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Messages - LittleBoat

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1
Achieving closure and choosing compassion for abusers and even hearing remorse from them, something akin to apologies, and having a sense of peace sounds wonderful.  But closure, compassion, and the apology many survivors long for but never get doesnít seem to be an option for all of us.  Sadly.  Tragically. 

I do not miss my father.  I only felt relief when he passed.  Because I knew he couldnít physically hurt anyone again.  I do not miss the mother I still have.  She is a dangerous narcissist and gets worse not better.  I feel guilt that I am NC with her, but when Iíve tried to reach out, she proved dangerous.  And things would get bad for me.  And I canít shake off the horrors she inflicted when I was little.  It was really sick stuff. 

I donít really miss my brother.  He is so much older than me that I barely know him.  I have heard from an aunt that my father molested him.  My brother is in deep denial.  Hard to reach.

But now my sister is sick.  And I feel guilt that I let the genie out of the bottle and said what Iíve  needed to say for a very long time.   So I could finally stop holding my breath.  But I upset her.  At least she tried.  And she was the last line of communication between me and the others.  And Iím thinking how hard it must have been for her to juggle all this, to cling to the notion that we were a family of good people, despite all the pathology.  To be in touch with all of her far flung family.

I donít know.  Maybe sheíll reach out again.  Maybe Iíll tread more lightly.  Maybe Iím getting this whole ďCut the denial and just be realĒ thing all wrong. 

I donít know.  I donít know.  This might just be one of those situations where it is what it is.   

2
That must sound like a very basic and perhaps naive question.  I know there's estrangement.  I just didn't expect to go through it so quickly and so nastily.

I was the Scapegoat child.  I was NC with my sociopath/violent father for several years, until he died.  Now I'm NC with my elderly NPD mother.  I am very LC with my older brother.  And now I've just gotten into a fight with my older sister, who has tried to stay in touch with me, more or less.  But I never liked it.  It felt fake.  My mother was the white elephant in the room. 

My sister has cancer and is now showing more curiosity, I guess, about our family, my mental health problems.  But how can you suddenly just talk?  Be honest?  Our last communication turned into a big fight.  Quickly.  There were misunderstandings.  I was quite frank in my observations about our family dynamics.  Too frank, I guess.  She finally just wrote, "I'm done."

And I really don't expect to hear from her again. 

I'm blaming myself for this.  She's blaming me, too.  Am I supposed to love her, now?  Protect her?  Expect her to finally protect me, at this stage of the game, when she never protected me before?  And my mother, I'm sure, would be glad to stoke some flames. 

So, yes.  It seems that I'm embarking, at the age of 58, on a new chapter in my life.  One where there is essentially little to no family.  But there's, at least, some truth floating around in the air.  Truth ain't so great.  At least it doesn't feel that way, right now.  My sister will die soon, without the magical family reconciliation she seems to want before she goes.  And unfortunately, now we can't eke out a little bit more time to figure out a way to stay in touch, even if it were to mean more lies and eggshells everywhere. 

If you've been there before.  Or if you know of any resources, articles, other posts in this thread, that would be very useful, right now.

Thank you,
LittleBoat
 

3
Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: CPTSDFoundation.org
« on: June 19, 2019, 01:55:15 PM »
Thank you, Kizzie.  Would you be able to poke around a little on their site?  I started following them on facebook and already I'm getting several articles a day in my newsfeed, some of which might mean well but could also prove triggering.  I trust OOTS more than this "Foundation," right now.  Any further examination by you would be terrific.  I know you're busy.  All best, LittleBoat

4
Ideas/Tools for Recovery / CPTSDFoundation.org
« on: June 18, 2019, 11:32:09 AM »
Hi there.  I stumbled upon this group yesterday.  I couldn't find a physical location for them.  They do have a facebook page, however.  Is anyone else familiar with this organization?  Has its resources worked?  Thank you.  LittleBoat

5
Hi all,

I am having boundary problems with an ex-boyfriend.  Very Ex.  Say over 35 years ago Ex.  I will call him S.

When S and I were going out in college, we got very involved in poetry, and joined up with C, an amazing poet.  We worked hard on our poetry, and we were seen as a poet-trio, asked to do performances and readings quite often.  It was a wonderful synergy that the three of us shared.

So many years have passed since S and I were involved as a couple.  I am happily married to another man, retired, and my memories of my relationship with S have faded.  We dated a LONG time ago.  He is also married, with two grown sons.

Well, in the last year or so, C and S have gotten interested in poetry again.  They want to work on poetry and do readings and performances as a trio again.  Fine, okay. 

Problem is that S, my ex, and I had a disagreement on the phone about how one of these performances should be handled.  There was anger.  He said some weird things that upset me.  I emailed him that we should just let it lie, as we weren't getting anywhere.  And I just put it aside.  There were things going on in our household.  Health problems, including a cancer scare.

Maybe 2, 3 days passed, and he started in.

And with your kind permission (and patience), I'd like to share the emails he started sending to me.

Here's the first: 

"Itís painful to me to feel separated from you, I miss you, N."

That flummoxed me.  My husband wasn't happy with it, either.  Inappropriate? 

Here's the second:

"N, I am really concerned about what's going on / not going on with our friendship.  It's not like you to not respond, and I haven't heard back from you.  I don't like to jump to conclusions, and in the absence of information, i go in different directions, unsure of what's real, what's really going on.

If I've become a persona non grata to you (which i sincerely hope I haven't), this will be the last time i reach out to you.  I don't want to cause you more pain.

But, jeeze, how could that be?  How could you throw the baby out with the bath water?  If I've displeased you (again), c'mon, I'm a flawed human being.  So are you. 

The problem with trying to talk to you in the absence of your responses, is that I really don't know what's going on.  You may not being responding because of a million things in your life unrelated to me. I don't know.

You mentioned (pre-)cancer treatments and scares, alluded to a really rough patch mental-health-wise recently, and of course there's stuff with caring for Stephen post-operations, etc etc.  I don't need this to be about 'me', if it isn't.  I'm not really sure what's going on.

I wish you'd throw me a bone, if you could.  I don't know if you're waiting for an apology from me, or if I'm a mosquito-fart in the dessert of other issues in your life.  But about fifteen years ago i must've said something so terrible to you that you stopped speaking to me for years.  This looks like repeat #2.  When we got back in touch a couple years ago, we've had so much more fun and benefit -- that I don't know how or why you'd toss me.

N, you're great.  I love you.  I support you.  If you're mad at me, be mad at me.  Tell me.  I'll fight for our relationship, but i don't want to hurt you.  If my trying to reach you hurts you, I'll stop as of today.--S"

I wrote back telling me he was jumping to conclusions.  My husband and I were dealing with health issues, as I said, including a cancer scare. 

His response was how relieved he was, as if he didn't hear anything about our health troubles.   

We spoke on the phone today, and I told him that both emails were inappropriate.  And man, my husband sure didn't like either one of them.  But S argued, and I felt confused, gaslit.  He was talking circles around me.  He said I was jumping to conclusions.  He spoke about something that happened between us 15 years ago.  I have zero memory of that.  He tried to argue that if I didn't remember 15 years ago, then the email didn't mean anything, right?  It was just a misunderstanding.  And N, you are mentally ill, so.....  That was his trump card.  Pull that one out a couple of times to make me doubt my perceptions.  Then he got angry when I told him he was not to speak in that way to me anymore.  He said he didn't like "taking orders."  I asked, "Would you have sent that yearny, frantic, romantic-y email to C?"  And he said, "I don't really talk to my male friends.  I expect more from you."  And I said, "I don't want more expected from me."  That made him angry. 

Then the inner stuff started in me.  Memories long put to bed opened up about our break-up years ago.  Very painful.  I started remembering things he did when we dated, which hurt me very badly.  Unspeakable, weird things.  I started thinking about how he felt the need to zing me.  Just say something a little mean, but ambiguous, so if I were to call him out, he'd just say, "What are talking about?" 

I'm really distraught.  Do his communications with me sound inappropriate?  Sound like something that would upset your spouse/partner?   Sound Narc-y?

Any advice?  I don't want flare-ups. 

