Namaste Everybody, I am Lisa A. Romano the
breakthrough life coach and today I want to talk about early trial to trauma and
why it’s so important that we understand that what happened to us and what
happens to children before the age of one matters it’s so important that we
understand that who we become as adults is tied to what we’ve experienced and
when we have experienced a trauma and so I’m going to be reading from an article
written by the Sun and it was an interview they did by dr. Perry
well actually dr. Perry was dr. Bruce Perry was interviewed and dr. Perry is a
child psychiatrist he has a PhD and he is a specialist in the field field of
childhood trauma and I’ll be reading from this article because I think it’s
so profound and I’m not sure anybody else that I’ve ever read ever ever put
it this information quite the way dr. Perry does so the first thing that I
wanted to talk about is what was what is trauma can we define trauma and dr.
Perry answers it this way he says despite using that word all the time the
psychiatric field still debates how to define it is trauma and external event
is it the way we experience that event is it the long-term changes in emotional
and physical functioning the follow the event i define trauma as an experience
or pattern of experiences that impairs the proper functioning of the person’s
stress response system making it more reactive or sensitive so it’s important
that we understand that every human being is wired to have a fight-or-flight
stress response the fight-or-flight stress response is not bad in fact it’s
good it keeps it safe we are tapped into and tuned up with the environment and
when there’s a loud noise or when something happens in our experience that
is a threat to our survival our body has the ability to act quickly outside our
conscious awareness of it the bells and whistles go off our heart rate increases
glucose floods our system blood is shunted to our extremities and we’re
ready to run away or ready to fight off an attacker
so dr. Perry is saying that trauma is basically a pattern of experiences that
makes the fight-or-flight response more sensitive right more sensitive or more
reactive so how many of us are super reactive right how many of us who have
experienced trauma or hyper-vigilant how many of us dissociate dissociating is
not a proper response to stress fawning as a code as a codependent is not a
proper response to stress lying is not a proper response to stress pretending
that we’re not under stress is not a proper response to stress being
argumentative throwing chairs blaming people being you know you know very
aggressive this is not a proper response to stress so what dr. Perry is saying is
that it’s basically an experience or a series of experiences that impedes a
person’s ability to look at a situation that they’re having experienced a
stressor and be able to put the stressor into context without being super
sensitive or reactive to what is going on in this in the particular situation
dr. Perry goes on to say that if the brain stress response apparatus is
activated for prolonged periods such as in a domestic violence situation its
equilibrium will change instead of being an anxious and fearful only one
confronted with a threat a person can live in a persistent state of fear for a
child in particular this has many negative ramifications so we are built
to have a quick stress response and we’re supposed to return to normal mommy
daddy auntie uncle grandma grandpa teacher counselor some adult in our
environment is supposed to give us the message that we’re OK when you come from
a dysfunctional home does not happen you are ignored you are
marginalized you are perhaps either covertly or overtly treated as if you
were a problem or an obligation so you you the being that you are is in a
constant state of stress I love this example
dr. Perry uses he says let’s say you’re a six year old boy
and up until now your life has been okay mom and dad split up and there was some
conflict around the divorce but nothing too terrible then all of a sudden mom
has a new boyfriend in the house that’s novel and so it generates moderate
stress at dinner he raises his voice at you that’s unpredictable he soon starts
barking orders that you weren’t frequently he yells at your mom he hits
you or he hits your mom your stress response system doesn’t have time to
return to a baseline before another source of stress arrives you start
having anticipatory anxiety about what will happen next what if what if what if
your baseline level of stress increases things that would not have bothered you
much before it now bother you a lot a harsh tone of voice that may have been
mildly upsetting is now overwhelming if the boyfriends behavior continues your
stress response system may start to register any angry tone or voice is
threatening you become what we call sensitized this is the really
interesting thing the more stress we experienced then yes the more reactive
we are but that has a lot to do with our neural circuitry because particular
systems particularly wiring has been activated over and over and over and
over so instead of there being let’s say a long way to respond to a stress where
we have time to have a fearful stimuli process through the sensory cortex and
the hippocampus has time to say hmm you know is this something that I need to be
afraid of or not what happens in children who have been sensitized is
that their fight or flight system doesn’t have any time to put put an
event or stimuli into context it’s a zero to 100 and so dr. Perry goes
to say that the more our stress response system is activated in uncontrollable
ways the less able we are to handle even small amounts of stress when you are
overstressed you no longer have efficient access to higher brain
functions so by the time you’re in a state of alarm significant parts of your
cortex the highest functioning part of your brain have shut down entirely
this is adaptive if you’re confronted by a predator because you don’t want to
waste time thinking about how to respond you want to fight or run away but to do
your best reasoning you need to access you need access to that sophisticated
