A Way Beyond the Rainbow

#43 - On the Origins of Complex Trauma

July 09, 2021 Aadam Ali and Waheed Jensen Season 4 Episode 3
A Way Beyond the Rainbow
#43 - On the Origins of Complex Trauma
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

*General trigger warning: episode involves discussion of traumatic events and may be triggering to some listeners*

My friend Aadam joins me on a four-episode series that focuses on understanding the origins and characteristics of complex trauma as well as paving a holistic path of healing.

In this episode, we talk about the definition of complex trauma and factors that lead to it, the survival brain and the fight-flight-freeze response, as well as the different parental or caregiver dynamics that may give rise to complex trauma during childhood.

What is the difference between simple and complex traumas, little t and big T traumas? How does the stress response work, and how does it manifest in our lives as far as our thoughts, emotions, behaviors and relationships are concerned? How can unhealthy parental or caregiver dynamics give rise to complex trauma and influence our thoughts, emotions, behaviors and relationships as adults? These and other questions are explored in this episode.

References mentioned and resources used in the episode:
- Video series on complex trauma by Tim Fletcher
- Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb
- How To Do The Work by Dr. Nicole LePera
- Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- ACEs research and publications

Waheed  00:38
Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi ta’ala wa barakatuh, and welcome to a new episode of “A Way Beyond The Rainbow”, this podcast series dedicated to Muslims experiencing same-sex attractions who want to live a life true to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala and Islam. I'm your host, Waheed Jensen, and joining me today, in this episode, is my dear friend, Aadam. Assalamu alaikum, Aadam. 

Aadam  00:59
Wa alaikum assalam, how are you?

Waheed  01:00
I'm good, alhamdulillah. How are you? 

Aadam  01:01
I'm good, alhamdulillah I'm glad to be back. It has been so long since the last time I was on the show. 

Waheed  01:09
Welcome back. Indeed, it has been a long time. As you guys remember, Aadam joined me back in season one, when we talked about shame and vulnerability and self-compassion, and then back in season two, when we talked about hardships and trials and tribulations and attachments and surrender. And today, he's going to be joining me in a four-episode series on understanding and healing complex trauma. Aadam and I have been doing this research for a while, and we have been reflecting on this and discussing things together and we've had so many “aha!” moments. So many things have resonated with us. Just briefly, what do you think of everything that we're going to be presenting in these episodes? 

Aadam  01:52
I'm very passionate about this topic, and I benefited from the research and reading one of the books we reference that I read about, I don't know, six, seven months ago. And it was quite transformative subhanAllah. It helped fill in a lot of the blanks that I had, and things I struggled to understand about myself. So, I'm really excited that the listeners will inshaAllah benefit and relate to the content. So, I don't want to jump the gun and start saying too much, but inshaAllah, I'm really excited for everyone who's listening. 

Waheed  02:33
Yeah, definitely, we're all excited to be sharing this content. And the way that we actually describe it is like imagine you have this puzzle set, and you're filling all the pieces, and then you're missing one piece, and you can't really figure out the entire picture. But once you find that piece and you put it in the entire picture just starts making sense, like you get a feel of what the entire picture looks like.. And so, this is basically the topic that we're presenting in these four episodes. And our wish is that our parents, our families, our imams, our communities would learn about this topic, as it answers so many questions, and it makes people realize so many things about themselves and about their problems. And so what we want to say at the beginning of this episode is that this series of episodes is not exclusive for men and women dealing with same-sex attractions. This applies to everyone. It's all across the board. We see it all around us. It applies to human beings in general, regardless of where we come from, what we experience, and so on. 

If we look at complex trauma, and we're going to be defining it in a little bit, we see it all over. When we look at people struggling with addiction, whether we're talking about substance abuse, if we're talking about pornography, sex addiction, gambling, etc. At least 90% of people dealing with addiction struggle with complex trauma. If we dig deep, we will find that, and this is corroborated by research. People struggling with relationship problems or codependency, there is complex trauma. When we look at physical ailments, for example, a lot of the physical ailments manifest because of complex trauma. People who have self-esteem issues, people who have problems coping with stress, for example. Dig deep and you'll find complex trauma. If we look at mental health issues; now, of course, some mental health issues, they have a genetic component or organic brain component, and that's different, but many mental health issues actually can be traced back to complex trauma. Like many mood disorders, psychosis, attention deficit disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder known as ADHD. Some anxiety issues, conduct disorders, attachment disorders, particular phobias, even borderline personality disorder and narcissistic personality disorders, they can be traced back to complex trauma. 

So, as we said, researching all these topics and understanding diving deep into complex trauma, learning more about it has opened our eyes to many truths that we did not really know before. And you know, once you see all these things you can try to unsee them. And again, the sad truth is that once you realize all these things, you start looking at life in a different way. But you see people who are struggling with this daily, not even realizing that they're dealing with that. It's like people are traumatized, walking around, not knowing why they are behaving the way that they're behaving, thinking the way that they're thinking, dealing with people the way that they're dealing with people in their lives. And, unfortunately, this becomes transmitted to future generations, it's recycled from one generation into the other one. We propagate traumas without even realizing. 

What we hope is that these episodes will give you knowledge, inshaAllah, and the strength to realize that there is a chance to heal from all of these issues, inshaAllah. And we invite everyone to open their minds and open their hearts. And obviously, this material is going to be triggering. The material that we're going to be presenting in these four episodes is going to be opening old wounds, we're going to be looking back at our childhoods and adolescence, at our parents and caregivers, our early experiences. So many of you listening might be very emotionally triggered by this content, so what we advise you to do is to take it slow. If you feel like you're being triggered, please consider this an intellectual exercise. You don't need to process this at this moment. There is no pressure for you to do any kind of work. If you feel that this is too much, please take a break from it. You don't have to listen to it all at once. Listen to it in increments. Please listen to it with your support system, maybe your counselor, your therapist, your mentor, your sponsor, anyone who can help you through this. If you feel that this is too much, if you are being triggered, if you are going into a depressive episode or even having suicidal ideations, please stop listening and consult with a professional. So this is a trigger warning to everyone. However, this material is necessary, so once you can deal with this in a healthy way, we encourage you to listen to it and process it, inshaAllah, when you are ready, no pressure at all. 

I will add the references that we have used in the research for all of these episodes. We have used Tim Fletcher's series on complex trauma, as well as the book Running on Empty: Overcome Your Childhood Emotional Neglect by Jonice Webb, as well as Dr. Nicola Le Pera’s book, How To Do The Work

Aadam  07:54
Okay, I think a good place to start would be to begin defining what we mean by trauma. Trauma is an event that is distressing to the mind, perceived as dangerous and beyond our ability to handle, so that we're afraid of getting hurt or dying or going crazy. There are “big T” traumas associated with life threatening and deeply disturbing events, things like war, witnessing murder, rape, abuse, natural disasters, those types of things. And there are also “small t” traumas that cause distress including fear and a sense of helplessness. These will be things like losing a job, having financial issues, divorce, lack of love, attention, physical touch, those types of things. And trauma can also be classified as either being simple or complex. Waheed touched on complex trauma earlier. 

So, if we start by defining simple trauma, this results from a one-time event that takes place, so it could be a onetime abuse event, something that you experienced that was deeply traumatizing, and then it's usually associated with some form of PTSD or other trauma responses after the event. Complex trauma is the result of repeated instances or exposure to multiple forms of danger happening over a period of time. And this can be the big T or the little t traumas, so it doesn't really matter between them. The difference here is that it takes place continuously over time. So, a really common example from childhood is when a child doesn't feel safe, when they can’t really relax in their own home with their parents and siblings, when they feel all alone in keeping themselves safe and handling the world. They walk on eggshells, are always on guard and they feel like they can't trust anyone but themselves. 

There doesn't have to be abuse or neglect, but even simple cues in the environment where children perhaps don't feel safe or have their needs met. That can be enough, if it happens consistently over a period of time, to constitute a complex trauma. And it's the job of caretakers to tune into the emotional reality of the children in their care so they can meet their emotional needs. 

Waheed  10:02
So basically, just for people to understand that by saying simple trauma, it's not simple in the sense that it is easy, but rather it just happens once. Right? It's just one event. And it can be very detrimental. But it just happens once you can trace it back to one event. It's done. It's over. You deal with the trauma reactions and the PTSD, but the event itself is over, versus complex trauma that actually takes place continuously. It's happening over a long period of time. Right? So, this is what we're talking about. And then with big T versus little t, so big T are basically the life-threatening major trauma, like when we think about trauma, we think about war, abuse, natural disasters, murder. Small t traumas are things that cause fear, distress, a sense of helplessness, as Adam said, so these are different ways of classifying traumas. Right? 

Aadam  10:50
Yeah, absolutely. And it's important to make that this clarification, because we're not belittling any type of experience. They're just different. As we go on, we'll learn more about this. 

When we think about trauma, trauma is partly connected to the actual events that take place and partly due to the way that it's perceived by the mind. The same event is perceived or can be perceived differently by different people. And children who are sensitive or extra sensitive, highly perceptive, can have a higher propensity to experience complex trauma, because of the way that they're predisposed to just experience the world. So, it's important to understand that there are degrees of trauma. And what we are learning is that the subtle forms of complex trauma can be just as damaging as the severe forms, resulting from a onetime significant event. So again, like we said before, this not a competition, about who is more traumatized or what's more traumatizing, we're just simply saying that the effects can be just as severe in both types. The tragic thing with complex trauma is that it often results from things that become normalized in the environment of a child. So, it's very easy for those who experience it to be unaware that what happened, or what was happening in their early years, was wrong even to begin with. So, we'll come to that later, but I just want to point that out at this point. 

