CPTSD Warrior Self Care Routine

As promised I am providing you with a downloadable copy of the CPTSD Warrior Self Care Routine.

This routine was made to help me reduce my symptoms of CPTSD.

If you haven’t watched the video yet where I explain how I use this checklist see the video at end of this blog post.

I have been doing most of this routine for one month now, and I am already seeing results.

The exercise and meditation alone made a big difference right off the bat.

I’m ready to up my game as far as exercise goes and add in the weight lifting and yoga. I’m excited about it and can’t wait to start seeing results.

Please let me know if you follow a similar routine and what your results have been.

I have noticed a large decrease in several of my symptoms already, so with the addition of other more specific reparenting techniques I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

So far I have noticed a large decrease in my hypervigilance, anxiety, and I believe I am experiencing fewer emotional flashbacks as a result.

To download a copy of the checklist click on the following link. (Click)

CPTSDWarriorSelfCareRoutine

Thank you so much, and please don’t forget to let me know what you think in the comments here, on my youtube channel, or on social media.

Here is the video where I talk about the CPTSD Warrior Self Care Routine. I have also provided you with links to previous videos where I talked about it as well.

 

 

 

 

CPTSD Recovery: Creating My Authentic Life on The Sims 4

I had this idea to create “My Authentic Life” on The Sims 4 where I would make a life based on choosing things I wouldn’t normally allow myself to choose.

I’ve played the 2 player Sims games back when they still did that. I wish they still did that. Why don’t they still do that? Now, we need 2 PlayStation 4 consoles and 2 game discs to play the game together. Lame!

Guess what hubby wants for Christmas?

That’s right. A second PlayStation 4 console.

Anyhow, I digress.

Being the daughter of a narcissistic mother, my expressions of individuality were often stifled. All daughters of narcissistic mothers go through this. Our mothers were incapable of real love. Instead, they manipulated and controlled our every move.

To add insult to injury, most of us still live with her in our minds, otherwise known as our inner critic. One of the nasty symptoms of cptsd that I’m working to eradicate. You can find more information about the inner critic here and here.

The cruel, totalitarian inner critic is a key distinguishing feature of Cptsd.”  Pete Walker in Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A GUIDE AND MAP FOR RECOVERING FROM CHILDHOOD TRAUMA

We were taught to believe that nobody cares what we think, that there is something wrong with us, that it’s our job to obey and respect her, and to her that meant doing things her way.

A daughter who doesn’t receive validation from her earliest relationship with her mother learns that she has no significance in the world and her efforts have no effect.”  Karyl McBride in Will I Ever Be Good Enough?: Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers

Soon, it becomes automatic to choose things that we know she would prefer, just to keep the peace. It doesn’t stop when we move away from home. Like I said, she lives on, in our mind.

So, I had this thought that I could create a life on The Sims 4 where I would choose traits that I feel are within me, but that I have suppressed because I know that my narcissistic mother would not approve.

Basically, I am going to try and create my authentic self and see what that life would be like.

I will make decisions that I would not normally make in order to try and do that.

I also want to pay attention to when I stop myself from choosing something that I want, because that is a sign that I am stifling myself based on what I know would be “acceptable”.

I also need to be aware of my sim and how she reacts to the things that I have chosen for her. You see, in choosing her attributes, I will be choosing things that I have suppressed, so I am not always going to be able to choose the right things, because I am so used to suppressing my authentic self.

I’m interested in seeing how this plays out. I know that when you choose certain attributes your sim will respond to the things they like and dislike accordingly, so if I chose something my sim wouldn’t want based on her attributes she will most likely let me know. It’s up to me to pick up on her signals.

I would like to put it out there that I am open to meeting up on the playstation network and playing The Sims 4 together. I hope somebody takes me up on this offer. My username on the playstation network is pokingholes.

The content on my youtube channel and my blog is quite heavy, so I thought this would be a fun way for you to get to know me better, in a much more casual setting, and a chance for me to socialize more.

My Hilariously Cringy (maybe just cringy) First Attempt at Live Streaming My Authentic Life on The Sims 4

My First Live Broadcast – The Sims 4

I gotta fess up. I already started this, but the attempt was so botched that I am going to go back to the beginning and start a whole new character/game.

First of all, nobody could hear me for the first 34 minutes, so my whole spiel about being the daughter of a narcissistic mother and creating my authentic life, etc. cannot be heard, so I was left to try and explain it in the video description.

