CPTSD is created by ongoing invisible traumas resulting from emotional abuse in a setting where the target cannot escape. Because there is no singular, external event, there is no visual auditory input to be recalled in the flashback. So the flashbacks become purel yemotional. This is uniquely bewildering and confusing to the target because they will not remember and will not know why they are suddenly overwhelmed by feelings of terror, guilt, shame, depression.
This has a deleterious effect on the personality, as does PTSD but at least with PTSD the client can say “this is why”.
Research has shown that even though one may not remember a specific traumatic event, there might be an unconscious memory of what happened. This memory is stored differently in the brain, compared to other types of experiences in an individual’s life. Instead of being stored, like most memories as a “video clip” with sound, feelings and movement of external events the individual can remember with certain coinciding emotions it is ONLY stored as the raw emotion.
There can even be the case that a person doesn’t think that on a conscious level that a situation upset them, but they still have the memory stored as emotional flashback in the unconscious. Traumatic experiences are, naturally, more related to situations where there is a lack of predictability and control.
It is possible to think that a memory or time of your life or situation you have lived was entirely “ph neutral” for you at the conscious level and to be deeply in denial about how emotionally traumatic it was for you simply because you couldn’t contextualise the emotions you felt, they didn’t match your self-image and so you simply shut them down.
Unlike an emotional response to a known abusive event or experience, An emotional flashback is when we experience intense negative emotions when there is no external trigger or when there is an external trigger but we completely overreact to it.
Richard Grannon and Leyla Loric