And many people may never have considered the fact that they've experienced complex trauma. Very often those experiencing it consider their early life to be decent and normal, or their trauma was so common, it was their baseline normal. And most of the effects of this trauma happened at a subconscious level. And it requires uncovering for one to realize that it happened in the first place. So, for some of us uncovering this may start up old emotions and painful memories. People might have might have flashbacks or experience panic or anxiety and as you're listening to this episode, don't feel pressured to process this alone or go through it all at once. We all need support. And it may be that we need support whilst listening to the content within this episode. You shouldn't feel any hesitancy or shame in reaching out, or seeking out help from whoever you trust in your life. As Waheed said before, it might be helpful just to consider this as an academic exercise, so treat it as though you're just hearing useful or interesting information, as opposed to internalizing and processing it all on your own. 

And, all in all, for many of us dealing with this as has really transformed our lives. I know we've touched on this, but I would say that, as you said before Waheed, once you see this, you can't unsee it. And once you've got the knowledge of how to deal with this, with complex trauma, it can be incredibly transformative. 

Waheed  13:58
Absolutely. Absolutely. It is literally life changing. SubhanAllah. 

Aadam  14:06
SubhanAllah. And others may realize that this type of topic involves a lot of, or can be perceived as involving a lot of blame towards parents or caregivers, or that we're being disrespectful or disloyal for thinking of our families in a particular way. That's not what we're trying to do. All that we're doing is trying to shed a light on these topics and practice honesty, and trying to see what shaped our lives and brought us to where we are today. So, we're not playing a blame game, but rather we're hoping to get to a place of forgiveness and of letting go. Also, having complex trauma doesn't mean our childhood was miserable. We may have had a lovely childhood, but that doesn't mean that complex trauma wasn't there. 

Waheed  14:48
Exactly. Because a lot of people tell you well, “I had the best childhood, everything was fine.” Well, yeah, that's completely fine. It doesn't mean that people don't experience complex trauma, or the fact that you experienced complex trauma means that you had a miserable childhood. No. I mean, we can have beautiful childhoods, but in between there could be traumatizing events that we internalized subconsciously that we don't even realize, so everything is valid. So, what we're trying to do is just to kind of like invite you to open your minds and to entertain particular viewpoints that you may find to be relevant in your case, inshaAllah.  

Waheed  15:33
So now, we're going to be looking at the causes of complex trauma. So, when we think about what are the potential causes of trauma, so the first thing that comes to mind is abuse, right? This is the most obvious. So, abuse as we know, it can be physical, it can be sexual, it can be verbal, it can be emotional, and so on. And it's very important to note that verbal and emotional abuse can actually be worse than physical abuse, like being consistently called hurtful names being put down, being made to feel less than, being constantly bashed, whether at home or at school, and this is taking place continuously over long periods of time. Research has shown that this can actually be more detrimental than physical abuse, not to say the physical abuse is any less traumatizing. But, if this is happening over a long period of time, the ripple effects or the aftermath is detrimental. Now, we know that sexual abuse is also very traumatizing, and inshaAllah we will be discussing sexual abuse in two episodes later on in this season. 

Abuse can also include being bullied at school, whether verbally or physically, or by a person who is more powerful than the child. Or if the parent is a dictator parent, “it's either my way or the highway”, that's form of an abuse, right? So, notice here that when we're talking about abuse, this is taking place more than once over a long period of time. So, bear this in mind, because this falls under the definition of complex trauma: trauma that is happening over a long period of time. So that's as far as abuse is concerned. 

Aadam  17:15
Yeah, and I guess the next cause that we want to talk about with regards to complex trauma is neglect. And as we'll discover, and in particular emotional neglect, that it can actually do as much or more damage than abuse. We often use these terms interchangeably, but they are slightly different, so I think it'd be worth and defining what we mean by neglect. So, a good definition of neglect is to give little attention or respect to, to leave undone or unattended to, especially through carelessness. So, in the context of emotions, and pure emotional neglect is invisible. On outward, people who experienced this seemed to have come from ideal families quite often. This is a recurring theme and you'll see us talk about this throughout this episode. On the outside, things are okay and even to the person who's experienced it, quite often, they have no way of pinpointing an event that explains why they feel the way that they do. And there seems no signs of anything untoward. Children who suffer from emotional neglect may have had all their physical needs taken care of by their parents and caregivers. But the parent and/or caregiver failed to provide the child with the emotional nurturance and attunement needed for healthy development in relation to the self. So what I mean by that is being emotionally unavailable, parents who perhaps are workaholics, parents who were dealing with mental illness, or chronic illness or other issues, parents without the tools to meet needs of their children. And as a result, children may begin to feel abandoned or rejected and unsafe in those environments. 

Emotional neglect typically takes place between the child and the primary caregiver. So, I say caregiver because everybody has different situations growing up, and we can define emotional neglect as the failure of the primary caregiver to tune in to the emotional needs of the child and also to meet those emotional needs. And there's so much to be said on the topic. But fundamentally, this type of neglect leaves children unable to understand their own emotional self, which is the foundation to wellbeing. This can have as much, if not more power over the shape of our futures than what we can recall. So, if you think about it, childhood emotional neglect, it explains the consequences of what did not happen in childhood, and how that might be an invisible driving force in someone's life. 

So, adults who experience this, can often feel frustrated with themselves, they can blame themselves for feeling as they do, because there doesn't seem to be a very clear and overt explanation for why they feel the way that they do. They feel that there's something not right, but they just cannot pinpoint what it is. And so, these people will secretly and often it is secretly, feel disconnected, unfulfilled, unhappy, and lacking in meaning caused by their early childhood experiences. And as I said before, they'll often remember their childhoods very fondly and parents could be perceived as being loving and well meaning. And then as a result, they can often blame themselves for how they feel, not realizing that there was something at play that was invisible, fueling the disconnection from themselves. And these children will typically experience feeling like there's something wrong, but they can't quite place what it is. As a result, they'll experience low self-esteem, perfectionistic tendencies, experience lots of shame and guilt, they'll have incredibly high expectations of themselves and a lot of self-directed anger and blame when things don't go the way that they want them to or expect.

And in her book on childhood emotional neglect, Jonice Webb offers the reader a questionnaire to give the reader some way of assessing if they've experienced childhood emotional neglect. And the book is very much about going through a process of discovering what it is, how it manifests, why it's there in the first place, and then offering some ways in which we can address it. In order to help the listeners to try and understand or maybe think about how this could apply to them, I'm just going to run through that list that Jonice offers in her book. And essentially, it's just a set questions that asks you to think about your early experiences, and perhaps even how you feel just now. So, I'll run through this list. And you can perhaps, reflect on this. 

- Do you sometimes feel like you don't belong when you're with your family or friends?
- Do you pride yourself on not relying upon others?
- Do you have difficulty asking for help?
- Do you have friends or family who complain that you are aloof or distant?
- Do you feel like you have not met your potential in life?
- Often do you just want to be left alone?
- Do you secretly feel that you may be a fraud?
- Do you tend to feel uncomfortable in social situations?
- Do you often feel disappointed with or angry at yourself?
- Do you judge yourself more harshly than you judge others?
- Do you compare yourself to others and often find yourself sadly lacking?
- Do you find it easier to love animals than people?
- Do you often feel irritable or unhappy for no apparent reason?
- Do you have trouble knowing what you're feeling?
- Do you have trouble identifying your strengths and weaknesses?
- Do you sometimes feel like you're on the outside looking in?
- Do you believe you're one of those people who could easily live as a hermit?
- Do you have trouble calming yourself?
- Do you feel there's something holding you back from being present in the moment?
- Do you feel at times, empty inside?
- Do you secretly feel there's something wrong with you?
- Do you struggle with self-discipline? 

This is a big, big list. 

Waheed  23:27
Bro, bro! Like while you're going through this, I'm like, I'm just ticking each and every one. I’m like, honey, this just applies perfectly, subhanAllah. 

Aadam  23:40
This is how I felt when I read this book. And when I read the book, I did feel like “Oh my God, I feel like someone has finally understood how I feel!” And it was it was quite liberating to hear the list in that way and be able to identify with it, and also be given the hope that there's actually a solution to the way that we feel that is inexplicable. So, if you do feel and identify with some or all of the things that I asked through the questionnaire, then please do keep listening to the rest of these episodes, because we’ve got so much to share. And there is a solution, and there's help on the other side of this. 

Waheed  24:22
InshaAllah. Yeah, absolutely. 

Aadam  24:24
So, we've talked about abuse, and we've talked about neglect as causes of complex trauma. And the next one we want to talk about is abandonment. So, this can take place when there is some type of loss or a feeling of being left alone. The examples of this would be a death of a parent, divorce of parents, being placed in the foster care system, adoption, etc. So, in some significant way, essentially the world has changed for a child and someone that the child has traditionally relied upon or would rely upon is no longer there, which results in the trauma of abandonment. And this type of trauma can take place in what seemed like stable childhoods, but childhoods that are constantly facing losses. So it doesn't have to be a onetime event is what I'm saying. It could be consistent over a period of time where the child experiences. Perhaps the death of a pet, or the loss of a family member, or perhaps they moved schools repeatedly, or there's been some other financial impact at home, which has meant things have had to change significantly. Basically, in an environment where there's a lot of insecurity. For a child, there's a lack of stability and consistency, which then results in a lot of insecurity and fear, and a feeling of not being safe for the child.

