Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

A journey to healing from complex trauma.


5th Article by Lilly Hope Lucario – Published by The Minds Journal

So thankful to The Minds Journal, for publishing my 5th article, about Complex Trauma induced emotional flashbacks.

It is always my hope to reach more survivors, validate their experiences and educate more people about Complex PTSD.

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Emotional Flashbacks – Due to Complex Trauma ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

Other articles published by The Minds Journal include ….

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2016/07/08/my-4th-article-published-by-the-minds-journal/

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2016/06/14/my-3rd-article-published-by-the-minds-journal/

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2016/05/24/second-article-pubished-by-the-minds-journal/

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2016/05/16/published-by-the-minds-journal/

~ Lilly Hope Lucario

All blogs written by Lilly Hope Lucario and subject to © Copyright Protected.

All rights reserved.

No part of any entry/blog, may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, screenshots, copying & pasting, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods.

This includes adaptations in all forms of media.


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Emotional Flashbacks – Due to Complex Trauma ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

scared-child

Complex trauma is ongoing or repeated interpersonal trauma (abuse), within a captivity situation, where the victim perceives no viable means to escape.

Most ongoing child abuse, is complex trauma. The child is vulnerable, at the mercy of the caregivers, and unable to escape. Other examples where complex trauma can occur are sex trafficking, prisoner of war, severe domestic violence.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, can result from enduring complex trauma.

Complex PTSD has specific symptoms, that are not listed within the diagnostic criterion for (Uncomplicated) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

These specific symptoms, are deep and pervasive issues with trust, abandonment, emotion regulation, isolation and many more.

One of the most common symptoms, and the hardest to understand and recognise, are emotional flashbacks. These are where emotions from the past, are triggered by something occurring now. These emotional flashbacks, do not have a visual aspect to them like flashbacks many PTSD sufferers experience. When there is something visual, it is far easier to understand, this is a flashback.

When there is no visual component, most survivors just feel they are having intense emotions, and really not understand why. They may seem ‘over-dramatic’ in their emotions and those close to the survivor, will see these intense emotions are not rational.

Once I realised I was experiencing emotional flashbacks, I began to work on understanding and recognising them, as they were occurring. Which was a very challenging and long process. It required a lot of effort and a willingness, to really work on this. It was well worth the effort.

How I learned to recognise emotional flashbacks were occurring, is by having to be really honest about my intense emotions. And be really honest about whether there was something valid occurring now to cause those emotions? Or was my emotional state, not appropriate or valid, for what was occurring now? Sometimes it is. But, sometimes, it’s not.

An example of this… I saw something said on social media, that caused an intense emotional response in me. It created deep feelings of being unsafe and scared. I had to stop and think about whether the current issue actually warranted and was rationally causing these intense emotions? The answer was no, I was completely safe. So why was I feeling like a scared child? I was experiencing an emotional flashback. This due to some abusive situation in the past, that made me fearful and scared. And at ‘that’ time during the trauma, my emotional response of fear and being scared, was very rational and valid.

Then, I learned to soothe myself, by telling myself “I am safe”. And tell myself “this issue is due to my past, and not due to something occurring now”. And I learned the different ways to comfort, ground and use mindfulness, and distraction, to help me manage these emotional flashbacks and the intense emotions triggered. Continue reading


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Music, can cause flashbacks.

I was just listening to Clair de Lune by Claude Debussy, on YouTube. I love classical music.

As this ended, the next one which I wasn’t aware would start playing is this. I listened to classical music as a teenager. And this transported me back to my teenage years of suffering, hopelessness, despair and suicidal needs.

Flashbacks, are a bitch.

 

I am glad I can discern flashbacks occurring now, and manage them better.

Info on managing them @ http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/#!flashbacks/cx5h

http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/#!flashback-management/c1jmh

http://www.healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.com/#!responding-to-emotional-flashbacks/c10x8


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Breathing skills, sure helped when my wisdom tooth was extracted.

I had an infected, painful wisdom tooth. I’ve had it being painful for many years. But, it got worse, so I decided I had to get it taken out.

The x-rays showed the wisdom tooth was embedded in the bone, it was only partially erupted and was infected.

I was pretty nervous when it came to the dental surgeon taking it out. Just the thought of feeling trapped in the chair, with people leaning over me, is a trigger. I am a severe abuse survivor and feeling trapped, is not easy to deal with.

Pain, is also a trigger. Having severe PTSD and Complex PTSD, means I can and do have many triggers, leading to visual, emotional and somatic flashbacks.

I decided I would utilise every PTSD, anxiety strategy I could, to help me manage this situation. Including breathing and mindfulness skills.

