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Messages - spryte

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Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Locus of control
« on: June 28, 2015, 06:34:21 PM »
Hey Kizzie!

Just wandered off into the real world for a while. This is by far the best resource I have though for trying to work out the things that I'm struggling with and I need to use it much more. I've definitely been spreading the word about this place far and wide though!

On the subject of sitting with other people's pain, I am having the WORST time doing this with a really good friend right now. Her situation is SO awful, and there's just nothing that can be done about it, other than just being there for her...but there are times that the awfulness of it all...honestly, I think when I refrain from trying to give her advice about it, or "fix" it, and just sit with it, it nearly drowns me. I literally get dizzy, and nearly pass out. It's happened several times lately and I just don't know what to do about it. I almost feel like I need a "safeword" in conversation with her, so we can change topics but we JUST had a different conversation about how we interact that had to do with me being talked over and interrupted that was really hard to have and here I am managing her feelings again, not wanting to pile this issue on so soon after the other one. Ug, interacting with people is so freaking hard.

Bee, I used to have a horrible horrible time with "managing other people's feelings". I'd use everything from straight out lying to emotional manipulation to try to manage other people's feelings because I was so uncomfortable with other people's negative emotions. My BPD mother "taught" me that I was "in control" of her was always my fault that she was upset. It was my fault (or our fault, me and my brother) that she was stressed, angry, crying. That has a tendency to make a kid grow up feeling powerful..."I have the power to make people feel things! Or not feel things!" So yeah, I see the mechanism behind it all.

An extension to this is a much more visceral fear reaction I get whenever I'm put in a situation when strangers are angry, or there is conflict going on around me. Because then, my brain short circuits and I think some part of it gets fearful that whatever THAT going on over there is? I CAN'T control it (even though I know I can't control stuff with people close to me, my brain thinks it can at least try, if that makes sense?) I was having a horrible time in my old apartment because I was surrounded by domestic violence, so every time someone's voice was raised, I'd go on red alert.

I think that the next time something like this happens with the boyfriend though, I'll be much better prepared to say something like, "What can we do about your anxiety, is there anything we can do? What do you need from me?" I think that will spark conversation that will will "prove" to me that it's not about me.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Do we have to forgive?
« on: June 12, 2015, 07:36:57 PM »
Thanks for the definition. I've had a lot of people like that in my life. My last ex was so completely a help-rejecter complainer. It was exhausting. He was such an energetic vampire. I would get physically sick from conversations from him that just went in never ending circles of negativity and him rejecting everything I said, or "I don't understand" ing me. I had to work hard to disentangle myself from  that, even after we broke up.

My father and my brother...yes, absolutely. It's their issue, and I've just kind of had to accept it although with my dad, I'm ramping up to start making more..."I know you're trying to be supportive and helpful, but here's how you can be MORE supportive and helpful." My dad carries a lot of guilt, I think, for leaving me and my brother with my crazy BPD mother. My brother...well, he's got his own scars from my BPD mother but it gets complex because he was the baby and the golden child. Didn't mean he came out unscathed though. For a long time, when I first started my recovery, he didn't want to hear anything about it. Then, she and he started really having issues, and he ended up coming back to me and apologizing for not understanding why I went NC with her. He still doesn't want to talk about it much though and I think he uses positivity to cover a lot of stuff up.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Do we have to forgive?
« on: June 10, 2015, 05:54:48 PM »
Ferzak, thanks so much for contributing, I love your post so much!

You're absolutely right on two points that I never thought about...the way that forced forgiveness can become passive-aggressiveness! And the tendency for people to put us in the help-rejecting-complainer category. That makes me wonder if that's what my brother/father have been doing all these years. Even though they've been trying to be supportive, there's always this layer of forced positivity with them that I haven't known how to deal with. I feel like I've heard the term help-rejecting complainer before. Is that a theory from somewhere that I could read more about?

