Tag Archive: trauma

The Horror of a Psychologically-Trauma

complex trauma discussionThe Horror of a Psychologically-Trauma

Is it just fear? An anxiety disorder?

Some clinicians focus on ‘one’ emotion if they talk about cause, diagnose and treatment of a ‘psychologically-Trauma’. There are even clinicians which carry the opinion that a Psychologically-Trauma is an anxiety disorder caused by fear. Because fear alone can trigger unimaginable human strength or unimaginable human surviving capacities

complex-trauma

Some say: fear is Horror and Horror is fear.
But is horror really only fear?

I dare to disagree with such an underestimating statement to the suffering of a psychologically-trauma. Because a psychologically-trauma is a lot more than fear that causes an anxiety disorder. That is also why PTSD is not categorized as an anxiety disorder but as a disorder caused by suffering extreme stress.

Fear is just one of the unbearable sensations which tortures the body and mind of a psychologically-traumatized daily life handling-system of once personality (the self- and ego- states). Fear can make you Run away, fear can make you Freeze, fear can make you Cry, fear can make you suffer without you even knowing ‘why’. Nobody will disagree that fear can cause all that, but does it mean you suffer a psychologically-trauma if you suffer or suffered only Fear: NO !

The word  ‘pain’ barely used . . .
But the definition of suffering pain says a lot:. “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience associated with acute or potential tissue damage or described in terms of such damage”. Suffering physical pain, mental pain, emotional pain and psychologically pain all at once, will cause an ‘injury’ – psychologically and or physically. And (Child) sexual and or physical abuse causes such an ‘injury’ because it’s an horrific event.

A psychologically-injury

An horrific event triggers bodily responses, sensations, feelings and emotions all at once. Horror overloads your daily life handling-system (ego- and self-states), your mental state and common sense with extreme stress.  Even by witnessing a ‘horrific event’ you can get emotionally and bodily over-stressed and it even can cause a phobia for experiencing (witnessing or remembering) it ever again

Horrific events or a horrific experiences can make us lose our common sense, activate unwanted bodily responses, can cause uncontrollable sensations, feelings and emotions or can even cause an unimaginable strength which can lead us to do the unthinkable as if we are in a hypnotic state. .

Stop Child AbuseEver heard of:
Blind madness?
Blind sadness?
Blind fear?
Or over excitement – uncontrollable joy which make one scream and or shiver ?

Ever heard that someone who broke his leg or finger was able to pull it right back on its place right after the event happened? Ever heard that pain can reach a level of numbness? Ever heard that people weren’t able to notice their physical wounding’s (or the pain) right after they injured themselves or right after a severe accident? Ever felt the pain your muscles causes if your laugh gets out of control? Ever felt that powerless feeling caused by intense out of control laughing? Ever heard that over activated emotions can cause you leaving and or losing your common sense?

The unimaginable can occur if our daily life handling-system, our personality, gets overloaded (stressed out), it can force you in to a survival mode. And afterwards, if we get back in our mindful state, we feel the physical and psychologically chaos and shock that starts torturing our mind and body; some get cold and or start to tremble, some feel the pain of their muscles if they start to unlock (relax) again, some get scared by an instant only by the thoughts (memory) of what they did during that over-activated personality state, some shut bodily and mindfully down and or are extremely exhausted afterwards, some feel pain all over their body by the muscles which where over contracted, some experience a huge headache afterwards, and some just start laughing as a response to a severe accident that just happened.

artlimited

If we think over what just happened to us during a horrific event or what we just experienced or did in a total over-stressed personality state – collecting or doing the impossible or the unthinkable – afterwards; we realize we lost or did leave our mindful state for that short moment of time.

Suffering a psychologically-trauma is all above mentioned.
Suffering a psychologically-trauma is an ongoing, repeating, over activation of the body and mind, of feelings and emotions, of more than one personality-state.

Suffering a psychologically-trauma eats your life !
We start dissociating to survive, because It relieves the suffering. And if you unlock the Traumatic Memory the unthinkable can happen all over again, so it’s very important to reach out for proper and very experienced Help.

Don’t underestimate suffering a psychologically-trauma.
Because suffering a psychologically-trauma is a whole lot more than suffering the emotion of fear. A psychologically-trauma will force you to live your life in an ongoing on-guard state and or survival mode.

