Tag Archives: ignore

What Is Trauma Blocking

Trauma blocking isn’t an overly common term but the phenomenon is surprisingly common.  Trauma blocking means a behavior designed to avoid thinking of certain painful & traumatic events.  This may not sound overly harmful but when done consistently, it can be.  It’s healthy to take breaks from facing pain sometimes of course, but it is also healthy to face pain head on.  There needs to be a balance.  When you feel strong, you need to face that pain, but if you start to feel overwhelmed, it’s wise to take a break & avoid thinking about it for a while.  Balance is the key to coping with trauma!

Back to trauma blocking behaviors.. following is a list of some of them.

A very common trauma blocking behavior is excess.  Anything done in excess that leaves little or no time to face pain is trauma blocking.  That excessive thing may be something people commonly consider such as drug abuse or binge drinking, but it also can be something that seems normal such as watching too much television, scrolling through social media or even socializing for excessively long hours.  All of these behaviors serve the same purpose – keeping a person’s mind occupied for so long they don’t have time in a day to think of anything else, like traumatic experiences.

Another trauma blocking behavior could be eating mindlessly.  Eating requires attention, so it is easy to focus on that over painful trauma.  That doesn’t make this a healthy coping skill however!  Eating disorders are far too easy to fall into & are so unhealthy.  Not only can they cause the obvious physical problems like diabetes or high cholesterol, but they can cause a person to avoid dealing with past trauma that needs their attention in order to heal.

On a related note, exercising constantly also is unhealthy.  Most people who exercise compulsively are never satisfied when they reach a goal, so they set another & another.  This compulsion is often referred to as body dysmorphia, & is frequently related to eating disorders.  It is dangerous to a person’s physical health as well as mental health.  How can anyone who is so focused on their body be able to spare time to deal with their emotional baggage?

Being busy all the time is yet one more trauma blocking behavior.  It seems as if society as a whole admires those who are busy constantly, but this behavior is far from healthy!  People need some time to relax & rest, & being busy constantly doesn’t allow that.  People who dare to take some down time are often looked down on for being lazy & unproductive, which truly makes no sense!  Being too busy is dangerous for your physical health but also your mental health.  It leaves no time for recovery & restoration let alone facing trauma. 

Shopping too much also can be a trauma blocking behavior.  Buying things can trigger the brain’s reward center.  It feels good to get something you want or even things you need.  Shopping for the sole purpose of triggering that reward center in the brain isn’t a wise idea.  That can create an addiction as well as avoiding facing trauma.

Coming from a family with a healthy work ethic can be a good thing.  However, coming from a family who clearly believes that if you aren’t working you are useless is so unhealthy.  Yet sadly, this is a pretty common occurrence.  People who have survived this upbringing often hide in their job as a way to avoid trauma while simultaneously building their self worth. 

If you recognize yourself in any of these behaviors, please don’t beat yourself up over this!  Facing trauma is hard.  Wanting to avoid it is totally understandable!  While facing it is wise, I also think taking breaks sometimes is equally wise.  Don’t try to face an entire childhood or 15 year marriage worth of trauma at once.  Face things as they come up, & if you feel like it’s too much, take a little time off when necessary where you refuse to deal with the trauma.  If you’re afraid of taking too much time off, set a goal of allowing yourself a week or whatever time seems reasonable to you, then at the end of that set time, pick up where you stopped.  You will find yourself stronger & more equipped to face things after your break.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

When Narcissists Ignore You

Another control tactic narcissists use is by ignoring their victim.  Whether it is pretending the person didn’t say anything or the narcissist didn’t hear the person (when they obviously did) or the silent treatment, ignoring a victim is about control.

 

Being ignored may not sound very effective, but it can be surprisingly so.  It communicates the message that the person being ignored is so awful, they don’t even deserve to be acknowledged.  This message can be absolutely devastating, especially when done repeatedly.

 

It also makes the person being ignored work harder, trying to get the ignoring person’s attention.  The person feels they must make it up to the ignoring person.  Make what up?  They rarely know, but they know they have done something so horrible, it made the ignoring person not want to speak to them.

 

If the narcissist in question has hearing problems, she may use it to help her ignore you.  She may have what I refer to as selective hearing.  If you say something she doesn’t like, she may act like she doesn’t hear you.

 

My narcissistic mother has ignored me more times than I can count.  She has hearing problems, & uses it to play innocent claiming she didn’t hear me say something.  Yet, I’ve tested her hearing.  If we’re discussing something & she isn’t happy with what I’m saying, she without fail says, “What’s that Honey?  I can’t hear you..” until I’m practically screaming.  If the conversation is normal, I can practically whisper & she hears me fine.  She also gives me the silent treatment on a regular basis.

 

Thanks to her ridiculous behavior, I have had to learn healthy ways to cope.

 

My mother started using the silent treatment with me sometime in my childhood.  I don’t remember when exactly, but I remember her using it most often when her abuse was at its peak in my late teens.  It used to upset me terribly!  I would beg her to tell me what I did that was so bad, & she would respond with, “If you don’t know, I’m not going to tell you!”  *sigh*  I finally had a revelation.  If she wouldn’t talk to me like the grown up she was, then whatever I supposedly did couldn’t be so bad.  Or, if she wouldn’t tell me, then chances are it was because she didn’t have a leg to stand on- I probably didn’t do anything bad at all.  Instead, she was trying to get me to work hard to earn her love back.    This knowledge was very helpful for me.  I no longer felt the need to work hard to earn her love.  I have come to appreciate the silent treatment.  I now think of it as a break from the drama & head games my narcissistic mother loves to play.

 

When she ignores me or uses her selective hearing, I involve my father or whoever else is there.  As typical with narcissists, my mother does NOT want to look bad in front of others, so this works to my advantage.  If she ignores me, I give my father a look of frustration or ask him to get her attention since she’s ignoring me.  Then, he will call my mother by her name & mention me saying something, which forces her to acknowledge me.  Once I have her full attention, I can repeat what I was saying.  Of course, this works well when someone else is there only, which is another argument for not being alone with a narcissist.  Having witnesses can be a very helpful thing, plus the narcissist usually behaves better when there are people around to impress.

 

I also remind myself whether she is simply ignoring me or giving me the full blown silent treatment that she isn’t doing this because of me.  She is doing it because there is something wrong with her.  Mature, normal, healthy people don’t treat other people this way.  They discuss issues & work things out.

 

I hope these tips help you as much as they have helped me, Dear Reader!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism