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Messages - Libby12

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1
Yogi,  I am so sorry to read about your situation with your mother.   Like you,  my life-long, terrible relationship with my nm and ef finally ended around Christmas, several years ago.

It felt awful,  just as you are feeling now. I just really want to reassure you. It may take a while to get over the guilt and the pain and the loneliness,  but your mother seems to be causing you such pain, that it will,  I believe,  be worth it.  The fact that you are already aware of cptsd and all its implications is a good start.  I can honestly say that it was from reading all about it and finding this site that I really began to heal.  I wish I knew what I know now when things came to a head with my parents.  It's awful to wonder whether you are the crazy one; to feel such guilt; to lose your sibling.  I have read your story and want to validate your feelings.

If there is anything you want to ask about going forward,  please just ask. I am no expert but I have been through a similar situation and believe I am doing well now. So I might be able to support you a bit.

All the best.

Libby.

2
Most definitely.   It is only after finding out about cptsd that my employment difficulties make complete sense. Beforehand,  I just thought I was useless.

I think that starting your own business is an excellent move.  Had I realised the full nature of my issues years ago, I think this is what I would have done. Especially so, if the business involves something you are really committed to.   

Above all, for myself,  I would avoid any job dealing directly with people.  I was steered into nursing because I was made to believe I was so pointless that I had to do something worthwhile for society. Thanks, parents.  Absolutely the worst choice possible.   I would have been better doing any other job.  I briefly worked cleaning a restaurant,  on my own, in the morning.  I just did it as a favour,  but with the exception of phone calls,  it was the best job for me. So I would say, don't be down on yourself about having a variety of low paid jobs, if you can cope with them. Hopefully, that way, you aren't over involved with people at each one and can step back from any stress.

I wish you every success with your business.   I really believe that is the way to go. 

Libby.

3
Introductory Post / Re: Hi Everyone!
« on: January 05, 2018, 07:09:54 AM »
Hi Jazzy.

So pleased you are back - I was wondering how you were doing.

Libby.

4
Hi Elphanigh.

The situation you talk about is exactly the sort of thing that frequently sends me into EFs.  Things that are probably just mistakes. Things that can be viewed as poor service. For years, I did not understand why I got so upset about things that my dh would just sort of shrug his shoulders at.

For me, I think these situations produced deep EFs because,  in these situations,  it felt like I was being told "Your order/time/request is not important. Other orders are more important so your order has been overlooked.  Tough!!"  I'm sure you get the idea.  This echoed my entire childhood where my needs were of no consequence. Everyone else came before me.

Once I became aware of EFs,  and their feelings of being small and powerless,  it all made sense.  Now, I cope with such inconveniences much better.  I might be irritated but I do not go into an EF.  Instead of seeing the situation as a result of me being unimportant,  I see it as an unfortunate error.

So I absolutely understand you and hope that the explanation which worked for me might be just a little bit helpful to you.

All the best.

Libby




5
Christmas & New Years / Re: Getting through Christmas and New Years
« on: December 31, 2017, 09:53:24 AM »
I hope that nobody minds if I tell some of my story that revolves around this time of year.  For me, it relates to why I have used many of Kizzies' strategies over the years and how I am now finding Xmas and new year so much better.

Childhood Xmas and new year were awful for me as scapegoat to nm.  Needs no more detail really.

All three of my children were born just before Christmas and it was such an issue for my poor nm. Her Christmas had to be altered to accommodate these pesky births and she didn't like it one bit.

My twins were in hospital over this period. The treatment by the staff that they (and us) for that matter received was verging on cruel and neglectful.   None of that lovely Christmas spirit on the hospital wards that the media feeds us.

We moved house just before Christmas,  with three children under four.  We went to stay with my parents but never made it to Christmas day.  Nm and I had a terrible row on my twins birthday because she refused to acknowledge their birthday as she was too busy preparing for a visit by my GC sisters' prospective in-laws.   In fact,  she was threatening to cancel Christmas as well because she was sooooo busy!  We left and this was the start of LC which, many years later, evolved into NC,  just before Christmas.

Despite being LC for so many years,  I still had the very strong feeling that I could not give my children the birthday and Christmas celebrations that nm and, by extension,  society expected and demanded that I did. It was such a struggle,  year after year.  All of the Christmas events around school were so triggering along with spending Christmas with in-laws who weren't really bothered if we were there or not. All the time putting on a fake happy face to the world.  I was a mess!