And I prayed for strength and the capacity to deal with this.

The extraction procedure was not pleasant. Just hearing the saw I knew she was using to cut the bone, was horrible.

But, I remained absolutely calm throughout. I was breathing….. in for 4…… and out for 4. And praying I would not feel pain. I shut my eyes the whole time, because I didn’t want to see them leaning over me. That helped with not feeling so trapped. Continue reading


Flashbacks, as ex soldier describes killing people with no emotional response.

Had conversation with an ex-soldier about the psychology of psychopathy and he described having learned this capacity to switch off emotions to kill people. And how he thinks this is okay and needed.

Quite frankly, that terrifies me.

That capacity to shut off emotions and end human life and cause human suffering, for whatever reason.

I can’t cope with that.

Had flashback of the sadistic psychopath, and his capacity to ‘switch off’ – to do what he wanted. It was still a ‘choice’ to cause human suffering. I could see it in his eyes, they would go black as he did all the terrifying torturous stuff. And I dissociated to cope with all the pain, all the severe abuse.

I’ve been on the receiving end of psychopaths.

And it is terror.

Numb writing this.


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I don’t have to keep your dirty secrets, anymore.

Throughout my 43 years, I have never had anyone in my life, care enough to want to know about the sexual abuse I suffered as a child.

I’ve used the term paedophile, and people just assume what happened. But, no-one has ever asked me if I need to share the details. My mother didn’t care. She was too busy blaming me for the paedophile abusing my sister. I have nightmares still about seeing him abusing her.

Since childhood, no-one has ever wanted to know if I need to share these details.

So, they remained a dirty, vile, shameful secret inside me.

Secrets my inner child still feels, still has deep fear about.

Secrets my inner child still feels deep shame, blame and guilt about.

Even in counselling, it’s been made clear that exposure therapy, is not appropriate, and I’ve always agreed with that. Until now. Yes, exposure therapy can be re-traumatising. But, keeping ‘secrets’ can be damaging. I think I only went along with not wanting to go down the track of exposure therapy, because it served my unhealthy need for avoidance and kept that shame within me, of not ‘telling’. it kept that shame within me, still going.

I know this is partly about my unmet childhood needs. I needed a mother I could tell. And I didn’t have that. Instead I was severely abused further, with being blamed for my sister being abused. Every child needs someone they can tell. Someone safe. Someone they can trust. I didn’t have that. I’ve never had anyone I can trust, for my inner child to tell the dirty secrets to. Continue reading


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I know when I have suicidal thoughts, they occur within a dissociated type state.

People talk about suicide being selfish. On one level, I see their point. The loved ones left behind suffer, terribly. And I do not want that and I know many suicide survivors say the same.

But, I know, whenever I have ‘those’ types of thoughts, I am not capable of thinking the way I do when I am calm and rational.

I have not figured out entirely what state I am in when these dark thoughts are filling my mind. They could be due to:

1. Dissociation.

2. Emotional flashbacks.

3. Psychosis.

All these being different, but still an altered state of mind, where my thought processing is different to my normal thought/processing capacity.

I have researched suicide, and I know the emerging, latest views in the psychiatry/neuroscience world, is that suicide most often occurs when people are in an altered state of reality.

Mental health disorders such as Depression, PTSD, Bipolar – can all have psychosis, at the severe end of the spectrum.

PTSD, and maybe others (I am unsure) and trauma related mental health, can have dissociation, flashbacks.

So, when someone is in this altered state of mind, their capacity to consider the needs and emotions of others, should they endure a loved ones suicide, is not there.

Many suicide survivors and people suffering suicidal thoughts, feel very ashamed of this and confused as to how they can have these thoughts, when they have family, children, loved ones.

But, I know myself well, I have deep self insight and deep honesty about myself and I know my thoughts when my symptoms/emotions have gone too far, become altered, by my altered stated of mind. Continue reading


I always form the wrong attachments & when they end, it is devastating.

I’m aware I form attachments rarely and when I do, they are with the wrong people and as a result, I always get so painfully hurt.

I know this is part of my Complex PTSD issues, due to so much abuse within my childhood and not having appropriate relationships with my own parents.

I’ve always said that to trust people, is my biggest form of self harm. Because, I form the wrong sort of attachments and trust people, who are unable and not wanting to be who I need them to be.

It’s a huge behavioural pattern within my life and I accept it, know why and try to have self compassion, rather than self hatred about this.

Abandonment depression and a deep sense of loss and grieving always follows the ending and loss of the attachments I have created in my heart. Continue reading