CPTSD Recovery & Emotional Flashbacks


It's been one year of no contact between myself and the narcissistic mother. I have only had contact in the past year with one sister, but sadly that also ended last month.

I have basically been mourning for a family that lives in the same small town that I do. Weird, but also necessary. I can't have contact with them. There is no question about that.

Can I remind you that just a little over two years ago I moved here because I felt strongly that it was what I needed to do for my mental health to improve? I thought I was dealing with complicated grief over my Father's death, along with depression and anxiety. Everyone (me, my husband, my therapist) thought that I could use the support of my loving family. Boy, did I get an awakening!

As it turns out, I believe my mental health issues following my Father's death in June 2010 are a result of narcissistic abuse, as my mother and golden child sister were devaluing me, and not long after I moved back here, they finished the job by discarding me in June 2015.

I haven't posted any videos on my youtube channel since Mother's day, because I have felt too emotional. Every time I have tried to make a video I would get frustrated with myself for crying. I wish I could get past that part, but I suppose what I have been avoiding is still waiting there to burst forth, so I'm going to have to allow it. After all, it isn't shameful to cry and have feelings. That shame over something so normal is something the narcissistic mother instilled in me, so that I wouldn't mess up her mood with my feelings.

CPTSD Recovery Chat & Crafting Therapy Sessions

I have decided that I'm going to make Youtube videos of myself working on a project and chatting about whatever it is I need to talk about. You know, the way it is when you go and see a therapist, and they start the session with "What would you like to talk about today?". Like that. Only it will just be me and my video camera. Who knows, I may even come out from behind the camera someday soon.

Sometimes, I may have a topic in mind and that is the direction it will go, but other times it is going to be me chatting about what has been burning a hole in my guts. I may not even know what I'm going to talk about until I start talking. For this reason, I will not be posting a transcript for these videos.

CPTSD Recovery Chat

My latest youtube video ended up being about Emotional Flashbacks, something that those of us suffering with CPTSD have intimate knowledge about. We just may not be able to put a name to it. I know I wasn't able to. It wasn't until I found videos on Youtube about healing from CPTSD, that I learned what an emotional flashback was. I knew what it felt like though.

Finding out about CPTSD has been a game changer for me. I felt hopeless before. I didn't know what was wrong with me. I just knew there was something different about me, and it was something I felt shameful about.

Emotional flashbacks are the most significant symptom of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). It is the one symptom that sets it apart from regular Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Emotional flashbacks can make life difficult when we are triggered, because we regress emotionally to the "feeling states" of the traumatized child, and as a result we react to the "unnecessary triggering of our fight/flight instincts" (Walker, 3). The tricky part is that there is no visual component to the emotional flashback, so you just feel all the feelings, and usually think something in your present environment is to blame for those intense feelings, so you react. When I let that last bit sink in, I had a huge lightbulb moment. I've always felt like my emotions and reactions were out of whack with the situation at hand, and this is because they were. I have been getting triggered and having emotional flashbacks my whole life!

Crafting Therapy 

The craft project I am making is face scrubbies.  They are basically a crocheted flat circle using 100% cotton medium (4) weight yarn. The hook size I used is 5.0mm (H/8), and the yarn is Sugar 'n Cream in sage green.

Crochet Face Scrubbies Tutorial:

  1. Start by making a magic circle, or you can ch4 and join to the first ch to make a circle.

  2. ch3, then 11 DC into the circle (12).

  3. Join with a slip stitch into top of the ch3.

  4. ch3, 1 DC into the same space as the ch3, then 2DC into each stitch (24).

  5. Join with a slip stitch into top of the ch3.

  6. ch3, 1 DC into same space as ch3, then 1 DC in next st, 2 DC into next st (inc), alternating (36).

  7. Slip stitch into top of ch3.

  8. If you want to make yours bigger, or make them into coasters (for eg.), you can continue increasing by 12 st each row. The next row would be ch3, 1DC into same space as ch3, 1 DC into next 2 st, 2 DC into next st (inc), alternating (48), and join with a slip stitch in the top of ch3.

Let me know if you want the formula to continue increasing. :)



Walker, Pete. Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving. USA: Azure Coyote Books, 2013. Print.


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