When a person comes out of an abusive relationship, they almost inevitably have anxiety. When a person is stressed out and at survival the amygdala enlarges and the anxiety increases. The good news is that with mindfulness, the amygdala shrinks.
In this episode of We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez, Kris discusses anxiety and why almost every single survivor of abuse has anxiety. She also discusses what you can do to help mitigate it.
Link mentioned in this episode: Signs of Anxiety, PsychologyToday.com
Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.
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We are not in our normal spot. We are in Trinidad, California, right now. Just enjoying the cool. Can’t say I’m loving Trinidad really a lot. They were not very friendly as far as it comes to dog-friendly restaurants. And then we go to get takeout, and they’re like two hours away from closing, and they’re like up. Nope, we’re busy. We don’t do takeout. And I’m like, You’re a tourist town. Oh, don’t get me started. So, needless to say, I’m not probably going to come back here. But anyway.
Um, current events, let’s talk about current events. So, I was reading today that they are investigating the FDA is investigating another brand of energy drinks. And I just, I cannot stress to you, energy drinks, no bueno for your body, they usually have a lot of caffeine, like something like three or four cans of sodas worth of caffeine. They’ve got like tons of sugar. They have other things in them. You know, it’s really, it’s ooh, it’s not good. And I know a lot of people use the energy drinks because, you know, they’re they need the boosts, they’re super busy, etc., etc., etc. So yeah, it just don’t do energy drinks. They’re not good for you. Not the caffeine is good for you anyway, and I’m guilty of drinking coffee. But it just it’s scary to me when people start getting addicted to the energy drinks. And you know, it causes problems, guys, it does. You don’t want to get addicted literally to anything if you can help it.
So, and I think the biggest concern is that they’re questioning what else is in there besides the huge amount of caffeine, which by the way, if you drink too much caffeine, it can cause heart. What’s it called afibia? No, not afibia. Heart palpitations, it did a Bonguda, Bonguda, Bonguda, Bonguda, and not in a good way. So, um, anyway, just, you know, if you’re drinking those energy drinks, I really encourage you to get off of them. You know, wean yourself off, try something else. Arhythmia. Thank you. That was the word I was looking for. Not Bonguda, Bonguda. Bonguda. And anyway, just, you know, I don’t know, it just it bothers me that companies put stuff into it. And it’s, it’s now getting investigated. I don’t even know the name of the thing. It wasn’t one that was well known. But anyway, it was on the AP, so and I happen to see that, and I was like, oh, and I know a lot of people use energy drinks. So honestly, just don’t do it. Don’t do it. Water is great. And and taking care of yourself. teas are great. You know, coffee if you have to in the morning. And then don’t drink caffeine after like noon, because otherwise, you’re going to be all funky dunky with your sleep schedule. So, all right.
And speaking of which, if you drink too much caffeine, it will create a lot of anxiety because your heart is pounding like crazy. It kind of mimics a panic attack. So, let’s talk about anxiety. So, I named this a case of the nerves because people were asking about anxiety in regard to post traumatic stress disorder. So, post-traumatic stress disorder complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. One of the things it used to be in with the anxiety disorders, which is interesting. Now it’s in with the trauma disorders. So um, one of the things about PTSD is that people get a huge amount of anxiety, we start having nightmares, we start avoiding things that remind us of our abuse. We have panic attacks. So, I want to go into all of that and how to help yourself with that, of course, a sense of foreshortened future, like a sense of doom, that is very common in people that have come out of abusive relationships.
So, let’s excuse me, let’s talk about why. So, first of all, let’s talk about the physical things that are going on when you have anxiety. So basically, what’s going on is your amygdala your amygdala is enlarged, your amygdala is working overtime. And they’ve shown this in study after study after study on anxiety and amygdala is our amygdala is enlarged, and it’s working overtime to try to keep us safe, because we’ve had abuse either from a family of origin or from, you know, romantic partner, a boss, coworker, whatever.
So, the amygdala is job. The amygdala is a little almond-shaped organ that sits about an inch inside of each ear. Its job is to keep us safe, which is normally great. But if it’s enlarged, and we’re hyper-vigilant, meaning we’re looking for danger, looking for danger, looking for danger, looking for danger, where’s the danger? Where’s the danger? This little guy is going to be on steroids, seriously. So, this little guy sits about an inch behind each year. It’s almond-shaped, and when it perceives a threat now, here’s the thing, a threat can be anything to the amygdala because the amygdala cannot tell the difference between an energy drink making your heart pound, okay? Or no, I’m serious. amygdalas are really stupid. They’re like three O’s, oh, my god, stooopid! They cannot tell the difference between heart pounding because of an energy drink. Or a threat, a thought. You think about something threatening. You smell something that reminds you of when you were abused. You hear something, you see something, you taste something, this all makes the amygdala go. OMGOMGOMG! And then, it tells the hippocampus and the hypothalamus to release cortisol. So, cortisol is our stress hormone. So, we start tensing up right, now we’ve cut off the oxygen to our lungs, our heart is pounding, okay, we’re taking in puffy little breaths that don’t go anywhere. racing thoughts, racing heart. And at this point, the brain goes, Oh, my God, oh, my God, we need energy to get out of here. Oh, my God. And it tells another part of the brain, which is a little further down on the brainstem. So, a little bit more reptilian. We need adrenaline we need adrenaline. So, it tells the adrenal gland to release everything at once. So now we’re really shaking like a leaf, racing thoughts racing thoughts pounding heart pounding heart.