Thank you,
LittleBoat   

6
Friends / Narcs on Parade
« on: May 14, 2019, 10:02:45 PM »
When does it stop?   Do the Narcs of our past conspire to come out of the woodwork at the same time?  I feel like thereís one of those little circus cars following me around, and theyíre tumbling out like clowns.   First, on Motherís Day, my Narc mom came out in full regalia and played a game of ďgotcha,Ē figuring out a way to reach me and try to hurt me on Motherís Day, and Iím NC with her and very LC with most of my family.   But.... gotcha! 

Now a man who I dated in college and broke up with in 1983 is back in my life, along with some other college friends, to collaborate on some poetry projects with me and one other poet fellow.  The reunion of Old Boyfriend, me, and the other poet fellow was happy and very constructive and creative.  For a while. 

But now ex-boyfriend keeps sending me inappropriate, frantic, accusatory, yearny texts and emails more and more frequently.  He has been married for decades to the same woman, and he has two grown sons.  I am in a very happy, straightforward second marriage, myself.  These missives sound pretty Narc-y to me, in that, heíll do or say anything to get a rise out of me.  Creepy.  Itís like he is in some kind of ďI donít want you to break up with me/ youíre so meanĒ loop. 

I am just recovering from my motherís nonsense.  Now I see her in his behavior. 

And it makes sense.  How many of us get romantically involved with someone who exhibits the same pathologies that we grew up with?  Why?  Because itís all we know?  Because itís familiar and somehow comfortable?  I left my motherís house, met this guy right away in college and fell in love.  Now I can see this pattern.  I left him and married a guy who also turned out to be a Narc. 

My current husband says I need to tell him to knock it off.  The plan is, ask him if he would send frantic, romantic emails to our other poet friend fellow.  Or if he would cc these rants to his wife?  Or to my husband?  Or, how would he like it if I forwarded them to his wife, to the other poet fellow weíve been collaborating with, to the other poet fellowís wife, to my husband, and, why not, the larger group of college friends weíre now back in touch with?

That way, I guess, heíll have his own tiny clown car with all those folks spilling out into his little world?   I like the idea of nipping it in the bud this way.  My concern is that he will only ramp up his communications to the point of harassment.  I mean, really, how could I be so mean?

Suggestions?

Thank you,
LittleBoat

7
Mother's/Father's Day / Mothers Day Abuse by Proxy
« on: May 12, 2019, 05:07:26 PM »
It's been a while since I've posted, so thank you OOTS, as I don't know who to talk to today.  Mothers Day.  My mother (with whom I'm NC) was at least a Narc, although there might have been other pathologies operating, too.  She was an abused wife, and in turn, I was her abused daughter.   She was verbally and emotionally cruel to me, alternating with being neglectful.  I was pretty much trapped in a very messed up and dangerous household for most of my childhood.

My father, a sociopath, died a few years ago, and I have felt nothing but relief since I heard the news of his death.   It meant he couldn't hurt anyone anymore.  My mother is in her 90s, and she is still capable of wreckage and cruelty and dishonesty.  My aunt lives one property over from her.  My aunt is also in her 90s, but she is the only one in my family, who believes me about the extent of the abuse, as she was badly abused by my dad (her brother).   

Okay, that's enough back story for now.  Suffice to say that I TRIED.  It's one of the worst days of the year for me, but I really tried.  I woke up, determined to at least be pleasant, even if I felt triggered and traumatized.  I watched old movie musical numbers, worked out in my mind that I would make no major emotional demands upon myself, etc. 

Now I'm ready to break dishes.  See, I called my aunt this a.m., and wouldn't you know, she launched into a tirade about my mother being cruel to her.  I listened for a few minutes, and then reminded her that I am unable to talk about my mother, at all.  She has been aware of this, but she is old, and well, if a Narc sprays you with nerve gas, as my mother is doing to her, you're pretty worked up and need to, at least, vent. 

My mother is tricky.  Very tricky.  She might be hurting my aunt because it's satisfying to hurt my aunt.  But my sister might have mentioned to her that I was in contact with my aunt.  The little kid in me might be doing some magical thinking here, but is it possible that my mother is "killing two birds with one stone"?  She never liked my aunt, so hurting her would be satisfying, but is it possible she knows this is a way to get to me? 

I can't help wondering about this. 

I can't shake the suspicion. 

Anyway, here's all the best to the strong members of this wonderful board, Kizzie et al.  I am so so glad this space exists.  I've learned a lot because of it.  May we all have a comfortable day.  As comfortable as possible.  Thanks for listening.--LittleBoat


8
Hi,
In my recent experience, there seems to be an increase in toxic masculinity and men getting away with a LOT of bullying and messing with your head.  I thought it was just my C-PTSD acting up, but when I brought up some recent incidents I've had with different men online and in person, my psychiatrist confirmed that things just *feel worse*, as she has been harassed more than usual, of late.  Like there's something in the air.  Some kind of permission for men to act or say whatever they want, which is manipulative, hurtful and designed to keep you in your place.  The Kavanaugh situation is a huge cloud, as well.  I am now housebound, with a general feeling of "what's the use....I'm gonna get slammed again if I venture out."   I honestly can't tell if I'm sick or just appropriately angry.  I just feel like there is something pathological in the general air.  A cultural pathology that seems to silence women, with more and more "effectiveness."  But I am pretty messed up, confused, gaslit, and can't trust whether this is an accurate observation.  So I'm pretty cobbled.  Anyone else having this sense that it's not just us having C-PTSD symptoms, but that something is actually going on, which makes it more difficult to trust what men might do? 

Thank you,
LittleBoat 

9
Hi all.
It's been a while.  But I've basically been hijacked by my Outer Critic.  It is virulent and makes me bed bound. 

I read and re-read Pete Walker's wonderful work on the Outer Critic. 

But what happens when you bring social injustice into the mix?  Things like overt sexism, misogyny, sexual violence, racist violence, or attacks specifically targeted toward sexual preference and gender identity?

Attacks, assumptions and oversights (and actual danger) occur daily because of one's gender/race/class/sexual orientation/gender orientation.  I also deal, at this point, with ageism and classism.  I know this looks like my Outer Critic is trotting out a laundry list of reasons to frighten me (and judge others) even more deeply.

But social injustices are real and can be deeply damaging and dangerous.  Sometimes fear or anger in response to other's prejudices and untrustworthiness seem like accurate and honest modes of self protection.

Overall, my question is:  How to disentangle the Outer Critic from actual injustices and dangers?   

10
General Discussion / Re: Forgiveness is bulls#@%
« on: July 22, 2018, 02:18:41 PM »
Dear mourningme,

I agree with you, wholeheartedly.  The whole culture in this country stresses forgiveness, especially of one's parents.  But anger is a very appropriate and necessary emotion to feel, as is a whole range of other emotions that need addressing in order to heal.  It is toxic to insist on forgiveness.  It is toxic to tell a victim that anger is inappropriate in any way.

Pete Walker wrote a whole book arguing against this weird insistence that we forgive.  I recommend the book.  It's called The Tao of Fully Feeling.  He is extremely direct in his criticism of spiritual and therapeutic practices that tell victims their job is to forgive without any regard for victims' plights.  Alice Miller is another amazing advocate for victims of trauma, and she shows absolutely no patience for insisting that victims must forgive in order to "heal."  So there are folks in the psychiatric field, who are on our side.  I, personally, have found great comfort in their work.  Even when I'm not reading them, I am glad to know that there is a movement in the psychiatric field that pushes back against the weird sanctity of forgiveness.  All best to you.  I hope you continue to share your insights in this forum. 

All best, LittleBoat

11
Dear Enya,
Thank you so much for sharing this.  I greatly admire the level of deep work you are capable of doing.  These are rich insights.  Your being able to "stay" in that scenario in order to recollect and rewrite it is very admirable.  You model, for us, what deep inner mindfulness looks like.
Blessings to you and thank you,
LittleBoat

12
Hi Kizzie,
Thanks for replying.  I do indeed see a psychiatrist, who I've seen weekly for years.  She is aware of my med history, as well as my trauma history.  I will be talking to her this week about both meds and traumatic memory loss. 

I also read one of the articles you posted about dissociative amnesia.  That seems like a pretty good "medically recognized" fit with what I experience. 
Best,
LittleBoat

13
Hey All,

Not sure where to put this.  Having trouble getting my mind around the definition of dissociation, so not sure if this is the right place.

