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CPTSD and Others => Our Relationships with Others => Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws => Topic started by: LilyITV on October 25, 2018, 01:41:49 AM

Title: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: LilyITV on October 25, 2018, 01:41:49 AM
I touched on this in another thread.  My therapist is teaching me how to explain my condition to my husband.  She wants me to think about what I most want him to know.   It seems like there's so much I don't know where to begin.  Overall, I really wish I could help him to understand my "inner critic" and how this person controls just about every aspect of my life.  This person makes it difficult for me to do things that come naturally to others.  Sometimes I will tell my husband how afraid I am of certain things, and he'll say something like "that's ridiculous!"  And all I can say is, "well that's why I'm in therapy!!" 

I would love to get ideas from others on this. 
Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: Three Roses on October 25, 2018, 02:27:01 AM
The thing that I most want people to know is that cptsd is an injury, not an illness. You can't catch it, and you can't just think yourself out of it. It's not a weakness and it's not from dwelling in the past.

Trauma causes actual changes in the physical brain. My trauma changed who I was, altered my course. That's not to say I can't get better, or that my thinking doesn't play into my healing. But it's not the whole enchilada.

Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: woodsgnome on October 25, 2018, 02:51:27 AM
I concur with Three Roses except I don't think cptsd changes us (the 'real' us--our inner spirit). Instead it covers our real self so successfully that we think we're not whole, that we're crap like we were told and treated, and that it can take much of one's life to counteract that.

I especially agree with the notion that what we end up with is injury, not full-blown illness; that we can, at least partially, recover some of what was taken or which we were never allowed to have. On the flip side, if we don't attempt to take good care with it, it can indeed slide into aspects of mental illness. Whatever the case, it's incredibly hard and discouraging to overcome such serious mental injuries (with possible physical interactions).

In my case, I feel like okay, a full cure for something so big in my formation may be a long shot, but in the meantime I want to find as many ways to heal as possible. When it comes to sharing info with others, it can be problematic to say the least. Especially when the culture-at-large has such weird black and white judgemental perspectives on this. The worst reactions range from it was our own fault this happened to disbelief that it could ever have been that bad.

Hope this might provide a little nugget of help. If not, that's just my perspective as I seek to crawl out of this lifetime shock that was horribly bad, BUT it also doesn't define who I am (to me that's the critically important takeaway). I'm still an okay person and that's the perspective I've struggled so hard to realize.

Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: LilyITV on October 25, 2018, 03:00:44 PM
This discussion has been so enlightening.  I'm still trying to get my mind around it myself.  From what I'm gathering it's really not a "disease", so I get kind of confused when people talk about whether it can be "cured".  But on the other hand, how we have been conditioned has done serious damage to us--just not the type of damage you can see but the way our brains function. 

I'm wondering if it can be thought of in the same way as physical trauma.  When some people have been in car accidents and have brain injuries, oftentimes they have to do months of physical therapy to relearn basic things we learn as young children--like learning to walk, dress and feed yourself, and talk.  There's been damage but it can be reversed.  I really need to believe it can be reversed.

With emotional trauma, I feel like we have to relearn a lot of basic things about relating to people. Human beings are social creatures and we need each other to survive and thrive.  In our childhood, instead of learning how to relate to others in a healthy way, we learned to be afraid of others and that is why we are unable to thrive. 

Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: woodsgnome on October 25, 2018, 03:26:32 PM
Sometimes words are the biggest obstacle to diving into the core of this. For instance, the word 'disorder' can make something sound dire when it's 'only' serious.

An inherent problem is how to describe any of it to anyone else. The causes can be as squeamish and intolerable as the results one is left to live with, on their own, with no guidelines because it was so stupid that it ever had to happen. Another word that can be a tad misleading (for me anyway) is recovery. Exactly what am I trying to recover, since all the early memories bore right in on abusive stuff I'd never want to recover. Still it's more acceptable, I guess, to say it that way; it's just not at all related to trying to re-cover some lost and wonderful time when all was well. Because--it just wasn't.

The last paragraph of LilyITV's sharing said it well. We're social, but bizarre and unseemly stuff throws us off-kilter, then we flounder and things can deteriorate from there. To my mind, that's more of an outside induced 'injury' than an internal body-based 'illness' (although the body-mind connection can instigate a descent into illness-related outcomes).

Still, words will always tend to get in the way of what's originally incapable of adequate description. It's like reinventing one's life, including the language we use to talk about it.
Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: Laura90 on October 25, 2018, 06:18:48 PM
Rather than explaining it to your husband as an illness or disorder, could you  describe it as your brain being traumatised by early experiences that have damaged the affect regulatory system, your sense of worthiness, heightened sense of fear leaving a narrower range for you to feel safe in?

I believe it to be a brain injury type of cause but that with the right support and safe space to process and relearn, we can all change over time. Would this help your husband in understanding if he knew there was change lying ahead, change that you are amazingly working through which in itself is immensely distressing?
Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: LilyITV on November 01, 2018, 08:01:13 PM
I had forgotten where I had posted this thread, but have finally found it again. 

Woodsgnome, yes, the word recovery throws me for a loop as well.  It seems not to be a good choice of words, but at the same time I can't think of anything better.

Laura90, I am contemplating just explaining to him what he needs to know about the effects of C-PTSD are without telling him specifically that I have C-PTSD.   After some things that happened this week, I think I really need him to understand emotional flashbacks and triggers. 

I am starting to understand why my therapist has only strongly hinted at what my diagnosis is and hasn't told me directly.  I felt an enormous sense of relief when I figured out that I suffer from C-PTSD, but I realize that others may not view it in the same way I do.  I know my husband seems really freaked out even by the little that I've shared with him about the condition. 

Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: Boy22 on November 01, 2018, 09:26:38 PM
When I ordered Pete Walkers book I told my other half he had to read it first.

He did, and within a few chapters looked at me and said “this book is telling me I didn’t have a very good childhood.”

I responded, “yes that’s why I wanted you to read it.”

He is in therapy too now, partly working on his coping with me. Currently he is working on being a better husband as his therapist has told him to red “Getting the love you need”, and he has realised that he needs to work on himself to make our relationship better. And of course there is his childhood to be worked upon too.
Title: Re: What do you most want others to know about C-PTSD?
Post by: LilyITV on November 08, 2018, 04:15:47 PM
That is awesome that your SO is in therapy too.  It is really interesting to me the fact that a lot of times C-PTSD sufferers end up in therapy kind of accidentally because they are trying to help someone else.  So many people have had crappy childhoods but don't realize it.  We all have a mental picture of what child abuse is and I think it is usually the type of abuse that is so horrible that it makes the newspapers.  However, child abuse can also look much different and is often subtle and not newsworthy.