregiver abuses a child, we must first understand what narcissism is and how the disorder presents. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a psychological personality disorder, defined by The DSM-5, characterized by an inflated sense of one’s own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. 

Because we’re not diagnosing anyone in this blog, we won’t go into the lengthy definition of this disorder. What we want to focus on, however, are the key traits, because they do an excellent job illustrating how this disorder applies to the abuse that narcissistic caregivers can cause children. 

·         Lack Of Empathy

This is probably the single biggest defining trait of a narcissist. The inability to identify with and/or unwillingness recognize the experiences and feelings of other people.

In other words. The narcissist neither cares nor wants to understand how other people feel.

·         Grandiose Sense Of Self-Importance

These people exaggerate accomplishments, talents, connections, and experiences. These do not have to be actual experiences.

Grandiose people often have a preoccupation with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. They live in a fantasy world of their own creation. One where they are the center of attention and the most important person.

This belief they are unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions bleeds into their everyday interactions with the real world.

·         Need For Excessive Admiration

These people are often covering for some deep emotional wound, and in order to avoid the pain of it, they constantly need praise and approval to keep their spirits up. With this trait, the person with NPD will surround themselves with others who constantly boost their ego. They do not; however, reciprocate.

·         Sense Of Entitlement

Living in a fantasy world of their own imagining, these people consider themselves to be special and act accordingly. They expect favorable treatment. Those who do not meet their expectations are treated with aggression and outrage.

·         Exploitative Behavior

The need for admiration, coupled with the sense of entitlement, and their inability to empathize with others, means the person with NPD will only surround themselves with people who do and say what they want. This becomes their standard. Their circle exists to serve them, and they do not think twice about using their people to get what they want.

·         Envious Of Others

Narcissists feel threatened whenever they encounter someone who appears to have something they lack - confidence, popularity, better looks, or possess skills they do not. Their defense mechanism is contempt. They may patronize or dismiss the value of others whom they are secretly envious of. Or they attack with insults, bullying, or other forms of character assassination to neutralize the threat.

Children exposed to complex trauma, especially when originating from someone they know and trust, is a risk factor for nearly all behavioral health and substance use disorders. The impact of childhood trauma, whether single instances or long-term abuse carries impacts that can last well beyond childhood.

Did you survive a narcissistic caregiver? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Friday, November 11, 2022

Veteran's Day: Call Your Buddy


Team, this weekend is going to be hard. It's Veteran's Day weekend and our Facebook feeds will be full of pictures and tributes to those we've lost to combat and to suicide. And it is hard. I'm not here to force-feed you some rah-rah message about how life can change; I'm here to stand with you - because this weekend consistently sucks every single year and we need each other right now. 

A lot of us will seriously consider suicide this weekend. And I get it. I wish I didn't, but I think we all do - and it's fucking awful to feel this way. Please do your buddy checks this weekend, and nag the shit out of the people you love. Please ask: "are you thinking of suicide right now?" - this doesn't glorify suicide or give anyone ideas, but it does get straight to the point, and this weekend especially that candor is important. 

I've never met a combat Vet who lost more buddies to war than they did to suicide, and that's not okay. Rather than doing 22 push-ups, I encourage you to pick up the phone and call someone to check in. 

If you learn that your battle buddy is in trouble, here's how to get help: call the Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1 or send a text to 838255. You can text the crisis line while you are on the phone. Ask you buddy where they are located, who is with them, and whether or not they have a weapon. Pass this info on to the crisis line; they will send emergency services. 

I know that no one wants to piss off their buddy, but no one wants another dead buddy either - so choose your battles. The single most loving thing anyone ever did for me personally was stage an all-out intervention; it saved my life. 

Please consider sharing this info. Thanks, Team - stay safe out there.

TL;DR: call your battle buddy, ask them directly if they want to kill themselves, get them help.

AND YOU - if you're in this head space, talk to someone now - like right now. Call your buddy, call the crisis line, do whatever it takes to hang on until this feeling passes because the world would not be better off without you.

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD

Friday, November 4, 2022

Toxic Shame and PTSD

 


In the 1960s, psychologist Silvan Tomkins coined the term “toxic shame” to refer to a deep and debilitating pathology that results from traumatic experiences of being repeatedly humiliated, rejected, despised, and treated as worthless. 

In 1988, counselor, speaker, and author John Bradshaw brought Toxic Shame into public awareness in his self-help book, Healing The Shame That Binds You. 

Shame is a feeling of diminished self-worth that is not related to any particular action.

Guilt is a negative feeling related to a particular action. 

A personal favorite of mine, BrenĂ© Brown, who has spent decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy, describes shame as, “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging - something we’ve experienced, done, or failed to do makes us unworthy of connection.” 

Toxic Shame has its roots in criticism. Most criticism is intended to correct a behavior, however, when the focus of that criticism is that you, rather than your behavior choices, are the problem the seed of shame is planted. 

The aggressor in this situation is not trying to correct choices. They are focusing their negativity on the survivor, selecting things that are out of the survivor’s control to use for a personal attack. Toxic shame is prevalent in family situations. Parents who may have endured treatment like this when they were children often replicate the behavior with their own children. It is not always easy to see the intent of criticism when it is delivered, and that is why this cycle of shame can go unnoticed, becoming toxic.

While it is more commonly seen in the parent/child relationship, Toxic Shame can show up in any close relationship with another person. 

When shame is used intentionally, it is emotional abuse. It is done with the intent of keeping their survivor powerless and at the mercy of the abuser. If the survivor’s sense of personal value has been diminished by toxic shame, they feel worthless. And because they feel that they are worthless, they also do not feel they deserve the help they need.

Let’s stop right here. Take a moment and read the following statement: 

You are not worthless.

You deserve to feel comfortable in your own skin.

You deserve to heal. 

Read it again. Keep reading that statement until you believe it, because, friend, you do deserve to heal. And until you believe it, you cannot begin to heal.

What is your experience with toxic shame? We value your feedback and ideas! Reach out on our Community Facebook Page!

*****

If you believe change is possible, you want to change, and you are willing to do the work, you absolutely CAN get your life back.”

Get your copy of The Soldier's Guide to PTSDThe Soldier's Workbook

or Acknowledge & Heal, A Women's-Focused Guide to PTSD