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Messages - jamesG.1

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General Discussion / Re: Cptsd in adulthood, some thoughts
« on: August 06, 2021, 06:19:35 AM »

I would say that many of us have the conditions in place, the fault lines from childhood, but it takes the adult trauma to make things break. I was certainly prepared one way or another, pre-conditioned. The same people (mostly) carried out the trauma when it came, so there's that.

My feeling is that very few people don't have their own fracture lines, but whether or not those fractures get tested or not, is the issue. Personally, I feel certain my life could have been fine, if a little overshadowed at times by what was inherently wrong with my family, but it took the family to come charging back into my life when my mother became ill that really set my personal disaster on its way. Pre-weakened, pretty much sums it up.

Hi all,

I've been watching myself closely recently , (when do I not?) as I start to come out of CPTSD and have been trying to think it through in ways I can articulate and pass on.

It's been tough because this phase seems so fast and quickly changing, moving from one state to another at a much higher rate than it did when things were more chronic. What's noticeable is that my self-perception is more constructively critical, with my view of the events that led me here suddenly less subjective, more objective and free of the wild sting of hurt and grievance. A lot of self-doubt has gone, as has the feeling of having let myself down and been weak. The 'why me?' thing is still occasionally there, but the more distance you put between yourself and the crisis years, the better you can sort through the dust and find the rubies they didn't get to.

The best metaphor I can give you to describe the later stages of recovery is this:

Life, if it goes the way it should, is like a railway line. It travels pretty much from A to B, negotiating natural obstacle through dynamite blasted tunnels and over bridges that span the typical life dips without too much trouble. But C-PTSd and the incidents that cause it throw you off the train and on to the old road that went from A to B via Z J K D and all points in between. The old road doesnt have the tunnels and the bridges, it has to clamber up hillsides and wind down switchbacks and meander along river beds. Driving is hard work.

Gradually though, the bad countryside with all it's hills and forests, rivers and marshes starts to gve way to rolling gentle hills and the train heads towards the coast, and at that point the road rejoins the rail line. And that's where the metaphor kicks in really, because you start to see the train from the car, and the car from the train. You begin to see normality getting nearer - at times being where you should have been all along...  watching the car flip back and forth alongside the carriage as the obstacles lessen. Or, you are still in the car, mildly frustrated as you get close to the direct path of the train, only to be forced away by yet another hill or river.

That's what it all feels like to me. Sometimes I'm on the train, sometimes I'm in the car.

Which makes me think about the whole process really. Is it realistic that anyone really ends up on the train? Life never has it's bad moments blasted out of the way by dynamite before you even get there. And people who have all the privilege and help that can be imagined can fall off the train or are pushed, so one way or another the railway metaphor makes you see that the idea of a direct route through life is never anything more than the point of a compass, suggesting where we should be headed, but never able to remove the obstacles we will encounter.

The road, always points the same way, but it is by necessity, winding and tough. Where you fall off the train matters, because you can drop in a desert, lush pastures or a war zone. How you fall or how you are pushed matters too, of course, but what matters far more is your realism about that fleeting view you get of the train as you start to fight your way back.

At this stage, I am tantalisingly close to the train at times. I've rebuilt virtually everything that constitutes a life, but the pain and hurt still lurks. Realistically, I will never get closure - that's impossible. What I CAN do, is live now, in the moment, as much as possible. When I do that, I'm in the train, watching the car as it follows the same river valley. When I don't, I'm back in the car chasing the train.

But wow, what a difference. Once I was deep in the valley, hood up with a dead engine, and all I could see of the train was a plume of distant steam rising above distant hills. (Metaphor overload, but you get the idea)

Later stage recovery is like that... on the train, in the car, on the train, in the car, on the train, in the car, on the train, in the car, rinse and repeat. Sometimes it feels like it will never end, but it's amazing to be so close that you can see yourself looking back at you from the carriage window.

OK, that's enough metaphor for today.

I need tea.

Fair winds people!

Announcements / Re: Banning Members; Trolls
« on: July 19, 2021, 06:00:45 AM »
wow, in here? Saddened to hear that. Glad you are on the case, such a shame it's even an issue.

General Discussion / Re: Protecting my own self-worth/sense of self
« on: July 06, 2021, 05:02:33 AM »
Can be an understandable emotion if you've had so much trauma, but the truth is that you have as much right to exist and feel secure as anyone else on this planet.

It's only the negative pressure of others that can warp that truth so take a long hard look at who did that, why, and how you can begin burning out their influence and making your life your own.

You are not only allowed to be safe and happy, you don't need permission or an excuse to do that. Shake them off.

Employment / Re: I've resigned!
« on: July 01, 2021, 04:50:49 AM »
Fantastic move. Really well done.

Hope it goes fantastically well for you. Have faith in yourself, research the living daylights out of youtube and go make yourself a living.



General Discussion / Re: Recovery notes again
« on: June 23, 2021, 09:09:33 AM »
Glad to hear that Libby183, it's not too much to ask is it?

It does sound like you are healing. It's an odd road back though, with lots of relapses, but they are mostly when you meet triggers head-on and put them to bed. Welcome it all, it will pay off, you can be sure of that.

Be good to yourself, that is an order!

General Discussion / Re: Recovery notes again
« on: June 23, 2021, 06:04:11 AM »
Glad that helped Beekeeper.

Took me a long time to feel able to articulate how much my protagonists had burned me out and conditioned me to keep burning out. Nonsensical protestant work ethic, offloading responsibility, guilt tripping... just madness.

You are not on this planet to buckle for other people incapable of carrying their own responsibilities. You have an absolute right to live your life according to your own nature.

What strikes me so much since I escaped them is that I am the only one that has thrived in any sense at all. And that is WHILE going through C-PTSD.

Besides that... resting IS A JOB. Even in WW1, the soldiers had time off. Find what does it for you and take that time... guilt free. It's yours already, you don't have to fight for it.

General Discussion / Recovery notes again
« on: June 15, 2021, 05:57:16 AM »
Going to keep posting these updates because I think there is so little out there on the final recovery process I'd best do a bit myself.

I am undoubtably well advanced in recovery now. I can look back at even 6 months ago and see a huge gain, despite occasional sharp dips. Each dip seems to make me stronger so I can only assume that you have to conduct mopping up operations, identifying and then engaging each obstruction to your future as you go. These can be very tough tho. The in-out nature of recovery is in some ways worse than the full on stage because you taste freedom and have to then go back in the cage with the animals.  Steve McQueen in the GReat Escape springs to mind.

But each rebound, once I've identified causes and triggers and rationlised my way out of the ditch, makes me stronger. Metaphors abound. Burning off the stubble, sailing towards the splashes (naval warfare) what doesn't kill you makes you stronger etc etc. All work I think. It's like making something in wood, you sand it smooth, then run your hand over it for abrasions and often, you pick up a splinter.

Most of these splinters have been relational, seeing as it's C-PTSD. I've felt both nurtured and threatened by my partner, mourning my old life before the asteroid hit or waiting to feel safe enough to get back to my old activities. I've had huge issues feeling safe enough to turn my back and lose myself in things. I think, KNOW, this was because trying to appease 4 very separate horsemen of my personal apocalypse meant that I'd put one fire out, turn to address another or to let off steam and when I'd turn back, it would be on fire, rinse and repeat. It conditions you to feel that rest will be punished, so you don't... EVER. The way that relational abuse homes in on the scapegoat's repair time is insidious. "it's ok for you," "I wish I had time for walking/fishing/sleeping/to be sick". The same people did what they wanted 24/7 but I was so far gone trying to keep things balanced I just didn't stop to point it out, I just played for time I couldn't afford and burned myself out.

Learning that you have the right... THE RIGHT.. to react to your personal needs and to maintain your energy is pivotal in recovery. Not just energy. Affections, interests, beliefs, hope, dreams... anything that makes you human. They are not up for debate, they are yours to embrace and secure. But it's taken so much time and energy to pull all these things apart and as time advances I'm seeing it all a lot clearer.

