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Messages - blues_cruise

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Hi Boatsetsailrose, sorry to hear you've been struggling. I hope you've since seen some improvement? It was good that you reached out to other people and had an opportunity to be supported. A flare up team is a fantastic idea and I bet it could help a lot of people, particularly with where we're at in the world right now.  :hug:

Hey Blueberry, so sorry to hear this has been troubling you. Itchy lower legs is something that happens to me too and they're always dry. Was actually at my wit's end with it a couple of months ago when I had a particularly itchy flareup. I do have sensitive skin and have always assumed it's due to shaving and not moisturing enough (and to be fair, I'm sure it exacerbates it), however I've also noticed that my right calf gets quite swollen from time to time and I've had some tingling and weird sensations under the skin which almost feels like a crawling sensation, which is a bit disturbing. I'm also thinking a circulation issue might be at play and keeping an eye on it in case it gets worse. I know trauma can manifest in the body in so many ways and this could be one of them.

The poultices sound like they could be a positive thing perhaps both physically and mentally because you could incorporate it with some self-care, such as reading a good book or having a nap. I hope you've been able to find some relief since your last post and that the natural methods you are using are having a positive effect.  :hug:

Hi Persistant! No worries, I've actually never thought to activate notifications myself so that's a good idea.  :))

It is really hard to break the trauma bond and it's a good call to go easy on yourself and recognise when a step is just that little bit too big to take. Our nervous systems are so easily triggered with emotional flashbacks (the scared lost little boy you describe) and it's best to be gentle with yourself as you work through these triggers. Knowing that your ultimate goal is to move is a good thing and it's always something you can work up to. Managing relationships is difficult, I'm so with you on that one and it's something that's definitely a work in progress for me too! It does sound like you're on the right lines with it all, placing responsibility where it truly lies is quite fundamental to healing I think.  :thumbup:

I'd say I'm alright at the moment, thank you for asking.  :) Self-care has started to be more of a focus for me over the last few months. At the beginning of lockdown I was becoming burnt out with trying to fit far too much into my day and neglecting my emotional needs. Carrying out self-care daily and "me time" in the form of meditation and yoga has really started to help me keep in tune with how trauma is held in my body and offers a release. Currently just trying to figure out ways to connect with other people more as I have a tendency to let shame overwhelm me and to not check in with people as much as I perhaps should. I'm trying to incorporate more routine into my life too and aiming to get back to doing a couple of hobbies rather than staring mindlessly at my phone as I have been at late...easier said than done, but yes, persistence is key! 

I hope you're having a good Friday and can have a relaxing weekend.  :yes:

Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Re: What Was Your NC "Moment?"
« on: September 23, 2020, 11:26:59 AM »
Hi all - I've recently gone NC with ALL family. Every once in a while (like now) I get filled with doubt and think about scootching back to VLC, that I've been unfair and haven't given FOO a chance to explain themselves, that it's all happening too quickly for them, I'm being too hasty. (I mean, all of this snowballed in under 1-2 years). But then I think about what responses I might get if I open that door again. Gaslighting, minimizing, projecting, more emotional abuse piled on.

Hi dreamriver. I'm just going to start off by saying that I think it's very human to question whether we're being "too harsh" about no contact. It's not a pleasant situation to find ourselves in at all and honestly, if any of us felt there was a better option I'm sure we would take it. I think it helps to try to keep the reality of your FOO's abusive mentality and behaviour in check. Unless they self-reflect and demonstrate any positive change then reopening the door will just leave you open to the dysfunction you describe: "Gaslighting, minimizing, projecting, more emotional abuse piled on"...this is what no contact protects you from while you work on healing.

It's like it takes everything in my power to keep the door closed. A close friend of mine said it's like being an alcoholic, it's a cold, hard choice you just have to make everyday, there's no reward or even satisfaction sometimes, you just know you got to do it to stay healthy. There's no closure, the itch never goes away. But that's what I'm wondering about.

Has anyone here felt closure, or they could pinpoint the moment where they knew that NC was needed, potentially for a long time, potentially for good? Like it was the "sign" they were waiting for and it was an overwhelming message. And it just felt....right. And you go back to that moment, again and again, to draw the strength you need to keep NC? Or is there just always doubt, always guilt?