Waheed  25:51
Absolutely. And if you want to think about it, like the common denominator to everything that we've been talking about is the idea that I'm not safe, that I'm walking on eggshells, that I'm not feeling comfortable. And this is what complex trauma tells you, whether that's the case with abuse, or neglect, or abandonment, it's the same thing eventually, when it comes to like how we interpret that I'm not safe, I'm not feeling okay. 

So, other than abuse, neglect and abandonment, there is this case where the basic human needs that we have are not met. Either they are not met at all, or they are inconsistently met. In this case, this constitutes complex trauma. And we know that there are many human needs that have to be met for us to be stable human beings, functional human beings and just to be emotionally, mentally and physically stable. So of course, the basic needs include safety, food, shelter, including also emotional safety, right? But we also have needs to be respected and valued as human beings. So, whenever we are put down, or whenever we are compared to other people, like “if only you were like, so and so.” This is very common in our Muslim communities, unfortunately, right? And we are made to feel not good enough. All of this makes us feel that we're not valued, we're not respected for who we are, this makes us feel that we're unsafe, there's always this potential for me to get hurt. Right? Even if the other needs are met. If this is not met, then we have a big problem. If I'm constantly being put down, and not being valued for who I am, that's how shame develops. And that is going to lead to a myriad of problems. And we're going to be talking about this in detail, inshaAllah. So, this is one thing to take into account. 

Another thing to take into account is the idea that I need to be accepted, I need to be validated for who I am, my basic personality, my sense of worthiness for being a human being. To realize that I have limitations and I have strengths, and that's okay. We don't have to maintain an image. This is very important, because my sense of worthiness is not external, it is internal, it comes from the fact that I have been created by Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala, who has breathed into me of His Spirit. And that is my sense of worthiness. He has made me worthy as a creature. But whenever we start comparing, whenever we don't accept ourselves, or whenever our parents did not accept us or validate us, that is going to hurt us. When we are constantly criticized day in and day out, that is a big problem. Right?

Another issue is the issue of belonging. We all need to feel like we belong. We belong to a family, we belong to a community. Unfortunately, many of us felt that we're like the black sheep of the family. We were left out, we were always ostracized, criticized, felt that we were different. And that is another problem.

Another issue is that life - we have to have this impression that life is fair and just. Even though there's injustice and atrocities happening all around the world, but there has to be this intrinsic feeling that Allah is fair and just, and that life at the end is okay. That I'm not walking on eggshells and things aren't going to burst in my in my face at different points in time. Now, contrast that with the double standards that happen at home. People are treated in different ways because of double standards that are set by parents, or not holding rules. Whatever applies to X doesn't apply to Y. Right? Parents being inconsistent in their treatment. Parents being so moody that they send mixed messages to different children. And this made us feel unsafe. So, this is very problematic.

Another important human need is honesty and trust. That is basic. We have to have that in our homes. If we can't trust people in our homes, be that our parents or siblings, then that is a big problem. Because what does the child feel? He or she feels unsafe. Again, this concept of safety. I’m walking on eggshells, I can't trust people I can't open up, I can't be honest. And we start building walls as a result.

Another problem is intimacy and attachment. These are human needs, we have to have healthy intimacy with our parents, with our siblings, with our family members. We need to attach in healthy ways, and we'll talk about this later, inshaAllah. To be able to talk about feelings without being judged. I feel this way, whatever the emotions are. We don't talk about positive or negative emotions; emotions are just emotions. But whether we're happy or not happy, whether these emotions are difficult, to actually be able to talk about these things without being judged. Contrast that with home environments where just by opening up and talking about our emotions, we were judged and put down. We were made to feel stupid, weak, less of a man, less of a woman, right? Again, I'm not safe in this home environment. I don't know when I will be criticized. So, I might as well just shut up and not even open up anymore. 

Another important human need is to be nurtured, to learn, and to accept successes and failures. Meaning that we learn in pain and frustration, things are not going to happen the way that we want them to happen. But we have to have people who guide us and show us that it's okay to fail, that you've done your best, we learn from our failures, and we appreciate the successes. Life is all about ups and downs. So, when we are only expected to always succeed, we're going to be afraid of doing something wrong or failing, or, for example, breaking something in the house by accident, or even crying, because this is a sign of weakness. We have very high standards that are set for ourselves by our parents and eventually by ourselves, because we learn that by conditioning, and therefore we are afraid of getting punished. So, a stable home environment, a nurturing home environment is where we learn from failure, we are not judged, we are not criticized, we are not punished for failure, versus a home environment which only accepts success, and anything short of success, whatever that subjective definition is, is going to be problematic. And that sets us up for a whole list of problems that we are going to be talking about in detail, inshaAllah. 

Another important human need, which honestly, unfortunately, I've rarely seen in our communities, which is having consistent boundaries. And I can tell you that most of us struggle with setting boundaries, unfortunately, because of the early home environments that we have been exposed to. By boundaries, what do I mean? Rules constantly changing at home. People overstepping particular boundaries, they're going into your private stuff, there is no sense of privacy, there is no sense of security, whether it's my private stuff, whether it's my emotions. People poking, even boundaries, a sense of respect. A sense of feeling that, okay, you know, we're not all enmeshed as one unit. We are all separate, independent individuals. Some home environments, it's like everyone is into everyone else's business. And sometimes, unfortunately, even boundaries have to apply to the body. This is taken for granted that my body is mine. This is a personal boundary, there's hurma (sanctity/sacredness) that's associated with that. However, in the case of sexual abuse, for example, boundaries to one's own body don't apply. And that is a big problem. So, maintaining consistent boundaries is very important and nurturing children to build and actually respect those boundaries. And teach them to instill those boundaries with others in very respectful ways so that other people will respect them and know that they have boundaries. Unfortunately, a lot of us don't know how to do that. 

And one of the most important things which is another point is the topic of unconditional love. And boy, man, I don't know where to start with this one, because, subhanAllah.. Unconditional love, and this has to be stated time and time again: When I love you, I love you for who you are, you are intrinsically worthy. You don't have to do something or say something or prove something to be worthy of this love. If you make a mistake, or if you succeed, or if you choose a different path altogether, I will not love you any less. This is unconditional love. If this does not apply to us, it is by definition conditional. 

So, if parents love their children only when they are successful, when they look a certain way, when they behave a certain way, when they follow the rules, etc., but they don't love them otherwise, then that is by definition conditional love. Parents love for their children has to be unconditional. And unfortunately, because we haven't been nurtured to experience that unconditional love, it becomes ingrained in us that if I want to be loved, if I want to be given attention, I have to prove something, I have to do something. I become a human doing rather than a human being. I'm a human being, I'm worthy, just by being me. Again, I'm worthy just by being created by a Creator who wanted me to exist, who breathed into me of His Spirit and considered me worthy. This is unconditional love. 

So, all of these needs that I've just listed, and there are others obviously, when we realize all of this, we begin to see that many of us actually grew up in environments where we didn't genuinely feel safe. Again, the topic of safety, that I was walking on eggshells, I wasn't safe being me. And that is complex trauma.

Aadam  36:43
And traumatic experiences aren't always obvious. Our perception of the trauma is just as valid as the trauma itself. Trauma occurred when we consistently betrayed ourselves for love, when we were consistently treated in a way that made us feel unworthy or unacceptable, and this separated us more and more from our authentic self. Trauma creates the fundamental belief that we must betray who we are in order to survive. Before we talk about this more, we have to mention one last thing for the sake of completion. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) carried out what is known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) study, which revealed a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as social and emotional problems. This includes heart disease, lung cancer, diabetes, and many autoimmune diseases, as well as depression, violence being a victim of violence and suicide. The first research results were published in 1998, followed by more than 70 other publications through 2015. They showed that childhood trauma was very common, even in employed white middle-class, college educated people with great health insurance. There was a direct link between childhood trauma and adult onset of chronic disease, as well as depression, suicide, being violent and becoming a victim of violence. 

More types of traumas increased the risk of health, social and emotional problems. People usually experienced more than one type of trauma, clearly it isn’t only sexual abuse or verbal abuse. The ACE’s framework is important because it clearly maps out how traumas sustained in childhood leave lasting imprint on our bodies and minds. The ACE’s shows that what happens in childhood, especially when it was a highly negative experience, stays with us for a lifetime. As a result, the CDC made what is known as the Adverse Childhood Experiences test also known as ACE’s, which mental health professionals use to assess the level of trauma in the client's lives. The ACE’s questionnaire includes 10 questions that cover various types of childhood trauma, including physical, verbal and sexual abuse, as well as experiences of witnessing such abuse, or of having an incarcerated family member.

Every yes answer to the 10 questions results in one point. Research has shown that the higher the score, the greater the chances of negative life outcomes, like increased risk of developing chronic diseases, higher rates of substance abuse as well as suicide. We will add links to the study and the questionnaire for you to check out. It's important to realize, however, that the ACE’s does not take into account the full range of traumas out there, including emotional and spiritual ones, which result from consistently denying or repressing the needs of the authentic self, that so many of us have experienced or forms of social or racial trauma, prejudice, oppression, etc. And there are forms of hidden or subtle trauma, but the ACE’s framework is a good place to start to get a picture for yourself of how the trauma you've endured can have physical and emotional repercussions in adulthood.

