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Topics - keepfighting

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General Discussion / Boundaries
« on: June 06, 2015, 01:58:22 PM »
Growing up in a narc family system,  I never learned to set personal boundaries. I also never learned which boundaries were normal, accepted and expected. Any (feeble) attempts I made at setting boundaries in my FOO were shot down on the spot, I was being called, 'selfish', 'unreasonable', 'egotistic' and many more words that were meant to be hurtful and degrading. If words weren't enough, I got the ST until I caved and abandoned all ideas I had of setting personal boundaries. There were no locks on our doors - even the bathroom door keys were confiscated; so no privacy ever, anywhere in the house.

This week, I had a lightbulb moment:

I have to learn to set boundaries because toxic people don't have any.

For so long, I have taken my cues from other people and adapted myself so I could please them instead of listening to my own needs first. But the problem with toxic people is that they will never set boundaries and are thriving on the people who were primed (by themselves or other toxic folk) not to set boundaries, either.

So in order to make any kind of ongoing recovery possible for myself, I need to set boundaries. They don't have to be reasonable, I don't have to justify them to myself or others - they just have to make dealings with other people pleasant for myself. They don't have to be set in stone, either: different boundaries for different occasions/persons. It's about respecting myself and listening to my needs - and it's normal that they vary from occasion to occasion and between different persons. Recently, I have started to find some healthy friends and guess what - none of them ever asked for an explanation let alone a justification if I set a boundary! They have theirs, I have mine and we get along just fine. Plenty of things we have in common and are willing to share that do not involve making one another feel guilty about setting boundaries. What a relief!

For now, these are my affirmations on the issue of 'boundaries':

- You're worth the effort of negotiating new boundaries.
- Set your own boundaries because toxic people won't.
- Boundaries may vary according to your needs. Be mindful of the moment/situation you're in and the people you're with and set them as needed.
- Don't be discouraged if it takes practise before you can set effective boundaries. Observe, learn, adapt.
- Boundaries are not set in stone. Set them as you need them in order to feel safe in the situation.
- If a person rages at you for setting a personal boundary, they have exposed themselves as a toxic person. Healthy people are used to setting boundaries for themselves and have no trouble accepting yours.


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The Cafe / Self care activity of the day
« on: May 26, 2015, 11:26:22 AM »
Today, I cleaned out a large part of my wardrobe. Two large bags of clothes ready to go to charity. 

With every piece of clothing that I handled, I asked myself: Does this make me happy or not? If it doesn't make me happy, for whatever reason, it went into the bag for charity (some clothes with the price tags still on - one particular blouse I had only bought to please my female (N) friend...  :doh:).

I am particularly proud of myself for finally getting rid of one dress: It seemed to tell me I was fat and ugly because I could no longer wear it and I don't know why I kept it so long in the first place. Well, it can no longer torture me now.  ;D

I did keep some comfy old clothes and also some clothes which I only wear if I have to do chores in the garden. They make me happy: I like comfy and I like doing those chores so they get to stay.  :yes:

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General Discussion / Do you laugh out loud often?
« on: May 17, 2015, 10:49:29 AM »
Last night, someone said something so absurd that I spontaneously laughed - loud and free.

It was a nice sensation, I felt light and carefree and sunny inside.

As I savoured the feeling, I also noticed that it's something I hardly ever do: Spontaneous, carefree laughing out loud. Usually, I'm too tense to do that and though I can appreciate jokes or comical situation and have a good laugh, the 'carefree' part of the feeling is often missing - and that's the best part! Having experienced it yesterday, I want more of it - it's a great feeling! (Getting greedy here... ;D)

My default thinking still seems to be: "Careful if something feels good - you never know what danger lurks behind it" and I seldom let my guard down enough to just enjoy the moment to the full. Can anybody relate? How often do you feel carefree enough to just laugh out loud?

4
Today I realized that it often makes me feel uncomfortable if someone is kind to me. Growing up the way I did, I've come to expect being pushed around, being ignored, being blamed for 'whatever', being (publicly) shamed for every little flaw I have, .... Kindnesses, on the other hand, put me instantly on my guard. The only 'kindnesses' I am used to (...and that's including birthday presents or hugs when I was injured), were 'given' to me with the understanding that I would be expected to repay them 10 times over - and at the giver's demand.

There are two thoughts that seem to pop up in my mind:

1) Shame. A very deep feeling of "I don't deserve niceness. I am not good enough."

