Tag Archives: trauma

On Surviving the Potholes of Self-Love Deficit Disorder Recovery

 

On our healing journey, sometimes we hit potholes in the road. Such surprises may cause us to temporarily lose control of our “vehicle.”  In an adrenaline filled moment of terror, we contemplate the end. Because of our newfound healing instinct, we tightly grab hold of the “wheel” and muscle our car back on to the road. This is when we steer our fate back to self-love
Worry not; you are moving in the right direction! Hold tight onto your courage, as the road to self-love abundance is fraught with risk. When you do arrive, and you will, you will realize that no destination as sweet as this can ever be achieved on a road free of obstacles and dangers. Therefore, self-love is not only the antidote to your driving dilemma, it’s also the destination you have always deserved.

Ross Rosenberg

 

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Self-Love Recovery Institute Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome

Creator of “The Codependency Cure: Recovering from Self-Love Deficit Disorder” seminar (and upcoming book)

SELF LOVE RECOVERY INSTITUTE                         

Trauma Continuum – Excerpt from Rosenberg’s Codependency Cure Seminar

The following information on Ross Rosenberg’s Trauma Continuum was taken from his Codependency Cure Seminar, which is available at Advanced Clinical Trainers website.

trauma continuum 2

LEVELS OF TRAUMA

  • DSM does account for levels of trauma
  • Not all are diagnosable
  • All trauma has impact
  • Good, bad and life-altering
  • Trauma that cannot be processed and organized is relegated to our limbic system
  • The brain’s protection vault
  • The brain’s circuit breaker
  • The more profound the trauma, the deeper it is buried
  • The more difficult to access
  • The more profound the psychological disturbance

THE CONTINUUM (LEVELS) OF TRAUMA

  • Trauma should be organized according to levels of severity
  • Mild to most severe
  • Mild to moderate is consciously processed
  • Moderate to severe require defense mechanisms
  • Biological phenomena
  • Considering there are levels of trauma
  • And trauma treatment works
  • A continuum should represent the trauma resolution

Invisible Trauma and Paleotherapy. 11 Tips to Heal

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Paleotherapy and Invisible Trauma.  11 Tips to Heal

By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

When treating trauma victims (and trauma survivors), I conceptualize trauma as a metaphorical invisible wound that is shamefully hidden from others.  Many trauma victims hold onto the irrational belief that, by telling someone their story, they would be taking an indefensible risk which could have irreversible and lasting consequences.  They are also terrified of the consequences of exposing the perpetrator because of real or imagined judgment, rejection from loved ones and the consequent loss of important loving and supportive relationships – social and familial isolation.

They avoid sharing their trauma with others, including a psychotherapist, because they believe: “I am permanently broken,” “I will be blamed,” “I must have deserved it,” “No one will believe me,” “People will be mad at me” and “No one loves a broken person.”  The most prevalent thought that motivates the burying of the trauma wound is “It will get worse by telling someone,” “The perpetrator will hurt me again or someone I love” and “The perpetrator is more believable than me.”

These unfortunate victims consequently commit their trauma wounds to oblivion.  They both consciously and unconsciously decide to permanently and deeply bury what happened to them and never utter a word about it again – to others and even to themselves.  Similar to a person with a real physical wound who avoids medical treatment, they hide it from others in hopes that it will heal by itself and the pain will eventually go away.  But it doesn’t.

Sadly, some of these trauma victims spend the rest of their lives unaware of their festering, debilitating and painful wounds.  The suffering they do allows them to connect to the result of the core wound, not the trauma itself.  In other words, it is less threatening and easier to attend to the palatable consequences of the invisible wound than the source itself.  And, if by accident a mere memory fragment should come to mind, the person will run further from it, cover it with another layer of denial, or just preoccupy themselves with a dysfunctional partner and/or seek to further self-medicate or numb it away.

