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Messages - blues_cruise

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Employment / Re: Finding Work
« on: May 13, 2021, 12:27:03 PM »
I know I am making big progress, I just feel stuck because the next step feels like a big leap. I don't fully understand what the problem is - honestly, I have been rejected a lot in my life and I am scared of it but once it actually happens usually I feel relief because I expect it to happen. I think trying to break it down into smaller chunks and trying to make small steps like practicing video interviews will be helpful to me.

That sounds like a really sensible thing to do, lots of practice so that you know what to expect and can generate some stock answers to interview questions. It sounds like you might have some anticipatory anxiety, where you become avoidant of certain situations because the discomfort you feel when you think of them feels overwhelming and encourages you to think that the worst might happen. I think you're probably far more capable than you realise and often things like interviews are nowhere near as bad as our minds build them up to be.

I totally relate and sympathise though because it does feel horrible. I also struggled at university and dropped out after three months because I just felt lost and overwhelmed. I'd gone into it with the similar mindset that I'd magically turn into a different person, but C-PTSD wasn't on my radar back then and knowing what I know now it's no surprise it was a huge struggle and that I didn't just 'come out of my shell' the way that other young people might have done.

I think it helps to have the mindset of continuing to move forward, however small the steps might be. I've found CBT to be really helpful in understanding what is happening in my brain when I start to feel anxious in certain situations and a lot of the practical techniques can be really helpful. Maybe this might be a useful thing to look into.

Employment / Re: I've resigned!
« on: May 13, 2021, 12:04:22 PM »
Thank you, it wasn't an easy decision and I have mixed emotions at the moment. I was working at the same company as my husband and although it worked well on the most part, I was starting to feel trapped in another person's schedule (i.e. we lift shared and if he got delayed by two hours at the end of the day then that automatically meant I lost two hours of my evening too). The commute was long and stressful for a part time job, plus in the office I felt like I was sitting in a goldfish bowl in front of a big window with a security camera positioned above my desk which could be viewed on a monitor upstairs (I don't think this was intentional, it was more for everyone to see the front door when reception isn't covered...still not comfortable with it though). I was allowed to take my dog in with me due to her separation anxiety and being unable to be left alone, which sounds nice in theory but she was so hyper vigilant about people coming and going and barking at the front door that it ended up putting me on edge. The job itself is pretty boring too with no prospect of doing anything different or being promoted, so although it's all 'safe' and good in that respect, it's felt like I've been stagnating for a long time.

That said, the managing director just phoned me and afterwards I started crying because he was so complimentary and genuinely sounded regretful about me leaving. I really thought he didn't like me or value me that much. Stupid anxiety and low self worth has clearly been lying to me. I think it's really hit me because I've had myself convinced that I'm 'bad', not that capable and that I won't be missed, whereas they're saying the exact opposite and coming across as really genuine. I still think I've probably made the right decision, but I feel really sad now. A big part of it is just fear of change and insecurity about my own capabilities to generate an income I think - it's overwhelming!

Employment / I've resigned!
« on: May 12, 2021, 02:45:36 PM »
Eek, I've finally handed in my notice. I have a little e-commerce business I've been building up (or trying to) over the past 5 years and I'm leaving to concentrate on doing that full time. I was feeling really anxious about having to go back to sitting in an office (having had over a year of working from home and being able to have quiet time and regular breaks when needed), so it was the push I needed to go for it.

Have just done the hard bit of doing the dreaded phone call and emailing across the formal letter. Now I'm sitting here kinda thinking, "Err, what have I just done?" lol  :spooked:

My business venture might work or it might go spectacularly wrong, but with lockdown easing here really steaming ahead I don't think I would ever have left until I really pushed myself to. I hope I've done the right thing!  :Idunno:

General Discussion / Re: Deppression or CPTSD?
« on: May 06, 2021, 11:50:42 AM »
i'm sorry you've been feeling depressed, it really is horrible. Coping with life seems to be pretty much about having things to look forward to and the regular dopamine hit from achieving goals and experiencing new things. With lockdown it's just been...flat. I think perhaps when you've done a lot of the hard work of processing trauma you do get left with a lot of resentment and hopelessness for the current state of things, because you then have the really hard task of trying to find your place in a world where your experiences have really given you a disadvantage. Lockdown restrictions have made it very hard to make any improvements to your circumstances where they might be needed, so you're left stuck in a state of inertia. I think this YouTube video explains the function of depression quite well, if it's of any interest: I find that with some understanding of what my brain and body are trying to achieve by experiencing depression, its relation to C-PTSD and the current situation in the world makes a lot of sense.