For me, uNF pushed me to the point where I felt I had no choice but to go no contact for my own health and for a shot at a less stressful life. Most of my twenties were spent fawning towards him, ignoring obvious emotional abuse and minimising it all. I began to question how healthy this was though when I realised that the survival techniques I was still using with uNF didn't help me in my relationships with healthy adults. In the workplace my people pleasing and perfectionism just led to burnout and me being taken advantage of, plus the older I got the more I seemed to be actively disrespected for this fawning behaviour. It had once been a valuable survival skill in childhood but just no longer applied. I had no idea of what boundaries were and how to use them but I was fast realising that I really needed to start learning life skills like this if I wanted to "adult" better. I started to read about assertiveness and boundaries and could see how these skills would help me in my work and daily life interactions with generally healthy minded people. My own father blatantly did not want this for me because this was of no benefit to him. I came to the conclusion that if I really wanted to live life it couldn't be one rule for him and another for everyone else.   

The first boundary I ever really put in place with uNF was when I said "No, I'm sorry but it's going to be inconvenient" to looking after his dog while he went away on another holiday. Up to that point I had been saying yes regularly even though it had been becoming increasingly difficult (due to behavioural issues with my own dog), because I was so desperate for approval and to keep the peace. His reaction was silent treatment for about 3 months and oh my word, it opened the floodgates to feeling so much raw emotion and recalling memory after memory of past abuse, which when hitting me all at once felt unbearable. It was like a dam suddenly burst open. My feelings of shame, anxiety and depression hit me full force and that's when I really started to come out of the fog and learn about C-PTSD. 

I sat with it for the 3 months, didn't contact him either, and when I did phone him he was absolutely cold and awful towards me. That's when my first feelings of anger started to appear; an entirely new, unexplored emotion that I had never been allowed to experience as a child/teen and had assumed was a negative thing into adulthood, so had entirely suppressed. I tried VLC for months but every single phone call was pretty much him punishing me for daring to say "no" to him by dominating the calls with passive-aggressiveness and nasty digs. It reached the point where I was feeling anxious a week beforehand and a week after each and every phone call and I started getting horrible abdomen pains from the stress. It was when he gave me another 3 months of silent treatment pretty much a year on from when it last happened that I truly realised how toxic and disinterested in being a father he really was. I mean, he always had been but I'd deluded myself that he could love me if I just stayed in line. As soon as I stepped over his line his mask came off and I saw the reality of who he really was. In addition to narcissism my father also exhibits traits of psychopathy and machiavellanism (the dark triad) and it was almost like he was treating our interactions like a massive game. I hadn't realised just how mentally disturbed and actively emotionally abusive he was until this point. This time I enjoyed the peace from the silent treatment and saw how healing it could be. I started to feel safer, less stressed and felt less physical pain.

When he did resurface I had very little left to give and actively felt like I'd be better off without all this toxicity in my life. My last ditch attempt at a relationship with him was to ask that he respect a new boundary of communicating only via text message or emails; no phones calls. He was using them as a tool to emotionally abuse me and I wasn't willing to put myself through it any longer. Needless to say that went down like a lead balloon. Initially he reluctantly agreed to it, then came 2 more months of silence from him followed by a message saying that he wanted to ring me. When I stood my ground he had a tantrum and at that point I was just so done with it and decided I didn't want him in my life anymore. If there had been any real relationship there I would have tried to salvage it but I finally realised that the reality was that I was his emotional punchbag and that's all he wanted me around for.

Sorry, that was a longer retelling than I'd planned. :blahblahblah: ;) I guess ultimately there wasn't one event that led to no contact, rather it was constant poor behaviour and boundary violations with little prospect of improvement. When someone is blatantly setting out to disrespect and bully you, how much should you realistically be expected to accept? I think that's what you have to ask yourself. Your FOO has been making the choice to smear you and spread rumours about your husband and from an outsider's perspective I can see entirely why you would distance yourself from them.

