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Messages - Flutterbye

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1
Friends / Re: Realistic expectations from healthy friendships
« on: June 30, 2016, 12:40:20 AM »
  Care less.
this requires taking valium whereas I don't take any medication. I have found to 'care less' whilst running a friendship group is a physiological impossibility for me and an unfair expectation of myself, the evidence is in.

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Ask others for help with the group, or to borrow something, share a problem and ask for advice.  Let other people give to you.
I have found this to be a myth. For some reason it was often the first piece of advice people responded with, that surprised me as asking for help was my first strategies and I'd already tried it several times. I was looking for advice as to what to do once everybody had already turned your requests for help down. I needed help and asked for it, many times. The results were variously: it fell on deaf ears; people messed me around & never helped (behaviour/action) after saying they would (words), it alienated people & they left never to return. Overall the result was: nobody helped me. Like, nada. I concluded that people dislike being asked to help, it makes people feel uncomfy or guilty so they either run or mess you around. I found imo more realistic advice on an org forum that advised orgs to not ask for/expect help as the vast majority of participants want to be carried. I found that to be 100% so. To cope with the stress of being messed around with empty promises of help, I did some research on, 'why people say yes when they mean no,' (think I posted it in this forum, can't recall).

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Viewing oneself as a victim is something that just about every trauma counselor, every domestic violence support group, advocates against.  Instead, it's encouraged to see oneself as a survivor.  Because viewing oneself as a victim can be self destructive.  Viewing oneself as a victim encourages feelings of powerlessness, self blame, and self shame.  Viewing oneself as a victim internalizes the abuse, and causes it to become part of one's identity. 

It is good to realize that someone else is doing something bad to you.  It's good to be aware that someone else is (or was) victimizing you.  It is good to be aware that this is not your fault.  It's good to realize it to the degree that it helps you get out of the situation and protect yourself.

But it's wholly self defeating to view oneself, to identify oneself, as a victim.  It robs you of your own agency.  It robs you of your own strength.  And it encourages the cycle of abuse to continue -- even if through a different abuser, in a different situation.
Agreed. I worked for years as a social worker. Male victims have been acknowledged for a very long time in my experience & in my culture, e.g. this is my local (Australian ) service for it http://www.oneinthree.com.au/malevictims. So I must admit, when I first read this thread I found it perplexingly obsolete but then wondered if the struggles and pain expressed here may come from a generation older than mine such as baby-boomers who may not have been exposed to info such as that in the link I provided during their formative, early adult years.

In my experience the key to recovery, repairing the damage of past abuse & being less susceptible to ongoing abuse (either from your long-standing abuser or a new one) is not to focus permanently on attributing blame (and perhaps hatred) towards the perpetrator (and I've survived both male and female abusers) but to attribute blame just long enough to overcome my denial/ignorance about being the victim of their abuse ("I was a victim? noble me? No, it can't be, I'm stronger & smarter than that and too good a person"). then it's time to move on to the next step in recovery and take responsibility for the damage the abuse caused; when I was ready to do this I found this phrase such a helpful summary, "They broke it, you fix it." It's so short but contains years of recovery work for me  :)

Imo denial comes in many complex forms and is a real blocker to insights & accepting what abuse happened & the long-term damage it caused. Attributing blaming to the perp was an important but temporary place to dwell, after that all my hard work began! These days perps are long gone but the damage is within me so recovery is all about me & trying to improve my dysfunction (suffering).

Source - 'From Trauma to Enlightenment' by Daniel Mackler and Frederick Timm.


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Friends / Re: Help! So nervous about seeing a friend.
« on: June 21, 2016, 02:12:55 AM »
Hi Dee, I have few friends & struggle to build healthy friendships, tho just here I relate to your friend more than yourself as I'm a very loyal friend who never quits on people I care about! so maybe my perspective may help a little.

If it were me meeting you, I'd..
- be proud of your health & achievements,
- be excited about seeing you
- would assume you'd accept me for who I am right now like I do you, maybe I'm going thru some changes myself even if it's not quite apparent on the surface.

