Seeing The World Through Blood Stained Glasses


Well-known member
I have long enjoyed certain films and stories and found that they have an emotional resonance for me. That just means I feel something in reaction to them. Movies and stories that we don't have emotional resonance regarding are either boring or often don't even register, if they have messages or try to inspire emotions or awe or leave a lasting impression they fail utterly.

I found that movies like Fargo, No Country For Old Men, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs, Miller's Crossing, Bound, Memento, and shows like True Detective season one resonate with me.

I don't enjoy every moment of them but I feel something when I watch them. I feel alive and like something real is before me, something like my experience of life.

I know that "There's no accounting for taste" has been said.

But the human psychology of particular individuals may offer some answers.

I have read a bit on the topic and found some very interesting facts. In the book The Political Brain Drew Westen remarked on the fact that different people experience different emotions more easily and more fully more intensely than others.

I read Trauma and Recovery by Judith Herman and The Empathy Trap Book by Jane McGregor and Tim McGregor as well as several books on human predators and borderline personality disorder.

It struck me how the traits of people who survive extreme trauma, childhood abuse and neglect and cultic and abusive relationships are so similar and often the same or or similar with a lot of overlapping qualities.

I over years and years of looking at recovery from cultic abuse in books like Take Back Your Life by Janja Lalich, Terror, Love and Brainwashing by Alexandra Stein, and Traumatic Narcissism by Daniel Shaw found that the same experiences, sensations, and perspectives occur.

I ended up broadening my search to include more and more on trauma, abuse, personality disorders, and trauma.

Only after several years did I examine the combination of childhood trauma (from abuse and neglect) and cultic trauma as the source of particular issues that I have to deal with.

Sometimes you need to know what cards you are holding to understand how they can be played.

You are not going to get dealt a fair or perfect hand in life, so learning to play the hand you have well is your best option.

So, after a few years I have seen many descriptions of the emotions, experiences, and perspectives of survivors of trauma.

I also found myself drawn to certain themes, certain characters, certain stories again and again.

I had a partly formed concept, a ghost of an idea, stirring in my mind.

It wasn't until I read the article entitled
6 Ways That a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships
that I realized that the "flashbulb memories" described there fit my own personal experience.

Then I saw a video describing film noir as having the five qualities of being dreamlike, strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel. And filled with protagonists that are flawed, anti heroes, villains, or anti villains.

I realized that noir resonates emotionally with me because it reflects how I experience life.

In noir no one is morally pure, people are subject to emotional and physical consequences of moral judgement while living in a larger universe that is not regulated by moral structure.

You can suffer for moral failures but moral purity doesn't guarantee good or fair results. In fact quite often the actions of other people, nature, and blind luck can trump the evil or good intentions anyone might have.

In noir life is profoundly unfair, unjust, and shaped by forces beyond the control or comprehension of human beings.

In noir relationships are notoriously difficult, subject to radical and unpredictable changes, betrayals, deception, abuses, and abandonment.

In noir even the protagonist may not understand or trust themself.

Their memories and perception are suspect.

After a very long road I understand why these themes resonate with me. They are my experience of life.

Below are notes and excerpts from references that elaborate on these themes.

In film theory, the term oneiric (/oʊˈnaɪrɪk/; "pertaining to dreams") refers to the depiction of dream-like states or to the use of the metaphor of a dream or the dream-state in the analysis of a film.

"We'd be oversimplifying things in calling film noir oneiric, strange, erotic, ambivalent, and cruel ..."—this set of attributes constitutes the first of many attempts to define film noir made by French critics Raymond Borde and Étienne Chaumeton in their 1955 book Panorama du film noir américain 1941–1953 (A Panorama of American Film Noir), the original and seminal extended treatment of the subject. They emphasize that not every film noir embodies all five attributes in equal measure—one might be more dreamlike; another, particularly brutal.


"Feelings of fear, mistrust, bleakness, loss of innocence, despair and paranoia (displayed through visual styling and low-key lighting) were readily evident in noir, reflecting the 'chilly' Cold War period when the threat of nuclear annihilation was ever-present. The criminal, violent, misogynistic, hard-boiled, or greedy perspectives of anti-heroes in film noir's story conventions were a metaphoric symptom of society's evils, with a strong undercurrent of moral conflict, purposelessness and sense of injustice. There were rarely happy or optimistic endings in noirs."

From Filmsite Noir part 1

"Cynical, deeply flawed protagonist
You would be hard-pushed to find a protagonist in a neo-noir film who doesn’t possess a crippling flaw. Like film noir, most of the characters are anti-heroes with a shady past. They’re usually trapped in a nightmare and their motivations are always primal. These characters are almost always searching for something. Whether they’re solving mysteries or plotting revenge, the protagonists of neo-noir are brooding figures (usually men), struggling to survive – and they rarely have happy endings.