Kris Godinez 07:35
And at this point, we do one of two things, we either go into your stereotypical panic attack, which is the print and then we keel over, or we turn into the Incredible Hulk, we get angry, we get really, really, really rageful angry. And it’s a trauma response. It’s a way to keep people away from us, it’s a way to stay safe. The other thing that happens, and we’re going to talk about how to deal with that hold on. The other thing that happens too, is we have this generalized anxiety, we have this generalized sense of doom, you know, like, Oh, I’m not going to live very long or, or, you know, gosh, I just feel like something bad is going to happen. Well, it’s because when we were kids, or when we were with the abuser, something bad happened on damn near a daily basis. So, it’s that, you know, trying to stay safe again, trying to predict what’s going to happen. So, if we go for the negative, and it doesn’t happen, then Oh, good, you know, but if we go for the negative, and it does happen, then, okay, I knew that was going to happen. So, it’s a weird way of keeping ourselves safe.
So, to give you a couple of examples, when I was a child, my dad was literally a loose cannon, like, you never knew which way he was going to go flying across the deck. Okay. And whenever we went someplace new, I threw up because I was such a nervous wreck. I never knew how he was going to behave. Was he going to embarrass us? Was he going to scream at us? Was he going to hit us? Was he going to, you know, do something stupid, you know, and you usually did. So, um, so we get this, you know, anticipation of bad things happening, or we get this generalized anxiety. It’s like, oh, it’s someplace new. I don’t know what’s going to happen. And that, for me as a kid, that was the big thing. That’s why I threw up because I didn’t know what was going to happen. It was like, something’s going to happen. I just don’t know what. And so, I would throw up. That was the only thing I had control for. So um, so we get this anxiety, we get this incredible sense of anxiety, we get social anxiety, we get afraid to leave our house, we get agoraphobia, where we don’t want to go anywhere, or we get anxiety where it’s like, ooh, too many people. Now I also have had that happen to me. So like John and I, one time when we lived in LA, we went to one of the malls. And it was during Christmas time, and I remember turning to him and going get me the hell out of here yesterday. Get me out because I was starting to have a panic attack, and there’s just too many people bumping into you and the whole thing and it just didn’t feel safe. So um, so yeah, so anxiety is kind of part and parcel of PTSD. That’s just what happens to us because we’ve had so many bad things happen. And because our inner child is trying to keep us safe and anticipating, well, what if this happens? And what if that happens? What if, what if? What if? What if? So, basically, what happens is our subconscious starts living in what if? What if this happens? What if that happens? So, when we’re living in what if we’re in anxiety all the time because we’re trying to see what’s going to happen? What’s, you know, what’s going to happen now? What’s going to happen now, what’s going to happen now?
So what ifs are your clue that you need to check into what you’re thinking? Okay, so let’s back it up to the panic attack, and we’re going to tackle all the other forms of anxiety. So, when we have a panic attack, it’s because something our thoughts, something we saw, something we heard, something we tasted, something we smelled, made the amygdala go, Oh, my God, here, now, here, now here. And now it’s because the amygdala cannot tell the difference, like I said, between an energy drink making your heart pound, and fear making your heart pound or a thought that’s dangerous, or something that reminds you of your abuser. It’s all here, now, here, now, here, now, here, now, no logic, okay? So, when you realize you’re having a panic attack, what is your first clue that you’re starting to have a panic attack? So, for a lot of people, their first clue is their clenching up, that’s their, and holding their breath, that’s what we do. It’s like we hold our breath, and we clench up, okay? Or you can feel the heat rise, that’s another way to know that you’re starting to have a panic attack.
For some people, they don’t know they’re having a panic attack until they’re into the point where they are, and that’s fine. You know, it’s like, wherever you can catch it. That’s okay. So basically, as soon as you know you’re having a panic attack, the best thing to do is to take a super deep breath and hold it. So, you just and then force your shoulders down, force your chest out so that you’re kind of relaxing that whole area, and then slowly let it out. And as you’re letting it out, I’m safe. I’m okay brain, shut the bleep up. I’m fine. Everything everything’s okay, there is no saber-toothed Tiger. It’s all good. Let it go. We’re okay. You know, and you kind of do some self-soothing, it takes about five minutes for the adrenaline to flood out of the system. So, you’re going to have to sit there and do really, really slow, deep breathing with self-soothing.
