Childhood developmental trauma recovery

Blog post – 17th November 2022

How I recovered from childhood developmental trauma disorder, and found myself in an expected paradise…

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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Hello, and Welcome.

Kindle coverOur mothers have the most dramatic effect upon our psychical and mental health, and upon our life chanced. So choose your mother carefully!

I have recently written a new version of the first forty years of my life, to explore the journey I had to go on in order to fix the damage that was caused to me in the first two years of life by my incompetent, very young, damaged mother.

In reviewing my life, I thought this was a most important principle:

“Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Anais Nin, in her book: ‘D. H. Lawrence: An Unprofessional Study’. 1964/1994.

So I explored the various states that I went through; sometimes using factual autobiography, sometimes using fictionalized autobiography, and sometimes using the stories of archetypal characters from my dreams and reveries.

This is how the publisher’s Foreword begins:

“When a child walks away from an abusive parent – when they are old enough to leave – they unknowingly, and unwillingly, carry that abusive parent in their heart and mind. And most often they head off into a life in which they repeat the same kind of abusive relationship with a “love partner”.

When the physical bruises of abusive parenting heal, the psychological scars remain intact, hidden in the subconscious mind of the abused child. And also stored in the physical tensions of body-memory.

Jim Byrne thought he’d walked away. Left it all behind. Sailed into a new life, at the age of eighteen years. But his physically and emotionally abusive childhood relationship with his mother (and his father) came back to haunt him at the age of twenty-two years.

At that point, his life imploded. He’d been over-consuming (“abusing”) sleeping pills for a few weeks, following total rejection by his peer group on a barren military squadron of damaged young men.

Eventually an ambulance came and got him; took him to hospital; where he saw a psychoanalyst for weekly meetings. After three meetings, the analyst told him that he (Jim) needed to examine his relationship with his mother.”

For more, please click this link! The story of Jim’s journey through uncharted territory in search of love!

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Dr Jim's officeBest wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling, and survivor of childhood developmental trauma disorder.

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To see this book online, at an Amazon outlet near you, please click one of the following links. (There may be a couple of days’ delay in appearing on some Amazon outlets).

Amazon.com, US+   Amazon UK + Ireland  
       
Amazon Spain   Amazon Italy  
       
Amazon Germany   Amazon Netherlands  
       
Amazon Japan   Amazon Brazil  
       
Amazon Canada   Amazon Mexico  
       
Amazon Australia   Amazon India  
       
Buying from Singapore   Flycrates  
       

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Authorship as a surging current of emotional energy

Blog Post: Sunday 18th September 2022

By Jim Byrne

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Title: The floodgates and the writer’s surging tide…

Jim-portrait-001Writers are people who write.

I write something every day, normally quite a lot.

But these days, it is mostly not fiction; not writing for pleasure.

Mostly I write psychoanalytic reports for my counselling clients. Analysing the real life dramas of people in pain.

Or I write and update web pages about my professional services.

And over the past period of busy report writing, from mid-December 2021, up to yesterday, I have longed to write something fictional; something from my heart; about my interior emotional life.

Then yesterday, when I finished writing a long report for a client, the floodgates burst open, and out came a story that has been fermenting in the basement of my mind for a few days.

This is how it begins:

Blue Boy Karma

By Jim Byrne

September 17th 2022

Copyright © Jim Byrne, 2022

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Blue boy pictureVasha Popov screwed his little face up, like a well-squeezed dishcloth. He stared into the big, mottled mirror, looking for the echo of his facial contortions. And there it was. This was him. This blue face, with the sad calf eyes and the downturned mouth. And there in the apparent ugliness of his blue face was the evidence, it seemed, of why Mamu did not let him touch her, or speak to her, or get close to her.

His blue hair did not help, regimented as it was by Mamu’s daily brushing with her harsh scrubbing brush, with which she would whack him if he did not stand still while she vigorously brushed out the tangles.

When he relaxed his little blue face, it did not seem quite so ugly, but the dark blue hair and the mid-blue skin were an unbecoming combination.

