P.T.S.D. childhood trauma and recovery from adverse childhood experiences A.C.E.Q I saw something on Facebook last week that has got me wondering if I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I haven’t had an accident or been attacked, but I do have the symptoms of always being on edge and expecting something bad to happen; having nightmares, and having flashbacks to the years of my mum and dad either beating or belittling me.

I know this stuff happened over 20 years ago but I’ve been living in a daze for as long as I can remember. It’s as if I’m in some sort of emotional limbo – until I get angry at the slightest thing and lash out.

I feel cut off and detached from people and have few real friends and no partner or kids. I always feel like I want to run away – but I don’t know what from, or where I want to run to! Might all this be due to PTSD and if so what can I do about it?

A There are different types of trauma – both physical and emotional – and our brains are affected and shaped by them, which in turn affects our thoughts, feelings and behaviours.

There is a form of trauma that comes from having experienced an abusive childhood, and having had toxic parents (who poisoned your childhood due to their lack of proper care for you and your emerging needs). This is a type of ‘prolonged duration’ stress disorder.

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Healing from abusive parentsQ I seem to over-react to those slushy TV and internet images and sayings about happy loving families. Don’t they realise or care how hurtful these are to those of us who had a miserable childhood with mean and nasty parents?

On one level I think good luck to them with their happy family, but on another I feel envious and wonder how much different my own life would have been if I’d had parents that I felt loved by and who I wanted to visit and spend time with.

It’s not a major problem – I just wonder why I haven’t got over it and why I get a pang of sadness and anger in my gut and heart when I see or read these things.

A It’s not surprising that you have a deeper visceral response to these messages which are so different to your own experience.

Our subconscious mind is where we store our early memories, and it’s closely related to our ‘out-of-awareness’ bodily functions. It’s our bodies that are the first to be impacted by emotional (as well as physical) trauma. Anything that reminds us of that will be felt in the body before we realise it with our conscious mind.

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