Here’s the transcript for episode 010 of the Trauma-Informed Everything podcast:
and I’m Andie and welcome to trauma informed everything.
On this podcast we examine how trauma shapes our individual
family and societal experiences.
We demystify trauma and promote a world of trauma informed everything because like it or not trauma informed everything.
As always remember our disclaimer? Everything we say is for informational purposes only,
and nothing on this show is meant to replace treatment from a licensed mental health professional. Thanks for listening and enjoy the show.
Andie, what’s your favorite book about trauma?
Seriously, do you even have to ask? I mean, Allison, do you even know me?
Well, what’s my a I mean, exactly. That’s what I thought. Okay. Okay, how about this? On the count of three? We’re both gonna say our favorite trauma book. Cool. Cool. Yeah. Okay. All right. Ready? 123 the body keeps the score. I know, right?
It took me months to finish because there was so much good stuff to absorb and learn. And ply.
Yes, me too. That’s why when I recommend it to people, I tell them to take their time. It’s good to be on watch. You know what I mean? Oh, totally.
Oh, wait, wait, wait, here’s an idea. Here’s an idea. Hear me out. Okay. You’re ready. This is pretty good. Let’s let’s you and I get some folks together to read a process and apply the concepts from the body keeps the score. Hey, why don’t we start in the fall.
Ooh, that sounds like a good idea. Okay, okay, but seriously, y’all, this book is thick. It’s important, and it’s key for understanding trauma in the real world. That’s why we’re choosing it for our first ever fall book club starting this September.
We’ll have regular online gatherings printables to help you process while you read journal prompts, and more. We want you to get the most out of this incredibly important piece of trauma research. So we’ll be there with you every step of the way.
To sign up, click the link in the notes for this show or go to Allison sweatman.com slash fall bookclub. Welcome back to complex trauma.
Such a great intro for such a heavy topic.
We will never make light of trauma itself like okay, it’s a coping mechanism. It is what it
is. Humor coping is 100% a coping mechanism in my life? Yes, yes. Yes. You know, there’s that meme that it’s become pretty popular but and it’s, you know, the therapist says to the patient, please stop using humor as a coping mechanism. Like my therapist legitimately said that to me. She didn’t even know about me. She was just like, Andrea, you are using humor as a coping mechanism. And I was like, have you seen the meme?
Yes, yes, I am. Thanks for noticing doc. Love that. I’m
so glad it made money for me like I could have gone to SNL. Yeah, I’m a stand up comedian. That No. All right, what are we talking about today about complex trauma.
Yeah, so today we’re going to talk about a little bit more of the nitty gritty things with like childhood. And complex trauma. And this comes from a paper in 2005, which we will cite in the show notes. But it’s basically seven core domains of the developmental impact of complex trauma. In the last episode we talked through, kind of, if you’re an adult who thinks maybe you have some of that, because these are the things these are the things to look at in adulthood or later in life that you’re struggling with. And what we’re going to talk about now is like, the childhood disruptions that occur when a child is experiencing complex trauma, and as the name states, it’s pretty complex. That’s why we’re using two episodes here. It’s necessary. It’s just necessary.
In this, there’s a lot, there’s a lot going on a complex trauma.
So the first core domain is like super easy to understand. It’s not complex at all, and you probably already know everything about it. It’s attachment. It’s actually very complex if
you want like a drum kit like that up.
I don’t know why I’m on a roll. I
know, people who have one Instagram account discussing attachment therapists stuff.