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Do we have to forgive?
« on: June 10, 2015, 07:09:27 AM »
I'm glad what I wrote spoke to you. It used to be triggering for me too. I've gotten a bit better at articulating why it makes me so angry.

Here are some great articles you might be interested in.


I'm sorry that you're experiencing similar issues. Are you seeing a therapist about your anxiety? Unfortunately, it's not a quick fix. At least, it hasn't been for me. This is a scenario that I've run into many times, and it seems like each time it pops up, I learn more about it. I've done a lot of mindfulness work in the last year or so and noticed that I finally got to a point where I could observe what was happening while it was happening. Being more aware of it as it's going on, may not help you to change it in the moment...but it gives you valuable data for later that you can analyze in a less emotional way. You can see more clearly what your triggers are...for me, it was his anxiety escalating because we were in a store, and then we had to come back and do a bunch of lifting of heavy furniture which made me feel even more useless and ineffective because I couldn't help much. The more helpless I felt in the face of his anxiety, the more anxious I felt...the smaller I felt like I needed to make myself, the more I felt "in the way" and like I was certainly making it worse.

Seeing all of that, recording it as it was happening though, helped me come here...write about it to process it, and to talk with him about it. Do you ever talk with your husband about your feelings? After my boyfriend and I talked about my feelings, I was also able to talk to him about his anxiety and find out specific ways that I CAN help him when he is anxious. But, I also feel like I got a good lesson in simply...sitting with his anxiety, because sometimes it's not about helping, or fixing, sometimes it's just about being there...whether I can make him laugh or not.

I hope that you are able to find a healthy way to address the issues you're having with this.  :bighug:

I'm not sure if Zazu will come back to check this thread, but in the interest of contributing for other readers, I had some thoughts on things that struck me while reading.

"I'm afraid of the truth." (I'll write as if I were speaking to zazu)

Through the things you wrote, I can see that you were having a very difficult time processing your anger at your Inner Kid. Anger with yourself. There was so much personal responsibility in your words (which I am very familiar with). When we are taught by our abusers that our abuse is our fault, we naturally learn to take responsibility for everything...which I think just feeds the shame. EVERYTHING is our fault. The abuse. Our disordered ways of existing because of the abuse (depression, anxiety, relationship issues, addictions), other people's feelings, other people treating us like crap as we grow into adulthood and find ourselves in dysfunctional relationships...everything feeds the shame. I think that emotional abandonment is definitely a facet of the beginning of the shame, but I feel it's too overly simplistic to state that it's the core.

There are actually two components to emotional abandonment, I think. One is passive, and that's emotional neglect. The other is active, and that's emotional, physical, sexual abuse. Dr. Jonice Webb talks about the differences between emotional neglect, and active abuse. EN can exist without active abuse, active abuse cannot exist without EN.

In either situation, for most children, our only option for processing what's going on is to take it on ourselves. It's our fault. It's not within our understanding to recognize that there is something wrong with our parents, and so there must be something wrong with us. But, when you pair EN with active abuse, when you are actually taught that you are the cause of all the pain in the world (your world - your parents) there's an additional layer of reinforcement of "you are a bad person" "you don't belong" "you don't deserve to exist".

For YEARS I took it all on myself. I downplayed the difficulty of my childhood, I made excuses for my mother, I took responsibility for every single mistake I ever made even though the great majority of them were directly related to my poor coping skills out in the real world.

The "Truth" that can be terrifying, absolutely terrifying...if not intellectually but to your inner that it wasn't their fault. That all along, there was something wrong with the parents. It's the truth that we were not able to process then. And once we start processing it now, it becomes terrifying because...taking responsiblity for all of that shame is what we DO. Like soldiers, that's just the burden that we were taught to carry. Letting it go, recognizing that it's not ours - well, that leaves us raw, and vulnerable, and " mean, it wasn't me this whole time? It was YOU?"