Just my 2c, I don't pretend to know the complexities of your friendship. A 14 year friendship is imo a precious & beautiful thing. I'm sure you're friend is looking forward to seeing you. To be honest, it goes without saying I'm proud of my friends' accomplishments but probably not my main focus, my main focus would be  that we care about each other, value the friendship, have a history. In the past, I found when I was self-consciously obsessed about something about me that I'd worked really hard on, that was more for me - my friends actually weren't so focused on that, they simply liked & accepted me & wanted to hang out & do fun stuff together. Judging me didn't really come into it, it was mainly me judging me and very meanly. I know this is all way easier said than done but imo working hard on good friendships is so worth the effort  ;)!

good luck & be interested to hear how you go  :cheer:

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Emotional Abuse / Re: Invalidation is abuse POSSIBLE TRIGGERS
« on: June 21, 2016, 01:12:03 AM »
thanks for sharing 3 roses  :hug: some of my worst adult experiences of this have been in 3d support groups and in poor therapy, very damaging to my recovery at the time. It's so great to find validation here.

Dutch, invalidation is a significant cause of cPTSD from my past but these kinds of experiences mainly effect me in the present as I repeat them in my social interactions today. Apols, I'm not too familiar with all the boards yet, is there some place for developing healthy social skills, social interactions & boundaries? Idk, just my 2c worth.

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Successes, Progress? / Re: 1st anniversary @ OOTS
« on: June 19, 2016, 06:26:08 AM »
Happy anniversary to you Dutch!  :hug:

I haven't been here too long but it's tremendous to meet you, enjoy your insights & input. Thanks for all your had work too as a mod, we appreciate it. Here's to lots more years of validation & healing. ANd fun!

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As I've posted around the forum of late, I've been working hard on my social isolation, boundaries, building healthy human connections as the focus of my recovery for a while now. Including starting my own friendship group and beginning the very early stages of what may have potential to be some healthy new friendships. this weekend I felt strong enough to send my first friendly SMS in over six years! The last time I did this was to my exfb, way back when I had a bf (who dumped me!). I lost just about all my confidence with that relationship, how it went & how it ended, and the few new people I've had the courage to SMS since (after they'd given me their phone number), turned out to be not healthy friendships so they ended quite abruptly.

This went really well  ;D. It was quite nerve-wracking - I'd forgotten that I get nervous waiting for a reply to an SMS - and a mini roller-coaster of emotions. But overall it went well! I even managed to reply back with a 2nd SMS. I actually feel better for this, a bit more human. It seems like such a tiny action, such a normal thing that socially connected people do ten times a day I suppose but for me at this point in my life it's a huge achievement. Yay! It feels just a little bit like my social connectedness could one day improve in the future, be a more normal part of life.

thanks to all at OOTS for your support, humour and understanding about social isolation and my goals on this. You rock!

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Friends / Re: Realistic expectations from healthy friendships
« on: June 19, 2016, 06:01:22 AM »
featherfalling, that's so kind of you! I found your words so encouraging, thanks a bunch  :)
I agree it's so important to stick to my goals, keep being consistent in my actions. can be hard when there isn't positive reinforcement coming in frequently, feels a bit like I'm stabbing aimlessly in the dark, on the other hand, I'm sure I'm making some kind of progress. Slowly, slowly!

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Friends / Re: Unhelpful help
« on: June 19, 2016, 05:38:21 AM »
So glad to hear this went well. Yay you  :)

Maybe your instincts were right on target?

Sometimes my first instincts are right but I'm scared to act on them due to self-doubt, then (not always but an important %age of the time) when I act on them I'm pleasantly surprised & relieved.

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Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: I know I'm spending too much time online
« on: June 19, 2016, 05:33:28 AM »
thanks 3roses & radical. I feel better for sharing this.

I managed to go for a jog (walk/jog) and felt better for it, at least one day feeling better is better than nothing!

