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Neuroplasticity, codependency and Minfullness.

Old 07-17-2019, 02:21 AM
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Neuroplasticity, codependency and Minfullness.

Read an article on this site yesterday and this piece stood out to me. "Furthermore, an ACOA may also gravitate towards other compulsive behavior such as gambling, binge eating or codependency".

It fascinates me that what we see in our homes growing up really impacts our adulthood. So seeing parents or other figures in our lives who are alcoholics and/or not able to emotionally meet our needs really does affect how we are in our adult life in terms of our attachment styles( secure, anxious or avoidant), in terms of our behaviours and compulsions such as overeating, drinking, over exercising or whatever it may be and all the while these compulsions, behaviours, beliefs are firing off neurons in our brains that wire together laying down pathways of behaving that we repeat over and over.

Been reading books on neuro plasticity lately (because of a course I'm on), and the good news is that our brains can change and we can change our behaviours/beliefs as our brains are plastic. Interestingly the part of our brains responsible for "fight or flight" called the amygdala is something that many of us in here will recognise. It fascinates me that many of us will have been on that stress related fight or flight mode, probably from a young age, and guess what the more we use it the bigger it is in our brains. That state of anxiety, that releases cortisol into our body is so familiar that we can even seek out situations that will trigger us. (I know I have). Addicted to the drama because its familiar.

All the new research is showing that this part of the brain can be made smaller and less active by guest what, mindfullness, meditation and yoga techniques! Makes sense to me that these techniques relax and calm our minds, but that they can reduce the size of the amygdala is amazing and really motivates me to want to do them more. I can see now why yoga is recommended for trauma sufferers. (Obviously therapy and other techniques are part of recovery).

Thought I'd share this as I'm sure, like me, some of you will have insights into this fascinating new research that's coming out. Helps me understand why I do some of the things I do and have done 😀
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:02 PM
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Wow. God you really got me thinking. When I was growing up my dad was a very aggressive alcoholic. There was no separation back then so my mum was stuck but we absolutely lived in a permanent flight mode. We honestly never knew what was coming home to us. It lasted 21yrs until mum was finally able to separate. We didn't know wot to do with ourselves, we were so accustomed to a level of constant stress. I actually buggered off to the US to nanny.. I told my host family straight up that I needed to know what normal was. Unfortunately I only got normal for maybe 3-4yrs before EXAH spiralled very slowly off the wagon. I put up with ANOTHER active alcoholic for 6months before God/universe/****** off ancestors stepped in and kicked him out.

I didn't know yoga helped.. Have a private yoga session on Sunday. I went to one of Dr Joe's lectures long before he was a thing and found his take on belief systems and how the brain is wired fascinating. I actually met Bruce Lupton that same year... If only I'd met an addiction Councillor... Doh!!

I've done some inner child work with a reiki practitioner and that's cleared up a lot. I'm realised that I'm finding the geery but gorgeous (safe) men attractive now. So I'm hoping that I'm enjoying life in the calm lane immensely and not looking for stress.

However... I'm about to pursue a life long ambition of becoming a foster mum. Most of the kids will come from abusive backgrounds. I just hope I'm not trying to create some new stress in my life. I don't feel like I am. I just want to help. Sorry for hi-jacking..
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Old 07-17-2019, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Milano58 View Post
Wow. God you really got me thinking. When I was growing up my dad was a very aggressive alcoholic. There was no separation back then so my mum was stuck but we absolutely lived in a permanent flight mode. We honestly never knew what was coming home to us. It lasted 21yrs until mum was finally able to separate. We didn't know wot to do with ourselves, we were so accustomed to a level of constant stress. I actually buggered off to the US to nanny.. I told my host family straight up that I needed to know what normal was. Unfortunately I only got normal for maybe 3-4yrs before EXAH spiralled very slowly off the wagon. I put up with ANOTHER active alcoholic for 6months before God/universe/****** off ancestors stepped in and kicked him out.

I didn't know yoga helped.. Have a private yoga session on Sunday. I went to one of Dr Joe's lectures long before he was a thing and found his take on belief systems and how the brain is wired fascinating. I actually met Bruce Lupton that same year... If only I'd met an addiction Councillor... Doh!!

I've done some inner child work with a reiki practitioner and that's cleared up a lot. I'm realised that I'm finding the geery but gorgeous (safe) men attractive now. So I'm hoping that I'm enjoying life in the calm lane immensely and not looking for stress.

However... I'm about to pursue a life long ambition of becoming a foster mum. Most of the kids will come from abusive backgrounds. I just hope I'm not trying to create some new stress in my life. I don't feel like I am. I just want to help. Sorry for hi-jacking..