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To read more, please go here: Blue Boy Karma, Therapeutic fictional writing.***

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Of course, this story had its origins and development: like my wife’s flowers outside the front of our home. She had to acquire the soil; buy the seeds and plants; do the planting and watering and feeding. And to lovingly watch over her emerging leaves and flowers.

Similarly, I take certain actions each day, and some on a less frequent basis – such as three days per week – to build up the literary flowers that I want to grow.

Recently I have increased the number of strategies and techniques that I use to produce fictional writing; and it has born leaves and flowers, yesterday, and today, in the form of the short story above.

And one of the things I like to do with my experience of writing is to use it to help emerging authors to increase their creativity and productivity. I do this through my authorship coaching services. For more on my Authorship Coaching service, please go here: Authorship and creative writing coaching.***

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If you are a writer, I wish you a productive, creative, satisfying day. If you wish to become a productive, creative writer, then you must study the art and science of your subject.

The rewards are rich indeed!

Best wishes,

Dr Jim's officeJim

Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, and Writing Coach

ABC Bookstore;

and ABC Counselling and Psychotherapy Services.

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Low-cost eBook on Trauma Recovery

Blog Post – 13th October 2021

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

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How to process your childhood traumatic experiences: A low-cost, self-help book

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Dr Jim's officeHaving spent almost twenty-five years working with counselling clients with some degree of trauma, from childhood or later periods of their lives, I have written my experience up in the form of a low-cost self-help book.

I also had to resolve my own trauma resulting from my highly dysfunctional family of origin.

Here is a quick insight into the approach I have developed:

The concept of Traumatic Dragons, and the process of healing

Traumatic Dragons dBook coverTraumatic memories are painful, and so the vast majority of people are highly reluctant to face them down. To suggest to most people that they should revisit their traumatic memories would seem to be a form of madness; a kind of masochism on the part of the traumatized individual, and a form of sadism on the part of the trauma therapist. Why face up to a dragon when you can hide?!?

To ask them to turn around and face back (and ‘walk back’) through their history, reviewing the things that were done to them that made them most fearful, miserable, unhappy, stressed, anxious, horrified, shamed, guilty, and ragefully angry, must seem quite perverse to some people. 

And yet, that can be an important part of the healing process; provided:

Initial requirements:

  1. That enough time has elapsed for some distancing to take place – which is not a problem for an adult revisiting their childhood abuse history. (The minimum gap that I recommend for trauma therapy is at least two years between trauma and therapy!)
  2. That they have done some form of body work, such as yoga, tai chi, judo, karate; or therapeutic massage, Feldenkrais, or craniosacral therapy; etc., to help to heal the body memories of their trauma – (including body-armouring and chronic tension);
  3. That they have been able to develop new perspectives upon human behaviour, and human experience, since the time of their abuse. This includes experience of re-framing (or re-interpreting) negative experiences – including the kind of re-framing taught in this book. (If their basic perceptions are still the same as they were when the trauma occurred, then revisiting their traumatic memories will simply prove to be a form of re-traumatizing themselves!)
  4. That they feel they have recovered the capacity to relate intimately and securely to at least one other person;
  5. That they are living with somebody they trust; who has agreed to support them if they become overwhelmed by grief or shame or some other difficult emotional state; or that they have a trauma therapist who will assist them over the phone or Skype;
  6. That they have the mental space to do this difficult work; and that they are not too busy, or too stressed by their current life circumstances, to take on this extra burden.

Etc…

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Traumatic Dragons dBook cover, 2This book could help you to resolve some of your own traumatic experiences, or it could help you to help somebody else to recover.

To see the book on Amazon, please go to Amazon eBook on Trauma.***

But for more information about this book, please go to ABC Bookstore: Traumatic Dragons book.***

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I hope you find this information interesting and helpful.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

Joint Director:  ABC Bookstore Online UK

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Escape from the darkness and confusion of childhood trauma

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Blog post – 6th August 2021

Childhood Developmental Trauma and how to heal yourself

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling, and Trauma Survivor

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Introduction

Cover of Drafons book, 2012Trauma is all around us. Many humans are seriously damaged by their families of origin, and by their cruel cultures.