There's a whole host of implications that comes with recognizing where the blame lies. "How could this have happened? How could no one see? How you this human being who was supposed to love and protect me, do this to me? If it's not me, if I'm not broken, then what does that mean? How do I fix this?" It goes on and on and all of those questions are new and scary and way harder to sit with than our old standby of "It's me, I'm just worthless." It might be a hurtful standby, but it's a comfortable one. Much more comfortable than this entirely new paradigm.

I'd long since accepted that I was just a * that wouldn't amount to much. Accepting the truth was hard hard hard.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Locus of control
« on: June 09, 2015, 12:09:36 AM »
I know this thread is old, but rather than start a new one, I'd rather add to this one.

First, I'll say, "Me too!"

I've been struggling with my own control issues these last months. Grasping for control is my go to when I am triggered, when i am off balance, when I feel helpless. The problem is that my locus of control is all topsy turvy as well. I grasp to control things that I have no right or ability TO control. This results in me trying to control people, and worrying fruitlessly about situations where my worry will have absolutely no affect one way or another. I am learning to recognize these situations and detach from my need to control. While it was probably at one time a very useful coping mechanism, it's gotten to the point now where it just causes me so much more anxiety and often makes situations worse than they were before.

On the other side of that, there's the learned helplessness. In situations where I WOULD have the ability to create change I seem to have this "what's the point" perspective. There's no use. I think this is related to my perfectionism which says, "If I can't do it perfectly then there's no use in doing it at all."

And, looking at these two sides of this coin, and then my childhood, it's similar to yours SC.

On the one hand, I was trapped in situation after situation in which it didn't seem to matter what I did, I could not change the traumatic outcome of it because I either didn't have the power to, or, as I got older, didn't have the first clue how to.

Then, on the other hand, I had my mother, and others teaching me that I had some magical ability to "make" them feel a certain way. I made her angry. I made her frustrated. I made her sad. I made her cry. I made her life miserable. As a child, I don't think I had any other way to process that other than to conclude that I had these magical powers to make people feel things. I had that control. So, when others around me felt things, if it was negative it was automatically my fault...and I absolutely should have the power to change it and when I couldn't, that was my fault too.

I think this is absolutely where my issue was coming from in my recent "making myself small" post. It's a locus of control issue. I believed that I SHOULD have some control over my boyfriend's anxiety because his anxiety immediately made me one point I turned to look at him while we were watching a comedy...which he'd normally be giggling through, but he just looked so tired and wasn't even smiling, it broke my heart. It's hard for me to sit with other people's pain without immediately trying to "fix" or "control" the situation.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: "Never fully recover"?
« on: June 07, 2015, 10:38:37 PM »
I am not fully recovered. In fact, I'm currently dealing with a recurrence of some emotional triggers that I thought I'd dealt with and gotten under control...but they're being triggered by a completely new and stressful situation. However...I am WORLDS better than I was even a year ago when I really started tackling this stuff, right about the time that I found this forum...though I've been gone for a while. I have a whole toolbox full of shiny, spanking new tools to handle this setback than I did the last time around. Each time I learn new coping skills, and I get more practice using the ones that I already have so that now...even the the emotional flashbacks and triggers automatic reaction to them is to pull out those tools...not let them suck me under (or, at least, not suck me under for long).

I'm not sure that healing completely is ever really possible, but not because we are irreparably broken...because at some point, "healing" just becomes "growth". And we, more than most people, are invested in growing as individuals and dealing with the hard stuff as it comes up, instead of just burying it. Other people who don't have traumatic pasts...a lot of them have their own defense mechanisms and get flashbacks to other unpleasant situations (after all...our brains are basically wired to go..."Oh! This situation is like that situation!" It's just that ours are much more problematic to functioning and happiness a lot of the times, so we are forced to deal with them while others just kind of write them off.

Rewiring our brains IS possible. At the same time, I have had to come to a place of acceptance with some things. My memory, and learning capacity has been severely impacted over the years by the constant stress and anxiety that I was under before I started dealing with this. That might be permanent, or it might get better as I heal. I don't know. I just know that I came to a place where it was freaking me out so much that I just had to accept that it might not ever change. That was tough.

