Possible PTSD from childhood?

Postby winzer » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:19 am

I was at work today and it through an interaction with my coworker, it occurred to me that I might have some PTSD from childhood.

I was finishing up some work that was asked to be revised. My mind has a tendency to wonder no matter how hard I concentrate, so I do miss details, and I tend to repeat myself a lot. I could review my work, rewrite it, but it would still say the same thing, not solving the problem. This happens a lot. Essentially this is what happened. When my supervisor reviewed it, he just starred at me and said "How many times do I need to repeat myself? You just don't learn do you?" This phrase was like a punch to the face. And it immediately gave me a flashback to when I was a kid. It almost made me cry.

My stepfather was very harsh growing up. On top of having low self esteem, I had a lot of trouble following directions as a kid, I still do today, he would yell and belittle me. But he would say exactly that: "How many times do I need to repeat myself? You just don't learn do you?". The yelling and this phrase stuck with me I guess. But not only that, I think I've developed anxiety for getting something wrong, like an anticipation of getting yelled at or being talked down to.

I just don't know how to deal with this.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:03 am

Not everything qualifies as PTSD, but that is the path we seem to be on as a society. Instead of "shell shock" a term common in WWI, it transitioned to "battle fatigue" and now the more modern term is PTSD. Intended initially to describe trauma as a result of seeing people blown all to hell while risking their life in a combat zone, it is now used to describe if Cynthia had a parent that yelled at her growing up. As if anyone grows up in a perfect, Leave it to Beaver household. There is not a single adult that can't think back to experiences as a child and convert those experiences into a claim of PTSD or abuse, because we have become so liberalized that everything can be interpreted in such a manner.

My opinion, you don't have PTSD. You had a parent, like millions of other kids that would yell at you. You were not locked in a cage and beaten, so no...you don't have PTSD and flashbacks. You have a negative memory you associated with childhood, same as everyone else. No one wants to get things wrong. We all have anxiety resulting from being told we are doing something wrong. It is normal.

If you want to deal with it, start by accepting you will get things wrong in life. It is okay to get things wrong, it isn't the end of the world. Learn, move forward, try your best.
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#2

Postby winzer » Wed Apr 19, 2017 5:15 am

Thanks for the response Richard. I guess it's not PTSD. I just have these strong negative associations from childhood I'm still getting over. But I'll try my best.
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#3

Postby Candid » Wed Apr 19, 2017 7:59 am

Might be complex ptsd, winzer. Have a look at http://www.pete-walker.com/ and see if it fits. There are lots of resources if that's the case.
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#4

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:26 pm

winzer wrote: I just have these strong negative associations from childhood I'm still getting over.


Why?

Were you intentionally abused, neglected or beaten? Or did you have parents that cared and loved you, but maybe just were not that great of role models? There is no handbook that comes with being a parent. What you originally posted sounds like you were sometimes yelled at when you didn't listen or made a mistake. That might not be the perfect parent, but it doesn't make you a victim and that is what you become when you search to have the answer be "yes", that you are suffering from PTSD.

Many people want to be victims. In the world today the DSM now offers up over 300 different psychological disorders. Over 300!!! Anyone who wants to claim status as a person suffering from a disorder can do so if they spend enough time searching. We all can be victims thanks to a culture that encourages people to search for victimhood. The Internet helps that search.

In another thread a person is searching for victim status, because at age 11 her friend's father on a sleep over kissed her goodnight and played with her hair. I'm not saying that incident was not awkward for her, but now she is at least 24 and based on this incident she is looking for someone on the Internet to tell her she was a victim of something and this is the cause of all her disorders.

In my opinion you need to be careful. Don't fall in the same trap. What you described does not sound like an awful childhood. Instead, it sounds like currently you are struggling to perform at work and you are now looking towards your past to create a reason to explain your poor performance today. If you can justify to yourself a disorder of some sort, then you don't need to take responsibility for your performance, rather it was the fault of your past.
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#5

Postby winzer » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:25 am

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:
winzer wrote: I just have these strong negative associations from childhood I'm still getting over.


Why?

Were you intentionally abused, neglected or beaten? Or did you have parents that cared and loved you, but maybe just were not that great of role models? There is no handbook that comes with being a parent. What you originally posted sounds like you were sometimes yelled at when you didn't listen or made a mistake. That might not be the perfect parent, but it doesn't make you a victim and that is what you become when you search to have the answer be "yes", that you are suffering from PTSD.

Many people want to be victims. In the world today the DSM now offers up over 300 different psychological disorders. Over 300!!! Anyone who wants to claim status as a person suffering from a disorder can do so if they spend enough time searching. We all can be victims thanks to a culture that encourages people to search for victimhood. The Internet helps that search.

In another thread a person is searching for victim status, because at age 11 her friend's father on a sleep over kissed her goodnight and played with her hair. I'm not saying that incident was not awkward for her, but now she is at least 24 and based on this incident she is looking for someone on the Internet to tell her she was a victim of something and this is the cause of all her disorders.

In my opinion you need to be careful. Don't fall in the same trap. What you described does not sound like an awful childhood. Instead, it sounds like currently you are struggling to perform at work and you are now looking towards your past to create a reason to explain your poor performance today. If you can justify to yourself a disorder of some sort, then you don't need to take responsibility for your performance, rather it was the fault of your past.


