Understanding Complex PTSD: Unraveling Shame-Based Trauma Responses


What is commonly referred to as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a combination of PTSD’s characteristic symptoms and several other issues; such as immense emotional turmoil and a total lack of trust in people and the world around.

The trauma of those individuals, manifested in extreme and delicate ways within this complicated pattern that has been influenced by their past experiences.

Linda Meredith, an esteemed therapist, highlights how difficult it is to build self-esteem alongside complexity that comes with C-PTSD.

It emphasizes on the need to have a strong emotional base that will act as a foundation for continuous well-being, despite being engulfed in endless emotional tumults.

This concept serves as an illustrative manifestation of shame-based trauma responses common among people navigating through the complex landscape of Complex PTSD.

Different types of coping mechanisms represented here are woven into personal traumatic histories, making them more intricate: onerous paths toward recovery.

Here are four common shame-based reactions we often witness from those living with Complex PTSD:

Over-Apologizing as a C-PTSD Response

The world of Complex PTSD is populated by people who have experienced situations where they were treated like scapegoats unfairly.

Over-apologizing is a survival technique that arises from such experiences, and it means avoiding any form of conflict.

They believe that by not arguing, others will accept them; hence, it becomes their perceived protection against suffering harm.

Conflict avoidance for these individuals indicates a desperate attempt at self-preservation that may lead to harmonious relationships and ensure emotional well-being.

Over-Trusting as a C-PTSD Response

Notwithstanding previous traumas, those who suffer from complex post-traumatic stress disorders often maintain an abiding faith in the basic goodness of people.

Hence, they tend to over-trust leading to being vulnerable emotionally and trusting each individual without any caution for what they do or have done before.

This openness however puts them at risk because when somebody eventually cheats on them or leaves them alone, it increases their pain.

Over-Thinking as a C-PTSD Response

Complex PTSD’s complex set-up makes its victims overthink ceaselessly – always trying to link today’s realties with past events.

By continuously forcing themselves into this never-ending mental activity where they endeavor to relate pieces of their past traumas with present occasions, these victims suffer from anxiety and depression due to rumination.

Consequently, these people are mentally and emotionally drained by the tedious processes of unraveling old terrors and worst likely scenarios.

Over-Sharing as a C-PTSD Response

A tendency towards over-sharing by individuals with complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD) reflects a deep yearning for emotional connection and intimacy.

They often share too many personal experiences deeply rooted in trauma to help establish an emotional bond.

Nevertheless, this innate wish for closeness might ironically result in other people being pushed away; a way of protecting themselves unconsciously from the possibility of being hurt or abandoned.

An element of over-sharing suggests that there is a complex interplay between the desire for emotional intimacy and an unconscious need for self-protection.

Complex coping mechanism, ingrained within the intricate landscape of C-PTSD, is responsible for this seemingly excessive disclosure of trauma-related details that balances on the fine line between seeking connection and fortifying emotional barricades.

The intricate spider web of shame-based trauma responses that pervades Complex PTSD is a compelling example of the lasting impact of past traumas on current behaviors.

Professionals are widely aware that this disorder is multifaceted and acknowledges the complex entanglements it is marked with.

Nonetheless, there is an unwavering conviction amid these challenges, which derives from therapeutic interventions, building resilience and existence of compassionate backing networks.

Fundamentally, healing from Complex PTSD necessitates a comprehensive approach that recognises the profound influence of shame-based reactions and also creates an environment that is nurturing.

This overall endeavor rests on blending different therapeutic approaches, enhancing resilience mechanisms and creating caring support systems which act as a foundation for hope and possibility for those with Complex PTSD to rebuild and find permanent wellness.

Mental Health Topics (A-Z)

  • Understanding Complex PTSD: Unraveling Shame-Based Trauma Responses