Cyclic Trauma Induced Patterns

December 9th, 2015 by

I have written numerous articles on trauma and its affects upon the brain from childhood through adult life. I have offered my own personal advice for trying to deal with and work through trauma based upon my own experiences and evolution’s with extreme levels of life trauma.

Just a few of the many articles found in the Den:

All of these and more speak on trauma and its affects upon us as humans. This very short article is simply laying out some major brain snares that the brain’s reaction to trauma sets up along our life journey. These snares, each one, creates a reactionary pathway that easily diverts us from a healthy focus and lifestyle by tricking us into the cyclic patterns of reliving facets of trauma. It is my opinion that each one of these snares is a creation of one or more facets of the trauma that our brains created in response to the trauma.

The snares I am talking about are as follows:

  1. Self Judgment (yes I have written a LOT about this) basically this is the continual harsh judgment of the self in reference to our thoughts, emotions and actions, deeming them “bad”, “twisted”, “righteous” and so on and using them to beat ourselves up internally. This also rolls into thinking things or people should be one way verses another
  2. Suppression or Intensification – suppressing or intensifying things and their judged importance below or above and beyond their reality
  3. Blanket Cover – using a blanket cover tactic to expand the facts of a singular situation/event to then judge the path of one’s life
  4. Assumption (another one I have written a lot about) negative assumptions of events, actions or reactions from others based upon no real facts
  5. Black or White – do or die, nothing in-between attitude leaves room for overwhelming failure and self defeating reactions to anything falling below the judged line of perfection
  6. Over-logic – trying to over rationalize everything without tapping the heart to simply feel on a human emotional level imbalances the heart-brain vital communication process
  7. Tagging – the act of tagging one’s self with names and titles to identify one as being “bad”, “stupid”, etc rather than acknowledging the action may not have worked out as planned but this does not mean one is “bad” or “stupid” because of it
  8. Mud-Stuck – focusing on the negativity rather than what is positive, being stuck in the mud of failure rather than successes, not acknowledging accomplishments and only looking at what went “wrong”

I am sure you could think of others, but these are the ones I have identified through my own experiences in healing from trauma. If you look at each one and expand individual snare into all aspects of life you will be able to see the energy it creates to hold one back from living their potential.

For example, Mud-Stuck, if you cannot see your accomplishments, no matter how large or small and recognize them, you will instead beat yourself up as being useless, a failure, a waste of life. When we cannot see all the amazing things we create and only focus on the self judged negativity that may be derived from everything that does not work out as anticipated, we allow ourselves to get snared in a cyclic trap that locks part of us in the response to passed trauma, thus preventing us from fully living our potential of the current moment.

Until we look at each one of these snares, acknowledge their existence in our running lives, understand they are a result of trauma response that gets stuck in the brain, we cannot learn to work on changing them. It is vital to remember that we are not our trauma, nor are we our automatic response to trauma. The response and ongoing effects of trauma can be looked at as an injury. If we bang our knee our brain reacts and our body responds. We are neither our knee, what we banged it on, the act of banging the knee, the pain we feel or how we are forced to walk as it is healing. These are all just facets of the experience, but none of it defines who we truly are. If we acknowledge this and allow the healing to take place, we will be walking normally before long. If we do not and get trapped into thinking the whole event is who we are and the rest of our lives should be based upon it, we may never walk normally again because the conditioned brain will trap that events energy in the knee and the body will have no choice but to respond.

This is all of course a work in progress and will fluctuate sometimes dramatically throughout. The rate of progress and success is dependent upon seemingly countless factors. Things like genetics, blood type, organ constitution, energy constitution, spirit constitution, type of trauma, age the trauma occurred, duration of trauma, cultural upbringing/conditioning, environmental factors, diet, overall lifestyle, and on and on the list goes.

In my own personal experience I can and have gone months with very little in the any of issues in having to deal with the above listed 8 snares. Then seemingly out of nowhere one or more will hit me, sometimes blindside me when I least expect it. Then I must deal with it and work through it. This for some seems to be part of the process of living with cptsd, the coming and going of such issues, like a mysterious ebb and flow of partially uncharted waters. A mere shift in hormone output or metabolism can completely throw someone off kilter and tailspin them into one of more of the 8 listed snares. We are all susceptible, nobody is above their reach. It is part of human existence, part of human experience. The depth and diversity of this range of experience is very much individual, unpredictable but also workable.

I have personally found the following to be helpful for me. This list is a copy and paste from my e-book called PTSD, Living with the Beast, a personal story.