Previously I've tried to break this online 'habit' of mine by spending 30 days off a particular site. The first few days are very difficult but it helps, even if I don't make it the full 30 days it's still a helpful method for me. I think I'll try to give it a go. It's a matter of making a real effort to push myself out the front door and do something in 3d each day.. its' all too easy to get glued to my pc at home, especially if there is (always!) laundry, dishes, cookery or vacuuming to do because I tell myself I can't go out before I complete all those things lest they pile up.. and then spend too long online to get much of that stuff done.

anyways thanks for listening. ;)

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Frustrated? Set Backs? / I know I'm spending too much time online
« on: June 17, 2016, 02:57:47 PM »
I don't know how I used to spend my time before I had the internet at home. I'm finding that I'm almost compulsively checking my email and updates and this just happened and that just happened. A lot of the incoming information I find irritating, whether it's spammy advertising, something I've signed up for like pinterest (not imo actually interesting to me at all) or just getting the opposite kind of reply that I wanted (e.g. asked a 3d friend for a favour and get a 5,000 word essay reply that says in a very roundabout, ambiguous way 'no, I don't want to help you with that favour.') As far as online society goes, at various times, I participate on different support forums [just to clarify & avoid being cryptic, I'm not referring to OOTS, this OOTS forum is one of the few places I actually feel heard & understood, thank goodness  ;)], for example, such as a local mental health forum that has peer support and also trained mh moderator staff. it gets to the point where I can't remember why I joined, it's more like a kind of addiction. Like, I'm too scared to go onto for example facebook and share my thoughts or news there, so instead I share my news/thoughts on my local mental health forum because I'm pretty darn sure I'm doing something anxious/depressed & I'd rather keep it private/anonymous but I do want to share it somewhere because I'm pretty lonely & want to tell someone.

I guess it's nothing new that I'm very lonely. And there is no reason why participating in safe, online 'life' should not be a sensible way for me to have some kind of 'connection', or at least just pass the time (I have a lot of time on my hands, especially when I feel anxious). For some reason - the reason is my personality - I get very irritated by it all. I get online to try to find something soothing or neutral or maybe a little uplifting. and after a little research or trying to listen to a guided meditation, I generally find myself running back to my inbox & just feeling very irritated and annoyed once I'm there. As far as addictive behaviour goes, hey, it's better than drinking. But sometimes my reactions are so triggery I do want to drink!

I just can't recall how I used to cope with these feelings of anxiety & loneliness pre-internet, they are nothing new but I don't know how I used to pass the evenings - I had no pc, let alone internet for years & years living by myself.

I try the strategies of doing some alternative thing that is productive, like housework or craft or exercise if it's daytime. Thing is I have a lot of difficulty concentrating and focusing due to dissociation. I work really hard on my recovery, it's not like I'm passive & a victim about managing my dissociation and anxiety, I know what they are (can identify what I'm feelings & why I keep getting online) and I've put a lot of work into managing these 'symptoms' and a lot of work into my recovery every day.. but it's just so frustrating that after all this work I'm kinda still this awful, highly reactionary personality. I'm working (really hard!) on my social isolation, social skills & loneliness and I'm making some very small, slow progress with persistent work.. it just seems there is gazillions of hours to fill each day, I have all this time on my hands and as soon as loud noise outside or other trigger sets me off I get very anxious and go online.

If I don't like what I find in my inbox why do I keep checking it so often hoping to find some amazingly nice surprise there? If I don't like how I feel participating on my local mental health forum why do I keep returning to it like a moth to a flame, hoping I'm miraculously going to feel a different reaction than I've been feeling all this time? If I keep getting very irritated why do I keep going back for more? one thing I find highly irritating is condescending, unwarranted advice - I'm c-ptsd not a totally lazy idiot, they are different things!

I know back when I used to have 3d friends, yeas ago, I used to bug them with phone calls and text messages. I just wanted to talk. They got so fed up with it they would finally turn around and say, "You are so lonely, get a life." and cut me lose. So now that I've recently found the courage to try to make some 3d friends I think it's important for me to have some kind of ways of interacting elsewhere so I don't return to that behaviour, it's important to give people space & respect their boundaries (that's what I expect from people, I like to have my boundaries respected).

None of this really sounds very productive. I know the obvious solution is to simply get offline already Flutterbye. Stop going online!! It's hard to do. Just feel really frustrated.

Also, I really don't like that I'm such an irritable person, get so annoyed all the time. I think it's a classic ptsd symptom, not sure if it's also shared by most c-ptsd folk. in any case, it feels like this terrible dirty secret that I'm irritable, short-tempered. why am I the only one getting so annoyed and irate about it all?