Good to see you've been able to get out and about in the sun and got your credit card paid off too, little successes do add up and help with overall wellbeing.  :yes: :)

United Kingdom / UK - NAPAC
« on: March 26, 2021, 10:53:29 AM »
NAPAC is an organisation which provides support to adults who have survived an abusive childhood. They offer email and phone support services, recommended reading, downloads, links to legal advice and many other resources.

General Discussion / Re: Breakthrough recovery notes
« on: March 19, 2021, 01:03:09 PM »
Hi James.  :)

I'm glad that you're noticing a shift in your perception, it sounds like you're really moving in the right direction. I think the side effects of trauma can often leave us open to intense rumination on the past, which can cause us to overlook the control that we can have on our circumstances in the present. It can lead us to eternity thinking, believing that we will always be stuck with intense, negative feelings when in reality the way we choose to approach our healing is the number one thing that we can have control over in the present day. You can't stop thoughts from occuring, but you can choose how much importance you place upon them and whether or not to believe them.

I think it can help too to distinguish between which negative feelings are being caused by past trauma and which are being caused by present day situational dissatisfaction, in order to then be able to take the correct approach to feel better. Emotion from trauma and emotional flashbacks can be approached with self-care and appropriate grieving, whereas situational discomfort (relationships, work, living arrangements, etc.) can be approached with practicality, planning and action. Personally it's taken me a long time to differentiate between the two and to begin to develop a similar attitude to the stoical thinking that you describe. It's not always easy and the approaches can get muddied, particularly if going through an emotional flashback.

The Derren Brown audiobooks sound very helpful. I believe there's a lot of positive guidance to be gained regarding neuroplasticity and healthy approaches to thinking via that route. Audiobooks, podcasts and videos are a great way for the brain to receive repeated, positive reinforcement of healthier thinking patterns. Eckhart Tolle is a firm favourite for me at the moment, he has many talks on YouTube about remaining present and recognising the ego which are endlessly comforting and helpful.

The thing that makes this hard, is the judgement of others. Not just our abusers, but the others in our lives who have watched our stories with detachment, disgust and even amusement. Society encourages this kind of judgement, a kind of moral police state set up to weed out the weak vulnerable and sensitive for entertainment, look at reality TV. Well... who cares?

Really, who cares? JUdgement like that is meaningless, but olny if you want it to be.

Personally, I seemed awash with this kind of judgemental clacking all my life. British society is dreadful for it. Gossiping, class-driven, socially climbing up, anti-establishment pointing down, protestant work ethic, the tyranny of cool, a million little trip wires designed to unhinge your childhood and beyond.

Yes, I entirely agree. I think the culture we have in the UK of judging other people's business and gossiping is awful and shaming. People can be so black and white in their thinking and unfair when judging other people's circumstances, usually very quickly and without taking the time to think through both sides with any kind of empathy. We have a real hero vs villain obsession in UK society too I believe, which is perpetuated by our awful tabloid media. It takes a while to deprogram yourself from it and to realise how toxic it is. Sometimes I get stuck on being irritated by people blindly following this attitude, then remember that I mostly have a choice in what media I consume and who I choose to surround myself with. The radio gets switched off as soon as the news begins because I don't need my day to be interrupted by 5 minutes of fear and despair. Now I've stopped listening it seems really weird to me that interjecting endless negativity like that into someone's day every hour is even a thing that's socially acceptable. You would think that to keep a population mentally healthy and stable that there should at least be a balance of both negative headlines and positive. I guess that's the idea behind it though, it keeps everyone either a little bit fearful or otherwise just desensitised to it, neither of which are healthy for the individual.  :Idunno: But I digress!

You are not selfish, mean, emotionally detached or cruel to protect yourself and move on, you are being human. Most of these people don't even care, and never have, so why do we care about them and what they think? We were in the storm, they weren't, and if their judgement keeps that storm going, then it is up to us to turn off those judgments and the hurt they cause, or we think that they cause, in our own minds.

Absolutely. People judge based on their perception of your reality and that in turn is influenced by their own set of circumstances and experiences. Someone who has had a stable, largely content upbringing is highly unlikely to understand what a person with C-PTSD has been through, and it's unrealistic to expect them to. Not many people have the emotional intelligence to really try either, unless you have a deep connection to them and they're invested in you. My own husband only ever really scratched the surface of seeing what I had been through when I completely broke down emotionally a few years ago and could no longer function: actions (or reactions) can speak so much louder than words. I try not to pay random people's opinions too much mind nowadays, nor even share my past with them in the first place. I think it gets easier to have boundaries in that respect as you start to validate your own experiences more; you rely less on trying to gain validation from other people.