I have not had to be in the presence of my M since I cut off contact with her. I was afraid that I was going to have to be, when my Uncle died last year, but for whatever reason she didn't show up to the funeral. I am absolutely positive, however, that I would have the same type of reaction that you had. Believing I had changed, that I was strong enough, and then having some kind of intense emotional reaction to work through. The thing is, I don't think it's possible to NOT have had what happened to you, happen.

The thing that I am learning the most about my triggers, and the emotional responses that I have had to work through up to this point is that the only way they get worked through, is almost by recreating them. I can sit all day and think about how I'm going to set boundaries, but I'm not going to learn how to set boundaries until I am put in * situations where I am forced to have to set boundaries. And it's darn likely that I'm going to fail the first handful of times. But...each time, I'm going to gather more and more data. I'm going to analyze the situation and look at it from an observational perspective. Questions you could ask specific to your situation...

"Where did I lose control?" "At what point was too much?" "Should I have set up emotional support before I went?" (could talking to someone in your support system every half hour or hour have made a difference?" Not that this situation is likely to happen any time in the future, but I'm certain that analyzing this data will help you in other difficult situations. And remember, if you chose to reframe in this way, there can't be any judgment in the analyzing. When a scientist runs an experiment, and it goes wrong, he/she doesn't beat themselves up for making mistakes...they simply re-calibrate and run the experiment again. So make sure it's a "what can I do for next time." not a "I should have done this last time."

Feeling the feels is important. But much of what I'm learning, now that I feel like I've delved into as much of the past stuff as I can, or want to, is that now I can see my defense mechanisms much more clearly and they are mostly behavioral. If there was an emotional component that wasn't clear, that would be one thing and might require further delving into the past but even if it seems irrational to you because you've set yourself up in a mindset of "I should have been able to do this thing." looking at it from the outside...that kind of reaction was almost inevitable. Or, SOME kind of reaction, even if it wasn't that one. You were put in proximity of what, to you, was a predator, or...because I like to think of things in superhero terms, your Arch Nemesis. It would be completely normal for you to be on hyper-alert, and it would be completely normal for that to become so overwhelming that your coping strategies failed you the first time.

I'm not sure if anyone here is also a superhero geek, but I'm really integrating the entire superhero mythos into my healing journey. There are these superhero's called X-Men. The X-Men have a training room that they call the "Danger Room". It's a room where they go to hone their super powers, and train for battle. It's a super serious room. You can die. Every time I find myself in a really hard situation where I am being forced to practice my coping skills in real time, my cousin and I now call it going into the Danger Room. It's basically immersion therapy. The key to immersion therapy though, and dealing with the Danger Room, is that you have to determine the proper "setting" for the situation. Immersion therapy doesn't work when you are thrown into a tank full of tarantulas right off the bat, instead of maybe...sitting outside the door of a room that happens to have tarantula's in it, getting use to the very idea of going in there. It's baby baby steps. Your Danger Room setting was 11. Family crises tends to do that.

Please, please don't be too hard on yourself for reaction the way you did. ANYONE would have. Ask yourself how much of you feeling like you've been "put back" in your progress is because you feel like you failed in the Danger Room and are now being really hard on yourself.

"I can logically see that this kind of response is expected when the abuse is physical. My M's primary abuse was verbal and psychological. I have no frame of reference to how people respond when they had this kind of abuse."

That's a really typical response of emotional abuse survivors. Downplaying it's seriousness against physical abuse. You didn't do anything wrong, even in consenting to trying. You tried, it was too much, and now you know. You got a LOT of valuable information to use going forward, but it's only going to be useful if you forgive yourself and let go of the guilt and weak feelings.


I took some time away from these boards, too much going on in the last 8 moths. I'm so glad to see familiar names still posting!

I need help processing something and this was the place I thought of for help doing that. I'm not seeing a therapist at the moment.

