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  1. #1
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    Okay, so the other day I was talking with my therapist about my emetophobia. We were trying to come up with reasons why I might have Emet. She said that any sort of trauma when I was young could be the reason. We went back and explored the adoption issue. (I was adopted when I was like 3 months old) Before my parents that I have now got me I was moved to two different homes. Then my parents came and got me. My therapist said that this could probably be the root of my trauma cause I didn't have time to bond or make connections in those first few months and some how I was disrupted. Could this be the reason? Does it seem plausible to any of you guys?


    ~Monica


    PS: Also I want to know how something that you can't even REMEMBER can effect you. I mean I certainly don't remember stuff from when I was a baby...nothing up until about 4 years of age (Like most people) So how could trauma like this be effecting me daily when I can't remember it?


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  2. #2
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    It really comes down to what you want to believe about your phobia and how and where it really started. It sounds like your therapist's viewpoints are very Freudian in nature. It also sounds like your therapist is looking for a "trauma" to base your fear upon, when in reality - there might not be any trauma to place blame on or find reason within. Her viewpoints on phobias might be something you want to seriously consider because if you don't believe that it is "rooted in trauma or attachment", then you need to see someone else.


    Her viewpoint is very stereotypical - I have worked at counseling centers and have met many, many therapists. One thing I learned by working around them (and going through some therapy of my own during high school) is that you have to know where your therapist's viewpoints are coming from - meaning, what basis is she using for her therapy with you. Some therapists use a very religious theme to their treatments and others use a very anti-god and anti-spirit treatment; others believe everything is connected with something sexual and yet others will say it is a combination of things.


    I believe that some stuff just happens and there isn't any rhyme or reason or explaination for it right now. Sometimes accepting the fear as real and genuine is the first step in overcoming and working through the experience.


    Whatever you do: Don't let your therapist put the idea in your head that you were some how "traumatized" at 3months old unless this is something you are willing to explore and have the ability to explore with concrete facts. Don't let a therapist put any explaination for something in your head that defies your logic. Remember, some therapists have been known to convince their clients that they were sexually abused when they really weren't and some therapists have been known to "create memories" because that is all they talk about and focus on with their client. Don't attempt to please your therapist by agreeing with him or her. Please yourself and work through this with their guidance, not with their leading you doubtfully/
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  3. #3
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    Look, I don't know that her viewpoint is stereotypical, as purpleteacher said. In fact, I don't agree.


    sage has writtenseveral timesin response to these cause questions that the phobia's "cause" per se is many things coming together all at once, but she says that there will have been an anxious family, probably an anxious mother, and attachment issues. There will have been something difficult in your upbringing, something that was too much for a small child to deal with. And not something necessarily that had anything to do with vomit.


    Also, no, I don't believe that you have to remember the details for something to have been traumatizing in childhood. When you are an infant and through your toddler years, you are learning and absorbing like a sponge. I don't remember learning to talk and walk and to be potty trained, but guess what? They've had a profound impact on my life. I'd say it's the same with possibly being moved around when you were an infant.


    At those ages, you need to bond with a mother, so yes, it could affect you. Have you seen the stories about the babies in orphanages who don't get touched and so on when they are infants? Then, they grow up and are emotionally maladjusted and cannot bond with anyone. Now, can they remember that they weren't held enough and when they were hungry or wet, they would lie in the crib and cry and cry instead of having their needs tended to? No, but it has left behind an emotional scar.


    With all that said, I doubt that it's one single cause. Maybe the attachment thing could be a contributing factor to the phobia -- just one of any number of others. Or maybe it's not. But you have mentioned that you have issues with being adopted, so maybe it's things to do with adoption and your adoptive family that you do remember. Those are the answers that you have to try out within yourself.

  4. #4
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    I agree that you don't need to know the cause in order to work on a cure.


    However, I do believe that traumas (note the plural) are factors in developing the phobia. It's certainly not going to be a bunch of positive experiences and a calm and peaceful family that lead to phobias. And I don't believe that they are completely genetic, nor do I think that they just randomly happen. There are reasons that they developed in a person. If people don't want to look into and discover those reasons, that's their option. They can focus on exposure therapy and be cured anyhow. But the reasons are there.





    Quote Originally Posted by purpleteacher








    I believe that some stuff just happens and there isn't any rhyme or reason or explaination for it right now. Sometimes accepting the fear as real and genuine is the first step in overcoming and working through the experience.


  5. #5
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    Actually, when I say "Adoption Issues" I have no issue with my mom giving me up. Frankly I believe she was doing what she thought was best and she couldn't know that she was giving me to a crappy ass family. The only thing I'm mad about when it comes to my adoption is the fact that my parents are pretty crappy parents. I won't get into it here...I just wanted to clear that up.


