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Messages - I like vanilla

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I hadn't thought it might be a trigger for some of us due to past trauma I Like Vanilla and I'm sorry it is for you given the times right now.   :hug: 

I would say that for the vast majority of people who choose not to wear a mask, the underlying reason is not this and that's what is upsetting for so many of us. Our very health/lives are at stake and as we're seeing in the US and elsewhere right now COVID spreads when we don't take measures like wearing masks, physical distancing, hand washing, etc.

I've had a similar experience to BBs of being ridiculed for wearing one so it goes both ways. Anger and fear are high right now and we're each likely to be judged for wearing or not wearing a mask. Let's please try and remain a safe place to talk about how CPTSD affects us and be understanding and supportive of one another.

I would guess - and dearly hope - that no one else has the same trigger to facial masks that I do. However, I know of people who have had other terrible things done to them that would make wearing a face mask a trigger, and suspect there are many others who do also. I also personally know several people who have extreme sensitivity to materials, especially around their faces, which would make wearing of these masks extremely problematic for them physically. Similarly, I know people, for example, who are on the Asperger's-autism spectrum which, in their cases, makes wearing a face mask extremely problematic. I can also imagine numerous other reasons that people might have that would cause them to have difficulties in wearing a face mask. I cannot, and will not speak to "the vast majority" because the point is that those of us in the minority still count. Even if I were the only person on the entire planet who has reasons different than laziness and apathy for not wearing a face mask, I would still count. Our health and our lives matter too.

And, yes, I agree that it would be great if these boards were made safe for **everyone** using them, even those of us in the minority (and I would bet that even though I am the only one who said something I am not the only one who feels this way). Instead, I get severely triggered about a factor that is tied to a hugely traumatic set of childhood events, come to the forum to seek support, and instead read blanket judgments like disrespectful, entitled, selfish, ignorant, uncaring, inconsiderate, bullying, narcissistic, etc., etc., etc. about the very behaviour that is so triggering and problematic to me. Yes, some people are choosing not to wear masks for wrong reasons, but many of us have good reasons for not wearing masks, and there is little to no nuance in these discussions, just blanket judgments and condemnations. And yes, we still count even if we are in the minority. We all have our own stories and no one is able to read minds about what those stories are. Many of us have very good reasons to not wear masks that have nothing to do with entitlement and selfishness, nor apathy, lack of manners, etc., etc., etc. It is a shame that this board has become such an unsafe place for us to even try to discuss it.

I hear where you are coming from but object to the idea that those of us not wearing masks must be 'in denial' or 'not bothering'. I have extremely good reasons for NOT wearing a mask. Terrible things were done to me in childhood and having to wear a mask now is HUGELY TRIGGERING FOR ME. I feel angry that people assume that my not wearing a mask is because I don't care or can't be bothered. I don't wear a mask because I would like to stay in my body and not have to deal with emotional flashbacks for days afterward.

Consider that many of us have VERY GOOD REASONS FOR NOT WEARING A MASK. Reasons that have NOTHING to do with being uncaring or lazy. This physical-distancing has been very difficult for me - for all of us - financially, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically. I am really disappointed that on this type of site, of all places, I need to explain that mental health matters and that triggers are real, and that judging people for things you do not understand is patently unfair. Many of us have good reasons for not wearing masks and those reasons have nothing to do with apathy or laziness.

I get what you're saying and I'm sorry that my post triggered you. However there is a lot of denial round about on Covid. Just think of a certain number of well-known English-speaking politicians... I doubt they leave masks off and shake hands etc because they know they're about to get an EF. The business owner next door to me says "I'm not frightened, I don't need to wear a mask." We pass in the same narrow corridor. I can't avoid him, nor can my clients.

In my post which you replied to, I wrote that I'm triggered about being ridiculed for wearing a mask - which has happened a few times - and for worrying that people think I'm gullible for believing that I need to wear one. That's a very big trigger for me. So I DO understand about mental health issues and wanting to avoid EFs. I have cptsd too!!
 ime people with cptsd can trigger each other. I'm really sorry that my post triggered you, later on today when I have more time I'll look at my original post again and see if I can change it a bit to be less triggering or less judgemental.

Thank you. It is a conundrum, eh? There is a total double-bind happening where I live right now, and it seems in many other places. I get the stink eye at the store for not wearing a mask (and the last couple that did it also get totally in my space, completely disregarding the 2 m distancing rule, that health-care experts have been mandating from the start). On the other hand a close friend of mine got the stink eye for wearing a mask while she was grocery shopping. Plus, it sounds like you are getting worse than that, which I am sorry to hear.

