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Messages - a_bunny

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Introductory Post / Re: Hello
« on: July 13, 2019, 02:46:20 AM »
Welcome!  :heythere:

Introductory Post / Re: New member joining
« on: July 07, 2019, 05:04:03 PM »
Welcome! And thank you for sharing your story, and what has helped you. It is encouraging to hear how much progress you have made after the difficult things you have survived through.  :grouphug:

Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Re: Conflict with in-law
« on: July 07, 2019, 04:57:14 PM »
It is comforting to know I'm not alone in the anxiety about posting, that leads to deleting posts. I guess we all feel the desire to open up and express because we want to be heard and understood, but we are also afraid that others will not respond with the understanding we seek. At least, that's how it feels to me. Thanks everyone for understanding.

Workplace Bullying/Harassment/Abuse / Re: Always the TARGET
« on: July 05, 2019, 04:40:50 PM »
Welcome! I am so sorry for what you are dealing with, and I hope that this community helps you and you feel supported here.

But when we are wounded a comment that might other wise not bother a typical person though inappropriate drives a dagger through our hearts. 

This so resonates with me, and maybe it can help you walkoniceinheels to know you aren't alone in what you're feeling? At least I hope it can.

Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Re: Conflict with in-law
« on: July 04, 2019, 05:28:39 PM »
Thanks again, Tee and Three Roses, for your support, and understanding how writing about it gave me anxiety. Three Roses, I'm glad that even after deleting your posts and account you stuck around and continued to be active here. That is a great quote from Maya Angelou. Even though I removed my original post, I still feel like some people saw it and could understand, so I think it helped to write it. I'm trying to connect to others more because I think it's part of the healing I need to do. Thanks for being a part of it.  :grouphug:

General Discussion / Re: recovery report. observations and conundrums
« on: July 04, 2019, 03:45:38 PM »
Thank you for sharing this. And kudos to you for all your hard work, and the wisdom and knowledge you've earned through your recovery process.

New Members / Re: New member here
« on: July 04, 2019, 03:17:25 PM »
Welcome! Hope you find some of the support and understanding you seek here.

Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Re: Conflict with in-law
« on: July 04, 2019, 12:35:21 AM »
Thank you for the replies Blueberry and Three Roses. Also Blueberry, thanks for the link and letting me know about Medium Chill and Grey Rock. I read them and they seem like they can help. I still will have to figure out how to deal with my inner reaction (body and emotion) when I have to face the person who is so triggering to me.

This is a separate issue entirely, but posting this gave me a lot of anxiety. I have extreme anxiety interacting with people on the internet, and I fear that this in some way makes me look bad, like people are reading this and thinking everything I did wrong, that the situation is completely my fault. Anyway, I find that this community is supportive, so I thought I could try opening up here and it should be okay. Thank you everyone for being supportive.

Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Re: Conflict with in-law
« on: July 03, 2019, 08:48:34 PM »

I had the long version of the story here. But I removed it because it gave me too much anxiety to have that much detail here. Sorry. Thank you everyone who read the original post and gave your support.

Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Conflict with in-law
« on: July 03, 2019, 08:21:44 PM »
The short(er) version:

My BIL (my husband's sister's husband) was verbally abusive to me via email. This happened about two months ago. It was the meanest, most intentionally hurtful email I'd ever received in my life. I went into a schema attack/EF that lasted for over a week.

Since then, I'm mostly fine, but when I think of him or the incident, it still triggers me. I feel the rage, the flight-or-flight body reaction, tense muscles and heart pounding. Mostly I guess I just try not to think about it because it's too triggering.

Because of his terrible behavior, I would easily cut him out of my life if I had the choice. The problem is that he is a family member. He (and his wife, my H's sister, and their child) and H's parents all live within the area, so the family gets together not infrequently. I got out of joining them for Father's Day -- H explained to his parents about what happened and they were understanding -- but I can't keep avoiding them forever. Not only that, but BIL is also connected to a couple of my friend groups, and I don't want to avoid them forever, too. I feel like it is unfair that because of somebody else's behavior, I now have to avoid connections to my family (technically my in-laws, but yes, they are my family), friends, and also friends in my professional circle (will explain in long version of story).

