Fictionalized autobiography of childhood trauma and adult damage

Blog Post: 16th August 2020

E-CENT Institute Blog

By Dr Jim Byrne

Books about childhood trauma – how to recover – how I recovered – and a fictionalized autobiography of childhood/manhood

Including a FREE eBook about the life of an emotionally abused boy, and his struggle to become a loving man

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Jim and the Buddha, 2I am aware of the principle of ‘concentration of power’ on our top priorities, which was popularized in the 1980s, by Dr Charles R. Hobbs, and re-presented in recent times by Garry Keller and Jay Papasan, in their book, ‘The One Thing’.  We are more likely to be successful if we focus on just a few important priorities.

Nevertheless, I have been switching back and forth between three books on Childhood Development, Trauma, and Recovery, for the past couple of months or more.

The three books in question are as follows:

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Recovery from Childhood Trauma:

How I healed my heart and mind – and how you can heal yourself

By Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Front cover,1Many people struggle with emotional distress, just below the level of conscious awareness, which mars their life chances, and limits their capacity for happy relationships. Much of this distress could and should be classified as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD); or emotional distress which follows on from a traumatic experience, which is too stressful (at the time of occurrence) to be processed into a coherent story.  And even more should be defined as Complex-PTSD, arising out of protracted child abuse in early childhood.

The author describes the main traumatic experiences that occurred in his childhood, which hung like a dark cloud over his emotional and relational life, up to the age of almost forty years or so.  He also describes the various therapeutic processes that he used to try to process his undigested childhood pain.  Chief among those strategies were the writing of his Story of Origins and his Story of Relationship, both of which are reproduced in this book, along with analysis and commentary. He also includes guidelines for the reader to do their own writing therapy on their own childhood trauma, which will greatly improve the quality of their emotional and relational lives.  And he emphasizes the importance of exercise and other body-based healing approaches. His hope is that the reader will use this book to become happier and healthier, and more at ease in their own skin; with a better prospect of moving forward into a more enjoyable future life.

For more information, please click this link.***

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Transforming Traumatic Dragons:

How to recover from a history of trauma – using a whole body-brain-mind approach

By Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Revised, expanded and updated: June 2020

Front cover 2, Dragons Trauma book June 2020From Ancient Athens to Vietnam and Zambia, individual lives have been ruined by stress, strain, abuse and neglect. Madness, serious unhappiness and unworkable lives were most often the result.

Many common problems with physical and mental health are a result of childhood trauma, and/or being an adult who is abused by another adult.

Early childhood trauma (like physical and emotional abuse, and neglect), and other forms of prolonged trauma (like domestic abuse), affect the very structure of the human brain, and the behaviour of stress hormones in the body.

But the good news is this: It is possible to recover from all forms of trauma, given the right kind of approach. And this book offers you just such an approach to self-healing.

Dr Byrne discusses the following topics: What is trauma?  What is post-traumatic stress disorder?  What is Complex-PTSD?  How widespread is Complex-PTSD?  What are Adverse Childhood Experiences?  What are some solutions to Childhood Developmental Trauma or Complex-PTSD? The meaning and importance of the concept of Traumatic Dragons.

This book contains a comprehensive self-therapy program, to help you to heal your own traumatic wounds, from prolonged childhood abuse or neglect, or other forms of prolonged traumatic experiences.

If you are suffering from the aftermath of prolonged traumatic experiences, this book will be a great help to you. If you work slowly and methodologically through the program of self-healing, described in this book, you will gain by the calming down of your body, brain and mind; and the emergence of a sense of happiness and inner peace.

For more information, please click this link: Transforming Traumatic Dragons

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But the third book – next – is the one I have chosen to prioritize, and it is now available on Amazon stores around the world.  This is it:

Fictionalized autobiography of an Irish Catholic boy: The autobiography of a traumatized child.

Title: Metal Dog – Long Road Home

By Jim Byrne (writing through his alter ego, Daniel O’Beeve)

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Metal_Dog__Long_Roa_Cover_for_KindleThis is the fictionalized autobiography of Jim Byrne (writing through his alter ego, Daniel O’Beeve). None of the characters in this story should be confused with any real person, alive or dead!

Here is a brief extract, intended to give you a flavour of the quality of this personal (fictional!) story:

Extract: I went inside (the fish and chip shop in Blackpool), blinking the rain out of my eyes, and immediately recognized the leopard-skin coat and black fishnet tights on the raven-haired customer in front of me at the counter.  She lived in the house next to the one in which I was lodging.  I’d seen her come and go a few times as I sat at the table in the bay window, eating my breakfast or my evening meal.

