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Topics - Candid

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Introductory Post / MOVED: Men and therapy
« on: September 08, 2017, 07:17:13 AM »

Neglect/Abandonment / FOO 'in' jokes
« on: September 01, 2017, 05:34:21 AM »
My parents often talked about their early married life in a caravan.  They got back from a walk one day and realised they'd left the window open; ElderSis was covered in snow.  It invariably ended: "And she's never been the same since."

I came three years later, and she's always been the same to me.  In Four-F typology it's hardly surprising she's a Freeze.  She looks a good 10 years younger than I do.  We ran into someone she knew on the street, who insisted on guessing who was older.  I said: We're the sister who smoked and the sister who didn't smoke. (From an old anti-smoking ad.)  ElderSis said: No, we're the sister who lived and the sister who didn't live.  She never said a truer word.

One of my dad's jokes was that they were going to move house while I was at school.  I'd had four addresses by the time I turned 10, so this seemed quite feasible.  Enough for me to have nightmares about it, anyway.

There was a time, when I was around 10-12, that my father told me he'd give me a sixpence at the end of any week when I didn't cry.  It was then Mother's and ElderSis's job to make sure I didn't get the sixpence.  Not once! 

To this day, I hide myself to cry.  And then, when I do so, I 'see' ElderSis screwing up her face and going: "Waaaah!" at me.

General Discussion / The pre-emptive smear campaign
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:55:29 AM »
This post has been moved from Blueberry's Loyalty thread. I set out to demonstrate that I understood her situation -- and discovered I had a lot to get off my chest. How come I have no FOO and precious few extended family members? Here's why:

Mother and one sister smear-campaign pre-emptively, ie. telling whoppers to anyone they think I might talk to about them. As one hideous example out of many, I reconnected with an aunt (Mother's sister) when I returned to my birthplace from Australia. Blow me, almost the first thing out of Aunt's mouth was: "[Mother] doesn't know why you're not talking to them. She thinks it's because they took you out of [the school I attended in England until we migrated]."

I was floored. Speechless. Flabbergasted.

I had gone NC with Mother (and by extension, my dad) right after The Most Horrible Event -- the so-called 'mediation' that turned my hair white in a matter of weeks. There'd been no mention that day of our migration 22 years earlier, much less of my old school. Migration was indeed a traumatic time for me, losing familiar town, extended family, friends, pets... but even at 13 I knew it was what my father considered best for the family. Desperately homesick as I was, I never made a murmur about something my parents, my elder sister and I were all going through at the same time.

In order to preserve her reputation, Mother had chosen to make me look like a petty, grudge-holding, spoiled brat. I was over 40 and had a good career when, having heard I was going back to the town where Aunt lived, she came up with this 'theory'. The Most Horrible Event had occurred when I was 35. I can still get steamed up  :pissed: knowing this kind of thing has been spread around the extended family -- and that they believe it. Of course they do. Mother started letting them know I was "difficult" before I could speak. Poor Mother, she's had so much to contend with, and all of it came from me.

I've never once talked smack about any family member. I've never defended myself. After Aunt's bombshell I said: "Mother knows exactly what she did" and left it at that. It was a miracle I could say anything at all.

I'm convinced nothing I can say or do will redeem this caricature of me in the minds of extended family members.  The mircale is I no longer care. Fawning is horrible, makes matters worse. I no longer approach them, but if they approach me they get the current version: largely healed since NC with all FOO. It wouldn't have been my choice, but that's how it is -- and I now see it was a good thing.

All three of my siblings came to me when they hit a crisis

Elder Sis was first, and I can see I was the only person she could have come to. As teenagers we were best friends as well as sisters, and I know there's still a lot of love between us. She abandoned me for her own mental health when I was at my lowest ebb.

Younger Sis was next. She cost me time off work and money I couldn't afford, then dumped me as soon as her trouble was sorted out. Her subsequent collaboration with Mother led to my first psych hospital admission.  (She managed the second on her own, and via the internet.)