I agree, it is vital stuff. Good for you for working through it all and persevering.  :yes:

Hi woodsgnome.  :) I know this was a few days ago now but I just want to add that I also think you did great with reinstating your boundaries. It sounds like you tapped into a lot of healthy emotional resilience in order to protect yourself.  :yes:

Not entirely sure why I'm writing this way about what was a somewhat positive response. I should feel good about that, right? But ... well, you know, I'm sure; those circular fears that go like this ---  :stars:

When it comes to thoughts and feelings I'm of the belief that "should" doesn't apply. The brain's a complex thing and if something triggers your amygdala (and it's entirely understandable that an encounter like this would) then you can only ride the waves of emotion the best that you can and be kind to yourself until it passes. It's natural to try to think our way out of feeling the discomfort but emotions often can't be explained or reasoned with.

In terms of the inner family system, it sounds like this could be a younger version of you who feels a bit shaken by the encounter and needs a little time to feel okay again.  :hug:

Now I'm left to wonder -- will I be left alone or always subject to harassment from others who don't seem to get the message.

The uncertainty is difficult, I know. The higher self you describe is still in you though! It wasn't a fluke, it was all you. You showed that you were capable of defending yourself. As an adult you are entitled to feel safe and enforce your boundaries even if people do attempt to violate them again. 

I put in so much effort and so many tears without any real direction, as a child, and they couldn't even address their own mistakes? I'm not the incompetent one.

So, so true. You've no doubt carried a lot of shame that was never rightfully yours to have to bear.

I'm definitely not the one who messed up a whole dang kid and then blamed the kid and guiltily hid away the evidence.

It's a positive step to not only acknowledge but really feel that truth. It's one thing to inflict dysfunction and abuse upon a child in the first place and I think it's another thing entirely to then never own it and deny any responsibility. I think it's so cowardly. By placing the blame where it belongs and confronting these issues you are doing the brave, hard work that allows you to feel more confident and in charge of who you want to be and how you want to live your life.  :hug:

Successes, Progress? / Re: Got angry and slammed the phone down
« on: March 12, 2021, 02:33:38 PM »
Thanks Blueberry ;D I probably sounded like a nutcase but meh, nasty scam man.  :Idunno: :))

Recovery Journals / Re: Blues Cruise's Journal
« on: March 11, 2021, 01:26:40 PM »
Thank you for the comments to my previous entry and for sharing your thoughts.  :grouphug:  Another one of those things which only people here can ever really understand, since most people would just never experience harassment and bullying from their own parent.

11th March 2021

I've come to realise just recently how much I've been placing the perception of myself and my own self-esteem in the hands of other people. I'm coming to see that I don't need validation from my siblings, from other people or society at large. I also don't need to share anything that I'm not comfortable with or to even give strangers the opportunity to judge me on it in the first place. Given that I'm the one who has experienced abuse from a parent, my own opinion should matter to me the most. I may feel shame but it doesn't mean that I AM shameful or bad. I've been doing the best I can within a very unusual and difficult set of circumstances. I'm reading a book on CBT methods to overcome low self-esteem and it's really helping me see how flawed my thinking is with regard to how I see myself and others.

One example is defaulting to automatically assuming that if someone thinks poorly of me for whatever reason then it must mean that there is something horrible or wrong about me or how I've treated them. My brain has been hardwired on this belief to the point that I actively ruminate on anything I could have possibly done wrong and then shame myself for it. I can see how this defence mechanism was created: I had to preempt everything I did or said when I was growing up. If it wasn't my father I was walking on eggshells around then it was my undiagnosed childhood friend, who I strongly suspect looking back had symptoms of BDP. I often wonder if she ever did gain enough self awareness to ever get a diagnosis, because she had such textbook symptoms looking back and really struggled to regulate her emotions. There was a narcissistic streak to it too because she would never acknowledge wrongdoing or seem to feel particularly bad about how she treated other people. She was such a damaging person to spend so much time with and we were literally joined at the hip. I allowed her to walk all over me thinking that I was really lucky to have her, plus she got really jealous and possessive if I tried being friendly with other people and would give me the silent treatment every day practically. It was actually like an abusive relationship and looking back it's really odd and unlucky that it happened so young alongside having such a dysfunctional parent. Also, looking back on it with adult eyes and a bit more sense of self I can't believe I put up with it! If I had been fortunate enough to have a healthy friendship network then I might not have ended up so damaged.