I don't want to hold on to the rage and the hate I feel, but I also know that recovery is a long process, and I'm just not there yet. I'm not ready to forgive, and I know enough not to try to push myself to something I'm not ready for.

I will have to face him again someday and I feel afraid that when I do, it will just be super triggering, I'll sit there frozen in fight-or-flight response, heart pounding, feeling enraged, and not able to interact socially.

Therapy / Re: 1 year and counting of Somatic Experiencing therapy
« on: July 01, 2019, 03:37:59 PM »
I'm glad you had such a positive experience with SE. :D

And thank you so much for sharing this, it's very helpful to me because I am planning to start SE for the first time, hopefully in August with a therapist I had talked to and liked, but is off for the summer. So it's good to hear about others' experiences with it.

General Discussion / Re: Achieving true internal validation
« on: June 21, 2019, 10:09:02 PM »
Otillie, thank you so much for your reply. This actually makes a lot of sense to me! This is like what I was saying in pont #3, CBT makes me feel invalidated. So I relate to your post. And the quote from your boyfriend, I think he is dead on about feelings having secrets in them, that are important to find out. This is in line with other things I have learned through reading/therapy/etc. The feelings are telling you something important, so that's why we need to observe them carefully.

After reading your post, I have the feeling I am on the verge of realizing something to do with my emotions and what they are trying to tell me, but I'm not all the way there yet... I will process  this some more and maybe reply again! Thank you!!!

General Discussion / Achieving true internal validation
« on: June 21, 2019, 05:12:19 PM »
Some thoughts, adapted from my journal, and a question at the end. Interested to hear anyone's thoughts.


Over the last few days, I started doing CBT on myself, challenging negative thoughts and beliefs. I've done CBT on myself many many times over the past decade and a half+. At this point, this is what I think: CBT is helpful but not sufficient.

If it were sufficient, I wouldn't be going back to do this over and over again. And recent reading I've done on CPTSD and PTSD seem to suggest that CBT has limited effectiveness for treating trauma.

My personal theory about the pieces that are missing, that don't get addressed by this cognitive work:

1. The body piece of the trauma. (I'm planning to start Somatic Experiencing or Sensorimotor Psychotherapy soon, to work directly on the body reaction.)

2. The emotional piece. This is mentioned in the Pete Walker book.

3. CBT makes me feel slightly invalidated. Like I am trying to tell myself these positive thoughts, to change my brain, but a part of me resents that. It's like hey, I have these negative thoughts and beliefs and emotions that feel real to me. Don't just dismiss them and tell me that I'm wrong.

4. After all this time, I find myself still judging myself and craving external validation. I realized it's still important to me to have others' approval, respect, acknowledgement, etc. (I guess I already knew that.) But moreover, it doesn't feel like enough for me to just tell myself the positive thoughts. To tell myself, I am good enough, my [work] is good enough, as if it shouldn't matter at all what others think.
I know (I believe?) that this is because with schemas, we tend to project what we lacked from our parents onto everyone around us. If we didn't get the validation and approval we needed from our parents, when we become adults, everyone around us feels like that potential parent that we desperately need to get that validation and approval from. But it's an illusion. Even if we do get the external validation, it still isn't sufficient to "cure" or "heal" us. It's not the same thing as having true internal validation.

So that's the question, then: How does one achieve true internal validation? When it doesn't feel like enough for me to tell myself positive things about myself. When I still feel so deprived and resentful and angry for needs still going unmet. When I crave so badly to be seen and understood and acknowledged, but even though I try to acknowledge and validate myself, it never feels like I'm getting enough. And I have also done sitting with my emotions, practicing self-compassion and mindfulness and validation of any feelings that come up. Again, this helps, but it feels like something is still missing.