The whole double-bind, no-win situation is one that those of us on this board have likely seen too much of already. It is a shame that it has flowed out to too much of the world around us. I wish more people would listen to what the public health official where I live says (not just about encouraging but not mandating masks). She says: "Be calm. Be kind. Be safe" I think that that sums it up fairly well.

Thank you everyone for the kind words and support. I am just beginning to feel better from last week's facial mask trigger session. I had some different trouble with my computer recently, which fortunately I was able to resolve without having to go to a store for repair. A friend has also volunteered to take my computer in if it needs repair in the future. I have also decided to write a letter of concern to the president of the company to let them know, in general terms, what this policy is doing to people like me and that some of us have genuine health issues and are being harmed by this policy that is meant to protect people.

I was surprised how much of a trigger this was for me. As I mentioned in my initial post, I have done work on this in therapy and have, or at least thought I had, moved past it. I suppose that is the reason they are called triggers eh? They can catch us by surprise.

I am grateful too for all of the good wishes and anger on my behalf. I have had difficulty in having good wishes for myself, which I have done much successful work around in therapy. I have also had tremendously difficulty feeling anger, especially on my own behalf, an area that even with therapy I still struggle with. That supportive people like you are feeling angry on my behalf helps the little mes to more fully understand that what W did was wrong and that my NM's betrayal of me was wrong, and that we did nothing wrong and that there should have been anger at the time, especially by NM, and that it is OK for me to be angry about it now. I did not realize how much I needed that until you all gave me that beautiful gift of having it. Thank you.

Where I live they are gradually reopening the province, with physical distancing protocols in effect. Our pubic health officer while recommending facial masks is also adamant that she will not mandate them because many people have good reasons for not wearing one. I am one of those people and am really glad that I am not forced to wear one for riding on public transit, etc. or I would be really stuck because I really cannot wear one. It is a HUGE trigger for me.


For as long as I can remember a much older 'cousin' (W) of mine would come over to visit when his mother visited with my NM (our mothers are cousins and we have always just called him my cousin). Starting when I was about 3 years old W, who would have been about 14 or 15 at the time, would tie me up, usually to a chair (using my own skipping rope), gag me, and molest me. Because I was so young and traumatized, I have very few detailed memories, but I think he would remove the gag in order to make me perform oral sex on him, then put the gag back on. I don't think he had PIV sex with me but he did use his fingers and objects on and in me, all the while I was gagging on that cloth and trying to 'not be there' (I am sure I was dissociating a lot then, part of the reason my memories are so hazy).

I do know that the first-ish(?) time that it happened, I ran screaming to my mother for help, but being that young I was unable to articulate what had happened - what W had done to me. My mother got me in trouble for disturbing the nice visit that she was having with W's mother, why did I always have to be so noisy?, why did I always have to make trouble?, etc., etc. W did not even need to make up a story because never once did NM even ask why I was that upset...

I also suspect that my NM and certainly W's mother had some idea that W had some kind of problems. His mother would give us his old picture books and colouring books - over all of the people and many of the animals W had used markers to draw ropes and gags and torture and blood, and other forms of violence. The colouring pages were not coloured, just these torture drawings added to them and to picture books (not meant to be coloured/drawn on either way). My NM would give these books to us (me and my siblings) without ever thinking how inappropriate that was.

I also suspect my NM suspected something about what W was doing to me because after I ran screaming to her, whenever W and his mother would come to visit, she would dress me up in a nice dress, and frilly underwear (!) (I remember so few details but I remember the frilly underwear...), and tell me to behave myself and play nicely with W while NM visited with W's mother... and so of course, W had free rein to do as he liked with me. They visited 5-10 times each year.

After a few years (!) I think W no longer needed to tie me and gag me (I had given up) but he would because it was fun for him to do so. But, one time, I remember when he was done with me he stood me on a table (I am quite short and he tall so I probably came up to his knees, max to his mid thighs then) so that he could pull my frilly underwear back up and help me to put my stockings back on. He was having difficulty with the stockings - I was squirming and trying to not touch him or he me. He made me put my hands on his shoulders to steady me while he pulled on the stockings. At that time, NM came downstairs to get something, saw what was happening, and threw a fit... at me... for 'making W do bad things to me' and claiming that IF (NM still denying it all) anything happened it was totally my fault for wearing such a fancy dress and frilly underwear (clothing that she put me in) to entice him to treat me this way. It was never spoken of again.

I think W came over less often with his mother after that, though my NM still left him alone with me when he did. After a while he moved overseas for a job. I know other people did other stuff to me after that, though it is all fairly hazy, and that would be a different post.

So yeah, having any type of cloth/mask over my mouth like that is HUGELY problematic for me. And is now a great big trigger as masks are everywhere. I live in a place where people with colds already often wore them (pre-covid-19) so I can stand seeing others wear them, especially when it is not everyone, but for me it is a huge NO, not doing it, no way, no how...

**END OF DETAILS OF CSA (though some general discussions still contained below)**

I have dealt with this problem as much as possible during therapy. I thought things were OK. I had even started a healthy, sexual relationship with someone and it was going well (he knows about my past and we talk and he is careful and gentle and wonderful with and to me). Then BANG covid-19 happens and facial masks happen and I am thrown back into my childhood and helplessness and gagging and getting into trouble for it (and being betrayed by my mother for it). The face masks are almost literally driving me crazy. Oh, and even if I could go there, my therapist retired at the end of December and I have no income and no benefits and no ability (financially, physically, or emotionally) to find a new person.

I am fortunate that the government here is not mandating the facial masks. But some stores are still making it mandatory for entry. In many cases, I can just avoid that location and go to a different place. But earlier this week I needed something for my computer (under warranty) and so there was only one place I could go (ahem-apple-ahem-ahem). I had no choice but to don a mask because there is no entry otherwise, no other place for me to go, and I really need to use my computer as my business partners and I have put as much of our work as possible online to try and save the business and have some income). I even tried explaining it to them, but no go; I had to wear one. I almost threw up, I almost passed out, I definitely had a major dissociative episode. I am still, days later, in emotional flashbacks - oh, and now using my computer is also a triggery thing (thanks apple). I am barely functioning when I most need to function. OH and on top of all of that, masked people give me the stink eye because I am on transit (as little as possible but sometimes necessary) or in the store with no mask on, as if I have no right to get groceries or go to the dentist because I have a psychological injury from childhood abuse. I am afraid that more places will mandate masks and I won't be able to do the most basic of life activities. I have figured out that there is nothing at all that will ever make me put another one of those masks on, but that just narrows my world even, and I am afraid that it will narrow again. I want to tell them to stop and to make it fair, but who to tell? the person who is expert on the topic has already made it official that masks will not be mandatory because many people are unable to wear them - who is going to listen to me? And now, ironically, if I need something from a place requiring masks my only choice will be to get a friend - someone not in my household (my cat cannot go) - to get it, and how does that fit social distancing? BLARGH! I don't know what I am going to do if more places mandate masks... BLARGH!

We have to wear cloth masks on public transport or in shops and we're meant to keep 1.5 - 2 metre distance from others, but plenty of people are beginning not to bother, or never have bothered. The cloth masks or other face-covering we are meant to wear helps those around us so it only works if everybody wears it, and not everybody does. I've even been made fun of for wearing cloth masks.

I'm slightly triggered because FOO especially M used to be very derisive about my 'gullibility' and I think that's what people around me think about us mask-wearers.  :fallingbricks:

I hear where you are coming from but object to the idea that those of us not wearing masks must be 'in denial' or 'not bothering'. I have extremely good reasons for NOT wearing a mask. Terrible things were done to me in childhood and having to wear a mask now is HUGELY TRIGGERING FOR ME. I feel angry that people assume that my not wearing a mask is because I don't care or can't be bothered. I don't wear a mask because I would like to stay in my body and not have to deal with emotional flashbacks for days afterward.

Fortunately, where I live the person in charge of public health recommends masks but is adamant that she would never mandate them because many people have very good reasons for not being able to wear one. Unfortunately a number of businesses have been mandating it for entry to their location, and I fear the more will follow their lead, narrowing my already too narrow world even more and making it impossible for me to accomplish the simplest tasks such as getting groceries or doing my laundry (I go to a location outside my apartment building), etc.

Consider that many of us have VERY GOOD REASONS FOR NOT WEARING A MASK. Reasons that have NOTHING to do with being uncaring or lazy. This physical-distancing has been very difficult for me - for all of us - financially, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually and physically. I am really disappointed that on this type of site, of all places, I need to explain that mental health matters and that triggers are real, and that judging people for things you do not understand is patently unfair. Many of us have good reasons for not wearing masks and those reasons have nothing to do with apathy or laziness.

OK, there is a lot about this social distancing that is freaking me out, including: that I just went self-employed and this was supposed to be my busy season and now instead I have zero income for the foreseeable future, a friend has been notified that he has been in contact with someone with covid-19, all of my anchors are gone (no volunteer work, no weekly walk with my friend, no art class at the community centre, etc, etc.), and the complete inability to legitimately get a hug. (I live alone with my cat), etc.. On top of all of that, my therapist retired at the end of December 2019, and I have been grieving that loss.

But, what I am really, really, really get tired of are the well-meaning posts everywhere on the internet reminding us to care about our 'loving parents' and/or our 'loving families' at home, to remember to not bring the disease to them, to tell them how much we love them just in case, etc., etc., etc. I know these people really are well meaning, but BLARGH!!!! I had to close down a site and walk around my apartment a few times to prevent myself from freaking out and YELLING at someone who posted one of these friendly reminders. Why should I care about these xxx people when they not only failed to care about me, they went out their way to cause me harm?!?!?

In February I celebrated 10 years no contact with my abusive parents and about about half of my many siblings (the ones who took NM's and EF's sides). It was bittersweet, but mostly sweet because I finally chose my Self over their abuse. It was the right decision but it is one that still pains me sometimes. And now, everywhere I look I get reminders that 'everyone else' has loving parents to care about them and to worry about during these crazy times, and admonishments that I ought to be caring about mine... when in the meantime I cannot even get a legitimate hug from anyone. BLARGH! I also often feel hugely guilty because I realized that I would not be that upset if my parents died - I have been grieving their loss, or at least the loss of my illusions of who they were, for years. I feel even guiltier because the first couple times I saw these reminders that my parents could die any minute I thought 'good'. Now, I just think 'please, make it stop!'

I get these people are well meaning. I also get that it is not personal to me. But I really wish they would stop with their constant reminders about caring for and about our 'loving families'. The overwhelming majority of mine was not loving, and was actively harmful. BLARGH! And I cannot yell at the people making these postings because they really do mean well.

Plus, I did not even get to have my 10-year anniversary party with my loving, not-biologically-related-to-me family (I live far away from my biological family so the in-contact siblings would not be able to come either way).

Please, could people send hugs? I really need a hug.

Please too, if anyone has any ideas on what to write in response I would be interesting in hearing your thoughts, even if it is 'don't respond just keep saying BLARGH! to yourself and move on'. Or maybe there is a separate post that I could put on my own wall? 'Please remember some of us never had loving parents, so maybe stop giving that as a motivation for us to stay home (especially because that might be what prompts some of us to join the biggest party that we can find...)'?


Fuzzy-headed question: Is it sensible, useful etc for non-North Americans to sign the petition too? afaik there's a different diagnostic manual in use in Europe.

I am not sure if it matters for the head count for the petition (though others say it does). It does matter if it gets in the DSM, whether the manual is used in a region or not. If a condition is in not in the DSM it is nearly impossible for North American researchers to get funding for it, and often the institutions who would house the research have no interest and give no permission if there is no funding attached. One of the reasons to get it in is so that people who research/would like to research CPTSD in North America can finally get the resources needed to do so. For me, the more people researching the topic the better. If the information or break throughs happen anywhere in the world we all will ultimately benefit.

Thank you Saylor and Kizzie for the follow-up.

I knew that the money goes to the petition site rather than any of us, which made it worse for me rather than better. I tried signing again and apparently, my first try worked because I got a 'you already signed this' message.

I tried to sign the petition, but it looks like it costs a minimum of $3.00 USD to do so.

I am recently self-employed. I am now home because anything - and I literally mean anything - that I would normally do for my businesses is shut down for social distancing. I therefore currently have 0 income and 0 probability of getting income in the near future, combined with a near 100% probability that things will stay shut down during my busy season (April - June).

I do not have $3.00 USD to pay to sign a petition, no matter how much I believe in the cause, nor do I have whatever it would be to convert the $3.00 USD into my currency (definitely more than $3.00) , plus the added fees that I am certain would be charged to do so (I have no paypal account so am just guessing here about the fees).

So, I would very much like to sign the petition but I cannot afford to do so at this time. Sorry.

Therapy / Re: Emdr not clinically indicated for cptsd?
« on: December 31, 2019, 06:50:26 AM »
I'm with Bix. I tried EMDR with an EMDR specialist and it just made me worse.