Who knows though, although it's handy to have insight into how the C-PTSD developed there's no point in ruminating on what could have been. I've learned from it and now I'm an independent adult and understand boundaries far better I no longer willingly have contact with any toxic people. I'm trying to become a bit more at peace with that, because I do think I've shamed myself for no contact far too much (as in like, all the time, every day) and not placed enough emphasis on the other person's responsibility leading up to it. You can't just continue treating someone horribly and expect them to just put up with it, it's ridiculous.

Successes, Progress? / Got angry and slammed the phone down
« on: March 11, 2021, 12:36:34 PM »
Had a horrible man on the phone earlier who I think was trying to scam me into giving account details. Even if it was legitimate, he was rude and pushy and it hit a nerve. I felt violated and knew I did NOT have to tolerate being spoken to like that. I got so angry that I gave him an earful and then slammed the phone down. :))  I got angry! I used the feeling to protect myself! Woohoo.  ;D

Recovery Journals / Re: Blues Cruise's Journal
« on: February 15, 2021, 11:06:06 AM »
I've been having weird dreams for the last couple of days, which hasn't happened for a long time. Last night's was upsetting and surprising. I dreamed that my father had died and surprisingly I was inconsolable. I ended up back at my childhood home though only to find him standing in the hallway, looking a bit younger and in a good mood. I cried and cried. Then my mum came downstairs and I told her that none of it was real - couldn't she see that? She had already died 17 years ago for a start and now he was dead but both were standing there acting and looking the same as they would have been around 2001, as though nothing had changed. It was like entering a time warp.

And now I'm crying for real recalling it, because it's just plain sad. I've truly started to see how my father's behaviour stems from unconsciously acting out what he was taught from his own parents and to an extent I have compassion for that and can start to forgive it, the thing I can't forgive is how he would continue to try to hurt me if I allowed it by having contact with him. No contact helps but I never feel truly at peace and I don't think I will ever truly grieve and find peace until he no longer exists in physical form. Is it too much to admit that? It's such a taboo thing and really hard to describe because I don't wish death on him, but I feel it will be a relief when I'm no longer looking over my shoulder or feeling like I have to keep my head down out of shame for choosing no contact. I have so many complicated feelings surrounding this and I think the dream was my subconscious trying to figure some of it out. Things like him falling ill and whether I would break no contact for it, or if I would go to the funeral where hearing him being glorified and misrepresented would be a kick in the teeth, plus all the judgement and whispers from his friends about me, possible attacks on my character...I really don't think I would be down for any of the funeral stuff. Would I see him on his death bed though if it came to that? I possibly would, I don't know. It's a painful, horrible prospect regardless. 

Fact is, as much as healthy reconciling would be great it is just not realistic. Even if he were genuine about it to begin with he's got Wormtongue (his wife) living with him whispering in his ear, which makes his behaviour worse. She's pretty horrible frankly and nearly as bad as him when it comes to antisocial behaviour. As soon as I 'stepped out of line' again the awful behaviour would ramp up. He's textbook as far as cluster B personalities go and I'm not willing to risk sacrificing my peace again. He doesn't understand or respect boundaries either and it would be back to risking him turning up at my home or workplace unannounced to cause drama and trouble, I feel pretty judged by siblings and extended family for being no contact but they have the luxury of having so much distance from this man! If he starts acting up they can simply put the phone down on him and that's that. When still in contact if he acted up with me and I put the phone down, living only 20 minutes away I would get harassed and have my home and workplace boundaries violated as punishment. It is absolutely exhausting, humiliating and unfair having to deal with that and I've had my fill of it. So no, breaking no contact is not an option right now while he is still able to drive. I need to aim to stop taking sole responsibility and feeling shame for no contact and just see it for the necessary boundary that it is, because although I've chosen this route for my own sanity it's his behaviour that's forced it to become necessary.

General Discussion / Re: C-PTSD, seasonal affective disorder plus lockdown
« on: February 15, 2021, 10:29:45 AM »
Hi Blueberry, thanks for the  :sunny: :) Hope you're getting on ok.

