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Messages - Gentian

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Physical Abuse / Re: Was this normal in the 70s?
« on: August 14, 2017, 07:11:34 PM »
Thank you all for the replies and validation.  I didn't realize until recently that the ice baths were probably an excuse to torture me.  I try really hard not to think like a "victim", and I struggle with taking inventory on the stuff that went on because I can get stuck in it.  I realize that that attitude in myself is suspect because I don't feel that way about others taking inventory and seeking clarity.  It's just weird coming to realizations, however small, so late. 

eta I actually googled "ice baths as sunburn remedy" many times before asking here, trying to find some historical reference to it, and didn't hit anything except modern-day parents losing custody for using it as punishment and nearly killing their kids with hypothermia.  Thanks again.

Physical Abuse / Was this normal in the 70s?
« on: August 13, 2017, 07:01:37 AM »
I am fair-skinned.  As a child, I sunburned badly every summer, but only during the two-weeks of * that were my court-ordered visitation with my father and his wife. This was because at my usual home--on a small farm, outdoors all the time!--I could wear long sleeves/pants or seek shelter in the shade or a building when it was hot, as dictated by common sense.  I never burned.  However, in Dad's suburban squalor, I was ordered/shamed into wearing swim suits and shorts outside all day every day with none or inadequate sun protection, and I burned to a crisp every. *. Year.  As in, solid sheets of blisters covering my torso and head.  One particular day they had me remove my one-piece swimsuit to photograph the "hilarious" white pattern of unburned skin on my back.  They were laughing because my burned skin was almost purple.   My stepmother and her son were pale redheads, and I have memories of watching her slathering herself with sunscreen, and neither of them ever burned.  But I always did, and she always had two big bags of ice at the ready for me in the evenings.  She'd  dump them into a shallow bath and make me fully submerge my body until they melted. It took me until my forties to fully appreciate how hellish, and risky, it probably was ( I don't remember what it felt like, only that I dreaded it). Was  this just a normal, albeit ignorant,  "medical" treatment back then?   She pulled a lot of other abusive crap regularly, so that is not at question.  Just this one particular ritual she had with me.  I'm not sure how long it went on, but probably from the age of 5 or so (possibly earlier as she married my dad when I was 2), until 10 or so probably.  I'm not sure why she stopped.  Thanks.

Recovery Journals / Re: Another attempt. The critic won last time.
« on: February 25, 2017, 02:56:48 AM »
I woke up early again this morning with that terrible feeling weighing me down.  I hate waking up because of it.  It feels like the most tortured grief I've ever experienced, amplified within my torso somewhere.  It is painful, as though someone died, and I have just forgotten who.  I am so foggy and  confused at first, trying to orient myself around it and running mentally through my recent history trying to figure out what happened.

But there is nothing.  There almost never is.  I am blessed to realize no death, or breach of relationship.  No explanation.  Just a hollowed-out, painful center.  I've always launched  frantically into silent prayer (begging) at this time, or else mental distraction via books, tv or the internet.  For the first time, I tried to lie still and just feel it instead.

It  hurt, physically.  My chest region mostly, like my core had been hollowed out and my own susbstance replaced with this pain business.  It actually migrated from my chest down into my abdomen.  It was relentless and solid and exquisitely painful to just lie in bed with it, thought-stopping the inner critic that was screaming that I was going to die a horrible and premature death, leaving my grieving preschooler an orphan in foster care; my critic used to be about self-loathing and mockery, and was quite cavalier about whether I lived or died.  Now that I have a dependent whom I love more than life, it has turned quite vicious with visions of horrible things happening to her if I should die, and it turns every little ache or abnormality into cancer.

I don't know long I lay with it, but I didn't run from it, and I somehow actually fell asleep again.  When I woke up for the day, it was gone like it had never been.  This is it's m.o; ambush, then disappear.  This is the first time I've stopped running and turned toward it, though. 

I've always been (ignorantly, I'm sure) envious of people who experience depression as feeling nothing, because mine has always been so painful.  That's before I knew what it actually is, though.  I thought I was just innately flawed mentally, and accepted my diagnosis of major depressive disorder. But CPTSD makes so much more sense and gives me something to work with. Thank you, Pete Walker.

Recovery Journals / Re: Another attempt. The critic won last time.
« on: February 25, 2017, 02:01:47 AM »
Thanks San, that makes alot of sense.  I suspect as I progress that what i call "embarassment" is actually shame. 

