Learned Behavior

  • 10 Replies
  • 1906 Views
*

Dyess

  • Guest
Learned Behavior
« on: April 04, 2015, 04:41:54 AM »
I read where PTSD is a learned behavior, as a result of our experiences. And what is learned can be unlearned. Do you think PTSD can be unlearned?

Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2015, 07:32:27 AM »
Hm... partly. First, it depends on whether that article was talking about PTSD or CPTSD. Next, it depends on what part of PTSD we're talking about. The core of PTSD (and CPTSD) is that trauma kind of overloads our trauma-digesting-brainskills, and so ever after, certain triggers set off our "AAAAGH IT'S HAPPENING AGAINNNN" response. That response is automatic. It isn't learned. It can become mild and (I hope) very manageable. And maybe some scientist or therapist will discover how to make it go away. But for now, it's likely that we'll always have this response in some form.

Something that can be unlearned is the toxic shame we attach to our (C)PTSD symptoms. Most of us have a very toxic Inner Critic, and from what I hear, it looks like that can be fixed. And the whole plethora of secondary symptoms - I'd say we've got a fair chance to fix those (like social anxiety, depression, addictive behaviour,...).

But CPTSD itself? I can just as well unlearn a torn ligament.

*

Dyess

  • Guest
Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2015, 08:02:55 AM »
That was kind of what I was thinking, that it can't be unlearned. I'm guessing it is CPTSD they were talking about but if it's learned from a trauma, or many traumas, wouldn't that create memory? How do you unlearn a memory? Oh well, thanks for the input as always :) My over thinking problem is kicking in :)
My cat just caught a baby rabbit, may be the Easter Bunny, and I'm rehabbing now. Don't usually have much like with little wabbits but I'm trying. You wonder which is worse...letting the cat eat him or letting him die slowly. Cats are so cruel and play with their kill so long though. Well, if he passes on tonight at least he will be safe and warm. That's the best I can do right now.

Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2015, 08:36:55 AM »
I overthink things too. But then again, if you're the one person with CPTSD in a world geared towards non-CPTSD people, overthinking things is pretty much a survival skill. So kudos to us.  :hug:

Glad you found my reply intelligible. I was a bit undercaffeinated, which explains the wonky explanation. There are way better explanations featuring impressive words like "amygdala", but whenever I read those, I keep on having to consult wikipedia to find out what on earth an amygdala is and what it does. I can't for the life of me memorize it.

My sister-in-law has a cat, and she told us some stories of what cats do to their prey. Yikes. I hope the poor wee thing pulls through. But it's like you said, you're doing all you can.

*

Dyess

  • Guest
Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2015, 03:33:03 PM »
Trigger Warning
Most of the time the over thinking has served me well, not so much with this CPTSD though. Can't turn my head off to get to sleep. I had 18 years of being a very successful criminal investigator (Police Officer) and the over thinking came in very handy when you had time to do so. Also it helps with my "fixing" things issue. My Dad once told me "you are just like your Grandfather, he could fix anything"  That was a compliment to me, since he died when I was about 5 and I didn't really get to know him that well other than doing some turtle fishing with him. We were walking down the hallway to the dinning room where everyone else was gathered and he opened the wrong door, the basement door instead of the bathroom door, stepped into darkness and fell down the steps to his death. He was a large man and I still can remember that horrible sound of him tumbling down the stairs and then Dad turning the light on and seeing him laying at the bottom of the stairs. Not a good experience for a 5 year old.

Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2015, 09:38:25 PM »
Oh my words. And you were there with him when it happened! To hear it from further off would have been traumatizing enough - but to be right there! What a total nightmare. I'm so sorry you had to go through this.

*

Dyess

  • Guest
Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2015, 11:54:42 PM »
Yes, it was a devastating time in my life. I wonder if that is when the CPTSD started. Is there anyway to know that?

Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2015, 07:12:06 AM »
I wish I knew. Do you have a gut feeling about this? If you remember that time at all, maybe there's a change in how you saw the world, or how the world felt like to you. Or a change in how you acted and felt. A before/after.

My father became gravely ill when I was two. The feeling I had when I was a teen was that it destabilized me, but I would have been okay if people around me had counteracted this. For example, if everything had been stable and dependable, so the world would have felt like a safe place where such sudden illnesses are the absolute exception. Or if I'd had support, maybe even the chance to talk about it. Instead, other things happened in my early teens that hit the precise same sore spot that was caused by my father's illness, and wham, CPTSD. Without that, I probably would have escaped with 'merely' a depression and some social anxiety issues. I was an outgoing, chatty child before, and became quiet and withdrawn after.

*

Dyess

  • Guest
Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2015, 07:39:06 AM »
No, no gut feeling on it. Since I don't remember much about life before that, 4 years old, is pretty far back for me. But because it was so traumatic I'm thinking that might be when it occurred. But kids are pretty tough,...... I don't know. But thanks for helping me try to think this out :)

*

keepfighting

  • Member
  • 409
  • I'm not broken just bent
    • View Profile
Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2015, 09:44:36 AM »
Have you tried CBT yet?

I have had good experiences with it and it deals with exactly this: Recognizing and unlearning learned behaviour.

It concentrates on the behaviour that was well adaptive at the time (helped you survive in a toxic and soometimes even dangerous environment) but becomes maladaptive if you are in a safe and stable situation in the present. Not a magic pill, but it helped me get a better control over/get rid of maladaptive behaviour and deal with my fawn tendencies (...though it did nothing for my freeze tendencies...).

I am very sorry to read that you had to lose your f at such a young age and witnessed it, too.  :hug:

You are right in saying that kids are pretty tough in dealing with whatever life throws at them - but in a situation like your f's death which must have been pretty upsetting for everyone - kids are also  easy to be overlooked (unwittingly) by adults who are too preoccupied with themselves and their own efforts to deal with an overwhelming situation to recognize and respond appropriately to their kids' needs.


Re: Learned Behavior
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2015, 11:55:41 AM »
You are right in saying that kids are pretty tough in dealing with whatever life throws at them - but in a situation like your f's death which must have been pretty upsetting for everyone - kids are also  easy to be overlooked (unwittingly) by adults who are too preoccupied with themselves and their own efforts to deal with an overwhelming situation to recognize and respond appropriately to their kids' needs.

I second that. Watching someone die a sudden death is extremely hard on anyone, even on adults - and adults have a support network already in place. They know better how to fix things. Maybe not perfectly, and maybe all an adult has is the internet and the thought that "if this gets any worse I'll look for a therapist", but it's something. A child has nothing to help catch him. If the grown-ups around him don't show him how to cope and if they don't support him, he's sunk.