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Messages - ah

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1
For what it's worth (ah, there goes ah's self loathing...) I agree, we don't seem to be built to take evil. Our reactions to it tend to be universally weaker than evil itself so it wins its battles.

It does also raise an interesting question, maybe: if we're not built for it, then are the people who act evilly human beings?
Because they can handle it just fine. They all seem to act like they all read the book on evil. They know all the moves instinctively. Clearly for them it’s a language they speak fluently, and they understand how to behave evilly and get results.
So are they unlike us?

I agree people seem to have a huge blind spot when it comes to evil. They want to ignore its existence, explain it away, lie about it, run away from it, blame the victim, play dead… standing up to it is rare.
But if the people who act evilly are human beings, that’s one thing. If they aren’t, that’s another.
Or is there a spectrum of humanity? I don’t mean biologically but the opposite of evil: being human in your behavior.

What do you think?

(I think it may depend on how far one is on the scale of evil. Go far enough and you may become warped beyond the point where you'd be a human being. The abusers who stalk me definitely seem cold blooded reptiles in human bodies.)

(Personally, when I think of the plague in the 14th century I wonder how many of us are descendants of those who left their family behind to die and ran to safety. There may be more PD around now than in the past. Impossible to test, though, so it's just a personal thought of mine) :Idunno:

2
Just Having a Difficult Day / Re: Strength
« on: June 10, 2018, 01:28:13 PM »

I have racked my brains as to what I may have done to any of them.


My sad guess is... you set boundaries. They didn't like it. They wanted things to be a one way street indefinitely; that they enjoyed, and they wanted to get away with it. You changed the rules when they had no intention of doing anything of the sort.

And you have every right to set boundaries. Even if it has its price. I guess narcissists and their accomplices don't like boundaries in the slightest but that's the thing, the way it turned out tells me a lot of sad things about them, not about you. About you it tells me you're a kind hearted, sane person who believes in communication and doesn't try to manipulate others or use them, even when he's being used he still won't do it to others.

On that note, it kind of sounds to me like social media may be too shallow for you. I know it was for me, I'm quieter, I appreciate people one on one. Old fashioned, I know :Idunno:

I think strength is to a large extent about the courage to see that you deserve to be treated better, to be treated with respect and appreciation, to not be taken for granted.

I think you are more than good enough.

3
Just Having a Difficult Day / Re: Difficult week
« on: June 08, 2018, 11:58:29 AM »
this should never have happened. 

I totally agree with that assessment  :blink:
I read your description of what happened with your T and frankly, I felt like the shame you felt belonged with her. Her behavior was below par for all the good reasons others have mentioned and I totally agree with.

As for forgiving FOO and abusers in general, I have a different view of forgiveness maybe. Seems to me 'forgiveness' is thrown out there far too often as some sort of magical instant cure for pain and trauma, but although I'm sure grieving and forgiving are important, maybe they're not as dramatic as that.

Saying 'I forgive you' or else you won't get better, that's... yuck, I don't like that one bit. How triggering in the worst possible way, every alarm bell of ICr must have started ringing in your head and kept going for a long, long time after she said that. Sigh. No wonder you felt so bad.

Also, I think forgiveness has less power than that. I mean it doesn't always fit. For small to medium things it maybe makes a lot of sense, but the enormous things are beyond forgiveness, in my mind. I don't forgive my parents / other abusers and I don't think I 'have' to forgive them. I also don't hate them in the slightest. I just feel some things are bigger than that.

Maybe.

In my experience you can love someone and yet not forgive them, with no contradiction at all in your mind. You can be cautious of them, and still care about them. You can hurt and have nightmares about things that they did to you, and yet never dream of retaliating.

Your pain deserves to be acknowledged, and seen in order to really, truly get better the way I hope you will over time. So does your strength and resilience and hope. I wish I could take away your doubts too. It's terrible that a T left you feeling doubt about the things you do well and put so much love into, how shameful for her to not see that in you.

4
Thanks...  :hug: I can't feel any of the things you've all said here but I believe you can and I guess that's something. I mean I believe you mean it.  :Idunno: Even if I see myself in a totally different light.

I jump between seeing myself in a 100% negative light for years, and then realizing for a moment how untrue all of that is but then the monstrosity of it catches me by surprise. Is it weird to say I find it more manageable to loathe myself than to see violence for what it is?

The harm that's been done to me and is still being done, it's beyond my ability to grasp it. Like living in the twilight zone, everything is unreal. It's so big I can't see its shape.