Right? Right. Right, right. Well, yes. So attachment is very complex. It’s a huge issue, huge issue. You might hear people talk about attachment styles. And that is not something we’ll get into today. But attachment is impacted when a child is experiencing complex trauma, attachment, meaning the relationship between themselves and a primary caregiver being secure, like for there to be a secure attachment, a good enough attachment, and that attachment is the foundation for all the other relationships that they will attempt to form in their life. So that Attachment in infancy is what we’re talking about when we talk about disrupted attachment. Yep. So we’ve got disrupted early attachment, resulting in ongoing relational difficulty. And then having ongoing trouble trusting understanding or connecting to others that comes back to that’s a call back to this feeling of otherness, right? This feeling like there’s something defective about me, that keeps me from understanding and connecting to others. I think you might have something to say about attachment as it pertains to foster care
is not ready to live. So many things to say about attachment. attachment. Yes. So this is just really interesting that there have been multiple studies done on attachment and childhood and how it relates to adoption and foster care actually, more so about foster care than adoption, which is very interesting to me. We’re in foster care. We recognize that there has been trauma and in adoption Like, no, it’s pretty picture. Attachment can also be incredibly healing. If you have a child who comes from trauma and steps into a healthy home where attachment is possible, and attachment occurs, that attachment can help actually physically heal and change. A child’s brain we call this neuroplasticity. And neuroplasticity plays a huge role in attachment and attachment styles. That’s not where you want me to go with this.
Yeah, for sure. I mean, there’s also again, we’ll we’ll dig into attachment later in, in the show, not in this show, but in another episode, but there’s also something called earned secure attachment. So I think that is neuroplasticity is what allows for earned secure attachment and so so a secure attachment Enough caregiver early in life will, you know repair any harm done in the attachment? Will you know apologize kiss boo boos make things make things better whenever things things happen that are particularly distressing to a very young child. If those repairs don’t happen, and over time, we have lots of breaks in that repair breaks in the attachment, whether it’s multiple foster homes, or whatever it is, and nothing is ever repaired there, then later in life, if a person who has experienced those attachment disruptions early in life, if later in life, they have the great fortune of having a relationship with someone who doesn’t leave and sees them, you know, as worthy and and communicates that to them and sticks around and this is all very, very complex, of course, but that The ability to earn a secure attachment style, the ability to retrain your brain through neuroplasticity, the very primal parts of your brain to say, hey, people can be trusted. I can connect to others, I am worthy of good relationships and good things. And you know, they’re not going to leave, just because I did this one thing wrong or they’re not going to leave. Just in general, those kinds of things can happen because of neuroplasticity. So, yes, so that one of the first core domains of developmental impact of complex trauma is attachment.
Second of the seven core domains is regulation, which is difficulty with being able to know what one is feeling, being able to regulate those feelings and the energy and express themselves in an appropriate way. Now, we’ve talked about this and our regulation in our co regulation episodes, much more in depth, so you already have a taste of what we’re talking about here. Mm hmm.
So, a child experiencing complex trauma is going to act out, we’re going to see behaviors we’re going to see, in my opinion, what I would call a misdiagnosis of, you know, certainly Everything is there for them to be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder, or even ADHD, depending on what setting they’re, they’re experiencing those behaviors a lot of times odd, is what is diagnosed when the parent is the one trying to figure out the problem and ADHD is what’s diagnosed if the teachers at school are the ones who are trying to problem and it all comes back to complex trauma. But yeah, that’s again, that’s just my that’s my experience. That’s, that’s my opinion. And I’m not a therapist. Yeah, I don’t even have my master’s degree.
I will throw in and I’m here going to get into this at the end of the episode, I am sure but I will throw in that Dr. Bessel Vander kolk and his associates truly believe that trauma childhood trauma is the basis for most of these.
He’s 100%. Yeah. So when you see it any other way, no
way we care about trauma, it’s like, incredibly obvious.
And I feel like it has. From one angle, I feel like it has sabotaged me as a future clinician. Because Because you have to like right now I’m in my last semester of grad school, I have to take an entire class about the DSM. It’s required for licensure in most states in many states. And so, and I genuinely want to because I want to know what the community is talking about. And I want to know what kind of advocacy needs to happen for trauma to be centered in the DSM. But I’m also exhausted by the fact that no one sometimes it seems like very few people. I’m trying not to speak in extremes. Sometimes it seems like very few people point to trauma when it’s like screaming right in their face. Yeah,
yeah. You know exactly. Vander kolk calls the DSM
No, I’m afraid.
He just, it’s alright. It’s not that bad. just literally, uh, he just calls it a list of symptoms of trauma.
It is it’s a list of symptoms of trauma. And well and unfortunately we’re just gonna go there. Unfortunately, if we’re not addressing those symptoms from a trauma informed way we can do more harm.