Unfortunately, the longer the trauma wound is left untreated, the worse it actually gets.  Repressed (unconscious) trauma might seem gone, but it actually gets worse over time.  No thanks to shame, it grows and morphs into a more destructive force, attracting more and more shame like a strong magnet does to paper clips.  Accumulated shame always becomes toxic, which consequently requires our conscious and unconscious mind to spend more energy in denying, forgetting or forcefully not thinking about what had happened to us. This process adds even more layers of shame.

With each passing year, the buried trauma wound is covered by successive layers of “sediment” which, because of the forces that push down on our life, becomes a harder rock-like boundary “protecting” the trauma memory. Because of the powerful natural psychological forces of compaction, the original trauma eventually converts into a “fossilized memory” or “trauma fossil” that has become completely inaccessible to memory.

With meticulous care, and help from a mental health professional, we can carefully and cautiously dig, hammer and chip our way down to the original layer of sediment where the trauma fossil has been ensconced in rock. Such “paleotherapy” work is not for the faint of heart and requires courage, focus and persistent but gentle efforts to crack through rock-hard layers of forgotten time while, at the same time, not damaging the fragile nature of our former wounded selves – the trauma fossil.

And only when all of the traumatized parts of our former selves are unearthed, carefully sorted through, and put back together, are we finally able to understand what happened to us so long ago. The reconstruction of our trauma story paves the way for both an emotional and intellectual understanding of how we almost became psychologically extinct. Although “paleotherapy” may be a frightening endeavor, it is, perhaps, the only way to courageously heal our trauma wound at its source – and relieve a lifetime of suffering.

This takes a great deal of courage and vulnerability. George Eliot’s advice has never been more important to believe in than now: “It’s Never Too Late To Be What You Might Have Been.” We just have to fight for what we should have been if we were not traumatized as we were.  Commit this to memory: “The antidote to trauma is self-love.”  Trauma recovery creates self-love. The battle to heal and overcome our trauma is well worth it. I guarantee it.

For a powerful discussion (video) on courage and vulnerability, I highly suggest viewing Brené Brown’s video, “The Power of Vulnerability.  https://goo.gl/up87PQ

Eleven Tips to Healing Your Invisible Wounds

  1. Seek psychotherapy with someone who specializes in trauma resolution/healing.
  2. When choosing a therapist, seek feedback from other therapists or people you know who have seen this person.  It is that important.
  3. Slowly unlock your “secret vault” and take a risk by disclosing a secret to a trusted friend.
  4. Bring new “light” into your life by creating or broadening your social network. Remember this saying: shame, like moss, grows in the dark.
  5. Write a story about what you would have been like if you had not been hurt. Let yourself imagine that perfect world.
  6. Write a letter to your wounded self about your willingness to care for her.
  7. Write a list of all the dreams and goals you had to let go of because of your trauma.
  8. Write a list of all the dreams and goals you want to commit to. Make them broad and big; you can always narrow them down the next time you do this exercise.
  9. Write, but to not send or deliver, a letter to the perpetrator(s) about your feelings about what they did to you and the consequences you suffered.
  10. After each writing exercise, journal about the feelings that bubble up.
  11. Discuss these writing exercises with your therapist or a trusted and capable professional.
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

Clinical Care Consultants Owner
Advanced Clinical Trainers Owner
Psychotherapist, Author & Professional Trainer
Author of The Human Magnet Syndrome: Why We Love People Who Hurt Us

                  

 

Brené Brown.  Brene Brown Books.  The Gifts of Imperfection.  Daring Greatly.  The Daring Way. I Thought it was Just Me.  Rising Strong

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brene Brown  Brené Brown

Are You Vitamin L (Love) Deficient? Did Your Parent Deprive You of Nurturing?

 vit l a copy

ARE YOU VITAMIN “L” DEFICIENT?

Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT 

Sadly, illnesses caused by low or absent levels of essential nutrients, minerals and vitamin are pervasive in the world in which we live.  Such deficiencies more negatively impact children than adults, as a child’s future physiological and neurological health requires a steady stream of what their body and brains need most.  Anemia, tooth decay and Rickets are just a few of the medical problems connected to childhood mineral and vitamin deficiency.  To illustrate this dilemma, anemia, which is caused by an iron deficiency, impacts two billion people worldwide, while 70% of American children aren’t getting enough vitamin D (CNN 2015).

Vitamin L – Vitamin Love

An “emotional vitamin” is a metaphor for interpersonal and emotional “sustenance” that is given to children by their parents in order to promote healthy psychological and social development.  The most important of all the metaphorical emotional vitamins is “vitamin L” or “vitamin love.”  Just like actual vitamins, say C or D, vitamin love is critically important to a child’s developmental needs.  Or, in other words, if parents or caretakers do not provide sufficient, consistent and predictable levels of emotional nurturing, mental health problems in adulthood will surely occur.  There is no way around this stark but important fact.

On a global basis, vitamin L deficiency is as real and pervasive as other serious real vitamin deficiencies.  As with complications from iron or a vitamin D deficiency, vitamin L deficiency manifests itself in adulthood when it is too late to correct the problem.  Rickets, for example, if untreated in childhood, will result in permanent bone or skeletal malformation.  Similarly, when vitamin L is lacking or absent in childhood, harmful psychological, social and even physiological consequences are likely to occur, some of which may be difficult to treat in adulthood.  According to my book, “The Human Magnet Syndrome” (2013), when unconditional love/nurturing is absent in infancy and early childhood, adult mental health and interpersonal disorders will probably occur, i.e., codependency and pathological narcissism (Rosenberg, 2013).

A glaring example of a vitamin L deficiency was observed in Romanian children who were raised in stark and emotionally depriving orphanages.  According to numerous studies (Tottenham, 2013), many Romanian orphans suffered adult brain dysfunction and mental health disorders due to a lack of nurturing, attention and stimulation in the infant and toddler years.  The dire consequences of such deprivation included neurological or brain dysfunction, a dramatic reduction in brain size and language, intellectual and cognitive impairment.  In addition, higher incidents of conduct disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder were also demonstrated (Tottenham, 2013).

Erik Erikson Knew about Vitamin L Deficiency

Erik Erikson, a world renowned developmental psychologist and personality theorist, created a psychological and social (psychosocial) developmental theory that was based upon eight distinct developmental stages, each with two possible outcomes – success or failure.  He theorized that if a child was to mature into a psychologically healthy adult, they would have to been cared for and emotionally nurtured in a manner that facilitated an active and passive completion of each stage.

Healthy parent-child attachment is absolutely essential for successful completion of the first five of Erikson’s stages.  Without it, the child will remain frozen in a specific stage, which will deprive them of the skill development necessary to proceed with the following psychosocial stages.  Erikson and the legions of followers of his theory maintain that children who are frozen within a stage are psychosocially underdeveloped in adulthood.  In other words, these children will likely develop mental health and interpersonal problems in adulthood.  Vitamin L is, therefore, the key developmental constituent that facilitates healthy childhood psychosocial development.

A little like the unfolding of a rose bud, each petal opens up at a certain time, in a certain order, which nature, through its genetics, has determined. If we interfere in the natural order of development by pulling a petal forward prematurely or out of order, we ruin the development of the entire flower.  (G. Boeree, 2006) 

Vitamin L Deficiency and Attachment Trauma

Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder is a metaphorical disorder caused by a lack of emotional, physical and environmental nurturing during critical developmental stages of childhood, especially during the first four years of life.  Because of the fragile nature of an infant’s/child’s rapidly developing brain, any developmental disruption or harm to it will result in a lifelong template for pathological thoughts, feelings, behavior and/or a variety of mental health disorders.

There is no doubt that Vitamin L and parent-child attachment are intricately connected – both are necessary for adult mental and relational health.