(I can only try to imagine what it would be like if I just lived a 'normal' life with average experiences, and it seems equally unimaginable to me. That person only exists in dreams but I don't know if the person who 'exists' when I'm awake is any more real. I project a person I imagine, my abusers and their accomplices do the same... nowhere is there an ah that isn't being madly, confusedly projected but just lives.)

 :doh: not sure this makes much sense.

5
Just Having a Difficult Day / Re: Whatever can go wrong, always does
« on: June 08, 2018, 11:00:07 AM »
Oh Contessa, I'm so sorry.

I know that sort of question, these moments when you stop and wonder how on earth it is that everything has to be so difficult. ('Why' is a dangerous question so I try to steer away from it. 'How' feels a bit easier to digest)
I know from experience life can be this difficult. It's possible, but I wish it never happened to you.

I wish I could take this one away from you and give you a more normal, average-seeming number of bumps and potholes instead... I wish I could do it for both of us. It's not all "for the best", some pain is just 100% pain.
I'm right there with you, asking the exact same question. You're not alone.

6
Just Having a Difficult Day / Re: Responsibility
« on: June 08, 2018, 07:37:16 AM »

I am thinking that I am being over sensitive. Yet I do not want to feel bad about myself or do I wish to feel that I really hurt her. I self blame myself, and that is from my CPTSD. At least I believe that about myself.

Communication is a key part of being a human being. Not being communicated with when I have made an effort is difficult for me to understand.


I think that's the heart of it, in a way, isn't it..?
You reminded me of a book I'm reading these days, that I mentioned in another section of OOTS. I don't know if it relates at all to your friend, but for me as a survivor / constant victim of emotional violence my whole life it's the best book I've read on the topic to date. It's 'Stalking the soul' by Marie-France Hirigoyen.

I empathize so strongly with the wish to communicate and understand, and to take responsibility. It's part of what makes you normal, sane, and the kind hearted man that you are. It's sadly also part of what differentiates us from emotional abusers  :blink: some people seem to lack these tendencies.

Again I don't know your friend and I really don't want to assume stuff I know nothing about. Like Hope said, it may be totally different, missed communication or technical glitch or something benign. But I'm thinking of you, the habits you must have developed after all that you went through with your sister, and the feelings you describe are so familiar to me that I might have written some of the things you posted, word for word.

I recognize the feeling of guilt, too. It's such a tough one because I guess it can be strong and persistent even if we've objectively done nothing to be guilty about. Or to apologize for. Still, we feel guilty by default, out of habit, and apologize hoping to be forgiven for something we never did to begin with.
I hope that makes sense  :Idunno:

You're on my mind.

7
Hi Roe Lee  :heythere:

I think you're the only person who knows what level of contact and type of contact to have with your mum. It's easy to say NC is the only option but NC is terrible, it's a last resort... I say this from very difficult personal experience.
For decades I was my F's / FOO's favorite victim, I slowly started "waking up" and realizing what was going on and changed the nature of my contact with them. I started doing "Grey Rock" technique with them, and stopped showing any emotions. They kept trying to crush me and I didn't respond. After a few years of that and seeing their reactions to it, I ended up NC with them. It was a gradual process for me, because to really keep up NC and stay strong at it I first had to be sure it was absolutely necessary.
Your situation may be totally different, a different method may work much better.

In my experience, NC isn't pain-free. It's soul wrenching. It's a blunt instrument so maybe it should be used very cautiously, ideally in skilled hands. If it works, VLC isn't always worse than NC. Only you know. The main thing is how you feel about it, maybe..? Is the trigger and fear of the phone call worth it, or too much? Are you neglecting yourself by keeping this low contact, or taking care of yourself?
Now the determining factor in your decisions about how to be with your mum isn't your mum's needs but first and foremost - your own needs, and kindness to yourself.

I'm so sorry it's such a painful day for you. I wish I could make it go away. I agree with you, life is not that black and white.
And, I don't know if feeling fear makes you less brave. I think seeing it for what it is and trying to manage it makes you very brave.
You're not alone.

8
Books and Articles / Re: Excellent book on emotional abuse
« on: June 05, 2018, 12:56:45 PM »
P.S the book is very psychodynamic, leaning heavily on Freud's legacy. So it has a explanations about the abusers' psychology and why they ended up abusive. It was written by a psychoanalyst, I guess that's her language.
She sees emotional abusers as hurting, so they abuse to relieve their own pain, but I don't know if that's true. The sadists I know abuse because they enjoy it. It doesn't relieve their pain, it just brings them pleasure.
Maybe.