My moments have been so intense but even then I still doubt them. Someone with strong, healthy boundaries would find the behavior absolutely unacceptable and get the **** outta there, and I would find it completely reasonable when I put myself in the shoes of an outsider looking in. But even after the PD in my FOO completely smeared me, isolated me from the rest of my family, triangulated them against me and turned them into flying monkeys....and then spread ideas around that my spouse is physically abusive to myself and others (though he definitely isnt, and PD was even willing to attempt to contact his ex to dig up dirt on him, even though PD would find nothing....) all these things that are grossly untrue to still get at me, why do I still feel like I'm being the "unfair" one?

Was there a strong moment if clarity for any of you? Things are so ridiculous and I still feel so foggy ( FOGgy). Will it ever end. Thank you in advance.  :)

In dysfunctional families I think we're essentially groomed to accept abuse and to keep quiet about it. This gets hardwired from a young age and takes a long time to unravel. Taking responsibility for their abusive behaviour would have been a lifeline when you were a vulnerable child and was a way of survival. I still get foggy from time to time but the more I read about personality disorders and work on improving myself the less responsiblity I feel for the misplaced shame that should never have been on my shoulders in the first place. I wasn't born to be a plaything for my father to use to cope with the shame of his own childhood abuse; it's not my responsiblity. I've found it helps to keep a list of all the abusive behaviour from uNF so that when I'm having an emotional flashback and feeling shame I can read it and gently remind myself of why no contact remains necessary. From what you've written your FOO's behaviour sounds awful and no-one should be smeared and bullied like that. Being family doesn't give them a free pass to abuse you. I know how hard it is to update the tapes in your head though.

Sending you  :hug: :hug: :hug: if they feel safe.

Edit: That turned into a really long post, don't feel obliged to respond because I know the long ones can sometimes be a bit overwhelming!

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: stress has turned into distress
« on: September 15, 2020, 11:47:23 AM »
That is so much stress to cope with all at once, sanmagic, I'm so sorry. Sending loads of healing wishes your way, I really hope it all works out for the best. :hug:

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Feeling really scared
« on: September 15, 2020, 11:39:49 AM »
Hi Owl, I'm sorry you're struggling right now. Trauma is a lot for one person to cope with alone and it's triggering to be forced to wait for help, I hear you.  :hug:

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: My Husband had a Stroke
« on: September 15, 2020, 11:27:35 AM »
I'm late to this one but just want to offer my best wishes to you and your husband, Kizzie, and I hope he has a speedy recovery.  :hug:

I don't think it's PTSD, but he's definitely upset and may need some psych support so have asked for that.  I also asked for music therapy and will take in some music today for him to listen to.  The whole Donald Trump thing upsets him no end so TV and radio are more or less out for now.  Crazy isn't it how an abusive N can affect so many people?!   :pissed:

Music is so healing and good for the soul, this sounds like a good call, as is removing any unnecessary stressors.  :yes:

Medication / Re: Reducing off meds...
« on: August 28, 2020, 11:21:11 AM »
Hi Boatsetsailrose  :)

I hope the tapering off is going well for you. I was on Citalopram for 5 years and took my final dose in April (I think? The months are all blurring into one to be honest!) Getting drops so you can take measured doses properly is a really good idea. I was trying to split tablets into about 6 pieces by the end and it got a bit silly.  :blink:

I cope with my anxiety and C-PTSD now by doing yoga, meditation, tapping (very new to this but very optimistic about the potential benefits) journalling and self-help in the form of books, videos and online resources. I've also started taking CBD oil, 5-HTP and magnesium supplements. It was so rough for a while as my brain essentially lost its safety net and had to start learning to recalibrate but in the last month or so I feel like there's been a shift towards feeling a bit more ease. There is a definite comedown from the medication which I don't think GPs always fully appreciate. The advice I was given by my GP when I first tried coming off them years ago was to taper off over about 2 weeks, which I just look back on in complete horror because I now understand that this is nowhere near long enough and should be done extremely gradually over a period of months to avoid the horrible withdrawal symptoms (brain zaps, heightened anxiety, dizziness, etc.)

Coming off SSRIs essentially forces you to put in the self-care you need to get by and for me that's not a bad thing as this has always been an area I've struggled with. I'm relying upon and trusting myself more now. I also think it was necessary for me personally in order to be able to fully feel and process the trauma stored in my body. SSRIs were a lifeline for me though when I was completely overwhelmed, lost and didn't have the self-care techniques in place to cope without them. I've come off them with the mindset that I can always start taking them again if I find myself back in the place of being unable to cope, but I'm treating it as a very last resort and allowing the bad to be fully experienced and felt along with the good.