Recovery Journals / Re: Another attempt. The critic won last time.
« on: February 16, 2017, 06:34:25 AM »
Thanks Three Roses and Sanmagic.  It's deeply embarassing to talk about this stuff even anonymously.  Trying to go about my life like I haven't done it. lol.  Just these two little stories, and I'm fighting the urge to bolt from this site daily.   In fact have been avoiding responding out of embarassment.  I hope you understand.

I'm sorry to hear you got similar treatment Three Roses. It's a terrifying way to live.  I've always felt that she affected me more deeply than even the sexual abuse.  Though I have absolutely zero interest in talking about that so maybe I'm fooling myself.  lol. 

Recovery Journals / Re: Another attempt. The critic won last time.
« on: February 12, 2017, 07:55:08 AM »
This is long, and may be triggering for some.  I am just getting it all down somewhere. 

I timed her once--my stepmom.  Three hours.  Three hours spent in red-faced, spit-flying, vein-popping "lecture" for something I'd presumably done, I don't remember  what now, it was almost always a manufactured ambush anyway.  I was fourteen.  I'd been kneeling on the floor without moving for so long my legs were useless dead things beneath me, but I didn't dare move because to even look at her invited even more crazed screaming and pacing.   

It was ten p.m., and the house had gone dark as everyone else had fled to their rooms hours prior and my stepmom hadn't stopped yelling long enough to turn the lights on. My Dad was there somewhere, along with stepmom's three teenage kids, my older sister, and three young foster kids.  Eight witnesses to this particular tirade, and not so much as a look of acknowledgement the next day.  The house was small, and she had screamed until her voice broke, like she always did.  But everyone always pretended it hadn't happened, even though it was a daily occurrence for me.  She never yelled at her own kids, but I'm pretty sure the foster kids also caught it regularly.  I often felt sorry for them that they had to live with her full-time while I could escape periodically between visits.

Of course, "escape" is a relative term, as I was going back to my stepfather and grandfather.  But that's another blog. 

She had this way of setting upon you that you could never foresee or avoid.  If you walked through the room demurely, she'd accuse you of pouting.  If you walked brightly she'd want to know where the attitude came from.  There was no winning.  She'd find something wrong or broken in the house, or you'd get scapegoated by one of the other kids, or you'd have a need and simply have to ask her a question--and she'd start questioning you in short, sharp barks: Who do you think you are? Do you do this at home? You are going to ACT like PART OF THIS FAMILY!  And show me some RESPECT! Then it was on, and the spittle was flying.

When I was very young, around four, I'd break down and cry during these episodes (you were required to stand at attention in front of her).  I tried not to.  But this would send her over the edge.  Then I was throwing a TEMPER TANTRUM! Don't turn on the tears, Gentian, that doesn't work HERE! AND STOP GIVING ME DIRTY LOOKS!

The irony of her "temper tantrum" accusation is not lost on me.  And I tried so hard to wipe my face clean of any expression whatsoever; to this day, I do not know what the "dirty looks" accusation was even about.  I like to think it was because I knew that what she was doing was wrong, and I was too young to keep it from my eyes, and she couldn't stand it. 

One of her favorite interrogations was WHY DID YOU DO IT? ANSWER ME! Of course, because I hadn't actually done anything, I had no idea how to answer, plus I was literally scared stupid.  Without an answer, she'd go on, and on, and a moment of inspiration one night I squeaked out "Because...I wanted to?" And this admission of my rotten character seemed to satisfy her. "GO TO YOUR ROOM!" She bellowed, and I scurried away in such relief.  Shortly thereafter, I heard the foster kids using my line during lectures to successfully purchase their own release, so I know they heard every word.  It's one of the ways I knew there were witnesses.

Recovery Journals / Re: Another attempt. The critic won last time.
« on: February 12, 2017, 05:30:43 AM »
Thanks San.  :hug:

Can I just say that I for one would take unconventional beauty over the conventional any day.  Cultural ideals are ever-changing and arbitrary to begin with.  Please give your inner critic a big fat "shut up" for me.

Also, it's entirely possible that people who say you are being overly sensitive about what you perceive to be your flaws are right, and you are not "ugly" at all.  Kids especially go after the most minute characteristics in each other.  And aren't dating services sorta guilty of championing conventional attractiveness?? I mean, look at the couples in the ads...just sayin'.

