You may start to feel and experience emotional flashbacks via a visual component with disturbing or new images. You may develop feeling states of being abandoned, rejected or, at the extreme end, an abused child. These feelings may be singularly or a combination of the negative repressed feelings of fear, rage, grief, shame, alienation and depression, with varying degrees of impact from subtle to horrific. Your inbuilt response mechanisms of fight /flight with be activated with hyperarousal. You may feel deep despair with intense numbness. Paralysis and desperation, seeking answers to relieve the unease and disorientation. The childlike experience of regression back to feeling small, fragile and powerless overlaid with humiliating and crushing toxic shame, which has been buried deep within the unconscious and out of awareness. This state can obliterate fragile self-esteem based on materialistic gains and approval and will leave one feeling fatally flawed and stupid, continually inhibiting us from seeking comfort, support and learning to individuate. Stuck in an adrenalized state with the nervous system locked in, released by hyperactivity and hypervigilance, to avoid falling into the void of despair again.

The four normal hyperactive responses are

  1. Fight – aggression to that threat (narcissistic)
  2. Flight –fleeing or hyperactivity (OCD)
  3. Freeze- resistance is futile, gives up and accepts inevitably of being hurry (disassociation)
  4. Fawn – pleasing /helpful to the parental attacker (co-dependent)

if we are locked in any of these responses to avoid separation, which is creating anxiety and recall of the repressed images, we are unable to mourn, which leads to an inability to feel sadness or exclusion of anger and fearful responses of abuse due to lack of aggression and protest. Parental contempt for their child’s emotional pain via rejection or abandonment results in the developmental arrest of the child. With the self /soul being effectively murdered, where any emotional expression or self-assertiveness has been so assaulted, the child develops toxic shame, kept in prison, fulfilling the parent’s aims and expectations.

Walker, P., 2013. Complex PTSD. 1st ed. South Carolina: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform.