Categorized | Post Traumatic Stress, Trauma

Heal Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Learn To Live More Gently

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (Simple PTSD) is a trauma-induced anxiety disorder that used to be reserved solely for military veterans who had experienced extraordinary, life-threatening events through combat. Overtime, this disorder came to include victims of natural catastrophes and acts of terrorism. But, in therapy settings, clinicians increasingly saw PTSD symptoms in survivors of childhood sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence victims, children raised in poverty or neglect, or children experiencing prolonged stress as a result of bullying or some other traumatizing situation. It was difficult to place these people into the PTSD category, as it stood, because their trauma could not be ascribed to one event. Hence, it wasn’t uncommon for them to get diagnosed with many acute syndromes and personality disorders, to address the wide-range of symptoms they presented.

Thankfully, the field of mental health started to recognize a type of post-traumatic stress that results more from prolonged stress than it does from one-defining, life-threatening event. It is called Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) and is found among individuals who have been exposed to prolonged, traumatic circumstances, like in sexual abuse, physical or sexual violence, bullying, or devastating living conditions, like chronic neglect, poverty, or living with family members who have a serious mental illness. This is the subject matter of my post today. I want to acknowledge my patients who have struggled with this challenging disorder, and also, to let those of you who may be suffering from this stress syndrome, to be able to identify it in yourself.

Simple and Complex PTSD Symptoms

The hallmark symptoms of simple PTSD, and its complex form, involve the reliving of the trauma (flashbacks), hypersensitivity and vigilance to threat, avoidance and withdrawal, nightmares and sleeping problems, disassociating from the environment, and problems in mood. But, unlike the transitory nature of trauma in PTSD’s simple form, years of inescapable childhood trauma damages the development of brain chemistry and the nervous system, so that the ability to learn, attend, and regulate impulses, emotions, and behavior are wholly impacted. Hence, the symptoms are less related to a specific trauma, as in military combat, than they are to developmental problems of functioning. Thus, a nightmare to the specific traumatizing event, for people who have Simple PTSD, becomes night terrors that entertain a range of vaguely defined fears, for the person who has its complex form.

The Brain Chemistry of Prolonged Stress and Danger

Short-lived, life-threatening danger can traumatize people to the point of weakening what they value, believe, and trust, temporarily. But, in chronic childhood stress, the sense of self  is not fully realized, so that a person’s values, beliefs, and feeling states fluctuate, especially in times of high stress. The ongoing trauma takes up so much of the growing child’s heart, mind and spirit that the brain cannot attend outside of the trauma, to grow and strengthen. This is especially true of the brain’s frontal lobe region that helps us to learn, control impulses, regulate our emotions, reason, attend and concentrate, problem-solve, and use our imagination toward goal-achievement. Thus, people who had prolonged childhood stress usually have a history of learning and thinking problems, attention-deficit disorders, impulse-control problems that show up in eating, alcohol, and drug use disorders, and mood and emotional regulation difficulties that have more to do with the structure of the personality than they do to an outside event.

If you have the complex form of PTSD, you most likely have difficulty taking control of your life. You most likely have already seen a variety of doctors for the problems that I’ve mentioned here. Unfortunately, many of you have been diagnosed with a range of mood, personality, and dissociative and learning disorders that make you feel all that more dysfunctional. You have to remember that,

PTSD is not what is wrong with you; it is about what happened to you.

As you can imagine, getting to the right diagnosis and treatment plan is a complex matter, for you and the treating clinician. I have had many patients who have the complex form of PTSD. One of the most challenging aspects to the therapy is to help them to understand its widespread impact on their learning and emotional and social functioning and the multipart interventions required to treat it. C-PTSD has a devastating impact on people’s lives, as their intelligence, talent, and will are seriously undermined by the disorder. And, believe me, most everyone I’ve encountered who has this disorder is intelligent and talented. But, stress gets the best of them. Imagine how hard this must be. It’s one thing to not have what it takes to fulfill certain dreams. But, it’s a whole different ball game to know that you have what it takes, but that your biology is working against you.

If you have this disorder, you may feel like you have been cursed or have been dealt a bad deck of cards, in life, like you are standing on the outside of life, looking in. To you, it seems like other people are having an easier time of fulfilling their dreams and goals. And, do you know what? For the most part, you are right. Complex PTSD is a high-maintenance disorder. That’s a fact. But, through proper therapy and self-care, you can get closer to the life that you’ve imagined.

You Don’t Have to Stay On The Outside, Forever, Looking In

You must live, what Psychotherapist Sandra Brown calls, a gentler, kinder life.

“A gentle life is a life lived remembering the sensitivities of your PTSD. It isn’t ignored, or wished away—it is considered and compensated for.  Since PTSD affects one physically, emotionally, sexually, and spiritually—all of those elements need to be considered in a gentle life.  Just as if you had diabetes you would consider what to eat or what medication you need to take, so it is with PTSD.” A Gentler, Kinder life Part OnePart Two, Sandra Brown.

I could not agree more, with Sandra. You have been in a chronic state of stress for way too long. If you want to get better, minimizing stress is critical to healing and to getting stronger. If you don’t, stressful conditions will get the better of you, exhausting you completely, and making you avoid life, altogether.

Let’s reduce your stress so that your body has a chance to restore itself and work for you. This requires a holistic therapy that treats your body and mind and the relationships that have been undermined by your illness. Remember, the brain and body are resilient. Over time, with the proper treatment, you can repair and develop new nerve networks, to make yourself stronger. You can live with more stability and vigor. You have to:

  • Retrain Your body. Reduce your stress. If you are kinder to your body, it will be resilient enough to help you. You won’t get better, until you bring more calm and relaxation into your life. Begin by retraining your body sense. Treatments that calm and de-stress you also heighten your awareness as to what your body is feeling from one moment to the next, so that you can turn your stress around more quickly. Prescribed medication, deep breathing, muscle relaxation and imagery, mindfulness therapies, nutrition and exercise, massage, and spirituality tone down brain and body arousal and relax you. They heal the body at a deep cellular and nerve level. Now, your frontal lobes have a chance of strengthening, so that you can concentrate, learn, cope, and control your emotions and behavior. But, remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. C-PTSD is a high-maintenance disorder that requires your lifelong dedication to healing it. Only by living more gently will you become stronger and more resilient under stress.
  • Retrain Behavior. Psychotherapy for C-PTSD varies with the type of trauma. For example, childhood molestation, rape, or domestic violence victims have specific treatments specially designed for their recovery. It’s very important to find trained trauma specialists who are trained in the best approaches to help you. But, generally, C-PTSD treatments emphasize identification of the trauma, protection from the source of the trauma or abuse, support for the real nature of the trauma, and the decisions that unfolded from it, and the processing of grief over what was lost. Additionally, therapies promote self-discovery, personal skill development, and learning how to integrate trauma into a personal story of healing and recovery.
  • Strengthen Relationships. C-PTSD can place an enormous strain on intimate relationships. You need relationship therapy to learn more adaptive responses to social tensions and requirements. A recent study published in the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) shows that conjoint cognitive-behavioral therapy is a successful way to treat people with post traumatic stress disorder and their partners. This particular kind of therapy can reduce symptoms and improve couples’ relationships, as it helps them to solve problems more constructively.

