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brain facts

How do you write about something that people are afraid to see? How to you expose an undermining, but insidious practice? How do you change peoples’ minds? How does a civilization heal from the wounds of abuse?

Those that suffer abuse are traumatized. Trauma causes a person to reside in the past where the abuse occurred. It is as if time stops, and their minds and bodies are stuck in the pain of the shocking event. In order to attend to the present while still in shock from the past, the traumatized dissociate from their bodies and numb their sensitivity to the physical world about them. For some the disassociation comes as a psychological state, for others it is self-induced through drugs, alcohol, food, sex, and self-injurious behaviors like cutting and burning. Trauma causes people to feel “unreal,” like they are experiencing their life through observation instead of participation. Trauma is a crisis state that can come and go with the onset of fear and pain that may not necessarily seem rational. These raw sensations can cause the traumatized to lash out aggressively, retreat into depression, or remain in a confused state of shock. The experience of trauma is stored in the body. Until the body has processed the painful experience, the traumatized will behave consistently or intermittently, chronically or acutely, as if their very existence is threatened. And for good reason, abuse does terrorize the abused and everybody around the abused.

Do you know someone whose behavior is erratic, irrational, self-destructive? Is it possible that they are struggling to survive the terror of a past or current abuse?

Tami Boehle-Satterfield, MSW, LCSW-C, NBBCH, HTP, a licensed psychotherapist at attentiontoliving.com has challenged herself in 2016 to post weekly about the unpopular topic of abuse. Learn more about Tami at attentiontoliving.com

The-Elephant-in-the-Room1

How do you write about something that people are afraid to see? How to you expose an undermining, but insidious practice? How do you change peoples’ minds? How does a civilization heal from the wounds of abuse?

 

The truth of all abuse is stored up in our body.  We can repress this truth, but our body will not deny the truth of it.  This is evidenced through physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual symptomatology.

The truth of all abuse is stored up in our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, our nations, the world, and the infinite universe.  Although we can repress it in all those places, the truth speaks through the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual symptomatology.

Our individual and collective minds can be misled, our understandings confused, our feelings distorted, and but our bodies and the collective bodies of sentient and non-sentient beings contain abuse in it’s pristine form.  Until it is processed, abuse will remain the elephant in the room.  Until we recognize individually and collectively the space it occupies, it will remain largely ignored.  It will remain the obvious, but unaddressed truth, until we individually and collectively process the experience of abuse as destructive and replace the practice of abuse with constructive behavior designed for evolution and not diminution of health and evolution.

Can we believe individually and collectively that it is the law of nature to evolve in health  and wholeness? Rest assured that our individual and collective bodies will not forget, until we individually and collective, forgive ourselves for our propensities towards harm, and act in the wisdom of having done so.

Tami Boehle-Satterfield, MSW, LCSW-C, NBBCH, HTP, a licensed psychotherapist at attentiontoliving.com has challenged herself in 2016 to post week about the unpopular topic of abuse. Learn more about Tami at attentiontoliving.com

crime

How do you write about something that people are afraid to see? How to you expose an undermining, but insidious practice? How do you change peoples’ minds? How does a civilization heal from the wounds of abuse?

Physical, emotional, mental, and sexual abuse erodes and  will destroy a person’s sense of trust. It diminishes someone’s confidence and causes them to doubt their own experiences of demonstrated competence. Where a person may have experienced trust and confidence in the world, abuse will replace those experiences with doubt and hypervigilance concerning their physical, emotional, and mental safety.

Abuse is prevalent in our culture: the adult who uses sarcasm to belittle a challenging person or child, the adult who makes allusive or oblique remarks of a suggestive or disparaging nature to another adult or child, the adult who touches another adult or child in a way that is not suitable in context, or time, or place. These behaviors are harmful in and of themselves, but when they become a pattern of behavior they are destructive.

You can make a difference. As humans, it is likely that we all engage in abusive behavior. Bringing that behavior to your consciousness is the first step in changing that behavior – change your behavior and you change the world. This week consider how you might want to instill trust and confidence in your neighbor.

Tami Boehle-Satterfield has challenged herself in 2016 to post week about the unpopular topic of abuse. Learn more about Tami at attentiontoliving.com

girlwhatyoudontknowaaa1

Although certainly just one of many things contributing to weight gain, I suspect that childhood sexual and emotional abuse can also play a significant role.

Having worked with thousands of seriously ill patients over the last 3 decades, including many women who went through childhood sexual abuse, I’ve seen how many women are left with long-term consequences. For example, I have been left with the impression that some (though of course not all) women who suffered sexual abuse as a child would put on a large amount of weight. This seemed to serve as a form of protection, by making themselves unattractive to whoever was abusing them.

New research suggests a physical mechanism that may be contributing to the weight gain. The study looked at women who have fibromyalgia or osteoarthritis pain. It found that the ones with a history of sexual or emotional abuse as a child had significantly higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol ― despite the abuse having happened in the distant past. One side effect of cortisol levels that are too high is weight gain. Interestingly, the elevated cortisol was not found in women who suffered emotional trauma as a child from being neglected.

Although I need to stress that the study did not report on (or even really significantly discuss) weight gain, the findings of a persistently high cortisol in women who suffered abuse has several important implications:

It may be an important physical contributor to excessive weight gain.
It can explain why it would be physically very difficult to lose weight in these cases.
It opens the possibility that physical and emotional treatments may allow the woman to finally lose the extra weight.

Possible New Treatments

As in most medical conditions, I find that people do best by combining both mind-body and physical support. There is a rather amazing yet very simple treatment called the “Emotional Freedom Technique” which can be very helpful at releasing old emotional traumas. In this simple process, the practitioner guides you through tapping certain acupressure points while you remember the trauma. While doing it, people usually feel the emotional trauma quickly drain away. As a physician, I initially considered it absurd that this technique could work ― until I tried it. The results are nothing short of astounding, and I highly recommend this technique for anyone suffering from phobias or emotional traumas (including abuse or post traumatic stress disorder). As a physician, it has been very humbling to see how many people can be helped by treatments that fall outside of traditional medicine.

The physical treatments that can lower an elevated cortisol include the supplements Phosphatidyl Serine and Ashwaganda. These can be especially helpful if taken before bedtime when insomnia is also present. Otherwise, they can be taken in the morning. Before using this, it makes sense to do so salivary cortisols to see if they are elevated, and if so at what times of day. (Consider seeing a holistic physician to guide you.)

Many of you have suffered severe traumas in your lives. There is cause for hope. It may be time to for you to reach out for help, so you can finally leave the past in the past ― where it belongs.