Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Healing Personal Developmental Trauma

Relational or developmental trauma can be unknowingly inflicted by parents who are not aware of the physical, mental, social, spiritual and emotional needs of their children. These parents are unable to respond to these needs properly because they did not get these needs met when THEY were children. These kinds traumas can go unnoticed as they are often subtle interactions between parent and child that don’t seem unusual. But inside for the child, not having these needs met becomes something bigger.

According to the Weinholds, when “developmental trauma” happens in the first 3 years of life it instills a fear based, survival mentality that supersedes “higher consciousness” capabilities. Being overwhelmed by one or more early “Adverse Childhood Experiences" (ACEs) makes it harder for trauma survivors like Adult Children Of Alcoholics to solve problems and live fulfilled lives.

Such early negative experiences helps to explain why some people may have little recollection of their own traumas, yet it plays out in their everyday lives and interactions with other people. The characteristics and behaviors that ACA’s often have is evidence of past trauma. Without a clear recollection of this past damage or an obvious signpost it becomes easy to minimize, if not completely ignore, the seriousness of their effects.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Counter Dependency And The Flight From Intimacy

Drs. Barry and Janae Weinhold have some revealing thoughts about early trauma and the dysfunction that continues long after.

"Counterdependency" is a set of adult behaviors that are caused by developmental trauma between the ages of 9 and 36 months. This trauma often involves emotional abuse such as shaming and physical abuse such as spanking. This abuse affects people’s ability to trust.

Counterdependency is often described as the flip side of co-dependency. Rather than clinging, people avoid relationships and flee from intimacy. People with counterdependency often pair up with partners who struggle with codependency issues.

Symptoms of Counterdependency

The most common symptom of counterdependency is the avoidance of intimacy in close relationships.

Here are some other common symptoms.

• Difficulty being close to others
• A strong need to be right – all the time
• Self-centered and egotistical
• Refuses to ask for help
• Expects perfection in self and others
• Seldom appears vulnerable or weak
• Has difficulty relaxing
• Addictions to “upper” activities such as work & exercise, and substances such as caffeine, speed, meth & coke

See more videos from The Weinholds here: Flight From Intimacy

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tranquility Is Free

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Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Is Childhood Trauma Affecting Your Life?

What happens when someone has psychological wounds that they don't realize or are in denial of? For one, they may live a less joyful, fulfilled life and struggle with emotions and relationships. Secondly, they pass their "wounds" down to the next generation. These inherited wounds are then often again passed down and so on.

According to Peter K. Gerlach, MSW, once GWCs (Grown Wounded Children) are aware of their traumas and wounds, they can reduce them and stop the cycle of propagating dysfunction. He estimates that 80 to 85% of families currently suffer from dysfunction as a result of having one or more addicted or dysfunctional parents.

Gerlach defines these wounds as "feeling shame and guilt, excessive fears, reality distortions, chronic trust problems, difficulty bonding, empathizing and loving." The characteristics manifest themselves as low self esteem, narcisism, anxiety, cynicism, sarcasm, black and white thinking, trust and intimacy issues. Other symptoms include controlling and manipulative behaviors, clinginess and experiencing sexual dysfunction.

Gerlach has created a non profit website ( and has posted several videos to help Adult Children Of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families. The ultimate goal is to create a "high nurturance" family and live a life free of toxic wounds and the ignorance that keeps them from healing.

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

How To Be Your Own Hero

Philip G. Zimbardo, Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University suggests that there are small steps which can bring out the "inner hero" in anyone. Zimbardo maintains that heroes are "sociocentric," noticing other people in need and offering help. Therefore, a potential hero does not necessarily need to save someone from danger, but can simply be observant and commit a small act of kindness, such as offering a compliment.

For Adult Children Of Alcoholics and those from dysfunctional homes, even a small act such as this can be difficult. Reaching out, giving compliments and expressing feelings (joyful or otherwise) is something many of us have been expressly "trained" not to do.

ACA Promises: Our self-esteem will increase as we give ourselves approval on a daily basis.

Here is where you get to take action against the old mindset that may still be enslaving you. Try this experiment that is simple but not necessarily easy: Give someone a compliment for no apparent reason. Even the thought of trying this may feel uncomfortable because you are breaking all the old rules (don't feel, don't talk, don't trust)! Perhaps the fear you feel here is in direct proportion to your need to do this.

The point of this exercise is to, in small way, do the EXACT opposite of the learned ACA  behavior that may still be hampering you in many areas of life. Over time, as you get used to expressing yourself this way, you will find it easier to compliment yourself and generate your own positive feelings and self love!

By "reparenting" yourself this way, even though it's not always easy, your inner child may start looking at you as his or her own courageous hero. Your inner blame mechanism will be short circuited and replaced with feelings of self worth and value. 

Check out the Orange County ACA website at: Orange County Adult Children