A book which helped me towards the end of tapering off was 'Recovery and Renewal' by Baylissa Frederick. It covered a lot about what you can expect to experience and she gives really good advice about how to manage without them going forwards.   :thumbup:

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Hurt, hurt, and more hurt
« on: August 28, 2020, 10:36:37 AM »
Oh sorry blues cruise I sent out this message before even seeing yours. Your message is immensely comforting. I know you're on the borderline of NC too and it's so hard. The wordiest logic could explain it away, but the agony and guilt still comes bubbling up sometimes still.

Thank you for being there and sharing some of your kindness with me. it will help me on my way back to the good, other side.  :hug:

Hey dreamriver, that's quite alright, this is your space after all.  :) :yes: There are so many emotions that hit you all at once when you first go no contact and it is overwhelming. We're used to putting up with the abuse and it's been normalised from birth, so to break free of that mindset and explore a new way of thinking really throws up a lot of self-doubt and insecurity. Not sure if I expressed it very well in my posts elsewhere but I've already been no contact for a few years now, so I can vouch for the fact that as you accept and work through these feelings they really do settle down over time as you learn self-care. It's so hard because this is probably raw grief and emotion that you've had bottled up since you were a child and when you're coming out of survival mode (i.e. experiencing the freedom to feel what you need to feel rather than keeping it all hidden away inside you in line with FOO dynamics) it's a lot to suddenly have to cope with.

It sounds like your DH is well-meaning but people who have never experienced trauma have trouble understanding what to do and say, then often when they do try commenting on any aspect of it it can feel invalidating to us. It doesn't make what you're doing any less valid or mean you're doing the wrong thing. I really hope things start getting a bit brighter as time goes by and I hope you're doing OK. :hug: 

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / Re: Hurt, hurt, and more hurt
« on: August 20, 2020, 03:26:49 PM »
I'm so sorry you're feeling alone dreamriver, please know that you have all of us here for you though. :hug: I know these feelings so well and I understand that even when you tell yourself that logically they're not true, they can take a while to pass. Toxic family systems don't happen overnight, they are built upon generations and generations of overt and covert abuse and unhealthy thinking patterns. To create a boundary and protect yourself from a family institution that is so thoroughly established and far reaching is such an act of bravery and self-care. I'm proud of you for doing this for yourself and for making a stand against all the abusive behaviour you've had directed towards you.

Being newly NC is a shock to the system and a lot to process. The emotional flashback is your brain now attempting to process and make sense of the trauma you've been through. Reading back through your thread I can see how much you've been through and how much hurt you must be feeling. Please be extra gentle with yourself if you can (easier said than done when you're actively in an EF, I know). None of this is any of your fault and you're a good, kind person who deserves some peace and protection.  :hug:

Hi Persistant.  :)

Good on you for focusing on yourself and your needs, it sounds like you're on the journey to individuation. It is a truly positive thing and a natural rite of passage that any healthy minded parent would want for their child. Moving away and putting some distance between you sounds like a good step to take.  :yes:

Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Re: The prospect of long-term NC
« on: August 20, 2020, 02:26:43 PM »
Dreamriver, you're right, enabling a PD person doesnít do anyone any favours. Normalising abusive behaviour/pretending itís ďnot that badĒ isnít kind for anyone in the long run, itís just sticking your head in the sand and ignoring the bigger picture. NPD people seem to cope with reality by living out delusions so it stands to reason that the rest of the family continues to go along with it by default. To be fair, I myself went along with it all until it became unbearable, but to now be on the outside looking in it is very frustrating to see these dynamics play out. It does take a lot of resolve and determination to break free from the ingrained mentality.