So, remember, when we’re having a panic attack, it’s generally because our inner child is freaking right, the bleep out. So, you, you comfort yourself, the way you would in a small child, you’re safe. You’re okay. Everything’s fine. It’s all good. You’re good. Nothing’s going to hurt you. It’s okay. Try rubbing your arms, try rubbing your legs, remind yourself that you’re in the here and now, and everything’s good. So that’s the other thing is that what also causes panic attacks, flashbacks. When we are in flashback mode, and we are having a full-blown oh my god, this reminds me of my abuser. Holy crap. Oh, you know, it sends us into a complete and total panic, you know, being accused of something you didn’t do. That’s enough to send me into a rage. Usually, it’s like, Oh, hell no, we’re not playing that game. You know what I’m saying? So yeah, I mean, that’s, it’s part and parcel of PTSD. So breathing is going to be your best friend and self-soothing as you’re allowing your system to calm down. That’s another reason why I think energy drinks are a really bad idea for us. I really do because we can’t handle that. That arrhythmia. We can’t. Our bodies are just like, Nah, you know? So, I’m okay. So, I have some articles that I wanted to talk about.
Signs and symptoms of anxiety and this is on Psychology Today. Why do I feel like something terrible is about to happen, a sense of impending doom is a common accompaniment to bouts of anxiety and especially panic attacks. Not only may it seemingly strike out of the blue, but it also tends to exacerbate the anxiety. The more it exacerbates that sense of impending doom because we’ve had a panic attack. We know what that feels like. We don’t want another one. And oh my god, I don’t want it. I don’t want it. Oh my God, I don’t want it. I don’t want it. Well, if we’re focusing on that, guess what? We’re going to have it because our body is just like, well, we’re just going to do that so you can stop worrying about it. The feeling that something bad is about to happen is triggered by the body’s response when the mind senses a threat, hormones cortisol released are as part of the body’s stress response, put the brain on high alert, scanning relentlessly for danger. So like danger, where’s the dangerous danger, high alert, hyper, hypervigilance, hypervigilance. And if there is none there, we sometimes manufacture with the what ifs in order to get over it seriously. So, this is why we’ve got to do a two-pronged approach. It’s got to be a physical thing. And then we’ve also got to rein in that what if, what if, what if? And if you hear, well, what if this and what if that, that’s your clue to just totally tell that to shut the bleep up? Seriously, thank you for your input. Oh, kitty cat. Shut the bleep up. Sorry. Shut the bleep up. I’m not playing that game. I’m not living in a future that has not happened. And that’s the really important part is that it hasn’t happened. You’re living in a future that has not happened.
Okay, hormones, high alert. Relentlessly scanning for danger. And a strong stress response can lead to the feeling that catastrophe awaits. measures to tamp down the stress response, such as deep breathing for a few minutes, can dampen the sense of impending doom. So yes, absolutely. You want to take good care of yourself, recognize your anxiety triggers. So, you know, for me, it’s anxiety too many people. Recognizing, you know, hey, if somebody is accusing me of something I didn’t do, Oh, hell yeah. Game on, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s almost figuring out what your triggers are, write them down, write them down, challenge them, write them down, take your power back. I mean, they’re, they’re there to kind of protect you.
Kris Godinez 16:44
But now they’ve gone into what’s the word I’m looking for. They’re no longer helpful. They’re hurtful. So, write them down, challenge them, reaffirm that you’re safe, and you’re okay, and everything’s fine. And this is something to work on, seriously. And then baby steps, seriously, baby steps. So, if, for example for so for me going someplace new, it took years, probably until I left home, to get over that whole throwing up when I went someplace new because I was such a nervous wreck. Well, part of that also was getting away from my abuser. Because I realized it had to do with my dad because it was like he was a loose cannon, I didn’t know what he was going to do; was scary. You know, never knew if he was going to be kind or mean or embarrassing, or whatever. So, getting away from the abuse honestly helps. The second thing we need to do is work on The Inner Child Workbook by Catherine Taylor or Lucia Cappacchione. Why, because you’re dealing with all that trauma that happened when you were a little kid, that’s affecting us now, as an adult, and you want to challenge that stuff, and comfort that child, and make sure that child knows they are loved. They are heard, they are believed, and you’re going to protect them, and you will break your foot off in anyone’s hind in that tries to hurt them. That’s really what it’s about. Because we didn’t get protected. I talked about that last week; we did not get protected as kids. So, it’s really important to work with your inner child around the anxiety that came from somewhere.
So sometimes, too anxiety is a learned behavior. So, if we had a super anxious parent, we’ve picked that up. So again, fleas, so if it’s not yours, and it belongs to Mom or Dad, that’s when you have to separate it out, write it out, is this a fear of mine? Or is this a fear of mom and dads? Or is this a fear of grandparents? Or is this a fear of a teacher? Or is this a fear of whatever? Whoever taught the fear? You know, and is it real? Or is it just a fear? So, fear, false evidence appearing? Real fear is just a thought, you know, so is this something that you need to be freaking out about? Or is this something that you’re trying to plan for in the future? And if it is, take your power back live in the present moment, that is really the best way to get rid of that kind of anxiety.
Okay, going on. So, um, let me see if I can find the title of this one. So, this is just called Signs of Anxiety, and it’s on Psychology Today. Okay, hold on, it feels like we’re going to have a heart attack because we have the heart palpitations. That’s why. So, one thing that I tell my clients to do if they’re in the middle of a panic attack, and they’re like, oh my god, I’m going to I’m going to have a heart attack. Raise your hands above your head. Oh, look, you can raise your hands above your head. If you’re having a heart attack. You couldn’t do that. Can you stand up? Oh, yeah, you can. You’re fine. But that’s a way to shut that brain off when it starts going. What if. What if. What if. Oh my god, I’m dying. I’m dying. I’m dying. No, you’re not. You’re having a panic attack. It’s okay. So, this is common, guys. When I was in college, I would have panic attacks thinking I was dying. So, you bet. Absolutely.
