Tag: #childabusing

8 Symptoms of PTSD We Need to Start Talking AboutBy Sarah Sharp

The Article:https://themighty.com/2020/04/ptsd-symptoms-we-dont-talk-about/?utm_source=newsletter_mental_health&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=newsletter_mental_health_2020-05-06&$deep_link=true

Physical health problems, cognitive issues,eating disorders… these are just a few of the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) we don’t talk about. And that’s just the beginning of the list.

1. Physical health problems.

Some of the physical symptoms of PTSD include cardiovascular, autoimmune, musculoskeletal, digestive, chronic pain and respiratory conditions, as well as higher rates ofdiabetessleep apneamigrainefibromyalgia, and muscle tension.

Clearly, PTSD is a physical as well as emotional disease, but there are other symptoms of PTSD that may surprise you: the neurocognitive ones.

2. Neurocognitive issues.

People experience neurocognitive symptoms of PTSD, too, such as problems with memory and concentration, cognitive delays, lowered verbal memory capacity and trouble with problem-solving and planning.

What all this comes down to is this astonishing reality: our emotions may be powerful enough to actually change the way our brain works.

3. Eating disorders.

People with PTSD also experience higher rates of eating disorders. In one study, 20 percent of women with binge eating disorder, a third of women with bulimia nervosa and 11.8 percent of women with non-bulimic/non-binge eating disorders displayed symptoms of PTSD.

Being in a constant state of arousal make it difficult for people with PTSD to eat, suggesting our emotions may change the way our bodies work as much as our minds.

4. Mistrust.

PTSD changes the way someone feels about other people. They’re in constant fear, their bodies always primed for fight or flight, and many of them have seen the worst atrocities human beings are capable of. They can’t be sure what someone else wants to do to them.

They might have unrealistic negative beliefs about others or blame other people for thetrauma they endured, or they may blame other people for what happened after the traumatic experience.

Either way, the symptoms of PTSD overwhelm some people with fear, leaving them unable to see their friends and family clearly and to trust people they may have once trusted.

5. Shame.

Another symptom of PTSD we don’t talk about is shame that often doesn’t go away. The way people with PTSD feel about other people often parallels the way they feel about themselves. They tend to hold distorted negative beliefs about themselves and blame themselves for their traumatic experience, as well as what happened afterward.

PTSD can sometimes leave people incapable of trusting anyone, even themselves.

6. Hopelessness.

People with PTSD often feel hopeless about a future that feels limited. Some people who were once spiritual may also experience a loss of faith. For people with this condition, life simply doesn’t feel normal anymore.

7. Difficulties with positive emotions.

Another symptom of PTSD is difficulty regulating not only negative emotions, but positive ones, too. Studies show people with PTSD tend to associate positive emotions with the trauma they underwent. They have a hard time controlling themselves when they feel something good, or they have a hard time focusing on anything else.

8. Physical reactions to triggers.

When someone’s PTSD gets triggered, they often experience physical reactions, such as difficulty breathing, pounding heart and heightened startle reflex. This can be attributed to increased levels of adrenaline.

“These floods of adrenaline arise because brain circuits involved in the regulation of emotion learn to activate in response to trauma-related cues and then do not unlearn these associations after the threat passes,” explains John Krystal, a national PTSD expert and chief psychiatrist at Yale Medicine.

In other words, any time people with PTSD get triggered, their bodies may react the same way they did during their trauma. They can get stuck in their fear.

What All This Means

When people don’t know about all the symptoms of PTSD, it leads to a lot of misunderstanding. Family and friends don’t understand their loved ones with PTSD, and people with PTSD don’t understand themselves at times. We can feel angry and betrayed when we don’t have to feel that way. Life becomes even more painful than it already is.

Healing from PTSD is all about support, which we can’t do for each other if we don’t understand one another. We need more education and more awareness so the people hurting around us can get their lives back again.

The Chart You Might Need If You Are a Childhood Trauma Survivor

The article: https://themighty.com/2020/02/power-control-wheel-childhood-trauma/?utm_source=Mighty_Page&utm_medium=Facebook

According to ChildHelp, the largest organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect, the definition of child abuse is when a parent or caregiver causes (or threatens) injury, death or emotional harm to a child.