Seek help
Seek very good and experienced help if you suffer a psychologically-trauma.

Regards,

© Nique
CE at the Dutch Top Referent Trauma Center Assen-Drenthe,
National Mental Healthcare Department, The Netherlands

 

Other Reference:

* Ross CA (2014) 33,3 pg 285 – question 1
* Nijenhuis ERS, TRTC Assen-Drenthe the Netherland (2014) Ten Reasons for conceiving and classifying posttraumatic stress disorder as a dissociative disorder. Psichiatria e Psicoterapia 33, 1, 74-106.
The Haunted Self (Nijenhuis, vd Hart, Steele, 2005, 2006)

* And Nique EU Disja 2014 ANP EP daily life handlingsystem

 

You can find me also on

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Trauma disorders, Borderline- and Dissociative Disorders

(c) Nique(c) Nique TRTCenter NLI did receive the question:

Could you try to explain in your own words and average understandable language; the different types of Trauma disorders (diagnoses), versus a Borderline Personality Disorder and the relation of both with Dissociative Disorders – without the interference of the understanding of a Structural dissociation of the personality.

And my answer to it is: Yes I feel very honored to give it a try in my own words.

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I. TRAUMA and Posttraumatic Stress Disorders – PTSD & CPTSD

Very simplified we know 3 main groups of diagnoses to a mental disturbance caused by Trauma:childabuse

1 an acute short term mentally disturbance (ASD)
2 a middle long term mentally disturbance (PTSD)
3 a long term e.g. chronically disturbance (CPTSD)

a bit more defined:

  1. Acute Stress Disorder
    an acute short term mentally disturbance / reaction to a one time experienced Traumatic event
    for example: witnessing a very heavy train accident
  2. PTSD
    Post-Traumatic Stress disorder – middle long term mentally disturbance caused by experiencing a dead scary Traumatic event
    for example: a kidnapping or a onetime rape experience, or other dead scary experiences
  3. C-PTSD
    Complex Post-Traumatic Stress disorder – a long term e.g. chronically mentally disturbance caused by experiencing more than one Traumatic event
    a. Childhood trauma like sexually and or physically abuse
    for example: incest or other repeated child molestation e.g. child abuse
    b. War experiences (veteran care), etc.

To simplify: above we have mentioned the different types of Trauma disorders (diagnoses).

And keep in mind that those diagnoses can be given to everyone who experienced a Traumatic event. So also to people with Borderline, with Autism, with no mental disorder, etc.. From the policeman to the house wife – they can all experience a dead scary traumatic event which can lead to a post traumatic stress disorder.

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II. DISSOCIATIVE DISORDERS – DD

The Second mental disorders I want you all to get acquainted with is the category
Dissociative Disorder – abbreviation = DD (watch out, it’s no DID)

  1. Dissociative identity disorder – DID a trauma related polysymptomatic condition which is characterized by a hidden presentation
  2. Other Specified Dissociative Disorder – OSDD
  3. Dissociative Amnesia
  4. Depersonalization/Derealization Disorder
    sub group:
  5. Unspecified Dissociative Disorder (DDnos)

Are dissociative disorders with switching behavior to different personality states always related to a Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)………   :  NO

Switching between personality parts is not a phenomenon that only belongs to a Dissociative Identity Disorder (trauma related).There are other disorders that have symptoms of identity problems and switching behavior between personality states such as a theatrical personality disorder, a Borderline Personality disorder, a bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
A Dissociative Disorder (DD) has a wider range of being a co-morbidity disorder.

PTSD and it’s relation to Dissociative Disorders (OSDD and DID):
Within the category Dissociative Disorders, we know two types of diagnoses which are related to Psychologically-Trauma:

1. Otherwise Subscribed Dissociative Disorders (OSDD) and
2. the Dissociative identity Disorder (DID) – caused by Psycholotically-Trauma

Those two Dissociative disorders are both categorized by Trauma specialists as Complex Psychologically-Trauma disorders.
Sometimes also knows as a Trauma type – II and type – III

And both disorders are known with a wide range of dissociative problems. From Amnesia, Depersonalization to Derealization to somatic dissociation, etc.. The difference between a trauma related OSDD and DID is the comorbidity of disorders and the presentation of the Switching behavior. Both disorders are likewise severe and don’t tell a thing about more or more severe Trauma experiences – because both disorders are categorized as likewise very severe disorders ! they cause severe clinically distress and agony in life.

