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Messages - DontPanic

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Hello Oscen,
I just read your post and, YES!
I, too, find it hard to justify myself, and I, too "didn't have it bad" - no physical or sexual violence, no this, no that. Just a big empty hole in my self where self-esteem could reside.

I had an encounter last week that made something clear to me: it made clear to me that sometimes i cannot recognize abuse/trauma as abuse/trauma as long as I do not fully experience the good experience. That has been very strange for me. I couldn't tell what exactly "was so bad" that it justified myself, that it counts as real abuse, that is a story that convinces some listener instead of "So what? No one has perfect parents, why do you complain about these faults, move on and let go".

The encounter that made a difference for me was this: I had a sexual encounter with a man the same age as my father. And during this encounter, he held me in his arms for hours and looked at me as if i were a gift from heaven. And i melted in his arms, cuddled in his arms for hours, was so so so glad and felt it deeply, as if it were the first time in my life a man looked at me this way. And it felt unbelievably great, relieving, relaxing, soothing, healing: i was a gift, a precious gift.

A few hours later, back home alone, a terrible wave washed over me and i broke down crying and shouting. Because now i had had the positive experience, and all the memories of my father came up, and how he always looked at me as if i was inappropriate. And through all my tears i knew that only because i had experienced being a gift, i have come to know how abusive it was, always being unwanted and disgusting instead of being a gift. I was denied being a gift and being a joy to my father, every day, day after day, year after year. And it has hurt me deeply. But i couldn't have told a coherent story until i had had the opposite experience of being precious beyond words.

So, to sum it up: what helped me validate my own truth was positive experiences that showed me what would have been possible and how it feels to be treated with love and respect.

This is not the only answer to your question, there are lots of other ways to validate myself, but today it is too late and this post is already longish... good night! I wish all of you positive experiences full of love and respect  :wave:

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Thank you so much for replying! I feel being  heard, I feel understood and that makes such a difference. I don't feel bad, just sad and like crying. Feeling understood is.... healing.

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Thank you for your compassion, that feels good...

With my uncle, I'll meet him in a few weeks - he said he was busy with visitors for the next two weeks and we'll schedule a meeting when the holiday season is over. He lives only 30 minutes away, so it does not require that much planning, and I'm glad for that. Yes, I will try to get to know him and see if it becomes more personal. It is strange, because we are close relatives and we are talking about private subjects and difficukt emotions. Yet we are not acquainted, we never really talked. I feel I would be glad to have an uncle who is open, and real, and where talking does not feel distorted.
He has a daughter, my cousin, and I am also trying to get acquainted with her. Of course it is difficult for her, because she feels my father is responsible for her father (and thus also her) being disinherited, and i have to admit there is truth to it.

My relationship with my father is low contact - we almost never meet in person, we have a brief phone call for birthdays, christmas and other major holidays. In the past I often felt our interactions hateful or revengeful, so i retracted myself.
What I am thinking about now: if it is possible that he twisted stories that justified him hating my uncle and getting "even" by revenge, it would also be possible that he twisted stories that justified hate or revenge towards me. This is a new idea for me. I have been wondering for a long time why i was/am the target of strange accusations, why it so often feels as if he hated me passionately. Well, just a possibility. What a sad thing this would be! What a twisted psyche! All the sad consequences! I'm crying inwardly.

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I'm sorry if this post is longish and a bit unsorted, I am still trying to sort it out and hope telling you will help me doing this.

When I was a child, my father used to rant a lot about his younger and only brother: telling stories how his brother was taking advantage of him, how he was using clever tactics to get more than his fair share from their parents, how he tricked him into having to work much more than his fair share for their parents. I've heard the topic endless times. And because my uncle was painted so ill willed and almost evil and because i believed the stories to be true, I avoided him and never really got to know him. And my father has stopped inviting his brother long ago, so we never met. And I always assumed they both were angry at each other and disliked each other.
And finally my father cared for my grandmother when she was very old, and while she lived under his roof and care, she changed her testament and disinherited my uncle and gave everything to my father. He had urged her to do so, and she had done so. So, after her death, my uncle was shocked and disappointed and my father found it served him right.

Now I am almost 50 and found the courage to call him. He was surprised, of course, but friendly and open and encouraged me to ask questions. I told him that it had been a neverending issue through my whole childhood: my father being mad at him, and I asked him: what happened between both of you that your relationship was so bad? When did it start to deteriorate? What has caused such hostility? What series of events led to this harsh testament?

I was very surprised that my uncle said: he did not hold a grudge against my father until he started urging his mother to chage her will. from his Point of view, he and his brother lived rather separate lives but their relationship was just distant, not bad or filled with grudge.
I inquired futher, citing examples of stories told to me, how he had allegedly cheated and tricked my father. He told me completely different versions of these stories and added that my father had never talked to him about all the accusations. He sounded surprised while telling me this, and a bit hurt, but very matter-of-fact and not agitated at all.

When our talk was over, my head was spinning for an hour. I am completely baffled. For the first time in my life i consider it really possible that my father has some personality disorder, that he made these stories up. That he told the stories in a way that allowed him to vilify his brother, even though I really don't understand what good it did to him. Like paranoia, or like a compulsion to anger and self-righteousness. I know that this is a very harsh verdict, and that i cannot prove anything. But it felt very, very convincing: these stories I was told were... lies. Lies that served as a justification to punish someone. Lies that served as reasons to be angry and righteous. Lies that poisoned relationships. Lies that robbed my of having an uncle. Lies that had some strange influence on me that I still have to find out and understand. Lies that made me lose trust in my father, in my family, in those I would have needed to heal from living in a marinade of lies. Whew!

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Emotional Abuse / Re: Trouble with crying?
« on: December 30, 2018, 10:14:29 PM »
i also have trouble when ithers cry - i become both numb and agitated when others suffer and/or cry.
I suppose it's some IC that is overwhelmed by its own sorrow, and i have to keep it in check all the time so i don't hurt so much.
It's only when i  am more stable that i can really comfort someone, then i can feel their pain and stay present without being in pain myself.

I seldom cry myself, but i often feel as if i were crying inside, and it just doesn't show on the outside.

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Web Sites, Support Groups & Organizations / Practices for Resilience
« on: October 03, 2018, 02:36:33 PM »
There's a website from Rick Hanson with 52 simple practices for enhancing or building resilience. resilience is which is exactly what I need for coping with the effects of PTSD. I haven't tried all and everything, I've used it as a toolbox and found the things I tried very helpful.
The site is: https://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing/just-one-thing-simple-practices/
If you try some of it, I'm interested in your experiences, if you want to share.

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General Discussion / Re: How to make "poor me" helpful?
« on: September 24, 2018, 05:14:03 PM »
I just wanted to add that i found another resource which helped me - obviously i was resisting against pain and setbacks.
I found https://www.rickhanson.net/accept/ really helpful - it is a detailed idea how to accept more of those things that are really hard to swallow. There are quite a few instructions for resourcing oneself on his page. Is there something like a resource list where everyone (or a moderator ?) adds resources? https://www.rickhanson.net/writings/just-one-thing/just-one-thing-simple-practices/ is really helping me a lot.

Blueberry, thank you for pointing me to EFT. I'll give it a try.
it's easy when you're feeling overwhelmed to give up doing the useful steps for a while.
Yeah, that really hits the point. When I'm in flashback mode full of drivenness, i have no patience to remember what has been helpful before and act accordingly. But you said it better than i do  :wave:

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Introductory Post / Re: Thankyou so much for allowing me to join
« on: September 24, 2018, 04:48:03 PM »
Hello CharlenaM,
it inspiring how much dedication and impetus you have. Welcome!