Indeed, your journey in life has been paved with challenges that have made your way harder. But, you can rise to the highest level of your capability through the right self-care and treatments. Many exceptional people in the fields of entertainment, mental health, art and literature, and business have the complex form of PTSD and have thrived, despite it. The following are links to websites that help you to live more gently and to be kinder to yourself.

A Gentler, Kinder life Part OnePart Two, Sandra Brown; Barry Sears, Omega 3 Fatty Acids for Anxiety and PTSD Disorders; Out of the Fog; Integrative Trauma Treatment; Hope’s Tapestry by Catherine Darnell and Louise Gluck, Writing through Complex PTSD.

I hope you learned something new from today’s post that will help you or a loved one to live life better. If you liked my post, please let me know by selecting the Like icon that immediately follows. Also, if you want to let others know about this post, select google’s  icon, to spread the word. Warmly, Deborah.



63 Responses to “Heal Complex-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Learn To Live More Gently”

  1. avatar Deana says:

    Great article. Thank you so much, as always.

  2. avatar John Randall says:

    Hello, I truly believe I have this. I have had severe flashbacks. I was beaten for four years with a leather strap up to 100 times each time. I had a very severe flashback this past month-which still stays with me today. I would love to get better-any ideas? I have had therapy for five weeks this year and felt better. But the flashback was afterwards. I was going to try to get a physician team that dealt with trauma. But I have no idea where to find one. The therapy was great-but I wanted to go to a different one, one that is a phychiatrist. I want that just in case I would need some med’s. I don’t take any now, and don’t drink or do illegal drugs. Please would you respond to this?

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello, thank you for sharing this very tough experience in your life. First, I want to say that my heart goes out to you and anyone else who was so mistreated in their growing years. I have treated people who have had severe physical and sexual abuse and know the particular suffering that results from such violations of body, mind, and spirit.

      John, toward the end o my post on C-PTSD, I mentioned that people who want to work through their abuse should do it with a licensed trauma specialist. I’m glad the therapy helped you to feel better. I’m not surprised, however, that you started to have a flashback after the therapy, as therapy often makes people worse before they get better. I suggest that you start therapy again, especially because you found it helpful. I don’t know if your therapist was specially trained in trauma, but if he or she was not, I recommend you finding someone this time who is. There are licensed clinical social workers, licensed marriage and family therapists, licensed psychologists and psychiatrists who have specialized trauma in this area. Your local and state psychology associations have a list of experts in this area. Also, go to and on the toolbar, go to the experts section. I write for them as well (GET HARDY Blog). Under this section you will see a range of topic areas that include trauma and abuse, behavioral health, resilience (I’m under this area) family and children, spirituality, and many more. There you will see many experts who are writing on this topic and they live in various regions of the country.

      You might also try calling the local hospitals or a few Psychologists in your area and asking specifically for people who are trained in this approach. I have one more recommendation, you might call the local university or professional training schools who have graduate training programs in the area of psychology. They will have a list of their teachers and professionals who are specially trained in trauma and abuse and recovery. For example, I taught graduate psychology, for years, at Pepperdine University in Irvine and Culver City California. The faculty and administration have lists of people in various practicing areas of psychology that they are more than happy to share with you.

      Thank you for trusting me and sharing a bit of your life, here. Please stop by again, Warmly, Deborah.

  3. avatar Lolly says:

    Thank you for this article. It has given me a sense of hope. Thank you muchly.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Lolly. I’m so glad this post gave you hope. There is hope for people who have the complex form of PTSD. I’ve treated many people throughout the years who have this syndrome and I can tell you when they practice good mental, physical and emotional care–they get better. But again, watch the stress level. See you here soon Lolly. Warmly Deborah.

  4. avatar Ahmad Asim says:

    Hello doctor. its was a good article. i have also problem of PTSD. my age is 25 year and university student. sometime i feel better but during some part of a day i remember bad past movements of my life, which makes me so sad. i tried more and more to turn my mind from bad past events but i think i fail to do so.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Ahmad, thank you for sharing with us today. I hope the recommendations in this post will guide you to get the help you need and to heal further. They do help much Ahmad. I’ve known many people with PTSD who live productive, happy lives, today. But, of course, it is not an easy road to travel, but doable with much effort. Warmly Deborah.

  5. avatar Umair Ahmad says:

    Very informative article with symptoms and treatment. I think people having C-PTSD or PTSD, can understand it well.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Umair, good to say hello and thank you for taking time to comment. I appreciate the feedback that the ideas are clear and understandable. Thank you. Warmly Deborah.

  6. avatar Chelsea says:

    I have Complex PTSD and have for YEARS! But I was misdiagnosed and the source of my trauma is the “therapy” I received in a plethora of institutions, counseling sessions that listened to my parents vs myself, and the things I’ve seen/patronization I felt within this system. This makes Counseling and therapy in and of itself something to avoid… It is the trauma, with excessive medications, shots of haldol and Thorazine starting at the age of 5, being restrained and put into seclusion’s for hours sometimes days. This is compounded with foster homes that were tantamount to torture and abuse at home/absentee father. Is there any help for someone who can’t stand an hour of therapy because it keeps them up for 5 days to a week catatonic after that session?

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Chelsea, it is true that some people have been undermined and harmed by wrong diagnoses, inappropriate hospitalizations, wrong administrations of drugs and restraint. It’s horrific, cruel and such a misuse of the system that’s supposed to help not destroy people.

      I’m shocked that you were put on Thorazine at 5 years old. I don’t know when this happened (year), but there would be safeguards against this today. The treatment of children has become a very important issue in psychiatry and psychology. Trying to protect against the things you mention here from happening to young people.