How to feel like my own validation is enough? How to feel like *I* am enough?

I just had one yesterday, so it's fresh in my memory.

  • Hysterical crying, lying on floor. Sometimes crying so hard I hyperventilate and can't breathe. The crying can last for hours. <-- Does anyone have this?
  • Pure fury/rage. At myself and the one who triggered it (usually Husband).
  • A swirl of competing thoughts and emotions, like a "stack overflow" if you will.
  • Very difficult to form sentences. Many thoughts, but they all seem "wrong" to vocalize in some way. Sometimes stutter or repeat the same word or phrase over and over.
  • Sometimes a desire to hurt self, and rarely, acting on this desire. It's an internal battle of willpower not to.
  • Sometimes a desire to die.
  • A desire to throw, smash, tear up, or destroy objects, slam doors, etc. and not infrequently, acting on this desire.
  • Sometimes screaming violently.
  • A feeling that I am the most loathsome, horrible, unlovable, unworthy creature, and that I am being rejected by the entire world.
  • My needs feel so big and vast and impossible to fulfill. I desperately want them to be fulfilled, but I feel like I don't deserve to have them be, because they are too big and too unreasonable, and I have absolutely no right to ask that or inflict that upon anybody. I feel horrible for merely having them.
  • I feel like a monster for behaving this way.

Does any of this sound familiar? Particularly the hysterical crying. For some reason, it only recently occurred to me that my set of behaviors could be a psychological phenomenon that happens to others, not only me, and started to educate myself on it. For years, I used to call this a "schema attack," and my understanding was that schema attacks can look quite different from person to person and depending on the schema. I only just learned the term "EF" yesterday! And still learning more about it. Maybe it would help me feel a little less alien/monster if I knew that others had similar behavior. Thanks for this thread.

Friends / Re: I can't deal with people
« on: October 14, 2018, 02:13:26 PM »
A recent very minor example of what I'm talking about. (There are of course many, way more extreme ones.)

I have a friend who I love dearly, who is one of the most generous and caring people I know. He is also very overbearing, dominates conversations, and tends to aggresively, forcefully try to solve other peoples' problems for them.

Recently, at a group athletic activity:

Him: Hey A Bunny, we're all playing [sport], why don't you join?
Me: Actually, I just got a workout this morning…
Him, interrupting: So then don't play. You don't have to play if you don't want to.
Me: Well actually, I still wanted to play, just not the whole time…
Him, interrupting again: Okay, so then play for a bit and then stop when you want to.

I find this very annoying. There's a part of me that wants to scream: "Why don't you stop talking and trying to tell me what to do for just one second, and let ME tell YOU what *I* have already decided on my own, without your help?" There's another part of me that feels like I should just let it go and forget about it, because this particular exchange is not a big deal.

What will actually happen is: I will remember this, judge him for being a bad listener and overbearing, hold onto that judgment and memory for way too long, feel bitter about it, and still, the next time I see him, be happy to see him and enjoy his company (barring any more annoying behavior).

The problem is that it's not right to lash out at something so minor. But the emotion I feel in these situations will always be disproportionate to what's happening in the moment, because I always carry with me a deep well of rage that has been accumulating over a lifetime. I can't lash out, I can't tell myself to "let it go" and invalidate my own feelings. Possibly the most effective thing I could do is say something calmly to express that I don't need him telling me what to do, but 1. that's very hard for me to come up with on the spot, and 2. it's hard to act calmly when you carry a well of rage with you everywhere, and 3. I'm not even sure that situations like this are significant enough to warrant that kind of self-assertion.

Also I feel like a terrible person for being so judgmental towards my friends who are actually really great people.

My T would say that my/our reactions are 10% about what's happening in the moment, and 90% about our history. So it's not appropriate to unleash the full 100% of anger onto the person who triggered it. But then what do you do about that remaining 90%? Again, it goes back to what I said about it feeling like my own burden and responsibility to bear alone.

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