I was never beaten or abused as a child, I guess you could say that I had it relatively good compared to other poor children. I did get yelped at. Sometimes not because I don't listen, it's because I process things differently and it takes me time. I was in slow learner classes.

I understand what you are getting at and I believe it is human nature to want to resolve feelings. No matter what dots you connect. I am struggling with performance at work and I do connect it to my past of being slow. But probably not PTSD. So when it comes down to it all, I guess I don't know what to do about being slow and processing things differently. I guess thats the core problem.
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#6

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:16 pm

winzer wrote: So when it comes down to it all, I guess I don't know what to do about being slow and processing things differently. I guess thats the core problem.


I agree it is natural to search for causes. In fact there is a ton of psychological research that has confirmed a type of cognitive bias called "attribution bias". Loosely defined it is the human tendency to attribute success to ourselves and what actions we have taken while attributing any failures to others or external sources.

It is common for people that perceive they have an issue or disorder to want to find an external cause, such as a parent or a particular incident. It can help resolve cognitive conflict, but it doesn't then help them improve if the cause actually resides within themselves.

In your case, you have evidence that you are slow and process things differently. Your parents didn't cause this, neither did your boss. This is something internal to you, attributed to you and not some external cause.

What you can do is find a role in life that you enjoy, that is a good fit for you. If you are trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, it is a bad idea. There are some career paths in life that will be a great fit, while others will not be a good fit. It sounds like currently you are in a role that is not a good match with your abilities. Instead of focusing on the past and trying to attribute some external cause to your current situation, analyze your current situation in the terms of moving forward rather than looking backward.

Have you ever heard of a S.W.O.T. analysis. It is a way to look forward at what projects or goals in life are the best strategic fit for you.
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#7

Postby samycamara » Mon May 15, 2017 6:34 pm

In determining whether or not you have PTSD resulting from the events in your life one would not only have to look at what was done to you but how you internalized it. An outsider looking in could not tell you if that was sufficient cause for you to have dramatic repercussions.

That being said I suffered from the same thing for the longest part of my life.. it would seem that I would pay attention harder than everyone else take notes better than everyone else with the fear that I would miss details and others around me would doodle and talk to each other and play on their phones and still get all the pertinent data and I would somehow still manage to upset my boss/parents/teachers because I didn't understand what they had needed.. for the longest time, I lived with guilt and regret over missed opportunities beating myself up on how I could be so smart in some things and so inefficient in other things particularly ones to do with missing details.

I tried every kind of therapy and read every kind of self-help book because I just could not accept "the way I was".. I knew if I just found the right technique I could somehow beat this! Up until a year ago, the only things that helped a little were Tony Robbins, Eckhart Tolle (totally opposite by the way but I took the best of both), the Sedona Method and CBT. Reading the philosophy of Epictitus also helped.. it's along the lines of CBT. It wasn't until I was introduced to the idea of radical self acceptance that I began to understand how true transformation takes place.

Basically the idea is that "Whatever you try to control, controls you." However, when you accept fully the parts of you that at currently unacceptable to you as your fate, then miraculously they start to change for the better. This seems paradoxical at first and is rejected by your Neo-cortex/your thinking mind. But the reason it works is because your habits, patterns, heck entire personality is held in place by opposing emotions energy efficiency e.g addiction to alcohol and the opposing guilt. Without one, the other can not exist. However, usually only one is allowed to come to the surface while the other is repressed. If both are allowed to come up to the conscious mind and accepted without judgement, they dissolve and open up space for change.

In your case, your brain is causing a block in your ability to learn things as well and as easily as it could because in the moment that you were belittled, your emotion was split in two. You either had the choice to
1. Believe your stepfather and make his words true but still believe that what was happening to you was caused by you thereby giving you some control.. that if you just tried harder you could control the situation
2. Believe that your stepfather was wrong but you still were subjected to (what you perceived as) abuse. Meaning you had no control. Helplessness is one of the MOST painful emotions for the a human and most animals to accept and they will do anything to avoid feeling it. That is because it is interpreted by your primitive (reptilian) brain as imminent death. So you took the "better" option at the time and made true the prophecy that you were a slow learner.

Mindfulness will really be helpful in your case. Also you need all negative opinions about yourself to come to you uncensored and accept them fully. Give your "imperfect" qualities the unconditional love and acceptance that your caretakers did not give you growing up. Be there for yourself and feel the raw emotion that comes with feeling those emotions. But with a quiet mindset also understand that emotions are not representatives of reality but rather a flow of energy at the current time and when allowed to be, take a different path, transform and sometimes leave forever. Along with the emotion also transforms the qualities, skills and urges associated with them.

Couple of good reads are:
1. The one thing holding you back. Rafael Cushnir
2. The way to vibrant health. Alexander Lowen

There is a really good mental exercise to do on YouTube that would be particularly good for you.

https://youtu.be/2jUcdEJ_iZM

I completely transformed that exact challenge you have in less than a month with the techniques in this video and doing the exercises in "the one thing holding you back". In short, I did somatic experiencing and it ended up helping with other things I was not even trying to "fix".

Sorry for the long answer but I really wanted to help share this with you because I know what it's like to feel the way you do.. I did for the better part of my life. But it's important for you to know that the human spirit is very powerful. It will amaze you with what it can do for you. But it has to start with giving more love and acceptance to your dark side than you do your positive side.
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