TRMA 800 4 MAT Review Paper
In the book of choice that is related to childhood/adolescent trauma is PTSD and Complex PTSD: How Chronic Anxiety, Childhood trauma, Domestic Abuse and Toxic relationships cause PTSD and Complex PTSD by J. B. Snow narrated by Sorrel Brigman. In this book, Snow demonstrates the difference between Posttraumatic Stress Syndrome Disorder and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Snow (2015), shortly gives a synapsis on how anxiety can turn into PTSD, how childhood trauma can cause PTSD, how a child can develop PTSD by what the child may see happen to a parent or a loved one and how a toxic relationship can cause PTSD and Complex PTSD in three short chapters.
According to Snow (2015), Some anxiety is good for the body because it prepares the body for the fight or flight experience when the child or adult encounters conflict. Snow (2015) talks about anxiety and how it prepares the person because it has negatives effect and positive effects. (Snow, 2015 TRMA 800 4 MAT Review Paper). The positive effect for stress gears the body to handle what’s going to happen. According to Snow (2015), the negative effects of anxiety can cause Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and when a person is exposed to traumatic or negative events where they feel little or no control in the outcome. If the events in the child’s life are reoccurring then this could cause their diagnosis to Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (Snow, 2015). According to Snow (2015), PTSD can cause sleep deprivation, PTSD can happen when one or two traumatic events such as rape or a shooting. CPTSD effects battered women, children who witness abuse and soldiers. A child having mentally ill parents, and alcohol/substance abuse issues are at risk for CPTSD. Snow (2015) described complex PTSD as a child or adult who does not have control in their life, there is dependency, hopelessness mainly in battered woman. (Snow, 2015). Most with CPTSD, has a need to be rescued, they cannot follow through with any task, stronger feeling of the abuser is powerful and are fearful of dying at the hands of the abuser (Snow, 2015).
According to Snow (2015), childhood trauma surrounding PTSD and CPTSD is based off what the child has witnessed from parents or loved ones that has been traumatic (Snow, 2015). In CPTSD, childhood trauma can be caused by a parent who suffers from mental illness or personality disorder (Snow, 2015). Snow mentions that CPTSD can be caused by harsh authority and helicopter parenting (Snow, 2015). Children can establish CPTSD by there being constant conflict and witnessing war at home and by having no protection from parents (Snow, 2015). In CPTSD, Snow describes the symptoms to show in children with inability to control emotions, extreme temper tantrums and night terrors in a child that is encountering stress. Children who are viewing violence in home can be experiencing CPTSD and the parents can be unaware. The child may feel unreal, disassociated from one’s self and develop phobias to thing that the child was never afraid of. CPTSD can cause terror in loud noises and sirens that the child may her and cause difficulty in learning (Snow, 2015).
Reading about childhood trauma that involves PTSD and CPTSD provided me with the much awareness of how PTSD affect children and adults. The remainder of the book, Snow (2015), continues to make the readers aware of what is considered PTSD and CPTSD and provided examples for adults that are involved in toxic relationships that cause anxiety and lead to trauma. Snow informs readers about unhealthy patterns and how they lead to CPTSD as sexual abuse can occur repeatedly in which causes trauma. Snow lets readers know that if the child or adult is suffering from PTSD or CPTSD, it is vital that the child undergoes help to heal from the trauma that they have endured and ways to cope with PTSD.
As I learn more about PTSD, I realize that there were several events that have caused me trauma as a child that has and is affecting me as an adult. Growing up as an only child to a single mother by force was very challenging. My mother became a single mother because my father wanted to leave the fast life and not be the head of his family. My father’s choice was to do drugs and live his life without his wife and child. My mother was broken hearted and it displayed in everything that she did concerning me. No woman imagines their life being a single mother after becoming a wife to the love of their life. Unfortunately, she took all emotions felt out on the on thing that reminded her of her husband which was me. My mother made me feel that she took care of me out of obligation. She was not affectionate, loving and not very understanding. When my father left, I cannot recollect any memory of him spending quality time or being the father that he should’ve been and because of that I suffered because he wasn’t the husband that she wanted him to be and no longer had.