When you And why, why? Well, when you get away from your abuser, and you start working on yourself, and you start challenging those basic assumptions that they gave you that were wrong, that were incorrect, it causes a lot of cognitive dissonance, it causes a lot of fear, we start realizing that the family that we thought we had, that we thought was supportive was not that, in fact, we had been orphans our entire life, and just didn’t know it until we started working on ourselves. So, you know, realizing that we are kind of alone and that we are kind of working on all of this lovely baggage that was handed to us that wasn’t even ours. Yeah, that can cause a lot of cognitive dissonance, it can cause a lot of what ifs, it can cause a lot of anxiety, I mean, abso-freakin-lulely. PTSD is not fun, and I don’t recommend it for most people. It’s not something you want to do. So um, but the point being is, is that you’re not crazy.
This is part and parcel of healing, unfortunately. So, it’s learning how to cope with the anxiety, kind of pushed through the anxiety so that you are running the anxiety, and the anxiety is not running you. It’s a bully, think of it as another abuser, that’s really a good way to think about it. It’s kind of like another abuser. Because why? Because it stops us from doing things, it stops us from going out, it stops us from going to like malls, it stops us, because we try to start avoiding all the things that make us anxious.
So, and social anxiety, this is huge for us as survivors. Why? Well, if we had truly crazy parents, they didn’t know how to socialize, they didn’t know how to be a normal human being, you know, and so going out into public was always an incredibly stressful thing. At least it was for me because it was like, what is what stupid thing is he going to do now? What horrible thing is he going to say about his family? Now? How is he going to embarrass us? Is he going to hit us? Is he going to, you know, say something stupid, you know what, you know? So? And and, and I talked about this in my book, what’s wrong with your dad? Um, you know, you get a reputation unfairly because of the crazy parent. You know, it’s like, oh, yeah, I know those people. Yeah, I don’t want anything to do with them. And it’s like, I have nothing to do with my dad. I’m not him. Thanks for playing. So yeah, it creates this sense of I can’t go out because I’m going to be associated with this crazy family, or I can’t go out because I don’t know what my abuser is going to do. You know? So, it’s totally normal. This is totally, totally normal.
So, all right, signs and symptoms. Let’s go back. Okay, why does my body shake? It’s because of the cortisol. You can’t concentrate. When you have anxiety. You feel like you can’t breathe because you’re holding your breath. It is a fear response. And yes, children do get anxiety they absolutely do. And it is a learned behavior. So that is the biggest thing to remember. Okay, let me see. Is this the one I wanted to look at? No, this is not the one I wanted to look at. Let’s look at PTSD. Okay.
So post-traumatic stress disorder. It causes unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event, reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again, flashbacks. And that’s because of the amygdala. So, the amygdala, like I said, cannot tell the difference between past, present, future, thinking about a threat, smelling a threat, hearing a threat tasting a threat, you know, it’s all here. Now, here. Now, here now, right here, right now. It’s happening. It’s happening. It’s happening. So, you’ve really got to be able to be like, Nope, I am safe. I am okay. In this present moment. My abuser is not here. I’m all right. So, calming yourself down, dealing with the amygdala. So, when you bring oxygen back into the system, so you take the big deep breath, and you hold it for a little bit, and you let it out, self-soothing, I’m safe. I’m okay. Everything’s fine. What that does is that tells the brain that released the adrenaline, oh, we’ve got oxygen, we’re safe. Okay, I can shut down the adrenaline process. Okay, cool beats. So, it starts shutting that down. And then as you keep breathing, the hippocampus and hypothalamus also go, Oh, we don’t need to be tensed up so, we’re ready to fight, fight, freeze or give in fawn. So that’s what that is all about.
Kris Godinez 24:59
So, PTSD, upsetting dreams or nightmares so people often wake up from it I wake up in the morning having a panic attack, not knowing why. Because we don’t always remember our dreams. And especially because we can believe it or not, we can dissociate when we’re dreaming. So, it’s like something happens. In our dreams, we wake up panic attack, but we don’t know why. Well, obviously, we were dreaming about something that was traumatic, obviously. And our brain just kind of went, nope, nope, not going to remember it. So, it’s enough to know that something triggered you, you were dreaming about something, I strongly recommend keeping a dream journal. So you can start writing things down. When you go to sleep at night, this is really important. You’re going to give yourself the suggestion that you sleep well. So, what I like, remember how we do the mirror work. So, the mirror work in the morning is going to be Hi, good to see you. Have a great day, I give you permission to like yourself, go be awesome. And then you walk out, right? At night, especially if you’re having panic attacks in the morning. Now you can do the whole Hey, good to see you. Again, here are three things you did right, which is always great. But the other thing you can do is add in, you know what, you’re going to sleep safely and soundly. And you’re going to have happy dreams, and then you go to bed. So, you give yourself that suggestion that that’s what’s going to happen that night. It may not happen immediately. But the more you tell your subconscious, this is what I want, the more the subconscious will start going, Oh, okay, we’re going to dream happy dreams. And how do I know this works? Well, a few years ago, I had to have a colonoscopy. And I told John, I will be having nice happy dreams about Oded Fehr, right. So, I come out of recovery. And the nurse goes to China and goes who’s Odin? babbling about? Good, fair. He’s an actor. He’s cute. Anyway, um, so yeah, it happens. So, but it takes practice. So, all of this takes practice because we’re having to undo all of the damage that the abuse has done, to our psyche, to our subconscious, to our self-esteem, to our sense of safety, to our sense of everything. So, a sense of safety is really the key to getting rid of the anxiety. So little kids are the ones who do the well. What if this? And what if that? What if I plan for this? And what if I play? You know, I’ll do I’ll do this, and it’ll be fine. And you know that kind of thing. So, you’ve got to calm down the little, the little inner child, comfort them. It’s great to come up with plans.