And it wouldn't matter if you were "ugly".  You don't owe it to the world to be what it considers beautiful anyway.  Your worth is not determined by your appearance. 

That said, looking like a boxer would be pretty manly to many, IMO.

Hi twinkletoes,
I know this is a late answer, but I am new here and just wanted to say that it sounds like it could be hypervigilance, if your SO doesn't give you reason to mistrust him otherwise.  I get the feeling that it was the closed door that got to you--is this true?  It's so difficult to know when to trust your gut in these kinds of situations.  I hope you are feeling better about it.

Hi Sanmagic7,
Just wanted to say I am both saddened and impressed by your story and your courage in telling it.  I am NC too with my only sister whom I believe is likely a psychopath.  I can't imagine how hard it must be to be the mother to such a person.  Like your elder, my sister was toxic and dangerous from a very young age.  For what it's worth, I know you were right that they were slowly killing you and you were right to get away.   I hope you can find more peace after getting this all out. 

P.s.  I am deeply sad for you being abandoned by your first husband like that, though it sounds like a good riddance ultimately.   I know that my childhood ptsd definitely flared up when I was pregnant and has been going strong since.  We're just more vulnerable at that time, no matter how tough we are.  It was a crappy thing for him to do. 

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: I'm * mad
« on: February 09, 2017, 05:48:47 AM »
I know that feeling of shutting down in fear and being unable to assert yout rights.  I do the same thing.  I think it was brave of you to even bring it up with the manager, that's the kind of thing I'm afraid to do. 

I hope it gets resolved fairly.  He shouldn't have dehumanized you with his poor response.  That lacks such basic human respect.  I would be mad too.

Thank you Kizzie yes so far.  I seem to be in continuous EFs lately so at first I didn't know how to answer your question.  I appreciate all the kind answers from everyone.

And thank you Bring em all in, that's exactly what I mean.  I'm sorry you are in it too.

Recovery Journals / Re: Another attempt. The critic won last time.
« on: February 09, 2017, 05:34:43 AM »
Thank you all again for the kind replies. The desire to delete this thread is as strong as the old desire for a smoke when I was quitting cigarettes for the umpteenth time.  lol.  I'm grateful to you all.

Thank you JDCooper, I'm not in therapy.  I think about it all the time but back away whenever I start looking at names and profiles of local therapists.  It's a goal of mine someday.

Fen Starshimmer, I've often wondered that exact thing about FFIL many, many times.   It's a relief to hear someone else suggest it because there have been so many weird incidents and they all revolve around FFIL humiliating me behind SO's back.  The sad thing is that he shames SO too all the time, right to his face, pointlessly, and SO doesn't stand up for himself either.  In fact it seems he should be here too, sometimes.

In fact at christmas, SO agonized over what to buy his parents, and chose a really thoughtful gift.  FFIL opened it, acted angry and then immediately asked for the receipt so he could "take it back".  SO immediately demonstrated what I now understand are fawn behaviors.  It was painful to watch.

It sounds like a flashback to me too, but I'm not yet good at identifying them. I'm unfortunately pretty good at panic attacks though, and I bet the flashback could trigger a panic attack pretty easily. 

I have panic disorder and at my worst, had an average of  3 panic attacks a day in my twenties.  A panic attack for me starts with ringing ears, then within moments proceeds to tunnel vision that rapidly completely blacks out, sweaty palms, racing heart then WHAM I'm in full-blown panic that feels like I'm dying in a sudden overwhelm of physical sensations.  The onset is seconds and it resolves in minutes, less than 20 minutes probably, leaving me feeling weak and shaky.  They could happen any time for no apparent reason, but most often happened as I was waking up, especially if I fell asleep by mistake on the couch during the day. 

I'm just learning to identify EFs, but they seem to be more generalized and long lasting and awful-feeling than a panic attack.  I think they're worse.  Just a tip, I learned by chance that if I flipped tv channels as fast as they would go when I felt a PA start--so fast that  I couldn't even tell what was on them (but tried to see)--I could interrupt a panic attack, which was half the battle for me.  And once  I'd successfully stopped a couple of them, I stopped fearing them,mand they stopped coming for awhile, and have never returned in the same intense duration though they can still get me when I'm overtired or startled. I hope that helps.  I'm really sorry you're suffering.

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