    ~Monica
    David Duchovny I want you to love me
    To kiss and to hug me, debrief and debug me
    David Duchovny I know you could love me
    I\'m sweet and I\'m cuddly-I\'m gonna kill Scully!

  6. #6
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    The way I see it, it doesn't matter what caused this phobia, as either way what caused it doesn't negate the work a person needs to do to get over it. The 'why' isn't nearly as important as the 'how'. What steps are needed to essentially be cured or reduce this phobia to a more manageable level?


    I think if you focus too much on trying to come up with an explanation as to why you (looking back to childhood experiences, overanalyzing every life experience, etc.), a lot of time that could be better spent on treatment is wasted. If a reason is apparent, that's great- but if one isn't, why try to come up with one that may or may not be true or relevant? Especially since there is probably not one factor, but rather a chain of events.


    AS humans however, we are always looking for an explanation for certain events, and psychologists aren't exempt from this either. I can see how it can be easy to loose sight of end goals and get caught up with attaching an explanation to this phobia.


    *amber*Edited by: crimgoddess

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  7. #7
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    I hear ya.





    Quote Originally Posted by samara's on tv


    Actually, when I say "Adoption Issues" I have no issue with my mom giving me up. Frankly I believe she was doing what she thought was best and she couldn't know that she was giving me to a crappy ass family. The only thing I'm mad about when it comes to my adoption is the fact that my parents are pretty crappy parents. I won't get into it here...I just wanted to clear that up.


    ~Monica

  8. #8
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    I have worked for many therapists/ psychiatristsand you name it, I have probably heard it. I have worked for credible ones and I have also worked for ones who have lost their right to practice in the state I was working in. I have also seen my fair share of them personallyand many of my friends have had therapy. Sex and trauma are common things therapists "look" for and can over-focus on if you aren't careful. Therapists tend to follow "schools of thought", however a good chunk call themselves *eccletic* (meaning they are a mix of many different theories).


    I am just suggesting that you follow your heart and don't let any therapist or ANYONE put ideas in your head. Follow your gut and if you don't care to focus on the cause of the phobia, then focus on the cure.


    Clients really do have control over their therapy.
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  9. #9
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    Hi Monica,


    I know there are lots of ideologies out there on phobia, so I'll just give you mine and you can do what you want with it.


    I believe that "trauma" is a word that is more encompassing than most people think. We often think of something horribly heinous when we use the word trauma. Yet to child development psychologists and those who study the effects of trauma on the brain, this is not so. Birth itself is a trauma. Most people can overcome this trauma with a secure attachment to their mother. In your case, you didn't have this secure attachment at a young age. So you were further "traumatized" as an infant. And while you can't remember it with the logic/language part of your brain your body remembers it. The oldest part of our brains, from an evolutionary perspective, is the amygdala which is responsible for creating "wiring" to respond to danger. An infant with no mother is the biggest danger there is - think about it. If you are an infant and have no mother, you will die very quickly...especially in ancient times, when this part of our brains was "created". Once you reach 3 years of age, you can link together events in "memory", but before this age you cannot. However, the WIRING is still there connecting the fear response to certain triggers. With phobia, some other thing gets associated with that neuro-pathway (like vomiting). Don't ask me why. Nobody knows. For you it's vomiting, for someone else it's another anxiety of some type. In ideal conditions from 3 months on, you might have had no effect whatsoever of the early trauma. But other factors (which you may or may not ever discover) added up to a bouncing baby phobia for you.


    Think about it: if a baby were beaten and raped every day from birth to age 3, then "rescued",do you really think that kid would be ok just because they can't remember it? I promise you, even in the most loving home afterward, the child/adult would be permanently damaged beyond belief. In fact, the odds are about 99% that they would become some sort of murderer, completely incapable of forming attachments with anyone or having any kind of conscience. Now granted, this is nothing like what happened to you, but the idea that the body remembers what the "mind" can't is still true.


    I don't believe that this is Freudian, by the way. Freud's beliefs are complicated and mainly rest in the unconscious...the idea that you hate your mother, compete for your father, need sexual comfort and avoid death. This has nothing to do with what your therapist is talking about. Although ALL therapy relates, one way or another, to Freud's discoveries about our early experience influencing our lives somehow. Your therapist's beliefs are based on solid research that is pretty standard and universal these days. Rather than Freud, look to the universally accepted work of John Bowlby on attachment, and also Victor Janov. Ask your therapist about these great thinkers of our time. I would also recommend Leslie Greenburg's work. That's if you feel like reading up on trauma, anxiety and emotion.





    I always say that the good news is that it doesn't matter WHAT factors contributed to your phobia - adoption, anxious families, sexual abuse, etc...because the cure is the same. And the cure begins with feeling safe with your therapist, and then gradually (either through imagination, talking, or visually) being exposed to that which you fear, and re-writing the outcome [i.e., you're safe]. The idea is to create new synaptic connections in the brain that spell this: VOMIT DOES NOT = DANGER. Right now you've got VOMIT = DANGER going on.