      Chelsea, I’m sorry that therapy harmed you so much. It was really the people who were treating you rather than therapy itself. Therapy can be very helpful to people when it is administered by ethical, reasonable people who feel towards patients as if they were treating their family members. Oh my goodness Chelsea, my heart hurts to hear this happened to you dear. Of course you have post traumatic stress from this damaging, unreasonable, and horrific treatment of you.

      I hope that your adults years have given you some healing. Although I know that the emotional scarring from this must run deep. Chelsea I have seen people through the years given medications that were more damaging to them than any problem that any problem that they had. There are no excuses for what happened to you dear. Blessings, Warmly Deborah.

  7. avatar Martin says:

    Good article. Thanks. I have been reading up CPTSD recently in an effort to explain my feelings of, I can only describe as, nothingness. An emotional numbness. I relate very much to what is being described yet I was never sexually or physically abused.

    There was emotional neglect – as kids, we grew up believing that we were a hindrance, a horrible inconvenience and there was little if any overt love – but I’m not sure if that would trigger this disorder.

    I’m not aware of any therapists that treat this in the uk but are there any suggestions for self treatment?

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Martin, I’m glad that this post was helpful to you. Yes, neglect can also case complex post traumatic stress. The feeling of nothingness can result from deep despair. And, depending upon the severity of neglect, inner stress, and the trauma of having to take care of yourself, along with future stressful life events–can traumatize one’s biology. Martin, I’m very sure there are many therapists in the UK who treat post traumatic stress. But, yes, you can do much to treat yourself. The recommendations I give can help but as you can see, the self-treatment is about creating a lifestyle that allows you to heal your body and your mind. Relationships, food, exercise, stress reduction, meditation–all of this can start to repair you body. But, you mention a feeling of nothingness here that I want to comment on. That feeling comes because we cannot see possibility in our life because we feel that most things are meaningnessless The relationships we have with our parents and siblings give us a sense that life is meaningful–in the relationships that we form. But, you were neglected, so I can see how this foundation was weakened for you. Martin, I don’t know how lonely you are. But, most the time when we feel nothingness, we feel disconnected to ourselves and other people. I recommend that lifestyle approach in my article for you to connect to your body and mind. This will stimulate some meaning in your life. You see you have commented here today because there’s a part of you that wants more than nothingness and you deserve this. And, the other very important thing you have to do to get past that feelings of despair and nothingness is to connect to other people or something that you love or have some passion for that will stimulate some meaning. Nothingness weakens the more you find things that hold meaning for you.

      Martin there is a world renowned existential therapist in the UK Dr. Ernesto Spinelli who treats conditions of nothingness and meaninglessness. I think he’s in London. But if you google him, you can find out where he lives. Also, you can find many of his books on Amazon—I have the greatest respect for him.

      Thank you for taking the time to write today. I wish you very well Martin. Will you let me know how it goes for you. Warmly Deborah.

      • avatar Martin says:

        Thanks very much for the considerate and thoughtful reply Deborah. I should have clarified – one of the main reasons the numbness was concerning me was that I have recently got married, have many friends that care for me and am successful in my career.

        Yet none of it brought me any joy. I wasn’t sad, angry, happy – nothing. I couldn’t connect or feel any of the emotions I wanted to or knew I should have. I tried to pretend but that just seemed to make things worse as I felt I wasn’t being ‘true’ to myself.

        I read some articles by Pete Walker which is where I discovered this disorder and the realisation of what might be causing these feelings and understanding that my childhood was bleak, really was a relief.

        The understanding that it was actually possible for me to enjoy life, rather than simply preparing for death, was almost overwhelming – in a good way!

        I would just like to make sure that I don’t take two steps forward and five back and would like to get some momentum going as I already feel ten times better with simply understanding.

        Thanks for the recommendation of dr spinelli. Ill certainly look him up as an existential approach to this intrigues me. Also, I will try to apply your advice as laid out in the article.

        Thanks very much for replying and can I say that i think it is fantastic that you take the time to respond to people in a thoughtful way. It really does mean a lot.

  8. avatar CPTSD says:

    Thank you for this article. One of the best I’ve read, yet. In fact, this part made me break down in tears because it rang true and was just… honest: “To you, it seems like other people are having an easier time of fulfilling their dreams and goals. And, do you know what? For the most part, you are right.” I can’t tell you how many times I explain this observation to my therapist, and I go a little crazy trying to decide if it’s true or just a problem with my lens on life. But it is true. It is. Thank you!

    I have a fantastic psychodynamic therapist that I see twice a week. Originally I went for depression, but by the 2nd session I confided my long-term sexual, physical, neglectful, spiritual and psychological abuse in my nuclear family. After two years of therapy, I still have trouble believing that I had it “bad” or that my childhood was different. I finally pressed my therapist to give me her diagnosis, which was complex PTSD, and I have so much relief to hear it. I have had so many symptoms — flashbacks, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, hallucinations, hypervigilence — that I struggled with trying to figure out what the hell was wrong with me. I embrace this label because now I say… I really have experienced trauma and it really did impact me and it really does make me different. I’m not imagining any of these things!

    As I read about complex PTSD, it’s clear to me that my therapist has been working with me exactly in the right ways – reducing stress, self-care, healthy diet, etc. We’ve come a long ways, but I suppose I have a life-long effort ahead. At least I know that now. Thank you and thanks to all the therapists that understand complex PTSD and are willing to do the hard work to help us through it!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello CPSD (I don’t want to use your name for privacy); I’m so glad that you feel validated by some of the things said in this article. Part of the healing process is just to know that it’s true–in fact this is what is happening. I am so glad that you have a very good relationship with your therapist. It speaks for who you are too, as therapy is a relationship where two people participate in the healing. I hear what you are saying. You are right that people who have trauma continue to question if it was really that bad. Our defenses to protect us can be so good that it makes things seem unreal. Again, I’m so pleased for your great work with your excellent therapist. You have courage and have put effort into exercising the resilient part of you that is allowing you to heal. You take good care. Warmly Deborah!

  9. avatar Kyleen Gallgher says:

    Great article. However in my case finding qualified T has been impossible. Not only did I suffer horrific childhood sexual and physical abuse by an older brother, but my life was threatened daily with his “cocking” a shotgun at me fro ages 5 – 15 – to terrorize me in not telling. In addition, I was also emotionally abs used and physically abused by two other siblings, and not wanted by mother from birth.