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Friends / Re: My Friend
« on: June 17, 2016, 08:45:18 AM »
thanks for sharing moon hare.  :thumbup:

I love tea too. Twinings Lady grey is one of my my fav's.

I'm so socially isolated I took the extreme measure of starting my own friendship group to try to build some healthy friendships. The kind of moment you describe is something I've only ever been on the giving end of, not the receiving.. so maybe one day

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Friends / Re: Unhelpful help
« on: June 17, 2016, 08:38:47 AM »
I grieve that it's taken me this long to discover just how badly I was treated.
hear you Three Roses. Sometimes this re-realisation helps me to cut myself some slack & appreciate how good a job I am doing given how horrifically damaged I am, sometimes it makes me feel sad about how horrifically damaged I am.

Frankly, some 'helpful friends' I just want to punch. I know their comments are well-intended but ignorant, like they just don't get it. Not at all. It can be so frustrating. Like if I don't get a peer who for example has DID (as I don't have DID) I just say something like, "you're doing awesome,' rather than dispensing with ignorant (i.e. most likely drastically damaging, invalidating, infuriating) advice because I know that on any given day in my recovery that's what I want to hear. Doesn't matter if someone doesn't understand the details, I just need some encouragement for the hard recovery work I'm doing. While back I did some research into how to cope with uninvited/unwarranted advice - I find it so deeply invalidating and annoying - and was going to share my findings on a thread.. think I found it too annoying to focus on long enough to write & had to just put it out of my mind!

like you, I so value being able to come here & be understood. developmental emotional damage in childhood is so far reaching, just because it doesn't show up on x-rays does not mean it does not leave a vast & complex amounts of damage to recover from. 

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Friends / Re: Realistic expectations from healthy friendships
« on: June 16, 2016, 01:08:54 AM »
It is hard for me not to want to crawl into the lap of someone like that (ooooooops!)  But I'm trying to be just aware and accepting of those feelings without acting on them
;D steadybowl, I laughed out loud when I read this!! not because it's a funny or unserious topic, because this describes me so well! thank you for making me laugh.

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I also hear your worry about not wanting to send off desperate vibes.  I so understand that.  I have to tread carefully with this impulse of mine, so as not to  tip into self-hatred, vicious self-policing, catastrophizing.  And yet of course I want to attend to my behavior too.

yes, thanks for sharing. With my friendship group, with my 'fledgling' new friends, I reached out to quite a few people, fearful that it was too much too soon or too intense & they'd cut me loose. Their responses I am finding totally unpredictable! Some seem relieved and pleased that I've reached out to them, some seem impatient that I'm moving too slow, some seem uncertain. All of these surprised me and are pretty much the opposite of what I expected! So at this point, I've reached the attitude that right now,
1. Not everybody automatically hates me or find me off-putting & desperate
2. Reaching out to people is not that big a deal, you win some you lose some, I can handle the rejection/ambiguity/acceptance better than I thought now that I've had some practice. Repetition is helping
3. I can't predict how people respond to me, it's all so complex. My prediction that I'll be rejected/abandoned by 100% of new people I like & want to pursue a friendship with is not accurate! it's just kinda this unknown. The main thing is to actually stick to it as a long (and I mean long!) term goal especially in between when I see people at the get togethers I've organised, or get online communications, & I feel frustrated like nothing is happening & I've reached another dead-end.
4. It's ok with me if I reach out to people. I don't feel frustrated & resentful & vengeful when I don't get the response I want as fast as I want because it doesn't feel like I'm just setting myself up for another fawn/n-abuse dynamic. Hard to put into words, just don't feel so intense about it all, doesn't feel so high-stakes & energy-exhausting to just reach out a little to these 'fledgling' friends.

Well that's how I feel at the moment. For some brief moments I actually feel proud that I'm doing this now compared to what I was doing a year ago to try to address my social isolation & build healthy connections to people.

To all on this thread thanks so much for listening & replying, it really means a lot to me.  :)

This weekend I'm contemplating actually sending a new friend an SMS - wow that's a big step for me!! huge!! I think I'm ready, I think I can handle this.