Now that I think of it, here's another excellent book (I think...) on emotional abuse, written a generation ago as well. By an American therapist this time. But he takes the opposite viewpoint on the psychology of abusers.

In Sheep's Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People
by George K. Simon Ph.D.

He says:

What our intuition tells us a manipulator is really like challenges everything we’ve been taught to believe about human nature. We’ve been inundated with a psychology that has us viewing people with problems, at least to some degree, as afraid, insecure or “hung-up.”

And:

Unfortunately, mental health professionals and lay persons alike often fail to recognize the aggressive agendas and actions of others for what they really are. This is largely because we’ve been pre-programmed to believe that people only exhibit problem behaviors when they’re “troubled” inside or anxious about something. We’ve also been taught that people aggress only when they’re attacked in some way. So, even when our gut tells us that somebody is attacking attacking us and for no good reason, or merely trying to overpower us, we don’t readily accept the notions. We usually start to wonder what’s bothering the person so badly “underneath it all” that’s making them act in such a disturbing way. We may even wonder what we may have said or done that “threatened” them. We may try to analyze the situation to death instead of simply responding to the attack. We almost never think that the person is simply fighting to get something they want, to have their way with us, or gain the upper hand. And, when we view them as primarily hurting in some way, we strive to understand as opposed to taking care of ourselves.

... Not only do we often have trouble recognizing the ways people aggress, but we also have difficulty discerning the distinctly aggressive character of some personalities. The legacy of Sigmund Freud’s work has a lot to do with this. Freud’s theories (and the theories of others who expanded on his work) heavily influenced the field of psychology and related social sciences for a long time. The basic tenets of these classical (psychodynamic) theories and their hallmark construct, neurosis, have become fairly well etched in the public consciousness, and many psychodynamic terms have intruded into common parlance. These theories also tend to view everyone, at least to some degree, as neurotic. Neurotic individuals are overly inhibited people who suffer unreasonable and excessive anxiety (i.e. non-specific fear), guilt, and shame when it comes to acting on their basic instincts or trying to gratify their basic wants and needs. The malignant impact of over-generalizing Freud’s observations about a small group of overly inhibited individuals into a broad set of assumptions about the causes of psychological ill-health in everyone cannot be overstated.6 But these theories have so permeated our thinking about human nature, and especially our theories of personality, that when most of us try to analyze someone’s character, we automatically start thinking in terms of what fears might be “hanging them up,” what kinds of “defenses” they use and what kinds of psychologically “threatening” situations they may be trying to “avoid.”

Might be very interesting to compare the two, if you've got spare time to read both  :whistling:

Blueberry,
Thanks so much  :hug:
It's very hard for me but I'm trying. My default is to be silent but I'm trying... unrelated to books, sorry.

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Books and Articles / Excellent book on emotional abuse
« on: June 05, 2018, 09:18:58 AM »
Called Stalking the soul (translated from French, written in the 90's I think?) by Marie-France Hirigoyen.

It's not a new book but fascinating and unlike others I've read.
The writer describes this type of abuse when it happens in the family between partners / by parents toward their children, at work, everywhere. She calls emotional abusers "perverse" which I think may be the most accurate description I've come across.
She says a lot that really struck a cord and made a lot of sense to me. Very interesting book.

10
I'm sorry if this is going to be a bit dark... well: my F ruined my relationship with my siblings beyond repair by telling lies, declaring I'm crazy, telling a similar sob story, pretending to be caring and to call and write me daily (in reality he hasn't called me in a decade, and only wrote once a year to invite me out to lunch so he could remind me he's rich and I'm penniless and dying and he'll never lift a finger to save or help me, to curse and threaten and call me evil, 'the problem', waste of oxygen 'etc.) and it worked perfectly with everyone. Everybody buys it to this day... everybody.

Abusers I met as an adult have done the same with the same level of stellar success.
At some point I'd meet someone new who also knew the abusers, we'd become friends but then next time I'd see them they'd ignore me like the plague, having been warned I'm evil. This has happened more times than I could count.

I hope your Nm hasn't done anything this extreme, but I think if I were you I'd trust that gut feeling. With a narcissist, my bet is you aren't being paranoid at all. You're fearful based on past experience. Your worries are realistic, sad as that may sound. It isn't something you imagine, it's real even if most people can't grasp it.
I guess people who haven't gone through it have a hard time imagining it. The level of deceit is beyond belief to them, it's too far from their experiences and that's exactly what the abuser wants. So now if we try to open up we seem crazy and paranoid, not them. :doh:

In my experience, trying to talk about it can sometimes make it worse.
The other person doesn't understand it's one-sided abuse, they interpret it as a fight and they think "Not my problem. I'm not getting involved" and withdraw even further. What you share sounds so nuts to anyone who hasn't gone through it that they easily label you as paranoid.
I've tried befriending people who heard lies about me but everything I said and did was distorted by the lies.