Not hijacking at all. Yes yoga teaches us how to become more connected with our bodies, looking inward instead of to external things, which a lot if people myself include are expert at! (In codependency, focusing on the addict). Cultivating sensory awareness allows us to recognise what our bodies need especially when recovering from trauma, and yoga, meditation and mindfullness all help us get better at this. Noticing what we feel fosters emotional regulation and helps us stop ignoring what's going on in our bodies.

I think a big awareness for me is this, that trauma makes us feel like we are stuck forever in that state. In yoga one learns that sensations rise and fall, recognising that though some parts are uncomfortable, they dont last, everything is transitory and can help change our perspective. Also our bodies trap emotional energy and yoga can help release this energy.

Brain researchers have showed in studies that meditation has a positive effect on the areas of the brain critical for physiological self regulation.

Sounds like you recognise that fight or flight mode very well, so many people live in this and dont know there's another way of being. I'm on that path myself as you are, finding less "charismatic" men interesting but going for the safer ones, and it takes getting used to doesn't it. In fact at the moment I'm not interested in dating at all and I'm questioning if that's ok lol, as for a long time I've been the opposite but I expect my body us just so happy not to be around drama or trauma. Best of luck with the fostering, I'm sure you'll be amazing.
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Old 07-17-2019, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Glenjo99 View Post
Read an article on this site yesterday and this piece stood out to me. "Furthermore, an ACOA may also gravitate towards other compulsive behavior such as gambling, binge eating or codependency".

It fascinates me that what we see in our homes growing up really impacts our adulthood. So seeing parents or other figures in our lives who are alcoholics and/or not able to emotionally meet our needs really does affect how we are in our adult life in terms of our attachment styles( secure, anxious or avoidant), in terms of our behaviours and compulsions such as overeating, drinking, over exercising or whatever it may be and all the while these compulsions, behaviours, beliefs are firing off neurons in our brains that wire together laying down pathways of behaving that we repeat over and over.

Been reading books on neuro plasticity lately (because of a course I'm on), and the good news is that our brains can change and we can change our behaviours/beliefs as our brains are plastic. Interestingly the part of our brains responsible for "fight or flight" called the amygdala is something that many of us in here will recognise. It fascinates me that many of us will have been on that stress related fight or flight mode, probably from a young age, and guess what the more we use it the bigger it is in our brains. That state of anxiety, that releases cortisol into our body is so familiar that we can even seek out situations that will trigger us. (I know I have). Addicted to the drama because its familiar.

All the new research is showing that this part of the brain can be made smaller and less active by guest what, mindfullness, meditation and yoga techniques! Makes sense to me that these techniques relax and calm our minds, but that they can reduce the size of the amygdala is amazing and really motivates me to want to do them more. I can see now why yoga is recommended for trauma sufferers. (Obviously therapy and other techniques are part of recovery).

Thought I'd share this as I'm sure, like me, some of you will have insights into this fascinating new research that's coming out. Helps me understand why I do some of the things I do and have done 😀
I spent 10 years in college studying the brain and spinal cord, then 47 years abusing my brain and spinal cord with drugs and alcohol.
I've learned that addictions always serve an emotional purpose and that purpose is to regain control over an emotional state.

All emotions are derivations of five core feelings: happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and shame. Everything you see, smell, hear, taste and touch travels through your body in the form of electric signals. These signals pass from cell to cell until they reach their ultimate destination, your brain. Humans are wired so that all our actions and reactions begin in the old primitive Limbic System with feelings or emotions. How we react with our rational thinking and decision making new Prefrontal Neocortex, determines in large part, whether we demonstrate Direct healthy behavior or Displaced-substitute behavior, such as abusing drugs and alcohol. With respect to substance abuse, drugs can inhibits executive (cortical) function. Impulse control is one of the first things to go and can lead to a host of problems.​ Much of the explanation for this lack of direct control over our emotions lies in the way that the human brain is interconnected.

Neuroplasticity involves growth of new brain cells that can be retrained with healthy behaviors.

Consider this for learning new behaviors: Where attention goes, neuro-firing flows and neuro-connections grow.

This is why we can all change or thinking and change our lives.

