Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.

Fear & Panic Lead to Irrational Self Protection Mode…



Something the last few weeks have taught me (I always try to learn from all experiences)…. is that when I am struggling, I can still revert to self protection mode, that is not always rational.

A perfect example – listening to my counsellor speaking about mental health on a recording I found online. (I’ve blogged about this). I listened to one tiny beginning part ….. heard things that seemed shocking and totally unexpected. I panicked and didn’t listen to anymore, through complete fear I would hear more that would be horrible to hear.

What I heard, also played into my awareness of the issues many church people have of the way they view mental health. Having already been spiritually abused by church people…. I was in a state of shock to hear what I assumed to be the same attitude from my own counsellor. Who I would never have assumed, would have the same abusive attitude.

Fear. Panic. Often can lead to irrational thinking and coping behaviours.

So, in my already low overwhelmed state, I immediately went into panic, walls up, protection mode fully on. I didn’t ask her what she meant by the words I heard. I didn’t listen to the rest of the talk, because I had too much fear of hearing more that would shock me. I just completely assumed she had the same abusive attitude towards mental health, as many church people have.

I confronted her, in a state of mind that was not rational, or willing to listen, because I was so hurt that this woman who I had trusted more than anyone else, believed horrible things, that meant I could not and should not trust her. I’m not good at confrontation. It’s something I find difficult. Probably because all my life – any confrontation that I tried with people who were definitely doing harm – got me more hurt. So I am pretty bad at confrontation – especially when really hurt and fear is motivating my thinking.

I was wrong. Really wrong.

And I am willing to admit when I am wrong. I feel really bad for how I reacted and spoke to her. It doesn’t sit well with me, to treat anyone inappropriately. No matter the reasons.

I should have listened to more of her talking. I should have asked her what she meant. I should have listened to her try to explain. But, by that point, the walls were so high, the hurt so deep, nothing was going to penetrate those self protection walls. And people say never do the ‘shoulda, woulda, coulda’. But, sometimes that is needed. It’s the only way to learn and grow.

I have had a conversation with her since about this. I explained I did not listen to anymore of her talk, because I was too scared to hear anymore. But, I realise I should have.

I’m aware my fear of getting hurt, is not decreasing. I think it’s increasing – hence my last blog post – where I have stated I give nothing away of myself now. I am now way too fearful of getting hurt.

I’m also aware of my incapacity to think rationally, when confronted with my worst fears – betrayal and realising I’ve trusted someone I shouldn’t.

I’m also aware I still have a deep fear of being abandoned, within relationships that matter. I’ve emailed this fear to my counsellor, because I cannot bring myself to say it to her. But, this fear plays into my communication and therapy relationship with her. I’ve also apologised and said I know she doesn’t deserve for me to acted and reacted the way I did.

She didn’t dump me as client. She didn’t tell me I had to go and see someone else. When quite frankly, she would have every right to.

She didn’t abandon me.

I also allowed myself to cry about everything that is overwhelming me. Which I have not allowed myself to do in counselling for quite some time. I keep my emotions in and try to control them. But, I realised I needed that release, and to not keep it all coiled up tightly inside. I’m aware I have to deal with all these deep grieving emotions.

But, through all this, I have learned, where I still need to work on myself. What still isn’t healed.

I think it’s only when issues arise, that test us, do we really know where we are at. And whilst it was a very unpleasant ordeal, I will learn from it.

~ Lilly Hope Lucario

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Author: Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

I am a survivor of complex and multiple trauma and abuse, who at the age of 40, began my healing journey. I am using my journey to recovery and healing, to help others, to help survivors feel less alone, validated, encouraged and to enable others to understand themselves more. Complex trauma, particularly from severe, prolonged childhood abuse, is profoundly life changing. Complex trauma produces complex adults. The journey to recovery is a painful, often lonely, emotional daily challenge and it is my aim to encourage others in their daily battle. ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

4 thoughts on “Fear & Panic Lead to Irrational Self Protection Mode…

  1. Been there & done that!!
    I’ve done this many many times!!!

    Extremely extremely difficult for me to discern emotional flashbacks from what’s real & what’s old trauma & what’s happening right now.

    It’s so painful and disorienting to deal with.

    I beat myself up & am horrible to myself when this happens but this post helps me to have understanding & empathy with myself.

    • I understand the beating yourself up part. I feel really bad about how I have been throughout this. I don’t ever want to be someone who treats others badly.
      I think having to trust my counsellor more than I am comfortable with – is an ongoing challenge for me. To allow myself to be vulnerable – and trust someone is not going to use it to hurt me, or fear that I start to rely on them and then they abandon me…. are wounds and fears, that are definitely still there.
      And for really good reasons.
      I still don’t know that line between having appropriate remorse, which is good, and feeling shame and guilt and beating myself up.
      Something I need to figure out.
      But, I do know I can learn from it and have needed self compassion.
      I’m glad this post helped you know you are not the only person who struggles with this, and I do understand.
      It’s an ongoing journey.
      ❤ ❤

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  3. Wow, this is me. Completely and totally me. Thank you for sharing this.