She had the appearance of an actress or model.  Tall, elegant, heavily made-up, and she walked with a wiggle, in extremely high, black, patent leather stiletto heels.  As I stood behind her on the queue, she ordered cod and chips.  Then I ordered the same.  She turned to look at me and said, “Horrible weather!”

I agreed.

Her fish and chips were wrapped within seconds; she paid; and she headed for the door.

My fish and chips were wrapped next, and I followed suit.

I did not expect her to be waiting at the exit to speak to me…

For more, please click this link: Fictionalized autobiography – Metal Dog, Long Road back to near normality.***.

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This is how I announced that book on LinkedIn today:

Childhood trauma and abuse: For the next 5 days, beginning on Sunday 16th August, this book will be available for FREE as a Kindle eBook. The author explores problems of attachment theory, affect regulation, personality adaptations, and childhood trauma – all in the context of a fictionalized autobiography which examines three different perspectives on the nature-nurture debate. Dr Jim Byrne has combined his experience of 22 years of dealing with clients with childhood abuse and neglect, and his hobby of reading psychological thrillers, to create a unique book…  Get your copy for FREE…  Here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08FRPSSGV

Please take a look and see what you think. Do you think this fictionalized autobiography helps to expand or deepen your understanding of complex childhood trauma; or to deepen your empathy for victims of child abuse?

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That’s all for today.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne

Doctor of Counselling

Managing anger

Blog Post No.140

By Dr Jim Byrne

Written on 30th January 2016.  Posted here on 6th may 2016. And updated on 29th March 2020

Dr Jim’s Counselling Blog: Anger management appendix: The Emotional Revolution digested…

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2016/2020

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Prelude

MensGroup1.JPGI have wanted to write a blog for several days now, but I find it hard to free up the time.  Therefore, in this blog, I am going to take some short-cuts by updating you regarding some of the things I’ve been writing about.

Recent writing work

Today, I have managed to write an appendix on Anger Management, which begins like this:

Appendix D – How to control your anger

A holistic approach – by Dr Jim Byrne

Copyright (c) Jim Byrne, 2016.

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Introduction

AppendixDnewbook.JPGIn this appendix, I will outline the four main processes that we recommend in E-CENT counselling for anger management control.  Briefly, these are: better management of (1) your diet, (2) physical exercise, (3) self-talk (or inner dialogue), and (4) relaxation/meditation.  But you will also need to work on (5) your relationships and (6) your communication skills.

In this appendix I will outline seven relatively simple and easy activities you can undertake, beginning today, to get your anger under control.  But first, you need to have a good understanding of the nature of anger.

Understanding anger

Anger is one of our basic emotions.  It’s innate.  It was selected by nature for its survival value.  We would not survive for long without an innate sense of angering in response to abuse or neglect.  We also would not survive for long if we did not quickly learn how to moderate our anger as young children.  My anger is a two-edged sword.  It can help to protect me, and it can attract hostile reactions from others.

My basic emotion of anger is elaborated into a higher cognitive emotion through modelling by my mother and father and significant others in the first few years of my life. And through my successful and unsuccessful experiences of engaging in conflict with others.

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Unhealthy-anger.JPGHealthy anger is present-time defence of your legitimate rights in the face of inappropriate behaviour by another person. Healthy or reasonable anger is the fuel that drives our assertive behaviours.  It pushes us to engage in constructive conflict, when that is necessary!

To ask for what you want, which is legitimately yours to request, requires a certain level of ‘fire in your belly’.  If you lack that fire (that reasonable level of anger), then you will tend to ‘wimp-out’, to act passively and let other people control you or intimidate you or deny you your reasonable share of the social stage.
Unhealthy or unreasonable anger is an over-reaction to a frustrating or insulting stimulus from another person or external force. Unhealthy or unreasonable anger leads to aggressive actions and destructive conflict.

As one author wrote about unhealthy anger:

“A psychotherapist once told me when he was training that, previously, he had been sure that all his angry feelings were brought forth by the person in front of him, but as he learnt more about the psyche (or mind) in general – and his own in particular – he changed from pointing the finger and saying, ‘You, you, you’; instead the finger went round in a circle until he was pointing at himself, and saying far more quietly, ‘Me, me, me’.  As I have said, self-observation is the very opposite of self-indulgence.  It makes self-responsibility possible”.

Philippa Perry, How to Stay Sane. Page 22.