It is no accident that I got into developing various approaches to trauma therapy.  No surprise that I became a psychotherapist, and worked hard to help many individuals to recover from the pain, confusion and loneliness of Childhood Developmental Trauma (or Complex-PTSD).

I got into this line of work because – without knowing it at the time – I am actually a Childhood Developmental Trauma survivor.

And I am making great progress – slowly – with my new book on Childhood Developmental Trauma, which is titled: Transforming Traumatic Dragons: How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach. Revised, expanded and updated: August 2021.

That book is now very close to being completed. I have finished the writing and editing. At the moment I am proofreading the text – and I am on page 159 out of 421, which is approximately a third of the way through – (or 37%).

When I have finished, it will be proofed by Renata Taylor-Byrne, my co-author. And then it will be published and made available via Amazon outlets.

Of course, I did publish an earlier, less developed book on this topic, which had two of the three processes that I present in the current book – but the current book is vastly superior, because of the addition of the ‘interoceptive Windows model’, which integrates writing therapy and body work, with breath work, and EMDR. (Plus additional insights into trauma and diet; trauma and exercise; trauma and sleep; how precisely to do that [writing therapy combined with body work] process; and so on).

This book should be a great help to many individuals who have the determination to do at least some of their own therapy at home; perhaps combined with some face to face counselling and therapy with a trauma therapist, because the interpersonal, right-brain to right-brain aspect of trauma recovery is so very important.

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My own trauma journey

Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim Byrne

Of course, long before I got down to writing about the trauma problems of other people, I had to work on my own childhood trauma damage.  One of the ways that I did that was to write my own autobiographical stories about my origins and my ‘relationships’.

One of the main ways I did this work was to create an ‘alter ego’ – who I named ‘Daniel O’Beeve’.  I then (in my mind) put Daniel into those situations through which I have lived, and which I could dredge up from my memory banks; and I observed how he got on – from the ‘outside’ – (objectification!).  I then retrieved a lot of my old traumatic nightmares, and rewrote them in a literary style. And then I created a set of ‘alien psychologists’ who could observe Daniel’s journey, through a “wormhole in space-time”, and to make comments about how to understand what is going on in his life (using psychological concepts), in a way which Daniel and I could never have commented! (Clearly this has to be called “a fictionalized autobiographical story”; and none of the characters in this story should be confused with any real individual, living or dead!)

I published all of that work in a book called Metal Dog – Long Road Home. And this is the Amazon books description of that book:

Book description

Cover of Drafons book, 2012Daniel O’Beeve was a victim of childhood developmental trauma, before anybody had even thought to conceive of such a concept.  He was a victim of abuse and neglect long before anybody gave a damn about the emotional welfare of children.

Daniel’s parents were both born into highly dysfunctional families; poor rural families that lived from hand to mouth; families who had been trained by the priests to “beat the fear of God” into their children.

Daniel’s parents did not love each other.  They had an arranged marriage, and never learned to even like each other.

When Daniel was just eighteen months old, his father lost his farm and had to move to Dublin city, to eke out an existence as a gardener. Daniel was born into this mess. Unloved and unloving; beaten and emotionally abused; he grew up with very low emotional intelligence; no capacity to make contact with another human being; and a fear of everything that moved suddenly or rapidly.

He was then thrown into a city school at the age of four years, into a playground in which he was the only “culchie” (or hill billy) – in a sea of “city slickers” (called “Jackeens” by Daniel’s parents) – and this was against a backdrop of dreadful (‘racist’) antipathy between the Dublin and rural cultures in general.

In ten years of public schooling, Daniel did not make a single friend.

Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim ByrneWith no map of healthy human love, or workable human relations, he entered the world of work at the age of fourteen, like a drunk thrown out of a pub, late at night, in total darkness, mind reeling, and feelings jangled; and from this point forward he has to try to make sense of life; to make sense of relationships with girls; and to make some kind of life for himself.

