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Topics - alovelycreature

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1
Successes, Progress? / No longer meeting the criteria for CPTSD
« on: March 28, 2016, 10:11:43 PM »
I was thinking today about how far I've come in my recovery from CPTSD, and remembered that this website was a huge part in my recovery journey. I wanted to share how I overcame my symptoms and changes that were helpful for me. I know there were so many people on here who had suggestions and kind words that helped me on my journey, and I hope my experience can help others.

I was raised by two NPD parents, who were also both drug addicts. I learned about NPD on here. I was also recommended The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists (MUST READ) and Will I Ever Be Good Enough? When I was previously active on this website, I was also in an abusive relationship with another NPD, and didn't realize it till after I left the relationship. All I knew was I was going crazy, and that my symptoms were being exacerbated.

I learned that it was their life or my life, and I left. Many days I spent lying in bed crying grieving my feelings of loneliness and feeling lost. I had little support, but knew that eventually if I worked on myself things would get better. I also went NC with my NPD mother. I'm sure she still sends me her daily drunken e-mails and texts, but she's blocked. I also realized many of my friends were also NPD, and had to slowly let those relationships go.

I spent much of the past year swimming through the waves of depression, grief, anxiety, and the countless triggers of PTSD. I stopped self-medicating. I started going to a Buddhist temple, started meditating daily, I saw a therapist who specialized in co-dependency and NPD, I returned to my love of yoga, and found new friends. I also attended some CoDA meetings and met other people who were recovering.

A year later, I have the occasional flashback or night terror, but the waves of CPTSD no longer drown me. When I struggle, I have people who I can reach out to, and my dissociation lasts 5 minutes instead of 5 hours, days or months. I am able to sleep at night and avoid panic without having to smoke. I can feel depressed and notice that it is part of healing, and that it is a normal emotion that everyone experiences.

I also was able to meet a new partner who also had NPD parents, and is in their own path of recovery. My new partner and best friend always allows me to feel seen, heard, and is empathetic about my past and my own recovery.

Although I'm still on my recovery journey, I no longer meet the criteria for CPTSD (my therapist and I have been pretty excited about this). However, I am still a co-dependent person who struggles. It takes one small step at a time to learn to take care of yourself. I just want to everyone out there who suffers to know that there is hope and healing when you put yourself first.

Hope the OOTF family is doing well! I'm working two jobs right now so I don't know how often I'll be back on here. Sending hugs and peace.

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Therapy / Acceptance & Commitment Therapy
« on: February 19, 2015, 02:33:38 AM »
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) has been clinically shown to have short term and long term success (as opposed to CBT, which doesn't have the same long term success).

It's an open source therapy, so anyone can look on their website: http://contextualscience.org/act

I'm reading "Get Out of Your Mind and Into Your Life." The book is pretty incredible and looks at problems completely different than any other approach I've read about.

ACT is based on Relational Frame Theory (RFT). RFT recognizes that the way humans think and feel make us completely different than other species, and has lead to our advancement above other animals. However, these same psychological tools that help us problem-solve and survive cause all of our suffering because we try to look at our uncomfortable thoughts and feelings as something to be solved. You definitely have to take a leap of faith reading the book, but I have found it insanely helpful and had many moments of realization (especially in regards to coping mechanisms). Don't know if many others have read about it or done any work, but it works from stress to anxiety, to depression, to substance abuse, trauma, etc. It's very versatile for dealing with many different problems.

3
Dating; Marriage/Divorce; In-Laws / Think I may need to leave boyfriend
« on: February 02, 2015, 06:51:14 PM »
I have been thinking about this for months. Maybe even years. I go through periods where I'm happy, in love, and can't wait to spend the rest of my life with this person; then I think, what the * am I doing with this person? In the past, I think that when these negative feelings came up, I felt guilty about them and then tried to be overly loving. How could I think this way about my bf? He does so many great things for me.

Lately though, I feel like I'm growing out of him. I think I have been for years. I'm trying to become an emotionally healthy, positive, and happy individual. Bf went out of town for work for 4 days, and they were great. The house was clean. I was happy to be alone and do things at my leisure. I spent time with friends. I had a good routine. I didn't really miss him all that much. In fact when he came back I felt some dread. Within 24 hours the house was a mess, and everything just felt overwhelming.

