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Messages - MaryAnn

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Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: Laughter as medicine.
« on: May 30, 2016, 06:10:29 PM »
Agree whole heartedly.  I have always loved Maya Angelou writings but it seems that only in the last few years that I have actually comprehended her words and allowed them to affect me.  It has been 2 years since Maya passed away but she is still so ever present because of her meaningful writings.

She said,
"Most people don't grow up. It's too damn difficult. What happens is most people get older. That's the truth of it. They honor their credit cards, they find parking spaces, they marry, they have the nerve to have children, but they don't grow up."

I realized along the way that I had disassociated to the point that I did not allow myself to feel anything in order to deal with problems and crisis, seem like a rock over the years.  I appeared resilient and used laughter to suppress any other feelings.  Always told people that if I didn't laugh, I would go crazy.  Well, it got to a point that even the laughter was not enough.  As a result of my lack of real growth as an individual, the suppression of feelings and putting the burden on myself to  take the responsibility and blame for everything, I finally broke.  I understand Maya now like I never had before and with the help of several friends and Maya's writings, I am finally growing up, changing and getting stronger one day at a time.   I see my family with a completely different perspective and while I would not say that I will ever forgive them, I also no longer blame them.  They are products of their environments and have never come to the realization that they actually have never grown up and stopped learning somewhere along the way.   I have always enjoyed learning but I had neglected the one area that I needed to the learn the most, the one about myself!

Thank you DU, as you are one of those several friends that have helped me to learn, grow, and build the solid foundation that I have never had.  I realize the past will always be there but I need to take the best parts of it, how it has made me who I am today, and make the most of the present and future.  I know I will make mistakes and setbacks along the way but hopefully I will have the courage to not allow them to defeat me.

MaryAnn  :hug: :hug:

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: Laughter as medicine.
« on: May 30, 2016, 04:28:21 AM »

Thank you for the story.... I wish I had been a fly on the wall for that meeting and the phone call.  Laughter is medicine.  Just from knowing your sense of humor, I can picture this all playing out in my head and it made me laugh out loud, no triggers in this one for me.  It brightened my day!


Hi Sienna,

You are on the right track as far as how you are working through the disassociation.  Doing better than I am managing it.   I have major anxiety and issues with disassociation.   I am unemployed right now so work is no longer a source of anxiety but looking for a job has become one and after a couple of months of frustration, I am spacing out and drink to numb myself.  I try not to use the drinking.  I went 3 days with out a drink.  But Mother's Day set me back after spending a day with my in-laws, husband, and then my own FOO.  I played games on my phone to disassociate at my in-laws and played with my 1 yr old nephew at my FOO in order to tune everything out.  Crashed on Monday, the anxiety was killing me so I started drinking again.  I also listen to music and write in my journal to work through it. 

I am also taking classes at the community college and volunteering at a local animal shelter to keep my mind focused and to meet new people as well as to learn new things.  Working with the animals helps a lot because I do not fear that I am being judged or that they don't like me.  Their love is unconditional.  In class, there is not any real time to talk to anyone personally.  I am able to help others with the computer lab work and feel like I have done something nice and to help them understand.  It wouldn't seem like much to many people but for me it relieves the anxiety for at least a while until I get home and with my "glass is 1/2 empty" husband's negativity and tearing me down.

Any other suggestions that you or Alice87 may have to try to work through disassociation and anxiety around other people would be really appreciated.

Hang in there and stay strong,

MaryAnn  :hug:

General Discussion / Re: Appropriate Fawn response?
« on: April 13, 2016, 05:23:29 AM »
HI Dutch Uncle,

I ran across this post this evening.  I unfortunately have plenty of experience with this trauma type.   Over the last couple of years it has become how I define myself since I am severely lacking in any sense of self.   I associate myself most with Pete Walker's definition of a Fawn / Freeze type, the scapegoat.   Fawn is really not "play dead", Freeze really fits that description more.  Freeze is how I developed my ability to completely disassociate and numb out basically.  It is the type I used to survive my narcissistic father.  There was never going to be anything I could do to please or serve him so that he would treat me better.  I would sit in front of the TV for hours on a Saturday after chores and just vegetate.  Or I would go to my room with my dog and close the door, listen to my records or the radio to drown everything out.  I would read books from start to finish in less than a day.  Many times, I would read more than one in a day.   