Iím so with you on the mixed feelings of painful exclusion and pity in relation to the FOO and I find these emotions are constantly changing. Some days I feel so depressed that we canít be closer and I blame myself for it, other days Iím reminded that their relationship with uNF is hollow and any love or affection shown towards them is transaction based, just as it was when I was still in contact. It makes me thankful to be out of that cycle and to no longer have to endure the mentally damaging phone calls and visits, which used to just leave me feeling empty and angry. The hardest thing is them choosing my abuser over me, though I find it helps to remind myself too that circumstances have been very different for me compared to my siblings. For a start, Iím the only female and uNF is misogynistic, plus covert incest has been a very disturbing thing to endure which my brothers have no experience of. Also, Iím the youngest and the only one to have ever been forced to live alone with uNF and to bear the full brunt of his rages. Itís naturally left me with an entirely different set of experiences. I feel that I at least try to understand their mentality though, whereas I feel that my truth gets swept under the rug and invalidated. It's probably more about them and their emotional limitations than it is about me, but it still hurts.

Yes, the FOO does get deeply under your skin and as you say, weíre conditioned to meet its needs. There was never any room for discussion in my FOO, it was always uNFís way or the highway. After my mum died I think I trauma bonded with uNF far more than I would ever have done if she had lived and there was a lot of enmeshment there in my teens. My niece is now the age I was at when all this was going on and my heart breaks to think of such an innocent, young girl like her going through what I did (thankfully she has a stable home life and is well provided for physically and emotionally). Considering that helps me be more compassionate towards myself and to realise that itís ok to no longer be part of a family system that never provided any genuine, long-lasting nurture. No child stands a chance at coming through mentally unscathed in an environment like that.

I know he would resolve to find opportunities to belittle, humiliate and punish me and try to get the old dynamics going if I ever did attempt contact again.  To explain that to another person is impossible too, because itís unbelievable that someoneís own parent would want to do that to them.

You're not alone here! And that's why I'm at this forum myself. People just don't understand. Even my DH, even close friends, even those I know who are still caught in the FOG themselves. But you've got tons of people here who do and who are going through the same thing.

Thank you! I really am so grateful for this forum.  :yes: My DH is quite understanding but forgets/doesnít understand the gravity of what Iím dealing with. For instance, we only live about 15 miles away from my home town where uNF still is and I refuse to go there because of all the awful triggers/possibility of seeing uNF. He can understand my desire for distance to a certain extent, but doesnít understand my extreme hypervigilance surrounding it and just how messed up it makes me feel to be so close still. Itís so good to have a safe place where people do understand things like this.

I'm still learning to love myself more in the context of FOO dynamics and it's never smooth but that's the greatest challenge we're tasked with   You've made the first step loving yourself going NC, and I can only say it's the first. (By the way, I made the choice to go full NC with my covert uNM TODAY, so we're walking the same path). There will be even more steps and opportunities now that you've made the most difficult first step of all, to not be permeated by the toxic behavior any longer and to get out of the storm and the FOG.

Definitely, and as hard as it is Iím unwavering in thinking that no contact is the right thing to do, regardless of the difficult emotions it brings up. I applaud you on also doing whatís right for you in making the choice to go full NC. Distancing yourself from toxic behaviour really does allow for greater clarity and means you can unpick and work through trauma/re-parent yourself healthily without being re-traumatised as often in the here and now. It allows you to be true to your own values and to finally focus on your inner child (and children need a lot of attention; their wellbeing should always come first!)

Thank you so much for hearing me dreamriver, it means so much to talk through stuff like this. I love your bird analogy, it's so true. The older I get the more peace and satisfaction I feel from watching how free birds are, so why not work to become one.  ;) :hug:

Thank you so much for your post Blues, it spoke to my heart and what I and so many of us have had to go through when deciding to go NC including what it feels like once you have...  :thumbup:  and  :hug: 

Thank you Kizzie, it's a comfort to know that it resonates. :) I'm finding that no contact seems to evolve over time and finding peace with the new phase of permanency is the next hurdle. It helps to put it into words.  :hug: :grouphug:

Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Re: The prospect of long-term NC
« on: August 16, 2020, 03:34:18 PM »
Hi dreamriver, thank you so much for your supportive message. I'm so sorry that you're also having a rough time with it right now. I think current events in the world are making something already hard just that much more difficult, since connecting with family is more at the forefront of people's minds, plus it's not so easy to get out and about and distract yourself from it all. Deciding upon what level of contact will work for you is such a difficult thing because itís never black and white and itís impossible for all involved not to experience some level of resentment and hurt.