A Trauma related diagnose tells you only something about the complexity of the disorder(s).

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III. BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER – BPD

not C-PTSD related – Abbreviation BPD

A Borderline personality disorder is a personality disorder which causes severe agony to life. It’s also a disorder which very often is misunderstood and stigmatized. People with a BPD suffer a lot, so please don’t judge them by the disorder but try to understand them.

BPD is a diagnose of a mental disorder which points out a list of ongoing disturbed, unstable and or harmful symptomatically behavior caused by a broad range of influences during childhood and a biologically given mental weakness. Examples of causes:

  • too less love and attention (negative child neglect)
  • too much negative love and attention (positive child neglect)
  • broth up by parents with harmful addictions
  • broth up by parents with social problems
  • broth up in a harmful e.g. stressful living environment
  • etc.
  • and the most upper handed cause to develop BPD:
    is most likely a mental weakness given by biologically genes (Borderline structure).
    A by nature given, not being able to handle or coupe well with stressful situations. A biological basis to develop a BPD.
    Note: Not everyone born with the biologically genes will develop a Borderline Personality Disorder during life –  A Borderline structure (is not a BPD) only tells something about the mental straight to coupe or handle with stressful situations.

Some psychologist e.g. mental clinicians like to call the causes to the development of a BPD – ‘childhood trauma’. But if you understand the clinical definition of Trauma you can’t place those causes in a direct line of Traumatic experiences. So I fully disagree with people who think and or declare that a Borderline Personality disorder is per definition caused by Trauma, and or is always trauma related, because it isn’t.

A Borderline Structure or a Borderline Personality Disorder by itself isn’t caused by Trauma !

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And now we end up to the most spoken CLINICAL DISPUTE * * *

BPD and It’s relation with Dissociative Disorders  (OSDD and or DDnos):

attentionOf course it all needs research and a global acceptance to define the difference and or relation of causes and the influences of different comorbidity disorders, but I will give you a bit of an explanation in the line of both clinical streams which are still arguing about the cause and understanding of a BPD in combination with Dissociative Disorders and or dissociation caused by Trauma:

A bit Freudiaans and a bit Janetiaans – I think; both theoretically streams do have a point

                      1. BPD + DDnos not Trauma related
                        BPD + Dissociative symptoms and switching behavior to different emotional personality states NOT Trauma related
                        (BPD + comorbidity DDnos)

People who suffer a Borderline Personality Disorder very often can’t coupe (independently) with stressful situation. They clamp on to addictive behavior to escape the inner stress and daily life stress, and or they clamp on to other people which can guide them through a stressful situation of life. If stress comes in to (such) a relation someone who suffers a BPD wants also to escape this relation (again) by clamping on to another person. They don’t attach on a healthy way and it’s not uncommon that someone with a BPD has a storrmy history of different relationships or switches back and forward towards and between more than one relationship. They easily panic if they are left alone. And they show very often impulsive and or addictive behavior.  It’s also not uncommon that someone who suffers a BPD seeks attention, I prefer to call it   they seek HELP because they are scared – they do this to escape the inner stress and the fear of being left alone. Life itself is sometimes even too much to handle and the fear of loneliness then also gets enormous, almost unbearable.
Graphed by this fear they sometimes develop different somatic problems with no physical cause, or they even start to develop their own internal family and play mates to escape the fear of being left alone. They start to Dissociate by the development of emotional personality parts.

                      1. BPD + (CPTSD) OSDD Trauma related
                        BPD + Dissociative symptoms and switching behavior under the influence of emotional personality parts:Trauma Related
                        (BPD + CPTSD + OSDD)

Like every human being also someone who suffers a BPD can experience a dead scary traumatic events or have suffered also Childhood sexual and or physical abuse which leads to the symptoms of a PTSD or a CPTSD with dissociative symptoms.
It’s also not oncoming that you see also severe Dissociative symptoms and dissociative Switching behavior in this category of a double mental disturbance and category of diagnosis.