The people who hurt me so grievously were fantastically flawed. Two are dead, one through nature, the other through stubbornness. The other two are so mad as to defy classification and all were emotionally incompetent. All saw my failing confidence and energy as a chance to build their own mismanaged attitudes and my ill health barely impacted upon them. That's the truth. It wasn't me.

Saying it wasn't me isn't new, but I feel it deep now. I know it in my knower.

I also know that any mistakes or misjudgemnts I made were human. I was forced into scenarios that no one should have to endure and for a long, long time. Who is equipped for that? Yes, I made mistakes, and yes, they were probably a gift to my protagonists, but hey. And these mistakes were not even that big a deal, I left my alcoholic ex after building a relationship with a female friend in the USA, I burned through my savings laying on my back looking at the ceiling in a flat I couldn't afford as the PTSD raged, I hung on far too long with work that seemed to cost me more than I made... I think that's about it actually. It all feels worse than it is because the people I was dealing with were so keen to exploit mistakes that I lived in terror of dropping the ball in front of them. Two of them were borderline stalking in the way they monitored my online presence so I just went silent, further cutting me off when I should have been expanding outwards.

I see all this now and I've analysed it to death. The thing is that you recover when you accept. You recover when you humanise your own responses and you recover when you admit that the world around you is not very pretty. Human nature is often very dark. For all our optimistic media and feel good memes, people are ruthless, negligent, lazy and malicious. It all hurts a lot more when you expect more. Lowering your expectations is crucial. It isn't a defeat, but no one ever one a war underestimating an enemy. Relationships you don't choose are often a war. Relationships you do choose can become wars. It doesn't rule out happiness and love, but it does lead you to make knew relationships containing balance.

It isn't right for one person to sacrifice themselves for anyone, even children. Too much sacrifice encouraged more. Narcscism will suck dry all the goodwill it is offered, psychosis will play with a kind heart until there is nothing left, negligence will watch an innocent fade from view without a second thought. These people do exist, and they always will. What counts is how YOU live for yourself. You are none of the above, you know that, but you have to lose the bewilderment and hurt and realise that those emotions are not air raid sirens that will attract justice or change. In 90% of cases, the abusers in our stories will slip through the net, or bounce the barricade. We can't rest our future happiness on closure, because it almost certainly can't happen. Much of the abuse we suffer isn't criminal (yet) and much of it is so nuanced, targetted and prolonged that really only the victim can see it. That doesn't make it any less potent, most KGB interogators would feel very familiar with the emotional tactics we have experienced, from false hopes of deliverence to sleep deprivation and never ending negative reinforcement.

No wonder its so hard to square away, no wonder it's impossible to explain to others and no wonder they get away with it.

So if there is no closure what do you do?

Well you don't care. Simple enough but impossible eh? Well yes and no. The thing is you have to ask why you DO care and identify what has set up that dialogue. Traditions, duty, shame, guilt... they are glue that keep you in place. Yes, a shared child or a financial bond can seem impossible to escape and often are, but the damage isn't done by literal connections, it's mostly done in YOUR head. You do the worst things for them. Making that decision to switch that off and rise above it is massive. If that person has literally gone , then it's a huge advantage, but it isn't impossible otherwise. You can at least diminish the self abuse by asking why it is there in the first place.

Who's voice is speaking your doubts? Who's voice is screaming your inferiority?

It made a huge difference to me, and still does. I found Stoicism vital in this, especially Derren Brown's book "happy". His section on hurt and anger is probably the single most important thing I've read on emotional pain.

Finally I just want to say that going no contact is hugely important. Abusive people will never change, how can they? Why would they? Narcissists and psychotics have no reverse gear, no reflection, no guilt. They will pour all the pain you will take upon you no matter how small a threat you make yourself. You have to go. It will never end.

But yeah, huge changes. I think less, relax more and my obsessional responses are fading. It's not a return to anything, it is all new. I'm ending a period of shock and mourning and planning a new life. I think I got off very lightly. By rights I shouldn't be here. How I didn't lose every wheel and overturn I can't say, but here I am.

