a review of Complex PTSD by Pete Walker

Complex PTSD was recommended to me by a friend on a forum I’m in, and I have found it very helpful.

It is, by it’s title, a book for those with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but I think it would be helpful for anyone who grew up in a sometimes traumatic family, who has a strong inner critic, or who struggles with depression that includes negative self thoughts, especially if those thoughts are echoes of your parents’ voices.

The most helpful concept I learned in this book was the emotional flashback, when the brain shifts back into younger thinking patterns and the old feelings of being attacked. An emotional flashback, unlike a standard PTSD flashback, is usually not visual, and it may last a very long time. The book discusses how to recognize an emotional flashback, and what to do when you find yourself in one.

The book also delves into the concept of the inner critic, a concept i was already familiar with, and spends a great deal of time talking about how to shrink the inner critic, and also how to shrink the outer critic (the inner voice that directs criticism outwards at others).

I appreciated the practical advice, and I recommend this book to anyone who grew up in a traumatic home, or who loves someone who did.

I made a goal of reading at least one book a month for learning, and this is everything I have read so far this year:
The God Delusion – in january.
Fiction- carpe jugulum – in January
Are you my mother by Alison Bechdel – February
Fun home by Alison Bechdel – February
The Drama of the Gifted Child by Allison Miller – February
Complex-PTSD by Pete Walker – March

next up is The Ethical Project, by Philip Kitcher



One thought on “a review of Complex PTSD by Pete Walker

  1. Wendy Kochenthal

    I do not remember an ‘inner critic’ but my flashbacks are clearly telling me I was emotionally neglected from day one by two mentally ill parents (besides the oral rape by my father at ages 2 and 3, which was the OVERT abuse that I can more easily accept). It is the EMOTIONAL NEGLECT and flashbacks that I struggle with now. My worse time is in the morning, coming out of a flashback. I hold my baby (stuffed dog) – we write – she writes her feelings with my left hand (Conversations Between My Right Hand and My Left Hand, a book I am writing).

    I dissociate and go into flight and don’t know how to get out of it and get out of bed. I am working with a therapist but I wonder if this is at all familiar to you. I feel so alone.

    Maybe you will respond. . . Warmly, Wendy


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