Over the last five years, my mental health has deteriorated quickly.  I have had cognitive difficulties, difficulty carrying out simple administrative or household chores, short attention span and poor short-term memory.  I have C-PTSD and PTSD, along with bi-polar and serial suicidality.  Additionally, I am on anti-depressants and anti-psychotics.  (I mention these drugs, as they may be a factor in my problem.) 

I got a "clean bill of health" recently, after many tests:  No Lyme Disease, MS, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I don't feel that I have symptoms related to autoimmune diseases, which would cause brain fog.  In addition, various brain scans showed healthy brain tissue, as well as healthy operation of the fluids/blood circulating around my brain.  No signs of memory degeneration related to Alzheimers.

So....Why can't I (a former English Professor and Grant Writer, with a Ph.D.) have trouble reading books above a 10th grade level?  Why can't I focus for more than a few pages at a time?  Or even focus on getting through one page?  What happened to my attention span?  And why can't I fill out a bank deposit slip?  Why do I get daunted by a pile of laundry that needs folding?  Why do I lose the capacity to keep things straight when setting up an appointment?  Why do I lose words when I talk?  Why can't I find my way around when I drive on routes that used to come to me automatically?   Why can't I make plans and carry them out?  Or multi-task at the most basic level, even, say, doing two small things at a time or writing something down while someone is talking to me?  I used to be a terrific multi-tasker, which helped me personally and professionally. 

My world is becoming one of Post-It Notes stuck here and there and then I just lose them.   

After my positive doctors appointment, I asked her if childhood trauma could cause cognitive faltering.  She said, Yes.  As can the meds I'm on. 

I am also realizing that, while I have a slew of flashbacks, my memory channels of GOOD things and times with old friends are hampered, disjointed, with blank gaps, which make me feel like I'm sort of just pasted together without a clear, linear how things have unfolded in my life, how I've made decisions, and how I've developed. 

Any clues?  Is this dissociation?  Is short and long-term memory re-gainable?  Can anyone steer me to research on this subject?

Thank you,
LittleBoat




14
Oh, thank you, Hope.  So great to hear from you and receive your kind support. 

I am going through this odd "All or Nothing" phase.  Maybe "black and white thinking"?  I feel like I have to be perfect, happy, cheerful, compliant in order not to feel abandoned.  It feels like I am in this weird game, where I have one shot--one moment where I show something in me that might not be pleasant, perfect, happy, cheerful, compliant.  After that, if I show that imperfect part of me again, I will be abandoned and alone. 

Anyone out there feel this weird trap of perfectionism or abandonment?

15
Hi.  I've been posting about inner and outer critics and grief, lately.  And I guess I'm posting about that stuff again.  I don't know (or trust) how accurate I am when reacting to somebody's words or actions.  I very much fear I over-react to things that others can simply brush off as small misunderstandings.  Very afraid of coming across oddly or impolitely or over-dramatically. 

A little background:  I needed to quit a successful career and go on disability, followed by a series of hospitalizations for mental illness.  I was popular and respected before these occurrences.  But once I got sick enough for the hospital, friends disappeared, almost overnight. 

Now I am finally re-establishing some connections, alliances and a small new handful of friends.  But the critics (both inner and outer) are so prominent, as is grief, that I fear I might be too much for people, that I will trigger them, or frighten them, or misread them, thereby angering them, and I will lose people again. 

I am NC with my mother and have very little contact with my FOO, because we have different perceptions of our upbringing.  I was the scapegoat.  I also never had children, and I am of the age where I am old enough to even have grandchildren.  My husband is a saint.  He takes care of me, and he also lets me know why I am a special person.  It is very important to me that I feel I am making a positive contribution in the world, that I'm adding value, that I can retain thoughtfulness, self-awareness, and be kind.  But there's so much going on in me, both through healing CPTSD and also my precarious mental health, that I lose track.  It's like I'm in a storm, and the sail has ripped, and I'm hugging the mast.  Just.....precarious.

So I am suffering.  And lonely.  And I just so fear "using somebody up" or burdening them or saying one thing too many, finding myself without friends.  Thanks for listening.  --LittleBoat

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