Trauma seems to lead to disruption of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The person never feels safe, which affects mood and even facial affect. The lack of emotional expressiveness of autism may involve changes in the ANS. We are instinctually still living with Saber Tooth tigers and what not, and constantly scanning our surroundings for danger signals. Other people may set off danger signals in their body language or speech and others may feel safe in the signals they are sending. Forming emotional bonds does not happen when we don't feel safe. This affects children's development. (Porges, Youtube)
"Trauma isn't psychological, it is physiological." - Seth Porges, The Polyvagal Theory: The New Science of Safety and Trauma, (Youtube)
Aside/ I have added a new Forum post in the Topic of biodiversity - Peace is healthy microbes, for soil, and our symbionts. (peace-is-happy.org) It includes book recommendations about soil permaculture and traditional fermentation of foods. Taking extra care of our microbiome is a need during trauma because when there is Autonomic nervous system problems, the gut microbiome can be negatively effected too. People with stress tend to have gut symptoms - caused by the stress. Then there are two problems. Problems in the gut health can also cause brain health problems which might lead to three problems. The large axon of the vagus nerve provides a superhighway called the Gut-Brain Axis or Gut-Brain-Microbiome Axis through which signaling chemicals like serotonin can move. Our healthy microbiome produces serotonin for us, a calming neurotransmitter. (Carabotti, et al, 2015) (Martin, et al, 2018) Eat zinc and fiber foods for your gut and mood.
The Polyvagal Theory: The New Science of Safety and Trauma, Seth Porges. (Porges, Youtube)
"9 Takeaways," (Porges, Youtube).
"Your autonomic state is the filter through which you experience the world.
Environmental cues can magically transform your physiology -- and how people perceive you.
This is automatic, but you can control it if you know how.
Trauma is physiological, not just psychological.
Feeling safe is necessary for living a good life and bonding with others.
Bonding with others is necessary for good health.
When people don't feel safe, they don't think critically, (ask any politician!)
The simplest way to make people like you (including dogs & children!): Use your facial muscles and speak with prosody.
We can fix it! Simply feeling "safe" can jumpstart healing process." (Porges, Youtube)
Reaching the point of self-acceptance where you know that "home" is anywhere, and that you will cope with whatever happens, provides a sense of safety. I don't have to fear any longer, I am confident enough in my abilities that I will figure out a way to survive through whatever happens, or not, and that is okay too. We all have a short time in our physical forms and we don't really know what happens after that, and that can be viewed as exciting rather than fear inducing with a change of mindset.
Emotional dysregulation and too much 'feeling' may also be a problem after trauma.
Sometimes feeling excessive emotional reactions are more a problem after a trauma upbringing, rather than fear sending us into a frozen mode. Turning down our emotional reactions can help emotional dysregulation not spin into a worse meltdown of some sort. Leaving for a calming timeout is what is needed, and trying to explain that is often not helpful versus just giving a polite excuse of some sort and leaving. Talk about the issues at a time of more calm. Tips by the Crappy Childhood Fairy: Trauma Causes Emotional Dysregulation: Here's How to Heal It. (Youtube).
A variety of other posts about relationships after trauma are in the Forum Topic: Peace is Freedom to Love and Peace is Loving Yourself First. Freedom to love ourselves too. Growing up in a trauma childhood often leaves the survivor feeling undeserving of love, and possibly deserving of punishment even - and then are vulnerable to getting involved with and staying involved with abusers. If abuse was normal during their "loving childhood", then it makes sense (kind of) to seek a similar partner as an adult. Abuse doesn't have to be part of a relationship. It can take time to learn that at a core level when we grew up with more messages of being naughty, undeserving, or even deserving of pain whether physical or verbal abuse. Words do damage, can sink into a psyche, and it takes repetitive practice with new thoughts to embed those new thoughts.
I am worthy, I can walk away right now and come back later to the topic/person. I do deserve love and comfort and community. I do not have to feel shame about having physical needs - we all have them. I can try again, as often as I need to. Tomorrow is another day and today is a present to enjoy as fully as possible.
Whatever it takes, and stick with it. The old patterns and thoughts sneak back. The goal for promoting brain change is to substitute new thoughts/actions and remember/replay the old pathways as little as possible - forget them physiologically by not thinking about them. Adequate cannabinoids is also necessary for brain neuroplasticity (reshaping of the nerve networks, like building new super highways that take you to pleasant thoughts instead of the old shame or pain thoughts. Quite a few posts on this blog have ideas for changing habits and practicing mindfulness.
Mistakes are a learning process and a sign of trying and that is a good thing.
Disclaimer: This information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes
(Carabotti, et al, 2015) Carabotti M, Scirocco A, Maselli MA, Severi C. The gut-brain axis: interactions between enteric microbiota, central and enteric nervous systems. Ann Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr-Jun;28(2):203-209. PMID: 25830558; PMCID: PMC4367209. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4367209/
(Martin, et al, 2018) Martin CR, Osadchiy V, Kalani A, Mayer EA. The Brain-Gut-Microbiome Axis. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Apr 12;6(2):133-148. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmgh.2018.04.003. PMID: 30023410; PMCID: PMC6047317. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6047317/