14-Step Neuroscience-Based Recovery from Complex PTSD

Having lived with Complex PTSD my entire life and studied the biology of fear for several years, I’ve come up with a neuroscience-based recovery plan:

1. Recognize that I wapaper_dolls_doors_opens powerless during my traumatic experiences and the long-term effects of  Developmental Trauma and its changes to the architecture of my brain have made my life unmanageable.

2. Understand that trauma is never the fault of the survivor but a toxic or threatening environment.

3. Acknowledge that everything I did to survive was necessary; if I’d been capable of making better choices I would have. Understand some of my actions may have harmed others and I can apologize, make amends, make reparations, as my recovery unfolds and those capabilities return.

4. Appreciate the power of trauma to dysregulate the nervous system and that neuroplasticity is my salvation; what was built can be seriously renovated.

5. Decide to focus my attention on repairing my nervous system, integrating my brain, and healing my attachment style. “Focused attention is your superpower.” – Dr. Dan Siegel

6.  Make a searching and fearless inventory of the MASSIVE volume of good things stolen by trauma/abusers, and cultivate determination to reclaim whatever is reclaimable. Recognize that one secure relationship from childhood is the seed of my resilience.

7. Acknowledge Complex PTSD is a normal, natural, and brilliant response to an overwhelming experience or chronically toxic environment.

8. Recognize severe child maltreatment results in insecure, avoidant, or disorganized attachment styles and recognize these can be changed.

9. Use my understanding of the biology of fear to recover safety and connection, seek appropriate treatment, and educate my providers.

10. Discontinue encounters with providers and others who trigger or otherwise jank-up my nervous system; all interpersonal visits must be net neuropositive.

11. Accept that accountability will not come from the domination system that a) allowed the abuse; b) protects perpetrators; and c) wants me to shuddupalready. Just like my abusers.

12. Hold accountable whichever abusers are still alive in whatever ways bring me resolution.

13. Use my watercolors, words, and wits to find and develop materials that help inform providers, protect me from further abuse, and share with others.

14. Share my journey, struggles, and successes, encourage and empower others, and speak up against cruelty, contempt, and domination.

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