  • Stay grounded- remain as focused on the present, the now as possible- do not allow the mind to stray into the past or future
  • Pull back- if the focus does stray- stop and refocus on immediate surroundings and the 5 senses and what they are picking up- sight, sound, smell, hearing, taste, feel/touch
  • Focus on proper, healthy and individual specific diet- avoid consuming anything that you know makes you feel bad or distorts your focus- bad diet bogs down the body and stress the mental focus further
  • Stay well hydrated- a dehydrated brain and body have difficulty with focus and emotion/thought control
  • Remain well rested- being tired from lack of rest stresses the body, brain and emotions
  • Avoid anything that you know triggers you and stirs up symptoms
  • Breathe- focus on breathing fully and under stress, slow down the breath and inhale fully and exhale slowly and smoothly
  • Focus on your heartbeat- in times of stress focus on slowing down breathing and the rhythmic beating of your heart
  • Take the time you need- do not allow life and others to steal you from the time you require to rest, focus and heal- meditate
  • Every morning and night give thanks for everything you did well in the last 24 hours- compliment yourself
  • Every morning and night let go of everything that occurred during the day or night- just let it go- do not hold onto anything that happened
  • Do not beat yourself up over things that did not go so well for you in the last 24 hours- acknowledge that nobody is perfect and we learn best by making mistakes- it is human
  • Do not try to be perfect- instead just try to be You
  • Take time for yourself without remaining totally isolated- balance your interactions with others wisely- find the balance of “just right” with “too much” and watch out for” total avoidance”
  • Get a trustworthy, loyal and available support group- could be one person, five, ten people- whatever you have in your life- just make sure that not only can you trust them but that they are available- if they are not available they do you no good
  • Get exercise proper for you- regular exercise moves the body and its energy decreasing stagnation- it releases stress and relaxes the mind- it oxygenates the system creating a fresh and energizing feeling
  • Some people coming out of combat trauma backgrounds with some form of PTSD can benefit from exercise that contains excitement, like some form of outdoor/wilderness excursion- trekking mountains or tracking bear, cougar, etc…
  • Do not allow others to judge you- pay them no mind
  • Do not blame yourself for your past- it is not your fault
  • Be kind to yourself
  • Do not waste time trying to place blame on others for your past- both blaming yourself and blaming others accomplishes nothing and wastes precious focus and energy that could be placed into more productive healing energies
  • Try to acknowledge things/events of your past without getting lost in them- focus on them to let them go- flashbacks contain details to help us learn something in order to release- why do the specific flashbacks arise? They arise because there is something in them we need to face and release
  • Try utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – to me having someone I can trust who remains neutral to talk about traumatic past events assists in self reflection and release of old energies (However, I do not find CBT or any linguistic therapy modality to be the best angle for me. Even licensed counselors I have used agree to this. Bessel van der Kolk, one of the top trauma specialists in the world states in his book titled, The Body Keeps the Score, vets with combat backgrounds rarely respond well to CBT. I find other modalities work much better in assisting me through healing – trauma sensitive yoga, EMDR, Biofeedback are a few excellent examples.)
  • Do your best to avoid people that want to hook you up on prescription drugs to “help your mental condition”- they do nothing more than numb your mind and steal your focus on true healing- they are just a toxic cover-up
  • Try looking at yourself through the eyes of a neutral, non-judgmental person
  • Learn to accept reintegration of all aspects of the self
  • Do not get addicted to the suffering
  • Understand that the suffering is not you- live passed the suffering because you are so much more- suffering is just part of the total experience, not the totality of it
  • Remember that it is not easy so it takes time, lots of time and pacing
  • Come to understand that the past helped create who we are today- helped give us a powerful insight and foundation of strength in which we might in some fashion helps others- even if that means remotely
  • Do not look at how far you have to go, but rather how far you have come
  • Have faith that in time, with enough work, diligence, self care and acceptance the mind and heart can heal the brain and emotions- life can again be something beautiful and worth waking up to- and maybe, just maybe the body won’t hurt so bad and the past will remain the past

I have a stone, a white smooth piece of scolecite that I sometimes carry. This does not always work, but nothing really always works in my experience. I guess that is why a bag of tools is a beneficial thing to have rather than just one. If something triggers cptsd symptoms I sometimes pull out that stone and place as much of my focus on it as possible, a difficult task in itself. Then I look at its perfection and how the prismatic crystals inside remain unhindered, untouched by whatever reflection is running across its surface. I could pour tea over it, roll it through the grass, see the reflection of beauty or violence in its surface and none of it affects the integrity and stability of its perfect interior. I tell myself over and over that nothing can disrupt or destroy my core reality, my perfect self above and beyond all of this physical existence. I tell myself whatever is happening to me are just reflections, illusions and they cannot disturb my core, my ALL. I am like the stone. The experiences running across my surface but the integrity of my core remains in a state of perfection, above it all.

Sometimes this helps, sometimes it take a while before I return to a stable emotional base. Other times I need one of my other tools. It all depends upon the intensity of what arises and what position I am in when it does. But it is these little tools that we can carry with us that can help us in times of emotional disturbance and none should be thought of as trivial or silly. If they work, then they are useful and should not be overlooked. We should do what we can to pull ourselves out of the 8 snares should we find our foot caught in one, because they do nothing but hold us back, hold us down and steal true life from our time here.

For further in-depth reading on this subject I recommend this well written  Cassiobury Court blog post written by Paul Clarke.

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