Waheed  40:04
Allah created pain to send us a signal that there is something that is wrong that needs fixing, right? So, when I have a tooth ache, it actually means there is a problem, and you need to fix that. The same with any physical pain. And the same happens with emotional and psychological pain. But if we are in these environments, we are feeling a lot of pain. We don't know what to do with that, we are kids. So, to take away the pain, what do we do? We try to be good children. We try to please our parents; we do everything that we can in order to be safe. But then eventually, we realized that no matter what we did, the pain didn't go away. What does a child have to do to deal with a trauma that has no solution? No matter what you do, the pain is always going to be there. So, what happens is that the brain, the survival brain takes over. The primitive part of the brain takes over. The priority becomes to not get hurt. This is survival mode. This is the basic mode. I have to protect myself to not get hurt. And then once that is fulfilled, to get those emotional needs met, because I'm a human being, Allah wired me to have my emotional needs met. So, the first priority is to not get hurt. Survival mode. And this kind of trumps all the other priorities that we've just listed. And then, once I'm not hurt, I have to get those needs met. And the problem is, it sets me up for trying to get those needs, but not in a healthy way. It manifests itself in relationship problems, like fake intimacy, and addiction, like numbing behaviors, and so on. And we'll get into the details of these as we go along. 

Now that we're talking about the brain, let's just go into what happens in our brains to try and understand what happens in the survival brain, the survival mode, and the fight-flight-or-freeze response, because once we understand that, it gives us a model by which we understand a lot of what is happening nowadays in our lives. So, when we have a stressful event that is going on, or our body and minds are anticipating that there's something important coming up, for example, let's say there's a major event coming like a wedding, or I'm having a major exam coming up, or I'm preparing for a presentation, a major work meeting that's happening. Whatever it is, we talk about healthy stress, right? We have a normal response to stress. The limbic system, which is part of the survival brain, it senses this threat. And what happens is that the body responds by having the state of heightened emotional/ arousal state. We sense a threat, and we have specific memories that come up in response to particular sounds, particular images, particular sensations that are connected to a “threat”, right? A threat doesn't have to be an actual threat, it's just something that is a little bit stressful. What happens is that we respond to specific “triggers”, this is something that is stressful to me, right? My body is going to start producing cortisol, which is a stress hormone, and this gives me a burst of energy, to fight or flight, my memory is going to be heightened, I have less sensitivity to pain, there's a lot of adrenaline circulating in my body. And the results of adrenaline are similar to cortisol. Now, this stress response is healthy when it comes up temporarily to help me, it gives me a boost of energy, a boost of memory to do what I have to do, particularly with stressors where I have to show up, or to even run away when I have to run away, because there is danger coming. Now contrast that with complex trauma, because this stress response is not happening temporarily, it's actually taking place over prolonged periods of time, it becomes what is known as toxic stress.

It's a chronic thing. Here, the body becomes addicted to adrenaline, and so we have a lot of adrenaline, a lot of cortisol that is being released constantly over long periods of time. This becomes detrimental to my body. My cognitive performance starts to decline. I have difficulty focusing. I have difficulty doing in-depth thinking. I start having mental health problems, sleeping problems. My brain starts to have chemical imbalances, like different levels of serotonin, dopamine, etc. They're all messed up. So, people start having depression and anxiety for example. What about the physical health? My thyroid gland, which is responsible for my metabolism starts to be suppressed. People start having blood sugar problems. The bone density even starts decreasing, because of stress, because of cortisol, the muscle tissue starts to decrease, blood pressure increases, we start having heart disease, immunity and inflammatory responses in the body become lowered. As we know that chronic stress leads to lower immunity and a higher chance of getting disease. This explains that, right? Even wound healing becomes slowed. 

And how is all of that tied to my memory? Now, we know that there are two kinds of memory, there's something called implicit memory and explicit memory. So implicit memory means my emotional memory, so things that are stored in my body, particular emotions that I remember, versus the explicit memory, which is the detailed memory, the rational part. Sometimes we can be triggered by particular events. We feel a certain way, but we don't know why. Because the implicit and explicit have been separated. I have that implicit memory but I don't know the details of it. Some people start having gaps in their memories. So, what I'm trying to say here is, the limbic system, the one that's involved in the stress response, the survival brain is the one that is triggered. It's overactive, it's taking over most of the time. It's triggered more easily by stress and danger. And it's very important to know that there is a doing part of my brain and there's a thinking part of my brain. The thinking part is the prefrontal cortex, which is at the forefront of my brain. It's the one that's responsible for making rational decisions, executive functioning, etc. When I'm under stress, that part of the brain shuts down, and what takes over is my survival brain or the limbic system. That's the doing part of the brain and that's the one that takes over. When we are triggered emotionally, we feel and act as if we are back in the time of danger. It's dangerous, that is interpreted by my body, by my brain, as a dangerous threat, even though that particular event might not actually be stressful or dangerous. But we go back to that point in time, when we felt like we were that powerless little kids who felt unsafe, who felt that he or she was walking on eggshells. As a result, what happens in my brain? Fight, flight, or freeze, that's the response that we're talking about, because we have to survive. So, Aadam, let's walk the listeners through the fight-flight-or-freeze response. 

Aadam  47:31
Let's start off with the fight response. And I just want to say about these, having read through these and talked about them and researched them, it's not that we do one or the other. We can do different ones (trauma responses) at different times, depending on the situation, or we can react in these three different ways at different times, depending on what the trigger is. So, it's just important to note that, although they're separated, they can overlap, and it's not that people experience one and not the other.

So, if we start with the fight response, this is when there's a situation that is seemingly threatening, or emotionally triggering for people who have complex trauma. It can result in someone becoming angry very quickly and feeling intimidated. And in their minds, they need to protect themselves, and this is the protection mode. They will follow a “I hurt you before you hurt me” mentality. So, before they experience pain, whether it was just a threat of pain or actual inflicted pain, they will react in a way to protect themselves, “I'm going to hurt you before you hurt me.” And that's quite toxic subhanAllah, and it can often result in undesirable outcomes with the people around us. Also, in this fight survival mode, people may even direct (the anger) at themselves through self-harm as a result of self-blame and berating. Their thinking will be “I must have done something to deserve it. I need to punish myself.” And, again, it's the idea of what we touched on before: we feel this way triggered by a situation and we may remember the feeling but not the detail of what happened. So we react based on whatever it is that we know in that moment, and sometimes we will opt to assign blame, because there's just a tendency for human beings to do that. We might assign blame to ourselves subhanAllah, and that's the tragedy of this. People can end up self-harming themselves. 

Waheed  49:50
Right. And just to say something, that whenever you see someone who is emotionally triggered and lashing out at people, now you might be able to say that his survival brain is taking over. So this kind of gives us an idea about how we behave and how other people behave. So now we can start looking at people like, okay, “Now his survival brain is taking over this guy is going through trauma,” as opposed to me hating him, and then fighting fire with fire. I can start putting things in perspective. 

Aadam  50:25
Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. It's just to have compassion for the experience that someone else is having because more often than not, it's not really to do with us. It's more to do with them. So that itself requires a level of maturity to realize that not everything is about us. SubhanAllah. 

Waheed  50:48
Absolutely. So that's the fight response, which is one of the three. The second one is flight. 

Aadam  50:54
Yeah, so this is all about avoiding pain. The thinking here is “The minute I feel pain, I'm just going to take off.” The threshold to avoidance decreases with time and it becomes a regular thing. So first, I might start with any stress or discomfort, and then it becomes with any potential signs of danger, even when there's nothing there and we just start reading into the worst-case scenario. We pre-empt our escape, basically. So, the trigger is followed by a very quick, nanosecond response that escalates to great intensity. Like going from zero to 100, very quickly. 

That's why when life is going well, many of us start to feel like something bad is definitely going to happen. There's an anticipation of something going wrong, and sabotaging things when they're going smoothly. A lot of us will run away and push things away that are actually good for us. This might be in relationships, this could be in our careers or in any aspect of life where there's something that's going well, but because of our anxiety or the expectation that things will go wrong, we will sabotage those things in our lives. 

Waheed  52:13
And, again, this makes sense because the brain is on survival mode, so it's anticipating any danger. The fact that things are going well means that “Oh my God, something so bad is going to happen, so I might as well just end this thing right now!” 

Aadam  52:26
Exactly. SubhanAllah. Another way that people will avoid things, like avoiding pain or dealing with difficult emotions, will be by distracting themselves. You might see this show up as workaholism, addictive behaviors, people often will escape into fantasies. They may use their imagination, they're daydreaming all the time. Perhaps they are just consuming entertainment, en masse. Constantly watching Netflix or binging on TV shows and movies, that type of thing. People will also even isolate themselves physically. So, they will retreat into their safe spaces. That might be in their home, in a bedroom, whatever it might be. Others around them will not hear from them for extended periods of time. This is not uncommon, this does happen. And the whole thing is just basically to avoid any experience that might inflict some type of harm or pain. 

Waheed  53:24
So that's the flight response to which we basically, run away, we avoid pain. And the third response is the freeze response. 

Aadam  53:31
Yes, so we will try to stuff our emotions, disconnect from any emotions that make us feel vulnerable. Things that make us feel sad, fear, we will stop ourselves from crying if that's how we feel. And as children, many of us split into two modes of operation. There's the mode where we feel like some of our emotions are safe to express and that we can be comfortable here. So that would be things like joy, happiness, laughter, fun, all those sorts of things, versus those emotions that will make us feel vulnerable or afraid in some way. This includes fear, sadness, and any of the other emotions that we might associate with being negative. We will actively hide that from people. 

Another way that that people will shut down emotionally or try not to feel (their emotions) is basically saying that they don't care. Common words/phrases sound like, “Whatever, who cares! I'm not bothered by that, it doesn't matter to me,” which is a form of shutting down our emotions and not engaging with an experience. 

