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Messages - saylor

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Hi Bumblebee,

Iím sorry that youíre experiencing this sad situation with your partner. CPTSD can definitely pose challenges in relationships. Worth bearing in mind is that a lot of us with CPTSD also have ďinsecure attachmentĒ, and that majorly affects the way we view and interact with others. Paradoxically, a lot of us sufferers want some form of human connection, but at the same time, feel unsafe around others. Thatís natural, because the source of our trauma was other people (often people upon whom we were forced to depend, and whom we should have been able to trust).

Speaking for myself, my list of triggers has grown longer over the years, and Iíve found it harder to be around people as Iíve aged (because people are a major source of triggers!) Iíve even allowed relationships to die because of this, and it has always boiled down to feeling a need to protect myself at all costs. Things that may seem like no big deal to you may be inexplicably frightening or otherwise upsetting to your partner. He, himself, might not even realize or fully comprehend whatís bothering himóhe may just know that he needs to get away. A really good therapist could potentially help him sort through this, but I understand him being leery of that. I also had a terrible therapist interaction that has put me off of therapy indefinitely, for better or for worse...

You asked what you can do to help him. Iíd say that if heís telling you that he needs some space, he probably means it. If youíre having a hard time giving him space, and you press him for more interaction before heís ready, you may end up pushing him further away. And itís worth noting that getting triggered isnít always the reason to isolate. For me, sometimes itís because Iím going through an extra-intense bout of depression, and that makes it hard to be motivated to interact with others, or makes me fear getting embarrassed about how I come across (letís face it, no one wants to be around a Debbie Downer). Sometimes Iím dissociating a lot for whatever reason, and I just canít ďbe presentĒ for others, no matter how badly I want to and how hard I try to focus and engage. Basically, there could be all kinds of reasons for his withdrawalósome may have to do with you; others (possibly all) may have nothing whatsoever to do with you.

Eventually he may be able to participate fully in your relationship again, but that could take a while... While giving him space, if nothing else, you can assure him that you care, and that heís welcomed to reach out when it feels right, and that youíll do what you can to support him. And he will need to do a lot of work on his own end. Itís hard work. There are fits and starts to the healing process (sometimes I feel Iím slipping backwards, despite earlier gains). Along those lines, itís important to realize that, even if he comes back around sometime soon, he may ďgo darkĒ again at some point down the line.

In trying to answer your question, Iím thinking right now about my relationship with my current partner, and why it seems to be working (and has been for years), whereas my past relationships didnít (often, I think, due in part to my CPTSD symptoms). I give my partner a ton of credit for our success. Heís really good at supporting me in the ways I need support; he never seems to trigger me (which is pretty amazing, since Iím so easily triggered); he gives me the space I sometimes need without my having to press for it; he doesnít push me to be more functional than I can be at any given moment (or shame me when I canít); and he rolls with my unfortunate quirks like a saint (e.g., he has witnessed some of my most heinous emotional flashbacks, and miraculously they havenít caused him to sour on me). But I also make great effort to do my part, and to this end, I sometimes have to remind myself that itís not all about me, and that I must try to see to my partnerís needs, too, even though Iím often distracted and exhausted by my symptoms. Even under the best circumstances, it can be hard to make relationships work when CPTSD is in the picture, but the rewards can be incredible, and a loving, safe relationship can also be very helpful to the sufferer in the healing processóespecially for earning secure attachment.

I have limited experience with EMDR. I believe some people on the forum have expressed that it has helped them, so maybe theyíll chime in. Iíve read elsewhere that it doesnít necessarily work well for CPTSD (because of the ďCĒ part). There are other therapies, however, like Internal Family Systems, that certain folks here have said is helping them.

Bottom line: There is hope, but any healing is likely to be slow and non-linear. His need to isolate right now is probably not something he considers optional, but you have a right to have your own needs met, and you donít owe it to him to stick around in limbo indefinitely if he canít be there for you within a reasonable timeframe (and only you can know what that is). Hopefully he can find some relief from what heís going through and the two of you can find a solution that brings you both peace and wellbeing over the long term, but please take good care of yourself in the meantime.  :hug:

Introductory Post / Re: A long journey
« on: September 20, 2020, 04:05:27 PM »
Welcome, Pioneer :)

Recovery Journals / Re: #8 - starting over
« on: September 14, 2020, 10:50:57 PM »
just found out that another aunt died recently. since may, this makes 7 friends and family members dead, and going thru covid w/ my hub for a month.  don't have enough time to process all this - i'm a walking zombie right now.