That sounds really nice, it's surprising how good it feels just being able to do little things in the garden. Last summer I'd sometimes pop outside and do and some weeding on my lunch breaks while working from home and it made all the difference connecting to nature in even the tiniest of ways. We had heavy snow all last week but temperatures are going back up today and it's starting to melt, so yay. :cheer:

Thank you for sharing the link, I love people's nature photos. Particularly birds, they're such resilient little things and so photogenic.  :)

General Discussion / Re: C-PTSD, seasonal affective disorder plus lockdown
« on: February 06, 2021, 08:33:28 PM »
Hi SharpAndBlunt.  :)

Thank you for your response, It's so comforting to know that there's another person who relates. UK winters are just soggy, cold and awful for the most part and they hang about for far too long. We had one day in December where it was a picture perfect combination of ice topped trees and houses against a sunny, blue sky but it was very fleeting. Snow can be a novelty for a couple of days but hanging around since before Christmas is most definitely outstaying its welcome!

I'm so sorry that you get lonely on your own, it must get really difficult during lockdown. You're exactly right, this is all very much like Groundhog Day. Just the same stuff over and over again. I think when we're alone with our thoughts for so long it's really easy to get stuck on one thing and to ruminate. I had a friendship fizzle out last year which it took me a long time to process, so I know how sad, anxious and even angry it can make you feel. I think with C-PTSD we're used to being hypervigilant and questioning every little thing that could go or might have gone wrong and it's easy to assume that we're at fault, when there could be any myriad of reasons behind another person's actions (or inactions).

I can imagine how traumatic it was living with your alcoholic father and I'm sorry you went through that, I was stuck with mine between the ages of 15 and 21 and it was extremely hard. I never realised just how badly my experiences had affected me until a few years after moving out. I'm still connecting the dots years later and realising how even the most mundane little annoyances in life are multiplied a million times by the fear and black and white thinking which emerged from such an unhealthy upbringing. It's a constant learning curve really, acknowledging that weird triggers will come up and learning how to calm my nervous system down in the present day and be compassionate towards myself when it happens.

You're right, we shouldn't discount our negative experiences or berate ourselves for having a hard time coping. My childhood pretty much looked like the social ideal from the outset, but when you dig deeper it was actually very traumatic and dysfunctional. I think I end up gaslighting myself in that regard because I can get too caught up in how things appear to others. I do the same in the present day: loving husband, a job, a roof over my head - who am I to feel sad? It's a tricky balance because I want to acknowledge and grieve for my younger years, however I also want to feel gratitude for my better circumstances nowadays. The grief is left over from the past and has to be processed in the present day though, so there's an overlap there that causes some difficulty.

I'm always happy to see longer messages and have a tendency towards writing them myself, so thank you, I really appreciate what you wrote and it all very much resonates.  It's healing to share these things I think. Hope you're having a restful weekend. :)

General Discussion / C-PTSD, seasonal affective disorder plus lockdown
« on: February 03, 2021, 11:50:55 AM »
I think January was the toughest month I've had in years. With the days finally becoming longer February is looking up but it's so cold and dark all the time and we're in lockdown in the UK at the moment, so we're cooped up indoors and only allowed out once a day for some exercise. I always struggle with winter at at the best of times, but this is just something else entirely. It's really triggered my C-PTSD something chronic, which I think is because my trauma really became repetitive when I was stuck living alone with my abusive father and as a teenager with no money or support system I had no means of immediate escape from the house. My DH is not abusive and treats me kindly and with respect, plus I'm an adult now so I know that logically it is not the same situation, but trauma brain is seeing the parallels in the circumstances and going into overdrive.

Home has been my safe place for years and as much as I love my husband, I'm used to having the house to myself far more and having breathing room to process my emotions and re-regulate. When restrictions weren't so rigid he was going out exercising with a friend every weekend which would give me a few hours of uninterrupted quiet time for C-PTSD 'maintenance'.  Now I don't have that I'm feeling irritable and low nearly all the time and resentful that trying to keep emotionally regulated is so much harder. I end up exhausted and grumpy and on really bad days my nervous system seems to be firing on all cylinders constantly. Yesterday was awful and just one slight annoyance sent me into full anger meltdown, which was kind of scary. My emotions felt completely out of control and like I had reached my limit and then some.  :( The front door had swelled with all the rain we've been having and I couldn't unlock it to take a delivery. Huh actually, I hadn't put two and two together until now, but looking at it logically I'm really not surprised that it set me off. Doors no doubt symbolise escape for me, even in the present day. Many years ago if uNF had been raging the front door would have been the quickest route to run to in order to get to somewhere that felt safer.

At least when this was happening in the summer there was the garden to escape to for a breather and pleasant distractions. I feel bad complaining because I know many others have it so much worse but I must say, I already feel better for having ranted about this. It's too much to keep bottled up all the time. How are you guys all doing?  :grouphug:

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