2) What does s/he really want from me?

I wish I could break this cycle. Not only understand cognitively that  it's okay to expect and accept kindnesses from others, but also be able to feel that I deserve it.

Does anyone else still have problems with this? How do you handle it? How do you stop your automated thoughts that tell you you're not worth it????

5
http://www.ted.com/talks/nadine_burke_harris_how_childhood_trauma_affects_health_across_a_lifetime

She has some good and clear ideas of how to orevent and minimize the negative effects of childhood trauma when/before it happens.

It was a bit triggering for me, since I am already facing some of the ill health effects of childhood trauma - some 'minor' chronic diseases like eczema and chronic sinusitis and my immune system seems to be the worst in my FOC (viruses never seem to pass me by and I always take longest to recover) - and there might be more in store that could be directly related to my childhood trauma. The hard facts that after having survived childhood trauma, there is also an ill effect on the lifelong health is something that always gets to me very deeply - doubly unfair!

That's why it's twice as important that we do all we can to break the cycle of abuse.

I am very glad that doctors like Nadine are on the case for this and future generations of children. It's important to pass on the message and make people aware of the health risks that come from childhood trauma.

6
http://www.ted.com/talks/ruby_wax_what_s_so_funny_about_mental_illness

Using humour and honesty to talk about mental illness (in her case severe depression) - this woman deserves a standing ovation!  :applause:

7
Yesterday, we were at the home of one of h's best friends (they go way back, were each others best men at our respective weddings etc). It was a flying visit (we had to return something and stayed only for a coffee).

I suspect the wife of having a PD, but I can't be bothered to think too much on which it might be (she's controlling, jealous in the extreme and very very passive aggressive).

Yesterday, h's friend was sent away with one of the children by his wife; so we ended up sitting just the three of us chatting over a cup of coffee. I tried to stay Medium Chill, at least in front of her, but her onslaught towards me was more vicious than usual. On our way home, h stopped at a nice coffee place because he felt I needed a warm and delicious treat after all that agression...

Among other things, she told me that my children would be at a disadvantage because of me (I am a stay-at-home mom by choice) - careerwise that would weigh against my children because they could not possibly be "well rounded" enough to qualify for a good education. She went on to say that since I haven't found a part time job yet (...I haven't been looking for one but that's beside the point) I should go back to the destructive cult I grew up in and which h and I left about a decade ago (as h's friend's wife, she's fully aware of the struggle we had to get out and get a life together for us and our family so that was an incredibly mean thing to suggest).

I think I stayed MC in front of her enough so she doesn't know which of her 'arrows' hit home, but I was haunted by nightmares last night. Most of them were about cult related things but also of my (in my dream grown up) children accusing me of ruining their chances of a good uni and a good career and stuff.

I am just so drained and exhausted from the EF and the nightmares - and the attack itself. We didn't stick around long enough for h's friend to return.

8
I found this test today on the web:

http://www.narcissisticmother.com/piper-score

It's only about narc mothers but I think you can replace the word 'mother' with any toxic person that has hurt you to find out how you're doing and which areas you still need to work on.

I got 3 red areas and 4 yellow ones (53 out of 105 points), which apparently means that my recovery is already going well ( :cheer:) but some areas still need extra attention (self-care especially - very true in my case!).


9
I am suffering from insomnia at the moment - caused by the still unresolved job situation of my h. I haven't had a full night's sleep since the beginning of december when it became apparent that h would soon be out of a job and nothing new on the horizon.

Lately, I've started to notice that I am more easily irritated by quite normal behaviour and cannot tolerate much - good or bad. I also find that I am unusually critical of people ('unusual' as compared to my normal feelings towards others).

Is this common or am I imagining things? Does insomnia really wake the OCr up?

10
Watching your kids struggling with toxic friends.

There's so little you can do as a parent - they have to defend their own place in the group and develop the skills not to be a doormat by trial and error themselves.

When they are little - until about the end of primary school - you can still interfere as a parent if need be, but once they've become teenagers, it's essential to take a step back and let them handle it themselves.

Our d has been on the receiving end of a smear campaign for some time now. She asked us specifically not to try and interfere and let her handle it her own way. We've now agreed that she can talk to us about whatever she wants whenever she wants - if she tells us up front whether she wants our help, our advice or just a person to vent to, we will act according to her wishes.

