Posts Tagged ‘Complex ptsd’

Looking back at my journey, some thoughts!



Years ago “Exposure Therapy” as it was called, brought extreme anxiety to my being. Say your PTSD triggers manifested in fear of being in closed spaces, or in crowded public areas.

Exposure Therapy takes you into these trigger situations. We would go into an enclosed space or enter a crowded gathering. I languished when this therapy was tried on me.

It made me worse, my fear and anxiety levels spiked, my fight or flight mechanism fired 10 times a day.

In due time, a solution appeared, a safe, secure place for exposure therapy.

Meditation provided this safe space to use “Exposure Therapy”.

I could face my fear and anxiety with intense focus and letting go. It was not easy.

I did not walk into a trigger solution as a cocky, bring it on individual, it was more a tip toeing through my mind field. It still felt like danger was there.

Confidence grew with more and more exposure. Becoming intimately familiar with my fears and anxiety made them less fearful, less powerful over time.

My fears lost power gradually. As time passed I was able to physically face my triggers better and better.

What I realized was, to heal it took being humble, accepting, and vulnerable.

It is not a chest pumping experience, rather a humbling journey of exploration and healing.

If you heal you will know more about the real you.

The path to healing and happiness are the same road.



Yes I have asked “Why am I so much different?



Why can I do extremely difficult tasks but find simple things that others do with ease, extremely awkward and sometimes painful.

I have healed once, been back in the throes of PTSD, and eventually found my way out again.

After all this, my triggers do not fire my fight or flight mechanism but unworthy thoughts still exist in the farthest reaches of my mind.

Focused and centered, I enter into scary trigger situations before I surrender to avoidance and fear.

I refuse to let trauma fear dictate my behavior.

Call it hard headed, or my dad would win or anything you like, I battle my trauma for control of my life.

It is a challenge I freely accept in its entirety.

Take calculated risks with PTSD, the triggers are a mirage.

Go towards your triggers, get comfortable in awkward situations, test yourself, grow, risk, be alive.

Die battling rather than give up.

Attitude and effort are under our control.

Live a good life, die a good death, refuse to suffer as a victim!

We have all the courage we need!



Meditation/Mindfulness is hard for a novice to understand, the words seem hollow, uneventful



Much of the terminology of meditation/mindfulness makes no sense to a novice. Reading words like be in the moment, no thought stage, remain just words.

No thought seems boring, a useless blank canvas.

I have worked with some who believe their ability to think intelligently defines them. We think what we do or what we have accomplished is who we are.

Being present, in the moment seems a small uneventful situation.

When we meditate, our focus transfers from our left, cognitive hemisphere to our creative, no thought hemisphere.

The left hemisphere has no words, sentences, judgments, right or wrong, god or bad, past or future, none!!!!!!!!!!

Our mind is at its best, most brilliant, most capable, when we are focused and in a no thought stage (Right hemisphere).

Like being in nature, all alone miles from the nearest metropolis, we feel nature through our senses without thought.

We do not introduce ourselves to a bear we encounter, Hi, I am Marty.

Our Ego is worthless out here, the bear could give a shit what my name is, or who I think I am.

When thought subsides with focus and practice, we experience our inner guide, our inner world and our potential happiness.

How will you ever know the true you, surely not by thinking?

How will you ever be truly happy?

Remember happiness has gratitude and giving at its core.

It also has Worry, doubt, fear, jealousy, resentment, anger in perspective.

Happiness only exists in the now.



Why is change so difficult???????????

Where does all the resistance come from? Why do we isolate, avoid unpleasant situations and people. Why do we chase and covet pleasant situations, people who approve of us, accomplishment, power, status and security?


Seems a decent strategy to avoid pain and soak up accomplishment in the short-term. Counterintuitive, knowing this strategy leads to suffering.


We have practiced habits, patterns of behavior, some subconscious in origin. We have created an “Ego” to mirror our habitual patterns. Our identity is wrapped around this “Ego”. Be it a banker, athlete, monk, priest, accountant, home maker, actor, philanthropist, etc.



Inside this cocoon, we judge ourself, find a place where we believe we fit, belong. When we enter a room, our “Ego” scans the occupants and decides if we are superior or inferior, then ranks our status.



Yes, this is superficial and kind of crazy. First, the “Ego” is a mirage, we are not what we think or judge. Second those occupations are what we do, not who we are.



Our mind is the issue, also the solution.



Fear of the unknown and this “Ego” are the main culprits keeping us from changing. We would rather suffer a known situation than risk changing, even when there is a possibility of success.



The “Ego” covets complete control. Healing means the “Ego” loses more and more control. In reality the “Ego” does not know what is good or bad for us. The “Ego” only, desires complete control.