I also feel like I was rushing myself through creating my sim. I think I did that because I was letting it get into my head that I was taking too long and that nobody would be interested in watching me do that for much longer. I really wanted to try on every outfit and personalize her look more though. I think I will do that in my new game.

Then, when you could hear me and I got to the house building part, I was so unfamiliar with the controls that my husband was pulling his hair out watching me. Lol! He was trying to chat to me to tell me what to do, but there is a lag so I wasn’t getting his messages right away. My phone died too, so he couldn’t even text me.

I promise I am going to study the diagrams that I saved of the controls for the PS4 controller for the sims game, so I will know what I am doing in my next broadcast.

I will tweet when I will be streaming next, so follow me on twitter if you want to join me.

Also, if you subscribe to my youtube channel and click the notification bell, you will be notified when I go live.

What do you think? Gaming for CPTSD Recovery? Why not? Let’s do this!!!

Please like, comment, subscribe, and share your little hearts out. Every little bit helps to reach those that need it most. <3

Poking Holes

Creating Conflict because of my CPTSD

I was reading an article about PTSD.

It was called “21 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because of Your PTSD”. (Link below)

I was reading through the list, which consisted of survivors sharing things they do because of their PTSD.

I was identifying with most of them.

Then, I got to #17 and I was stopped in my tracks.

This is what it read.

17. “[I] seek out confrontation. It’s what I’m used to… I hate conflict, but it’s also what I’m most familiar with.” — Codi W.

I don’t do that, do I?

Do I???

I think I do!

I’ve just had a couple of big things happen recently that I felt I needed to respond to.

I’ve not been acting compulsively though.

I’ve written emails in both instances, and have not sent either of them, because I am trying not to be reactive like I have been in the past.

I’m trying to  be thoughtful with my responses and not act rashly.

I told my husband the other night that it seems like things keep happening that I HAVE to respond to.

I feel that I have to do these things, but I also feel like I am being tested.

Am I just starting conflict where there doesn’t have to be any?

Am I trying to create the outer conflict that I am used to?

If I am doing this, I am acting just like her….again.

She does this.

I’m not blaming, just acknowledging that we learn what we grow up with.

I hate that.

It’s exhausting.

I feel like it is unconscious.

Like, it is automatic.

I don’t always take the time to think.

I always feel so strongly that I am right too.

I feel like this a huge revelation for me.

I am not perfect.

I question daily whether I too could be a narcissist.

It kills me to think I am carrying on some of those traits.

I am willing to change this about myself.

I want to be happy.

I don’t like conflict, and it kills me that I am probably looking for it in my own life.

I think I could be a better advocate if I could abolish my inner and outer critic.

That harsh unkind voice in my head that is uber critical of everything and everybody.

Especially myself.

That’s what this healing journey is all about.

Awakening and healing.

Article Link: 21 Things People Don’t Realize You’re Doing Because of Your PTSD


My Body Remembers – Somatic Flashbacks

I think somebody hurt me really bad when I was little…too little to remember.

I can’t be sure who, but at such a young age it can only be somebody from my immediate family of origin.

I think it was either my narcissistic mother, or my 2nd eldest sister who I believe is a malignant narcissist. I’ve not talked about her much. She is 8 years older than me and I believe she envied me for the treatment I got by being the baby girl of the famiy. I remember I was always frightened of her and her friends for some reason. She was mom’s original scapegoat, the 2nd born, but she wasn’t your regular empathic scapegoat you hear about. No. She tended to have a violent streak. She got it from our mom. Mom liked to “spank”, except it was more like a rage filled crazy person taking their insane rage out on you. My violent streak came out when I drank, so I quit.

I’ve been linking some things together that might help me understand myself better. A lot of things that I have noticed lately during emotional flashbacks might be clues to my original trauma. The incident, the moment in time that I flash back to when I’m in an emotional flashback.

A lot of times, when I am having an emotional flashback, I feel like I can’t catch my breath. It freaks me out and makes me even more anxious. Sometimes, getting out of breath doing physical activity is enough to cause me to have an emotional flashback. I reasoned that it must cause me anxiety because my Dad died from lung cancer, but I’m beginning to wonder if it is tied to my original trauma and somebody causing me to lose my breath. A knee to the back comes to mind.

To add to that, I’ve started experiencing a burning pain in my upper back, but only when I’m having an emotional flashback. It literally burns from the inside out, and when it first happened a couple of weeks ago, I started weeping while trying to tell my husband about it. I recorded a video with my reaction to this. I will upload it and link to it here.