Two weeks ago I moved in with my boyfriend. It's a huge step in our relationship. We're living in what amounts to an efficiency type arrangement because he takes care of his elderly we live in the garage. We have use of the kitchen in the house, but we don't spend any time in there. It's her space. The garage is ours.

We both have c-ptsd. We both have anxiety disorders. We're both introverts who are very protective of our comfort zones and alone time and personal space...except with each other. We're much more tolerant of us being in each others comfort zones, and personal space, and we're working out ways for each of us to get sufficient alone time. None of that is even really germane to my particular issue that popped up yesterday for the first time with him. I've seen it in action before...actually, within the last 8 months, because I was dealing with an emotionally abusive work situation.

He woke up feeling anxious for various reasons. Because we didn't live together before, it was easy for us to retreat to our separate corners when we had "episodes". Now, we're learning to allow the other person to see that. So, he expressed to me when we went to the store that he was anxious, and I could see it when we got home in a change in his normally joking demeanor.

He knows exactly how to deal with me when I get anxious like that. He makes jokes, he distracts me. It works. He never fails to make me feel better.

I was feeling anxious myself about an issue, and we discussed whether or not his anxiety set off mine....but when I realized how anxious he was, my own private stuff that I was anxious about went out the window to be replaced by anxiety about HIM. How can I make him feel better? What do I do in this situation? What set off his anxiety? Was it me? Am I contributing to it?

I immediately felt guilty because I am not that jokester. I am a nurturer. So I was trying to feed him, and then cleaning up around the house, and trying to stay out of his way because I know that having his space is nurturing for him...

I wasn't freaking out. I was watching myself have these emotions. I recognized them. I've seen them before. It's "freezing". The second someone else is having negative feelings whether they be anger (which is what I was dealing with at my job) or distress...anxiety, inside, I immediately freeze and start looking around for "danger". Are they going to freak out? Yell at me? Throw something? Is he going to emotionally distance himself from me? Shut down? How do I fix it? How do I fix it? How do I fix it? And guilt because I can't fix it, that I'm not "good" at making him feel better the way that he can make me feel better. I wanted to make myself smaller, be out of the way, not contribute any more to his stress. All of my confidence in this huge transition that we made slowly filtering away...maybe this was too much for him, maybe he's anxious because he's changed his mind about all of this and now he can't go back.

Rationally...all of which is absolute garbage. He was having a moment. I have moments. It passed. He works excessively hard NOT to freak out around me, and the likelyhood of him yelling at me or throwing something around me is I already have a long long list of "proof" about how into this move he is, and how hard he's already worked to make it work and so far it's been amazing and awesome.

I want to stop having that reaction though. I used to do that "it's about me" thing all the time with people. I worked on that...and it got better. I was immediately able to, in most situations, see clearly that it was probably about something else. And then that damn job put me back about 10 steps because I had a co-worker who was bullying me, and acting * towards me and I worked hard to make it not about me, give her the benefit of the doubt, she TOLD me it wasn't about me, and then turned around and told me it was and spent months acting like I was the dumbest, most annoying person she'd ever had to deal with...and then gaslighting from her and my boss...

Sooo...I guess I've backslid a bit. Add into that experience the natural stress of he and I learning each other in this new environment....

I'm not even sure what I'm looking for other than just discussion, processing. Have you experienced anything similar? Worked through it? What worked for you? How do you reframe situations like that when they happen?

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Do we have to forgive?
« on: June 07, 2015, 06:18:09 PM »
I've had a lot of arguments about this with people, especially online because there are some truly ridiculous "forgiveness" memes that go around a lot of the healing and positivity groups on FB. They make me incredibly angry. They associate the concept of forgiveness with character traits like strength, empathy, compassion - take for example this one...

It's a quote from Mother Theresa. "If we really want to love, we must learn how to forgive." So, if you never forgive, you will never know how to love? That's ridiculous.