“As research findings indicates that a high level of fear conditioning might be a predictive factor for vulnerability to development of PTSD” (Uhernick, 2017, p. 44 TRMA 800 4 MAT Review Paper). As a child, my mother had a lot of anger and she had nowhere to dispose it. She was hurting and because of the stigma of counseling, she never received help to control her anger. My mother took her anger out on me by becoming physical by spanking me or hitting me with an object when something was not done her way or even if I said something to express myself. Expressing myself as a child was unacceptable. I was not allowed to speak my mind if I had a reasonable opinion. I had no voice from a child and even now as an adult it is difficult. I remember being punched by my mother and being called a “bitch” as teenager. I the teenager years can be challenging for adults, but I was honestly that teen who did not get in any trouble and rarely asked for anything as I was always told, “Don’t ask me for nothing.” This experience alone caused trauma for me as I became old enough to date and have a boyfriend, I would jump like the guy was trying to hit me. This came from me having to shield myself from her punching and hit when she was angry, and I may not have anything to do with her anger or frustration at that moment. She would say things like “You’re just like your daddy!” or “You ain’t shit just like your daddy!” Those words hurt just as worse as the beating that I endured through childhood and adolescence.
I relate to PTSD because I was terrified that my mother would hit me with an object because of something that I may say or do that’s not the way that she would want it to be. As an adult, I still have no voice and struggle with finding ways to express myself and not having that emotional connection with her. I have a fear that I will never be good enough for her even at the age of 34. Although my mother took care of me and was and still is a great person, she was still unable to control her anger and she hurt the person that she should have loved on the most. My relationship with my mother today is still missing a connection. She is still controlling but I have chosen not to let her trigger me as a mom and wife. I no longer allow her to take up space in my life that will cause me to lash out at my husband or my son. I refuse to be help hostage to her wounds and broken heart that she refuses to heal.
Reflecting on PTSD and Complex PTSD raises the question of, how can CPTSD and PTSD be placed in the same category as the characteristics are very similar? This question stood out to me as I read the characteristics in PTSD and Complex PTSD: How Chronic Anxiety, Childhood trauma, Domestic Abuse and Toxic relationships cause PTSD and Complex PTSD. In childhood trauma, any child that has experienced trauma will have symptoms of anxiety and some children may not as they may process their trauma different to where that affects are not weighing their minds to produce anxiety. If I had to request further information on Complex PTSD in childhood trauma, I would want more information on what makes the trauma that the child has gone through fit into the category of complex PTSD. What about their symptoms differ from an adult or a military service member. In my opinion, any sort of trauma can cause symptoms of PTSD as it has an effect of the child or the adult wo experienced rape, school shooting, a house fire etc. “Long-term stress or constant memory triggers also causes the body to release increased cortisol” (Uhernick, 2017, p. 44). Fear occurs with PTSD and Complex PTSD with flashbacks and things surrounding the child that could potentially be a trigger for an adult or child who has not be treated or attempted healing from their trauma.
“Exposure to multiple traumas, particularly in childhood, has been proposed to result in a complex of symptoms that includes posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as a constrained, but variable group of symptoms that highlight self‐regulatory disturbances” (Cloitre, Stolbach, Herman, Kolk, Pynoos, Wang & Petkova, 2009). I do agree with Snow (2015), as multiple traumatic situations can cause PTSD and can become more complex as the symptoms of trauma occur to the child. I do not agree with the PTSD becoming complex based on the type of trauma that the child has endured such as domestic violence or physical abuse by a parent or loved one. They all and trauma to the child’s life and affects their adulthood if not treated properly. “Consequently, understanding of complex PTSD has been inﬂuenced by developmental research, which has demonstrated that childhood abuse as well as other childhood adversities (neglect, emotional abuse, absent or psychiatrically disturbed parents) result in impairment in developmental processes related to the growth of emotion regulation and associated skills in effective interpersonal behaviors”(Cloitre et al., 2009). What bothers me about the complex PTSD is that it is classified by what type of trauma that the child endured. I feel that a traumatic event is just that and no matter how the child is affected, it is still trauma that the child has experienced without being protected. Snow (2015), states that a person who dates or marries a psychopath or a narcissist can have complex PTSD and a child that is sexually abused multiple times is considered to have CPTSD (Snow, 2015). It excites me in just a short time, Snow offered information that explains complex PTSD and PTSD by using examples of who fits each meaning of PTSD. According to Cloitre et al., (2009), “studies demonstrates that both in children and adults that greater trauma exposure is associated with more complex symptom presentation” (Cloitre et al., 2009).