Others may go through numbing their emotions. This is where we might use substances or other things in an addictive way to escape our reality for a short period and try to gain relief that way. And in severe cases, the brain may protect itself and the person by blocking the memory completely. You touched on this earlier, Waheed, we said there may be gaps in memory. If people experience that, then it's likely that there's some type of trauma at play. It's very common for children who have complex trauma to experience gaps in memory; feeling a feeling, but not being able to pinpoint where it comes from. 

Waheed  55:28
And we'll talk about dissociation, inshaAllah, later as we go along. 

Aadam  55:32
Yeah, and healing from complex trauma allows those memories to start coming back. So as we said, before, the brain stores memories in two parts, the details (of events) and the emotions of experiences. One might not entirely remember the details, but the emotions are still triggered. We don't block those emotions necessarily, but we can do things to try and ignore them, so what we've discussed, but they're always there. In other words, going into a situation and feeling panic or anxiety, but really not having any memory of how or where that came from in the first place. And that's because the right-hand side of the brain, which is responsible for emotions develops more in response to complex trauma than the left-hand side of the brain, which is responsible for those rational details and all the specifics about the event. 

The key in trying to overcome this is to learn to be guided by careful thinking, levelheaded thinking rather than our emotions, which I know for many of us will sound a lot easier than it is to do. And I will admit that and attest to that. It's something that does require persistence, effort, love and compassion. And, inshaAllah, we can absolutely learn to process and control our emotions.

Waheed  56:57
And we'll talk about a lot of practical tips, inshaAllah, as we go along. So, this is the fight-flight-or-freeze response. Now, a lot of people think that it only applies to like physical threats, like if I'm in a jungle and a lion comes running towards me. I'm either going to fight back, or run away, or just freeze in that moment. But that's not just the physical response. Now, we see that it also applies to the emotional aspect. This is basically what we're talking about here. Maybe you are familiar with these concepts before, maybe this is the first time that you have heard it. But we encourage you to try and think about how you react to different situations or “threats” or stressful experiences in your life. Do you fight? Do you experience flight? Or do you freeze and shut down? 

Aadam  57:49
Yeah, absolutely. Learning this will help in the process. We can’t fix or heal what we're not aware of, so once we get the awareness, we can start to make changes. It's important to mention before we move on to the next part, that complex trauma affects the development of the brain, and that impact is linked to problems with our behavior, learning, dealing with emotions, mental health and physical health. Our brain has a tremendous potential to heal itself, once we work on healing and recovery. And as I said before, this does take time and effort, and we will talk about this in lots of detail in the later episodes.

Waheed  58:33
This touches upon the earlier notions of brain plasticity that we have explored earlier on in this season. Our brain, subhanAllah, has this tremendous potential to heal and to rewire. So, whatever trauma has done to our brains, there is a chance, inshaAllah, to rewire those circuits and to heal from them, inshaAllah. 

The remainder of this episode is going to be directed to learning more about the dynamics that we have had with our parents or our caregivers. And those are the dynamics that brought about a lot of the complex trauma that we have endured or that we experience. So, to put everything into perspective, we're all born as human beings, Allah has wired us to emotionally attach and bond with our parents and caregivers. This is part of our fitrah. So, this means to bond, to attach, to that parent as babies and then as we grow up, we learn to relate to them at a deeper level. We learn to not wear masks and to be completely open with them. The idea is to feel that we're in a safe world in our childhood and development. And this does not only apply to when we're babies or children or preteens and teens. This carries on in our early adulthood and even further along. All of these stages require healthy attachment with our parents and caregivers, not just the early stages. So, the lack of healthy attachment is going to create trauma. So, we have that aspect, which is proper attachment to the parents. The other aspect is not to feel abandoned from that connection. To make sure that that connection is not severed, for whatever reason. And it starts with our parents and with everyone in our lives, so friends, family, colleagues, etc. Once we have our connections severed, our natural need to connect with others, that also becomes problematic. That's where the abandonment issues start coming up. So, a lot of us go through the same trauma situations in our lives. And we will talk about trauma bonds and trauma repetition in later stages. But this explains why some people who develop traumas are able to heal from them, and are able to become resilient, and be healthy versus others who have experienced the same trauma and end up developing trauma reactions like post-traumatic stress or even addictions and numbing behaviors. And one way to explain this is that people who are resilient and who bounce back, have a support network, they have connections that they rely on. Healthy, genuine connections where they feel seen and heard. Where they feel that there's no shame that I can be myself, I'm not judged, I feel that I'm worthy. Those who are likely to develop addictions and post-traumatic stress and mental health issues as a response to trauma probably do not have those genuine connections. And we will touch upon this as we go along, inshaAllah.

Aadam  1:01:45
The importance of those can't be understated, so it's important that we bear that in mind as we talk through the rest of this. 

But if we start off by talking about attachment theory. Attachment theory best explains emotion in healthy parenting. John Bowlby, the originator of attachment theory says that when a parent recognizes and meets their child's emotional needs, a secure attachment is formed. And this attachment forms the basis for healthy self-esteem, healthy self-image, and general wellbeing in life. So, these parents, as he says, have three essential skills: 1. The parent feels an emotional connection to the child, 2. The parent pays attention to the child and sees him or her as a unique and separate person, rather than an extension of him or herself, or a possession or a burden, 3. Using that emotional connection and paying attention, the parent responds competently to the child's emotional needs. 

So, these skills are powerful tools for helping a child learn about and manage his or her own nature. And when parents are in tune with the unique emotional nature of their children, they raise strong, healthy adults. And I think the key phrase here is unique emotional nature. Everybody's different. And one of the jobs of parents is to recognize that within their children and to be able to respond appropriately. 

Waheed  1:03:18
And this is what we're saying when we say like emotionally in tune, meaning that they are able to identify their children's emotions, to have discussions about them, to help them go through whatever emotions they can go through, as opposed to neglecting those feelings, ignoring them, not having discussions about them, not having the willingness or the ability to engage in such discussions, or to help the child navigate those emotions. 

Aadam  1:03:48
Absolutely. In order to be a good parent, you don't need a qualification. And I just want to emphasize this point, because I know we've talked a lot about parents and the expectation that we've just talked about, but for most people, this is just natural, they will do this naturally. And they don't need to be taught this. I'm not saying we shouldn't learn about these things if we aspire to become parents, or perhaps are parents, but most people are entirely capable of being good enough parents. If you think of love and emotions as a tank, there is a minimal amount of parental emotional connection, empathy and ongoing attention that's needed to fuel a child's growth and development, so that they will grow into an emotionally healthy and connected adult. Less than the minimal amount, and those children will become adults who struggle emotionally, seemingly successful to the outside world but empty, missing something within that no one can see. So that should help put it into context. Donald Winnicott who is a child psychiatrist, psychoanalyst, a researcher and writer says in his writings and describes the good enough mother in the way that I've just mentioned above: a mother who meets, or, generally speaking, a parent who meets their child's needs in any given moment. 

And it's important to note two things. All parents are guilty of emotionally neglecting their child from time to time. This is inevitable being human beings. And if you've ever been around children, or you have your own children, you know that it can be trying and testing at times. Children are not always easy to deal with. But that's the nature of children, right? They need to be taught these things, and they don’t necessarily know manners and etiquettes. That's just children. And mostly, the moments where this happens it doesn't do any significant harm provided that the child is provided for with the minimal amount of connection and comfort and love and all of the other stuff necessary.  

Parents who are emotionally neglectful as a pattern or pathology do two things: they fail their children in a critical way during a moment of crisis and/or they are chronically tone deaf to their child's emotional needs, also known as chronic empathic failure. The harm comes from the sum total of all moments where parents are emotionally neglectful. So, if you were emotionally neglected, and you are now a parent, you might be starting to realize that you're passing on some of this neglect and the impact of complex trauma to your children. Please realize it's not your fault. This is not an invitation to fall into a spiral. On the contrary, this is an invitation to show yourself some compassion, love, and acceptance. You can only do better with what is a part of your awareness, so please don't berate yourself. You have the opportunity to interrupt the pattern and change the future. And life is an ongoing learning experience, subhanAllah, and we can only do with what we know. So, please keep listening, because we'll be sharing lots of things that we can all do to help with this as the episodes go. 

Waheed  1:07:22
InshaAllah, absolutely. Now that we’ve covered all of this, the question is, how do these parents or interactions contribute to complex trauma, right? If you want to think about it, it all boils down to an abuse of power or authority. Instead of using our positions of power as parents or caregivers to meet the needs of those who are under our authority, we use it to be selfish, or to have everything to go the way that we want it to go, meaning “Nobody can challenge me, I will do whatever I want and I can get away with it.” That's a very big problem. It's all about them, the parents, and what makes them comfortable. And, as a result of that, parents don't consistently meet the basic needs of their children. The needs of their children are seen as an inconvenience. An inconvenience to whom? To the parents, to the pleasure or the fun of the parents or to whatever they want to do. 

That distorts the reality and experience of the child, because then the child sees him or herself as an inconvenience, as if my needs do not matter. A lot of us have been consistently told that we are selfish for having needs. It is my fault that my parent is upset. We were made to feel that we were bad for having needs, or my needs anyway are just going to be neglected so I might as well not even pay attention to that, because I'm not important. I'm invisible. Who cares? No one cares about me. Some people were made to feel guilty and not good enough, and the only way that they could get along with everyone is to actually sacrifice their own needs to meet those of their parents. And how does this develop growing up? We end up sacrificing our own needs with other people to make sure that they are happy. We take responsibility for other people's emotional states. And in many cases, the children often have to become parents to their own parents. So, the responsibility or the fulfillment of needs actually shifts from the parents to the children, the children now become responsible, as opposed to the parents. So, if you think about it, sometimes the parents are the needy children, and the children are forced to grow beyond their years to make peace or sometimes even take care of their parents emotionally and sometimes even physically, depending on the home environment. 