The interplay of light and dark
Forget about the wise-cracking criminals for a moment. At its heart, neo-noir is about light and darkness, and how the line between the two can become blurred. Many directors use dark visuals to emphasise characters or certain details in scenes. The interplay of light and dark is one of the most prominent elements of neo-noir."


The Beginner’s Guide: Neo-Noir

SEPTEMBER 18, 2018

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder

C-PTSD has also been referred to as DESNOS or Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified.[7]

Some researchers believe that C-PTSD is distinct from, but similar to, PTSD, somatization disorder, dissociative identity disorder, and borderline personality disorder.[6] Its main distinctions are a distortion of the person's core identity and significant emotional dysregulation.[8] It was first described in 1992 by an American psychiatrist and scholar, Judith Herman in her book Trauma & Recovery and in an accompanying article.[6][9][10] The disorder is included in the World Health Organization's (WHO) eleventh revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11). The C-PTSD criteria has not yet gone through the private approval board of the American Psychiatric Association (APA) for inclusion in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Complex PTSD is also recognized by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Healthdirect Australia (HDA), and the National Health Service (NHS).

Symptoms Edit
Children and adolescents Edit
The diagnosis of PTSD was originally developed for adults who had suffered from a single-event trauma, such as rape, or a traumatic experience during a war.[11] However, the situation for many children is quite different. Children can suffer chronic trauma such as maltreatment, family violence, dysfunction, and or a disruption in attachment to their primary caregiver.[12] In many cases, it is the child's caregiver who causes the trauma. [11] The diagnosis of PTSD does not take into account how the developmental stages of children may affect their symptoms and how trauma can affect a child's development.[11]

The term developmental trauma disorder (DTD) has been proposed as the childhood equivalent of C-PTSD.[12] This developmental form of trauma places children at risk for developing psychiatric and medical disorders.[12] Dr. Bessel van der Kolk explains DTD as numerous encounters with interpersonal trauma such as physical assault, sexual assault, violence or death. It can also be brought on by subjective events such as abandonment, betrayal, defeat or shame.[13]

Repeated traumatization during childhood leads to symptoms that differ from those described for PTSD.[13] Cook and others describe symptoms and behavioural characteristics in seven domains:[14][1]

Attachment – "problems with relationship boundaries, lack of trust, social isolation, difficulty perceiving and responding to others' emotional states"
Biology – "sensory-motor developmental dysfunction, sensory-integration difficulties, somatization, and increased medical problems"
Affect or emotional regulation – "poor affect regulation, difficulty identifying and expressing emotions and internal states, and difficulties communicating needs, wants, and wishes"
Dissociation – "amnesia, depersonalization, discrete states of consciousness with discrete memories, affect, and functioning, and impaired memory for state-based events"
Behavioural control – "problems with impulse control, aggression, pathological self-soothing, and sleep problems"
Cognition – "difficulty regulating attention; problems with a variety of 'executive functions' such as planning, judgement, initiation, use of materials, and self-monitoring; difficulty processing new information; difficulty focusing and completing tasks; poor object constancy; problems with 'cause-effect' thinking; and language developmental problems such as a gap between receptive and expressive communication abilities."
Self-concept – "fragmented and disconnected autobiographical narrative, disturbed body image, low self-esteem, excessive shame, and negative internal working models of self".
Adults Edit
Adults with C-PTSD have sometimes experienced prolonged interpersonal traumatization beginning in childhood, rather than, or as well as, in adulthood. These early injuries interrupt the development of a robust sense of self and of others. Because physical and emotional pain or neglect was often inflicted by attachment figures such as caregivers or older siblings, these individuals may develop a sense that they are fundamentally flawed and that others cannot be relied upon.[9][15] This can become a pervasive way of relating to others in adult life, described as insecure attachment. This symptom is neither included in the diagnosis of dissociative disorder nor in that of PTSD in the current DSM-5 (2013). Individuals with Complex PTSD also demonstrate lasting personality disturbances with a significant risk of revictimization.[16]

Six clusters of symptoms have been suggested for diagnosis of C-PTSD:[17][18]

alterations in regulation of affect and impulses;
alterations in attention or consciousness;
alterations in self-perception;
alterations in relations with others;
alterations in systems of meaning.[18]
Experiences in these areas may include:[6]:199–122[19]

Changes in emotional regulation, including experiences such as persistent dysphoria, chronic suicidal preoccupation, self-injury, explosive or extremely inhibited anger (may alternate), and compulsive or extremely inhibited sexuality (may alternate).
Variations in consciousness, such as amnesia or improved recall for traumatic events, episodes of dissociation, depersonalization/derealization, and reliving experiences (either in the form of intrusive PTSD symptoms or in ruminative preoccupation).
Changes in self-perception, such as a sense of helplessness or paralysis of initiative, shame, guilt and self-blame, a sense of defilement or stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings (may include a sense of specialness, utter aloneness, a belief that no other person can understand, or a feeling of nonhuman identity).
Varied changes in perception of the perpetrators, such as a preoccupation with the relationship with a perpetrator (including a preoccupation with revenge), an unrealistic attribution of total power to a perpetrator (though the individual's assessment may be more realistic than the clinician's), idealization or paradoxical gratitude, a sense of a special or supernatural relationship with a perpetrator, and acceptance of a perpetrator's belief system or rationalizations.
Alterations in relations with others, such as isolation and withdrawal, disruption in intimate relationships, a repeated search for a rescuer (may alternate with isolation and withdrawal), persistent distrust, and repeated failures of self-protection.
Changes in systems of meaning, such as a loss of sustaining faith and a sense of hopelessness and despair.
From Wikipedia