My Fawn type developed as a result of dealing with my mother who was a covert narcissist.  I became a parentified child.  I figured out by about age 7 or 8 that I could somewhat avoid a beating or being yelled at by pleasing her, listening to her and being her confidant, and giving her advice, doing anything she asked.  It is how, as I got older, I was able to get her sympathy's so that I could escape the house as much as possible to avoid my father's abuse.  There were times that I had to endure her temper and her physical abuse or lack of concern when I was hurt or sick.  But, it was never as bad as the abuse from my father. 

I was also made fun of, shamed, told how bad I was from, well, from before I can even really remember.  So, I have a shame based identity which is common with the Fawn, Codependent type.  Meaning, as a child, my only sense of self developed as internalized shame.  I am bad, I am worthless, I have to earn others kindness by serving them and doing anything and everything that anyone else needs.   That it is selfish for me to have any needs or wants, I should be grateful that I get anything at all.  Still working to overcome this one.  It is not as easy as many would think.  You can't just tell yourself it is all not true and that you are good, have worth, are valuable,..... The brain is well conditioned to believe something else and it is very difficult to retrain it to think any other way.   

The Codependency and lack of sense of self that I developed carried with me in my relationships, friendships, and work environments.  I was a doormat and didn't even realize it.  I was just doing what I had always done.  Working to make everyone else happy.  I was the fair minded, peacekeeper that would do anything for anyone to prevent any drama, any problems, and make sure everyone still got along.  I had no boundaries (I am working on that too) and everything was my fault, I had to work to make whatever was wrong, right.   Life was like this until I completely burnt myself out a little over 2 years ago.  They finally broke me.  The anxiety, panic attacks, depression, ideations, fear brought back the freeze state that I remember all to well.  I have always cut myself off in terms of letting other people really know me, sharing anything about me, and was able disassociate from any emotions to help others deal with difficult situations.  But extreme disassociation has returned and I isolate more and avoid even leaving the house now that I am not working. 

NC is definitely an appropriate Fawn-response, sometimes it is the only way to protect yourself from more harm.
I really do not know anything about Ross Rosenberg's method so can't really comment on that one.
Medium Chill and Gray Rock are not forms of Fawn.  They are techniques that can be used by any of the trauma types to manage engagement with narcissists, sociopaths, or psychopaths.  I do use the Medium Chill technique with my father and my husband in order to diffuse situations.  It works well in the moment.  However, once I leave or am alone, my mind can't keep the emotions in check and I end up blaming myself and feeling like I have done something wrong. 

Hope my experience helps to explain the Fawn response in more detail.  I have found that correcting the fawn behaviors associated with codependency are much easier than correcting the lack of self and the shame and emotions associated with not doing the things for others that you feel guilty about not doing anymore.  If that makes sense....

Lol, Mary Ann :hug: :hug:

General Discussion / Re: Creativity...
« on: April 02, 2016, 10:18:16 PM »
Hi Woodsgnome,

You have expressed what real creativity and art truly represent.  Creativity and art come not either from genius or pain, angst, and sorrow.  Someone can be a very technically good musician or artist but it may not necessarily be creative. The art itself may be very good but that does not mean it is creative or expresses itself in a unique way that inspires anyone, even the one making the art.  Many artists simply copy or imitate the craft of another musician, painter, author, etc... 

Creativity comes from honesty, experiences that touch one's soul and impacts who they are or changes who they are.  There are many musicians that write beautiful lyrics and music, are very creative, but are not really that good at the art of singing or playing the instruments.  But because they are passionate about their craft and are dedicated to it, they have been successful regardless of how could they are at the mechanics of the art itself.  Why?  Because it is genuine and honest and touches many because they can relate to it.  Same with painters, authors, comedians, any art form.   No, creativity comes from joy, happiness, anger, jealousy, feeling bad, feeling sad, tragedy, loss, even melancholy and content.  Creativity comes from the full range of emotions and beliefs that a person can have. 

