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Why living with an addict causes Betrayal Trauma (and how to find recovery)

Why living with an addict causes Betrayal Trauma (and how to find recovery)


do I believe that people living with
addicts and alcoholics get post-traumatic stress disorder and
immediately I said absolutely yes I do and and here’s what that looks like and
here’s why and I thought I would sort of elaborate on that just a little bit
more in this video so we’re gonna talk all about that trauma why your emotions
are so out of control why you’re so angry and sad and hostile and why you
just feel like your emotions are like a tornado inside that you cannot even
control sometimes for those of you who are new here I’m amber Hollingsworth
master addiction counselor and you’re watching put the shovel down the YouTube
channel dedicated especially to help you understand the science and psychology of
addiction so you can heal yourself help a loved one and get your life back on
track if that sounds like something you might need to do consider subscribing
and I’ll make sure you have all the tools and resources to make that happen
so living with an addict really is what’s considered a betrayal trauma what
does that mean it’s being traumatized by a huge giant betrayal in your life and
not just like a little one like a big one to the point that it’s almost
like you question yourself and the best way to think of it think about what it
might feel like if you don’t know hopefully you don’t know what it might
feel like if you had a spouse and you found out they had been having an affair
on you and the whole thing it just turns your world upside down because it’s like
not only is that going on just the whole act of it is horrible but a lot of the
trauma comes from how is that going on the whole time and I didn’t know all the
months or years or weeks that they’ve been making me feel like I was crazy and
I knew something was up and I would ask about these things and they would just
be like you’re crazy and what are you talking about they make you feel crazy all that gaslighting you know that my videos on gaslighting you’ve seen those if you haven’t
checked them out because that’s definitely pertinent here and it’s just
the lies the deceit the making you feel like you’re crazy
that is as problematic as the act itself because it really just keeps you
constantly dysregulated and what really happens is it activates the
fight-or-flight part of your brain and because it’s gone it’s been going on for
so long you might even be to the point where it’s like you’re always in that
active fight-or-flight response because your brain interprets that just like any
other threat like a physical threat like you’re being attacked by a bear like a
car was fixing to smash into you and so it’s got that back sort of primitive
survival part of your brain activated trying to keep you hyper-vigilant hyper alert
watching everything trying to sort of look out for danger because you’re in
that protection mode that survival mode and because of that that’s all ran by
emotions and when that part of your brain is activated I mean really
activated then those emotions really override this front part your brain which is the thinking part of the brain and that’s why you feel like you can’t
control your emotions sometimes that’s why you feel so angry I mean you’re
angry you’re threatened your whole life is threatened if this is your husband
and you found out that all this has been going on this long or maybe you’ve known
it but you can’t stop it and you’ve got kids and you may have to leave and the
finances are all amiss clearly you can see how traumatizing and scary and angry
you are for them putting you in this place because now you’re being backed
into a corner where you either have to let go of your loved one which is not
what you want to do because it’s going to destroy your family break your heart
in a way that you may not ever get put that together that’s what it feels like
or stay living with someone who’s clearly deceitful who’s manipulating you
who makes you feel like you’re crazy who you can’t trust you turn you back on for
one second and they’re sneaking around they’re doing something so you’re angry
because they put you in this really bad position they put you in a position they
ask you for money if you give it to them you feel horrible
and shameful and guilty and you’ve watched all of Amber’s videos and you’re like that’s bad
you know you’ve been going to alanon and I shouldn’t have done that so you feel guilty
for doing it if you don’t do it then you feel scared you feel scared well what
are they gonna do to go out there and get that money instead you know they may
do something awful or horrible and they may put themselves in more danger or if
you don’t give it to him they’re threatening you and they’re belligerent
and you’re just exhausted you don’t want to deal with it you’re angry you’re upset you are
being threatened and it may be hard to identify that you may not see it exactly
the same as you might see another kind of physical threat but it really is
because it’s something that threatens your entire life that you have built so
it’s really important to understand that and to take it very seriously now here’s
the thing and you guys know I talk about this all the time I talk about how we
always see family systems and how if as a counselor I only ever saw the
addicted person which I usually do see the addicted person our office we have
these two counselors who typically see the family members more often we switch
up sometimes but we have Kim who sees the spouses a lot and then we have
Campbell who sees the parents a lot and they’re fantastic
and the thing of it is is if I just saw the addict or alcoholic of course
they’re minimizing everything they do even if they’re like acknowledging okay
I did some drugs you know like I spent some money or something they’re
definitely downplaying it they’re definitely minimizing it but I’ll tell
you what they are telling us they’re telling us how crazy you’re acting and
then if we see you or we interact with you
we’re probably gonna notice some of those things that they’re saying about you
that your emotions are out of control that you’re compulsively checking that
your nagging that you’re screaming that you’re yelling that you’re threatening
and so if you go to like a regular marriage counselor and you’ve got this
problem going on or you go to another kind of therapist or your kid or your
spouse or whoever is going to another therapist and telling all this and then when they
interact with you it’s almost like being validated and they don’t really
understand this issue they’re not going to understand why you’re acting that way
and I hate to tell you this like this sounds really terrible but if they don’t
really understand what’s going on they’re probably thinking well dang no
wonder he drinks and no wonder she did this or whatever it was because they’re like oh, that family member is out of control and so sometimes people will
tell me in my office man, my wife’s crazy I’m like yeah she probably is no it’s
cuz you made her that way you know and so it’s important for you to see somebody
who understands that because before you can start working on all of these