There are superficial things I'm irritated by, the cleaning, the way he uses the living room as his changing room, his ADD behaviors. Forgetting things, losing things, etc. I feel like I always say to myself, "I understand this is something he struggles with, and it's not a huge deal, just irritating to me." I know that I can only control my behavior and actions when it comes to things that irritate me.  I have in the past expressed these irritations so he is aware. I feel like I try to be a good partner.

There are a lot of deep things that bother me and I feel I am starting to accept them. That I deserve better. He always interrupts me when I'm talking because he thinks he knows what I'm going to say. Lately when he starts doing this I literally yell, "CAN I PLEASE JUST FINISH WHAT I WAS SAYING?"

When I try to talk to connect with him, even if it is silly like about my day, he seems irritated. He starts looking at his computer, gives eye rolls, seems generally disinterested in what I'm saying. He did this this morning while I was explaining why I didn't have to work today. I noticed his irritation and I said, "Are you okay?" To which he responded, "I'm trying to figure out why this is important." To which I said, "Fine, then I'll stop." I seriously felt like having a crying break down and telling him to leave. Whenever I try to talk about anything that interests me, something I'm struggling with, or pretty much anything he's not interested in discussing he acts this way. I used to think it was me. That I was just an annoying person, but now I see it's him. It's not me. I have plenty of other friends who like the way I am. I can't control his behavior or reactions to me. Whenever he talks about stupid * I don't care about, I actively listen and at least pretend to be interested, because , I don't know, that's what you do for someone you love? You notice that they feel the need to connect with you and want to talk, so you listen. Or maybe as my IC has previously tried to convince me, I'm an idiot.

I feel I cannot be my authentic self in my relationship. I've been avoiding him. I met a couple girls offline who are interested in yoga/meditation and we have been practicing together. I've been going to yoga, meditating daily, and started going to Buddhist services at a local temple. I started going to a yoga class. I'm studying for a test I have to take and nailing my studying. I feel so good about every area of my life except for my relationship. I feel like I've worked really hard to stop being afraid and am starting to make positive changes--no matter how scary they are. Because no matter how much anxiety I have about meeting new people, or looking stupid at yoga, or fear that the people at temple will not think I'm as serious---I'm not letting it get in the way of doing what I enjoy and loving myself. Other than my relationship, I can't remember the last time I felt so good and positive about my choices.

I'm sure it seems obvious and clear where I stand on this break up. We've been together almost 9 years. I'm terrified to break up. I'm terrified of his response. I'm terrified of what to say, because I feel like the reason why I am unhappy is because he just doesn't like or respect me. It makes me think of every time he looks at me and says, "You know I love you, right?" I don't. I've never allowed myself to feel that because I think he loves the idea of me--not me. I'm afraid about breaking our lease. I'm afraid about where I'm going to live. I'm afraid of all the big changes. It's really scary. What if I regret my decision? What if I can't meet anyone else I like?

I feel like at this point I'm just ranting. I know other people on here have posted about their thoughts on breaking up with their partner. This feels so weird because I feel like my boyfriend saved me from my abusive family. We started dating when I was 18 (I'm now 26). I don't know what my life is without anyone. I'm excited to be single and really get to know myself, but I'm scared.

4
Family of Origin (FOO) / Step-Dad divorcing uNPDM
« on: January 25, 2015, 08:33:47 PM »
I posted this on OOTF also, but know you guys are loving and supportive and also could provide some advice/guidance.

I just found out from my Dad (my step-Dad, but really more my father, and only real parent) and uNPDM are getting divorced. My Dad said he wanted my Mom to tell me, but they are going to mediation soon and he felt that she was being selfish by not telling any of her children.

My Dad and I are very close. We always have been. Even when he was just a family friend, whenever there was chaos, drama, or I was scared I always asked him for help. When my parents got married, he made the wedding about us being a family, and not him marrying my Mom. He came in, stepped up to the plate, and really hit a grand slam. He was my "good enough" parent. I was really blessed to have him come into our lives.