Oh, we can do more harm and but oh massively in it. We can do more harm and then we can completely negate the treatment that actually may heal. Yeah. Yep, that’s that as
well. And I, the what I always tell people is using those same old modalities that are fine, but using those same old treatments for the symptoms of trauma without using treatments that can actually treat the trauma is like putting band aids on bullet holes and you can come back every week for 10 years and put a bandaid on a bullet hole, but there’s still a bleeding wound. Right, and like, and if something else happens and enters into that life that is potentially traumatic or triggering. I like the band aid isn’t going to do any good. And so I just feel like that was for sure a tangent slash rant on our part, but it was worth it.
I just Are you tired? When you talk about a band aid or you’re talking about CBT therapy?
I listen a little bit sometimes I don’t hate CBT I don’t hate it at all. I just sometimes whenever whenever I’m like, Wow, this is so clearly trauma. I just think CBT can only get you so far. That’s my, that’s my opinion. It can only get you so far before like going deeper is going to be like very, very necessary. But there’s also trauma based CBT. You know, there there are versions of CBT that are incorporating trauma understanding and I really appreciate those. I just think at the end of the day, if you’re I think a lot of times It comes back to getting someone to just behave differently. Ah, yeah, that’s the goal, if that’s the goal, and then when I’m talking I listen.
But devil’s advocate,
totally are. You’re like, pushing all of my buttons. No, but But the thing about the thing about it is, is I can, it’s easy for me, here’s, here’s me, humbling myself, it’s easy for me to sit here as a future clinician and say CBT for trauma is not helpful or you know, whatever, and then complain about these behavior, outcome driven treatments. But at the end of the day, if someone is literally going to, if there’s a student who’s going to go to juvie next week, if they don’t get this particular behavior in order because of our punitive system that we have, then the only thing we can do is put that band aid in the meantime, we just got to keep them from being locked up next week. You know what I’m saying? It’s a it’s a It’s a matter of integrity for me, too, if I am doing that work, and I have to use CBT, which a lot of people have to use CBT. It’s the only thing that’s covered by insurance. If people have to use CBT, it’s a matter of integrity to also be working against the systems that require you to use a treatment modality that is not effective for the deepest level of what’s going on in this human being. That’s just my opinion. And that’s a social worker for you, right? We’re always going to be looking at the systems we’re not going to just be looking at the symptoms.
Sorry, that rant was my fault.
You did. You pushed me over the edge. So regulation, that’s our second core domain. I had a little bit of dysregulation, maybe a little bit. My heart rates a little elevated. Let me drop into my body for a second. I’m like, I’m okay. I’m okay. I’m not. I’m good. I’m good. We can we can continue
Speaking of controlling behavior,
we’ve got some overlap here. Yeah, in two. So yeah, the third one is behavior. The third core domain is behavior, which, again, overlaps with regulation. So when we’re talking about regulation, we’re talking about emotions and emotional aspects. So like how people are emotionally how people are showing their emotions and what they’re feeling and they’re difficulty regulating their feelings and emotions. And then behavior is regulation of behavior. So impulsivity, self destructiveness, aggressive or oppositional, which goes back to those diagnoses that we were talking about before, and also points to the symptoms that we discussed in our last episode. When it comes to having that impulsivity, that emotional regulation difficulties so yeah, in kids, this will just look like impulsiveness, impulsivity. And so like a lot of Parents who are raising kids from trauma will talk about No, you don’t understand. He will run in the road. Right? He can’t hurt. Yeah, she’s gonna jet into there. You know, like I have some friends who are who are parents who have adopted children from foster care and the impulsivity of these kids who have multiple attachment disruptions is just through the roof, especially in that age of like, like five to eight. You know what I mean? We’re like, they’re so big that you can’t wrangle them super easily. And so, you can’t you can’t just have them on your hip all the time. Right.
But that is a developmental stage, especially those ages. And that’s why we see an increase in diagnosis in those stages, because then you start to hit nine or 10. And they’re learning like physically their body is giving them more tools to regulate and lessen that impulsivity.