Though this definition is accurate, it’s also a bit vague. Like most things, “harm” exists on a spectrum, so it may feel tricky deciding what is “poor parenting” and what constitutes actual abuse. Because the distinction isn’t always clear cut, we wanted to share a tool with you that might help you understand the dynamics of parent/caregiver abuse with more clarity. If you are a survivor of childhood trauma, this chart might aid your healing process.

The Power and Control Wheel for abuse of children, created by Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP), is a simple chart that outlines behaviors that constitute abuse. The outer ring of the chart lists acts of physical violence (left side) and acts of sexual violence (right side). Examples of physical violence include: choking, twisting arms, pushing, kicking, hitting, pinching, and the examples of sexual violence include committing incest, sexual touching/kissing and sexualizing children’s behavior.

You can see the chart below, or download your own copy in your preferred language here.

Abuse of Children wheel
via Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs (DAIP)

The inner circle of the chart is divided up into seven parts, and encompasses classic behaviors that constitute psychological violence abusive caregivers can inflict on children. All seven of these power and control tactics can fly under the radar, leaving children feeling confused and powerless to prevent the abuse they experience. We’ve broken down each behavior below.

1. Using Institutions

The first section of the chart talks about the use of institutions to maintain power over a child. This could look like threatening punishment byan outside entity (example: “God will punish you for the sin of disobeying your parent”) or threatening punishment with an institution (example: “If you don’t behave, I will send you to live with your mean Aunt Hilda”). Other examples of institutions an abusive parent might use to control a child include threatening punishment by/with:

  • Police
  • Courts
  • School
  • Juvenile detention
  • Foster homes
  • Relatives

2. Isolation

According to the nonprofit Prevent Child Abuse America, adults who use isolation to control their children cut them off from normal social experiences, prevent them from forming friendships and encourage the child to believe they are alone in the world. This may also include controlling access to the child’s other parent, siblings, grandparents or other adults.

3. Emotional Abuse

Unlike physical and sexual abuse, which are two fairly easy-to-categorize types of abuse, emotional abuse can be a little trickier to define. Essentially, emotional abuse refers to a pattern of behavior that causes psychological harm to another person, usually involving verbal degradation and the exploitation of an unequal power dynamic. Some common examples of emotionally abusive behaviors caregivers may engage in include:

  • Put downs and name-calling
  • Using children as confidants
  • Using children to get or give information to the other parent
  • Being emotionally inconsistent
  • Shaming children

4. Economic Abuse

Economic abuse refers to a caregiver maintaining power and control by exploiting a child’s financial dependence on them. Some behaviors that would fall under the economic abuse category can include:

  • Withholding basic needs from a child like food, clothing, shelter or medication
  • Using money to control behavior
  • Squandering family money
  • Withholding child support
  • Using children as an economic bargaining chip in divorce

5. Threats

Parental abuse isn’t always literal harm, sometimes it looks like the parent creating a climate of fear by threatening to harm the child, others, their pets or even themselves. Some common examples of threats caregivers use to assert power and control over their children include:

  • Threatening to abandon the child
  • Threatening to die by suicide
  • Threatening physical harm, confinement or harm to other loved ones

6. Using Adult Privilege

In all types of abuse, there is an actual or perceived imbalance of power. In the case of parent-child abuse, a parent or caregiver will use their status as an autonomous adult to inappropriately control a child. When questioned by the child, an abusive parent who uses their adult privilege might say something along the lines of, “Because I’m the parent, and you’re the child,” or “Because I said so.” Examples of misuse of adult privilege include:

  • Treating children as servants
  • Punishing a child inappropriately or more often than necessary
  • Bossing around a child
  • Always “winning” arguments
  • Denying a child’s input on visitation and custody decisions
  • Constantly interrupting a child

7. Intimidation

Intimidation is the use of fear to assert power or control over another person. In cases of parental abuse, this might look like:

  • Instilling fear through looks, actions and gestures
  • Destroying a child’s property
  • Using adult size to intimidate (for example, standing over a child)
  • Yelling
  • Being violent to the other parent, pets, etc.

If you are a survivor of childhood trauma and recognize any of the behaviors mentioned above, you’re not alone. The trauma you experienced was not your fault, and you deserved better treatment growing up. The good news is it’s never too late to heal from trauma. With the help of a trauma-informed therapist (check out this helpful tool to find one), you can heal from past childhood wounds.

To connect with other survivors who understand, we encourage you to post on The Mighty with the hashtag #TraumaSurvivors. Whatever you’re facing today, you don’t have to go through it alone.

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