Healing Complex PTSD is basically a gentle yet firm practice of removing the blinders that keep you in a state of “hypervigilant focus” for survival, which keeps one scanning their environment for what could or might go wrong. Healing CPTSD is the removal of a fear-based outlook so one can enjoy the beauty, wonder, magic and mystery of the world AND become a fully individuated and thriving human being.
When I came to this clarity, I wondered, did Jonathan Livingston Seagull have to break through CPTSD in order to fly as high and fast as he wanted?
I don’t think so. I think at the heart of CPTSD is “unfairness” and inequality.
In Jonathan Livingston Seagull’s story, any and every seagull who would have attempted to fly that “high or fast” would have been admonished by the clan – who lived to eat – who competed for scraps – in order to survive. Life-threatening feats – in the name of living fully – for the thrill of it, for the joy of it, for self-actualization and individuation – these were seen as a threat to the entire clan. It was unacceptable. This rule, and rejecting Jonathan, was impersonal. It was across the board. Any seagull would have been treated the same way.
On the other hand, someone suffering from CPTSD has been targeted by a family member or someone in power (work or school) or a group of peers. This person has been deemed as “different”: black sheep, weird one, “sick one” (psychologically). This person can easily see that “others” in the clan are NOT being bullied in this way and that they are being treated differently than the others. The CPTSD sufferer has to heal from repeated looks of contempt and disgust due to being treated as an emotional dumping ground.
If the person is young enough, this can easily manifest into “identity” issues which shape the person’s personality – this will include extreme challenges (trained to be blind to one’s own feelings and needs) as well as extreme gifts (high levels of compassion for others). If the person is young enough, the curse of over-caring can look like this: I resolve to stay small or sick or “bad” in order to prevent the others in the group (who I love or care about) from feeling agitated or upset. My smallness makes them feel big. This makes them feel safe. Therefore, I will stay small. This can easily be seen in relationships where a parent gets jealous at any sign of being dethroned due to a child’s individuation or success.
Healing this requires resilience, willpower, commitment, focus and effort. In order to drum that up, YOU have to decide that you are worth it. No one else can do that for you. Once you make that decision, there are 2 parts to healing. I’m going to use a parental example because it is easiest to write. But you can apply it to anyone in a position of power.
The first part of healing, which can be the hardest, is popping the bubble of denial that a parent could be jealous of a child, that a parent (especially in our modern world) would NOT want to see their child fly as high as they possibly can, that a parent would psychologically do whatever it takes to tear their child down.
The second part of healing, which can only take place AFTER the first, is sculpting, creating, manifesting, and developing a new way of being in the world. A clear identity that includes individuation and thriving. A life without blinders. A wide open world of possibility. This takes huge courage. And commitment. And chutzpah. But once you do this, you will “resurrect”… you will find your clan, your people. And you will be thrilled to see the looks of recognition, respect and kindness in their eyes.
You’re worth it.