As a typical narc, my Mom has always been incredibly jealous of our relationship. My Mom has implied to us both that she thinks we have a sexual relationship. First, we don't. That's sick. Secondly, she would think this of her daughter? Of her husband? My Mom was such a master manipulator, my Dad never saw the abuse. He didn't always believe me when I was still living in their home as a child, but when I moved out and he became the target of her abuse he not only believed me, but felt incredibly guilty about not believing me. He is the only person in my family who has wanted me to educate him on CPTSD and my healing process so he can help me become the person I strive to be.

For years he has been dealing with emotional and physical abuse. I've told him for years to get divorced because he deserved to be happy, healthy, and treated with respect. He tried to get my Mom to go to counseling with him. He really tried. He said when he filed the divorce papers my Mom didn't even try to fight him. Not surprising. She's getting money for a lawyer from some other man that she will probably make her new target. She also hasn't told my siblings, which I find incredibly unfair... but I don't want to tell them because I don't want to get involved in the upcoming whirlwind of chaos.

I'm afraid. My Dad will always be my Dad. I will never not have a relationship with him. I'm afraid that my Mom is going to start taking her abuse out on me again. I live far enough away right now, but this man friend of hers lives only about 10 minutes away from me. I'm going to start going LC now because she doesn't know that I know about the divorce. My boyfriend said he's not going to let her do anything. He's always been extremely supportive and always stands up to my Mom and calls her out on her abuse.

I'm also afraid that this is going to effect my relationship with my siblings. My master manipulator Mom (new acronym? MMM) will probably turn them against me since I am going to continue to have a relationship with my Dad. She has already convinced them that he abuses her (oh, projection...) and that he is selfish and has never kept any of his promises in their marriage. Last time extreme drama happened my Mom convinced my siblings not to talk to me for months. It was heartbreaking. I don't understand how they can't see how sick she truly is. They enable her behavior.

It's weird being an adult and in this situation. My biological Dad and Mom got divorced when I was 5. I was definitely parentalized and cared for my younger sister mostly. I'm sure this situation is triggering the 5-year-old me. This was the time I started having panic attacks. It feels like I'm in a boat on the ocean waiting for a storm that I know is coming. I don't know how to prepare for it.

I don't know if anyone has had any experience with a similar situation. If anyone has advice I would surely take it. It feels like a confusing and unpredictable time. I want to make sure that I continue to put my health first. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

5
General Discussion / International Society for Traumatic Stress studies
« on: January 23, 2015, 12:09:18 AM »
They have links to clinicians who focus on complex PTSD. http://www.istss.org/

Has anyone had trouble finding therapists who specialize in CPSTD? The therapist who diagnosed me with it showed her true colors and appeared to have NPD, so I can't see her anymore. I'm finding it incredibly difficult and frustrating to not find the help.

6
Medication / Adrenal Fatigue (Trigger Warning)
« on: January 16, 2015, 02:40:23 AM »
http://www.medicinegarden.com/2011/02/20/high-cortisol-part-3/

This is the last part of the article with the doctor, testing, and supplemental treatments. However, if you start at the first page they will go through all the other symptoms that high cortisol levels cause.

7
Here's the interview: https://hereandnow.wbur.org/2015/01/12/treating-trauma-yoga

Apparently yoga is a very successful treatment for PTSD! I did yoga for 5 years then stopped. Now regretting that decision.

And here's a website with TONS of free yoga videos at all levels, lengths, etc.

http://www.doyogawithme.com/

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Web Sites, Support Groups & Organizations / What can YOU do?
« on: January 14, 2015, 01:24:05 AM »
http://www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org

I saw an advertisement for this organization on TV. They actually talked about PTSD. Thought it was nice that someone does consider it a disability, but also that people are NOT just their disability.

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Checking Out / I'll be in and out
« on: December 30, 2014, 09:45:07 PM »
Little crazy with the holidays! I will also be taking an exam for my job in a few months so I will be studying. I'll be here on and off. Just wanted to say something incase I get busy :)

10
Letters of Recovery / Letter to an old T
« on: December 20, 2014, 07:34:58 PM »
I felt it would be a good thing for me to express anger at an old T I had who originally diagnosed me with CPTSD. Things ended badly. This felt like a safe place to express my anger. Please excuse my colorful language. I don't know if I'll send this or not. I want to, but I have anxiety about doing so also. I almost feel like this could be practice for writing a letter to my uNPD (possibly undiagnosed CPTSD) Mom. I have been wanting to get mad at her so much lately, but I don't feel like I'm ready to say anything to her yet.