What more can a soul withstand?  Iíd be a zombie, too.

It seems the onslaught that youíve been facing has been relentless, san. Iím so sorry about your losses. I hope you can at least hold onto the house (and Iím glad you made it through the fire scareómy head is spinning thinking of you having to evacuate amidst all the rest of the turmoil youíve described)


Introductory Post / Re: New here. (With old pain, though.)
« on: September 14, 2020, 09:47:04 PM »
Welcome, Kingfisher

Yes, I can relate to much of what you say. And I concuróPete Walker does do a great job of describing the lived experience of CPTSD. His words provided me much-needed validation of what Iíve experienced (symptom-wise) in life, following a terror-filled childhood raised by abusive and neglectful parents. Another great book that talks more about the science of traumaís lasting effects on the developing child, as well as therapeutic modalities, is The Body Keeps the Score. There are also some YouTube vids of the author (Bessel van der Kolk) lecturing on the topic that you might find useful.

I also didnít start digging into the reality of what I experienced growing up, and really recognizing and feeling my emotions around it, until well into middle age (dissociation and numbing behaviors kept the veil over my eyes for decades, I believe). There has been (and still is) so much pain, and so many ways the early trauma has warped how I view others, myself, and ďmy place in the worldĒ. Iím still on my journey of trying to find what might help me heal. Iím learning that itís a process, and that there are setbacks and relapses. Healing is not constant, or linear, at least for me. I try to maintain hope, because whatís the alternative?

Iím glad you found this community and am looking forward to your future posts

Therapy / Re: TalkSpace?
« on: September 12, 2020, 04:16:44 AM »
Sounds promising. Hope it goes well!

Therapy / Re: TalkSpace?
« on: September 11, 2020, 03:59:59 PM »
I did, and I had a bad experience with it. In my case, though, I think the problem was with the therapist I tried to work with, rather than the platform itself. The only thing I really disliked about the platform was the process for selecting a therapist, which seemed to me to be unnecessarily constraining, and may have contributed to my bad experience because it led me to what turned out to be an inappropriate therapist. I did like being able to just text back and forth, rather than dialogue in real time, as it allowed us both to collect our thoughts between messages, facilitating more efficient communication.

I picked someone who claimed to specialize in PTSD, but this person seemed very ill-equipped to deal with someone suffering from childhood-abuse-related trauma (the platform did not include this as a screening criterion). My interaction with her ended up actually being a somewhat retraumatizing experience for me. If you do decide to pursue this route, I would suggest interviewing the prospective therapists specifically with respect to their knowledge and experience working with folks suffering from CPTSD

Good luck

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Weekends are hard
« on: September 11, 2020, 03:38:23 PM »
Iím sorry to hear youíre in such an awful situation, GG.  :hug:

Something occurs to me. It seems like youíre expressing a lot of distress around the task of keeping the separation a secret from your adult children...  I canít possibly understand all the ins and outs of your situation, but it might (??) be possible that they wonít be as upset as you fear, if they found out the truth (and they may have already figured out more than you realize). For my part, I was glad when, as a minor child, my parents announced their plans to divorce. It was no secret to us kids that there was strife in our parentsí relationship, and, in our case, the divorce marked the end of the worst of our Fís abusive behavior towards us. Bottom line: divorce is generally assumed to be bad for the children, but Iím proof that thatís not always the case.

This is just a thought I figured Iíd share, since any way you might be able to offload some of the stress would be a plus. Please feel free to disregard if itís not applicable or helpful

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: stress has turned into distress
« on: September 06, 2020, 06:20:24 PM »
Youíve been through so much recently, and I really feel for you, san. Uncertainty is indeed a killeróitís so tough to tolerate, and leads to those feelings of vulnerability that are a hallmark of CPTSD.