I hope none of this is similar in your case, I hope your friends are just busy with their own lives and that's all. But I also wonder, do you have friends who don't know your Nm at all? I think of it as people who 'didn't get the email' about me.

Please know others here understand what that's like, even if people who have been spared this pain won't always be able to get it.

11
Just Having a Difficult Day / Abuse, neglect and self loathing - TW
« on: May 31, 2018, 02:44:29 AM »
Thought I'd add a TW to this, there's no discussion of abuse specifics but if self hatred triggers you, and intense pain triggers you, then... well... TW:

---

I don't think I can overcome self loathing. I'm not sure I "should", either. I feel like an idiot.
('Self hatred' doesn't seem strong enough to describe it.)

I think I said somewhere here on OOTS I feel to overcome a habit we'd need alternatives to swap it with. I don't have any. I don't mean I have no other emotions, I have no positive experiences. I have no one who looks at me with anything but disgust, indifference and hatred.

If my abusers had been people in my past whose violence I needed to now think and feel my way through, work with, that'd be different. I could maybe look at my present and think "But look, see? I'm doing this and that, good things, so I'm not evil. And I'm seeing things clearly in this and that area, so I'm not psychotic like they say I am. And that person there likes me and doesn't hate my guts, so I'm not revolting" but I do nothing, I am nothing.
In the past, when I tried talking to people I was either attacked or ignored. Never seen as an equal or - god forbid - respected or appreciated or liked. I don't know what those things feel like.

My abusers and their endless circle of wide eyed accomplices have been there since I was born and they won't let go till I'm gone. Obviously everything points in the same direction. All the feedback I ever get is negative.
Abusers are sadistic but with all their accomplices often it's just indifference. Then I loathe myself even more for wanting anything but disgusted indifference. For stupidly dreaming I deserved anything better. Considering all the evidence, obviously I don't. I just refuse to get it.

When I try to overcome self loathing I feel like a pathetic idiotic nutcase who refuses to see reality for what it is, trying to live in a fantasy.

How can I possibly reach any conclusion except ironclad self loathing? I'd be a blind fool if I kept trying.


12
Symptoms / Re: Body memories TW
« on: May 29, 2018, 05:49:27 AM »
Here's something very interesting I found about it:

https://www.aconsciousrethink.com/6158/gray-rock-method-dealing-narcissist/

To me I guess it's about being less involved emotionally, less invested. But without dissociating. (Which is the tricky part) Then as a result I can also behave in a more dull way when it's with other people, as it says above. So I try to do this with dangerous people, and also with my own feelings, physical pain included.

I feel whatever I'm feeling but I try to be more neutral about it. I think "This is just a feeling. Yeah, this one is nasty. But it's just a feeling." sometimes when I manage it intense physical pain is more bearable because it becomes a sensation that I don't have to interpret. I don't have any opinion about it. It just hurts, that's it. I don't feel a strong need to get rid of it or fix it on the spot. I accept being helpless about it. I guess it's all about distance, how close I am to it.
Sometimes I can manage it. Other times I can't.
If that makes sense  :Idunno:

This is only my subjective understanding of 'grey rock' technique. Maybe others here have far more experience with it than me. Or see it totally differently.
I started reading about it and applying it to other people, but as I started realizing my biggest enemy was my own self hatred and loathing I tried using it inwards too and it seems to be just as effective at times.

It's much easier said than done though  :Idunno:

13
Symptoms / Re: What symptom is this?
« on: May 29, 2018, 04:59:58 AM »

I was pretty stressed and intent on what had happened, lost in thought.

I suddenly realised the noise from the mixer had stopped.


I think this is similar to what happens when you read a good book and you're so absorbed in it that you stop noticing what you see and hear around you.
Being lost in thought can happen just as strongly when you're lost in painful thoughts I guess, not just enjoyable ones. Even more strongly than the enjoyable ones because it can feel so intensely triggering and existential. But maybe it's the exact same process? Your mind "diving" into a thought?

Many years ago I was a stage performer. I noticed this never happens on stage. The moment you're "on" your mind is focused and can't get lost, it's relaxing in a way. Almost hypnotic. But sadly when it's over your mind rushes back.