That’s great. One, maybe two plans. That’s it. And then you don’t allow the thought process to keep going, well, I’m going to do this, if that happens. And I’m going to do that. No, we’ve already done that. We have a plan. We know what we’re doing. It’s okay. Let it go. So seriously, keep a dream journal. Allow yourself to remember your dreams. Allow yourself to dream happy dreams. It’s okay. It’s really, really okay. Work on that, that is a huge thing to do. Okay, hold on just a second. One more thing. I wanted to get to severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the traumatic event. Absolutely. stomach aches, somatic things, headaches, muscle aches, you know? Absolutely. And emotional distress. So, our bodies keep score, Bessel Van de Kolk. Great guy, I’m actually going to be going to a continuing education conference with both him and Dr. Ramani. I get to see them both. I’m so excited. So, I’m going to you know, I’ll bring back whatever I learned from them, which is awesome. That’ll be in October. Okay, so avoidance, we try to avoid things that causes anxiety, negative changes in thinking and mood, and negative thoughts about ourselves or other people in the world. hopelessness about the future, sense of doom, memory problems, not remembering important aspects of the traumatic events, difficulty maintaining close relationships, feeling detached from family and friends, lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed, difficulty experiencing positive emotions, feeling emotionally numb.
So, we do that with PTSD because it’s kind of like, well, if I’m happy, somebody’s going to ruin it. Like, seriously, that was my thought when I was having to live in the house with my dad because if I was happy, I knew he would ruin it. So, you know, and then he would get mad at me for being a moody teenager. And I’m just like. You can’t have it both ways. Anyway. Um, so yeah, so we do that. It’s kind of like we ruin it ourselves. So, nobody else can. Or we protect ourselves by not having close friends because we don’t want to get hurt. So, but it’s a way of really not living. So, it’s also a way of allowing the abuser to win, so don’t allow the abuser to win! You’ve got to be able to be like, Okay, this is my anxiety. This is my fear false evidence appearing real. What can I do to mitigate it and still go have a lovely fun life? Because I get to, you get to, you get to, and then clearly the message we got growing up was, oh, don’t you dare and it’s not okay and blah, blah, blah. So, my suggestion would be also writing letters to whoever created the anxiety around you. And basically, taking your power back. It’s like, Look, mother clicker, you’re dead. You have no power over me anymore. Or Look, Mother Clucker. I’m away from you. You have no power over me anymore. Guess what? I’m not going to allow your crazy thoughts to run my world. And take it out to the barbecue. Read it out loud once burn it, you know, and we have to be careful of what we think. That’s the other big thing. Thoughts, create emotions, emotions, create thoughts, back and forth. So, if you’re having anxiety, what were you just thinking? What if you’re having a panic attack? What were you just thinking right before you realized you were having a panic attack? A lot of times, people are dissociating, and they don’t quite know. But sometimes they’re able to go, Oh, I just thought XY and Z. Great.
Okay, now we know what caused the panic attack. Excellent. Let’s work on that. So that’s kind of what I want you guys to work on is that you’re not crazy. This is part and parcel of PTSD. This is part and parcel of CPTSD because we’ve had so much trauma that we’re trying to keep ourselves safe. The amygdala literally is enlarged, and it is trying to keep us safe. And it’s stupid. Three o’s cannot tell the difference. Past, present, future, thought, seeing something, hearing something, smelling something, tasting something. It’s all here, now, here, now, here, now. So, you kind of have to remind yourself, I’m safe. I am okay. Everything is fine. There is no danger right now. I have some fear. For sure. I’m going to validate and acknowledge that, that there is no danger.