Since initially feeling that burning pain, I now feel it every time I have an emotional flashback, and also when I try to focus on that “memory”. I’m not sure what to make of it, but every cell of my being says it is from something bad happening when I was either too little to remember it, or I dissociated and compartmentalized it in my brain.

One more piece of this puzzle could be tied to a memory I had last year. I have a memory from childhood of my mom standing over somebody in the small upstairs bedroom. It looks like they are fighting  I can’t see who the other person is because mom is over them and they are on the small twin bed. Here’s the strange part. I am seeing this happening from above like I’m floating under the ceiling. When I asked my scapegoat sister if that memory meant anything to her she told me I was probably remembering my mom and the violent sister I mentioned above fighting, because the two of us were very frightened when that happened. At the time, I accepted that.

While writing this I am remembering what I wrote to the “violent sister” before I went no contact with her. I’ve thought about this before and wondered why I called her that. I was in an emotional flashback when I wrote it. I mean, I remember being afraid of her when I was little, and I remember one incident when she hurt me by kicking me when she was babysitting us younger kids, but I remember that time clearly. I was older. Some of my other siblings were there too. I remember the golden child sister helping me and getting mad at the “violent sister”.

Here is a portion of my parting message to my “violent sister”. See this blog post for more details on this as well.

“Somebody out there might still believe you have a caring heart, but it sure isn’t me. You watched her abuse me, and then copied her. Goodbye abusive one.  

In case you’re wondering,  why now?  The bitch abused us so bad my little girl brain blocked it out so I could survive in that hell. Living there made it come back.  It’s called cptsd. Look it up you violent bitch.”

So, it appears that when I am in an emotional flashback, I see this particular sister as violent and abusive,  and I’m willing to bet I have very good reasons for it. I just can’t remember anything but that one incident.

I hope to remember the trauma, no matter how difficult, so that I can process it and recover from it. Perhaps I will never fully remember it though. I have to be prepared for that.

It does strike me how nonchalantly I can accept that either of them could have hurt me so badly when I was so little. I do though. I wouldn’t put it past either of them. Memory or no memory, I feel that about them to the very core of my being.

 

 

What is CPTSD & Can I Recover From it?

Hi everyone,

I recently uploaded a video to my Youtube channel. Following is the video and, as promised, the video transcript is below.

Don’t forget to Like and Subscribe to my Youtube channel, Poking Holes! 🙂

Here is the link to the video on my Youtube Channel: CPTSD Recovery (Ep2): What is CPTSD & Can I Recover From it?

Video Transcript:

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)

What is CPTSD and Can I Recover From it?

“CPTSD is a learned set of responses and a failure to complete numerous important developmental tasks.” ~ Pete Walker (pete-walker.com)

“Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is defined as a psychological stress injury which results from ongoing or repeated trauma over which the victim has little or no control, and from which there is no real or perceived hope of escape.” ~ outofthestorm.website

Common Symptoms of CPTSD

  • Emotional Flashbacks
  • Toxic Shame
  • Self Abandonment
  • Inner Critic/Outer Critic
  • Social Anxiety
  • Fragile Self Esteem
  • Oversensitivity to stressful situations
  • Hair-triggered fight/flight response
  • Difficulties in Personal Relationships
  • Suicidal Ideation

  For a more comprehensive list see pete-walker.com

The Good News….

  • We can retrain the brain.
  • CPTSD is caused by our environment.
  • It is not genetic.
  • It is not part of our true character, so it is possible to change the behaviours associated with CPTSD.
  • These behaviours were learned in response to the abusive and/or neglectful environment we grew up in.

More Good News….

  • If we can learn something, we can unlearn it.
  • What was not learned growing up, can be learned now.
  • It’s not too late! Recovery from CPTSD is possible if you do the work.
  • Don’t expect your progress to be in a straight line. It is more of a spiral shape. As you progress in your recovery, you need to review things you covered at an earlier date, just on a deeper level each time.

Resources I Find Helpful in My Ongoing Recovery from CPTSD:

  • The book, “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving”, by Pete Walker. This is a must have!
  • Visit Pete Walker’s website, pete-walker.com, for more information on how to order the book, and for some great free resources.
  • outofthestorm.website
  • Richard Grannon the Spartan Life Coach
  • Google! 🙂

Thank you for watching/reading! 😀

Please follow my blog and make sure to subscribe to my youtube channel, so you can be notified when CPTSD Recovery (Ep3) is released. 🙂

If you haven’t seen CPTSD Recovery (Ep1) yet, here is a link to that video CPTSD Recovery Ep1: Symptoms of CPTSD, and here is a link to the blog post.