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General Discussion / Re: How to make "poor me" helpful?
« on: September 23, 2018, 04:01:38 PM »
Hello Three Roses,

thank you for reminding me of Peter Walker. I have his book sitting on the shelf, but knowing and practicing are two different parts. So I followed the link you provided, and doing the proposed steps reduces the intensity for a few minutes - which is a lot, given that this particular feeling lasts for two weeks now.

I do educate myself a lot about cptsd and trauma healing, i am going to therapy, i meditate, i went to a "mindfulness based self empathy" course, i really really do a lot to make my pain lighter. I'm just so fed up from time to time, when the pain comes back and comes back and comes back. When it gets lighter and more bearable, i can see that i am progressing. When i have a setback, i can not feel emotionally that i have achieved a lot already. While writing this, i alternate between feeling a little bit better and being overwhelmed and forcing the waves back into "it is only a part of me".

So what am i gonna do? I'll practice the most helpful steps again and again, i guess. i am just so exhausted right now. Thank you for your kindness and sorry for all the self-pity.

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Introductory Post / Re: Becoming visible
« on: September 22, 2018, 07:00:55 PM »
Thank you for welcoming me. It's nice to have reactions and validation :-)

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General Discussion / How to make "poor me" helpful?
« on: September 22, 2018, 01:23:14 PM »
In the last weeks I feel more, I am less numb. Before, there were many anxiety attacks a day, but there was not so much presence of myself noticing, i just walked through many days. Now i notice my anxiety, my avoidance and it makes me mad about myself, mad about being so damaged and not yet recovered.
I notice I'm getting angry, and I want to blame life, the universe, or even my family members. Interestingly there is no desire to blame my father, who probably contributed most to all the damages; I'm rather mad at myself or at my current state. But at the same time it feels like yelling or crying "poor me" is not helping me, it feels like being the victim again and again and again and again - bleh.
And if yelling "poor me" and "i want it to be different, i want to be sane" doesn't help: what do you do with this energy? I feel like exploding, but I think acting it out will not help me. And just being like this and doing nothing is hard.

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Introductory Post / Becoming visible
« on: September 21, 2018, 10:34:46 PM »
Hello everyone contributing or reading here -
and first of all, thank you for building such a valuable, respectful and encouraging forum. I've been reading here from time to time, and several times it produced that very rare and strange effect that by reading your stories, I feel seen, understood, can relate to it and feel relatable. Still it's unbelievably hard to  introduce myself, become visible and introduce myself here. Well, somehow I manage finally.

I'm currently 48, and I've been rather intellectual, withdrawn and shy for all my life, although i do like company a lot. I'm married, built myself a career in software and I have a son, whom I love very much. I have a rather nerdy sense of humor, so my nickname here is borrowed from the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy.

All the years I felt as if I wasn't really alive- most of people around me, they seemed to have some strange ability to be really alive, and I never understood what it was, why I couldn't. It felt like living behind a transparent wall so i was a spectator, but not really participating in life. I went to therapy several times - when I was 25, I had a panic attack, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, so this was apparently alarming and i sought for help. But then a strange series started, my therapist abused me (verbally and emotionally). I have experienced this several times now, and it is shocking every time it happens. In the last three years, I was able to break the spell and choose a therapist that is really kind, empathetic and helpful.

In hindsight i guess i was numb for the bigger part of my adult life. When my son was born, my heart opened up to him, and with this de-numbing my life has been quite hard since. I'm having lots of irrational emotional waves almost every day, mostly shame and anxiety. And when i made another attempt to try and find out what was actually going on inside me four years ago, i first found "out of the fog" and the "out of the storm" and it is a big relief to have a label that describes quite precisely how i feel. I have informed myself and educated myself about trauma, early childhood trauma and developmental traume and it looks like i have my share of it. This came as a bit of surprise; I'm still trying to figure out what exactly happened when i was a child. No obviously horrible things, but it seems subtle hostility and devaluation are sufficient for heavy consequences.

So much for today - thanks to all the people who make this forum work, who care, share and connect.

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