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Life in the Driver's Seat


Seraphim

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It's awesome you have the insight that it is a common reaction associated with PTSD.

 

I sure have experienced it myself. It took me a long time to wrap my mind around the fact that it isn't purely a 'personality' issue. It's part of a medical issue - the PTSD.

 

hugs.

 

Yeah ,it is hard to get your mind wrapped around the fact that it is part of a medical issue. For so many years people just told me I had a " temper." Well yeah I had a temper !!! I was terribly abused and neglected. Most people would have a temper. But is it okay for me to take out my temper on other people well, no. All my life I have tried not to take my temper out on people in my family first and foremost. I am pretty good most of the time as long as people don't invade my personal space and get aggressive. If someone gets in my personal space and gets aggressive with me pretty much all bets are off. If you are verbally aggressive with me I will be verbally aggressive back. And God help somebody if they ever get physically aggressive with me. Because that's when I seem to lose all sense of my faculties. I was about 21 the last time one of my friends got physically aggressive with me. And entirely without thinking I punched her right between the eyes and knocked her out. Mind you that was the last time I ever got physical with anyone.

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The anger in PTSD kind of reminds me of fear aggression in a dog. The dog is perfectly fine until it is fearful and then it acts out. It is something that needs treatment and retraining. You have to retrain a dog's brain. And it is the same with people. Once certain pathways are set with trauma the brain has to be retrained. New neural pathways have to be formed and entrenched.

 

Is that ever entirely successful though? Maybe for dogs it is because they are more instinctual. The animal brain is easier to reset. The human brain not so much. And in my case they tell me it will never be reset fully. I have to say that still pisses me off and I don't want to accept it.

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I honestly don't know. (about it ever being completely gone). I do know that in the years since I've had treatment, there has been a profound difference. And it keeps getting better all the time. So I'm optimistic. Maybe there will always be a 'whisper' of it; but it becomes something that you can pretty easily over ride with your thoughts. It's retraining the brain; and as far as I've come to understand it now too, also our bodies. Thinking of a body that has been under such severe stress for so long, and hyper vigilance...it does make sense it takes time, real time, for things to start to get truly even. There were so many highs and lows for me. Things are progressively steadying out though.

 

You have made remarkable progress. It's actually pretty amazing, if you think about it. I remember reading about your experience with your husband - a walk you two took recently - and it really hit home to me how much a difference treatment makes. On so many levels. I'm sure you have had many tender and loving moments with him through the years. But there is something different ; with the steady peace and security that builds inside, getting better, for some reason of relating to it, that sharing of that really hit a spot for me. I could practically feel the contentment and aaaahh of that moment for you. It's just so wonderful.

 

Trying not to ramble. It's simply that, as you know, I relate. I laughed a little at your story of hitting your friend back in the day when she came at you and it scared you. Not because it's funny completely, but relating. I have a story like that too. A friend of mine beamed a flashlight under her face once time camping and caught me off guard. My immediate reaction?? To punch her square in the nose. Wiring. There are soo many stories I have like that - of me being startled and going into fight or flight (which for me, there was only ever fight).

 

My experience too was as I went deeper into my treatment and healing, the layers of things got more and more subtle. Sometimes it may not look nor feel subtle!! But it does get subtler. Like, you find yourself reacting in new ways - not always pleasant and sometimes new manifestations of anger and fear - but it's getting closer and closer to the bones of it. It's part of the re wiring.

 

A happy new year to you. !! I'm off now ...I'll see you in the new year.

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OMG !!!!! My son made the GREATEST Pokémon promo with the iMovie app!!!! Oh my God I am so proud of him. Both my husband and I were just glowing with pride and told him how great we thought it was. We told him to show it to his media arts teacher when he goes back to school. It is just so amazing. He started getting that grin like when he's super nervous and then he started blushing. And he said Awww go away guys you're freaking me out. Lol. He is just so humble.

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So there is this woman that is seriously interested in my brother. One night he went out with one of his friends and the fellow was finishing up a business meeting with his boss when my brother showed up at the restaurant. And his friend's boss is a woman. Apparently after she saw my brother she just never went away for the evening. She just hung around hung around and hung around. Then she found out that my brother was an investor and she wanted to invest money with him. So then they had a meeting for her to invest money. Then last week she invited him over to her house for dinner. And last night she invited him out for New Year's Eve and he went. He said it is just nice to be with somebody for an evening who treats him with respect and is interested in him as a person. He said it won't turn out to be anything because first of all he's still much too brokenhearted. And he said second what reason would she have to be interested in him? He said she makes about 600,000 a year ,she's about 10 years older than him absolutely dropdead stunningly gorgeous and her daughter is grown up.

 

But he said if he goes out with people at this point he won't feel any remorse because since June his wife has been telling him that she's no longer married to him and can do whatever she wants. Funny though that only applies to her. She is so dogday jealous now she's ready to go off her cracker. Because now my brother has opportunities and her little sex friend dropped her like a hot potato because she's not his sugar mama anymore.