~Poking Holes~

                                        

CPTSD Recovery & Emotional Flashbacks

It’s been one year of no contact between myself and the narcissistic mother. I have only had contact in the past year with one sister, but sadly that also ended last month.

I have basically been mourning for a family that lives in the same small town that I do. Weird, but also necessary. I can’t have contact with them. There is no question about that.

Can I remind you that just a little over two years ago I moved here because I felt strongly that it was what I needed to do for my mental health to improve? I thought I was dealing with complicated grief over my Father’s death, along with depression and anxiety. Everyone (me, my husband, my therapist) thought that I could use the support of my loving family. Boy, did I get an awakening!

As it turns out, I believe my mental health issues following my Father’s death in June 2010 are a result of narcissistic abuse, as my mother and golden child sister were devaluing me, and not long after I moved back here, they finished the job by discarding me in June 2015.

I haven’t posted any videos on my youtube channel since Mother’s day, because I have felt too emotional. Every time I have tried to make a video I would get frustrated with myself for crying. I wish I could get past that part, but I suppose what I have been avoiding is still waiting there to burst forth, so I’m going to have to allow it. After all, it isn’t shameful to cry and have feelings. That shame over something so normal is something the narcissistic mother instilled in me, so that I wouldn’t mess up her mood with my feelings.

CPTSD Recovery Chat & Crafting Therapy Sessions

I have decided that I’m going to make Youtube videos of myself working on a project and chatting about whatever it is I need to talk about. You know, the way it is when you go and see a therapist, and they start the session with “What would you like to talk about today?”. Like that. Only it will just be me and my video camera. Who knows, I may even come out from behind the camera someday soon.

Sometimes, I may have a topic in mind and that is the direction it will go, but other times it is going to be me chatting about what has been burning a hole in my guts. I may not even know what I’m going to talk about until I start talking. For this reason, I will not be posting a transcript for these videos.

CPTSD Recovery Chat

My latest youtube video ended up being about Emotional Flashbacks, something that those of us suffering with CPTSD have intimate knowledge about. We just may not be able to put a name to it. I know I wasn’t able to. It wasn’t until I found videos on Youtube about healing from CPTSD, that I learned what an emotional flashback was. I knew what it felt like though.

Finding out about CPTSD has been a game changer for me. I felt hopeless before. I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I just knew there was something different about me, and it was something I felt shameful about.

Emotional flashbacks are the most significant symptom of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). It is the one symptom that sets it apart from regular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Emotional flashbacks can make life difficult when we are triggered, because we regress emotionally to the “feeling states” of the traumatized child, and as a result we react to the “unnecessary triggering of our fight/flight instincts” (Walker, 3). The tricky part is that there is no visual component to the emotional flashback, so you just feel all the feelings, and usually think something in your present environment is to blame for those intense feelings, so you react. When I let that last bit sink in, I had a huge lightbulb moment. I’ve always felt like my emotions and reactions were out of whack with the situation at hand, and this is because they were. I have been getting triggered and having emotional flashbacks my whole life!

Crafting Therapy 

The craft project I am making is face scrubbies.  They are basically a crocheted flat circle using 100% cotton medium (4) weight yarn. The hook size I used is 5.0mm (H/8), and the yarn is Sugar ‘n Cream in sage green.

Crochet Face Scrubbies Tutorial:

  1. Start by making a magic circle, or you can ch4 and join to the first ch to make a circle.
  2. ch3, then 11 DC into the circle (12).
  3. Join with a slip stitch into top of the ch3.
  4. ch3, 1 DC into the same space as the ch3, then 2DC into each stitch (24).
  5. Join with a slip stitch into top of the ch3.
  6. ch3, 1 DC into same space as ch3, then 1 DC in next st, 2 DC into next st (inc), alternating (36).
  7. Slip stitch into top of ch3.
  8. If you want to make yours bigger, or make them into coasters (for eg.), you can continue increasing by 12 st each row. The next row would be ch3, 1DC into same space as ch3, 1 DC into next 2 st, 2 DC into next st (inc), alternating (48), and join with a slip stitch in the top of ch3.

Let me know if you want the formula to continue increasing. 🙂

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Resources

Walker, Pete. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. USA: Azure Coyote Books, 2013. Print.

www.pete-walker.com

Poking Holes Youtube Channel

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