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What you need to realize is that you most likely have a dominant mood or background emotional state, which has been with you since early childhood, arising out of your relationships with mother, father and others.  This dominant mood may tend towards irritability, sadness, or fearfulness and worry; or some mixture or blending of all three of those basic moods.  Those individuals who have the biggest problems with anger outbursts and uncontrollable, aggressive anger tend to be those whose background moods are predominantly irritable.  On the other hand, individuals who have engaged in long-suffering of abuse or neglect, because of their fearful worrisome personalities, may eventually collect enough ‘brown stamps’ from social insults and frustrations to ‘allow them’ (or to give themselves permission) to flip over into payback mode with occasional angry outbursts.

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…end of extract.

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Anger, resentment and forgiveness:

How to get your inappropriate anger under reasonable control

Front cover, anger2

By Dr Jim Byrne

This self-help book is based on more than twenty years’ experience by the author of providing anger management counselling and coaching to hundreds of individuals.

If you want to stop wrecking your relationships, at home and in work, than this book is a must read.

It is based on a review of some of the most potent techniques and strategies for controlling your temper that were invented by thoughtful philosophers around the world and across the centuries.

PAPERBACK BOOK ON VARIOUS STRATEGIES FOR EFFECTIVELY CONTROLLING YOUR ANGER…

It will give you mastery over you emotions, and the ability to forgive those who transgress against you, without being too passive.

Learn more

Paperback only at the moment

Price: £14.75 from Amazon.

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So, that is the first two pages of a sixteen page appendix on Anger Management. I wrote that appendix to expand upon what I had written in Chapter 5 of my latest book on E-CENT counselling.  This is how Chapter 5 begins:

Chapter 5. Understanding and managing human emotions

5.1: Introduction

Theory-of-emotion.JPGBecause counsellors and psychotherapists deal with their clients’ emotions – (as well as their behaviours, goals, relationships and environmental stressors) – every system of counselling and therapy has to have a theory of emotion.  This, however, is problematical.

As one psychotherapist has pointed out: “The terms ‘feeling’ and ‘emotion’, and ‘affect’ are used in many different senses in psychology.  A review of more than twenty theories of emotion reveals a plethora of widely diverging technical definitions.  These vary with the technique of investigation, the general theoretical framework, and the value-judgements of the psychologist.  Often, they are so diverse as to defy comparison let alone synthesis”.

Since there is no universal agreement regarding the nature of human emotions in counselling and therapy, we, in E-CENT counselling, have to account for our own theory of emotion: to justify it, as well as defining and elaborating its elements.

5.2: Buddhism and Stoicism on emotion

E-CENT counselling has been influenced by Buddhist ideas and Stoic ideas, including some of their ideas about human emotions –  (in addition to attachment theory, neuroscience, affective neuroscience, interpersonal neurobiology, and other disciplines – including Rational therapy, Transactional analysis, Moral philosophy, and so on).  With regard to Buddhism, it seems from The Dhammapada , that the Buddha taught that all human disturbance arises out of desire; and this idea is shared with Stoicism.

In E-CENT theory we have taken some of these ideas as points of departure, but we have also found serious flaws in both of those theories.

For examples:

  1. Regarding Buddhist theory: The opening lines of the Dhammapada are as follows:

“What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build our life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind”. (Page 1)  .

In my view, it would be more accurate to say:

(1) “What we are today comes from our thoughts (and feelings) about our experiences…”

So, we are not talking about disembodied thoughts, devoid of a stimulus in an external reality.  And we are not talking about beings that can think independently of their basic emotional wiring! People are emotionally wired up by their earliest relationships, and they live in the real world of good and bad experiences!

(2) “…and our present thoughts (Plus our feelings and actions, including eating, sleeping, relaxing, exercising, etc.) build our life of tomorrow…”

Thoughts-not-determinant.JPGSo our thoughts (about our experiences) do not act alone; they are not the sole determinant of our lives.

(3) “…our life is the creation of our mind” (Our mind Plus our relationships, plus our experiences; plus our diet, exercise, stressors – including economic and political circumstances, family life, and on and on).

So the Buddha can easily mislead the unwary; as the unwary were misled by Albert Elis and Aaron Beck – who downplayed the role of the environment in human experience; and Ellis downplayed the role of early childhood in shaping the later life of the social-individual. Those theorists also overlooked the importance of our eating of unhealthy diets; or our failure to exercise our bodies – all of which impacts our emotional states).

To serve our clients well, counsellors and psychotherapists need to be critical thinkers; to be awake; to be well informed (meaning widely read, and subject to multiple influences); and to think for ourselves.

…end of extract. Read more here.***

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That’s all for now.

Best wishes,

Jim

Dr Jim Byrne, Doctor of Counselling

Email: drjwbyrnt@gmail.com

01422 843 629 (UK) – 44 1422 843 629 (outside UK)

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