So gentle, gentle, gentle anxiety is, what’s the word I’m looking for? It is the gift that keeps on giving. So, they gave us anxiety because of the abuse. They gave us anxiety. So, the anxiety was trying to keep us safe. And it served a purpose at one point in time. You know, you know, honestly, I think for me with the throwing up is if I was throwing up, my dad kind of left me alone. So, I think that’s why I kind of clung to that for so long when he was around. So, um, you know, you think it thank you anxiety. That was lovely. That was a lovely thought. And I know you’re just trying to keep me safe. And because it’s an and world. I don’t need you anymore. We’re done. I don’t need you anymore. I don’t need to do this anymore. It’s harming me now. Write it out, challenge it. What can you do instead? How are you safe, you know, remind yourself you are safe. Work with your inner child. Work with the Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi. C-PTSD from Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. So, work on all of this. And this is totally normal. And to be expected having a huge amount of anxiety is to be expected if somebody comes out of a traumatic thing and says that they have absolutely no anxiety.I am going to call bull dinky on that. So, because our bodies, our minds, man, they are Yeah. So, anxiety is normal for having been abused. And we get to be the master of the anxiety, not the anxiety be the master of us. So, it’s breathing. It’s being aware of what you were thinking what you were feeling. What did you see? What did you hear? What did you smell? What did you taste? What triggered the panic attack? What is the thought that stopping you from going out? The What if challenge it and then Baby Steps Start doing very, very little. Because you don’t want to just, you know, like, for example, when I first started working on my anxiety, I would not just immediately go out into a mall. That would not have been a good thing. But if I could go out to like a grocery store, you know, and lots of people in the grocery store, okay, I’m okay with that. And then you up it to maybe a mall later on. So, Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps, and gentle with yourself, and do not make yourself wrong. Do not, and anyone who makes you wrong for having anxiety is probably not empathic and probably not a person you want to be around. So, this is normal for those of us who have come from abusive situations. Okay, let’s dive into the questions. Okay.
Kris Godinez 34:51
I cannot get over the grief of my mother, who died 28 years ago. I have intrusive thoughts and feellings all day. And I don’t know what to do. It’s on year two. After memories came up, what shall I do? Okay, first of all, she died 28 years ago. Holy cow. Okay, I would strongly suggest getting with a psychiatrist and looking into probably some meds for obsessive-compulsive thoughts given that you say it’s all day. And it’s been happening since the year two. And so that’s for 26 years this has been happening. So, I would say get with a psychiatrist to work on that. There is, you know, there’s a workbook hold on half a tick that I really liked. So, it was called the intrusive thoughts, intrusive thoughts workbook. Overcoming unwanted thoughts. Okay. So, there’s overcoming unwanted thoughts that’s on Amazon. Then there’s the intrusive thought toolkit. So honestly, any and all of these books on Amazon, either overcoming unwanted thoughts or the intrusive thought toolkit, can help. At this point, I would definitely, though, if those don’t help you, I would definitely look into getting with a psychiatrist and see about maybe some OCD meds to help with that. Absolutely. And the thing of it is, is that you’ve been doing this for 26 years, if I’m, if I’m reading, I’m reading that right, right, John. Okay, so you’ve been doing it for 26 years. So, the more we have a thought, okay, the stronger that connection gets, which is why it’s so important to do thought-stopping. So thought stopping is where the thought pops up, and you acknowledge it, you go, Yeah, I hear you. I see you. I hear you knock. And yeah, can’t come in. And you send it on its way, which is different than resisting it. So, when we resist a thought, it’s when we go, oh, thought, oh, I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to think I’m not thinking about it. I’m not thinking about it. I’m not thinking about another. What am I thinking about the whole time? I’m thinking about that thought. But if you go, Yep, I hear you. I see you. And I don’t really want to deal with you right now. Because there’s nothing I can do about it. So, bye, you know, and you send it on its way. The other thing to think about, too, is grieving. So, if you were not allowed to properly grieve, that could be another reason why these thoughts keep popping up. So, what you may want to do is write your mom a goodbye letter. Ooh, I know. That’s… I know. So, write her a goodbye letter. And see if that helps. You know, Dear Mom, you know, if she was abusive, it may be a Go screw yourself letter. But if she wasn’t abusive, it’s probably going to be a very sad letter. You miss her. So, write her a goodbye letter, and then trot it out to the barbecue, read it out loud once burn it. So, if after doing that, and doing the intrusive thought toolkit book and the overcoming intrusive thoughts. If that doesn’t help, then it’s time to get a psychiatrist. Absolutely.
Because that the thing, like I said, is that when we think something constantly, it makes that connection in our brain strong. Okay. So, it’s kind of like, how do we explain? It’s kind of like wagon, the wagon ruts that you can see from all the wagon trains that went through in the Midwest, you can still see them because so many went through there, right? So, you’ve got to change the route. So, and the same goes for when we get obsessive about our abuser. So, if we’re constantly calling up the thought of our abuser, especially if it was romantic relationship, in our heads, you want to be like, nope, not my problem, not thinking about them. Thank you very much. I hear you knocking I see you. And no, I’m choosing not to think about this person. So that’s what you want to start doing. Because our thoughts have been so ingrained, think about the abuser and think about, you know this person or think about that person, you want to start doing thought stopping so when the thoughts pop up, you just go no, no, thank you, after you’ve worked through the grieving so, you know, our society is really weird about grieving, they don’t allow us or they don’t like it when we really truly have a deep amount of emotion abusers don’t at all. So grieving is a very deep, very genuine emotion. And everybody seems to think that oh, you know, you grieve for like two months, and then you’re over its new grieving is lifelong. For sure. It’s not intrusive, though. It’s not like every day, all day. But you know, every once in a while, you know, I’ll think about my mom, she pops into my head, you know, or, you know, I’ll think about somebody who’s died that I liked, you know, but grieving is a lifelong process.