You're right, it's entirely a no-win situation. I can only have a 'relationship' with F if I go back to becoming the scapegoat, which I'm obviously not prepared to do. The alternative path I'm on feels horrible, but it's still the lesser evil. I know he would resolve to find opportunities to belittle, humiliate and punish me and try to get the old dynamics going if I ever did attempt contact again.  To explain that to another person is impossible too, because itís unbelievable that someoneís own parent would want to do that to them. It just feels so unfair. I feel like I need to healthily grieve the loss but while he's in this realm physically I don't know where to start. He only lives 15 miles away! I don't feel like I can let my hypervigilance go as a result.

I also have enablers in the family and that hurts too. Both brothers have distanced themselves from me and though they don't verbally support F, their actions shout that actually, they kinda do. At one point when I was newly into NC they did seem to understand, but after about 6 months it changed. Itís like it was seen as a Ďwiní over F for them to begin with because someone was taking a stand and by default that gave them some validation for what they themselves had been through, but after a few months went by I guess that wore off and they withdrew. Itís just the toxic family system in play though, I know that. They bond by mutually complaining about how horrid F is and I know I completely threw the safety net off that by going in another direction. itís pretty much a clique that I no longer have access to.   

Thank you, it feels good to have someone tell me that itís not my fault. Iím far better nowadays at being kind to myself consciously, but subconsciously I blame myself for not being strong or resilient enough to endure the contact anymore. As you say, the effects are ongoing and itís just so odd how trauma can hit you years and years after the worst of what happened is over. I was able to deal with him with far less anxiety and fear when I was living with him and actively going through it all. 

I hope you can find some clarity and a way forward in your own contact situation, it is such a stressful thing to go through from day to day. A hug back to you if youíre open to it. :hug:

Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / The prospect of long-term NC
« on: August 13, 2020, 04:16:23 PM »
When I first began no contact it was very much with the mindset of using this as a boundary in order to focus on working through my trauma and to not allow myself to be bullied by my father anymore. VLC had completely failed and my mental health was terrible while I was still in contact with uNF. I always said that if I ever got to a point of feeling like I would be better able to cope with communicating with him then I might reconsider extremely low contact with many, many boundaries in place (once I had figured out what these actually were and how they were supposed to work). I had never had a single boundary in place with him and when I tried a couple it was clear that he would never accept them.

3 and a half years later I'm now seeing that I'm most likely going to be keeping no contact permanent for the foreseeable future. Whenever I imagine being in contact with him again I get this massive pit of dread in my stomach and it feels so, so wrong, like I would be throwing myself back to the wolves. I'm just beginning to really understand how much trauma gets stored in the body and learning coping mechanisms for the resulting anxiety. Like many of us might have realised on our journey with C-PTSD so far, I think it's going to be something that I'm going to need to navigate very gently for the rest of my life. I hadn't realised just how much abuse I had experienced and how much damage it had done to my nervous system. I'm only really starting to genuinely slip out of my long-term dissociation and depression and I'm enjoying the experience of individuating and learning who I am and what I want out of life. My own father would try to sabotage this if I allowed him even an inch, because that's what he does.

So I'm now thinking that I may well never speak to him again, or at least not for a very long time, and it's a weird thing; I don't know how I feel about it. Sad I suppose, but also relieved. It's the last thing I would ever have wanted (because who doesn't want a dad?) whilst also being one of the few things I am certain is the healthiest course for me, so there's this weird juxtaposition between the two feelings I find myself having towards the permanency of no contact. I think I'm grieving a bit, I don't know. There are also fleeting thoughts about what I might do if there's ever a carehome or deathbed scenario but I'm just going to have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

I'm just putting this out there to get it off my chest really! As time goes by and I find myself well into my 30s it's something that seems to be coming up for me a lot.

General Discussion / Re: Got to the root cause at last
« on: August 13, 2020, 08:21:03 AM »
It is progress to finally connect the dots and have some kind of clarity as to why your nervous system reacts to certain triggers the way it does. I'm really happy this has become clearer for you. I think when you can identify the root cause of why you react a certain way then it becomes so much easier to talk to your inner child and self-soothe. It is slow going because it's something that can't be forced and should be navigated gently, but it sounds like you're in a place now where your brain can begin to process the trauma that's been buried for so long. :yes:

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