If, now out of your particular manipulative group, you find yourself suffering from persistent, unexplained physical ailments, you may benefit from reading two books by science journalist Donna Jackson Nakazawa: Childhood Disrupted: How Your Biography Becomes Your Biology, and How You Can Heal (2015), and The Last Best Cure: My Quest to Awaken the Healing Parts of My Brain and Get Back My Body, My Joy, and My Life (2013)
The research presented in these two Jackson Nakazawa books is particularly relevant for survivors of undue influence, coercion and abuse. Recent scientific research demonstrates the undeniable link between chronic, stressful, adverse experiences especially in the formative years of childhood – and physical complaints experienced throughout the lifespan. As Jackson Nakazawa says, “… your biography becomes your biology.”
Stress, pressure, double-binds, abuse and unrelenting adverse conditions produce measurable changes in the brain and nervous system (according to the research highlighted in these Jackson Nakazawa books), all of which set up anyone’s body/mind for health issues and autoimmune disorders.
The good news is that researchers have also demonstrated that many, simple lifestyle interventions, such as: mindfulness, naming and disengaging from catastrophic thoughts, yoga, meditation, guided visualization, EMDR therapy, and acupuncture, etc. can literally rewire the brain and reboot the immune system – effecting significant, measurable changes in health and well-being.
If you are looking for hope, if you need a doable plan for recovery from abuse or control-related malaise and illness, if you have had a challenging cult childhood and are suffering now from chronic illness, do yourself a favor and read the above-mentioned books about ground-breaking research with regard to the possible physical effects of adverse childhood experiences – and how to overcome them.
“…people who are ostracized suffer deeply, including the obvious loss of self-esteem and depression, but also including physiological symptoms such as ulcers, suppression of the immune system, anxiety …” Kipling Williams, Purdue University psychologist – cited in Psychology Today, 04/09/13
“Your health is bound to be af
fected if, day after day, you say the opposite of what you feel, if you grovel before what you dislike and rejoice at what brings you nothing but misfortune. Our nervous system isn’t just a fiction; it’s a part of our physical body, and our soul exists in space, and is inside us like the teeth in our mouth. It can’t be forever violated with impunity.” -Boris Pasternak
Disclaimer: The purpose of shining a light on the above-mentioned books is to promote a broad understanding of psychological issues (e.g. psychosomatic illness) that could apply to the lives of current or former high-control group members. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. The purpose is to offer psycho-educational insight. Seek the advice of your primary care physician before undertaking any suggestions shared here. Never delay seeking medical help, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information in a book, including this one. Reliance on any information, suggestions or any recommended resources from this book is undertaken solely at your own risk.
(This article was adapted from Chapter 16 in “The Challenge to Heal: A Recovery Guide to help reclaim your life after leaving any high-control group”.)
What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Bonnie’s book? Do you have a story about emotions after recovery from a high-pressure group manifesting as physical ailments that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you!