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Narcissistic abuse, adult bullying etc. are at the level of understanding that domestic violence was in the 60s and 70s.  Victim blaming and denial reign supreme.

I've experienced all sexual abuse and violence, and know that psychological violence can be just as devastating, more if you count the invalidation that goes with it.

The latest research shows that childhood bullying has worse effects on survivors in adulthood than childhood sexual abuse.  People are slowly starting to wake up.  So sorry you had to deal with other people's ignorance in a support group.  You must have felt awful.

thanks radical. So appreciate your perspective, it's a real comfort. I grew up with physical violence & unhealthy sexual boundaries but it was the chronic emotional abuse that did the damage. I love Daniel Mackler's writings on emotional abuse and emotional incest, at times it's been a radical & sane voice in the wilderness that's stopped me going nuts.

My experience sure does agree with the research..I've tried 3 adult survivor 3d support groups and noticed I'm by far the most impaired with my relational/social abilities & the most socially isolated. I still get a shock when peers start talking about their SO's, families, FOO's, jobs, friends etc. high level relational skills & large network of functional relationships. And I've had at least two trauma T's terminate after admitting that they've never worked with someone as traumatised a me (where my strong feeling of, 'I know a lot more about this than you do,' was finally validated.) It's also sad but I suppose useful to appreciate how extreme the psychological abuse of my Nparents was (is), how extreme their PD's are on the spectrums. Urg, don't relish those insights but they can be helpful.

DU, Danaus thanks for your support.

Danaus, the entire group sided with my peer. Not unusual in my experience. I have often found that in 3d survivor support groups, as radical described, whether it's a peer or a facilitator voicing it, "victim blaming & denial reign supreme".

thanks for you support & kind words OOTS people  :)

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One thing I value so highly about OOTS here is that I feel like I actually exist and people understand me, that the parental narcissistic abuse, tho largely psychological in nature, actually happened. I went to my 3d support group this week, it's for adult survivors of child abuse. Whilst I respect the severity of all kinds of childhood trauma (s*xual violence, physical violence) and don't wish to minimise them, at times I feel that narcissistic abuse/emotional abuse isn't quite understood or acknowledged as childhood trauma, nor the long-term impacts which I often struggle with on a daily basis.

I shared an accomplishment - that I ended a risky 'friendship' recently because it was very triggery and I knew I was headed for another manipulative/abusive dynamic, that it was a positive step for me in my recovery as I was able to actually end it and in its early stages, breaking my dysfunctional pattern.

My peer, whilst I'm sure was well-meaning, suggested I'd done it all wrong..  sided with the 'friend' (who I'd merely described), their need for friendship & to fit in, that their aggression towards me was an indication of really important unmet need (pardon, how is that the point of my recovery?).. and that I should go back and rekindle the friendship, use negotiation skills to make it a good friendship and introduce my 'friend' to new people & help them to form other friendships so they weren't alone.

That's all pretty much the opposite of my recovery goals.

 :'(  Urg. Like, apart from the fact that my peer's input was just seemingly off topic (I'd already ended the friendship, was sharing my accomplishment in breaking my dysfunctional pattern, not asking, 'should I or shouldn't I end the friendship?'), I found it intensely triggering & invalidating.

I've being having intense EF since, very frustrated & stressed. It's as if those few short words from my peer invalidated that I'm a survivor of psychological child abuse at all, that the abuse never happened, that I have no moral right to go nc with people as the most healthy choice. and so on. It reminds me of some really damaging therapy I unfortunately did when I'd managed to go nc with my Nmother & all my then therapist could say was that I should go back to her & make the relationship good, no support for my choice or the reasons behind it.

I feel so frustrated. My peer said they'd never had to end a friendship with someone & couldn't relate to my situation. So why say all that to me? Why undermine my healthy choices that are right for me? I know it can be very tempting to share my 2c worth in supports groups but this input is just feeling terribly invalidating. I feel like yelling, 'don't you understand emotional abuse is serious?' I'd never share this accomplishment in any old social context, felt it was ok to be vulnerable in this 3d group given that it's for ca survivors but something went quite wrong.

Nothing really productive to say here OOTS folk, but I feel a bit better for telling you about this. Thank you for listening, it's nice to have a safe place.

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