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Topics - arpy1

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Recovery Journals / arpy's new journal
« on: May 31, 2016, 03:20:13 PM »
i have been trying to work up the courage to begin again here, and today i have decided to just make a start even if it's just a little one.

today i got the news of the death of a very dear friend i had in the JP. not unexpected (she had cancer) but i am so very sad that she has gone. and angry. and confused about how such a beautiful person, inside and out, was struck down before her time.   she was a person who i always felt loved by, even after i left the JP and went NC. and even when she got sick. she was a truly good person. the world is poorer for the loss of her and i am grieving.

the last half a year or more has been very difficult for me.  i suppose the truth is i have gone through another complete breakdown, this time triggered by my brother and his appalling behaviour, by a therapist who betrayed my trust, and a couple of other things.  and i have lost so much ground in terms of my journey to 'recovery' that i am wondering if it will ever be possible for me to make a life for myself.  or even regain the ground i lost.
 i feel more daunted than ever by the prospect of even looking at the pain inside, the things that i have worked so hard the last months to blank out, not feel, not think about.  but i know that not feeling, not thinking, is just making me more and more depressed and i don't want to go back to the state i was in at the end of last year. it is a bit of a miracle that i survived that, i was very close to doing something very stupid.
somehow, i have to find a bit of hope for myself again. how is it that it is so much easier to have hope for other people than it is for yourself??

i know that i need to have a bit of support and this is the only place i can say some things with any hope of anyone actually understanding.  i just hope i can be brave enough to risk it again.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / set back?
« on: May 11, 2016, 12:20:30 PM »
this won't be a long post but i just wonder if anyone has any ideas how i can go about beginning to re-engage after months of being in a numbed out state due to lots of bad stuff going down.  i am finding it really daunting and am scared to start but i know i need to begin to help myself somehow. thanks for any ideas :)

Checking Out / trying to be back
« on: May 09, 2016, 09:28:07 AM »
i have been away for so long, struggling with bad stuff, but i am trying to re-engage here and to re-engage with recovery... not quite sure how far i will get, as i think i have a lot of ground to make up.  and no support really while i try and do it.  anyway, i am going to give it a go, gently, so hi all, nice to see u again... :thumbup:

Inner Child Work / i couldn't find my inner adult...
« on: November 21, 2015, 04:26:03 PM »
i woke up this morning late, and didn't make it out of bed till this afternoon. :sadno: 
but in the course of laying there being crazy, and trying to find the wherewithal to get myself going, i was thinking about the whole inner child thing.

i have a problem with it i guess becos i haven't been able to learn how to do the whole 'taking care of my inner child and promising her i am an adult now and i will not let anything bad happen to her' thing that Pete Walker et al advise.

well, i just had a bit of a revelation there, and that was that when i was small, i felt so afraid and abandoned.  ok. but as i was growing up, at the time when i should have been discovering adulthood, i went into the cult. i was 18. still a confused, hurting child, really.  (thinking that i would not feel afraid and abandoned there.  becos that was what was promised... that's how they catch you - it's called 'love-bombing' and it works a treat on vulnerable people and not so vulnerable alike).

well, the whole of the 15 years i lived in the community, i guess i never needed to be an adult.  the whole culture, especially with regard to women, was infantilising.  you had no responsibility for yourself. the elders had that. and no decision was yours to make. you were effectively treated as a child.  in the name of 'submission'.  loads of daddy-substitutes to make up for my own, unavailable one. but always above you, always in charge of your life. we believed it was how it should be. really.

so.  what i realised was that i didn't ever grow an inner adult. i am all inner child.  sure, i could pretend. i had to take on the role of adult when i had my kids, and also when i was caring for my husband (i used to say, 'i live alone with my husband and two children' because he was like having a third child.)

and i had enough about me to make a fairly good job of it for years, but it was never the real me. none of it touched the deepest bits of me. right deep down there i remained a small, frightened, confused child trying really hard to get it right and cope with the uncopeable without anyone noticing how desperately needy i was.  i became an expert at masking, and expert at pretending i was coping.  but i wasn't.

so. i realise that i don't know how, i have no concept of, what it is like to be an adult.  talk about developmental delay... i am stuck at about three years old.  and now, more than half a century later, the wheels have come off.  my life has been destroyed really, and i am at a loss becos i don't have the internal equipment i need to rebuild myself. 

perhaps the only thing i can do now is to pretend to be an adult for myself.  like i did for my kids and for my husband.  fake it, becos making it is beyond my capabilities?