We never stopped loving that person. Let’s be very clear. When we grieve. We’re loving that person. We miss them. And sometimes we don’t let go of them because we’re afraid if we stop thinking about them, we will stop loving them. And that’s not true. You were always going to love them, if they were good to you, you’re always going to love them. If they’re an abuser, you may be keeping them stuck with you with anger. That’s what I did with my dad. And it was funny because one of my one of my counselors awesome. She was like, You’re angry at your dad because you’re still trying to fix him. And you keep calling him up because you’re still trying to fix him. And I was like, Whoa, because I was thinking about him a lot, especially in the early years when I was working on my, you know, trauma and everything like that. So, you know, think about it, it’s like, why are you calling this person up all the time? Is it to fix them? Is it so that you still feel loved? Is it, you know, what’s going on? Grieving is normal. Grieving is normal. And grieving is a lifelong process. You know, it’s like, you’re always going to, if you love the person and they loved you, you’re always going to love them, and you’re always going to miss them, and you’re always going to grieve their loss, you bet. It’s just not going to be as intense. So, and like I said, in our society, it doesn’t allow people to grieve. It just doesn’t. They’re uncomfortable, whether it was literally it’s been six months, no mother, it takes, you know, a year for normal grief, normal grief to kind of go through all the firsts. And then after that, it’s like, okay, this is the new normal without them, you know, and then after that, it gets a little easier, you know? So, I would definitely say try those two books, try writing and burning the letter. I don’t know whether it’s an abuser or whether the mom was a loving, kind mom. So um, either way, if it was an abuser, right of the go pound letter, if it was a loving, kind mom, you know, do the grieving letter do the I miss you letter, and I wish you were here letter, you know, do that one. If, after doing the books, and all of that, it doesn’t work, get to a psychiatrist. Look into OCD bets to help with the intrusive constant thoughts. So, there is that? I hope that answered that question.
Um, do narcs have anxiety which they transfer onto their children? My mom was nonstop anxious and always creating drama over nothing and blamed the children for it because she was worried. That sounds more like borderline, to be perfectly honest, borderline personality disorder. When they get malignant, they’re very anxious, and they create drama all the time, and then blame it on somebody else. So that sounds like Oh, my goodness, my leg has gone to sleep. Holy cow. Wow. Um, that sounds more like borderline personality disorder. Um, but ya know, they the borderline personality disorder absolutely can and they’re very much into drama. And I’m talking malignant guys. I’m not talking traits of I’m talking when they have refused help. And they’re harming people. And they’re screaming Mimi’s and drama, drama, drama, drama, drama, drama, drama, then yeah, absolutely. So that sounds more like borderline honestly. And again, I’m not diagnosing; I’m just saying what that sounds like.
Um, okay. Wow, we can’t move out of our home in a building where we received physical abuse from deranged neighbors is 2018. The police and judge do nothing. Is there a way to stop being locked in? Okay, so you can’t move out of our home in a building where we receive physical abuse from deranged neighbors. Since 2018, the police and judges do nothing. Is there a way to stop being locked in? I’m not quite sure of the situation. Um, that sounds like more of a question for an attorney. Honestly, if the police and judge are doing nothing, and if these people are still abusing then or being harassing or whatever, and I kind of talked about this last week. Apparently, the Supreme Court has made it more difficult to get a restraining order, which is only going to harm people who are being stalked by crazies. Men get stalked, too. So, this is not just harming women. It is going to harm men as well.
Kris Godinez 44:22
So, I would say if there’s still a harassment situation going on, you cannot get a restraining order if the police and judges are not doing anything. It’s time to talk to an attorney. Because sometimes, Honestly, the only thing people understand is if you hit them in the pocketbook. So that would be my suggestion for that. As far as free attorneys are concerned. There are sometimes the universities that have law schools will do clinics, free clinics, where they’ll answer questions. Sometimes retired attorneys will do free clinics will where they will answer questions or help you fill out paperwork. In Arizona, Fresh Start Women’s Resource Center offers legal advice. They’ll help you fill out paperwork. They’ll answer your questions, you know, that kind of thing. It’s for a small fee for like 15 bucks. So, so you’d have to look around and see if you could get some free legal advice. The other thing you could look into would be Catholic Charities might have some free legal advice you could get, or Jewish Family Home Services. That’s another possibility. So, look into, look into talking to an attorney because at this point, that sounds more illegal than it does psychological. So um, okay, let’s see.