I know it can seem impossibly dark, but hang on in there and have faith in yourself. Be good to yourself and take action to get out of harm's way and to safety.

General Discussion / Re: Deppression or CPTSD?
« on: June 07, 2021, 05:30:35 AM »
I think with me it's about going from a fear of people to a dissalusionment with it all. I find people deppresing, the game playing, tactics and selfishness, I just see it everywhere. Lowering my expectations has been important, but it involves letting go of things I thought I could have and which people rarely deliver.

Sometimes, I feel like relationships are hostile places where youre best chance at happiness is a thick skin and chronic insensitivity.

But it's not C-PTSD panic anymore at least, just a weary feeling of resignation.

General Discussion / Lockdown: hanging on for change
« on: May 26, 2021, 07:44:59 PM »
Wow, this is tough.

I don't think I really felt it this bad til now. The weather has postponed the lifting of some basic effects for a month now, horrendous weather for May. I think I've been just hanging on by my fingernails waiting for it to lift so I can begin to live again. But no, this.

In some ways I've really made progress and I think many symptoms have gone in lockdown as I've been forced to avoid avoidance tactics, but now it's different.

I've worked so hard to rebuild my life and now I can feel those gains starting to drift backwards, Hugely frustrating.

I can count my blessings, put myself in the same boat as others and all the other tricks and dodges but they just don't work anymore somehow. It's utter exhaustion. I can't think, concentrate, lose myself or laugh. Totally flat.

Beginning to worry about myself.

General Discussion / Re: Lockdown blues
« on: May 15, 2021, 10:23:32 PM »
oh no,not directed at you Blueberry,it's a general thing.

I'd really suggest reading Derren Brown's book Happy, life-changing on the validation issue. It's a hunt for the impossible, and it has no value even if yu do get something. Your validation towards yourself is what matters.

General Discussion / Re: Lockdown blues
« on: May 15, 2021, 06:52:57 AM »
The big one for me is my alcoholic ex. She went from being a kind gentle soul to a proper monster. Only I saw that in all its hideous detail, but can I make people see that... no. If the gender was reversed it would be very different because culture is full of the drunken abusive male character, but a female drunk is less defined. Her friends, none of whom intervened when requested, took the line that I had somehow created her issues when in fact the trail led directly to her abusive mother and bullying sisters.

When I left there was total silence from these "friends". I doubt they even tried to help her, but what they did do was blame me. Later, when my ex fell downstairs and died, no one even told me. 

I'd tried for 5 years to stop all this, but I was threatened, manipulated and abused for my trouble. I was left to it, then finally judged by people who knew nothing. The story was fed into people's own larger narratives. It hurt like * because I am by nature a helper, an empath and a carer. I took it as far as I could then left when the damage was too great. None of that is seen or recognised.

You have to learn to not care what people think, or about the lack of support or understanding from people. I had recognition from health professionals, drink helplines and a few distant connections, that has to be enough. They say it takes three positives to outweigh a single negative, but these kinds of negatives require a lot more than that. These are terrible life events, and these big moments are like magnets for wider critical viewing. We become like public figures, famous in our own lives for sadness and tragedy, the centre of all the wrong kinds of attention.

You have to decide to take that narrative back and say... 'you know what... if you don't get it... I DON'T GET YOU.'

General Discussion / Re: Lockdown blues
« on: May 15, 2021, 06:27:04 AM »
well, the point on being understood is that we think we need it more than we actually do.

I wanted so bad for some people I thought of as friends to come out and take my side, to validate my experience. But whether they do or not is not the long term goal here, it's what we do inside that counts. If we validate ourselves and remove the bad press internally, we don't need anyone else involved and our relationships can separate from the C_PTSD issue.

You know what happened, what is happening now and who did what, that should ultimately be enough. Leaning out for validation is hugely damaging if it ends in more criticism, negligence or abuse. You are better off writing it all down, again and again in a journal.