Remember he/she generates 60,000 thoughts daily to influence where we place our attention.



You will definitely encounter your own “Ego” if you take this healing journey. He/She is not evil, he/she is only a follower not our captain.



Training the mind to empty and focus takes power from the “Ego”.

PTSD brings danger, feels real to us, the chemicals definitely are real!



A trigger explodes. Parts of the brain shut down, adrenaline, cortisol, tunnel vision, loss of fine motor skills, along with BP, respiration and heart rate escalate.



We are ready for a lethal threat, the problem, no lethal threat is present. We know this consciously, have experienced thousands of triggers without permanent damage. Irrational!



Danger arrives abstractly for me. It feels like something worse than death is out there, waiting.



Shame, the destruction of our ego, seems to be possible, the ultimate loss. This clarity has surfaced recently for me.



My childhood was filled with conditioned love, verbal and physical abuse, plus the ultimate fear of abandonment. One of my biggest fears was to be abandoned, I would rather endure the beatings than be an orphan.



Our true self (spirit, soul) is permanent and thrives without even knowing of the Ego.



The “Ego” is created and dies without the support of the true self, the power of our being.



How can a mirage mean so much to us?



Approval, approval, approval!



Approval brought security,  being ostracized from the tribe back in our hunter gather stage, meant death.



The Ego dominates thought, judgment and emotion. He/She never feels equal to another “ego”, so he/she will always jockey for approval, importance, acceptance.



Approval or disapproval does not contain happiness.



Approval today could turn to criticism tomorrow, it is external.

Updated: A follower asks a question about his mate having Complex PTSD


Hi Marty

I am a partner of someone with cptsd. We’ve been together for 8 years and half of that feels like it’s been taken away by cptsd. I’ve read lots of things but I cannot reach her anymore. She has a therapist now and this feels has been helpful but at times it’s like nothing has changed. She shares nothing with me, doesnt discuss her diagnosis (2.5 years) or how to move forward or where her therapy is heading. Refuses to discuss how to deal with triggers or situations that will harm our family. Any feelings are thrown at me in anger, rages which can last days, then the dust settles and my life partner is left broken, lost, in turmoil it feels….. Wanting me and our son yet wanting to leave us. We can’t seem to communicate anymore. So much hurt and anger has been felt these last few years and it feels like I’m always ‘the bad guy’ when I’m the only person that’s ever truely been there for her. As for the real ‘bad guys’ she allows them in at times and it causes so much damage. It’s like she believes in people that don’t know her, don’t support her and dont care about her or her family but it’s me that is controlling, abusive, not supportive Doesnt listen.
Where can I get help to understand her more, is there anyone that can teach me how to reach her and have what we used to have again? I’m desperately in love with her and I know she feels the same. I know she tries so hard with her therapy. I’ve had your blog bookmarked for 2.5 years and come back to it regularly, you and the people that contribute are amazing which is why I’m here….is there something or someone you know that can help a partner of someone with cpsd? I am really desperate…… Thank you so much.

C-PTSD is extremely difficult for your mate to navigate life. Trauma manifests itself in fears that are scary as death or emotional death of our ego. Sometimes our mate does not hear our advice or aims their anger at us. Their behavior can be erratic at times, seemingly neutral or mundane situations can trigger violent panic attacks.
Find out who she confides in, then try to work through this person. Ask to be included in a therapy session. What therapy is she using? Does she do homework from therapy or practice some skill to improve daily?

Does she Meditate or is she open to exploring new areas on her journey?  She needs a skill to practice daily to help healing.

The more you can learn about complex PTSD, the better. Try not to react when she is triggered. She needs understanding and support. Critiquing her or criticizing her will not end well.

If I were you, I would start meditating and using mindfulness to help yourself. You will be ready to support her and lead her to let go of those thoughts.

Hope this helps.



Trauma Memories are sensory fragments


“The amygdala stores the visual images of trauma as sensory fragments,


which means the trauma memory is not stored like a story,


but by how our five senses


were experiencing the trauma


at the time it was occurring.


The memories are stored


through fragments of visual images,


smells, sounds, tastes, or touch.”
My two cents: I always searched for the narrative, the cognitive story that would unlocked my total healing. Instead, a sensory trigger that associates with a stored fragmented sense ( sight, sound, smell, touch, taste) is the culprit.


We add the story to complete that fragmented visual, or smell, sound, taste or touch into our trauma narrative.   Fabrication comes to mind.


Fear does not contain fear inside itself. Our narrative adds the fear. Our emotions seem to add weight or have a larger impact to our thoughts.  When we get angry thoughts gain massive power.


Our trauma is not this big monster, the long suffering novel I have carried for decades,  but a fragmented sensual remembrance.

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