6 Ways That a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships

Grant Hilary Brenner MD, FAPA

Adults who suffer from developmental trauma may go on to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, or "cPTSD," which is characterized by difficulties in emotional regulation, consciousness and memory, self-perception, distorted perceptions of perpetrators of abuse, difficulties in relationships with other people, and negative effects on the meaningfulness of life.

How Does Developmental Trauma Impact Identity Formation?

Identity formation is an important part of normal development, and takes place across the lifespan. Identity — including one's sense of being good enough, integration of emotion and intellect, basic awareness of emotional state, feeling secure and coherent as an individual, and even the basic experience of who one actually is — is disrupted by developmental trauma, because basic survival takes precedence over, and uses resources ordinarily allocated for, normal development of the self. Early trauma shifts the trajectory of brain development, because an environment characterized by fear and neglect, for example, causes different adaptations of brain circuitry than one of safety, security, and love. The earlier the distress, on average, the more profound the effect.

The task of identity development in adulthood, challenging enough (though rewarding) for those with a secure, safe, and enriching upbringing, is especially fraught for those grappling with the aftermath of developmental trauma. Because of developmental delays and the adult consequences of trauma, which often include substance abuse, eating disorders, depression, higher risk for many health problems, behavioral issues, and difficulty in personal relationships and professional development, identity development gets stuck.

Identity for adults with unresolved developmental trauma is often organized around being a survivor and maintaining basic safety in relation to others, leading to re-traumatizing and disheartening repetitions, preventing growth-oriented experiences. Individuals in this situation become highly identified with a "traumatic self," at the expense of a more inclusive, flexible sense of self. People with significant developmental trauma dissociate from their environment and from themselves early on — a last ditch survival mechanism — and may remain disconnected from themselves throughout childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, only recognizing what has happened when there is no other choice but to do so.

1. Loss of childhood: "I never really had a childhood" or "I can't remember much from growing up."

People who experience a very distressing childhood often can't remember large swathes of their early life. They may remember particularly vivid moments, sometimes called "flashbulb memories," which don't have any context to them. They often don't have a clear story of themselves as a child, up through adolescence, early adulthood, and sometimes even later in life. This autobiographical sense is called a "coherent narrative" in attachment theory, and can be absent, underdeveloped, false, or oversimplified. Many people have told me that they feel like their childhood has been stolen, and without such a foundation, adult identity is compromised.

2. Missing parts of oneself: "I've always felt like something was missing, but I don't know what it is."

3. Attraction to destructive relationships: "I'm the kind of person that always dates people who are bad for me."

4. Avoidance of relationships: "I'm someone who is better off alone."

5. Avoidance of oneself: "I don't like to think about myself; it only makes me feel bad."

Especially when childhood trauma was a defining component of key relationships — parents, siblings, and other important people — any reminder of those experiences may lead to efforts to manage painful emotions and experiences through escape from oneself. Taken to the extreme, this may lead one to self-destruction.

Connection with oneself, as with others, is a powerful reminder of prior trauma, activating memories and emotions which are often too much to handle. Self-care is impaired, and one learns to live apart from oneself as a matter of habit. They may not be able to reflect upon themselves at all, and flee from any encouragement to do so. Sense of self is often characterized by disgust and essential badness, reflecting a rigid traumatic identity.

6. Difficulty integrating emotions into one's identity: "I'm not the kind of person who has strong feelings about things."

When feelings had no place in one's family of origin, emotions become split from identity. They continue to have influence, leading to confusion and an unstable sense of self, because one is unable to predict, let alone manage, strong emotions. We need that emotional data to be fully ourselves and to make decisions. Emotional dysregulation leads to problems with impulsive decisions and gets in the way of forming healthy relationships with others.

People may experience a sense of emotional numbing or (paradoxically) feel they don't have any emotions at all. They may experience a limited range of emotions or feel muted emotions. They may, for example, only be able to feel vague emotions, such as frustration or boredom, or they may block out dissatisfaction until anger explodes. They may only feel negative emotions about themselves, such as disgust and self-loathing — and recoil from anything or anyone presenting a positive view of them, feeling uneasy with gratitude from others, "not knowing how to take a compliment" or feeling mistrustful when people express kindness. They may adopt an overly intellectualized identity, acting stilted or awkward around others.

End of excerpts from:

6 Ways That a Rough Childhood Can Affect Adult Relationships