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Messages - Jdog

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Inner Child Work / Inner child and bullies
« on: March 26, 2015, 11:40:23 AM »
I was bullied by other children and by my own Father as a kid, and have experienced bullying by other adults on my job.  I am also a high school teacher, and guess what - some of my students (shocking, I know) are bullies.  I sit on an anti-bullying task force within my school district, help kids at my school who are targets, etc.  All this by way of saying that bullying is front and center on my radar.

Last night, I was very tired but trying to do some grading anyway.  I felt myself begin to go into an EF - began overeating, almost called my wife "Mom"  (glad I caught that one) and finally went to bed.  I awoke a few minutes ago with a familiar scared feeling in my stomach - the onset of a panic attack.  I decided to try something new - began talking to inner child.  I asked her what was wrong - what she was afraid of.  Immediately, the image of one of my students came into my head - a boy who is clearly troubled.  I hadn't thought about it this way before, but he is the type of kid that terrorized me when I was younger.  I asked inner child whether she was afraid of this bully....she nodded.....and the feeling of panic subsided.  Very interesting.  I guess perhaps one way of looking at my work in schools is as a way of connecting with myself and healing some wounds - at least being attentive to the triggers and acknowledging them.

Don't know whether this may help anyone else, but it was something new for me so thought I might share.

The Cafe / Re: Today I realized that...
« on: March 24, 2015, 08:49:22 PM »

Two thumbs up for finding your own pace!  I find that staying with my own rhythm, whatever it happens to be at any one time, is very challenging.  I think this is true because I have so often tended to look at myself from outside-in....trying to see myself as I thought others saw me.   I spoke of myself in the third person as a toddler,("she wants this, she sees that") which may not be all that unusual except I think others may have shifted to first person pronouns eventually (ok, I did EVENTUALLY - but didn't quite make the 180 degree turn and feel my own feelings). 

So good for you for taking a stand on your own behalf!  Huzzah :hug: :applause:

General Discussion / Re: Anxiety, Work and Self-Acceptance
« on: March 24, 2015, 08:28:28 PM »
Rrecovery -

Feel the burn, hear the roar, fully human and ready to rumble!

Thanks much for the encouragement, both of you!

Glad to help, and I should be the one thanking YOU since writing those words also helped me remember to just keep moving along through challenges I am having this week.   :hug:

I was relieved to read the discussions about problems with self referencing on another thread, as they put me right where I need to be in my own healing at the moment.  I have been thinking about my Mom a lot lately - passed away nearly 3 years ago - missing her very much.  We all truly do our best in life, and she was no exception but our relationship was very codependent and some of my earliest memories were of her talking to others about me and for me without giving me either the need of a chance to talk for myself.  I was her little showpiece to the world and at the same time was a sure source of displeasure and agony to my Father.  Very confusing way to grow up, and one which often left me wondering what I should be doing or thinking at any given time since the treatment I received at home was so very uneven. 

So here I am, 56 years old and trying to grow up.  Trying to know what I actually feel about things and then practicing acceptance once I determine what those feelings are.  It does not help to be living with my same-sex spouse who has almost no ability in the self referencing department and whom relies upon me as her rock at all times (even when I am tired or feel like crap).  I do love her very much but it's a lot of pressure just learning to be the real "me" let alone being someone else's constant source of good feelings. 

In any case, I have made a small amount of progress recently by becoming aware of my extreme reliance upon the email contact with my t for validation of my reality.  I wrote to her yesterday and told her of this new awareness.  I also chose to take a couple of sick days this week as I have a cold and am a teacher of very demanding 9th graders who require that I be on top of my game.  Luckily, I have an excellent student teacher this year who can step in at times like this (a true blessing).

Taking time to check in with myself - inner child as well as the adult me - to learn what I truly need and not running from those needs is a new thing.  It's really hard.  Self validation is going to take practice, but I am sure it will be more than worth the effort in the end.