There are tons of these out there, insinuating that if you DON'T forgive, or CAN'T forgive, then you:
-are not compassionate
-are not strong
-will never heal
-will never be as "enlightened" as Mother Theresa or any of the other spiritual icons that these quotes come from
-will never 'get well' or 'move on'

The strength one comes up again and again. Google "forgive" or "forgiveness" and go to images. You'll see the memes.

To me, it is revictimization for people who have suffered trauma's. How dare them tell anyone who has gone through emotional trauma at the hands of another human being that if they can't forgive them, they will never heal and that they are not strong. How dare them.

People say "Forgiveness isn't for them, it's for you. So that you don't carry around hate in your heart." It's become such a trite platitude. If you actually press someone, ask them..."What does that actually mean, "it's not for them, it's for me"? How does that help me with my symptoms?" They won't be able to answer you.

Because here's the thing, the definition of forgive that pops up  when you google it says:To either stop feeling angry or resentful towards someone for an offense, flaw, or mistake. That's the most accepted definition in this context. And people can say that it doesn't absolve the other person of what they did, all they like...but the synonyms of forgive are: absolve, pardon, excuse, exonerate, overlook, disregard, ignore.

I honestly believe that forgiving the abusers is a stage in denial and rationalization of what happened. I did it. I've seen other people do it. In an effort to put it all behind me, move on, and have a relationship with my abuser, I "forgave" her. I convinced myself that I'd let it all go. I did this before I ever had any idea what the impact of her abuse on me was and I put myself in harms way by allowing her to do it again.

Letting go of hurt and anger is something that MAY come with time. It may not. It's ok either way. Being angry, as long as you're actively working towards healing, won't destroy you. For me, it inspires me. My anger and outrage at my own treatment and the treatment of others is a catalyst for working through my stuff enough to be able to help others.

Other / Re: Sensitivity to Sound?
« on: October 24, 2014, 03:17:08 PM »
Oh findingmyhome.... :blowup:

I can't even imagine.

General Discussion / Re: triggering situations
« on: October 24, 2014, 03:13:19 PM »
I see...I didn't realize that it was the PLACE that was giving you issues. I think you're definitely on to something with all the things you mentioned. I'm trying to remember exactly what it was that I read about memory - something about how memories are not static things, each time we remember something, it gets remembered differently, and thus the actual memory is re-recorded, now including the new aspect/changed part. Add to that the fact that those memories get deeper the more we remember them,'s one of the things that we with c-ptsd struggle with. BUT it can be used in the opposite direction as well!

So, I wonder if maybe you did the things that you talked about, and then worked towards making better school old is your son? Are there things that you can get involved with there with him? If the discomfort is relatively mild, then maybe you could work towards creating happy memories of doing things there with your son. Sort of "re-writing" the old memories with newer, happier ones. Then, you could work towards really reinforcing those good memories. Maybe by taking pictures during the events, talking with your son about it, writing about it, creating a memory board with things from say, a classroom party...a napkin, a streamer...

I think that with a lot of things, it's about re-framing those things in our minds. I mean...we're animals, really. Pretty complex animals, but animals none the less. My dog hates the bathroom, because she associates the bathroom with baths, which she's not too fond of. She's made an unpleasant association with the bathroom. I started working with her and treats, so that she would associate the bathroom with treats...and she's not so afraid of it. If I start associating the tub with treats, and bath time with treats, she's going to have a much more positive association with it.

Mental and emotional manipulation isn't all that different than animal training. Even when we do it to ourselves.  ;)

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: My Body Project
« on: October 24, 2014, 02:21:20 PM »

That's awesome!

You know, that sparks a really interesting...totally unrelated to this thread thought for me.
I've had this problem where my rebellions keep being like...kid related. "I can totally have ice cream for dinner! I'm an adult!" "I can totally eat four fudgcicles if I want! I'm an adult!" "I don't HAVE to go to bed on time, I'm an adult!"

I need to look at that closer and figure out some rebellions that celebrate adult things that I can do that I couldn't do when I was a kid.

Sorry...tangent. Just wanted to get that down to look at for later.

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