The Essence of Post-Childhood Stress Disorder or PCSD

In this short segment from Video Chat 376, Greg shares a letter from a woman who uses the metaphor of clearing out a room to describe her efforts at recovering and changing from the negative habits and beliefs formed in her childhood.


The Essence of PCSD

In fact she wrote to me and she said, “This is how I'm feeling about the process that we've been going through.” She said, “I have a room. I have acquired things throughout my life. Some I have chosen, and some have just been placed there.” Isn't that a fact! Much of the furniture in our lives was not placed by us nor did we make it. That's pretty much the essence of PCSD.

Clearing Out the Essence of PCSD

She said, “Sometimes I like my room, sometimes I don't. Sometimes I get all motivated and clean it out, amazed at how long I have let some things be in the way for so long. I've become comfortable with the things in my room.” She's talking to all of us or for all of us. “I like it even though I would be embarrassed if somebody saw my room.” Nice metaphor.

“One day I looked into someone else's room which was so organized and relaxing, and I realized that I've been living in it dump filled with useless stuff. My previous efforts to clean it up had failed so I knew that I needed some help. I found a loving friend and asked for help. She didn't push me or criticize me. She just asked me questions about the things in my room and whether they were really serving me. Eventually, my room got pretty cleaned out but it felt a little empty and foreign.” No kidding. In the beginning, it's very disorienting.

You continue, “I started to bring some things back in like I had in the past, just out of habit or to make it feel more familiar, but my friend helped me see what I was doing so I did it less. I resisted a bit, but I could see she was right and that I would be much more comfortable if I just listened and did what she suggested. After all, she didn't have a filthy room. I did. What did I have to lose? Eventually, I got my room pretty clean, but I was shocked to find out that just everyday living made it get dirty and disorganized again.” She said, “It actually took pretty frequent maintenance which was frustrating in the beginning but that's just part of having a clean room starting now and keeping it that way. Now I like keeping things clean.

Helping Her Husband Clean Out the Essence of His PCSD

Once my room was clean, I noticed that my husband's room needed some help. He was pretty unhappy with it and spent a lot of time and energy just moving the furniture around but not getting rid of anything.” Does that describe many of our lives or what. She said, “My kids’ rooms were a mess too and were getting worse.” Yeah, kids tend to follow our lead. You continue, “I could also see that my husband was very unhappy in his space. He hated to be there, but he couldn't leave either. He would often break things but then would just sweep them under the bed and pretend that they're not there.” Again, she's describing us. “As I started to help him, he'd get anxious and sentimental about the stuff in the room even though it was broken and never done him any good.

I asked my friend again to come and help my husband. She answered questions but didn't push. He didn't want to hear her answers. Eventually while helping him clean, I found some things that he'd been hiding there. It became clearer than ever that everything had to go. Everything. The room had to be emptied out so there were no materials there that would remind him of the temporary comfort that he got from his old possessions.” Just like I had to completely clean out my pond. That simple act of cleaning everything out requires huge faith so big that most people are not willing to do it. “I'm sure it was almost everything that had made him comfortable everything that had to go unaware that those things were also killing him.”

You conclude, “He hated this. He fought and yelled and could not see why these things needed to go. He thought he was doing a fine job cleaning up himself and didn't need us to rip things out before he was ready to say goodbye.” He hung on to the past, in other words.

Metaphor for the Essence of PCSD

This is a great metaphor for all of us. Mostly we're not even conscious of the things in our room. They've been there for so long that we no longer even see them. We don't remember putting them there and in many cases we didn't. And the ultimate irony is that those things are not who we are, they're just furniture in the room. They're almost always reactions to pain, trauma, and fear that we can't even identify. Once we get the room cleaned out, though, and feel safe that way, who we are is now free to furnish the room with the things that will contribute to our happiness. We get to pick our own furniture. We don't feel small anymore.

PCSD, or Post-Childhood Stress Disorder,  is a condition where children are repeatedly traumatized by the simple lack of Real Love, which creates the profound I don’t love you wound, after which the child—and later the adult—addictively uses Imitation Love and Getting and Protecting Behaviors in a way that makes happiness impossible.


Recover from your negative habits and beliefs!



Stress Management

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.