When people experience trauma from narcissistic abuse, why does their nervous system sometimes trigger a shutdown response?
That question spurred a whole new way of thinking about trauma treatment. Neuroscientists have been investigating the nervous system and how it can help to explain responses to trauma. Some amazing new discoveries in the treatment of trauma have taken place.
That’s why I have put together How To Re-Set The Nervous System After Emotional, Narcissistic, Verbal & Psychological Abuse, a short, focused workbook that will speed healing after the experience of a traumatic relationship.
Here’s a look at what’s inside:
It’s available now, for just $12.00 USD, here’s the link where you can get it.
All the best,
Joanne Brothwell, MSW
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Feelings of being defective, worthless and a failure are painful and sometimes feel inescapable after psychological abuse.
“There’s something wrong with me.”
In order to shift out of these painful feelings of defectiveness, we need to understand the specific biological factors that fuel inadequacy and how self-criticism roots itself in the body.
The Psychological Abuse Recovery Course addresses these feelings of worthlessness, In this course, you will learn:
· Tools to help reverse a sense of defectiveness
· How to identify where you are inviting others’ judgment (and how to put a stop to it)
· How disapproval gets “stuck” in the central nervous system
· How to reprocess the early memories that create a core sense of defectiveness
· What happens to the central nervous system when painful memories are recalled
· How to override the mind-body impact of adverse childhood experiences
· The essential pieces that result in a healthy sense of worth
· How to “rewire” the self-critical mind
· Why feelings of defectiveness affects neuroplasticity
· How shame’s effect on the central nervous system generates negative beliefs
· How to cultivate a sense of self-respect
· How to approach unrealistic expectations of perfection
· How to shift your thinking from being “right” to being effective
· How to develop immunity from others’ approval or disapproval
This exciting new in-person workshop is offered at Crossroads Therapeutic Solutions:
• Have you felt frustrated by a never-ending pattern of high-drama arguments with your partner?
• Does your partner refuse accountability for their actions?
• Do you wonder how you can possibly be to blame for everything that is wrong in the relationship?
• Do you just know, deep down in the pit of your gut, that something is terribly wrong with the situation?
If you are, or have been, in a toxic relationship, you will benefit from this workshop by understanding these difficult relationships and learn ways to put a stop to this harmful relationship cycle in your life, once and for all.
Registration is limited. Register here to secure your spot!
Saturday, December 8, 2018 at 9 AM – 12 PM
The Complicated Mind-Body Connection
Emotional trauma has “tissue memory” where the memory gets lodged in our bodies. Our cells are like mini computers that can store information and perform innumerable tasks. This is where the pain is contained. Due to the high level of adrenaline and cortisol associated with the trauma, the memory is imprinted both in our conscious mind as well as our bodies, at a cellular level.
Unfortunately, emotional pain can continually wreak havoc on our mental, physical and spiritual health for years following the end of the trauma. Nevertheless, healing trauma that is trapped in your body can occur.
I would often notice incredible tension in my chest and that I was constantly over-inflating my lungs. Then I noticed that my leg muscles were completely contracted. I used mindfulness, relaxation and meditation to quietly reflect on what was happening with my legs, when a spontaneous memory came up—one where my father used to tickle me, squeezing my knees with so much pressure it was painful. I would laugh uncontrollably, unable to breathe and tell my father I was in agony. On several occasions I lost my breath entirely and couldn’t inhale and my vision would darken and, as a child, I thought I was dying. As an adult, I realize that there was no harm intended, but as a child, I felt like I was fighting for my life.
After that memory, I understood why, as an adult, my lungs were constantly over-inflated, and my leg muscles were completely engaged, ready to “fight” against the potential danger.
For more on how to address traumatic memory, be sure to check out my program, The Psychological Abuse Recovery Course, to help to ease these physically embedded memories of trauma in your body.
The trauma of narcissistic abuse affects the “wiring” in the brain, referred to by scientists as neuroplasticity. The central nervous system becomes activated by the repeated cruel, hostile, controlling and inhumane treatment in the relationship and as a result, causes negative changes in the neuroplasticity of the brain.
Recovery from trauma is possible, but it takes practice, patience and persistence. Kick-start your recovery with these 7 evidence-based techniques that will speed your healing and get you well on your way to a healthy, happy life.
Learn more about Rapid Recovery Techniques To Heal The Trauma Of Narcissistic Abuse.
Heal your body, mind and soul.
Meditation is mind without agitation. Research shows that meditation improves the ability to regulate emotions in the brain, which creates permanent changes in a person's ability to regulate emotions. It leads to increased ability to focus and improved memory and increased relaxation, which has overall physical and mental health benefits. It teaches us how to recognize and detach from our thoughts and emotions. It clears and calms the mind and increases self-awareness and acceptance and contributes to overall improved well-being.
If you have been in a toxic relationship with a narcissistic abuser, it is highly likely you have been exposed to terrible abuse. If you are still in the situation, you must create some inner stability to cope. If you have left the abuser and are experiencing the ongoing pain of Post-Traumatic Stress, one step in the recovery process is to transform your inner world so it matches your safe outer world.
The guided mindful meditation program that is integral to the Psychological Abuse Recovery Course is designed specifically for survivors of narcissistic abuse. Psychologically abusive relationships are not normal relationships. They are traumatizing. Repeated exposure to a cruel, controlling, harsh and vindictive partner is traumatizing, often triggering the "flight, fight or freeze" fear response in the survivor’s brain. Meditation is a well-researched and potent method to train the brain to “re-wire” and heal itself.