But it’s also very difficult for diagnosticians to diagnose BPD + Dissociative Symptoms and the Switching behavior to other personality states of this category, because they need to determine if the Dissociative symptoms are caused by the BPD or by trauma related Dissociation (OSDD). And that is not an easy thing to do.

 

Fact or Factious:
ptsd vrijSomeone who suffers a BPD + Dissociative symptoms (DDnos and or OSDD) suffers severe agony in life. We know that this group is also the most difficult group to treat because of the underlying BPD and wide range of dissociative symptoms. Prognosis of treatment aren’t much positive because of the severity of the combinations of disorders. And although researches are doing their best to develop better diagnostically instruments (differential instruments) and treatment possibility’s, it’s still a group which gets to less global attention and understanding.

For the difference between a OSDD and DID dissociative disorder
I refer to the following link: The difference between OSDD and DID

(c) Nique

Complex Trauma PTSD

The Observing part of our personality

The Observing part

Lets explore the part of our own being which dances its way trough the interactive brain systems

yogaroots.be susie

Introspection !

And the Observing part of our personality

We are all able to observe or examine our own mental and emotional state, mental processes, etc.; the act of looking within oneself we call ‘introspection’.

The observing part we call the part which carries this ability of ‘introspection’. So you could say it’s normal to have an observing part. An observing part is not a traumatized Emotional Personality part or state, because than it wouldn’t be able to observe or examine our own mental and emotional inner self.

Introspection is a normal human capacity.


 

 

But what happens to this part of our personality if we become traumatized?

 

Then we don’t lose the ability of introspection but a traumatized personality doesn’t like to go on a exploring introspective adventure, so the main personality shuts down or ignores the introspective personality part – the ANP gets phobic to explore the inner self. Yet this observing part of our personality plays a very big role during therapy and the recovery process after trauma. It’s the communication line between our ANP and EP parts. If the apparently normal personality isn’t able to reboot the observing part after Trauma, or worse – never learnt to use this part proper – than this will slow down the recovery process. To recover from trauma we need to regain trust in our own capacity of ‘introspection’ – our own main observing part.

observing part

What if we suffer a tertiary dissociation of the personality,
also related to DID

 

If we suffer a tertiary dissociation of the personality than we also get acquainted with more than one ‘apparently normal personality’ state. And there it is also possible that every ANP has created their own misleading observing part which tells the ANP that it’s not their own emotion, or this memory didn’t really happen to us.

Those misleading observers are called OEP’s, the observers of the EP’s. Sometimes also called the inner gatekeepers. Their function is; helping out the ANP to ignore the nasty EP’s and reject the other ANP as being also parts of the own personality. And although those observers are very misleading, it’s also very important to gain there trust during the recovery process and ask for their help during therapeutically sessions. Because they also can tell a lot about the EP’s and they can be very functional as communicators of the inner self.

 

Now the question could be:
What happened to the main observing personality part if you suffer a tertiary structural dissociation of the personality?

It’s in there somewhere. It’s a part of our main personality so it can’t be gone. And within a tertiary SD, one of the ANP’s is very often able to communicate with the other ANP(’s). And mostly this ANP holds also the main observing personality part. Very frequently this is also the most numb ANP because there the observing personality part survives and function at its best.

 

A personal note to the understanding of the ANP parts
Not so long ago I got confused by the distorted information which is spread on the internet about the theory of the structural dissociation of the personality. So I asked my Clinical psychologist and therapist (traumatology) at the Dutch Top referent trauma center Assen-Drenthe:
“How many ANP’s can a person own which developed and suffers a tertiary structural dissociation?”

And he answered to me:
“In all those years that I treat, teach and contribute to the research of traumatology and also contributed in the writings of the book The Haunted Self, I personally have never met or heard of someone having more than three main ANP’s.

 

The more I understand, the more I start to recognize and feel
although I still not understand why I feel scarred of a task such as ‘body hygiene or body care’.

I can’t feel my own body as my own body on those moments and the world around me seems very small,
very close and nearby but also locked away in a very thick Fog.
I don’t see sharp and I’m still not able to think clear on those moments.
I function mechanic on those moments and do what has to be done.

It doesn’t feel as me taking care of me, but it is me ANP ‘Nique’
If we need to survive, the mind is stronger than our soul.
Maybe I have lost contact with my own inner soul, who knows.
But I will beat this monster inside me 

Complex Trauma PTSD