part of your brain to learn and plan you need to be in a relatively calm state
now if you’re a child who’s experienced trauma over and over and over and over
you’re not in a calm State you haven’t had the benefit of mature adults to come
to your rescue and tell you that everything’s gonna be okay and sometimes
it’s not even if you’re gonna be okay it’s just that wow that the house has
returned to normal and people are acting normal and things are pretty predictable
and so now with this lack of unpredictability children can return to
a normal baseline I remember growing up I was so young one of my earliest
memories was thinking and remembering that my house was going to blow up on
the third day meaning that if my mom was calm well my dad was calm for two days
in a row inevitably on the third day the house is going to explode so I you know
in terms of anticipatory anxiety I was always in a state of anxiety when is the
next bomb gonna go off when is the shoe going to drop you know when is my mom my
dad when is the house going to explode when is it going to erupt I lived that
way I understand why throughout my life I was so reactive because I lived in a
constant state of reactivity my brain was wired for reactivity and essentially
that wasn’t my fault I’m of the belief
if that early childhood trauma attachment trauma is the root of so many
of our adult issues you know those of us who have been adopted those of us whose
parents died early those of us who were put in foster care those of us who were
born to parents who had emotional problems schizophrenia or whatever those
of us with parents who were self-absorbed in their own dramas and
they could not attune to us for some reason we lived in a state of survival
dr. Perry goes on to say you know he kind of says something similar he says
first we have to understand that feeling connected to other people is one of our
most fundamental needs we feel safer when we are with kind and familiar
people we feel accepted tension can arise from being part of a marginalized
minority whether you define that minority status by economics race
ethnicity religion gender identity sexual preference or whatever the
marginalized group has a much higher level of baseline stress it’s not a
specific traumatic event it’s a continuous sense of disconnection our
brain is constantly monitoring our environment to gauge whether or not we
belong someplace if we frequently get feedback that we don’t belong or worse
over it threats then our body systems stay in a constant state of arousal this
increases the risk for diabetes hypertension and makes learning
reflection planning and creative problem-solving harder over time it will
actually change the physiology of the brain right so those of us who talk
about narcissistic abuse and growing up with narcissistic patterns or growing up
in a dysfunctional home where our triangulation has has taken place
between the siblings when you know maybe our parents pit us against another
sibling when we are the person or the scapegoat that feels marginalized we
feel this disconnection and dr. Perry strongly believes that connection is
actually very very important when it comes to being able to develop
appropriate responses to stress I’m also a firm believer that the brain is wired
for addiction meaning that we are our brain is desire designed to seek
pleasure and avoid pain so dr. Perry was asked do traumatic experiences
contribute to addiction and this is dr. Perry’s response to answer that we must
we first need to understand addiction the brain’s reward system causes us to
feel pleasure when stimulated typically there are many ways that we can activate
those reward systems during our day most importantly by having positive human
interactions but for a child with few loving relationships it’s hard to find
those types of rewards maybe he’s in a classroom where he’s not allowed to move
and there’s no music or other pleasurable sensory input he isn’t in
the group and sits by himself at lunch after school he goes home mom and dad
are both won’t working so the kid turns on the TV and starts to eat even though
he’s not hungry he’ll eat Dorito after Dorito because the salt and the
fat can stimulate the reward networks ultimately he gains weight as he gets
older he learns about online porn he can then masturbate and that feels
good for a while or he learns that if he drinks it will make him less anxious or
he might use some drug to artificially stimulate the reward systems in the
brain the probability that you’ll engage in unhealthy forms of reward increases
when your stress response system is sensitized from trauma so a child who
has experienced trauma and lacks healthy relationships is primed
once he’s introduced to alcohol or drugs in later life to use them again and
again for somebody who has these vulnerabilities relationship based
interventions like AAA and they are usually usually what works they
aren’t perfect but they’re an opportunity to have human contact pretty
much anytime you want dr. perry is basically saying that those of us who
have been traumatized and we now don’t have positive human interaction we are
primed for eating disorders we are primed for sex addiction we are primed
for love addiction which is a relationship addiction we stay and we
stay in relationships that are painful that are toxic that should end we are
miserable but we stay we don’t know how to end it we don’t have to we don’t know
how to let go of it sort of like being addicted to crack we
know we shouldn’t take the crack we shouldn’t do the crack but we also know
that it relieves a lot of our pressure and it leaves our pain right
and so we fear what our body will be like and what our reality would be like
without this crack ever we’re never gonna experience
this release of tension and anxiety again oh no
so we associate tremendous pleasure with staying in the addictive cycle and it’s
the same with codependency we associate so much pain with being alone that we
stay in ridiculously painful experiences because we fear so much being alone with
ourselves being alone for codependent is one of the worst things it’s in facade
I’ve heard people tell me at least it’s scarier than death to me to be to end
