She Has Overcome the Worst Adversities, Including Abuse, Homelessness, Abduction, Disfigurement, & Human Trafficking by Terrorism. Meet Entrepreneur & Philanthropist, Liza Pavlakos


Q: Do you regularly relive or re-experience these traumatic events?
Yes, unfortunately, anyone who has suffered trauma relives these events, and I’m no different. My early life transition into young adulthood was so traumatic that I was diagnosed with complex PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). It’s so sad to realize that this is all due to other people’s violence against me.

Repressed memories surface, and their impact is so debilitating in your journey to healing. I often relive and re-experience events through dreams and nightmares. People with PTSD have a high rate of nightmares—it’s like flashbacks on constant replay. I often wake at three am with nightmares and in a state of extreme terror with my heart pounding.

Even working with my personal trainer in the gym can evoke unpleasant memories. They can creep back into the present, even replace it. Since the brain registers trauma when my heartbeats hit a certain high rate, we play music as a therapeutic intervention. Music therapy can benefit those who suffer from PTSD significantly.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective treatment for both short- and long-term symptoms of PTSD, so I founded Positive Breakthroughs, a coaching and counselling service. I know how critical it is to receive support.

Q: Was there a period when you withdrew from genuine friends, family, or other loved ones?
LP: When there is a situation that the body deems unsafe, the part of your brain responsible for memory, emotions, and survival kicks into gear with instinctive and protective measures to safeguard you. If your brain/body determines that there is no danger, but you still find yourself hyper-vigilant, trauma becomes an invisible factor causing an overreliance on survival instincts. This is referred to as the fawn response, the need to appease and please. People pleasing and co-dependency became a way of life for me.

I was especially dependent on my best friends, overstepping the mark on more than one occasion. I threw lavish dinner parties without a second thought. I over-committed and over-compensated and was overly needy. I was ever so loving, ever so giving, but I was also the friend who unknowingly and unintentionally hurt those around me by simply getting involved in their lives. I knew no boundaries.

To read more of our exclusive interview with Liza Pavlakos, click here.


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