“Attachment, the emotional bond formed between an infant and its primary caretaker, profoundly influences both the structure and function of the developing infant’s brain. Failed attachment, whether caused by abuse, neglect or emotional unavailability on the part of the caretaker, can negatively impact brain structure and function, causing developmental or relational trauma. Early-life trauma affects future self-esteem, social awareness, ability to learn and physical health (Trauma, Attachment, and Stress Disorders, 2015).”  

Sustained neglect, deprivation or abuse of a child by a pathologically narcissistic caregiver detrimentally affects the parent-child attachment process.  In other words, Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder or attachment trauma is caused by the lack of or impaired attachment between a child and his parents.  Such trauma is often perpetrated unconsciously and reflexively by a pathologically narcissistic parent (Rosenberg, 2013).  These parents are often oblivious to the harm they caused because of a lack of insight and empathy for others, especially for their children.  Moreover, they often parent their child in the same manner in which they were raised by their own narcissistic parent.  Just as Erik Erikson theorized, such trauma (developmental breakdown) sets the child up for adult mental health and relational problems.

Attachment trauma and vitamin L deficiency is difficult to identify in adulthood as it is the basis for adult personal and relational problems, not the actual problem.  Because some forms of maltreatment or neglect do not always result in vitamin love deficiency or attachment trauma, it is necessary to consider the amorphous nature of the problem.  Although neglect, deprivation and/or abuse sets the stage for attachment trauma, such maltreatment doesn’t always cause it.  A child’s unique personality type, psychological strengths or weakness, level of resiliency and other biological and personality attributes will either deepen or mitigate (buffer) the effects of attachment trauma.

Only with an understanding of Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder can one proceed with the appropriate treatment of it.  It is this author’s opinion that vitamin love deficiency can be successfully treated with trauma-based psychotherapy treatment strategies.  The following are ten recommendations to solve or heal Vitamin L Deficiency:

Ten Steps to Reverse Vitamin L Deficiency

  1. Seek psychotherapy that can address and resolve attachment trauma.
  2. Seek help with your codependency or narcissism, which is a secondary effect of of the deeper attachment trauma wounds.
  3. Create clear boundaries and expectations with those who seek to deprive you of vitamin L.
  4. When possible, eliminate or pull back from relationships that do not have vitamin L reciprocity.
  5. Create support systems when disengaging or setting boundaries with those who won’t give you vitamin L
  6. Get daily doses of Vitamin L by surrounding yourself with loved ones who take part in empowering, affirming and personally connective relationships.
  7. Seek healthy relationships where there is a fair distribution of love, respect and caring
  8. Seek support and guidance though 12-Step groups, namely Codependency Anonymous (CODA) or Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACA).
  9. Prepare for pathological levels of loneliness, a major withdrawal symptom of codependency (Rosenberg, 2015).
  10. Stop the generational pattern of Vitamin L Deficiency Disorder.  Love, respect and care for your child in a way that your parents did not do for you.
Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT
3325 N. Arlington Heights Rd., Ste 400B
Arlington Heights, IL  60004

Owner of Clinical Care Consultants and Advanced Clinical Trainers

                  

 

 

 

When Today is Yesterday – PTSD

When Today is Yesterday (PTSD)

Time moves forward predictably
and with precision.
Tomorrow can’t be stopped
But in the blink of an eye
today becomes yesterday

Memories once encased in leaden vaults —
Formerly sunk
to the bottom of a murky abyss.
Springing forward into action
Releasing the electric charge
of the long forgotten moment.

I move forward —
but the images pull me back.

You are here —
but haunted by the presence of the past.

I hear you whisper —
but startled at the scream.

I hear your promises —
but terrorized by lies.

I hold your warm body —
but feel a cold heart.

I am safe in your embrace —
but threatened by razor sharp weapon

Stop! Identify yourself! 
Are you the present?

If not, could you be the future?

No! You are the past!
Hidden in the hazy glow
of the here and now.

As a child, I wasn’t afraid of ghost
But I am now.

Ross Rosenberg
2/8/03

Ross Rosenberg Codependency Expert

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