In fairness to some people tho, narcissistic abuse is very hard to convey, not least because the abuser is subtle, cunning and very careful to stay hidden from a wider world. It's no surprise that you can't get that over to people. My brother only finally became "seen" for what he was in our wider social connections when he took to drinking and trolling on facebook during the 2016 Brexit wars. It also took separation from his wife and her account of domestic abuse before the penny dropped across my social networks.

Some people get it, but most won't. Some will find amusement in your frustration and anxiety. Some will use your unhappiness to shore up their own doubts and worry.

If in doubt, write down your story in very minimal terms. "A" did this, then this, and then that. "B" failed to do this, then that. etc etc. We all know what is wrong and right, seeing it in those terms helps remove the fog that surrounds so much abuse. If we saw it from outside, what would we be saying? Don't let the water get muddied by buying into the debate, YOU know what happened. If anyone else fails to grasp what happened there may be reasons why that is thebcase, but the narrative that matters is YOURS.

General Discussion / Lockdown blues
« on: May 14, 2021, 09:28:51 AM »
Still weathering sharp depressions. Nothing was lifting my mood this week and that includes getting bestseller status on Amazon UK.

I feel stalled, overwhelmed by the dreary weather, the differences between myself and my partner and the relentless negativity of lockdown. Iím combating this mainly by a huge drop in expectations and beta-blockers. Noise levels in the house have been really high, hitting me bang on my nerves. Will calm down soon as youngest goes back to Uni.

A happy and productive routine seems a long way off.

I am consciously waiting this out to see what the positives arriving will do to my mood, the relationship and the people around me. On paper, so much is right in my life, but my mood regulation is paper-thin. It is extremely rare for me to be genuinely distracted by anything. It makes me want to run, be alone. I wonít, but I do feel close to those kinds of lines.

Was watching a vid on trauma and avoidance and it seems clear to me that my trauma is focused on drawn-out humiliation, disempowerment and constant negatives. These are triggered easily in constant proximity to everyone here whether there is a real issue or not. Iím aware of it, but I canít regulate it well enough.

Itís a flashback of the trauma years. I was trapped in a house with no personal space that wasnít fought for. My partner now a good person, with no sinister flaws, but I can take her direct nature as an attack if Iím not on the ball, especially if tired or unwell. The more tired I was before, the more my boundaries were assaulted.

Regarding what I wish Iíd known at the start of all this: I think the big recovery starts when you accept that morality is not universal and that people can be spectacularly unkind, selfish and negligent. Itís very hard to take that in. I am still shocked, not just by the behaviour of my inner associations, but by the relationships beyond that. Part of it comes from not ďseeingĒ some of the support, but mostly I was profoundly let down regarding my ex-partnerís decline. No one wanted to get their hands dirty. This is not rare, I wish I realized that earlier. You cannot live your life with high expectations regarding people, you have to see the best in people as a bonus, but never as part of your own personal defences because if that fails, you have nothing. I think itís also vital to accept that taking measures to defend yourself is a right. In abusive relationships, this is skewed endlessly with accusations of selfishness, weakness and oversensitivity, but itís as real as anything gets. I left my alcoholic ex because if Iíd stayed I would have gone down with her. I donít need anyone to understand that, itís my reality. I wish Iíd known that in a deeper sense. Also, you crave people to say something, anythingÖ but mostly, they wonít. You simply cannot hold out for intervention, the solutions have to all be homegrown. Knowing that people wonít get it is a hard lesson, but you have to digest that or you will eat yourself up forever.

You have to lose your innocence.

General Discussion / Re: Deppression or CPTSD?
« on: May 07, 2021, 05:51:38 AM »
Some great stuff on that channel. Thanks you.

You are right on the lockdown emotions, especially the inertia. Personally, I'm finding it worse the nearer the end gets, so near yet so far and all that. Puts huge pressure on expectations. Still, we've made it this far,just have to weather the final stages.  Need less wine, that's been going up, not helpful.

Am hoping that the release will provide a proper slingshot out of some old ruts, could be a possibility.

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