Yeah, yeah. And then that aggression, the oppositional Stuff like absolutely not, I’m not going to do what you say, you know, and that Oppositional Defiant Disorder diagnosis, you’ll see that come around five or six pretty often, right?
And I can see, like, it’s usually diagnosed around five or six. But from what I’ve seen, when you have that oppositional behavior, you can spot that pretty early. And sometimes it’s the parents who say, you know, people are like, oh, haha, you’re threenager. And some parents are like, No, you don’t understand. Like, yeah, yeah, kids with odd will take it to another level. Oh, it’s true. So and I think it just it’s that when they hit kindergarten, and they hit starting to have to learn in a very particular setting, we start to see those. That’s when people diagnose because teachers and parents because they just don’t, they don’t know what to do, because what we have in the school system isn’t working, but that’s another rant for another day. Yeah, I think parents can I think people who know their children parents who are really attuned can see this earlier than others. You know, in some cases, with when you have situations like odd, odd usually presents at home and not in the school system. So you have these parents who are so flustered with their kids, and they look like bad parents or they feel like bad parents because the child goes to school or goes to another caregivers house, like a grandparent and their angels.
It’s so yeah, it’s but you do still see that, that that oppositional or the aggressiveness, the inability to, you know, and this is different from like, your typical average boy who may jump off things or want to wrestle, this is salutely.
Absolutely, they the the complex trauma seminar I just took talked about an 11 year old who talked about the Incredible Hulk and talked about Bruce Banner? And you’ll hear people talk about hulking out like how kids with aggressive. Yeah, like, like, Oh, he’s hulking out, you know, like, it’s just like this, like aggressive aggression just comes out. But this this very astute and perceptive and, in my opinion, emotionally intelligent, 11 year old in this qualitative research said, it’s like how when Bruce Banner becomes the Hulk, but I don’t feel like I’m ever fully Bruce Banner. I’m constantly like, like, you know, if you watch the Incredible Hulk, you see, Bruce, really struggling to not become the Hulk again and again and that in between that suffering of I don’t want to be this way. I don’t want to be this way. That he said I’m always in that in between phase where I’m about to become an actor. I was just like, like, honestly right now, like, my chest feels heavy and I just got chills thinking about how well that describes what we know, you know about what they’re actually going through in their body.
That’s incredibly interesting because I can tell you right now, that is a without there’s a lot of parallel thinking, because I came to that exact same conclusion myself about myself. A lot of adoptees really connect with that character. And the term like I describe it. There’s this moment in the first Marvel movie where they’re trying to
is no The Avengers movie um,
where I think it’s I think it’s Thor asks, asks Bruce Banner early in the movie, how does he control his Yeah, walking out? How did you control that? And there’s one point in the movie where Bruce turns to him and said I’m always angry.
And that literally that phrase I repeat about every day. Yeah. always angry and it is that living in that fine line of trying to control yourself and just that is so powerful to me like I don’t have any moment that because I’m sorry that it’s totally parallel thinking all the time. I quote I quote Bruce Banner and he He’s MY man and we say, Yeah, I say this about other children who I have in my life of mine or others who have this oppositional this behavior. symptom if you want to call that the pillar that there is this element of hooking out and living in that in between.
Hi, friends, Allison here. Our Patreon community is growing and it is so exciting. Andie and I are sharing weekly resources Meditation journal prompts and even a morning show called allien. Andie in the mornin community, anyone? If you know, you know, anyway, we would love for you to join us, we’ve got three tiers that offer you fantastic value, whatever your budget, just go to patreon.com slash trauma informed everything itself just like the show. So it’s easy to find. You can also find a link in the show notes right in your app. I’ll see you there. And I want to say that with odd it’s, it’s really important that if you’re listening to this and you’re like, Oh, that’s my kid. I don’t want to, I don’t want you to think that we are pathologizing your child or anything like that or, or labeling them. Because whenever we talk about a diagnosis, you can literally think diagnosis is a list of symptoms. That’s all it is, you know, and a diagnosis does not have to set or or a believed diagnosis or even a self diagnosis does not have to set anyone on a trajectory that looks like any other person with that diagnosis, or that looks like whatever you see when you go googling odd.