 :doh: every time, it happens  :doh:...

does anyone else get this?:

the last few months, every time i interact in conversation with anyone, even in a shop, even, like just now, with my neighbour (as we were chasing our bins down the road in the strong wind) just passing the time of day... every single time i come away and get swamped with feeling just such a total *... i feel like every thing i said was sooooo STUPID, and that i am such an idiot and then i just hate myself so much.

i remember being self-conscious as a young teenager. i guess i always told myself (still tell myself):  'who's looking at you, anyway, Arpy? you don't spend your life looking at everyone else, so why would other people?'... and it kind of worked all these years.

but now it doesn't work anymore and i hate feeling like such a kid.

Religious/Cult Abuse / grieving the loss of believing
« on: November 01, 2015, 03:23:47 PM »
not sure where to post this so i started a new thread. i don't want to trigger anyone, but this is going to be a bit personal and sore. i want to share becos it engenders such deep sorrow and grief in me - and i am hoping someone will just 'get it'.  i know there is no answer to it, but not to feel so alone in it would be nice.

one of the symptoms people talk about when they write about cptsd is the 'loss of systems of meaning/beliefs'.  i think that's how they express it.  i don't think it specifically or exclusively means religious beliefs but it does include it. 

for me, my faith as a christian was very deep and very real. it was the centre of my life in a way that i find it very difficult to describe.  not just becos of joining the JP - i became a xian a couple of years before that.  i was brought up agnostic and mildly antagonistic to xianity. in my teens i think i was desperate to believe that somebody loved me, and my xian friends at school were convinced that God was that person.  they also wanted me to be their friend, and as a school loner/misfit, i guess that was amazing to me.  when i found an embryonic faith for myself i suddenly found i also had friends, who really genuinely cared about me, and i felt like i had a family for the first time.  i struggled with doubt a lot, but that was ok, i think anyone does at that age.

of course, school ended and we all split up and some of us went off to uni etc. . that was when i got involved with the guy who introduced me to the JP; he was the son of the pastor of the baptist church i went to at the time. he was a 'bad boy' and i was warned against him. in keeping with his reputation, he spent most of the time getting into my knickers, so i can understand why, now.

anyway,long story short, we joined the JP, split up and the rest is history - thereafter followed 15 years of brainwashing, oppression, shame, fear, a sense of belonging, sure but it was kind of a covert captivity, in truth; breakdowns, then escape into my ill-advised marriage to another controller, co-dependency, more breakdowns, hub's disability, raising the kids more or less alone, marriage breakup, return to cult, total betrayal, scapegoating, then sexual abuse in another church.....   and here i am.   

the thing is, after everything that has happened in my life, i feel like the most precious thing in my life, my anchor, or rather, my lifeline, has proved to be false. the faith i had for four decades ultimately has proved itself to be just another means to subjugate and destroy me. just another way for people to control and use and abuse me.  and that, for me, is shattering.  i feel like my spirit and soul have been raped.  no other way to put it.

so now i just don't know what i believe. i think i believe in a god, or the universe, or some benign personality, who still cares about me. i still talk to him/her/whatever. i still feel it inside of me if i listen carefully and don't let myself get too afraid. but i no longer have what i had, a sense of confidence that there was someone who loved me. who ultimately gave a sh.. about what happens in my life and the lives of the people i love. 

i just don't know how to get over this one. even as i write i feel the depth of the pain and the horror of total violation, loss, death, i can't even describe it but it hurts. i can't seem to find a reference point any more and i am lost.

