The main danger of invisible abuse (cptsd or cptsr) – stuffing grief is a form of self-abuse

Updated Trauma Flowchart Somatic PT Nina Goradia with Debbie JBLUpdate Jan 18, 2020: This blog post continues to receive a lot of views, so I have been on a search for you to refer you to someone who is licensed who can support you in healing CPTSR/ CPTSD – someone who knows their stuff, is friendly and professional, and is competent and caring. As soon as I saw her “Trauma Flowchart”, I had a good feeling. Then I connected with her and couldn’t wait to share her with you. Her name is Nina Goradia. You can download her flowchart and link to her video here.

Update 05/26/2019: If you like this article, you will love this one

The main danger of invisible abuse (cptsd or cptsr)


The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep.
Henry Maudsley

Let’s take a quick look what it means to be human (vs. a machine.)

  • Humans are fully human when they experience and express: empathy, reason and CHOICE.
  • To experience joy, humans must be fully human.
  • Humans are designed to weep when they feel loss.
  • Humans are social creatures who release sadness when their grief is acknowledged.
  • Humans are biological creatures who need to be held and touched, especially during times of mourning.

When grief isn’t allowed to occur in community (due to unconscious denial, deliberate secrecy, ignorance or minimizing a person’s pain), empathy, reason and choice – those things that make us human – get shut down.

Rather than the sadness being freed and released, the original loss can easily get stuck and exacerbated, turning it into trauma. Invisible trauma. O JOY! This, of course, is a perfect environment for manifesting physical and mental illness. A very human way of making the invisible become visible.

For example, US veterans who were honored and celebrated after world war II were much healthier and well-balanced over their lifetimes than the veterans who were dishonored, overlooked and shunned after they came back from Vietnam. The second group dealt with a lot more PTSD and needed a lot more meds. This shit is for real.

Emotional abuse is designed to keep breaking a person’s boundaries to the point where they don’t only hide from others, but they make themselves invisible – even to themselves. This means that emotional literacy gets thwarted and critical thinking gets stunted. THIS makes relationships, intimacy and getting traction in life even more difficult. CPTSD and CPTSR are the result of ongoing trauma in an uneven power-dynamic relationship.

(CPTSD and CPTSR explanations can be found in the “horse-blinder“, “quick breakdown” and “3 metaphors” posts)

JBL doesn’t stand for “being joyful at all times.” That is actually abusive. JBL stands for being aware of your experience, accepting your experience, and articulating it to yourself and others.

This last part – articulating your experience to others – IS the healing remedy for those with CPTSD who have the courage to allow themselves to “go there.” It’s the place where bridges are built between people. It’s the sacred space between us. It will never be done “perfectly” as long as we’re human. BUT it is necessary and essential for thriving. In that ambience,  “I’m only human” can become “My humanity is divine”.

Honoring your experience is a daily workout. It’s not an overnight thing. Trust has to be built one conversation at a time. With yourself and with others. The good news about connecting with others is that we are more connected than ever before, and reaching out is easier than ever before. HOWEVER, emoticon living is NOT who you really are. You know that. Remember this:

What you feel – you can heal.

Why? Because the YOU who is experiencing the feeling suddenly becomes the “wide space” that allows the experience, the feeling, to move through you. You are not your feelings. But you are the experiencer of them. Just like your house isn’t made of air. But with the windows open, the breeze can move through.

Don’t be a prison guard for your feelings. Don’t push them to the cellar. Welcome them and set them free, one at a time, as you are able to do so. Don’t settle for doing a half-ass job, because it won’t work. Make these important:

  • Emotional literacy
  • Healthy boundaries
  • Education about CPTSD
  • Stopping dissociation
  • Healing emotional flashbacks
  • Reducing the power of your inner critic
  • Stepping back into your adult self who can lead you with empathy, compassion, reason and clarity.

Honor yourself for your ability to survive. Then stand up and make a commitment to thrive. Be loyal to your best self. And you’ll access way more of this:

laughter emoticon

and this:

Happy Debbie at JBL Village

Our world needs more YOU.

You got this.

Thank you for trusting me and letting me serve you.

Much love,

Happy D!

For more info about CPTSR/ CPTSD/ codependency/ co-narcissism, just enter any of those terms in the search bar (in the website footer) at

Debbie Happy Cohen is a master coach with a graduate degree in counseling. She’s the founder of Joy-Based Living, an online global conversation where people develop the skills to create (internal and external) environments so that JOY can thrive in their lives.

Many people who are committed to having joy in their lives are people who have known its exact opposite. Therefore, we explore many aspects of joy, including its shadows. Awareness, acceptance and action are keys to opening the doors to greater joy; and courage is strengthened when people experience connection.

The Joy-Based Living E-book offers 12 foundational practices to help you get in touch with your feelings, make a deeper commitment to yourself, and step up into becoming who you really are. It’s a great supplement any holistic practice, including therapy and coaching.

And… I just created this bite-size audio and visual program called Bring It On: Exchange Toxic Shame for Healthy Self Connection! You only have to listen and follow along and get huge benefit. We remove inner “fog” through awareness, acceptance and articulation. It’s more than an hour of audio which is reinforced visually in a follow-along worksheet, O YEAH! I wish every therapist and client had this tool in their pocket. It’s AWESOME!!




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The maximum upload file size: 2 GB. You can upload: image, audio, video, interactive, text. Links to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other services inserted in the comment text will be automatically embedded. Drop files here