A few years ago,  I started to do most of the things suggested by Kizzie.   Avoiding Christmas related situations and activities became easier as my children grew up,  and I started to realise how much better I felt by taking control of my exposure to Christmas.   I stopped trying really,  and as a result,  each of our last four Christmases have got better and better.

These are really excellent strategies to cope with this stressful time of year.  I wish I had read them years ago.   I would have had a sort of permission to let go of nm and society's demands for a perfect Christmas.   I got there in the end but wasted so much time and energy.

New year is still something I refuse to embrace.  It's too painful.   Any ideas would be very welcome.

Thank you for listening. 

Libby

6
Hi Knopssos.

I just wanted to say welcome.

Every detail in your post said awful emotional abuse to me.  I suffered a lot of physical abuse as a child,  but it was the emotional abuse which I believe did me the most harm.  I understand exactly what you went through with being laughed at, belittled and demeaned.  It is absolutely soul destroying. The solitary confinement sounds all to familiar.  Did you have to plead and beg forgiveness to be released?

It sounds as if your step-mother was insecure and jealous,  maybe.  And your father became her enabler over time.  So sad, and so common here.  My parents stayed together and would say that they had an absolutely blissful marriage and yet the dynamic was just the same. It is these dysfunctional patterns that occur whatever the type of family structure that helped convince me that my abuse was very real and very damaging.   

I wish you well with your journey towards healing and I hope that we can all help you and also learn from you.

Best wishes.

Libby

7
Hi Goblinchild.

How I wish I had a good answer to this question. I suspect it is a huge issue for many people here.

Firstly, I noticed the word "again"  in the title of your post,  but from reading what you wrote,  I think that maybe, like me, you have never been social.  My childhood of abuse led to such low esteem that I could not believe anyone would want to be around me.  If I did make a friend or have any sort of positive social experience,  my nm made sure she ruined it and bought me right back where she believed I belonged.  Controlled by and beholdened to her for any connection.

How can we be social beings if we never learned the basics? It's so hard.

I get the impression that you really do want to be more social.   Hope I am right there.   For myself,  I am not sure that being sociable was particularly in my nature.  I tried because society expects people to be social and shames those who are not.   It might be worth considering what exactly you want from being social.  Meeting up with a group of people in a noisy bar is not for everyone.  I look at my dd who loves this sort of socialising and think that this never worked for me even when I was younger.  My sons would hate this sort of evening out! What I am struggling to say is don't think you have to fit into the sort of mode society decrees as normal.  This might not be for you but don't feel shamed by this.

On the same line of thought,  I wonder if you are trying to hard too be social and giving it all to much thought.  I was certainly guilty of that when I was younger.   When we are so affected by abuse, any dealings with other people seem so fraught with difficulty. Again,  I am struggling with my ideas, but I think what I am trying to say is that it doesn't matter what others might think. Go along to social events with no expectations.   Be quiet if that feels right and more open if the situation arises.  As you feel more at ease with yourself,  you may find it easier to connect.  Also,  it is a cliché,  but other people are probably finding socialising hard to.   My dd tells me about friends that seem so outgoing and yet confide their difficulties and I am so surprised to hear that such seemingly "out there"  people are so troubled socially under that confident exterior.

Sorry if I have waffled on and given you little of value.   Just decide what sort of socialising is for you - don't push yourself because you feel you should.  Be however you want to be, with few expectations,  see how it goes but never feel obliged to socialise in a certain way.

Now I am older, I can be social when I want to. Which isn't very often. I could go to a gathering, and maybe enjoy it as long as it was on my own terms.  I wish I had realised this years ago.  I really hope,  and believe that as we accept ourselves more and more,  others will accept us and if they don't,  we accept and move on.

Just don't put yourself under too much pressure, and I wish you well in finding social contact.

All the best,

Libby.


8
I think that Phoebe made such an excellent point.   When someone is the scapegoat in a family,  you feel alone even surrounded by family.  That is exactly how I felt for many years.