i have crashed and burned this week becos of the flashback triggered on Monday by my GP suggesting he could refer me to the NHS psych. services for ptsd as a way in to some kind of trauma therapy.

i am shocked by the force of this one. the terror has totally overwhelmed me.  i recognise that it is to do with powerlessness and i recognise the root of it... but this time none of that has seemed to help me to wind it down.
i have over the last three days been variously: weeping uncontrollably in abject terror; lying comatose in my bed sucking my thumb which is something i haven't done for fifty years; feeling sick; feeling like my mind has unhinged itself and gone out of control; wishing i could die (i will never put that one into practice btw); feeling totally despairing; being unable to concentrate, or to settle to anything, or do anything, or eat anything;  just feeling total panic rising up all the time ...

i have tried doing the management steps and this one has overwhelmed all my newly learned strategies.  i can't seem to get a handle on it at all, it just keeps on rolling.  i have emailed my GP and put off deciding about the referral for a couple of weeks and that's fine, he's cool with that. but even doing that hasn't done the trick. 

any ideas anyone?  feel like i am losing my mind here.

ok, this is a question i have - if you should try to stop it (and if so, how) when you start numbing out? 

the last week or two i have had many upsetting dreams about the cult which have led to a lot of flashbacks and it all got a bit traumatic.
even so, i have tried to stay with it and work through the PW steps etc and not numb out or try and avoid the bad feelings but to feel them and work with them.

the last couple of days the nightmares have stopped.  however, i am back in that state where i feel really low again,  just can't think or function, can't read, can't concentrate, can't seem to face or do anything.
i just can't decide if i am numbing myself out or if it's just my brain saying 'enough is enough' and switching me off for a while.  i'm pretty sure i didn't deliberately choose to switch off, it just happened. to be honest, i just want to go to sleep or sit in a chair and go blank, but i can't allow myself. 

at the risk of sounding totally neurotic,  i just wondered if this is 'normal' or what. i don't like feeling this way, but then i don't like feeling all traumatised either. i feel a bit insecure and i don't know what i should be doing.  i guess this is where a decent therapist would come in handy but that's not really an option at present. 

any ideas, anyone?

Recovery Journals / arpy1's journal
« on: September 20, 2015, 12:53:15 PM »
ok, i'm gonna start a journal here becos it helps, i think, to share stuff with people becos it solidifies your thinking and invites feedback.

today is the first day of my new journal. :wave:

in pursuance of my new do-it-yourself approach to therapy (having sacked my T and run out of for more, due to an unexpectedly huge car repair bill  :sadno:)  i have just started reading the Pete Walker book on Cptsd.  i can only read a few pages at a time becos i find it really triggering altho also really helpful. (also i am in the middle of changing meds, coming down off one before starting another, which means i am very emotional)

i have over the last week or so been introduced to the idea that it is ok for me to feel all of my feelings, good, bad, ugly. that i can lose all the xian and familial taboos that have screwed the lid on my emotional life for decades.  that has been mega.

also i have realised that i can do self compassion and self protection. in other words i can learn to be kind to me and to stand up for me. again a totally novel concept when applied to me (sadly, as a 'good' xian, wife, mother, carer, rescuer,  i've always been very good at doing it for everybody else, but me? nah)

today i read about 'reparenting', and was partic moved by the idea of imagining going back in time and standing up for the little person that was me. this is what happened when i did it. i had a good cry about it as it happened.

if I could go back in time. (refathering - Pete Walker's book)

If I could go back in time the first place would be to the very beginning when you joined the jp. I would go back, find you, little girl-woman that you were, and I would get you out of there. I would get you out of there, before he (N, the main leader) had a chance to steal your soul. I would save you from his shouting and screaming and bullying and his making you feel guilty for everything you were, all the time. I would save you from his power, from the fear he put into you, from the annihilation he carried out on your selfhood, from his theft of your right to say no, to protect yourself,  I would stop the way he stormed over all of your soul, invading all of you, and took control of you, the warping of your mind and the twisting of the faith you brought in with you. I would protect you from him, I would save you from becoming just another object upon which he wrote his story, just another object of his need for godlike authority. I would save you from all that was evil there. I would get you out of there even if it meant running away secretly with the clothes you stood up in and never going back. I would never let all that stuff happen to you. You would be safe.

And then I would go further back. I would make mum well so that she wouldn't have gone away from you. She would have been at home with you when you needed her so badly and then you wouldn't have been so scared all the time and so alone.

And then I would go further back; I would stop that man molesting dad when he was little and I would stop his parents from rowing all the time; I would make him have been a happy boy and grow into a happy man who could love you like a proper dad. I would make him have loved you and liked you and thought you were valuable, not a nuisance.

that's it for now. thanks for the space to do this. thanks if you take the time out to read.

Religious/Cult Abuse / working through the cult experience
« on: September 17, 2015, 12:50:44 PM »
ok, so i am biting the bullet a bit, becos i haven't attempted anything like this before.

it's been a bit of a journey to reach the point where i could talk about this here becos i still feel like people will look down on me for having been in a xian cult for years. i still feel embarrassed and ashamed. but i need to work through this; i can't sidestep it by trying to get to the centre of the onion, to use the familiar metaphor, i have to go layer by layer. this is a big layer for me. so i hope you'll bear with me.

i'm not going to attempt a linear story. that's too much. so what i would like is to be able to share the now journey as bits crop up. so...

just started last night to read Pete Walker's book 'surviving to thriving' and it's already blowing me away. 

Altho it is primarily dealing with family oriented trauma, I am finding that if I add the main leader's name (N) to the word 'parents' or sometimes substitute it even, I can understand a bit more what happened to me.  Because it seems to me that I had a twofold whammy, early years abandonment and then N's traumatising narcissism and the whole community-cult thing in early adulthood that set me up for the third and fourth whammies of my marriage and later, second disastrous involvement with the cult (call it the 'jp' for anonymity's sake).

I discovered that my 'F' response is freeze/fawn (followed by flight, and on very rare occasions, fight).

I discovered that whatever little bit of 'ego' or selfhood  I had managed to grow before I joined the jp was systematically destroyed by N over the years where he bullied and manipulated us to truly believe that any attempt to self nurture or to stand up for ourselves was sin, namely selfishness and rebelliousness.

i can't express adequately how deeply i believed that. i still do, if i'm honest.   to go against it, even in my thoughts, feels wrong even now - like i am rebelling against God's will for me.

God I can't believe what that man did to me. It was pure evil.

Good bit is that apparently I can re-teach myself to nurture and protect myself. Hopefully. Watch this space.

General Discussion / therapy disaster, now what?
« on: September 12, 2015, 10:30:27 AM »
ok. so. this is a totally selfish post. i would really appreciate some input and ideas as i have kind of got myself stuck.

some of you will  be aware of the (for me)ridiculously traumatic 'outcome' of my recent attempt to start ict. the ict isn't the problem per se, it's that the T has behaved in ways that i couldn't handle and i felt (as did a few of you who commented) that she has crossed some professional boundaries that make me feel that i can't carry on with her.

two things then. firstly i have to decide how to extricate myself from the relationship with T.   secondly, i need to work out what to do next. i need a plan.

i don't feel able to confront the T. i don't have the courage or the emotional strength to challenge her. so i have to get out of it without doing so. but if i say nothing she will never know what went wrong. to be honest i am terrified of having to explain to her, and having her come up with all these reasons why she did what she did (as anyone would), and how mistaken i was etc.

so the question is basically, tell her the truth and risk a confrontation, or lie and say i ran out of money.

n.b. **** i hope this isn't going to trigger anyone, so be advised.****

why am i so scared of this? it's all to do with how i have been trained.i.e. i have no rights. to have rights is sinful. if there is a problem in a relationship it is my fault. to look at another's fault is to be self righteous. 'first take the log out of your own eye'. i have no right to stand up for myself becos i should be like jesus and be meek and humble and turn the other cheek. i must be in submission to those over me. 
if i am not, i am unsubmissive, and 'in the flesh' and that is sin. i should repent and submit and 'get my heart right' becos my heart is 'deceitful above all things and desperately wicked'. the people in authority over me are god's representatives to me and i should submit to them as i would to him, without questionning. i have no right to question. i have no right to disagree becos of my innate wrongness.