Romans: 12:2 "Don't be conformed to this world but be transformed with new thinking." That's neuroplasticity at its best.
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Old 07-17-2019, 11:28 PM
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Yeah.. Its fascinating stuff. First you have to become self aware. That sounds so basic but I struggled. I coujd never meditate. I was terrified of it. Took me years to let go and speak to my feelings. We're so used to reacting to an addicts behaviour that we don't stop to address our feelings. Yes, we're hurt, saddened etc. But there's the why that we blank out. When I did tai chi.. I could feel myself lock in energy. I knew it wasn't flowing. I've no idea how or why I wouldn't release it. I was so terrified of showing release, emotion. My instructors used to get zapped trying to reposition me. I used to get physically nauseated by tai chi. It took years to let go and meditate.. And I loved it eventually. Now I buzz in yoga. Sometimes I cry. I don't even know why. I've done 20yrs of martial arts. Got my level 2 reiki. Meditate to a heart coherence guided meditation nightly. Not only do I love myself more, my body's aging has slowed down. When I'm buzzing people flock to me. I'm never left alone at a cafe...I believe this is what attracted my EXAH to me. But you can only heal yourself.
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Old 07-18-2019, 07:39 AM
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Glenjo-

I did not grow up around active addiction.....but I think both of my parents had active alcoholic in one parent.

I did grow up with a lot of untreated co-dependency in my immediate family but also extended family. None of my mom's eight siblings were alcoholics, but a number of them married alcoholics and a number of my cousins/siblings live with addiction to alcohol.

I got myself into help due to my eating disorder, and while there fell in love, married and came face to face with alcohol addiction in my husband.

I am not grateful that I had all of these lessons to learn, I am grateful for the learning. I truly believe that for me my recovery has been about these changes mentioned above and it was a huge moment when I realized that all of my dysfunctional behavior was a normal response to trauma. Hmmmm

Keep up the good work. I have found it to be worth it.

I am excited in the fall I am taking a trauma yoga series.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:12 AM
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What's a trauma yoga series??

Originally Posted by LifeRecovery View Post
Glenjo-

I did not grow up around active addiction.....but I think both of my parents had active alcoholic in one parent.

I did grow up with a lot of untreated co-dependency in my immediate family but also extended family. None of my mom's eight siblings were alcoholics, but a number of them married alcoholics and a number of my cousins/siblings live with addiction to alcohol.

I got myself into help due to my eating disorder, and while there fell in love, married and came face to face with alcohol addiction in my husband.

I am not grateful that I had all of these lessons to learn, I am grateful for the learning. I truly believe that for me my recovery has been about these changes mentioned above and it was a huge moment when I realized that all of my dysfunctional behavior was a normal response to trauma. Hmmmm

Keep up the good work. I have found it to be worth it.

I am excited in the fall I am taking a trauma yoga series.

I'd love to do something similar. I had very specific trauma counselling after I separated from my EXAH and reiki/inner child work. I still wonder how healed I actually am.
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Old 07-18-2019, 11:26 AM
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I have done therapy for years and it is body centered. I find for me being in my head is a coping mechanism and a form of my fight/flight/freeze response (I lean toward freeze). My body has kept a record however.

I have been in the trenches with my emotional well being and overall find that to be much better and healed.

Recently I realized that I have some physical patterns and behaviors that are keeping me stuck. There is not necessarily an emotional hurt to be fixed but a way of being that keeps me there.

For example I do a lot of holding my breath (see freeze). I take a breath in and then just hold onto it. I did some body work around it and found this class through a friend. I don't start until September but it is a way of moving your body to be in touch with an support this part for you.

So with the breathing above I have had therapy and a body work session around it. I ended up sobbing like I did when I was 4, It was not trauma per say, but it was the crying you do when you want something as a little kid and it is sadness, frustration and big huge gulps of air as you try to catch your breath. I think I tried to regulate my breathing so I would not cry like that when I was young. More will be revealed but I suspect I have a lot more of these kind of behaviors to learn from.

So I don't know exactly what I signed up for, but I can promise to report back.
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Old 07-18-2019, 02:15 PM
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This is a really great share! I have a long way to go, but I believe that I have done some brain retraining with the methods mentioned.

I also do believe that I was addicted to the drama! It took me a long time to live without it, because I did not know any other way. Now, I avoid it like the plague!

My psychiatrist was huge on breathing techniques while looking in the mirror. I felt silly at first, but it really did help me, and continues to do so when I am in difficult situations.

My school counselor in high school did a calming exercise where in the semi darkness you would use breathing while closing your eyes and imagine yourself on an elevator. While the elevator was going down floors, you would exhale and relieve yourself of stress along the way. It did work for me, and I have continued this years later.

Sadly, said counselor decided to help one of the girls along with her breathing and groped her in the semi darkness. He is no longer a counselor. So sad because that technique really was helpful until that happened!

I digress.....The world can be a sad place.....
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