    I survived my childhood went on to successful career, then witnessed first hand World Trade Center Disaster – every part, only the Hudson River separated me from the WTC.

    Finally, this ear after suffering the 3 month terminal and loss of my father, the only family member who always represented safety to me – I returned back home after assisting with funeral and my now forgiven, loved disabled mother – to be Involuntarily Committed by my spouse through the use of an Affidavit to a Hudge with Lies!!! I was held for 5 days not the 72 hours and b/c my husband lied and said that I threatened to “kill” my daughter – I was not allowed to return to my own home for 2 more weeks!!!

    Because of the sever trauma of the police removing me from my house and the absolutely mind blowing fright of being in the state mental heal lock up – I was so traumitized that I became non- functional for almost two months.

    There are either events as well, that have occurred in my lifetime, but I think at this point I have finally reached the breaking point. I have been in Therapy and seeing a P since 2000, and have spent tens of thousands on therapy to no avail.

  10. avatar Margie says:

    Thank you Deborah for this affirming article. Finally I can put the pieces of the puzzle together with the term that truly fits my childhood, Complex PTSD. I have discounted my experience in childhood as ‘not so bad, compared to others’ as my mother used to tell me. And ‘others’ go on to live good lives. Of course, I didn’t and couldn’t. Finally at age 70 I know why.

  11. avatar Kt says:

    I feel like crying having read all that. Thank you for putting so beautifully into words exactly my experience. It has been incredibly challenging living with chronic PTSD because my family completely invalidate it as a reality and believe I am weak and too sensitive and perhaps mentally disturbed. This hurts and being around them I feel I have to lie to survive in their presence. Due to the long term trauma, I also developed 4 auto-immune conditions.. so this entire life experience is a very big challenge. Some days I feel like I am winning and other days I can’t make sense of anything and feel completely lost, fragmented and crying for a self I can’t feel or find. It is inspiring to hear there are therapists out there with your awareness and kindness, in 40 years I have not found a therapist yet who has been able to address my childhood or the subsequent eating disorder and life long relational, mental, emotional, physical, spiritual battles. I have to believe there is a purpose to all this and hold on to some kind of hope, faith & belief that I am not unworthy because I am broken and can’t present in one piece as I would like!!! I have to accept this fact somehow and find value and worth in myself, broken or not!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      I’m so pleased that you felt understood by what you read here. It is incredibly challenging to live with chronic PTSD. And, to have our loved ones deny our reality just pours salt on the hurt and pain we already have. Sadly, I hear this story way too often Kt. Yes, lying to survive with loved ones is very very painful. I’m not surprised to hear that you have an auto immune disorder. The stress of chronic PTSD causes wear and tear on the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue can coincide with chronic PTSD.

      I love your words–“find value and love yourself broken or not”. Most definitely Kt. I have a post I think you will like. Here’s the link to it. It’s called Use Your Suffering as the Source of Your Life’s Great Strength and beauty.

      I don’t know where you live. But, if you go to, they have an international list of very good therapists, some of who may have speciality with chronic PTSD. Take good care of yourself. Warmly Deborah.

      • avatar Kt says:

        I only just saw your reply to my.message 2 years ago! wow.. thank you for your response and those links I will definitely look them up.
        yes type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, hypothyroidism, celiac + sensitivities.. I am also an empathic/highly sensitive soul so always blamed myself for being too weak 🙁 which unfortunately is the story that “family” told me too and I owned it… all of the yuck.. which doesn’t belong to me and even ‘knowing’ it apparently wasn’t my doing etc on a psychological level.. removing its devastating effects from my physical body/central wiring is another story! sadly I had to go live with my mother again for health/financial reasons and the body I am trying to heal is being re-triggered again and making it harder to get strong enough to leave.. so recreates the trapped feelings of.childhood. I sooooo want to be.better physically and all levels as I feel.the potential within.. I’m in MelbOz where good lower cost therapists can be difficult to find.. I try to work on myself as best as I currently know how but there’s unconscious matter my body is blocking so get stopped.. anyway thank you again.. I some more inspiration on here and get to a place of relative Recovery + Thriving!! 🙂

  12. avatar Michael Smith says:

    This is a great article and describes my situation CPSTD as if it were written for me. I have searched and searched for information on the internet and this article provides all the information I need (and is positive)

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Michael, I’m so glad that the ideas and information in this post helped you. That’s what it is all about. You take good care. Warmly Deborah.

  13. avatar beyond the milky way says:

    Kind of terrified to be posting this but something has changed recently and I can’t escape in my daydreams anymore. I really apologize for the length.

    This article was painful for me to read, especially the part about being on the outside looking in. My personal “outside” is a very far outside…I’ve already floated past most known galaxies, lol. You describe a point where a person becomes completely exhausted and avoids life altogether and I passed that point at age 25 (I’m 33 now, unemployed and mostly socially isolated for 8 years).

    I didn’t understand what had happened to me then: I had a perfect score on the SAT and ambitions to pursue medical research, but my body had given up. No matter what kind of mental tricks I devised to get myself to do the academic work I was so interested in, I couldn’t initiate any activity other than reading and occasionally writing notes to myself. Even feeding myself was inconsistent and I’ve survived due to the help of a couple successive “parent figures” (my family is all gone). It was like I was a car with no ignition.

    I recognized myself in C-PTSD as soon as I saw the diagnosis, but with no family to live for, no credentials or employment history, and no friends except one current “mother figure,” I couldn’t change anything.

    I started out this life with an Apgar score of 10 and I only got this “weak” (haha!!) after a lifetime of abuse, mostly by my mentally ill mom, on welfare, who subjected me to an upbringing of total control (scheduled to the minute) using strict military discipline techniques, starting at age 3 she worked me 8 hours a day. I was never able to do anything of my own free choice. Even if I asked for a reason why I had to do a certain task, that meant punishment.

    Like Chelsea my mom once took me to a counselor and (of course hiding everything that she did to me at home) presented me as a “problem child” for reacting to what she did in a way I now know is normal. I’m lucky I wasn’t medicated!

    I was also consistently bullied by my peers for being poor and obviously “different” due to my “upbringing” if that’s what you want to call it.

