Do you dissociate? Yea, probably...
“Bibliotherapy is a term that describes the very real process of being positively and therapeutically influenced by what you read. As stated earlier, when it is at its most powerful, bibliotherapy is also relationally healing. It can rescue you from the common Cptsd feeling of abject isolation and alienation.”
― Pete Walker, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving
Learning about complex trauma can increase self-compassion for your own trauma or understanding of a loved-one's experience. If you're ready to take a dig deeper, here are the books I recommend as a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA:
A Spotify playlist with some of my go-to podcast episodes to learn about trauma. Included in the playlist: what CPTSD (complex trauma) is, how trauma is experienced, how childhood experiences may cause trauma, attachment theory and trauma, and various ways trauma is treated, managed, and resolved.
Complex PTSD (or Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or Complex Trauma) is getting more attention. As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, this is how I define and describe C-PTSD.
🔥 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘴' 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘤𝘺. 🔥 Ever heard the term "blind rage"? If you relate, read below...
As a couples therapist in Oakland, CA, I often advise partners to "approach the bear" when their partner is angry. 🔥 𝘙𝘦𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘰𝘸𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘴' 𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘴 𝘢 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘸𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘢𝘤𝘺. 🔥
Individuals who've experienced complex trauma and/or emotionally dysregulated caretakers may experience heightened anger or have a hard time experiencing and interacting with anger at all.
You shouldn't have to choose between authenticity--being your full + wonderful self--and attachment. You should be able to find people who fully love you--and even delight in you--and provide you secure attachment. This is especially true in childhood! As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I often see clients who suffer from codependency, people pleasing, low self esteem, and attachment issues--strategies that arouse when they needed attachment and their authentic selves were rejected.
As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I see many clients who experience an inner critic, from intense self criticism to cruel self-hatred. I encourage an empowering reframe: self-hatred has kept you safe, and protected you from intolerable feelings and experiences-- vulnerability, mistakes, accountability, disappointment, reckoning with trauma--but do you still need to be using self-hatred as a tool?
As a trauma therapist in Oakland, CA, I get this question a lot: did I really experience trauma? Trauma is an emotional and physical response to a major stressor (or series of stressors), typically where one feels powerless.
Something stressful, annoying, sad, scary, and even triggering is not traumatizing *unless* there are lasting psychological and/or psychobiological impacts. It is important to distinguish so people with trauma get the care they need. Don't get me wrong--when things suck, that matters, too, but you may need a different level of care, processing, and treatment.
***Resources are not a substitute for therapy and are not intended for making diagnoses or providing treatment. Not all practices and tools are suitable for every person. Please discuss exercises, practices, and tools with your individual therapist or health care provider.