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So at midnight I called my mom to say happy new year. Somehow we got to a discussion about what she was doing for New Year's when she was 47. And obviously those things included going to parties dancing blah blah blah blah blah. I said mom when you were 47 your kids were grown-ups. And she said so what. And I said well my son is not a grown-up. So it's not fair to leave him all evening to whatever time in the morning by himself. I said and besides most music today they play is really crappy. By my standards anyway. Other people may like it I seriously don't. And I'm not paying money for watered-down champagne and dry chicken. And watching people get drunk and stupid is like having your toenails pulled out. And also you're the cheapest drunk in history. You're absolutely drunk giggling blushing after half a glass of anything. And everything is fun to you after that. It would take me far more drinks than that to find everything funny and giggly.

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My brother said that he had not left before now because he felt like he was giving up on his children. But my mother explained to him he's not leaving his children he's just getting rid of a marriage that is not worth saving. My mother explained he can still be good father and still be with his children just not married to his wife. And he said he feels if he is not in the same house with them he can't do enough for them.

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Anger and Trauma

Why is anger a common response to trauma?

 

Anger is often a large part of a survivor's response to trauma. It is a core piece of the survival response in human beings. Anger helps us cope with life's stresses by giving us energy to keep going in the face of trouble or blocks. Yet anger can create major problems in the personal lives of those who have experienced trauma and those who suffer from PTSD.

One way of thinking is that high levels of anger are related to a natural survival instinct. When faced with extreme threat, people often respond with anger. Anger can help a person survive by shifting his or her focus. The person focuses all of his or her attention, thought, and action toward survival.

Anger is also a common response to events that seem unfair or in which you have been made a victim. Research shows that anger can be especially common if you have been betrayed by others. This may be most often seen in cases of trauma that involve exploitation or violence.

The trauma and shock of early childhood abuse often affects how well the survivor learns to control his or her emotions. Problems in this area lead to frequent outbursts of extreme emotions, including anger and rage.

How can anger after a trauma become a problem?

 

In people with PTSD, their response to extreme threat can become "stuck." This may lead to responding to all stress in survival mode. If you have PTSD, you may be more likely to react to any stress with "full activation." You may react as if your life or self were threatened. This automatic response of irritability and anger in those with PTSD can create serious problems in the workplace and in family life. It can also affect your feelings about yourself and your role in society.

Researchers have broken down posttraumatic anger into three key aspects, discussed below. These three factors can lead someone with PTSD to react with anger, even in situations that do not involve extreme threat:

Arousal

 

Anger is marked by certain reactions in the body. The systems most closely linked to emotion and survival — heart, circulation, glands, brain — are called into action. Anger is also marked by the muscles becoming tense. If you have PTSD, this higher level of tension and arousal can become your normal state. That means the emotional and physical feelings of anger are more intense. If you have PTSD, you may often feel on edge, keyed up, or irritable. You may be easily provoked. This high level of arousal may cause you to actually seek out situations that require you to stay alert and ward off danger. On the other hand, you may also be tempted to use alcohol or drugs to reduce the level of tension you're feeling.

Behavior

 

Often the best response to extreme threat is to act aggressively to protect yourself. Many trauma survivors, especially those who went through trauma at a young age, never learn any other way of handling threat. They tend to become stuck in their ways of reacting when they feel threatened. They may be impulsive, acting before they think. Aggressive behaviors also include complaining, "backstabbing," being late or doing a poor job on purpose, self-blame, or even self-injury. Many people with PTSD only use aggressive responses to threat. They are not able to use other responses that could be more positive.

Thoughts and Beliefs

 

Everyone has thoughts or beliefs that help them understand and make sense of their surroundings. After trauma, a person with PTSD may think or believe that threat is all around, even when this is not true. He or she may not be fully aware of these thoughts and beliefs. For example, a combat Veteran may become angry when his wife, children, or coworkers don't "follow the rules." He doesn't realize that his strong belief is actually related to how important it was for him to follow rules during the war in order to prevent deaths.

If you have PTSD, you may not be aware of how your thoughts and beliefs have been affected by trauma. For instance, since the trauma you may feel a greater need to control your surroundings. This may lead you to act inflexibly toward others. Your actions then provoke others into becoming hostile towards you. Their hostile behavior then feeds into and reinforces your beliefs about others. Some common thoughts of people with PTSD are:

"You can't trust anyone."

"If I got out of control, it would be horrible, life-threatening, or could not be tolerated."

"After all I've been through, I deserve to be treated better than this."

"Others are out to get me," or "They won't protect me."

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I have been been having problems with anger for the past two weeks. Everything is a source of extreme frustration for me. I can't seem to control the frustration or the temptation to burst into anger. I feel like I just want to run away and hide until I calm down.

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I had a very good deep deep sleep with no anxiety which is very helpful. I think I will be fine again when everything turns back to normal. On Monday everything goes back to its normal routine.

 

My husband went out for a run he is carrrrrazzzzy! It is -35 out there. He could collapse his lungs.

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I also want to make an appointment to talk to my priest about it, the anger I have against her. As my mother says it is just causing me intense misery. Which it is. So I NEED to move on. And I believe the extreme anger at her is another PTSD response. Anything that causes an influx in security real or imagined causes me extreme anger.

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