    In my early teens through early 20s I lost my parents and other immediate family one by one to illness and accidental death, then got into an abusive relationship with a man, and that was the end for me, I just dropped out of the world. I had no connections to society any longer. He let me sleep in his bed 24/7 and fed me like some kind of freaking dog. Got me addicted to pain meds. In that time I picked up two autoimmune diseases and severe insomnia.

    I’m considering a local residential treatment program tailored specifically to C-PTSD survivors but it’s hard convincing myself that this will change anything, with nothing outside myself to live for and no “world” to “go back” to. Maybe if I had a recent employment history and/or a family, but I live in a desert. And I can’t trust that the program won’t just try to take away the one thing I have left: that I’ll never again obey anyone’s orders, because I’m proud to have seen this far into reality and stayed alive. Or just that it’ll be the wrong fit for me, since I always end up in the wrong places.

    Ironically I haven’t given up yet, at least not inside my head. I have all these probably stupid dreams about applying to medical school and about becoming a published author. But it’s the kind of “not giving up” like Samuel Beckett’s “I can’t go on, I’ll go on.”

  14. avatar Mark says:

    Dear Dr
    My name is Mark and I live in UK. I am in a complete state and have no idea what to do. Briefly, I have many complex traumas from childhood, adolescence, adulthood and now. I have experienced emotional/psychological/sexual and other. I have been in a 12 step recovery programme for 10 years and am fed up. I have symptoms of C-PTSD and Mild Autism. I am educated and have 2 Degrees and an Advanced Diploma. I crave healthy relationships and know a lot about CODA and AA philosophies. I have been homeless and have been betrayed .I also have an illegitimate daughter that was conceived accidently when I wanted an abortion.
    I want out of all this madness and need a long term solution to all my problems. I also have experienced bullying and harrassment.
    Please help me.
    Thank you.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Mark. First, Mark, I’m sorry for all the hardship you have had to endure in life. I understand your desire to be free for once and for all of the suffering. Are you asking for the key to finding a healthy romantic relationship? I’m unsure. Can you please tell me a little more and I can see if I can direct you? Take good care Mark. Warm regards Deborah.

  15. avatar Sonia says:

    Thanks for the article. I’m glad some people find it helpful – to me, reading about CPTSD only makes life seem even more hopeless. It’s very depressing to know that I will never lose this and will have to deal with it for the rest of my life. There is no time in the day to do what I need to – where am I supposed to find time to ‘treat’ such a high maintenance disease? I feel totally ripped off that someone else has managed to completely ruin my life when I did nothing to deserve it. For me, life is hopeless, and the more I read the more hopeless it becomes.

    • avatar Anna-san says:

      I know this is 2 years ago but it’s just so true.. it’s so pointless to go on. I am unable to understand things that most people take for granted but at the same time I’m unable to shake my knowledge of the terrible true nature of the world. Nobody cares or even wants to deal with truly damaged people. I’m only 26 and I feel like my life is already over. To make things not bad anymore would take many years, years that the same people we’re supposed to pay tons of money (that most likely none of us have) and are probably the same age as we are have clearly got ahead on us anyways. I mean what realistic options do I have, working some minimum job still? But maybe I’ll have friends! Oh wait I’ll have no time to hang out so I guess that illusion didn’t last long. Man I’ve been wishing I’d never been born since I was a kid, you’d think 15 years something good would happen but not even school counselor wanted to try to help me. Oh well all I can do is wait for death I guess. I pray everyday but it still hadn’t come.

      • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

        Hello Anna. The world can seem only dark and terrible at times. Im an older women now but in my earlier years, I felt some of your feelings. The world has disappointed you greatly it seems. I’m sorry Anna you are suffering. I understand your sorrow. Know something Anna. Once I truly did see things and feel things as you do now. Life does get better. There is much good happy life ahead of you. Death hasn’t come because God does not want this for you hun. Hold on to any amount of faith you have inside you. Time and your effort will heal all. God bless dear Anna. Deborah

  16. avatar anna says:

    Dear Deborah, thanks so much for this helpful and insightful article; however, I do believe that giving advice to those with CPTSD to live more gently isn’t realistic or I should say is dependent on one’s economic class and support. I am sure I am not the only one with CPTSD who is stuck at a low income and doesn’t have the emotional and financial support I need to the point where I live most days isolated even holidays and can’t afford a therapy dog or a car and daily life is really stressful and can’t even afford all the therapy I need and now may have to move again because my disability income I get is so low, it doesn’t accomodate all my special medical needs along with a roof over my head and food. and somehow i always seem to end up renting rooms with folks who aren’t playing with a full deck and really feel that thee is no hope for me to heal and that I should have the right to be euthanized at this point because my case is so severe I got disablity right away. in other words, i don’t think it’s possible to live gently without enough money.

  17. avatar Lynn says:

    The evil narcissistic, HEARTLESS PSYCHOPATHS that DID this horrific abuse to all of these poor people (myself)included, are the ones who should be “euthanized”!! They are no better than rabid animals turned loose in communities that are a danger to those around them. They are COVERT MURDERERS. And that’s exactly what would happen if we lived in a just society (these INHUMAN BEASTS would be euthanized) and all their apathetic minions would be incarcerated until they were “rehabilitated” to behave in an empathic, compassionate manner to their fellow humans rather than siding with all these evil, malicious PSYCHO=BULLIES. And I have to add, there is a spiritual component of pure evil to this abuse that comes in various forms but most often is psychological/emotional and causes C-PTSD. Jesus Christ described Wheat vs Tares in the Book of Matthew (2 different species of humans). It is pure evil and these monsters who pose as “human” who inflict it are soul destroyers. I think we all know who they serve. And the top 1 percent who control our world is totally filled with these monsters, which is why society is kept in the dark about the intra species predators among us, from the top down to the lowest segments of society.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Lynn, yes, those who torture or physically and sexually abuse people are very disturbed people. I see why you call them evil. I believe there are evil people in this world; they do destroy the soul. I’m very sorry that you have been abused. It is a lifetime of trying to repair the damage.

      Thank you for your comment Lynn. Wishing you well. Warm regards, Deborah.

  18. avatar SoulSurvivor says:

    Hello all,
    I have read many of your posts and have empathy for you.
    I am 55 and am a survivor of abuse and neglect which began as a Toddler.
    It damaged me in ways that I am still coming to understand.
    I have been in and out of counseling since 1979. I have had some good ones and bad ones; so don’t give up in the first bad one.

    I encourage you to hang in there.. for yourself, but at least for those who love you and want to see you happy.

