Cptsd is a more sever form of ptsd. It is delineated from this better known trauma syndrome by five of its most common and troublesome features: emotional flashbacks, toxic shame, self-abandonment, a vicious inner-critic, and social anxiety.

Emotional flashbacks are perhaps the most noticeable and characteristic feature of cptsd. Survivors of traumatizing abandonment are extremely susceptible to painful emotional flashbacks, which unlike ptsd do not typically have a visual component. These flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions to the overwhelming feeling-states of being an abused/abandoned child.

Toxic shame obliterates a cptsd survivor’s self-esteem with an overwhelming sense that he is loathsome, ugly, stupid or fatally flawed. Toxic shame often inhibits us from seeking comfort and support.

If you are stuck viewing yourself as worthless, defective, or despicable, you are probably in an emotional flashback.

—  Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving; Pete Walker; pg 3-6

As a toddler, the codependent learns quickly that protesting abuse leads to even more frightening parental retaliation. Thus she responds by relinquishing her flight response, deleting “no” from her vocabulary and never developing the language skills of healthy assertiveness.

The future codependent also learns early on that her natural flight response intensifies her danger if she tries to flee. Later, when a child is older she may also learn that the ultimate flight response, running away from home, is hopelessly impractical and even more danger-laden.

Many toddlers, at some point, transmute the flight urge into the running around in circles of hyperactivity. This adaptation “works” on some level to help them escape from the uncontainable feelings of the abandonment melange. Many of these unfortunates later symbolically run away from their pain. They deteriorate into the obsessive-compulsive adaptations of workaholism, busyholism, spend-aholism, and sex and love addiction that are common in flight types.

The toddler who bypasses the adaptation of the flight defense may drift into developing the freeze response and become the “lost child.” This child escapes his fear by slipping more and more deeply into disassociation. He learns to let his parents’ verbal and emotional abuse “go in one ear and out the other.” It is not uncommon for this type to devolve in adolescence into numbing substance addiction.

The future codependent toddler, however, wisely gives up on the fight, flight or freeze responses. Instead, they learn to fawn their way into the occasional safety of being perceived as helpful. They discover that a modicum of safety can be purchased by becoming variously useful to their parent.

For the budding codependent, all hints of danger soon immediately trigger servile behaviours and abdication of rights and needs.

Once a child realizes that being useful and not requiring anything for themself gets them some positive attention from their parents, codependency begins to grow. It becomes an increasingly automatic habit over the years.

—  Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete Walker pg 130-133

DannyMay Day Twenty one: Pain/Rest

…It’s finally over. Pariah is back in the sarcophagus of forever sleep, the town is out of the Ghost Zone and all the ghosts are back in their own lairs. He’s so exhausted not even his Ghost Sense could wake him from his slumber.

Even if the ghosts were inside his room watching.

They could finally return home. All was well in both worlds. They wanted to visit their favorite ghost punk and thank him for saving the Ghost Zone, in their own special way. By causing mass chaos and wrecking havoc throughout the town. However, when they passed the portal’s threshold the house was empty. No sign of the hunters. The only sound was the snoring coming from upstairs.

Phasing through the lab ceiling, the hoard of apparitions make their way to the brat’s room. The snoring is so strong the doorknob rattles. They exchange puzzles glances. The boy should have made an appearance by now. They turn to the door and Ember slowly reaches for the knob. Glancing at the others she opens the door. What greets them is not what they were expecting. Sprawled every which way is Danny sleeping like a log.

“Awww, the poor dearie is exhausted!”

“Who cares, wake the welp. I have a new weapon to test”

“Shut up Skulker, the dipstick wouldn’t be much sport if you hunt him while he’s whipped out”

“Besides, he looks so cute when he’s sleeping! I just wanna cuddle him!”

“Hey! You’re my girl. I’m the only one you get to cuddle”

“Oh shut up Jonny, I didn’t mean anything by it”

“Hmmm, the punk still owes me ten thousand years regardless if he saved the Zone or not”

“Oh hush you! He just saved the world! Don’t be such a bully, give him a break”

“What I want to know is how he can live in this pigsty, ewww!”

“Bertrand, that is hardly the issue here, the real issue is why a kid would need so much NASA memorabilia? I wonder how miserable he’ll be if we destroy it?”

“I think it’s cool! Space is way cooler than a pirate! I’m gonna be an Astronaut next!”

“Why is he not cowering in fear of me? I AM THE BOX GHOST!”

“Quiet you fool! You’ll wake the young whippersnapper!”

“I do believe it is time for us to take our leave. The boy has long wished for a good night’s rest. It’s about time we grant his wish”

Desiree waves her hand and in a puff of green smoke the denizens of the Zone return to their lairs. Danny none-the-wiser, turns over and continues his well deserved full nights sleep.

It is crucial for deeper level recovery that we learn that feelings of fear, shame and guilt are sometimes signs that we have said or done the right thing.

They are emotional flashbacks to how we were traumatized for trying to claim normal human privileges.

—  Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving, Pete walker, pg 78