Aadam  1:09:56
Yeah, subhanAllah. In the book Running on Empty by Jonice Webb, she actually details 12 types of parents, and how they can inflict neglect upon their children. And there are an infinite number of ways for a parent to fail their child emotionally, and it probably is impossible to go over them all. But these 12 categories should cover most types of parents. And parents will often have traits that cross over between categories. So, as we talk through these, you may find that your parents display characteristics of more than one group, which is fine and is expected.

And just a reminder, no parent is perfect, and nor is any childhood. I want to emphasize, this is not a campaign to smear all parents, or any parent. Most parents do their best and are well meaning. Despite this, some parents do leave their children emotionally neglected or with complex trauma. And often the parents were also themselves neglected or experienced complex trauma and were unable to give their children what they never had in the first place. So, the exercise of going through these categories is not intended to blame or open old wounds. But rather, we're trying to learn how these behaviors may have impacted us, so that we can collectively heal from them. So, feel free to take notes and reflect on what you've experienced as a child and to think about how what we will talk about has perhaps affected you up till this day. 

Waheed  1:11:36
All right. So, let's start with these 12 categories. 

Aadam  1:11:39
So, number one, and this is in no order, on the list is the narcissistic parent. This is a word that's used a lot in pop culture, and I think people often misunderstand it and use it inappropriately. But people with narcissistic qualities believe themselves in some way to be superior to others. And they carry themselves with what seems like confidence and a lot of charisma. They're very good at charming people and are grandiose. Deep down, these people are highly insecure, and they know it. So, they seek validation from the outside world. And when they don't receive it, they can act up. It's almost like a child throwing a tantrum. We spoke about this in detail back in season one, episode nine. 

Deep down, these people are emotionally weak and very easily hurt. They hold grudges, they blame other people, and they don't take responsibility for their own actions and they will throw tantrums. They have a hard time admitting that they are wrong in any situation. They're highly judgmental and can be manipulative even. Considering this, as parents, they can demand perfection from their children, or at least no embarrassment. When their children make mistakes in public, narcissistic parents feel personally humiliated, and they will make their children pay. If you think about everything we said, everything for narcissists is about the outside appearance and making sure they come across as confident and charming and all of this. And many of these parents will see their children as an extension of themselves, so they don't consider the child's feelings. So, the child is basically just an extension of them reflected in the world and what they do reflects badly or goodly on the parents. 

It's an enmeshment, the child isn't an individual. And they put their own feelings before their children. The children who try to express their needs are often labeled as selfish and inconsiderate. Many of these parents lack the ability to imagine or care about what their children are actually feeling. They have no empathy. Narcissists are typically characterized by having no empathy, and I just want to put that in there if you don't know anything about narcissists. 

Amongst siblings, narcissistic parents can often have differing relationships with their children based on how the children make them feel. For example, a child who makes a parent look good socially might be praised above the other kids. And this is what we talked about before, this is conditional love, whereby the parent showers the child with affection as long as the child performs to a certain standard. 

Waheed  1:14:23
As opposed to unconditional love, “I love you no matter what and regardless of what you do.” 

Aadam  1:14:26
Exactly. So, we can already start to see just within what we've talked about so much of what we've already discussed, showing up within this type of parent, and how it might manifest in those daily interactions. 

Waheed  1:14:42
So that's as far as the narcissistic parent. The second category is that of the authoritarian parent. Dr. Diana Baumrind was the first to identify the authoritarian parent and described this parenting style as parents who are “rule-bound, restrictive and punitive in raising their children on inflexible and unbending demands.” Basically, those parents who require a lot of their children, they expect them to hear and obey all rules without questioning. They don't consider it necessary to provide their children with any explanations of their rules, and non-adherence is punished very harshly. “It has to be my way. It has to go my way, this way or no way.” Sometimes even the punishment is physical abuse. These parents don't have a concern for how their children feel, that's irrelevant to them. The child should comply with the parents’ wishes at all times, no questions asked, whatsoever. The individual needs of their children, their temperaments, the feelings, that is all not even considered.  

Now, as a rule, authoritarian parents are emotionally neglectful; not all of them are abusive, but there is a high likelihood that these parents would be abusive, especially if their conditions or the rules are not met. The more that you adhere to these rules, the more love that you feel in return; the less that you adhere to these rules, the less love that you feel. Again, conditional love. My obedience becomes equated to love. My obedience means my parents are going to love me; when I don't obey my parents, my parents are not going to love me. And as a result, the parents will feel disrespected and rejected. And I will feel rejected in return. So, if children have had enough, and they started rebelling against the parents, the parents are going to feel a lack of love. They are going to start feeling angry, enraged and disrespected. It becomes fighting fire with fire. And the problem is, a lot of these children start feeling guilty for having needs of their own, and they will start sacrificing those needs in order to please their parents. As a result, they're sent a message that tells them that your own legitimate and healthy needs have to be put on the side, in order to fulfill your parents needs to feel loved and appreciated. So, it's all about your parents, you don't matter. And so, the children will internalize that they're not important, that their feelings and needs should be kept to themselves. We start feeling disconnected from ourselves, and it can lead to so many mental health conditions that we have described earlier. 

We can expect that adults who grow up after having lived through these experiences as children, they are going to struggle with a lot of self-blame, a lot of shame, a lot of feelings of inadequacy, and a lot of self-directed anger. There's this deep-seated tendency to blame themselves when things go wrong, and they can be very harsh on themselves when they make a mistake. Why? Because the parental voice inside of their mind is alive and well. It's being replicated every single day. And the problem is some of those adults who grew up as children of authoritarian parents will grow up to become authoritarian parents themselves. That's not a rule, but some of them do end up like that. They can be overly pedantic, very structured, inflexible, resistant to “drawing outside the lines”, so to speak. 

How do children usually heal from this? It's about being present with others who affirm that you are important, that your feelings matter, and this is going to take a long time of shedding shame and realizing that you are internally valid and worthy. That lifelong narrative starts to shift, inshaAllah, from the fact that “you're not important, my feelings don't matter,” to “I am important, I'm worthy, I’m lovable and my feelings matter.” My needs are important. And we'll talk about this, inshaAllah, as we go along. 

Aadam  1:18:50
The next parent type is the permissive parent. These are the “happy go lucky” parents and are the polar opposite to the authoritarian parents we've just talked about. These parents opt for the path of least resistance and, at best, they want their kids to be happy, and at worst, they do not want to do the work of parenting. These parents don't provide their children with structures, limits, or a strong adult presence during the teenage years against which they can rebel. Parenting requires energy as any parent will tell you, and these parents find it easier to let things be as they are, resulting in negative consequences for their children. 

These parents can be perceived as loving by their children due to the lack of conflict that will typically arise between them. These parents themselves struggle with conflict and self-discipline, so they do everything they can to avoid it with their children. The adult children of these parenting styles end up struggling to discipline themselves later in life, so they can struggle to follow rules and boundaries that might be set by society, having never had to live by them in the first place at home. When they go out in the real world, they often have poor outcomes and negative experiences, things like being at work or in school, maybe getting into trouble with the law, all of that sort of thing. Teenagers need a strong parental figure to moderate their decision making with rules and consequences. Teenagers, as we're aware, can be impulsive, and too much freedom as detrimental as they're trying to figure out and forge their own identities away from their parents. So, a permissive parent won't provide the boundaries that are necessary for a teenager to really develop an understanding of right and wrong, boundaries, etc. Also, with these types of parents, a child's sense of worth and capability can also be impacted negatively. Without enough well-rounded feedback from a parent, a child might not realize their true potential and capability in life. For example, achieving lower grades in school than they might be capable of, or healthy risk taking. In fact, children may begin to believe that they're only capable of what they are achieving alone without the support and guidance of an experienced adult. Many permissive parents were brought up by permissive parents, so they don't realize what they're doing, or even the consequences of it. 

Waheed  1:21:12
The permissive parents are exactly the polar opposite to the authoritarian ones. And now, we have a different example of parents, which are the parents who are bereaved, either they have been divorced or widowed. These parents are trying to cope with the divorce or death that they have experienced. Typically, in this case, the parent as well as the child are grieving, and the bereavement can leave the children in these families feeling emotionally neglected. The loss that has happened is not openly discussed, it becomes a taboo topic quite frequently. And the children, as a result, they don't bring up this topic because they are afraid of causing pain to the parent. Sometimes, if the parent is going through divorce, they might start using the other parent as a scapegoat for their own problems. They deprive their child of developing happy moments or having valuable learning moments or opportunities to get to know themselves much better and to set healthy boundaries and rules. Sometimes the parents even rush themselves and rush their children through the grieving process, and they don't allow the children the space or the time to express and feel their feelings. And as we know, the feelings that are stuffed, not allowed to be processed, they're going to explode and come back later in life. 

They (parents) mean well, because they care about their kids, they don't want them to experience pain, but this all comes from their own feeling of discomfort when it comes to dealing with these emotions. Just after the period of grieving, whether the loss or the event that has happened, life just goes back to normal, everything is “fine”. No acknowledgement of the loss, no conversations, no feelings or emotions whatsoever. And so, what children do is they start hiding their emotional needs from their parents. They start repressing their genuine, authentic and healthy emotional needs. They can become withdrawn, isolated, shut down from themselves, because that is the only way they know how to cope, because I don't know how to communicate, I don't know how to express, I don't know how to feel. And as a result, when they grew up, they start struggling as adults, and they feel like there's something that is wrong with me, but I can't pinpoint that particular thing. They feel angry at their parents and their siblings who were with them in their home, but they were not able to communicate with them. They were closed off emotionally, they were not available, and they weren't able to grieve their loss or deal with the shock. So that is very important to realize. 

