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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Friends => Topic started by: Phoebes on July 29, 2018, 05:07:34 PM

Title: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: Phoebes on July 29, 2018, 05:07:34 PM
Lately it's been really hard socially. I've mentioned one or two here..I've attracted a Narc searching for their next victim, and had long time friends basically disappear lately.

It seems like there are people who everyone likes and respects and think are so awesome.. People with a lot of good qualities and are a lot of fun. Several times now it seems I bring out the "bad" in these people. Like they sense I may be too needy or something and they treat me like crap to keep me at a distance.

I feel like I sound pretty paranoid in stating that out loud. A little looney. How do I manage to bring out the tiny bit of "mean" in even the nicest people? This really reiterates how I am so much more comfortable alone at home, but then the loneliness sets in, and I wind up drinking too much. And the cycle continues.

I think I understand that others (who have a sense of self worth) don't "need" these people. They gracefully and naturally hold conversations and interactions without giving off any sort of uncomfortable vibe. I however tend to send subconscious signals. I feel like people think I want "more" than I do. I am misunderstood in this way. However, I have a past of being accused of doing this, having thoughts I don't have and doing things I don't do (by Nm) and it's almost like these little social perceptions are triggering and re-traumatizing.

I feel like I should be normal ("should" because I AM normal. I'm fun, social, kind, and genuinely like people). But through life I've been ridiculed, picked apart, analyzed and been told others don't like me, wouldn't like me, boys and men I like would not like me. The last thing I was wold before going NC is I need to look for someone "less talented" than the man I really liked. I think rather than becoming MORE secure as an adult I have become less and less secure. I have succumbed to all the criticism and now feel like I have co-created everyone I care about running away from me.  :fallingbricks:
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: ah on August 05, 2018, 07:50:23 PM

I feel exactly the same. Feeling that you somehow bring the worst out of people doesn't sound paranoid at all to me. In my case, it was totally true. I think people with a PD could sense very strongly that I was "preconditioned" and knew how to dance along so they always took advantage of me. But learning about trauma and cptsd and what my body is doing helps me recognize them and keep my distance. I noticed I've stopped being as "juicy" to PD's as I've been before.

I've internalized all the dreadful things I've been attacked with so deeply that I'm sure they're all my fault. But you didn't ridicule yourself, you didn't tell yourself others didn't like you, you were tricked into believing it by people whose brains just weren't screwed on straight while yours is just fine.

It sounds to me a little like part of your caution around people is the normal response to gaslighting. You start out talking to someone you trust (not realizing their pegs are a little loose), believe terrible things they tell you about yourself, then they manage to convince you that you do things you never did, that you're the unhinged one and run off leaving you too confused to know what's true anymore.

And, you know... the people who everyone likes and think are so awesome, who are a lot of fun? They sound to me like potential narcissists or worst. The charisma is often a symptom, not a good quality but a sign of danger. If you feel like you seem to bring out the "bad" in them maybe that's exactly what's going on. You're a PD detector  :bigwink:
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: radical on August 06, 2018, 03:15:54 AM
This process with CPTSD - it's really hard.  Sometimes it feels like it is ridiculously hard.  It's why we need each other for support. Because you are doing so well

After every negative message you've been taught, after every need that went unmet, after abuse when you were most vulnerable and most needed attunement and love, after every damn thing, you are getting out there and doing it and feeling it, getting knocked, picking yourself up and doing it and feeling it again.  That takes guts, that takes stamina, that takes resilience, Phoebes.

That's more than okay, that's brilliant!
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: Sasha on August 06, 2018, 11:43:14 AM
Hello Phoebes, ah and radical.

I have a mantra, or an affirmation: I trust the inner workings of my mind

After my first and biggest breakdown this was so hard to believe when I said it to myself, but I kept saying it to myself and now I do trust myself, my intuition and my reality.

I agree with what ah says about gaslighting. In becoming stronger with my decisions about who is around me, I feel that the good friends I have chosen to relate to at this time in my life are of sound reasoning and kind spirit. They do not feel the need to 'tell me about myself'.

I think that people who feel the need to strip you apart and feed back are:
        a) projecting onto me their need to 'fix people' (a co-dependent and, arguably, narcissistic trait)
        b) delivering an analysis of a persons personality without correct use of person centred therapeutic conversation
        c) doing so with very little concern or empathy for how it would feel to receive such an unfounded analysis
        d) behaving in an irresponsible and potentially harmful manner

The most helpful people in my life have been therapists, friend and kind strangers who have taken the time to ask me open socratic questions, starting with things like 'how', 'why', 'what' and so on... They help me open, they help me speak, they help me articulate, they listen, and as they do so I feel that I heal. I am eternally grateful for this time and care shown by people who do not project, and who show care through listening to and empathising with my reality.