Taking a step back, watching my beloved d get hurt and fight her way back up is incredibly hard for me. The urge to prevent her from coming to any harm - emotional or otherwise - is still very very strong. I try to trust that it'll make her stronger and help her develop the skills to fend off these kind of people that  work for her.

Anybody else feel/felt that way? I'd love to hear experiences from other parents!

11
Interesting and promising research:

http://www.neuroscientistnews.com/research-news/study-identifies-two-genes-boost-risk-ptsd

Let's hope this and other studies will eventually lead to beter meds and treatments for (C)-PTSD sufferers.  :yes:

13
I've been having an EF since the beginning of this week; have been lying awake for hours each night, desperately trying to fall back asleep... each night I slept a little less than the night before and I tried CBT to lay my worries to rest before going to sleep and anything else I could think of (...in daytime, mainly 'flight' responses, going to the gym, keeping myself busy in the house and the garden...) --- nothing worked.

So, earlier today I was starting to type about this here - and while I was typing it hit me that I had gotten the cause of my EF wrong (...I am terrible at 'reading' my own needs emotions  :doh:):

The contract of my h is about to expire and there is no new one in sight right now and I thought that I was panicking because of the insecure financial situation. So I was working on soothing that worry; telling myself that we are prepared for that and that something will come along etc etc. (Money problems were abundant in my FOO and caused a lot of horrible scenes and fights).

But then it hit me: The cause of my EF is not the financial situation; it's the prospect of h being jobless and at home for a while.

The thing is, many of my worst memories of my whole life happened while my  NF was jobless and at home. Trigger warning His verbal and physical violence escalated to the point where I feared for my life and my Lost Child little brother fled from home in the middle of the night, not once, but several times (he had to endure most of the physical attacks).

After that incident when I seriously feared for my life, my panic attacks and sleeping disorders started for real. I was 21 years old and studying at uni at the time and after that night, I couldn't stand to be alone in the house any more - not even in daytime. Only after living in a safe and stable environment for several years (with my h and kids) and T was I able to be by myself in the house again...

So now I know what started this EF and why soothing my fears of financial insecurity was ineffective... it wasn't the right cause of the EF.

I wonder how I can learn to read my emotions better so I can get to the correct cause of the EF straight away and not waste an entire week trying to soothe the wrong fears. (And a week is nothing: Last time I had an EF, it took almost 7 weeks for me to figure out what actually caused it - and then I figured it out by the merest coincidence :stars:). Any tips are very welcome!

Before I forget: My h is nothing like my father - there is no reason for me to worry about that in the here and now.

Has anyone else experienced an EF and gotten the cause that started it wrong? - I feel like such an idiot and had a good cry while typing.

Thank you for reading.

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Research / New research approach about depression and anxiety disorders
« on: November 15, 2014, 01:43:31 PM »
This research isn't - strictly speaking - about CPTSD but about major depression and anxiety disorders which are also related to/part of CPTSD in many cases. I hope it's okay to post it here. It caught my interest since I've had episodes of both depression and anxiety myself and they are related to my CPTSD.

http://www.biolmoodanxietydisord.com/content/4/1/10


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General Discussion / Empowering dreams
« on: September 17, 2014, 12:54:37 PM »
Triggered by another topic about nightmares, I remembered that in the early stages of T my nightmares were gradually replaced by dreams which actually empowered me:

I had a number of dreams in which I was reliving particular scenes from my childhood. The child me would feel frightened, confused and powerless but then the grownup me would enter the dream stage, protect the child and tell my abusing parents all that the child could not and did not tell them. (No prizes for guessing what inspired those dreams - they were pretty much along the line of what we were working on in T at the time)

Waking up after such a dream felt great.

I think that it's amazing that the same mechanism that gives us the frightening nightmares can also come to our rescue and help us deal with the issues for which daytime just isn't long enough...

This summer vacation, quite out of the blue, I had another one of those empowering dreams: This time, it was only the teenage me and my overt uNPDf starring in it. We were on our way to my highschool graduation and he was going on and on about his church activities (he is a self proclaimed spiritual leader of some standing - lol). Then the teenage me turned towards him, told him to shut up for once about himself and let this graduation be about me and my achievements and nothing else. (See, in my dream he actually respected my wishes, IRL he never would have done so). Don't know where any of this was coming from but I woke up laughing.

Did any of you have these kind of dreams? Dreams that helped you in your recovery?

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