Aadam  1:23:51
The next parent type is the addicted parent. Addicted parents are not all the same. On one end of the spectrum, there's the parents who are lost to their addiction, and children of these parents are emotionally neglected, abused and traumatized. There's no question of that. We're interested in talking about specifically those parents who are called “functional addicts.” These are parents who are quite often considered loving, and people might not view them as having addiction problems. But these parents have two faces: one of the loving, present parent, and the other of the addicted parent. Children of these parents can struggle to know which parent they can expect when they get home from school, for example, or when they're just at home playing or whatever. When these parents are engaged in their addictive behaviors, they can be out of their sober character. So, they can be mean, aggressive, abusive, hurtful, inappropriate and so on. And this unpredictability in the parents’ behavior can leave the children feeling anxious, insecure and worried, essentially what we've said: fundamentally unsafe. These children are at a much higher risk of developing anxiety disorders and addictions in adulthood. The lack of consistency in parenting creates anxiety, especially when addicted parents act up in an intoxicated state. Furthermore, parents whilst engaged in their addiction can fail to relate to their child as he or she really is and fail to respond appropriately to their emotions. When they're caught up in their addiction and they're intoxicated, they don't see what they would normally see if there were sober. So, a child might have a significant event, something they want to talk about but the parent is not even present, they're just away in another land. And they can quite often project their own negative self-view onto their children, passing on negative traits, and children have no way of knowing that this is happening. The children will internalize all of the words of the parents, leading to chronic low self-esteem, inadequacy, and the list just goes on. 

Waheed  1:26:01
Absolutely. The sixth type of parents is the depressed parent. The parent who lacks the energy and the enthusiasm to parent their kids. They inevitably emotionally neglect their children. Obviously, they don't intend to do that, but they are dealing with their own mental health issues. They can be disengaged, they seem disinterested, they're caught up in their own pain and misery, that they have no time to be there for their children. So, they can be very irritable and miserable when they're around their family members. Just like Aadam was saying, with the addicted parent, for example, with a depressed parent, it's the same, because children don't know how to get positive attention from their parents, they feel invisible. My good behavior is not going to be noticed or rewarded, but the bad behavior might get them some attention. So, what happens is that some kids will resort to misbehaving, because they want to grab the attention of their parents, because the parents are otherwise disengaged. The only way that I can attract their attention is to do something bad. So they fear that attention that they get from their parents is actually short lived, and they need to act up, or appear to be in pain, so that they can receive attention. And these kinds of parents are well documented, and the effects of them are well documented. The problem that children from these household’s experience include that they're more likely to be depressed, to be perceived as troublemakers, to engage in addictive or dangerous behaviors. For anyone who's dealing with someone who's delinquent or struggling with addiction or mental health issues, avoid the blame game and start realizing that all of this comes from somewhere. They have complex trauma, and it can be traced back to a lot of things that have happened in childhood. 

Aadam  1:27:52
So, the seventh parental type is the workaholic parent. These parents are consumed by their careers to such an extent that they are emotionally absent from their children's lives. These children are often seen as privileged, since their parents typically earn lots of money and have nice things, like a big house, lots of branded clothes, gadgets, holidays, all of that sort of thing. And as a result, few people have sympathy for these children, as they're seen as being privileged. These parents repeatedly put their work before their children, sending the message to their kids that their needs are not important. They give them lots of things, they have no lack of need from a material perspective, and the parent considers that to be enough. But time, touch, attention and love are absent, and being absent from their lives tells their children that their lives don't matter. So, these kids can be seen struggling with low self-esteem, inadequacy, self-blame, and they can even, as with the previous parental type, resort to misbehavior just to get attention from their parents for themselves. 

Waheed  1:29:00
Yeah, absolutely. And then I mean, not all workaholic parents tend to be rich and provide their children with gadgets and clothes and nice things. A lot of people are struggling to make their ends meet, and they have to work overtime. In any case, a lot of children feel like they they're not seen, and as if their needs are not important. This is another thing to kind of take into account. 

Aadam  1:29:27
Yeah, absolutely. 

Waheed  1:29:29
The other example is when families are dealing with a sick family member or a family member who has special needs. In these households, the needs of the healthy child are kind of neglected to take care of the family member who is sick or who has special needs. So the children don't get the freedom to be themselves and they're often expected to help support the parents to manage the difficult situation with the other family member who is being taken care of. And children sometimes feel that the home environment is almost like a constant crisis zone. Sometimes, there are urgent things that are happening, so the children might be left to have dinner alone, while the parents are at the hospital or at an institution or whatever. School events might sometimes be unattended by the parents, my achievements are sometimes not acknowledged, they don't even know that I got the highest grade or I won a prize or so on so forth. My accomplishments are not celebrated. The thing is that parents actually look at their “healthy children”, and they think that they are coping better than they actually are. Studies have shown that there's a disparity between what the parents perceive and how the children are coping and how they feel. This shows that parents can minimize the children's distress and they expect maturity levels from their kids that the kids are incapable of cultivating. They expect them to grow beyond their years. And so eventually, with those kids, what happens is that they reach a breaking point, and they go from behaving very well, to becoming unlike their “usual self” in the eyes of their parents. And they carry a lot of anger, a lot of rage, a lot of resentment, a lot of guilt for their feelings and having emotional needs that were unmet. And sometimes parents may make the mistake of dismissing their children's feelings all together, and that further exacerbates the problem that my feelings don't matter. 

Aadam  1:31:38
There's a common theme, no matter what the context, is similar messages that are being sent as we all are realizing as we keep going through these parental types. The next parental type is the achievement- or perfection-focused parent. These parents are likely to say to a child who scored A on all tests “Next time, I expect A pluses”. Some of us might have heard this, particularly coming from a Muslim background. These parents are seldom satisfied with the achievements of their children, nothing is good enough for them. Emotional neglect takes place when the parents project their own aspirations onto their children and pressure the kids to achieve those. The motivations for these parents are varied. They may want better for their children, some of them are just perfectionistic, some of them are living their own life through their children, and some of them are just repeating a family pattern of high achievement or high expectations. 

These parents will focus on how they feel about their child's performance and completely neglect the needs of the child. These parents can send a message that says, “Be good so that you can be successful”, which will often lead these kids to deny themselves and their feelings. When parents send a message to their children that their feelings don't matter, a deeply personal part of them is being denied. That part of the child becomes the elephant in the room. No one wants to see or hear it, but it's the essence of a child. Most children learn to survive in these families by participating in the denial and pretending that their emotional self doesn't exist. I'd probably say that this happens across all these different parental types in some way. This leads them to be entirely disconnected from themselves and to struggle to love themselves, have compassion, and see their own worth or connect with others. 

Waheed  1:33:33
Amen, 100%, subhanAllah. The 10th type is the sociopathic parent. So basically, these parents lack empathy, they do not feel remorse or guilt for the bad things that they do. And this basically enables them to do pretty much anything without feeling bad for any negative consequences that others may have to endure because of their behaviors. Sociopaths go into relationships wanting to control other people. If they succeed at controlling you, they will appear to love you and like you, and if they cannot, then they will despise you. If they cannot control you, then they will hate you. They are not afraid to use underhanded techniques to hurt people who they cannot control or do not like. For example, they resort to lies, manipulation, blaming, shaming and even gaslighting. And for those of us who don't know what gaslighting is, it's basically when I manipulate someone else, to an extent that they start to question their own sanity, to question their thoughts and memories and the events that occur around them. They don't trust their reality anymore. So, I start gaining control over those people. This is basically what happens here. If one of the parents or both are sociopaths, then the children are going to struggle as we can imagine. They know that something is going on that is wrong, but they cannot quite figure out what it is. Again, children who do not behave the way that their parents want them to, then they're going to be punished in ways that are harmful, emotionally and even physically, because the parents cannot empathize, so they don't know how to connect with the children's remorse, or to show them mercy when they apologize for their mistakes. There are a lot of mind games taking place, a lot of manipulation, a lot of unpredictability. The family situations are very volatile. Again, I'm walking on eggshells, I don't feel safe, I don't know when my parents are going to explode. Imagine growing up in that environment, I mean, what that does to you emotionally and psychologically, right? So, there's a lot of guilt being carried around for the poor relationship that they have with their parents. And, because of that toxic dynamic, these children may choose to keep a healthy distance from their parents, which is expected, because, again, they want to protect themselves. And. unfortunately, parents will use that against their children by guilting them to get them to do certain things, or to blame them, or to engage in more mind games and manipulation and even use the religion card. Unfortunately, I've seen this very commonly being used in our Muslim communities. Some parents use the religion card right and left. “Allah ordered you to obey me, then you have to do X, Y and Z!” And that is abused in so many different ways. It's very important for us to see those parents for who they are, what they are, and to actually shed the guilt that we may feel, because a lot of times we are guilted into feeling specific ways that are not even realistic. We need to protect ourselves from these toxic environments and toxic relationships, and that is more important than actually the keeping that abusive relationship, even if it's with a parent, if that is the case that we're talking about.

Aadam  1:37:07
Yeah. I've actually seen people ask this question to Shuyukh, what should I do with my parental relationship when it is abusive? And the Shaykh says, you have to protect yourself.

Waheed  1:37:26
To protect yourself, for sure. Even if you maintain like a minimal level of connection, well I'm still connected to them. But I put boundaries, I don't allow them to manipulate me anymore. 

