PTSD and relaxation

Some of us can look back on our lives and relate to something that altered the course of our lives and caused trauma for us.  Trauma stops us where we are, until we deal with whatever happened to us. Most of us are able to do that without much effort.   If this trauma happens when we are a child, whether that trauma is emotional, mental, physical or sexual, the event(s) will stop us at whatever emotional age we were when the event happened.  So, if we are 8,10 or 12 years of age we will emotionally stay at that age, even though our bodies may grow.  If we have a parent who is paying attention, we will usually be able to deal with the situation because they are helping us to do that.  If we do not have a parent to help us we are stuck, until we choose to deal with it, usually in adulthood.  Most children who are sexually molested have the component of alcohol or drugs involved.  Some molester’s will get the child drunk or high in order for them to be able to molest the child.  The child now has two issues, molestation and addiction.  As the child gets older the molestation may stop, but the addiction will not, because now the addiction has usually spiraled into many other drugs as well as alcohol to numb the pain felt by the past molestation.  Addiction also stops emotional growth, so you now have an addicted person in their 20’s or 30’s acting like a child.  If the person is able to stop using for a while, usually because they have been made to do so by the court system, they may have grown emotionally somewhat, so they may have reached adolescence is their 20’s or 30’s.  Molestation also brings the fact that they are highly emotional people, have flash backs, nightmares, trouble sleeping,  carry a lot of anger and are easily angered when drugs or alcohol are involved.  A person in this state will need a lot of love, an acknowledgement from the parent that failed to help and that they are still loved no matter what. It will be up to them to get the help they need at this point, there is nothing you can do but love them unconditionally.  It does not mean you have to tolerate intolerable behavior.  You can love someone from afar.  it is always difficult to watch someone struggling with something you have no control over.  When it is your child it is almost impossible to watch them self-destruct.  Setting limits is loving them through it.  Tough, but necessary.

Relaxation is a matter of calming your mind.  Being mindful of what you are telling yourself.  What are your thoughts telling you about you. If you have been abused, they are usually telling you, that you are at fault.  You are not worthy.  If the abuse, molestation happened as a child, you acted out with negative behaviors and were usually punished for them, while your abuser was left alone to continue the abuse.  The adults in your life failed you and  you are still punishing yourself for their failure.  Changing your thoughts is a matter of stopping the thought and listing positive things about yourself.  If, when you are alone, you can list positive things about yourself, you can then read them to yourself every morning and every evening.  It takes three weeks to change a behavior and three more weeks to make the new behavior a habit. It will not happen over night, nothing worth while does.  Positive things can be that your family loves you, you are seeking help, you have a desire to get better, you woke up this morning to do the best you can with this day.  Every morning, you can also ask yourself what you are grateful for, and keep that in mind all day. Especially when bad things happen during the day.  When negative thoughts or flashbacks come, push them aside and think about what you are grateful for or the positive things in your life.  You can tell yourself that you will spend time later thinking about the negative things.  You will have to spend some time during the day sitting with the negative thoughts.  Do not spend a lot of time with them, 10 to 15 minutes.  Set a timer if you have to do so.  While sitting with the negative thoughts ask yourself what they are telling you about yourself, the situation and how it is impacting your life in the present.   If it is a positive thing, add it to your list of positive things you will tell yourself each morning and night.  If it is a negative thing become mindful of what it is and change it to something positive.  An example would be: every time someone tells me I’m wrong I become defensive and angry.  Changing that would be a matter of becoming mindful of these situations and the next time someone tells you, you’re wrong,  look at the situation without the past coloring it and become objective rather than subjective.  Ask yourself if that is merely that person’s opinion or are you truly doing something wrong that needs to be changed.  If it is that person’s opinion, it doesn’t matter, put it in the box and let go of it.  If you need to change something, do so and let it go.

Calming yourself before, during and after you sit with the negative thought is a matter of using the breathing exercises.  The emptying exercise is good for getting rid of the negative and replacing it with the positive thoughts and feelings.   These video’s will help you to do that.   Link to the video’s.  Enjoy!


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I became a therapist in an attempt to understand my own childhood and what happened there and how it made me who I am, exhibiting the behaviors that were not always positive, very often self-destructive. I used Art Therapy to help me understand things in my past that were stopping me from making better decisions in my present day. I used Behavioral Science to help me understand underlying causal factors, roots to the present day behaviors that I was seeing in myself. Both help me to change those behaviors/thoughts that were causing me to make self-destructive decisions that were causing pain in life. I have been a therapist since 1985 and have an undergraduate degree Art and behavioral science (double major) from the University of Maine. My graduate work was done at Marywood university and I have a degree in Art Therapy. I have certificates in Forensic Interviewing and Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavior therapy. I have 22 out of 30 credits toward a degree in Trauma Therapy from Drexel University. I started out as a Community Support Worker, Program Manager/Clinical Supervisor, Family therapist and Outpatient therapist.

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