strategies like all the strategies that amber teaches you I’m guilty of this
I’m like do this do this do this the first thing you gotta do is figure out
how to sort of soothe this back for your brain that is screaming at you like
non-stop 24/7 that’s always under threat that’s constantly checking that can’t
let the guard down just completely hyper vigilant not sleeping all that stuff you
got a calm that down because when that is on fire you’re thinking brain cannot
work like it’s using up all energy all blood flow whatever you
wanna call it and the first thing going to do to do your strategic
decision-making all the stuff that I teach you is you gotta access and
activate your front thinking brain and I know that seems like why are you talking
about the brain nerdy stuff but it’s actually that is what’s going on so you
need to develop some skills or some ways and techniques to help regulate some of
that emotion to help calm you so that you can think and make decisions and use
a lot of what you’ve learned in order to decide what your next step is going to
be you know because you’re gonna be driving down the road and you’re just
gonna see this one street or this one place and it’s going to remind you of
you know maybe that’s where it’s such and such happen or maybe that’s where
they’re going to get their drugs and you’re just going to be activated you’re
going to be in that fight or flight response and in those moments it is
going to be extremely hard to make good decisions so there are some things that
you can do to try to get your front brain to activate in your emotional
brain to calm down and a lot of those techniques are kind of like what I
might call like grounding techniques and so one of the simplest easiest thing to
do is dowhat we call a box breathing or a four-count breath where it’s
like in through your nose like in two three four out two three four and it’s
sort of slowing down your breathing and slowing down your heart rate because
when you get in that fight-or-flight response your breathing speeds up what
you don’t want to do is do that really quick
hyperventilating kind of breathing because that’s just gonna tell your brain that
you really are in a threat and it’s gonna really ramp up so you want to slow
your breathing down which will slow your heart rate down
it’ll get some oxygen to that front part of that brain up there and now maybe you
can make some good decisions other things you can do is like maybe have
like a fire drill technique in your back pocket like call someone who you know
can just talk you through a situation who can help you be objective or call
someone who can just get you to think about something else so that that
emotional part can simmer down and you’re thinking part can check-in you
know I usually say don’t make decisions when you’re really emotional you know
don’t make the decision that you’re done you’re throwing the person out in
the middle of a big fight because when you do that you’re making it out of
emotion and emotion is temporary and when the emotion goes away you’re gonna
undo that decision and so what you want to delay decision-making when you know
that you’re sort of to that point where you’re not thinking clearly you want to
do some kind of grounding techniques to sort of get that emotion to calm get in
the front part of your brain the thinking part of your brain so you can decide what to do next
you can count backwards by threes you can do anything that makes you have to
think it’s gonna sort of shift you into that front thinking part of your brain and lower that
intensity in that emotion the other thing that I would tell you is
everything inside your brain is going to be so hyper vigilant it’s gonna be
making you be so aware all the time you’re gonna want to obsess I’m gonna
want to go into the rabbit hole that’s what I call it like way deep dark rabbit
hole and you’re me driving down the road you know start thinking about it and
you’re gonna start sessom about it and then it’s gonna get bigger and bigger
and bigger in your brain and if you catch yourself doing that you really
need to shift out of it and it’s not gonna be easy but you need to get
yourself some techniques in order to do that
and anything that makes you think or distracts you it’s helpful I usually say
like don’t necessarily watch TV unless it’s something you really really know is
going to get your attention because otherwise you’ll just be staring at the
TV and you’ll still be in the rabbit hole or reading a book you know it’s gonna have
to be something that’s going to pull you out of your head don’t fall for that
temptation to let yourself go down the rabbit hole I’m telling you it’s not a
good place to be there’s nothing good down there so when you feel like you’re
going down that road you need to u-turn it out as fast as you can that’s why
this whole living with an addict or an alcoholic thing is so difficult because
basically it’s overriding your instincts it is literally like learning not to hit
the brakes when you’re skidding on ice and I’ve heard that some people can do
that like you northern people are you people that live out there in the snow
us southern people we have no ability that like seriously one snowflake and we are
slamming the brakes on because we’re air to death but apparently, that can be done if
you train yourself so it’s that same concept you’re sort of getting
into brain and you’re deciding what to do even though you’re in the midst of some
sort of crisis and that’s gonna help you decide what’s the best decision for you
it’s gonna help you be better able to keep yourself safe and your family safe
now the next thing that you need to do is you need to make sure you have
watched every video in my manipulation series because if you’re still being
manipulated you’re gonna constantly be triggered in
that part of your brain that we’re trying to get to calm down because
you’re just gonna be fighting with yourself you’re gonna be
not trusting yourself you’re going to be confused
you’re going to be upset with yourself because you can’t control your emotions
and so make sure you watch all of those manipulation videos I’m going to put
them right up here so you can click on and watch them next


Reader Comments

  1. 📌For more Family Recovery Resources, WATCH THIS VIDEO NEXT: 👉https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLaaJWwIpP_zblfTG-3JWRNQU0FxrphEe9

  2. I loved the video. It really gave good ideas on how to hey out of those really bad thoughts. PTSD and my daughters addiction brought me depression and shame also. Im about out if the depression. The shame is crushing even though in know its not my fault. Maybe I should have been noe available idk. It is not my fault but yet again somehow it is

  3. It's PTSD and Ambiguous grief for me. You have to tell yourself that you are not crazy, but the situation is crazy.
    I am literally traumatized! It's like being held hostage. The suffering is sometimes so excruciating and disturbing to my core.
    Thank you for the video! Great information!
    I do grounding techniques. I do the counting, breathing, sometimes I do jumping jack's and of course yoga, treadmill. I have binged watched your videos, so I could not fall in the rabbit hole! Your videos have helped me alot💖 Thank you!🧚‍♀️

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