Aadam  1:37:36
Yeah, subhanAllah. And then the tragedy is that people may still feel incredible amounts of guilt because it's their parents, they're supposed to have a loving relationship. So it's very difficult. 

The eleventh parental type is one that we've touched on before, but this is where the roles become reversed and the child becomes the parent. In this situation, this type of parent allows, or even encourages, or expects, maybe even forces a child to behave as a parent. The child can be forced to parent themselves, as well as the other siblings, and even perhaps look after the parent. In the majority of these cases, these families come under some sort of extreme hardship that forces the child to mature beyond the years. So, things like bereavement, divorce, separation, sickness, addiction, financial difficulty and many other situations. In all scenarios, the parent is not able to perform all their parental obligations, and, as a result, expects one child or multiple children depending on how many are at home to compensate for their lack, which is unfair, because these children haven't matured to the level to be able to take on that type of responsibility. 

These children miss out on key childhood events and moments and engagements/interactions that they should be having with their parents, because they're too busy performing the role of an adult. They, like other children who experience emotional neglect and complex trauma, will struggle to know themselves, how to value their emotions or recognize them, and will struggle to manage difficult experiences. It's entirely possible for parents or families to have significant hardships and to be attuned to the child's emotional reality. Neglect is not a general rule of thumb for these kinds of households. Not all homes that have hardship will result in emotionally neglected children. But there's a potential for it to happen, this is probably what we’re saying here.

Waheed  1:39:40
Absolutely. Another category is the category of parents who are well meaning but they are themselves emotionally neglected. This is probably the largest subset of parents who would be associated with emotional neglect or maybe even complex trauma. Loving a child and being emotionally attuned to them, these are two different things. You can love your kids but not be attuned to their emotions. In order to be in tune with a child, a person must have must be in tune with themselves. They have to have a level of emotional intelligence, they must be willing to put in the effort and the energy that is necessary to get to know their kids. To spend time with their kids, to be vulnerable and open with their kids, depending on their developmental level. To encourage transparency, to go into the children's world, to learn to engage with them. That's all part of the emotional attunement. And that also means to recognize how the children feel, why they feel what they feel, and to address their feelings in healthy ways. For parents who lack that emotional attunement that they don't even have themselves, they cannot really offer that to people who are around them, particularly their own kids. 

Those parents have the best intentions, and they want to love their kids, but they don't really know how to do that in the best ways. They still end up failing their kids, they just don't know how to give their kids what they need. A feeling that there is something missing, I’m not being good enough, and this is reflected in the kids, because the parents are not emotionally engaged. So how do we deal with that? It's very important for parents to learn about emotional attunement, to read self-help books, to see therapists or counselors to help them through that and to help their children as well.

These are basically the twelve kinds of parents and we can see that there are overlaps between them. And if we look at the book by Nicola Le Pera, How to Do the Work, there are other examples that are given. Aadam, would you like to tell us about these? 

Aadam  1:41:42
Yeah, absolutely. Other examples include parents who deny the reality of their kids. Children may come and complain about an experience they have had, or maybe be sharing something, and the parents just dismiss it, don't believe it or provide sort of excuses for whatever might be happening, they explain away the event. This teaches the child to ignore their own intuition or gut feelings. It teaches them not to trust themselves and their judgments, because the parent essentially isn't doing that themselves. They learn to ignore their realities. 

The other example is of parents who don't see or hear you, and there's a feeling of invisibility. This, again, ties in with what we've already talked about across other twelve parental types. 

Another example is of parents who vicariously live through their child, they mold them and they shape them. This is like the authoritarian parents. These parents perhaps have a very specific desire for kids to be a certain way, or even the goal-oriented parents who want their children to be all that they never were.

Waheed  1:42:51
Hello Muslim parents who want all their kids to be doctors or engineers, or a failure otherwise! 

Aadam  1:42:57
Yeah, exactly. There's a projection of their own wants and needs on upon their kids, which is very common amongst Muslim parents, as we all know. This can result in children growing up to be indecisive, or procrastinating, or even having an obsession with the need to succeed. And I've seen this amongst Muslims. 

Other parents are those that lack boundaries and cross lines. So, we touched on this before, there's no privacy, their personal/private spaces are violated, and there's an emotional incest, i.e. parents who share too much with their children or things that might be inappropriate. 

Waheed  1:43:41
Right, that is beyond the developmental level of the child, or like sharing things that the child is going to go crazy with, because they don't know what to do with them. Like a parent struggling with mental health issues, or addictions, or even suicidal thoughts, and then dumping all of that on the child, and the child is just stunted, because they're like, what the hell am I supposed to do with this? 

Aadam  1:44:01
Yeah, exactly. Those are good examples. Other parents are overly focused on appearances. They obsess about the physicalities of their children and how pretty they are. The parents are obsessed about how they look and they model that to their kids. And there's a difference between how the family behaves at home and outside. At home, the environment might be toxic and hostile, there might be a lot of yelling and arguing, but outside of the house, butter would not melt. Everything seems to be amazing. There's an image of the perfect family. And children learn to adapt based on where they are. There's this false reality here for these kids.

Another type of parents are those who cannot regulate their own emotions. They experience intense emotions and they don't know what to do with them. We talked about this in respect to the children that experience complex trauma. But these are parents who perhaps themselves have complex trauma, so there might be a lot of screaming, slamming of doors, throwing things, physical abuse, withdrawals, silent treatment, being shut down, all of these types of things. 

Waheed  1:45:22
So basically, the fight-flight-or-freeze is happening all the time with these parents. They're either fighting, hitting, shouting, etc., or they're fleeing and running away, they're withdrawing and leaving, or they're shutting down completely. 

Aadam  1:45:35
Yep. Absolutely. And, obviously, this is then transferred on to the kids, they don't know what to expect, there's so much unpredictability, they then don't know how to regulate themselves or build emotional resilience. By now, you will see that there's so many trends and similarities between the different parent groups. And, as we said before, the context might be different, but essentially, the neglect is the same across all. 

Waheed  1:46:01
Right. And now, things are starting to make sense for us to understand where complex trauma is coming from. If we were to ask the question after presenting all of these examples, what do these different parenting types have in common? You may have found some similarities with your own parents and different parenting groups, others may not have resonated with you, and that's fine. Nonetheless, what are the messages that the kids have received growing up in these environments?

I'm not allowed to do express my feelings or emotions. Or if I do that, they will go unnoticed. So, it's not safe for me. This environment is not safe for me. I'm walking on eggshells at home. Another thing that we feel is that my feelings are not recognized, and I don't even recognize my feelings anymore, or my needs, and I am being shamed for having those emotions or those needs. Which, in the mind of the child, that is going to be equated to “My feelings don't matter,” which, to a child, also means “I don't matter. I don't exist.” They grow up being out of tune with their emotional needs, and, as a result, many of these children have to misbehave or to do something reckless or to act out or to be “bad” in order to attract the attention of their parents. Unfortunately, that comes with consequences, which causes further hurt and further rifts. Other children decide that they are not going to even bother anymore. It's not worth it. Which is a whole different thing altogether. 

The conclusion is, my feelings and behaviors, my entire existence does not matter. And this leads to a lot of pain and hurt. After pain and hurt, the extra layer that comes after that, as we've seen earlier in the season is anger. Underneath anger is always pain and hurt. We are going to be angry. And then as a result, we're going to put on masks (false selves) in order to hide our inner shame. We become that rebel, or that protector, or that angry one, or that fake one, that loner, or that nice person, that performer, that perfectionist, that clown who makes everyone laugh, that victim, that caretaker, that sarcastic person, that pleaser, the showoff, the self-righteous one, the critic, and so on. These are all different masks that we put on to move on through life. As a result, we end up dealing with all of these problems and all of these mental health issues or addictions or relationship problems, and we recycle those to the next generations. 

Aadam  1:48:53
Recognizing all of this answer so many questions for us as to why we felt specific ways or acted in specific ways as kids, as teenagers, or even now as adults. We have to know these things to begin to understand our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and to be able to engage in the “reparenting” process to heal our wounds. As we said before, we acknowledge that this can be triggering and might be triggering for you, so please give yourself a break and process it in increments. Process this with your counselor or therapist, if you have one, or someone who is a mentor to you, or your general support system. Don't feel pressured to process any of this alone, and maybe just consider it an intellectual exercise for the time being. Whatever it is that makes you comfortable. Whenever you're ready, baby steps. 

Waheed  1:49:54
Now that we have discussed the origins of complex trauma, in the next two episodes, we are going to cover the effects and the characteristics of complex trauma and how those manifests in our lives as far as our thoughts, our emotions, our behaviors as well as our relationships. Understanding all of this is very eye opening, so that we can then talk about the practical work of healing, inshaAllah. 

With this, we have come to the end of today's episode, we hope that you have enjoyed it and that you've considered it eye opening. Again, please process it in increments. You may want to listen to it more than one time, you may want to want to take breaks, take notes, process this through journaling, for example, talking to a counselor or therapist, or even reach out to us. We are available on Straight Struggle on the Discord platform or through email: awaybeyondtherainbow@gmail.com. Aadam, thank you for joining me today, and we will, inshaAllah, continue this journey on understanding complex trauma in the next three episodes. This has been Aadam and Waheed Jensen in “A Way Beyond The Rainbow”, assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi ta’ala wa barakatuh.

Episode Introduction
Definitions and Causes of Complex Trauma
Survival Brain and the Fight-Flight-Freeze Response
On Different Parental Dynamics
Ending Remarks