-----------------------------------------------------------------


T,

   Over the past few years, I have wanted to write you angry emails about how I felt betrayed by you.  I never did because I didnít want to open a door I had closed.

   During some of our last sessions together, it had to do with my relationship with my partner, and I didnít want to talk about it or explore it. Yet, it was something you were pushing me to explore. I felt tired of saying (in whatever way I did at the time, from my memory) that I didnít want to talk about it, and wanted a break from it. So, I thought the best thing for me to do was leave therapy for a while and cool off.

   However, I felt lambasted about my actions from you. I received countless voicemails and emails about our next session. At the time, I felt completely victimized. I was like, ďIs my therapist a complete psycho? This is my time and she is supposed to be my ally, not my mother.Ē I really did feel like I was trapped. I felt like you were being my Mom. Like, not matter how much I told you, ďLeave me alone,Ē you didnít and werenít planning on it.

   I donít know if this is how you wanted me to feel. I donít know if you wanted me to get angry with you. I think back to that time in your office when you were trying to get me to yell, ď* you,Ē and I just couldnít. I really couldnít. I really just wasnít ready.  At the same time, I felt I couldnít stand up to you or challenge you. I did feel domineered in our relationship. I felt like between you, my partner, and my Mom that I was trapped by people who just wanted to control me. Everyone just wanted me to live my life on their terms and not mine.

   I really felt betrayed by you. I still do. I think to myself, ďYes, I understand that point in my life where I was at and I probably needed to be angry, but I wasnít ready. Why was someone trying to force me through the grief process?Ē I mean, being able to be angry is part of grief and in therapy I understand the importance of it, but I wasnít ready. I didnít feel like you really understood me. I donít know if there was some weird countertransference going on or what. I donít know if I triggered something in you. It really just didnít feel right.

   I just couldnít believe after that our relationship was healthy or therapeutic in any way. I thought, maybe she wants to help me, and just canít. Maybe she thinks sheís helping, but sheís not. Does she really understand trauma? If she did, why would she be treating me this way?

   I thought maybe I had got what I needed from you, an answer, a diagnosis. Did you know that when you told me you thought I experienced trauma that totally changed my life? At the time I felt like, ďDuh, my Momís a completely psychopath.Ē Since I stopped therapy, I have read tons about CPTSD. Reading about CPTSD and connecting with others in an online support group has completely changed my life. I donít know where Iíd be today without that simple validation of a trauma diagnosis. Or, I guess I would be on all sorts of mood stabilizers with a diagnosis of rapid cycling bi-polar from the therapist a saw after you. I would be labeled just as crazy as I really thought I was, or as my Mom wanted me to think I was. The therapy world can be very ineffective and problematic for survivors.

   The reason why I decided to write you this e-mail now is because Iím finally ready to practice ďangering.Ē I have developed some wonderful and amazing friendships, and have at least one friend I can go to about anything. I have people in my life who really accept me and love me for who I am. I have friendships where I never experience shame. I am in safe place to be angry.

   I have also wanted to ask you many questions. What the * were we doing when I was in therapy? What were you thinking? What were you trying to get me to do? What did you think I needed? Why didnít you provide me any psychoeducation on trauma? Do you even understand how to treat it, or were you just getting supervision? Was I some sort of practice? Did you think you were helping me? How come you were acting as my therapist (in an authoritative sense) and not my ally? 

   I have read lots about all the ďwonderfulĒ 12-step therapy programs (CBT, DBT, ACT, and other therapies insurance will pay for) for the treatment of just about everything from trauma to depression to personality disorders. It doesnít make any sense. I donít care what studies have been done, all that * has caused some sort of short-term awareness, but hasnít helped in the long term. Every talk therapist Iíve been to just thinks that Iím a wackadoodle who refuses to take medication for everything from anxiety, to depression, to bi-polar disorder. I mean, these are all misdiagnosed as trauma quite frequently.

   I see now why it was important for me to be angry. I wish I had had the courage to ask you what the * was going on. What the * we were doing. I wish I had felt the safety to ask those questions then instead of now.