For more, please go to Metal Dog – Long Road Home. Where I reveal some of the ways in which my childhood trauma affected my difficulties with trying to “get off” with a girl or woman, in a way that might possibly work. For more, please go to Metal Dog – Long Road Home.

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Back to Jim

Jim and the Buddha, 2As it happened, I (Jim) did manage to find my way out of the darkness and confusion; out of the autism and dissociation; out of the fear and loneliness.  I did my therapy, and I got my reward!

Now I write books for others on the subject of how to overcome childhood developmental trauma.

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The new book on Childhood Developmental Trauma should be available at Amazon outlets in the next month or so, (because I keep getting distracted onto urgent survival projects).

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Bookstore Online UK

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

The Institute for Emotive-Cognitive Embodied Narrative Therapy

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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The child is ‘parent’ of the adult

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Blog Post C1: Theory of human development in emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

23rd June 2021

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Three Principles of Childhood Development, which shape our later adult life…

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2021

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Front cover Holistic Couns reissuedThe theory of emotive-cognitive embodied-narrative therapy was developed by this author over twenty years of study and application, in private practice, with more than 1,000 clients.  It was also developed through many conversations with Renata Taylor-Byrne about stress, meditation, relaxation, sleep science, positive mental attitude, diet and nutrition, and various systems of physical exercise. (Subsequently, Renata contributed a lot of research, and we co-authored some books together.***)

In 2016, I set out to boil my learning down into a limited list of key principles, which I included in Chapter 3 of Holistic Counselling in Practice.*** 

What I came up with was a list of twenty core principles of E-CENT theory, which included the following three principles, which point up the centrality of early childhood experience to our lifelong prospects for happiness and close relationships:

The 20 core principles of human development

Firstly, I do not make the mistake of extrapolating from adult functioning in order to understand the psychology of human nature.  Instead, I begin with the baby in the mother’s womb (where the mother may be more or less stressed, and more or less well nourished, depending upon the actual circumstances of her life).  I then move on to the baby post-birth, which is colonized by a carer (normally mother) who may be more or less sensitive to the baby’s signals of comfort and discomfort; more or less responsive to the baby’s needs; and more or less caring.  And I also take account of how stressed the mother was, by her life circumstances, even before the baby was conceived.  These are the foundations of human emotional and general psychological functioning.

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Secondly, I accept the Attachment theory proposition, that the baby is born with an innate attachment drive, which causes it (after a period of about twenty to twenty-four weeks of development) to seek to attach itself to a main carer.  The attachment bond that is formed becomes either secure or insecure, depending upon whether the mother (or main carer) is “good enough” – meaning sensitive, responsive, and caring enough to soothe the affective states[i] of the baby.  Later father and siblings become important attachment figures for the baby. And the baby forms a set of internal working models of relationship based upon those earliest relationships.

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Metal Dog - Autobiogprahical story by Jim Byrne
Fictionalized story of  the life of Jim Byrne

Third, the first five or six years of life are taken to be the prime determinants of what kind of life the individual will live.  Very largely, the emotionally significant narratives (stories), scripts (maps) and frames (lenses) that the child learns and forms during this period – which manifest in the form of moods and emotional states, expectations, beliefs and habitual patterns of behaviour – will determine its trajectory through life, all other things being equal.  There is, of course, some degree of malleability of the human brain-mind, and so what was once shaped badly (by negative relationship experiences) can to some extent be reshaped into a better form by subsequent ‘curative experiences’, with a love partner, or with a counsellor or psychotherapist. (Wallin, 2007; Doidge, 2008).

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For more of these principles, please see Holistic Counselling in Practice.***

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

ABC Coaching and Counselling Services

Email: Dr Jim Byrne.***

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Endnote

[i] An ‘affective state’ is a state of the body-brain-mind of an individual, in which there is physiological arousal and a felt sense of emotional attraction (‘positive affect’) or aversion (‘negative affect’).  For most practical purposes, among counsellors, the word affect may be used interchangeably with ‘feelings’ and ‘emotions’.