GCbro came last. He was still living with our parents and I was at the other end of Australia. I'd flown to their city for his 21st party, after which he told me he was gay. For about a year afterwards I put two letters (no email back then) in each envelope to him: one he could show Mother (because he had to :roll:) and one acknowledging his excitement over each new potential mate he was meeting. "The two clever ones" had a great relationship until my last contact with him, which hurt and saddened me. I had the gall to say so in writing, and he promptly dropped me as well,

Where I am today

It's taken me a very long time to deal with this, squirming when new contacts want to know about family. I know how to handle that now. I know where all FOO members are and, broadly speaking, what they're doing. Most people stop at that. If it goes further, I'm happy to say I haven't seen Whoever for years. The final line, if necessary, is "I'm not comfortable talking about this" -- and I can sit through the silence that follows. Anyone who pushed the point would be crossing the line into the red zone; hasn't happened yet and seems unlikely, but would definitely and the friendship.

Sticking to the facts is the key.

I've always loved all my FOO members and I always will.  Dad is gone. He was more of a support to me than the others knew. Mother and Younger Sis ... I can genuinely wish them well now with the hideous problems they have.  No longer any anger whatsoever towards ElderSis and GCbro. I was homeless, jobless and entirely on my own when they stopped contacting me, and I went into the too-hard basket. After all, they grew up in the same dysfunctional family as I did.

This sounds sad, but isn't. I can love from a distance and it feels so much better than the grief and rage I carried for so long. I still get sad and angry, but I can self-soothe out of it. Distance is another major key. I needed a lot of geographical distance, was always on the run and made a mess of people's address books (they told me so). I don't let myself dwell on the harm that did to career, finances and relationships; I had a lot of adventures. Getting right away from FOO helped a lot, but a far bigger factor was distancing them in my head. If there's any interest in that I'll elaborate, but this post is already too long.

Pre-emptive smear campaigning started early for a lot of us, and I know how damned hard it is to shut it out while we're struggling with self-esteem.  I want people to know it isn't the life sentence it seems.

Family of Origin (FOO) / MOVED: Book about boundaries
« on: August 14, 2017, 04:21:24 AM »
This topic has been moved to Books and Articles.

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / MOVED: At the edge
« on: August 02, 2017, 08:37:34 AM »
This topic has been moved to Suicide Ideation/Self Harm.

General Discussion / Hope for UK members
« on: July 30, 2017, 10:33:46 AM » gives a succinct definition of PTSD then moves straight into CPTSD: what it is, what causes it, what treatments are available. Includes a chunk on misdiagnosis with BPD.  :thumbup:

Good to see this in the UK, posted just a couple of months ago. Things are moving! :yahoo:

I'm about to undertake some investigation and will update.

Suicide Ideation/Self Harm / Here I am again
« on: June 10, 2017, 08:20:04 AM »
Drowning in quicksand. Tired of struggling to keep myself afloat. Not a glimmer of light on the horizon. Self-care is meaningless. I don't even want to feel better. Smoking too much and drinking one coffee after another to stop myself screaming for all eternity.

I'm not going to the crisis team this time.  I did that a few weeks ago and I know where it leads. Rah-rah suggestions and medication. I am on my third week of an anti-D I've taken before and it's one of those that knocks you down to start with. The psychiatric world will never admit there are some things that can't be medicated. Lots of things.

I need a miracle now. I wonder what that would look like.

Personality Disorder (Perpetrator) / What was it with my mother?
« on: May 04, 2017, 09:50:19 AM »
I still don't understand and probably never will, but I'd like others' opinions on why she was the way she was and treated me the way she did.

NPD doesn't really fit. I've seen that checklist that starts "Everything she does is deniable" and ticked a lot of boxes, but if she had NPD wouldn't someone else have seen it?

You see, I was her scapegoat. The impression I get is that she's always been Modesty and Sweetness themselves to everyone but me.

I could see this when I was a child. I thought my mother the epitome of goodness and beauty, even though she gave every appearance of not liking me. That has run my life: everyone in the world deserves my mother's kindness and smiles, but I don't. For some reason this made me more clingy than other children. I was constantly trying and failing to win her approval.

She did nice things sometimes. That adds to the confusion. The mix, and hearing from everyeffingwhere else what a kind and wonderful mother I have, has seriously messed me about to the point of questioning my own perceptions.

Some other things she did:

1. She decided my elder sister was an invalid, and loved to play nurse. Sister herself took this on board and has done literally nothing with her life other than take care of herself. She's never had a job interview or paid rent. She's never travelled. Ultimately she decided she was bi-polar and takes medications (several of) accordingly; she refers to her partner as "my carer". She eats weird, because there are all sorts of basic things she "can't" eat.

I was in my 40s when a cousin asked me why my parents always pretended elder sis was ill. It was such a lightbulb for me, because I'd swallowed it as well. Oh, and whenever I was ill, I got sent to school regardless. :roll:

2. She made it clear to all of us that what she wanted was a boy to go with the girl she already had, making me and younger sister superfluous. Younger sister went through a rough patch in her late teens, I supported her, and we started to put our heads together as to what was wrong with us. At that point M deliberately stirred up trouble between us, backed my sister and became more overt in her hateful behaviour towards me. There were never any witnesses. This was when I first became aware of her smear campaigns.

3. She did the push-pull thing, which I saw on the list of PD behaviours only yesterday. Christmas 83 she told me she wished I hadn't come... after I'd shown up. She could have called me and told me not to come; instead she told me younger sister wasn't coming because I was going to be there. Makes no sense to me. Anyway, that was my last FOO Christmas. But since then she's had flying monkeys on board, called me wanting to talk it out, and so on.

4. Throughout her motherhood years, if she couldn't blame me she blamed EF. I now see him as her secondary scapegoat. She had we three girls believing he'd messed us up. But for some reason both sisters had over-the-top support and 'love' from her, while I got... what I got.

5. A long-ago boyfriend dropped in on her against my expressed wishes. I was furious with him for thinking he could fix things. Anyway, he didn't say much about it except that he didn't think I should go back. She had told him: "I don't know why I couldn't love my children" and cried about it.

6. It was very important to her to appear the Perfect Mother. She took issue with what she considered bad parenting every time she saw it IRL or in the media. You might say she was Mother Superior.

I heard something recently that said narcissistic mothers need to be needed by their children, so any attempt at independence is punished. This rang true for me. Seems I had a mind of my own from the start. So, first memory: I attempted to stand up from my potty and retrieve my own pants. The potty spilled over. M rushed in, slapped me and shouted: "You bad girl!"

I mentioned this to her when I was in my late 20s. She laughed, said she didn't remember it, and "I must have been having a bad day". I take this further: I must have been aware of previous "bad days", because I already knew better than to call her from the other room, and thought she might be pleased if I got up by myself.

A question: What kind of Mother Superior can slap a baby and not remember it?

Books & Articles / Hypnotherapy for CPTSD
« on: April 09, 2017, 10:19:03 AM »
The way to retrain or recondition the bodyguard is to retake control of the body’s nervous system. When the bodyguard cannot usurp the body through sleep or distractions, the conscious ego-mind is returned to its rightful place at the steering wheel.

Recovery Journals / To be Candid...
« on: April 08, 2017, 11:17:45 AM »
... I've balked at starting a recovery journal because I've known about CPTSD for about five years now, I'm an intelligent woman and I don't believe I personally can recover. Younger people, and those who've established a FOC, yes. But not me.

I remember a photo of my elder sister and myself sitting among other children at Dad's work Christmas party. We were watching some kind of show, and our faces were lit up. Okay, Sis looked a bit anxious, but I was sparkling with unalloyed pleasure. I wish I had that picture now, but from many moves and being NC with FOO, I have no pictures of myself before I was about 20.

Most members will probably be aware of Maslow's hierarchy, but for those who haven't heard of it or need a refresher, here it is:

I've mostly been okay with the basic needs, and I am now, but I'm stuck on Belonging. I got by for a long time, believing I belonged in my FOO. As scapegoat :roll:, but I had a role and I knew how to play it. I belonged at primary school and at the first high school I attended, liked by teachers, some close friends (all now long gone from my life), getting good marks. Self-esteem was okay then.

Then my family migrated. In one hit I lost my friends, the extended family, my pets, my school, my familiar town. My childhood. I started a new school where I was teased and mimicked by others for my 'annoying' accent. The scapegoat role became the only one I had. I cried. I kept a journal, which unknown to me my mother read while I was at school.

I went to work, got fired a few times, then found a career and mostly stuck to it. A couple of workplaces -- the best of them -- I actually felt I belonged. Where I didn't, getting up and dressed five days a week kept me going even when I hated it.

I married a violent man and five months later I ran for my life. Mother had already told me she didn't want me in FOO, so I moved a long way away. Soon settled in a job, made some friends, felt like I'd been reborn. Went to university and got a diploma. Kept working. Bought a house. When it was paid for, I bought block of six apartments, then went back to my birth country intending to stay until the mortgage on the apartment block came down sufficiently for me to sell both properties and buy my ideal home.

A few months later a monster flood hit the town I'd left. I had no family, and no friends who cared enough that I could ask them to sort things out for me. With my house and the three downstairs apartments uninhabitable, the mortgage went out of control. I sold the apartments; the bank sold my former home and I got a $10,000 bill for the shortfall.

I kept going. I remarried.  H has never held a job for long. I was the breadwinner while 'we' were paying off a house. We lost that when my industry all but collapsed and I could no longer find work. I left H for five years, went back to that town where I'd once owned property, and got two-thirds of the way through a degree with the usual high grades. There was once again a sense of belonging at university. I liked the lecturers and students and they liked me.

Then the bike accident and the head injury. TBH I think it was the death blow.  In and out of hospital for six months, misdiagnosed and mismedicated for schizoaffective disorder. Medication enforced after I left the nuthouse. I dropped out of university. I could barely get out of bed, I was so depressed. I could no longer ride my bike (developed a phobia), shopping became an issue and therefore feeding myself was a problem. Relationship has been a major issue for me since the initial migration, and apart from two or three exceptions my friendships have all been circumstantial. When I leave, there's no follow-up. There's never anyone to help me through the worst times.

Finally I sent H an email. He makes a good foul-weather friend. A few months later he flew to that other country and brought me here to live with him and his mother. But I don't belong here and I see no way out.

To end on a brighter note, the woman who's been my bestie for the past 20 years suggested we meet for lunch this week. She lives a long way from me so we get together only rarely; the rest of the time it's email. Also, she distances herself when I'm sad. But she's upbeat and inspiring and, just for now, I have something to look forward to. A reason to shower and present myself as well as I can.

TIA for telling me I belong here, and the virtual hugs.

Books & Articles / Review of Karyl McBride's book
« on: March 24, 2017, 01:06:15 PM »
I no longer have my copy but I don't think she mentions CPTSD. However, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? is a great read for anyone who had a tough childhood relationally, and includes lots of helpful strategies.

Web Sites, Support Groups & Organizations / Inner Bonding
« on: March 22, 2017, 03:32:05 PM »
This sounds like it could be useful:

Therapy / Still waiting
« on: March 20, 2017, 01:56:02 PM »
A while ago I wrote about the devastation I felt upon learning that the beginning of therapy was not imminent but that the waiting list was up to six months.  Another member (sorry I can't remember who you were!) correctly guessed that I'm in the UK and said she too had been told six months, but that she got in after three.  I had a number of breakthroughs -- thank you, OOTS! -- and stopped caring whether I had therapy or not.

Today I've received a letter from a Traumatic Stress Service inviting me to be assessed. They enclosed a pamphlet which said the service dealt exclusively with PTSD sufferers, listing what we all know about PTSD-simple: a life-threatening incident as victim or witness, resultant symptoms chiefly depression and audio-visual flashbacks, and if it goes on too long voila!, it becomes PTSD.

Before the breakthroughs I was helpless and desperate, would ask H to make phone calls on my behalf. This past week -- ie. since a major crack-up complete with SI last Tuesday afternoon -- I've been getting stronger and feistier by the day.

So I went to the phone, rang the number and spoke to a pleasant female receptionist. I asked her whether the Traumatic Stress Service knew about CPTSD. She put it into her computer and told me no, so I told her: "I've been through more than one life-threatening situation -- I was raped at 19 and the man was threatening to kill me; and my first husband once pinned me to the bed holding a broken bottle in my face -- but I had PTSD-like symptoms before that. Complex PTSD most commonly begins in childhood. My parents, particularly my mother, abused me from infancy onwards."

She asked whether I wanted someone to call me and clarify that point before I would agree to an assessment for eligibility to the Traumatic Stress Service and I said no, but that I'd already been assessed, about six weeks ago at the local nuthouse. As it happened the man I saw on that occasion was named for cc along with my GP at the bottom of the trauma service's letter.

It was only then that she asked for name, date of birth and phone contact. I'm to receive another letter from them about the assessment appointment. Looking forward to it!

Oh, and I said: "A traumatic stress service ought to know about CPTSD." Some workers at this one probably do, but if not they soon will!

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