I have trained professionally so that I can do this in return, as I always had this desire to help others. When untrained I was purely codependent, and getting mixed up with my need to help and their need for help, but with training I have better, healthier, boundaries. These skills actually enable us to truly help others, and I use them when speaking to the young people I work with, my colleagues and so on. I also use these open questioning techniques with family and friends - to give them the time and space to speak, feel heard and to heal in whatever way they need to.

I look for these behaviours in my new and old connections, and I limit contact with people who have a lot of opinion, a lot of gab but no listening skills. They are a huge drain on mine and many other people's time and energy. They may learn these skills at some point, but if they are not able to at this time then they may cause further damage through their projecting and piling more of their own problems with communication and relating on to you.

You have CPTSD, you struggle, and you deserve to be heard and understood, not stripped down and analysed in a way that causes you to feel distressed.

You mentioned not being sure if you give off signals during conversation, and I feel interested to hear more about this. How do you feel in your body when you relate to people that you feel have the big social personalities that you describe?

There are techniques that may help with relating to others, including grounding, breathing and even using open questions can help to relax a conversation as it takes the focus off you and onto someone else. When I am faced with an encounter with someone that I find intimidating, for whatever reason, this is how I use these tools...



Using open questions
I find that this can help to disarm intimidating people, and provide a safe space for myself by diverting attention on to them. It does not identify you as a target as this appears confident, and using open questions often helps people relax. I use mild versions that are not to interesting to show a basic level of interest and then make excuses and leave to find a safer space for myself as soon as possible.

You can choose to talk to someone and you can also choose to move away. There are ways you can do both with confidence and in a grounded way that keeps you safe. I have learned to do a 'blank calm smile face' :) where I control my features so that I am not giving anything away and just looking pleasant, and then I disengage politely and leave the person I am not comfortable around. I feel certain that people do not notice, as I have to use it a lot at work. In my job I have to be as blank as possible, avoiding micro-expressions and allowing people to feel safe to open up. It is not my role to project my feelings. I think of this as 'containment', and I feel that when used correctly it helps to keep me and others safe.

What makes me laugh is that my best friends know me so well that if they see me do this at a party they find me afterwards and chuckle, saying "Oh no, what did they say to you?"... because they know that my blank face means I am having to use my skills to deflect someones negative or draining energy and move on! These are my good friends though, and I love and trust them, so we can giggle about these things in social settings.

I have googled and read many things that have helped me around assertiveness training - I would highly recommend looking into this, and anything else that feels helpful.

Apologies for the long reply. I hope you feel more confident as you go on and if you would like to keep talking and coming back to this post to update I would be interested to listen and hear how you are getting on.

Good luck to you!

Lots of love,
Sasha x
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: Phoebes on August 12, 2018, 04:13:38 PM
Thanks so much for your thoughtful replies. I've really been taking this to heart and realize there is a lot more I can do to improve myself in this area. This is something that intellectually I have read about and touched on, and tried to a degree. BUT, I am pretty isolated, and I don't have loads of opportunities to put this into practice (working on that).

I do tend to retreat when I have a "bad" experience. It's like it sucks the life force right out of me to feel I exude this certain emotional set point. When I realize I have attracted someone who would say something derogatory or otherwise triggering, I feel a great amount of shame that I have not changed the messages I exude. I feel like I've healed a lot, but when I get out in the world more and more, I realize I still attract the N's, if even just into my space. I can walk away or be grey rock (unlike my former trying too hard), but I still feel triggered when I walk away.

I feel to a great extent this is how bullying works. I don't always attract bullies, but some people who would not normally bully, bully me. Like it gives them a release, ah finally someone I don't have to respect. That probably sounds twisted. It's just how I feel in social situations when this happens. Then I beat myself up for feeling like a victim, and for attracting that.  :stars: I'm sure if you asked people I know they would not say that about me. I'm good at appearing But I understand it's the subconscious energy that attracts it.
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: Phoebes on August 12, 2018, 04:30:40 PM
I thought I would come up with a couple of instances as examples of the type of things that happen regularly:

*My cousins were in town and had a really fancy rooftop swimming pool and nice hotel, so several of us, and four cousins, went for the evening. There were lots of kids and adults in the pool which had a negative edge and a few steps going down to a bridge in front of where the water drops off. (does that make sense?) My adult cousin was down on the bridge taking pics of the kids sitting by the edge for a while. He left to his chair, and I went down there. This otherwise laughing jovial lady says to me "your'e not supposed to be on there!" I said, "there are steps that come down to here" and she continues to lecture "that is dangerous and you are setting an example for this kids out here that that is ok!" I said well it seems others are on the bridge, and she said "well it doesn't matter and etc.." So after bucking her a bit and staying on a few seconds so as not to run along after her scolding me, I asked my cousin if she had said anything to him. He said no, and he went back on the bridge by her, and she said nothing.