Iím hoping youíll get good news on Tuesday and that youíll be able to take a deep breath of relief

Recovery Journals / Re: Sligeanach's journal
« on: September 06, 2020, 06:01:33 PM »
The words will know when (if) theyíre ready to flow. Thereís no timeline on theses things, and we'll be here if you need us

Memory/Cognitive Issues / Re: Shame and intelligence
« on: September 06, 2020, 05:52:36 PM »
Thank you for sharing, BB. Very interesting and makes a lot of sense to me, as I have generally felt my brain going offline (and causing me to lose my tongue or otherwise do something dumb or fail to act how I wouldíve done best to act) in response to sudden/unexpected shaming. And that ends up breeding even more shame!  :aaauuugh:

Also, thanks for the notes in your other thread. Inspired by what you posted, I checked out the Center for Healing Shame website, and there are some great resources there. I especially liked this page:

I have lots of work to do to tackle my pervasive shame, which is fueling depression and really awful to live with, so this is timely.  :)

Letters of Recovery / Re: To the bullies
« on: August 31, 2020, 09:35:03 PM »
Welcome, cflage,

Youíve been through quite a nightmare, and I can relate to parts of what youíve written, especially in terms of how the trauma has affected your life (e.g., the ďproxiesĒ)

Sounds like your bullies would qualify as full-blown criminal assailants.

I hope that you can find some healing. Unfortunately, CPTSD can really wreck a life (Iím still trying to fix mine)


I agree with much of whatís already been said, especially regarding the need for clinicians to be compassionate and avoid invalidating clientsí experiencesóboth of the original abuse(s) and also of the struggles with present-day symptoms. Iíve mentioned this before, but it merits repeating here: I had a terrible therapy experience with someone who didnít seem to take my challenges/concerns seriously. This was actually somewhat retraumatizing and has, at least for the time being, turned me off of therapy. Self-described trauma therapists, of all ppl, should be equipped to understand the seriousness of what us folks with CPTSD/insecure attachment are dealing with, and when they behave in a dismissive or invalidating manner, it can create a very poor foundation for healing.

Some other thoughts:
-It would be nice if there were more research geared directly towards CPTSD. At least in the US, most (maybe all?) of the studies that Iíve seen coming up seem to focus specifically on combat vets, or at least ďshock-traumaĒ survivors. I realize that this is probably because most of the available research dollars in my country come from the VA, and it is what it is, but itís still disappointing that, once again, we seem to be falling through the cracks. It would be nice to know that this treatment or that treatment thatís coming onto the scene has been shown to be effective not just for PTSD, but for CPTSD (which is quite a different animal, in various ways). It would also be nice to be eligible to participate in research studies despite not being a combat vet.
-For those of us who have not found success with traditional therapeutic approaches, it would be nice to have access to therapy with psychedelics (which can supposedly be highly effective for things like PTSD, depression, OCD, etc.) Some are accessible (albeit not widely), but not currently covered by most insurance plans and are very pricey out-of-pocket. Others are not accessible (legally) at all, at least in the US. This really needs to change.

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: My Husband had a Stroke
« on: August 31, 2020, 06:04:35 PM »
Iím so sorry to hear about your husband, Kizzie. I hope things get better soon.
Iím wishing you and him serenity right now and sending a warm hug of support  :hug:

General Discussion / Re: job interview today
« on: July 20, 2020, 05:30:03 PM »
Good luck, so excited for you! ;D

Projecting confidence is very important, so that is good to keep front and center, even if youíre not really feeling it and have to put on a bit of an act.

Also, remember that your future boss wants to be able to know that youíll make their life easier if they hire you, so Iíd suggest that you frame your answers with that in mindóanticipate, based on the nature of the job, what your bossís needs will be, and respond in ways that show that youíve got it covered.

Iím rooting for you, and I believe in you  :hug:


ďWe donít question whether people with profound mobility challenges can run down the corridor to get the door; we donít ask people on crutches to participate in a dance (though some people who use them can do so). But what are we to make of someone who has to be insulated from extreme stress because she has epileptic seizures when she is strung out? What do we do with someone whose clinical depression prevents him from working efficiently on bad days?Ē

ďThe popular belief that disabilities worth taking seriously are evident is often internalized by those on the short end of the comparison, who then find it difficult to deal with othersí reactions when they expose their conditions. People who disclose at work can find themselves passed over for promotions and stuck with low salaries. People who disclose socially may encounter personal rejection.Ē

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