   Before writing this, I would think, ďWhat do I want to get out of sending this to T?Ē It was a hard question to ask. Did I want to open up communication with you again potentially? Yes and no. I know how much fear rules my life, and I feel like I have the right to break that fear and tell others how I have felt wronged by them. I mean, thatís what a healthy adult would do: start a conversation (at least in my fantasy world of well adjusted adults). Or at least attempt to get some answers.

Sincerely,

Alovelycreature.

11
I think I'm having more issues with this than the inner critic! Although I would say that it fluctuates between both.  Anyone else? Noticing how much it causes my social anxiety :doh:

http://www.pete-walker.com/pdf/ShrinkingOuterCritic.pdf

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Therapy / Art Therapy: Self-acceptance collage
« on: December 15, 2014, 09:21:51 PM »
Rain and I were discussing starting a collage to see the positive things about ourselves. We thought it might be fun to see what others come up with. Do some "art healing."

How to start:
-This can be done on a piece of paper, cardboard, whatever you have laying around
-college magazines, newspapers, pictures you like, words that inspire you. You can really use anything
-use either tape or glue to design your collage

What are your thoughts about making this collage?
Was it difficult thinking of positive qualities?
What are positive things you recognized in yourself?
What inspired you about this project? How did you feel afterward?

13
I have been reading Walker's book, and had a realization.

I am always beating myself up about not making artwork. I went to art school, and now I have a "real" job and with adult responsibilities I don't have a lot of time to work on my art, or can't afford it. I always feel like I'm making up excuses. I think this is because I am afraid that my artwork will be bad.

I had some success in the art world. This success was the only time I think I felt that I was truly accepted for who I am. That I felt broken, and that was okay. That terrible things happened and they changed who I am, and others found beauty and curiosity. It was the only time I really didn't feel judged, or put down. Even though at this time, my M was telling my family if they liked my artwork they must be incestuous (there are a lot of nudes of myself in my work). It was like her poison words couldn't touch all the compassion I was receiving from others.

I think I haven't been making artwork because I fear rejection. I fear that the attention I might not get stops me. I feel like this sounds a bit narcissistic. I know I have thought this before and have thought, "You should just be doing this for yourself, not others." However, I realized I wanted this attention because I want someone to just nonjudgmentally accept me for who I am.

I think this has also stopped me from seeing people who are close to me do accept me for who I am. I think: "hey can't really like me. They have just known me for so long that they feel they have to be my partner/friend/whatever." I didn't realize how fear of rejection is really running my life and I'm the co-pilot just letting things run on auto control.

I'm sure I'll learn more in the Walker book, but anyone have any suggestions on working through this? Or their experience with it?

14
Recovery Journals / alovelycreature's journal
« on: December 06, 2014, 05:28:22 PM »
*excuse my curse words*

Whenever I feel attacked I go into panic mode.

My heart starts to beat so loud in my chest that I can physically feel it. I start feeling shake in my chest and arms, and legs. I start to feel nauseous. I am in fear mode. Iím trying to deeply breath right now.

When I donít feel validated. When my feelings or opinions arenít validated, I go into panic mode. Itís like questioning my reality. Its my reality real? Am I making it up? Am I crazy?

Panic.

I feel vulnerable. Itís not being believed again. Itís just another need ignored. Itís just something that is going to happen over and over again. And it is going to happen over and over again. People are *.

Breath. Breath. Breath.

Shame. Itís like when someone doesnít believe you, you feel shame. ďIím wrong.Ē Not only am, ďIím wrong,Ē but I better never speak again or tell the truth because that fear and shame are just waiting on the other side to attack.

Remember, people are *. People are broken. There are people who want to make others feel bad. Otherís that want you to feel as bad as they feel. Donít let them control your feelings. They win when they control your feelings.

Breath. Deep breaths. Breath. Breath.

My chest aches. My shoulders ache. Breathing deeply.

15
I was talking with a friend yesterday, and realized we both have EF triggers when our feelings/experience are validated. For example, someone calling you a liar when you are telling the truth.

I was wondering if other's have experienced this? What are some ways you've grounded yourself in these experiences? It seems like that can happen anywhere at anytime. At work, in a relationship, really just anywhere.

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