Also, in my experience it can be much easier to get lost in thought when you're busy doing something that you've done a million times, so it's almost automatic. Then it doesn't require that much conscious effort anymore as your mind is freed to get lost on something else. Same as driving, I guess? When you first drive as a teenager you're aware of every little correction you make, every movement of the wheel is felt so strongly but at some point later you suddenly realize you just drove for half an hour while eating, drinking and doing many other dangerous things but driving was so habitual you "forgot" it.

Maybe.

Then again, you may be totally crazy.  :whistling: :Idunno: Just saying  :bigwink: but if you are then so am I, you're not alone.

P.S I bet you read the intention just fine, you might have painted it in dark hues because of hypervigilance but I bet you didn't imagine it. There really is negativity out there. People who haven't been hurt like that refuse to see it, it's depressing how blind people can be. They want to strongly believe that by denying bad things the bad things will go away and you'll be happier if you just believe them :no: it's the opposite of what would be right to say but no one ever taught them what to say. Or how to manage the deep pain of betrayal. Maybe.


14
Yes, I've experienced it and I still do. I'm shunned by FOO and bullied and shunned as an adult too, for decades. It's ongoing. It's beyond painful, I find it's torture.

I completely agree with Woodsgnome it can become a mental loop of self neglect and loneliness. First you're shunned by others, then maybe you internalize it and learn to expect it, and if it doesn't happen you'll do it to yourself just to be sure it does happen. But not always.
A few years back I tried befriending FOO and also colleagues, to see whether my feelings of being shunned were my own misunderstanding or my self hatred playing tricks on me. It was very scary because I was consciously stepping into the lion's den but I gave it my heartfelt effort. I smiled, chatted, and realized that sadly, it wasn't just my tendency to isolate and distrust people. The people I felt shunned by were horrible human beings. The responses from both FOO and others were brutal. I withdrew and gave up.

I can totally understand it becoming harder over time. I became more cynical and totally gave up on people. Now literally the only interactions I still have with people are usually to give, not to ask for anything. Asking has never ended well for me.
And I usually give anonymously because then there's no shunning. Sigh.
It's not a good place to be but it's where I am.

I guess violence isn't just a question of what one does, it's also present when something that would normally be there is missing. Like: support, respect, inclusion. Shunning you like that sounds extremely violent. No wonder it left its mark on you.

15
Family of Origin (FOO) / Re: Coping my mom. Need suggestions.
« on: May 26, 2018, 12:31:14 PM »
Well, I wonder... have you ever tried what's called 'gray rock'?
It's helped me, I did it with my F for a few years and then I stopped talking to him altogether, it was a gradual slow process. He didn't change but my behavior did.

In my case it also made things a bit harder in the short run, because he became puzzled and frustrated and tried pushing me harder and harder, so that was very unpleasant. But it gave me some peace of mind too, I felt less controlled by his behavior. I felt a bit more in control of my own.
And because his behavior became stranger it helped me see him more clearly. I saw that when I became upset at his behavior he enjoyed it, and when I seemed calm he was bored and frustrated and attacked. That's just up-side-down. When he saw the push and pull no longer worked, he seemed not to know what to do. He tried harder and harder and cursed me but he didn't seem to have any other communication skills. But I do.

I completely agree with Kizzie, no wonder it's hard for us to trust anyone else after growing up in families where trust was so scarce. Your mother's behavior sounds terrifying to me. For you to have a hard time trusting others now sounds to me like the most normal, sane reaction I can imagine.

The push and pull sounds exhausting, too.

Speaking of real attachment (the kind that we all develop toward our caretakers when we're children, whether they're kind and compassionate to us or not), I read the term 'trauma bonding' too. It helped me understand my own relationship with my family better.
I think caring about others goes even deeper than affection, it's a conscious choice you make. Even if your mother can't or won't make it, you can. That's one of the things you have that are uniquely your own. But it doesn't give her permission to hurt you or disrespect your boundaries.

I think if I were you I'd try to experiment with ways to slowly get more and more distance between you. Using 'gray rock' and anything else that you see works for you, and doesn't hurt anybody. Your good heart is an important part of slowly having more space away from your mother. And you have every right to do it.
In my experience, it's possible to be emotionally separated from a parent while still being perfectly polite and kind to them, still talking to them and caring. Still doing all the things that are expected of you to will keep the peace, but this time you're not doing it because you have to - but because you put yourself first. You protect yourself, so you slowly experiment in ways to disengage from people who are unkind to you.

For me, disengaging from my 'family' has been an act of love on my part. It's hard but worth it.

I hope this makes sense :Idunno:

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