When our children were young we spent Christmas with my my in-laws.  Looking back,  this was because my nm made me believe that dh and I were not capable of giving our children a good day without help.  I always felt we were alone within this big group.   Once,  we were "banished"  to a spare sitting room because everyone else was playing games that our children were too young to join in with.  No one thought to play with our children or to take turns to entertain them so that we could join in with the others.   This summed up our experience of being with them - lonely.   

Now, we just have Christmas with the five of us and the dog.   Isn't it funny,  but sometimes over Christmas I was actually alone but didn't feel lonely.  Exactly the opposite of years with family and then in-laws.

The saddest thing, I think, is the guilt and shame society dishes out to people at Christmas.   Not to those alone who are desperate for interaction, but to those for whom the ability to just be with people has been so damaged.

I have been so lucky to have a good husband and lovely children.  Don't know how that happened.   Two of my children have lifelong problems for which we have to make allowances every day.  Thank goodness they weren't born to my parents or in-laws, or they would feel very alone indeed.

Sorry to go off at a tangent.   I can get a bit carried away,  because even though I am not alone,  it is here that I can really be myself and I hope that is true for everyone else here,  alone or not!

Libby.

9
Successes, Progress? / Re: Protecting myself
« on: December 27, 2017, 09:16:13 AM »
Hi Blueberry.

I just wanted to say well done on your progress in protecting yourself whilst dealing with your friends. Navigating these friendships sounds especially challenging as the friends you talk about have their own issues, which you understand so well, that it would be so easy to put aside your own need for protection.

Also,  this thread has helped me so much.

Since starting to get to grips with cptsd,  I have realised just how badly I am triggered by my in-laws. They are not nearly as damaging as my foo were,  but their lack of caring and concern and invalidation. has always been very triggering.  For years, I knew this, but pushed it aside.  Recently,  this invalidation plunged me into an awful EF,  after which, I decided it was time for some self protection.   Your post has really helped validate this decision,  and has helped me deal with the shame and guilt.  I suspect that people in general would think it wrong for me to avoid my very elderly in-laws, and extended family.  I am sure they would think it must be all my fault as I have already lost my foo to NC.  This is where talking and reading here is so valuable.  No one else would understand.

Having said that,  my in-laws phoned whilst dh was eating so I said I would speak to them.   Dh reminded me that Pete Walker said avoid triggers ( he has been reading his book)  and relieved me of the obligation. 

So thank you Blueberry and everyone else here.  Your discussion around self-protection has helped me enormously.

Finally,  Blueberry,  I would be very interested to hear more about your last comment regarding your foo and emotions,  if and when you feel able. I think our foo's have definite similarities.

Thank you again and let's all stand strong in protecting ourselves and each other!!

Libby

10
Christmas & New Years / Re: Horrible Christmas...Again...(TW)
« on: December 26, 2017, 08:18:28 AM »
I am so sorry that you had such a rotten Christmas,  but I understand really well. Most Christmas times with my parents were awful as everything was about nm. All three of my children were born just before the holidays,  but still it was all about parents.

I am so pleased,  though,  that you have a good relationship with your mother. Wherever possible,  concentrate on this.  Put your F aside, and start to make plans to move on with your life.  I wish I had not waited until my forties to take control of my life.   

All the best to you, and best wishes for your next year. 

Libby

11
Hi Artemis.

I was so sorry to read about your worries. It sounds like you have a lot to get to grips with.

I don't know if I can help in any way.  I am certainly no expert but I did have a few thoughts that might be worth passing on to you.

My nm was my main abuser and she once said she thought I was bipolar because of the way my mood went up and down,  and especially as I would rush to complete projects and tasks, when I was 'in the mood'.  This was a huge criticism of me, in her view.  Actually,  I realise now that this pattern fits much more into the framework of cptsd.   I rush to do things when I feel well, knowing that the energy won't last.   I also have this feeling of a forshortened life that Pete Walker talks of. So I have to make the most of my time.  Then, inevitably,  I have a bad EF period,  depression etc, so right back down again.  Since learning and dealing with cptsd, these mood swings have evened out a lot.   Perhaps your symptoms could be explained in this sort of way. Especially as you are back with mother and don't feel safe.

As you have tried medication in the past and found it ineffective and unpleasant,  you are probably making a good decision to avoid it.  It sounds as if you need help with your actual physical situation - easier said than done, I know.   But it is hard, in my experience anyway, to see how medication would help with this.