Introductory Post / Re: Newcomer nerves
« on: March 23, 2015, 03:35:05 PM »
Welcome Boatsailrose!

You are not alone, and we all need help in recovery so glad you found this community. Recovery is a journey and not one we can assign a specific time limit on, so no worries.  Just take one step at a time and know that this is a safe place for connecting and a place to help and be helped.

Hope you have a peaceful day.


I love the fact that you are so positive about your growth and recovery, both what is happening now and what will take place in the future.  That is exactly what will see you through some of the more challenging aspects of the process.  My t told me over and over to remember that we are always doing the best we are capable of in all situations, and it took me such a long time to believe that this even MIGHT be true.  I thought she was just doing "therapist talk" -or like that nonsense "don't worry, be happy" stuff.  But guess what?  As soon as I entertained the thought more seriously, it helped me to forgive myself for not being perfect enough and helps me move on and get more into the present moment.  So I guess it doesn't actually have to be completely true so long as it helps....

You are deserving of all the good you can manifest for yourself in this life.  You have what it takes to discover that goodness and to begin seeing yourself through that lens more and more often.  The daily commitment to do so is the most important tool you will likely have to discover how amazing you really are!  As a runner, you know about getting through the struggle and finally finding your "sweet spot" when the breathing becomes easier and you know that this is where you belong. Lace up those shoes and watch the magic unfold!


I second what cat said about using a bit of this and a bit of that as you heal.  I was discussing the topic of triggers with a woman who does bodywork for me, and we talked about how the triggers never really disappear but one's toolbox gets larger and more varied over time.  Over time, you will get to a point of noticing self-aversion and negative thoughts before they become larger enough to overwhelm you and you will remember what works to soothe you.  It may be a walk, a warm bath, reading, listening to certain music, talking with a girlfriend who "gets" you, etc.  it takes daily practice, and it sounds like you have the commitment to move in the right direction.

For me, my Cptsd and codependence came front and center when my Mom died 3 years ago.  It has been a steady climb - not always in a straight line from point to point, but more like a circuitous path up a mountain- and really tough some days.  But when you can look and see the beautiful view from a new and better vantage point, you will know that all of the baby steps have Ben worthwhile.

Thanks for reaching out for help - like Blanche Dubois in "Streetcar", we rely upon the kindness of strangers here!  Take good care of yourself and keep healing.

Thanks for that perspective, Fairyslipper.  In my case, playing violin was my "thing" and I did have support from Mom but Dad told me that I needed to give it up because I just was not good enough to make a living doing that.  To prove him wrong, I majored in music and actually did make a very small living for a couple of years just playing and teaching music.  It didn't matter to him, though, since nothing I ever did pleased him.  Not straight A's in school, not being a "good" girl, not anything.  Sadly, he died when I was in my early 20's and we never had a chance to try to get to a better place.

Yes, I think that I tend to diminish my victories at times by making myself look bad in my own eyes.  I like your suggestion to write the victories down and not seek approval from another as it is not outer praise but inner praise that matters.

Thanks again, and BTW I have taken up running fairly seriously in my (now) middle age.  Great stress buster and a way to work on mindfulness.

The Cafe / Re: Today I realized that...
« on: March 19, 2015, 01:34:02 PM »
Waking up and feeling defective is just one of those storms I may occasionally have to weather from time to time and not even emails from my kindly therapist will keep it from happening....but  I am ok just the way I am DESPITE my vicious inner critic and lonely inner child (who are sometimes one and the same)!

Hi all-

I have been aware of my Cptsd and working on recovery daily for about 2 1/2 years now, and can see that I am making progress.  One thing that still is problematic is my tendency to feel undeserving of the victories in my life.  When I do something about which I feel some sense of pride, I jump almost immediately into some form of self-sabotage.  My favorite method at the moment is overeating, and though I am very fit and work out daily I can certainly out eat the calories burned and wind up miserable.  I look at the scales and see the proof that I am, indeed, defective.  These are the times when I most need self compassion, and ironically are the times I most deny that very kindness to myself.