*I was at the gym and using the gym scale that measures BMI. I had just gotten on and had forgotten to take my socks off, which I would have figured out once I saw the first screen. Before a half a second went by, some guy walking by YELLED "take your socks off!!!" I nearly jumped out of my skin. I figured well he's a little hyper and probably an aggressive type, just trying to help. If I were walking by someone on the scale I wouldn't dream of telling them what to do, no matter if they were using it wrong. I wonder if he would have said the same thing to certain other people.

*At my extended family's get together, my uncle was demeaning me basically because I don't eat meat. They were going on and on. I don't go on and on to THEM implying they should do what I do, so why do they? I have a hard time asserting that they are being rude and disrespectful I guess. They don't do this to my other, younger, cousins, 2 of whom also don't eat meat, or on any other topic. It literally is just me, the easy target!? The whole younger generation is treated with respect and anything they do is like "oh wow cool".

So, these type of things make me feel I EXUDE that I need to be "told." These things happen ALL the time!
 I KNOW this is my perception and maybe other people experience this without a lifetime of triggers to contend with. I feel run down after these things happen. I feel like my hard work in staying away from my abusers and trying to reparent myself and build a new emotional set point does not transfer to "real life". Sorry for rambling on..I'm just trying to sort through this. I do think that assertiveness training would help a lot. I've always had a "fake it till you make it" approach to assertiveness in my job, not really understanding why I did not get that assertiveness in the first place.
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: radical on August 12, 2018, 06:33:46 PM
I've had a lot of this in my life too.  I don't experience anywhere near as much these days and I think it is simply because I'm nowhere near as easy to shame. 

Some people seem to live to dump on others.  They are actively looking for people they can unload their bad feelings onto.  Often it will be onto those who are members of marginalised groups, but day to day it's just about identifying anyone who will 'wear' it. Those who seem unconfident, eager to please or ill at ease tend to be go-to people, but it is about how the target rfeacts that 'marks their cards'.  Do you cringe and shrink into yourself (even momentarily) when someone puts you down or is your focus immediately on them?

I have an acronym I try to remember and it is based on some workshops someone was running for women after the me too movement meant that women started talking about not knowing how to handle being bullied or harrassed.  One of the principles was that is someone makes you uncomfortable, focus on them not on yourself.  Maintain eye contact if you can.

The acronym is; Abuse? Knocked Off Balance?  Focus Outwards,  Return 'U' Statements Hold Your Power -  A KNOB FOR US? - HYP  or just HYP FOR US . 

The idea is that dominators and bullies etc. turn us against ourselves when we focus on ourselves in response to their behaviour.  If someone is hurtful or insulting it should cause us to focus on them not ourselves.  You don't even have to respond with the slightest aggression.  Asking a 'you' question that is irrelevant like "where did you get that shirt"?  in the moment is better than responding with any 'I' statement.  The idea is to put the focus on them, so in response to insulting you you are both focusing on them.

don't know if this helps.
Title: Re: Somehow Off-putting?
Post by: Phoebes on August 12, 2018, 07:23:24 PM
Hm, that's interesting radical. I never thought of it that way. Thanks! I will definitely keep that in mind.

I do feel like I sometimes fawn. Sometimes not. Like with the lady, I felt my explaining what I was doing was becoming an argument, and I didn't feel like I should have to explain. With the scales guy, I looked at him and nodded my head as he was fleeing by, but I felt jumpy.

Sasha, I am slowly taking in all that you wrote and your approach as well..when i first read it I was a little horrified that I think I am one of those people that healthier people guard themselves against. I'm not one of the more extreme people, but I do feel like I put a neediness out there that can be repelling. I guess I'm understanding that more, and why, and trying to fix myself. It's a hard one to swallow. I know I need to continue to grow to the point where I am the healthy one guarding my heart from the N's in the room, and hopefully not attracting them.