So yeah, I don’t know odd.
No, it’s, it’s okay to, you know, have to feel whatever you feel whenever we’re talking about that. And we talk about it from all these different angles and all these different perspectives, but just know that that’s literally it. When we talk about a disorder, I feel like that just is so strong for some people who don’t kind of live in this world where we talk about these things all the time. But whenever we talk about those things that can be like, ooh, my child has, you know, fill in the blank and it’s just really difficult for some parents and I just want to say, think of it as nothing but a list of symptoms like
period. And it’s okay to take time to grieve those diagnoses when you hear that and if you or your child or someone you love is, is given a diagnosis, it’s totally like there’s going to be a grieving process there is that I think that’s why it’s so hard for us to talk about these, these pillars because they are just a sign that something isn’t as it should, which requires grief. Mm hmm.
Yeah. And as a parent, when we’re talking about our kids, I think that I say this a lot. When I talk to parents who have children with disabilities, it really comes back to differentiating your own grief about your child’s experience from what they are going through in their own body and in their own experience of their diagnosis. Or if they if you don’t tell them about their diagnosis, like there’s, there’s all you might not you might wait to tell them about that, you know, but it just, we have to differentiate our own emotions. And not it’s not that you have to hide them from your child, but but it is that you have to deal with them separate from Yeah, helping them deal with what they’re going through. And definitely don’t project your own feelings about it onto them, you know, because honestly, here we have an 11 year old who made that incredible statement about that analogy to the Hulk that just explains everything right? And, like, this is what kids can do if we would just listen and kind of enter into their world, right instead of projecting our own understanding and our own emotions and our own difficulties onto them. Yes, so let’s move on to biology. biology is gonna come back to something we talked about in a previous episode too. So this is like the somatic concerns, more medical problems. Low pain perception is really common in children with complex trauma, so they won’t end up at the hospital until something has been hurting for a really long time, because their perception of their pain is lower. It’s, I feel like when people say tolerance, it’s like something that we tout, right? It’s like, Oh, look, you can, you can endure so much pain. And it’s like,
this is not good. Like, it’s not like going to the gym where, oh, great, it’s a muscle to flex, that’s not ready at all it is actually, it goes back to disassociation, where you are disassociating your pain from your brain in order to survive. And we see this a lot with people who have this complex PTSD, because in order to survive, they’ve had to shove this down, they’ve had to ignore this pain. Because, you know, number one, it may not be acknowledged by their caregivers. Mm hmm. And to acknowledge it means that they would have to make themselves vulnerable to other people to take care of them which goes back to the whole I don’t want to take
care of myself. Hmm. And I think it’s really interesting how we can talk about, you know, the ways to as an adult, assess the possibility of complex trauma. And then the ways that as a child to assess it, it’s like, these are all the same things in different terms. Right. So in this episode, we’re talking about a lot of the same things that we talked about in the previous episode, we’re just talking about the experience that a child might have. Yeah. And the way that biology as a core domain of the developmental impact, the way that that is wrapped up in adoption is really important, I think, because you’re talking about how a lot of adoptees you know, don’t get that mirror imaging, or I’m sorry,
mirror, genetic mirror
genetic mirroring and to be able to see themselves in their caregivers and so the way that that can show up in The way that these somatic and medical problems can show up later, as a result of biology not being present, is I think part of this and maybe Yeah, something that people talk about, because adoption is always left out of these conversations. And it’s always a lie. Oh,
yeah. And I think on the flip side of it, we when an adoptee seeks reunification or finds that genetic mirroring, the problem comes, comes back again, where their biology has changed and on a cellular structure then changed so that their DNA is slightly different than their biology because of the separation and the relinquishment. Now you have a person who is stuck in this in between where they’re not their biology, and they’re not their circumstances. They’re in their adoptive family, and You see that a lot with adoptees where they will develop these autoimmune diseases or physical abnormalities. I personally have autoimmune disease and heart condition that are not present in my biology.
no one else has them in my genetic history. And, and, and so now, now it’s become part of our genetic history that my children will have to pass on. You know, when go to fill out those forms, just how important is important it is and there’s never there’s usually there’s becoming more common, but there’s usually not a box for being adopted. And so you just have to say I’m adopted, and then it’s a guessing game. But it’s incredibly important to acknowledge that you’re like when you’re adopted on those forms, because then it it’s still a guessing game, even if you know your biology because you’re gonna have this added layer of trauma that affects your physical development and your emotional development, your child’s development in ways that very much can change your cellular cellular structure.