I hope you don't mind me saying this, but I think you have a good understanding of your situation,  including the possibility that your therapist is projecting her d situation onto you.   It sounds as if you need some reassurance and back-up.  I think you have made a sound assessment of things and I hope things start to get better for you.   Above all, take care of yourself, and I am sure I speak for everyone one here when I that we are all here for you.

Take care.

Libby.

12
Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Merry Christmas
« on: December 25, 2017, 07:05:29 AM »
Best wishes to you,  Snuwer.

Thank you for your Christmas greetings.

I think it is going to be OK for me. Just a day with foc and my dog.  Nothing very different except for some presents later.

I am thinking of you and everyone else here, who may be struggling and I hope everyone gets through the day. Hopefully,  we can all take care of ourselves and find some small pleasure.

Have a good day.

Libby.

13
Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Needing some tlc
« on: December 24, 2017, 06:28:22 AM »
Welcome to you,  princesspearl.

Your situation sounds awful and very stressful.   I understand just a little, maybe, as I have a son with aspergers and one with trauma related problems.  With all of your other challenges on top of this, it must be so hard.  No wonder you are exhausted.

I hope you find some respite,  and I am certainly here for you,  if I can support you in any way.

Libby

14
Oh, Blueberry.   I was so thankful to read this.  Someone else is triggered by a simple word.  I have only realised this recently,  but I was,  I think, always aware of it at some level.

I distinctly remember,  as a toddler,  having real aversions to words.  My parents thought it was hysterical,  and would say these words to get a reaction from me.  One was the name of a model of car we had when I was less than four years old. For years afterwards this name really unsettled me!

Nowadays,  it is more the sort of words you talk about.  'Should ' is a real trigger for me too. With our type of families, it is no wonder.

It is the word "fair" that is a real trigger for me.  My nm relied heavily on this word in order to justify her behaviour. Nowadays,  when someone says this word,  I automatically distrust them.

Recently,  my in laws said that they had written their grandchildren out of their wills because "it wasn't fair" on the one son and his wife who don't have children.  SIL had complained about lack of fairness despite it being their choice not to have children.   The money is immaterial and probably not much, but I was so triggered,  right into an awful,  long,  EF.  It was,  I realise, reminding me of my SG childhood,  and invalidated the children involved.  To SIL (who seems rather BPD),  they are not individuals,  just extentions of their parents.

It's amazing,  isn't it,  about how a simple word can open up such a flood of feelings and emotions? 

I think that this is a really interesting topic,  and would like to hear more thoughts on it.

All the best to you.

Libby.

15
Hi DR.

I understand so much of what you are going through and the other posters are right - we all seem to ask ourselves the same sort of thing.   It's our old enemy invalidation.

Years ago,  I was friendly with the mother of a friend of my son.  She was very depressed about her marriage breakdown and financial situation.  As I had a husband,  nice house and a car, she could not accept my depression and pain over my childhood abuse.  She had a lovely relationship with her mother.   I could understand her suffering but she could not understand mine. 

It has been similar with professionals, as well.  When I was struggling to cope with my special needs twins, I was told I couldn't access any help because my social situation was too good!  In fact,  two people joked together,  in my presence,  that it made a nice topic of conversation with their colleagues,  that they had met a troubled family that didn't have all the usual social issues,  as evidenced by the fact that,  even in a terrible autistic rage, my young son did not swear at them.  So pleased to have given them something interesting to feed back to their agency.

Sorry for the rant. Just wanted to reassure you that this invalidation is very real, and that it really, really hurts.  It makes you think you are being petty and aren't worthy of help or even respect.   It adds another layer to the trauma.

I suspect that if we had had the love and nurturing we needed as children,  we would either not notice invalidating situations so much, or would respond with confidence about what we wanted or expected of people. It would still be their choice to give validation or not, but at least we would feel we had stood up for ourselves. 

It's so hard to feel justified in your feelings, when the message from parents was always that your feelings absolutely were not justified,  about anything.

When I trained as a nurse, one of the first things we were told was that "pain is what the patient says it is and exists when the patient says it does." It's such a shame that the helping professions and society in general doesn't take this on board for people like us.

You are not petty or needy or anything negative.  You are you,  with needs to be heard and you are valuable.

Libby

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