Woodsgnome is right, creativity can come from anywhere and it does not have to be "great" in technical terms.  Creativity comes from within all of us.  It is our honest expression of what we think, feel, and understand.  For many, it is the best way to be honest in their expression.  It can be hard for many to express themselves honestly verbally.  It comes much easier in the form of writing, making a craft, painting, or writing music.  It doesn't matter how good others think it is or isn't.  All that matters is that we understand what it means to us and that it inspires us whether that is to do or not do something, change how we think, or how we treat others.  If, in the meantime, others see it or read it and it inspires them as well, well that is just a bonus!

Lol, MaryAnn :hug: :hug:

Hi Dutch Uncle,

You are definitely not going or are bananas.  From my own experience there are actually more dysfunctional, bonkers family's than there are healthy ones.  But my experience is limited to my FOO and my husbands FOO so there might be plenty of healthy families out there, I have just never met or experienced one.  My husbands FOO is bonkers due to a generational cycle of abuse but it is a result of, hate to say this, some inbreeding a couple of generations ago and sexual abuse of children. 

It is Easter Sunday and I am working on my second cup of coffee with Irish Cream to numb myself for the days events.  Going to both sides today.  My obligatory LC for the year.  I will be drinking wine later in order to cope.   Why can't we just accept that these people do not accept us for us and stop worrying or allowing anything they do upset us?  You have at least learned to say "No" I am not going.  I haven't even been brave enough to take that step yet.  I keep telling myself it is easier to go and get it over with rather than deal with the backlash of not going at all.  But easier for who?  I think it is easier for them because they know that I somehow still feel a responsibility to family regardless of how awful they treat me.  But, it is not easier on me.  Depending on what is said and how I am triggered, it can take days or weeks to get myself back on track again. 

So, Dutch, you are not bananas, not bonkers.  You are seeing it all in the right perspective unfortunately.  They play games, the manipulate, they are devious all in the name of making themselves somehow feel better about who they are.  They are not really worried about you, us.  I have a mother in law that is undiagnosed PS and she pits her 2 sons against each other,  I have a grandma who is PS and she works to pit her 3 siblings against one another.  A father that is an uNPD, a brother that has become his spitting image, a codependent mother.  And that is just the tip of the iceberg.  Many people would say that it is not possible to have all of that, that it has to be you, not them.  So in a way, I guess they are right.  It is us because we do not think like our family.  We can't change how they think.  We can only change ourselves.  And I think you would agree, there is no way that I am going to change who I am and what I believe so that I can be accepted by my FOO, because they are full of hate, fear, and contempt.  I have to accept that I need to find a new family of friends, like this forum, who think much the same as I do and want, need acceptance, kindness, support, and love.

Hang in there DU, you are doing okay and do not let the phone calls, the texts, the intentional games devised to make you feel guilt or to look bad to others in your family.  Screw them.  They are the ones that are miserable in all reality.  What a small life they lead.  We can see the big picture and have so much more to offer and deserve to be free and happy.

Lol, Mary Ann  :hug: :hug: :hug: :hug:

« on: March 26, 2016, 05:48:34 AM »
Hi Woodsgnome,

I am sorry as well.  It happens from time to time on the site even though Kizzie and the rest of the team really try their best to monitor what is going back and forth.  I understand where you are coming from as I struggle with posting out of fear of the same thing.   Please know that you really do help many of us on this site.  I am never triggered by anything you write.  I look for your words of wisdom intentionally because reading them helps to calm me and put things back in to perspective.  So, reading this upset me because you always write such beautiful, kind, and meaningful words to express yourself and to also be helpful to others and mindful of not triggering them.  I will miss reading your posts since they will be less frequent but I understand.  And, same for me, PM anytime....