    It's true that sometimes therapists go down roads that are out to lunch. Indeed, you have to feel comfortable with the course of treatment - you're in the driver's seat at all times. Howeve
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  10. #10
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    Thank you for replying Sage. Yes I really LOVE my therapist and I can't wait to see her every week. I think that her theory holds water, and like everyone said "Don't Dwell on what caused this, focus on the treatment" But for me part of the treatment IS figuring out WHY I have this problem. I feel that it will help me to know. Maybe you other peopld don't know, want to know, or even CARE why you have this phobia but I do.


    ~Monica


    David Duchovny I want you to love me
    To kiss and to hug me, debrief and debug me
    David Duchovny I know you could love me
    I\'m sweet and I\'m cuddly-I\'m gonna kill Scully!

  11. #11
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    Hey Monica,


    I know what you mean. When I was going through treatment I was OBSESSED with what caused it. I now feel very confident that I know the "cause" which isn't one single cause, of course, but many factors contributing. As I said I also had foolish therapists who tried to make up stuff that didn't happen to me. Just out of interest, (if anyone's interested) let me list the things, in chronological order, that added up to my phobia:


    1) an anxious mother who was knocked out for 3 days following my birth - my dad was my "mom" during that time.


    2) same anxious mom had to go into the hospital for a week when I was 3 weeks old, leaving me with dad and 12-year-old sister


    3) same anxious mom was gone for 2 months, in a hospital, when I was 6-8 mos old (a critical time for attachment)...after that she came home and I was afraid of HER, apparently she was angry about it!...she wassick...lying in bed...and I was afraid of people lying down for a long time.


    4) I swallowed a penny at age 2 while my sister was babysitting and a neighbour nurse stuck fingers down my throat and made me drink nasty salt water to induce vomiting...which didn't get the penny out and I had to go to hospital


    5) My brother died in a tragic accident when I was 4. He lived for 5 days in hospital and I was apparently told he was "sick in the hospital".


    6) My dad had become a "mother figure" to me...I was totally attached to him and avoided my mother who was hysterical or angry most of the time. I was terrified of sick people, hospitals and people lying down - all of which included vomiting. THEN the worst nightmare of all...my dad got colon cancer and over 2 years basically threw up to death [the good ol' days without cancer treatments!] I was 9 when he died, and that pretty much clinched it. Left alone with no "mother".


    7) My mom continued to be hysterical and demanded that I 'look after her' for the rest of my life...even when she was sick, whichwas all the time as she is a hypochondriac (STILL- she's 90 now...guess it wasn't serious, eh? lol)


    Miraulously, I only ended up with emetophobia and not the fear of frickin' everything (which I had at one time). And my point in relating all this is that I STILL had therapists who tried to look for something else! (idiots). I also only remembered and asked my sister about the details of the penny swallowing a couple of years ago. I'm glad I never pinned it entirely on that. It has a lot more to do with the anxious mother from birth and her not being available to me in the very early days/months/years than it does to that penny incident. I think a 2-year-old could survive that with no phobia later in life quite easily so long as they had a mother who was stable and available to them.
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  12. #12
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    sage - I really appreciate that you listed all those things. I would hope that maybe people reading the list will come to see that trauma has a broader definition than just your parents sexually abusing you or beating you.


    When I was a child, through my teen years, and most of my twenties, I was convinced that I had wonderful parents and that my childhood was great. It was only somewhere in my mid-twenties that I started to realize that there were enormous problems in the way I was raised. Then, I went into therapy, and I can't believe that I actually ever thought that I was well taken care of and lived in a stable environment as a child. I know now that the tendency is that the child does not want to blame the parents, and blames herself instead, and that's what I did.


    Anyway, all of that is just to say that sometimes I wonder if anyone else on this forum has trouble recognizing the traumas that they did undergo because they are defining trauma in a much more narrow way.

  13. #13
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    Yes, and it's important to remember that it's not about blame, but rather about finding contributing factors to the phobia. Almost everyone who thinks they grew up in a perfect family actually didn't. There are no perfect families. Parents are human, and have their own feelings and anxieties that make them not 100% available to meet their child's needs. No one comes out of childhood unscathed by their experience. Since it's no one, then there's no need to blame our parents. There are no villains or victims. It's all about family processes that we're not even aware of - us OR our parents. The more we can a) become aware and b) avoid blame, the easier it will be to heal.
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  14. #14
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    Right, good point about blaming. Sometimes I fall into using that word because it was something that I did do to myself, as I grew up thinking literally that I was "bad" and that I had been born that way and that there was something wrong with me as a human being. I held onto this belief until I was 30 (about 4 years ago). The reasons for this would require a big, long list like what you made, and some of those reasons that are contributing factors to feeling like a bad person are also contributions to my emetophobia.



 

 

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