Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trigger warning:

In this part I publish texts about my own process of dealing with my complex trauma or complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and other related topics. These are texts that I wrote at the time, and writing these texts was almost always a therapeutic process as well.

It all started in the summer of 2016, when my childhood trauma made it impossible for me to continue "functioning", and the question of whether or not I was sexually abused in my childhood was dominant, an obsession. With this began my search, for the child that was me, to reconnect with the pain and fear of my childhood. It was the beginning of a rather painful process of dealing with complex PTSD. And I am still in the process of figuring out how to deal with the issue of childhood sexual abuse, but I am ever more clear that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

The confinement during the health crisis caused by COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 caused a prolonged flashback, and I especially flashed back to my adolescence, to the feeling of impotence, of not being able to escape from a painful situation. But I also flashed back to other aspects of my early childhood: texts like Falling? or The House of My Fears are results of this process. Thankfully, this prompted me to get more to the ground of my complex trauma, and allowed me to make huge steps towards recovery.

I now understand my trauma as a complex trauma, and putting a name to it helps me to understand what is actually going on. I am now on a long journey of recovery.

The process is not over, and I keep adding new texts when I feel like it.

“A happy childhood”

Trigger warning:
This text contains descriptions of child abuse, sexual abuse, bullying, among others.

Those who know me know that the title of this blog entry can only be pure irony. I did not have a happy childhood. I had a childhood of emotional neglect, arbitrary violence (especially as a small child), sexual abuse, bullying... Not a happy childhood at all. And although I have worked on many aspects of my resulting complex trauma in recent years, in recent months especially the sexual abuse by my father and my older brother, I have always been left with one unanswered question: how does a small child come to reject their mother?

Bullying in my childhood

Trigger warning:
This text contains images and descriptions of sexual harassment and bullying, among others.

In the last few days I have started to pull one more thing out of the pandora's box of my trauma: the bullying in my childhood. I was aware of bullying, especially in my teenage years, but what is coming up now is something new, and it is unsettling and destabilising. Intrusive images are coming back, this time of bullying.

My clumsy childhood essence

I wanna be an amateur
Back like I used to be
I wanna go down to the essence, down to the essence
Down to my clumsy childhood essence
I wanna be
Essentially unfiltered, free”

Ezra Furman, Amateur

The first paintings of my inner child

Trigger warning:
This text contains images and descriptions of sexual abuse, violence, thoughts of suicide, among others.

About three weeks ago I told my psychologist that whenever I connect with my inner child I always feel something in my stomach that I am not able to identify. She suggested "why don't you let your child paint?" Easy to say, but at first I found it very difficult. Although I have done a lot of work with my inner child since the end of February, as I wrote a month ago, until then all my work with my inner child had in a way been done in my imagination. Now, how can this child, who exists in my imagination, actually paint in the real world? I understood clearly that it was not about imagining paintings, but about painting for real, through me.

Aftershocked – trauma and activism

Aftershock is a term coined by pattrice jones in her book of the same name. She writes:

Aftershock is my word for the reverbations of traumatic events endured by activists. Aftershock may include posttraumatic stress or depression as these are experienced by people who have undergone other kinds of trauma but it may also involve reactions related to the context of activism.

Sexual abuse and healing my inner child

Deviant Daeva writes in an article on complex PTSD and Healing your Inner Child: “Victims of complex trauma have often gone through long-term abuse, neglect and abandonment during childhood. That has left them with an extremely hurt and wounded inner child that has never felt the safety to just be a child, that has never felt the love and care they needed, that has never learnt about boundaries or self-protection.” How true.

Who is Angélique? And what does she have to do with my gender identity?

Angélique comes to my mind again, and this time in the context of my gender identity since childhood, which is the issue that has been agitating me all week. But, in reality I have almost no memories of Angélique. On 23 December last year I wrote about Angélique:

My gender identity since childhood

For the past few weeks I have been reflecting more on the development of my gender identity since childhood. Seven weeks ago I wrote about my questions regarding the gender identity of my inner child, and a few days later about reconsidering the development of my gender identity since my childhood.

Sexual abuse and healing

A little over three weeks ago I wrote about coping (badly) with sexual abuse, and although I felt I was coping badly, at the same time it was the end of my permanent internal dialogue about sexual abuse in my childhood. I wrote:

Sexual abuse - and beginning to heal

A fortnight ago I started to accept the sexual abuse in my childhood as a reality. I wrote a fortnight ago about my difficulties in dealing with this reality - the sexual abuse. And, the reality is that I am still in a lot of pain, and more and more anger, more and more rage. But, my permanent internal dialogue is definitely over.

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