Do others go through this as well?  I am not sure why successes such a trigger for me but perhaps my lifelong tendency to overachieve and yet never feel "enough" is part of this cycle.  In any case, I am very tired of it and want to set myself free from this destructive habit of mind.

You showed INCREDIBLE courage in the face of a most humiliating and triggering situation!!  EXCELLENT JOB!!!



I am glad to see so many thoughtful and well thought- out responses to this horrible situation.  I think that we who struggle with Cptsd issues are not only more sensitive to workplace bullying but also tend to be more frequent targets.  I won't go on at length about my own situation but will say that I was a target of three bullies who also happened to be my superiors for two long, miserable years.  The irony was that they were also messing other things up so badly that all three ended up being transferred - but not before substantial damage was done to me and four others on our staff (one of whom is now deceased - I'm convinced that even with prior health problems these bullies were the nails In her coffin).

My potentially helpful advice is that anyone experiencing this may want to check out the Workplace Bulling Institute (workplace for more support, resources, and advice.

Hang in there - you quite obviously are not alone but it sure can feel like it when you have to come into contact with these "sub humans" on a daily basis, :hug:

Such an interesting topic!  When I was a kid, my Dad used to refer to me as "Walter Mitty", and I had no idea what that meant at the time....apparently I zoned out quite often.  My memories of playing my violin sometimes are just that it gave me a chance to escape from everything and I wasn't always even thinking about or feeling the music...just kind of making to-do lists in my head.  So I was essentially escaping within my own escape from reality- anything to avoid my feelings.  Other times, I did genuinely feel something in the music but that was not my "go to" as a kid. 

I guess maybe my love of running (the physical kind) is a more honest and direct application of my "flight" typology.  On good days, I do feel connected to myself while running and have made some improvements in that direction - it's not always about running from something.  Anyways- glad to read what others have to say about their dissociation.

Successes, Progress? / What recovery feels like
« on: March 15, 2015, 02:36:41 AM »
I think this is what recovery feels like.  Today, I went to a weekend workshop for which I had signed up online, using a code I was given by a co-teacher.  Something went wrong in the system, and when I arrived at the workshop site there was no name tag for me and no record that I had signed up.  The woman in charge of sign-in told me not to worry about it and to go ahead and go to the sessions I had wanted to attend.  I felt like crap - wanted to hide, had a total EF brought on by abandonment issues (which got triggered by something unrelated last night also).  I walked around, trying not to make eye contact with anyone ( I didn't have a name tag and they all did have them).  I took a deep breath and noticed that some people had hand-written tags on.  After a few minutes, I made my way back to the registration table and told the woman there that I might as well make a name tag (would have been nice had she pointed out that option earlier,but never mind). 

I started feeling better, the fog in my head started to lift.  My co-teacher showed up and Imtold him what happened, and he had righteous anger over the mistake.  We went into the opening session to hear he keynote speaker.  The speaker was one of my personal heroes - a woman I had worked to elect to the state assembly who went on to become the first (and only) female Chief of Education in our state.  Now retired, she was speaking out as an advocate for school gardens.  I felt better yet.  After the address, I attended a smaller session during which she answered questions from the attendees.  I didn't really have a question, but at the very end of her session I raised my hand and told her how grateful I was to have been able to play a small part in her election to the Assembly in 1986, and how proud I am of the fine work she has done and continues to do for the citizens in California.  I went up afterwords and gave her a hug.  My hero told me that she was glad I am teaching at-risk high schoolers.

The day kept getting better.  I met some truly wonderful people, got new ideas for my program, and even had several people thank me for helping them with different things. 

Tomorrow, I hope to set a PR in a half marathon I am running.  If not, I at least plan to feel satisfied that I once again tried something difficult without quitting or backing away from discomfort.

Some days are harder than others, but I am pretty sure that this is what recovery feels like!

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