Lol, MaryAnn

The Cafe / Re: Favourite Quotes Part 2
« on: March 21, 2016, 07:40:37 AM »
One must learn to love.— This is what happens to us in music: first one has to learn to hear a figure and melody at all, to detect and distinguish it, to isolate it and delimit it as a separate life; then it requires some exertion and good will to tolerate it in spite of its strangeness, to be patient with its appearance and expression, and kindhearted about its oddity:—finally there comes a moment when we are used to it, when we wait for it, when we sense that we should miss it if it were missing: and now it continues to compel and enchant us relentlessly until we have become its humble and enraptured lovers who desire nothing better from the world than it and only it.— But that is what happens to us not only in music: that is how we have learned to love all things that we now love. In the end we are always rewarded for our good will, our patience, fairmindedness, and gentleness with what is strange; gradually, it sheds its veil and turns out to be a new and indescribable beauty:—that is its thanks for our hospitality. Even those who love themselves will have learned it in this way: for there is no other way. Love, too, has to be learned.
Friedrich Nietzsche

Lol, MaryAnn  :hug: :hug:

Me too. :'(  I was just thinking about Mister Rogers the other day.  My 5 year old self misses him very much.  I watched him and Captain Kangaroo every morning.  But, Mr. Rogers message unfortunately was contradicted on a daily basis growing up.  I didn't feel worthy of Mr. Rogers kindness and was made to feel like I was too bad to live in his neighborhood.  When I watch him now he always makes me cry.

Lol, MaryAnn

The Cafe / Re: Today I feel ..... (Part 2)
« on: March 13, 2016, 08:52:35 PM »

My heart goes out to you!  Please do not give up hope.   I have felt the same way and can completely relate.  It is okay and will be okay.  Remember, you are not alone.  We walk with you and are here to support each other.   The hypervigilance is exhausting and therapy is hard.  Much harder than I ever imagined.  Change is difficult, especially when it is you that you are working to change.

I never cried either but I am able to accept know that it is okay to cry and let the tears fall.   You are strong and resilient.  You are valuable, you are worthy, and have nothing to blame yourself for.  You are as much a victim of abuse as the rest of us hear.  We didn't bring it on ourselves but unfortunately we are the ones that have figure out how to work through it so that we can actually live life.  I still feel alone and it is painful.  Hang in there, it gets better!  I promise! And, remember, we are here and anytime you are feeling low, please reach out to us for support!  You are safe here.

Lol, MaryAnn  :hug: :hug: :hug:

Introductory Post / Re: New Here Feeling Anxious But Hopeful
« on: March 12, 2016, 05:51:20 AM »
Hi Luminosity Rising,

Your story may be brief as far as the number of words, but your story is far from a brief one as a whole.  You have been through so much and you are still so young.  It is nice to hear that you have a supportive partner that will be with you thru recovery.  I can relate to your statement,
The nightmares, triggers, depression, spotty memory and social anxiety hold me back the most.
  These are what hold me back as well, except instead of spotty memory it is not being able to concentrate and focus.
I have gotten to a point, however, where I can notice the changes I am making even if the next day I have a break down.

I also was hospitalized for an attempt in the summer and spent another six weeks in intensive OP treatment.  I didn't believe my counselor at first when he said that I was getting better and was different than I was 7 / 8 months ago.  But, I notice the changes now.  It still feels like a yoyo many days but I have better control over my emotions and can ground myself better and not get as anxious or become as hypervigilant. 

The Pete Walker book is excellent.  I have read it all the way thru and reference many sections to stay grounded.  I wish you the best in your journey of recovery and healing and know that you will find your true self and find happiness.    You are strong and resilient.  And, there is nothing that is mutual about sexual abuse and you were a victim.  It was never your fault. 

Lol, MaryAnn  :hug: :hug: :hug:

The Cafe / Re: Today I achieved .....
« on: March 12, 2016, 05:13:16 AM »
Other than leaving the house to get a 15 minute hair cut this week, I have not left the house since I became unemployed on Monday.  Been alone in the house with my cat for almost 4 days.   Today, I went out, volunteered at the animal shelter for 3 hours at the kitty house and socialized with people.  And, it was nice.  I meet a new volunteer, saw a couple I had not seen in a month or so, and all of the kitty's that have been there for a while still remembered me and were happy to see me.  I was relaxed, not nervous or standoffish.  Doesn't seem like much but it was a big day for me. 

Mary Ann  ;D

Hi Indigo,

Yes, I can definitely relate.  I am a Fawn - Freeze type but also am a workaholic and constantly thinking to avoid dealing with any other emotions so I am somewhat "flighty" too. 