In reading PTSD and Complex PTSD: How Chronic Anxiety, Childhood trauma, Domestic Abuse and Toxic relationships cause PTSD and Complex PTSD, Snow (2015), ensures that his readers are aware of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Knowing the difference between PTSD and CPTSD allows me to more alert in my personal life and to know what anxiety can do to mind by causing PTSD. On a personal level, stress can be a factor in my life if not addresses. It affects my physical by overeating and spiritually it makes me feel that God has forgotten about me when stress and anxiety is apart of my life. As a first-time mother, stress comes easy with a toddler. Making sure that he is kept safe, that he doesn’t choke or fall. Anxiety settles in when there is schoolwork to do and the baby will not go to sleep for an example. Emotions become uncontrollable when stress and anxiety are at a all time high. In those moments of stress and anxiety I seek God for words of peace and encouragement despite all the unaddressed trauma. “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” ( John 14:27, King James Version). My growth comes as I learn daily to trust the Lord even in my time of despair and that he will give me peace to maintain and peace to live an abundant life despite the obstacles.
My professional growth will naturally happen if I am taking care of the personal. As I see clients that are children who have PTSD or categorized by their trauma to be diagnosed with CPTSD, I can and will not expect them to discuss their trauma without some sort of emotions as their developmental stage may not be the same as the next child. I must continue to take myself out of the equation and be unbiased with my listening and interpreting of what the child has to say no matter their age. I recall being in a professional setting in CPS with a child who falsely accused her grandfather of abuse. I became bias and began to treat the child differently because I could not believe that a child is being taken care of and lying on her grandfather. I took nothing she said serious because it felt that her story was not true. As I tried taking myself from the equation, her lies grew. The teen wanted to live a certain life, date the opposite race and be defiant towards the rule in her grandparent’s home. This alone taught me professionally to king my thoughts and opinions to a minimum and listen. This was traumatic for the grandfather as he had not caused any trauma to his granddaughter. Professionally, I will remain unbiased and continue to aid in healing children who suffer with PTSD or any sort of trauma.
My action plan is t continue to grow personally and maintain a personal life that will not negatively affect my professional life. In there are areas in my personal life that are lacking, I will continue to reevaluate the lack and find ways to nourish the lack. Continuing self-care to rejuvenate my physical and spiritual by accessing the Lord Jesus through prayer as I professionally help children combat trauma and PTSD. Professionally, I plan to continue education on PTSD or Complex PTSD so that I am equipped to help heal children in trauma to help those children become successful teenagers and productive adults. “Heal me, O Lord, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved: for thou art my praise” (Jeremiah 17:14, King James Version).
References for TRMA 800 4 MAT Review Paper
Cloitre, M., Stolbach, B.C., Herman, J.L., Kolk, B.v.d., Pynoos, R., Wang, J. and Petkova, E. (2009), A developmental approach to complex PTSD: Childhood and adult cumulative trauma as predictors of symptom complexity. Journal of Trauma Stress, 22: 399-408. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19795402/
Snow, J. B. (2015). PTSD and Complex PTSD: How Chronic Anxiety, Childhood trauma, Domestic Abuse and Toxic relationships cause PTSD and Complex PTSD. (Sorrel Brigman) [Audiobook]. Audible.
Uhernik, Julie A. (2017). Using Neuroscience in trauma therapy, Creative and compassionate counseling. New York, NY: Routledge.