Related: Healing trauma with meditation.
We are far more able to cope with intense physical symptoms when we are conscious of the way the inner landscape (of our bodies) is in constant change. We can breathe and relax muscles in response to when the physical sensations hit. If we have a lump in our throat, for example, we may notice that, by using the breathing techniques, we reduce the tension in our throat and we then feel another sensation, perhaps a pain in our knee. If we continue to stay curious and aware of the changes in our bodies and how these sensations change depending on what we are doing (breathing, relaxing or yoga, meditation) then we may become aware of how certain body parts that are involved in the sensations are part of certain memories and experiences.
Related: For thousands of years, people have practiced meditation.
Life is unpredictable, full of highs and lows and difficulty. This is especially true for those who have been psychologically abused. Romantic relationships are supposed to provide safety and security, but life with the abusive person is everything but safe and secure. The chaos of emotional, psychological and verbal abuse makes your external environment threatening and unsafe and interferes with your ability to create and maintain inner peace.
For example, a person with intense physical symptoms began using mindfulness and relaxation techniques to understand her inner sensations. She would often notice incredible tension in her chest and that she was constantly over-inflating her lungs. When she purposely relaxed her body while staying mindful, she was able to regulate her breathing and some of the muscle tension was reduced. However, that is when she noticed that her leg muscles were completely contracted. She used mindfulness and meditation to quietly reflect on what was happening with her legs, a spontaneous memory came up—one where her father used to tickle her, pinching her knees with so much pressure it was painful. She would laugh uncontrollably, unable to breathe and tell her father she was in agony. On several occasions she lost her breath entirely and couldn’t inhale because her father wouldn’t stop “tickling”. Her vision would darken and, as a child, she thought she was dying.
Now we can see why as an adult her lungs were constantly over-inflated, and her legs muscles were completely engaged, ready to “fight” against the potential danger. This mindfulness helped her to move into a productive, encouraging self-talk (I’m safe, my body doesn’t need to be ‘ready’ anymore), combined with relaxation and breathing techniques and eventually she was able to manage her physical symptoms much more effectively.
Related: How to release painful memories stored in the body.
We may notice that certain thoughts have a direct impact on physical sensations. We know that thoughts are organized and registered in the body, so if we are able to identify how thoughts affect our physical sensations, we can focus on trying to release the sensations that got “stuck” there in order to survive. For example, thoughts like, my husband wanted to hurt me. I’m worthless or I stand up to him, I’m weak will produce certain sensations in the body.
There is compelling evidence that shows the anxiety-reducing benefits of mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation helps to keep you in the moment, rather than worrying about things that might happen in the future and recognizing worried thoughts and re-framing them to something more supportive.
The memory of helplessness is stored as muscle tension in the body or feelings of disintegration in certain areas of the body. The continual abuse we experienced results in our lives revolving around bracing against and trying to cancel out the unwanted abusive experiences. This is why many people turn to drugs or alcohol to numb out; alternatively, they may try to seek out sensation (such as adrenaline junkies). Either way, there is a false sense of control attached to the numbing or sensation-seeking. Further, when we participate in these activities it may make life tolerable, but the cost is that we lose awareness of what is happening inside our bodies. When we are so disconnected from our bodies, we lose the ability to fully experience our wonderful senses. Our ability to experience our senses is muted, and the lovely experiences of music, touch, and light are altered. I recall the first time I got a relaxation massage. What should have been experienced as relaxing and gentle was instead indescribable agony.
The Psychological Abuse Recovery Course is unlike any other recovery program. It provides the evidence-based methodology of mindful meditation to help you overcome pain, anxiety and depression, heal your shattered self-esteem and "re-wire" the traumatized brain. In total, the course is comprised of a 3-part video, 26-module ebook and a 9-week guided meditation designed to provide information, case examples, powerful techniques, thought-provoking exercises and specific healing activities that are crucial in recovery from psychological abuse.
Empower yourself so you can transform your life and become a confident, happy person who is capable of experiencing a healthy love relationship.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a fire inside of me, a deep quest for justice that burns in my soul. Earlier on in my life, this fire more resembled rage. The therapist in me knows that rage is a secondary emotion, and that beneath it is something else, usually a whole host of very real and painful feelings, such as sadness, hopelessness, feeling demeaned, abandoned, frustrated, incompetent and worthless. Rage is often a safer emotion; one that keeps us feeling energized, when sadness is so much tiring and bleak.
Why was I so angry? Great question. I believe I was born with a strong sense of social justice, and when I saw social predators emotionally violate people (myself included), it triggered some rather colossal emotions. This rage would sometimes turn inward and sadly, the hurtful, cruel words I heard from these individuals would repeat in my own mind.
Those negative inner thoughts have faded, but my instinctive sense of social justice has never faltered, not even for one day in my life. Which is why I’m so passionate about my mission to dedicate my life to help others take their lives back after the trauma of narcissistic abuse and to raise public awareness about the insidious nature of psychological abuse. Join me in my quest to address this serious public health issue that is estimated to affect approximately 20% of the population. Here’s how you can help:
Share and retweet posts (including mine – of course!) about narcissistic abuse. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
Get involved with World Narcissistic Abuse Cause Awareness Day on June 1st.
Understand and know the signs of Narcissistic Abuse, and speak out about this injustice.
United, we can strive toward a world where love, peace and harmony is all within reach!
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