    This is a long journey for us. Love yourself, do kind things for yourself, and never stop growing. We’re worth it.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Soul Survivor. I like your user name; says it all. Thank you for letting others know you’ve been there, understand the depth of their struggles and most importantly, to love themselves. Self love leads to the type of self care needed to heal complex PTSD. It is a long journey as you say well. thank you again. Warm regards, Deborah.

  19. avatar Cgullah says:

    Thank you for this article. I was diagnosed with severe D.I.D. when I was 52. It’s been a long journey. I have continually run into prejudices with the D.I.D. diagnosis and happy to hear that the C-PTSD diagnosis has come into use. Perhaps this diagnosis will be more acceptable and will also include training to help people like me with stress, focus and concentration issues and not just memory. One counselor got me thru most of the memory work but then didn’t know how to help me just live a functional life. An agency that provided this kind of help simply ran out of ways to help me focus and function. They said I was their only failure at taking meds. I’m 70 now, I am 90% better than I was. I have a good life. I am happy to hear that clinicians are coming to a better understanding of complex PTSD issues.

  20. avatar Nell says:

    I was sexually abused by three different people when I was a child. I suffer with acute anxiety and depression. My husband of 28 years left me almost five years ago and I am still grieving over the loss. Both of my kids turned on me when he left. I am at the end of my rope with these feelings and anxiety. I feel useless and disposable. I’m forced to be living with one of my abusers and he lets me know almost daily that he hates me. I can’t do anything right. He keeps threatening to pack up and leave and leave me homeless. I have severe degenerative disc disease and two ruptured discs in my lower back. I am unable to work or do much of anything because it aggravates my back and caused me extreme pain. I have physically worked hard all my life and not being able to work is devastating to me. I’m 54 and going to be homeless!!! It’s just too much…. I don’t know what to do.

  21. avatar Adriaan says:

    I created a website and community about C-PTSD recovery. For this, I am looking for experienced trauma therapists or counselors. I am creating a (free) list so members of the community have easier access to the right help.

    You find the website here and please leave your e-mail so I can contact you in the near future.

    Kind regards,

  22. avatar Sarah Flynn says:


    Thank you so much for this article. Your readers may be interested in some articles about CPTSD on at There is also a CPTSD self test there to help people consider whether what they are suffering from may be CPTSD.


  23. avatar Robyn Robinson says:

    Thank you so much for this article and for your compassion. I cried with relief at its relevance. I was searching the internet for hope that healing from C-ptsd is actually possible, and you have given me hope that it is. It has already been a very long journey, and I find it very hard sometimes to keep going, but you have given me the fuel and hope I needed to carry on with my healing. Thank you,


  24. avatar Travis Walkup says:

    Dr. Deborah,
    I have been suffering from CPTSD for a few years. All I can say is my mother is very sick and has others believing I am sick. I lost a very valuable piece of property under a set of strange events. Ever since that time I have had to move back in with my family and have had everything stolen down to my clothes. I am 99% sure that a multitude of crimes have been committed against me and have even been poisoned several times for weeks on end by my mother/father to hide the theft and drive me crazy. They have everyone believing I am delusional. I was told by a friend that my brother told her what my family has to say about me when I am not around. She explained it was vital to my survival to go talk with SSI about getting on disability. I finally did after finding a bottle of powdered aluminum on top of a bookshelf in my room. I had been complaining for weeks that I felt like I was becoming autistic and I hurt so bad I could hardly make it down the stairs. There are several unbelievable events that have happened to me that I can literally write a book. My mother by a multitude of tactics mostly minimizing the effect to others about my health condition following the initial poisoning. They know that your are to take someone that is suspected of pesticide poisoning to the Hospital immediately and call poison control. They di none of these and after 2-3 weeks of not being able to get out of bed with vision problems, kidney and liver pain and me posting on fb begging for help she had to do something. her answer was to take me to an acupuncturist. She took one look at me and said she could not help me but that I needed serious medical attention. So my mom takes me to a healer twice. I then go to the hospital emergency room and end up in the pysche ward. After getting out she made an appointment with a Dr that specialized in Integrative Medicine. The morning of the appointment she phoned and said she was unable to go with me and my room mate because of more lies. He was also shocked at my condition and was mystified how I could have gotten so poisoned. My mom told me not to have any tests done and that I ould not return for chelation because of a lack of money. I was scared and went to Mexico where I have friends that I know would take care of me if I was dying. This is 5 plus weeks after the initial poisoning and the first thing said upon seeing me was what happened to me and what did your parents say. Well I got better and returned after 4 months and all my vehicles were missing and my customers looked at me like I was a terrorist . I still had soe business but was poisoned again and unable to get out of bed for another month. My sister had a cold and went to the doctor but I was dying and they acted like nothing was wrong. After I finally went to SSI and told him about the powdered aluminum in my room and he was looking at the sypmtoms and we talked for an hour he said we need to get you out of that house. I have not been poisoned or had what ever it was done to me since but I am suffering from loosing everything and their strange behavior and constant lies. Since going on disability I have spent most of the past year and a half in mexico but I still had so many unanswered questions about what happened. I also lost 4 inches on my waist and half the hair on my entire body. So I am back here and they are still making it difficult for me to get the help I need. I need advice and I need support or I can’t go on with my life. Please any advice or someone that reads this that can help me figure out what happened . I have a pretty good idea what this is all about but I am damaged and alone and forgot. Everythig was going well for me until she broke a promise and did not call my lawyer after I recieved the 30 day notice thus I lost my house and they have done several other things to undermine my credibility.I would have owned the house free and clear the lawyer explained as they had no proof of title. There is more to the story and I am afraid they and whomever conspired with them will get away with not only the crime of ruining my life and health but stealing my property. There is a road being built so the right of way purchase they stand to make over a million and have the lakefront commercial property increase. I was told by the Dr that chelation was necesary or the heavy metals would go free radical in a few years and basically do whats happening now. I am so sad, mad and upset. What can I do? thanks

  25. avatar Jenny says:

    Thankyou for the article, just what I need. I can start therapy when I have 2 wks clean time. This has given me further reason to hang on. Thank you again.

  26. avatar Laura says:

    Thanks for the great articles,for me there’s is relief to no what it is..i am free of all the stressors…what I couldn’t understand why I still live with this severe gut clenching anxiety..ive read that cortisol levels can keep at a high level..therapy and meds is helping..i get it much less, but it’s exhausting..and read about adaptogens..any info. On their effecassy?..thankyou

  27. avatar Ben says:

    Letter to Dr Deborah

    this really struck me in the article..