Absolutely, yeah. And you mentioned dissociation, which is the fifth core domain. So, dissociation, impaired memory and alterations of consciousness overall, that is just a like a summation of everything we’ve explained about dissociation. So you can have dissociative dissociative events or experiences of feeling like you’re just not really attached to your present self or your present surroundings. Or you can have a long period of time that you don’t remember from your childhood. So these these times these big chunks of time when memory just isn’t there. That is where we see the Association peace, and that is the fifth core domain.
And this can some people don’t even know that they have this,
I know. Yeah, it’s because that’s your normal. That’s all I know when it’s not until you start talking with other people. And you realize that your memories are all associated with photographs. Absolutely. And were in my case. When I realized that I had this dissociation issue in myself. And I started going through my trauma therapy, it also became more apparent that this was the case when I was diagnosed with circumstantial amnesia, and started having flashbacks and memories of situations in my life that I had purposely tried to forget, which is just association
or not purposely or your brain was protecting you right from the map.
As a child, my brain was admin in that moment it would disassociate to protect myself so it literally didn’t remember that Yeah, until I started healing those those neural synapses and that’s still it’s still happening like I still just to be a lifetime healing as I heal my brain these memories will pop up
Absolutely, yeah and something that my therapist has said to me and how to remind me of as we’ve been working together is that the memories that come back and and she kind of invited me to do this she didn’t obviously she didn’t tell me that I have to you know, believe this or be encouraged by this but it does encourage me the memories that come back are there because we need to use them for healing. Yes, they’re not like and I I just have to believe that because some of the memories are very distressing. Some of the memories will aren’t there because my body was protecting me. My mind body system was protecting me from those memories. And so when they come back, it can be distressing it can throw me off you know of my, my rhythm for the day or what have you. And sometimes you’ll see yourself being triggered more as you have had a therapy session that’s really intense but it’s just because more is coming up. But what she told me was it we have to believe that those things are there to be used for healing and that that helped me I think, on some days when it was really hard maybe I would be like well I don’t care it was better not remembering right?
I don’t you mean Yeah, rather not. And I’ve heard it described to and one of my trainings I heard somebody, a professional say, when your body hands these memories back to you. It is your body is doing so in gentleness and in in acknowledgement that you are now strong enough? Yeah, no. And when we, when I thought about it like that those memories became less horrific. Like, literally my memories were horrific. Yeah, they became less horrific and more of a acknowledgement of my healing.
Yeah, and empowering. That’s an empowering way to view a very distressing thing. And if it’s not helpful for someone, that’s fine, you don’t have to take this, but I’ve view that as incredibly empowering. And there’s an embodiment coach that I really like and I follow. Her name is Jamie Lee Finch. And she says, to make the most generous assumptions of what your body is telling you, like, assume that your body your brain body system, is giving you this memory or pushing you on this healing journey, in a way that that is for your ultimate good, right. And I know that’s pretty whoo, whoo, I don’t care. I just I think it really does all come Back to like trusting the process. So
yeah, and being kind to yourself and that, for me, it was changing, changing the viewpoint that my body was trying to sabotage me and then realizing my body and my brain. Were trying to be kind to me all along. All the
hard is still true. That is still true, right? Yeah, love that. So next is number six of these core domains is cognition. And so this is where you’ll see something like in terms of diagnoses that people will get as a result of this core domain coming out, is going to be ADHD, a DD various, various sensory processing manifestations, things like that. Even even anxiety because like, thinking about the future is a cognition like always going to the future that’s a cognition thing, different executive. functioning issues that’s gonna say executive function, problem solving, difficulty problem solving. Those kinds of those kinds of things are what we’re talking about when we’re talking about the cognition core domain.
