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How Complex PTSD Affects Self-Esteem and Long-Term Success, with Rita Haley

Episode 145

Rita Haley is a licensed psychotherapist specializing in anxiety and stress-related disorders. Before establishing a private practice as a full-time therapist, Rita served in the US Coast Guard. She worked in an educational setting for two decades – in elementary and secondary schools, where she focused on school adjustment counseling. 

Rita Haley is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, which gave her a heart for children struggling with trauma and encouraged her to focus her career on helping children name and cope with their emotions. She is passionate about understanding trauma and how it affects us in work and relationships. 

In this episode, Rita dives into Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD). Unlike straightforward PTSD, which develops from a singular traumatic event and triggers occur from sounds, sights, and smells, cPTSD begins after someone experiences relational trauma. The trauma occurs at the hands of a trusted person – a neighbor, friend, or family member. When triggered, cPTSD sufferers have emotional flashbacks and may be flooded by feelings of shame. 

So how does cPTSD affect women as they work toward fulfillment in their personal and financial lives? 

Rita shares that these women experience anxiety around both failure AND success. The fear of success, criticism, shame, and imposter syndrome. Her advice toward overcoming these thought patterns is: Change your thinking. When you get caught up in your thoughts like, “Am I good? Am I bad?,” remind yourself: You are neither good nor bad. You just are. 

On this episode of Money Loves Women, join Dr. Deborah Ekstrom and Rita Haley to learn about the distinctions between Complex PTSD and Straightforward PTSD. You’ll also learn more about self-esteem, how being a nonconformist can be beneficial as a woman in the workforce, and how attachment traumas are formed in childhood.

Topics Discussed:

  • Complex PTSD
  • Trauma
  • Emotions
  • Attachment styles
  • Healing
  • Self-expression
  • Conformity
  • Women in Power


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