    “Imagine how hard this must be. It’s one thing to not have what it takes to fulfill certain dreams. But, it’s a whole different ball game to know that you have what it takes” etc

    For me, Its never been in my nature to allow anything to hold me back., or accept that “my biology was working against me” But this is a big time part of what’s hurting me to my core along with what happened to me recently.

    I come from abuse and watched my mother be abused. So what was very imp to me growing up was to be a loving husband and raise healthy children. I just wanted a real punchers chance to do that.

    So about a year ago… I was running a successful business and doing everything I could to support a family and raise healthy children. But out of nowhere my outside family started having issues with drugs and drug related issues that where brought to my home (asking for money, food, help, etc etc etc)

    I did help initially. It was so hard, because so many things were happening at the same time. It was so hard to see people I love act so different, look so different, losing a grip right in front of my eyes. But over time I dealt with it. Hoping for the best. Hoping that it would slow down, etc.

    So one day I seen a family member yet again come to my home acting so off, and a part of me collapsed wondering when or if this will ever end and what will take. (These drugs were also prescription drugs prescribed by doctors who were prescribing too many pain killers and these drugs are the absolute worst)

    I wont go into all the details but for some reason after that incident I felt like I had a concussion. it severely messed me up, I even had to quit work, and I haven’t been
    the same since.

    For almost a year after this I have been in a state of disbelief after some of the physical problems I’ve been having… I’ve had (head tension, can hardly think, or concentrate, slight numbness in different areas, my mind/life seems like a “blur” dimmed like it’s not flowing. It gets stressed just to think about anything to conplex, nothing feels as familiar. I can’t handle bright lights, memory problems.

    Now imagine how hard that would be. You go from trying to help those you love
    and now I don’t know what’s going on with me and as a result is now effecting my own life and
    livelihood. Most people would never know I’m going through this because I handle myself well or as good as I can. But my days, but they will never know how bad I’m hurting inside.

    I’m on edge from all of this and sometimes i cry badly because I feel vulnerable just living like this.

    Does this sound like Conplex PTSD? Or does this sound more like I may of encountered a physical problem due whats happened? Have you seen this in patients, and if so, have
    they ever healed from it. Unfortunately, no amount of therapy could change this, and when your this low, you can’t afford to absorb another hit from a therapist who slaps a terrible level on you, or experiments with dangerous drugs.

  28. avatar Ben says:

    “PTSD is not what is wrong with you; it is about what happened to you”

    Thankyou for this part in the article as well.

    It’s been a hell of a struggle thinking is something
    wrong with me, or that I’m weak minded.

    I still struggle, because I seem to be the one who was terribly hurt and
    by the incident (s) and haven’t recovered which I truly still don’t understand
    fully, as I’m usually insightful and resilient.

    But it was nice to have seem this.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Ben. Yes. It is what happened to you not what is wrong with you. It’s sad yet understandable that so many people who were traumatized feel the problems are them. This awareness although subtle to some let’s us start to help ourselves. There’s a book I have recommended to several people who are struggling with C-PTSD.

      It’s called, ComplexC-PTSD: from surviving to thriving by Pete Walker. I’d check this out. Thank you for reaching out to me. Take good care. Warm regards Deborah

  29. avatar Lanny says:

    Thank you for this article.
    I believe I have this C-ptsd. I’m the first child in the family and expected to be perfect example for my siblings. I got lots of critics for everything I did, since childhood up until now. I feel like I never do anything right, I always afraid of unapproval from my family and people around me. I have emotional roller coster, low self esteem and self pity. I know that I have problems but I have no one to help me. I live in a non english speaking country and it’s impossible to back and forth to my home country to treat me, it will cost lots of money. I don’t know what should I do. I think I’m on the edge of my sanity.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Lanny. Perhaps there is a therapy agency that offers free social services? You may want to check this out. I just recommended the book that follows.

      I do not know if there’s a translation of the book. You’ll have to check. It’s called, ComplexC-PTSD: from surviving to thriving by Pete Walker. You take good care. Warm regards Deborah

  30. avatar Enough says:

    I recently realized that I meet the criteria for C-PTSD, and it was relief to finally figure out it wasn’t *just* depression, or anxiety, or “something wrong with me.” In addition to neglect and a host of other wrongs perpetrated by my mother, whom my siblings and I suspect is a narcissist, I was married to a narcissist for nearly 20 years. I did well for a while after divorcing him, but in the last decade have gone through multiple losses and a severe reversal of fortune. I found myself the target of parental alienation during this time (my child is now an adult and goes through long periods of estrangement from me, after developing what I’m sure is a form of Stockholm syndrome with his father).

    A recent bullying campaign against me by someone in my community has caused a lot of grief, depression, isolation, and loss of will to resurface. Reading everything I can get my hands on about smear campaigns, personality disorders, and PTSD led me here, in an effort to prevent yet another recurrence of making myself someone’s victim. I live in a foreign country and don’t have access to English language counseling here, nor can I really afford the expense at present. Are there any books you recommend about CBT or other therapies for healing C-PTSD?

    My greatest challenge seems to be finding healing relationships (friendships–I’m not interested in a romantic relationship right now because I want to work on myself) that don’t turn out to be with the wrong people again (manipulators, histrionics, etc.). It seems like I repeatedly meet people who are very adept at hiding their true selves at the start of a relationship, and given that the culture where I live supports a lot of fake and very dramatic behavior (Latin America), I can only work on making myself less “muggable” while trying to heal from past trauma.I have a tiny circle of friends left and an unsupportive family–I am bootstrapping it and doing it on my own. It’s that or stay stuck in this feeling of being cursed, like you said, of always wondering why everyone else has such an easy time of it in relationships. Thank you for your column and your words of wisdom!

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Patricia. I’m so sorry about the losses and trauma you have suffered in life. And that your family has continued to be a source of deep pain for you. Your searching for ways to learn more about c-ptsd and to heal yourself shows the power of your spirit and will to thrive. I found this book that seems very good. ( Pete Walker; Complex C-PTSD: from surviving to thriving). There may be a translation of the book into various languages. Thank you for finding this article. Let me know how you like the book. Take good care. Warm regards Deborah

  31. avatar Wendy says:

    I was abused physically, emotionally, mentally by my mom. Sexually by my dad. Beaten by my ex husband. Raped. And lived with a narcissist for 2 & a half years who emotionally and mentally damaged me. I am therapy but therapist said she can not do EMDR yet. We have to work up to that. She said I have been to damaged to jump into EMDR. Why is that?