And you know, I want to go back and I don’t want to say executive functioning issues, I want to say struggling with executive functioning. I personally believe that executive functioning is a manifestation of social and cultural beliefs that have to do capitalism. Absolutely.
No machine, you’re not a human.
Again, I won’t get on my so.
But yeah, we think it’s also there’s also several diagnoses that have to do with understanding math, which was interesting to me that goes through struggle with math and an algebraic way. Like there’s actual diagnoses for not being able to see how math works, which is it’s like dyslexia for math.
It’s so funny how the medical model of mental health is so wrapped up in the way that our education system functions. Because when you talk about how like who’s going to be the one to say, hey, this kid can’t see math the way you’re, quote, supposed to see math, it’s the education system. It’s this, it’s saying this is the way that it should be taught that it should be understood. And like the fact that that’s more than likely going to be the trigger for sending this child down this path of diagnosis and treatment. It just blows my mind how those systems are so intertwined,
right? It is incredible how those systems are so intertwined. I could go into that again. That’s another soapbox issue.
Yeah, for sure. I don’t know you just you made me think about that when it comes to the way that we are the expectations that we have on every single child in a school system to learn a certain way and adapt, just frickin adapt to this system, these structures within this system that we have created, we just decide This is the way you should learn. And if you don’t learn that way, then there’s something wrong with you. And here’s what we do when there’s something wrong with you, we give you this diagnosis, it’s
just like medication.
Just got to get one of those in there. So, yes, so cognition issues, can manifest in all those different ways. Like I said, ADHD, executive functioning things, processing, sensory input, and even anxiety can come out with the, with the cognition issues, because if you have this list of things that you’re being told by the teacher, oh, I have to do all of these things, you know, and then the child is exhibiting anxiety, even though they’re really smart, you know, by all other accounts of the word, it’s like, this can just come out in so many different ways when it comes to a child. And then the last core domain is going to be self concept and this one was huge for me, continues to be huge for me, this idea of who am I and why What do I know about myself? What do I believe about myself in terms of worthiness? What feelings of shame or guilt do I have? body image plays into this and then also having a cohesive sense of self. So being able to think of yourself, and almost like describing yourself, like what you like what you don’t like, you know, though all of those things go into self perception and self concept. And that can be something that is really, really difficult for a traumatized individual to construct is a sense of self.
Because developmentally, we are supposed to be guided towards our sense of self by our caregivers. They don’t tell us who they are, but they help us discover who we are and when they’re not available to help us in a healthy way, when they’re not attuned to us, to lead us in the direction of discovering who we are. We are learning to do that by ourselves, with no tools or understanding I mean, we’re not an adult where a child, yeah, trying to figure out the world. And that’s where we get you know, there’s this lack of self even some people just have a complete lack of self. And, you know, as adults we call the midlife crisis when we’re trying to suddenly realize that we’re running out of time and we don’t know who we are.
Exactly, exactly. Yeah. I kind of coming back to this statement of healing from trauma is like meeting yourself for the first time. And that can come out in so many different ways. Like, this is what I do, like, this is what I don’t like and I feel empowered to say that without being afraid of social consequences or relational consequences, you know, being able to figure out who you are, have agency in that deciding who you are, and press on when, you know, that maybe isn’t the norm. And quote. So, to recap, I’m going to just run through these seven core domains of the developmental impact of complex trauma. We’ve got attachment, which is a biggie, we’ll talk more about that later. We’ve got regulation, which we addressed a few episodes back, we’ve got behavior, which is very tied in to regulation. We’ve got biology, which is huge and can result in so many of those medical issues and somatic issues in the body. We’ve got dissociation, which is impaired memory and alterations of consciousness. We’ve got cognition, which comes back to executive functioning, trouble paying attention and processing input, and then self concept, what do you know about and believe about yourself, and how you can show up in the world. So those are seven pretty key things to humanity in general. And these are the things that we’re going to look at when we’re thinking about complex trauma. And hopefully one day complex trauma and the understanding of it will be central to treatment central to the way that we talk about all of these other diagnoses that sometimes are actually just symptoms of what someone has gone through.
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