this relationship I don’t want to be alone so this is all wonderful
information we’re learning that you know we’re not crazy
we’re learning that our reactivity has a lot to do with the way the brain was
wired and stimulated as a child and that you know absolutely there is help and
there is hope even if we are codependent even if we keep attracting difficult
relationships even if we have struggled with eating disorders and different
types of addictions there’s hope for us you know there’s a reason we do what we
do the last point that I want to make that I think is very profound
is that dr. Perry believes that one of the most important variables is when
things happen to us if you experience emotionally disengaged
caregiving humiliation or a sense of being unwanted in the first year or two
of life even if you then escape that environment maybe you’re adopted or your
parent who was depressed gets better that early experience can still cause
profound social and emotional problems for you all the way into adulthood on
the other hand kids who have who have a good first year of consistent
predictable caregiving and then end up in shelters or foster home homes and
bounced around the system maybe get sexually and physically abused and so on
those children often function reasonably well as adolescents compared to the
children who were had issues you know the first year of life including
adoption for instance the brain develops very rapidly in utero and for the first
couple of years after birth in utero especially you’re making a lot of
neurons and in fact the majority of the neurons in your brain were created in
the womb you continue to make neurons throughout your life today you might
make 200 but there are periods in utero when you make 20,000 neurons per section
per Section I’m sorry per second this is unbelievable
so you think about we’re talking about trauma and we can’t talk about trauma
without talking about stress response right
and we trauma shows up in us today when we are we experience a fearful stimuli
and we have this hyper reaction and so people that you know that our
hypersensitive chances are they’ve been traumatized right and so if you were
that person that is hypersensitive and it has difficult time at work and you
know you are that infected red toe like I was it’s not your fault we can learn
to put things into context we can learn about what happened to us we can use
various forms of mindfulness we can become more self reflective we can
become more self compassion we can learn to not react and to not fly
off the handle for instance when we feel overly stimulated we can make sure that
we eat right we can make sure that we that our diet is balanced doesn’t have a
lot of sugar not bad fats we use good fast we make
sure we go to bed early on time we make sure that we drink enough water perhaps
we go we have we go to the doctor we have a blood test done we find out what
our vitamin profile looks like what are we missing what are we lacking maybe we
need more time in the Sun maybe we need to oxygenate our tissues more when we
are in a state of survival we don’t breathe well our breathing is very
shallow and every cell in our body needs oxygen so the good news is that our
brain is malleable and the more predictable we can create our lives the
more social we become with people who we believe can support us the more were
able to reduce our reactivity to painful stimuli which i think is just fabulous
so basically where we have the ability to reprogram our brain we have the
ability to undo what was done you know and I think this speaks to the
consciousness the ability to expand our consciousness and to think about the way
we think and to observe ourselves we need more reflective time we have to get
off a freaking Facebook we have to stop reading about self-help so much and sit
down on the couch and think about what we’ve read we have to stop watching
YouTube video and YouTube video and YouTube video and find time to actually
think about what we just heard we have to think about how we’re feeling we have
to think about how we reacted we have to think about how we might want to react
in we have to become more self reflective
and you cannot be self reflective when you are constantly bombarded with
various forms of stimuli whether it’s the car radio the cell phone social
media news stations conversations whatever we have to find ways to become
more quiet and more self reflective so that we can gain control over our
responses because there there’s the long way to respond to a painful stimuli and
then there’s the short way and the short way is for when there is a saber-toothed
tiger in the yard and we need to react well when our car we have a car accident
we need to react or when we see someone else in danger and we need to react
that’s when we need the divine ability to go from zero to 100 what trauma
survivors need to learn how to do is to learn to slow that response system down
so that we’re not in a – hyper state of arousal and we’re not reacting to what’s
happened in the now as if what’s happening in the now is what is what
happened in the past so we have to learn to put our now experience into context
and slow our reactivity down we have the ability to do that and not just because
the brain is malleable and programmable and we it’s especially the hippocampus
we can increase the volume of the hippocampus we can learn dear ones and
that’s just so fabulous so I hope this talk has inspired you to believe in the
self and to believe that you can undo what was done and I hope that you feel
more inspired to become more self reflective and to take better care of
yourself because it’s not fair that you’ve experienced so much of what
you’ve experienced and because of a lack of information or awareness or whatever
or the right help you’ve been in a constant state of reactivity it’s time
to get you off that wheel and it’s time to get you living surviving is not
living surviving is just surviving it’s not the same as thriving so I hope this
this lesson has inspired you to do more than just survive these days namaste
until next time bye for now you

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