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Wendy. I’m not an EMDR specialist. But I think your therapist is saying that you suffered so much trauma that she hesitates to have you vividly recall these events thru the process of EMDR. But I think you should ask her to explain her reasons so that you understand the process and make the decision with her. Wendy, I’m sorry about the abuse you suffered through. I know you’ve had to put a lot of effort into surviving and living well. There are so many unsung heroes like you who have the challenge daily to repair the trauma done to them. Blessings. Warm regards Deborah

  32. avatar Cathy Harris says:

    Even after years of feeling I am in recovery from CPTSD, I still experience nightly intense and sometimes disturbing dreaming. Not nightmares, per se, but intense and seemingly constant through the night. I decided years ago not to feel victimized by my sleep patterns, but at almost 65 yrs old, this pattern takes away from a higher quality of life. Thanks for this article. (btw, just curious why you use the term “disassociating” vs dissociating?)

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hi Cathy. You’re right. It is a lifetime recovery process but things do get better thru dedication to a healthy lifestyle. I know nightmares do bring one back to a painful, stressful past that make recovery challenging. I see I made a typo. The word should be dissociating. Best regards to you Cathy. Deborah

  33. avatar What Now says:

    Hi deborah,

    This is a great article, but I was hoping to see you speak to something another commenter brought up, which was the relationship between healing, living gently, and economic class. Exactly like you describe, I’m someone who is smart and deeply aware of my potential along with the gap between it and myself. Because trauma in one way or another’s has interfered, I’ve not been able to accomplish anything meaningful. However, I’ve been pursuing healinf for years, and when I finally awakened to my trauma, it was so quick and so intense that I couldn’t hold it and ended up back home with family trying to come back to stability. They don’t understand and I’m seen as sick. They are doing the best they can to help, and recently have been asking how they can support me, but it’s too overwhelming to be around them in a way I cannot explain. It’s not emotionally safe, is the best way I can describe it. I had an emotional trigger reaction to being invalidated a few months ago and left abruptly. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to get on my feet and heal. I’ve gone into considerable debt in the process of healing and it seems will have to declare bankruptcy as I can barely handle the credit card payments and expenses just to get by. So, the question comes back to class—the only way I can see myself getting through this is by working A LOT. To pay for rent, therapy, healthy food, and all the various other things that support my health and healing. These are big stressors, which I’m not accustomed to. All this stress is making me worse, but I’m not sure what to do in the face of my limits and the harsh and unforgiving structures we inhabit.

    Thanks for your input.

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello. Thank you for your comment. I appreciate that is is stressful to try to do all the things supportive of your healing. Do only what you can. Even small steps in food choices, checking out local community yoga for example that is free, and doing relaxing exercises in your room like stress relieving meditation can help. And music can be very healing too. So yes. Don’t over stress yourself thinking you must have the best to heal. You don’t. Blessings to you. Let me know how it all goes. Warm regards Deborah

    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      Hello Yana. You make a great point in economic issues related to doing all we can to heal. Long ago when I was young I too did not have the finances to fully explore healing resources. I did what I could to start the process and it helped me to heal a lot. I read up on yoga. Go to the library for resources on yoga exercises for e ample and breathing exercises. I did these on my own. Also perhaps you can’t buy vitamins and things like this that are very expensive. I started by doing away with eating habits that were bad for my health. For example I no longer fried foods or ate a lot of fast food and junk food. This helped a lot. I also attended free community exercise groups and spiritual activities. I know it’s hard but there are things we can do that do not burden our already limited resources.

      I hope this helps. And thank you again for highlighting this important aspect. We can’t let no resources pressure us even more. Do only what you can. Warm regards Deborah

  34. avatar Anon says:


    Thanks for the article. Life Gentler. That is resonating with me.

    I have just had a c-PTSD diagnosis, and never thought I had even PTSD before it. It came as such a shock it knocked me off my feet for a few weeks. My partner and I finally realised that yes. Yes I do. Huh.

    I won’t spell out the yuck as I can’t talk about it, but am taking medications and also EMDR for the last year.

    What I wanted to say was thanks for this thoughtful article that spells things out so well.

    Kind regards,


    • avatar Dr. Deborah Khoshaba says:

      You are very welcome Anon. I’m glad to hear you are doing what you can to heal and live more gently. Wishing you much peace and healing ahead for you Anon. Warm regards Deborah

  35. avatar John Due says:

    A chaplain in a hospital described my wife, Patricia S Due
    Of Freedom in the Family, a leader in Civil Rights, As
    Deborah. In the Culture Of Complex Post Traumatic
    Stress, Such as the Social Insanity, Escape From Freedom,
    Erich Fromm, Regarding Malignant Narcissism, I will
    Describe your Healing as the Deborah Complex describedci
    In the Book Of Judges in the Bible. The healing Deborah
    Complex. John Due

  36. avatar Sarah says:

    Thank you for your article. I have been diagnosed with CPTSD. Had it all my life but was never that obvious until I had a child (at nearly 44). The stress of parenting was a big factor in so many symptoms coming out. I had started with a new therapist to work on stuff to “improve my life.” Decided to talk to her about sexual stuff that I had never talked to (or wanted to) anyone about. It was the unleashing of the trauma stored in my body and my brain shut down. I suddenly wanted to die. And if not for my son, may have.
    For 4 months I had my emotional brain in charge. It was horrible. Finally agreed to medicine and my brain, 7 hours later, turned back on. At least my thinking brain is back but I still have CPTSD.
    And I lost my job of 22 years. Granted it was only part-time. Losing the stress is good, losing income is not.
    I also actually do not have memories of my family=parents or siblings before the age of 10. Is this dissociative amnesia? I know there was huge, huge emotional neglect and terribly bullying in school. But anything before age 10 is a mystery at home. Including if there was some sexual assault of some kind. The clues in my adult life point that way. But no memories. My memories of my life are age 10sih. So I don’t remember the parental rejection. Just I was the Rejected.
    I appreciate your writing about needing a “gentler” life. It is a big shift as before my child I was a pretty energetic and dynamic person. Now I have this and its manifestations. It can be so brutal.
    The hardest part is parenting. It is stressful and triggering.
    Thanks again.


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