ok, intellectually, it's foolish to be so stuck in such a lot of brainwashing rubbish.  but this is the mindset that has dominated me for the last forty years. it doesn't shift in a couple of years. it may never. 

also a few years ago,  when i did start to stand up for myself, i lost everything. i stood up to my husband. and lost my marriage. i stood up to the cult. and lost my whole spiritual family, whom i loved dearly and always considered more my family than my FOO even during the long interval when i was away from them. the result of standing up for myself was that i lost my whole foundation, everything that i had built up as my life, my social network, my core beliefs, my faith, everything. every time i have been brave and done what had to be done to survive i have ended up losing the things that were most precious to me until finally i have cut myself off and became a hermit to avoid the risk of relationships altogether.

so for me to get to the point where i could trust this T enough to embark on the inner child thing? that was huge for me. and now this has happened and i am not dealing terribly well with it. it is triggering so much emotion i am at times beside myself.

so the second question of what to do next, is about whether i will ever be able to trust any therapist again. and if not, what alternatives can i find that will help me not to stall and slide back. i have to get functional enough to go back to work. i am running out of funds.  the only person i part-way trust at the moment is my GP. but how long that will last is anyone's guess.

sorry it's so ling, but that is my rant, my ramble, and any suggestions would be gratefully received. thanks for listening.

ok, here goes...

i started (really, just barely started) inner child work in therapy this last week or so. frankly, all i have done so far is write down all my memories of early childhood and acknowledged the fact that  i don't feel anything about them.       

it took months for me to start to trust my T this much.  i have told her i need her to go really slowly and she is doing. and i have twigged that she spends a lot of time keeping me cool, just generally talking to wind me down or to keep me wound down. she is very aware of how every session i had with my first T would leave me totally traumatised. so she is very careful not to do that.

ok. so.   it has taken a lot, and has only been in the last week or so, that i have been able to acknowledge that i really do need to address my early years, even if it means taking focus off what i thought i was in therapy for, i.e abuse suffered as adult. it was a big and scary step even  to get to this point because it involves the other person i have in my head (the one i call the screaming sobbing woman) and allowing her out. i have spent decades keeping her locked down.

anyway, i did it, and now, well, i just feel blank. most of the time. the rest of the time i am up and down like a yo-yo, angry one minute, weepy the next, but about things that are totally unrelated to my childhood.but these little episodes last no more than half an hour tops, then, back to this horrible grey blankness. like a blanket drops onto my head and everything goes muffled. this is dissociation according to my T. but i am not in control of it. it comes and goes without warning. 

i feel very out of control and i really hate it. i can't  settle down, somehow, i can't cope with reading, watching tv, all the things i usually use to distract myself with. i am all over the place.

what i  am supposed to be feeling at this point? why do i feel so blank and yet simultaneously so volatile? i am very confused here and would be grateful if anyone who's done this stuff would drop me a few tips? i can't give up now i've started but i feel so lost.

thanks for listening to this lot.

ok, this is an first attempt at doing a 'new topic'. hope it works!

someone asked if i would put a link, in a new topic, to this very interesting article about the 'mechanics', if you like, of relationships and narcissistic personality. 

it particularly helped me as it deals with the whole aspect of cult involvement but it also is very good on what it is like growing up with a np.

i certainly found it helpful so i hope others will too.

Introductory Post / first time for everything...
« on: August 17, 2015, 09:18:25 PM »
can't believe i am doing this, but hi, all, am doing this as a bit of a last resort because i can't do social interaction at the mo but desperately need some kind of support/network/someone out there who knows what it feels like. Are there any ex-cult survivors out there? also attachment trauma (acc. to therapist) going back to first few years of life. can't write much, too triggering (hate that buzz word but it's the only one that says it). anyone?

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