My kitty Sabrina passed away last month. I’m so sorry. I cry every day at least once, sometimes more. I can’t seem to get past this part of my ptsd. Is this part of my PTSD? Does it make the grieving process longer? No, sweetie, that’s normal grief. So, a month is nothing. A month is nothing. It is no time at all. A month is nothing. When we lost Scotty. Oh, god, that was awful. So yeah, you miss him, you know, and it was really hard because you know, he was our last dog. So, before we got these guys, a month is nothing. a month, you’re just starting to even scratch the surface of grieving. So normal grief. Let me say this again. Normal grief takes the entire year. It does. A month is nothing. Allow yourself to grieve. And is it going to be every day in that first month? Probably. You betcha? Yah. Yah, you betcha. And you just acknowledge it, and you validate it, and you allow it, don’t resist it. It’s kind of like, Yeah, this is normal. This is me loving this little Sabrina cat. You betcha. And you allow yourself to grieve. And again, it might not be a bad idea to do a goodbye letter, dear Sabrina, your great little kitty, and I loved you so much. You know, and just let her know how awesome she is. And just take it out to the barbecue, read it out loud once allow the smoke to carry the words to where it needs to go. So yeah, grieving is a lifelong process. The intense grieving is going to be the first year seriously. So everyday thinking about the cat. Yeah, that’s when Scotty died. Every day, I would think about him. And especially sometimes I would think I would hear him coming into the dog door. Which was than that, I’d go, oh, no, he’s gone. You know? And then I cry. And, um, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s only been a month, sweetie. It’s only been one. That’s what I was saying about our society. In a healthy normal society, they understand that it takes a year, a year in a day, a year and a day. Seriously, it’s like, allow yourself that year to get through all of the firsts, you know. And it is a lifelong process. There are days when I think about Kitties and dogs that I’ve had when I was a kid, and I miss them, and I’ll grieve over them, you know? So, it’s lifelong, so gentle with you. Don’t make yourself wrong, write and burn a goodbye letter. And just realize it’s going to take a year. It’s going to take a year at the very, very least. You betcha. All right, let’s see what the next question is.
Um, how do you back away from new people who learn some of your triggers and continue to do said triggers and laugh about it, I want to ghost to them. But we’ll have to give up my group of friends. Um, well, they’re not your friends if they’re doing things like that. If these people are condoning what these people are doing, then they’re not your friends. So let me be very clear. People who are your friends support you, people who are your friends, love you. People who are your friends do not tolerate anybody pushing your buttons and creating triggers, okay? Or, you know, creating a response to triggers. So, these people are not your friends.
So, what is friendship? Friendship is respect. Same with love, friendship and love are all about respect. And if they do not respect you, they do not like you, and they do not love you. So, if they are disrespectful, you get rid of them. So, you don’t owe anybody an explanation. You don’t you, that’s the big thing. It’s like, so here’s the thing. Ghosting people, I’m not a huge fan caveat unless they’re abusive, if they’re abusive, then yeah, you have the right to go no contact. Absolutely ghosting, otherwise known as no contact. So, but ghosting has come to be like, you know, oh, you’re hanging out with somebody, you’re dating somebody, and then you just disappear. That’s ghosting. Okay? No Contact is when somebody is abusive. Pushing your buttons, getting you triggered, laughing about it, making fun of you, being disrespectful. You have the right to go no contact with those people. So, because that’s abusive, let’s be clear. Let’s be clear, that’s abusive. And if your friend group is unwilling to support you, is going along with what these people are doing. You don’t need them. You do not need them, clean out your friend closet make room for Healthy People. Healthy People are not disrespectful. Let me say that again. Healthy People are not disrespectful. They have boundaries, they know your boundaries. This is a boundary.
So, what’s your list of deal breakers? Let’s go over that. What is a deal breaker? A deal breaker is anything that is going to harm you. So, a deal breaker is if somebody is disrespectful to you, these people are disrespectful to you. If somebody causes you harm, these people are causing you harm. calls you names, gaslights you, lies, makes fun of you at your expense. Those are all deal breakers. Nobody should treat you like that. Nobody has the right. Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi, read it. Boundaries. The Disease to Please by Harriet Braiker read it because you don’t need these people. And sometimes I think we’re afraid to let go of people because we’re afraid that nobody else will ever like us. Wow, does that sound what like the abuser said nobody will ever love you. Nobody will love you the way I do bla bla bla bla bla. God, I hope not. You know what I’m saying? So, you definitely want to let them go. If they’re being disrespectful, if they’re hurting you, if they’re harming you, and if the rest of the people are going to go along with that, you don’t need them. You don’t need them. Work on yourself, work on your self-esteem. Okay, let’s see. I mean, and, and if you’ve already told them so, what you could do is if you’ve told them that this is not, you know, you don’t like this, and this is harmful, and they do it again. Absolutely get rid of them. If you haven’t told them, then you might just be like, No, I really don’t appreciate that. And then if they do it again, get rid of them. But honestly, if they’re like intentionally and making fun of you, just get rid of them. So, there is that.
Okay, my loves I think that is it for today. I will do the questions on Wednesday that I did not get to. Let me see what next week’s show is going to be. Here it is. Oh, what does a healthy family look like? Yes, we’re going to talk about healthy families. We’re going to talk about green lights, we’re going to talk about the good stuff, so next week is going to be what does a healthy family look like? What a healthy people look like healthy friends look like? etc. etc. etc. So that is it. My love’s you guys go have a great week, and I will talk to you on Wednesday with the answers and questions and answers and next week what a healthy family looks like. All right, my love’s go be awesome. Talk to you later. Bye.
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