Like you, I need my own space to deal with triggers.  In general, I need my own space and to be alone to rejuvenate so I can get back at it.  I do not allow anyone to get close.  When I was younger and thought my husband was my knight in shining armour, I told him everything.  Thought I had found my soul mate and that I could tell him everything, first person that I really trusted.  Later found out that I had been a stupid young girl once we married and that I really couldn't trust him not to lie to or hurt me either.  I have not let anyone that close ever since.  At this point in my life, the person that knows me the best is my counselor. 

Sometimes, - depending on the flashbacks etc. I *run away*, from them, and spent time with others that dont know me at all, and dont know about my past or the triggers. they dont even know what i like and dislike, i am that closed off.

I am more comfortable in the company of strangers.  I do feel alone and empty and also need interaction with others.  This is why I was always most comfortable at work and working nonstop because I interacted with plenty of people.  But it was work and I was too busy doing things and helping people to ever get too close to anyone.  At the end of the day, they go home and really do not know anything about me.  Best of both worlds, I felt safe.  Now that I am not working and looking for a new job, I have no safe place other than home with my cat as long as my husband is not home.  The counselors office has really become that "safe place" where I can really be me. 

I also spent a lot of time alone in my room, listening to music and with my dog and mom's cat.  My pets gave me the comfort I needed to cope and work through everything.  So, I think that is why being alone at home works for me now as well.  I need the isolation to rejuvenate and work through the triggers but I have my kitty to keep me company and help me feel less alone.  Disassociation is my key defense to handle anything.  Left and Right Brain.  Whether I am alone or in a group of people, I can escape to some other reality and not think about anything at all or allow myself to feel anything for myself.   It is a coping mechanism that really does not work as a coping mechanism anymore.  It actually makes everything worse at this point in my life.

Lol, MaryAnn :hug: :hug: :hug:

The Cafe / Re: Favourite Quotes Part 2
« on: March 08, 2016, 08:26:10 PM »
Hi Woodsgnome,

This is an excellent quote and one that helped me come to terms with the changes in my life as I work to recover, find happiness.

“The greatest lie of all is the feeling of firmness beneath our feet. We are at our most honest when we are lost.”...Soren Kierkegaard.

This quote is all too true.  I have been living for everyone else but not for myself.  I have lived the lie, it shattered, and now realize I was lost all along.  But with that comes honesty as you search to find out who you really and find your true purpose in life, no matter how big or small that might be. 

Maybe losing my job is the wake up call I needed all along to force me to move, to survive, to deal with the changes that I have been procrastinating in making out of my own fears.

Thank you!
Mary Ann  :wave:

The Cafe / Re: Today I realized that ...... (Part 2)
« on: March 08, 2016, 05:11:35 PM »
I am unemployed.....

So it has come to this.  I keep working and trying to learn so many new emotions and feelings that I have either never allowed myself to experience or understood enough to manage in a healthy way.  I am learning a big one now.  I was in a state of shock yesterday.  I am starting to come out of it today.  I am trying to accept my current reality.  It still all feels like a bad dream.  I have had a career of 24 years with my "past" employer.  Have made so many friendships and love the people I work with, will do anything to help them.  Of course, that is partly me because I feel like I do not deserve anything unless I am doing everything I can to help them.  In other words, it is not that I am a selfless person, just that I am selfish in a different way.   

I allowed myself to be vulnerable, I tried to trust people like I have never trusted before.  I had my "teeth" knocked out about six months ago and was removed from a management position without any warning and after several years of positive reviews.  It had taken me six months to regain my footing.  I went back at it and this time there was no demotion, no concern for my well being, no empathy for what I was trying to deal with and overcome.  There was no discussion just like six months ago, no documentation of anything I had done wrong.  Just a "This isn't going to work out so we are separating from you, this is your last day with us.  We are terminating your employment.  I am a workaholic so my employer was like home to me.  I feel like I was kicked out of the house and told never to come back by my parents. 

Not sure how many more times I can pull myself up from being kicked down but I know I have too in order to survive.  The negative thoughts continue and without any separation.  I am thankful that this forum exists.  It has helped me many times and will again.  Just being able to express freely helps me to be able to sort out what I am feeling and what it all means so I can learn new ways to manage these types of situation.

Lol, MaryAnn :hug: :hug: 

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