Definition of Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Complex PTSD is a disorder that develops following exposure to chronic, long-lasting traumatic events that generally involve some form of physical or emotional captivity, such as childhood sexual and/or physical abuse, domestic violence, or being in a prisoner-of-war camp. In these types of events, a victim is under the control of another person and does not have the ability to easily escape. ~About Health Website
For years, I was told that I was experiencing anxiety, stress, panic attacks, and finally General Anxiety Disorder. This is before the psychological community finally defined these long-term traumatic events as a child that stay with you for a long time (like bullying) as Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. When I found this term and saw it’s symptoms, I knew immediately that it was what I was dealing with.
I have shared many thoughts in this blog about how the new addition of the term Complex PTSD to differentiate long-term childhood trauma to other types of PTSD works. But, I have focused the effect of CPTSD in cases of bullying. It is much bigger than that. It is a level of long-term abuse, usually starting as a child.
What makes this so different is the idea that it could be bullying, but can also be familial abuse, sexual abuse and other forms as shown in this infographic from https://childhoodtraumarecoverydotcom2.files.wordpress.com
The characteristics that make this different from other mental illness and physical illness issues is that it does not distinguish between the bully and victim. Both can easily suffer from CPTSD, given this definition. I have met more people than I care to discuss who suffer today from the cause and effect of childhood trauma. I am glad it is being looked at much more closely today. But, there are things we can all be on the lookout for:
This is the most common problem. A person whose childhood was torn apart experiences a low self-worth and this will appear in all their actions. Maybe they are constantly putting themselves down. We all know people with low self-worth, but those that see no value in their life are a big part of this issue. Which leads to…
People who talk about the world being a better place without them. People that may even have attempted to take their life without any prior knowledge. I have personally lost 4 friends. I have factual information in 2 cases of child abuse. We need to pay more attention to each other.
Low to No Trust of Others
This can appear in so many ways. Maybe it’s hard to get close to this person due to their trust issues. Other ways it can appear is in a person who is easily angered. They believe the world is out to get them. Maybe we need to pay more attention, because a person that doesn’t trust others is also a person that needs to learn to do so. They will find more loneliness if not.
Of course this is just the tip of the iceberg for CPTSD. There are so many other issues. I believe if we can start to recognize it earlier, we can do more to help people become their authentic self. I know, personally, it would have made all the difference for me.