The problem was compounded by the fact that so many see this is a miracle treatment/cure so negative results get pooh-poohed too easily. On top of that, I was told that I was not responding properly not because the treatment was wrong for me but some combination of I was in denial and/or resistant to being treated (at all) and/or I just needed to find someone who did it properly, I was seeing a therapist so therefore could not know what I was talking about, and/or anything other than the fact that EMDR just made me get worse instead of better. Essentially I was being gaslighted by the people who were supposed to be supportive of me and my treatment needs.

Be careful of EMDR and know that it might work for many but it is also harmful to many of us. If it works for you then more power to you. However, if it is making you worse then it is OK to say so and try something else, no matter what anyone tells you about it.

p.s. I have responded very positively to sensory motor psychotherapy so all of the baloney trying to make it my fault is just that, baloney.

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: Meditation with cptsd
« on: December 31, 2019, 06:36:55 AM »
I have never been able to do the sit-still-and-have-a-blank-mind type of meditation that so many insist is the right way to mediate.

I thought I could not meditate at all until someone close to me who has an interest in the topic pointed out that I do meditate. I go on early morning walks and touch base with myself and my inner children and my feelings, and just let my thoughts and feelings flow through me to see what comes up. It turns out that this is not just a form of meditation but a 'valid' one. So, now I know I can mediate. I just generally need to be in motion while I do it.

Ideas/Tools for Recovery / Re: Re/Claiming Denied Interests!
« on: December 31, 2019, 06:33:44 AM »
This is a good topic - thank you for taking the initiative to start this thread.

I have been doing a lot of art work lately. I have discovered that I really enjoy water colour painting. I have also been playing a lot with mixed media projects, which I take pleasure in doing, especially if I can make one with lots of textures.

This for me is a (re)claiming. I did not know I had any skills in art until I started pushing back on my abusive NM. She is really good at art, so, of course, I was never 'allowed' to be too. Then, I went through a stage of not wanting to do art so to not be good at something that she is good at and to have skills that I likely got from her. But, the call in me to create, to explore, to make art, is just too strong. So, now I do it because I enjoy it and it feels good, and I have can something for me without it being in reaction to my mother either way.

And, I am enjoying it, and it does feel good. I am finding it is often also very therapeutic too - when I do art I am fully in my body and feeling my feelings and expressing them in my projects. There is something to be said for that too.

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / My Therapist is Retiring
« on: February 22, 2019, 03:06:06 PM »
So, I found out last appointment (earlier this week) that my therapist is retiring this summer.

At first I was fairly numb about it. But, now the feelings are hitting me and they are unhappy ones - fear, anger, sadness, and a few other related ones. UGH! I am trying to stay in the moment, and practise self-care, but this week I have slid back somewhat, with dissociation, and emotional flashbacks that I have not had in this way for quite some time. I also have a lot of things going on in my life right now (many of them positive), and a number are looking to come to a head this summer... after my therapist retires. UGH!

That is as far as I have gotten with all of this. UGH!

Frustrated? Set Backs? / steps forward - internal backlash in return
« on: October 12, 2018, 01:29:10 AM »
So, I have been taking a number of positive steps in my life: caring for my health (diet and exercise), networking for my career, making sure to stay in touch with friends, flirting with a guy I like, etc.

And now, big surprise (<sarcasm) I feel like crap. My inner self - those cancerous mental and emotional tumours my NM implanted and fostered in me since I was born are not just festering but actively trying to kill me again. I now feel sad and unmotivated and tired and sad and more sad and more and more sad and the suicidal ideation is back full force (not suicidal but not different enough from suicidal either). And instead of enjoying progress, I just want to go to bed and hide and cry and sleep and cry some more. But I can't because I have work and a life that I am trying to hold on to so I will force myself to keep going enough though I do not want to.

UGH! Does it never stop?!? Can I never just make progress and be happy about it without this internal backlash? It takes enough energy to just take these steps. I have none left to also fight the backlash.


I have had smell flashbacks. I do not always know what they are attached to; I have more 'body memories' than 'cognitive memories' of past events, but I do have smell flashbacks.

It's funny, I do not think I have ever seen smell flashbacks in the literature, and I do periodically browse the CPTSD literature (such as it is). I think that lack is troubling because a) there really is not enough research on CPTSD overall, b) those doing the research are not getting the full story, and c) it makes those of us experiencing phenomenon such as smell flashbacks question our own reality and experiences. Maybe now that CPSTD is in the DSM it will be studied more?

But, anecdotally, yes, smell flashbacks does seem to be a thing for at least some of us with CPTSD.

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