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Messages - woodsgnome

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The Cafe / Re: Today I am grateful for...
« on: August 27, 2015, 02:06:29 PM »
...a nice "trigger"...

Yesterday I had discussed on a thread the fear/insecurity I have dealing with adults. Last night a light bulb came on, though.

For several years I was involved with a pre-school program called head start. I was often commended for my work with the kids, but that was from adults and didn't mean much. Frankly, I didn't care about anyone's approval, I just felt so connected to the kids.

Lots of examples, but the one that "triggered" today's grateful vibe happened once when a friend and I went to eat at a restaurant in a nearby town. It was rather crowded, so I didn't look around at who was there, just where there might be an empty table.

No sooner was I seated, than a mother of one of the kids from the program came right over to me (I'd actually left the job at the time). Anyway, she grabbed my arm and said "there's someone here who just has to see you" and indicated I should come over.

And there was her son, totally BEAMING that he could see me again...that was such a cool reminder of someone I'd clearly accepted "love" from. Analyzing the ins/outs of it doesn't matter; it was just wonderful!

Introductory Post / Re: New Member
« on: August 26, 2015, 10:46:08 PM »
 :wave:, glbreed.

At least you kept looking when those books you were roaming in didn't seem to fit what you were feeling. Sometimes it helps to question the original diagnosis. Because the bulk of this work has to come from what your heart is telling you.

I think that's perhaps the key to using this site. There are a lot of topics and they can be taken in different directions. That's the sad news, first; the this-always-works answers to any of this don't always pop out in dramatic fashion. But, the seeds to what might work or has helped someone else get planted, and can grow. At the very least it's encouraging to realize you're not alone.

The Walker book that KayFly mentioned strikes me the same way. Unlike lots of self-help books, he doesn't give you THE answer, but he first describes the territory and then points out some helpful routes in and through. He prescribes only one certainty: this won't be easy. Plus, unlike lots of writers, he's had to walk the talk in his own life.

I too was sexually/emotionally abused and bullied both at home and later at schools where it was exacerbated by teachers who set my peers against me, too.

I'm still on the's had some more painful twists, but finding this site has helped me get some relief, if not those dramatic answers I spoke of before. Best wishes  :hug: .   

Anxiety (eg General, Social, Panic Attacks) / Re: Eye Contact
« on: August 26, 2015, 10:08:33 PM »
Eye contact...oh my. :sadno:

I've always had problems with this. I don't think I've felt comfortable with much eye contact ever, even with friends. It's not like I look away, I just shy away from the eyes, for most of the emotional reasons that have already been stated elsewhere in this thread.

But even the looking at someone in general would evade me with certain T's. An interesting exception was an early one who quickly surmised that my rather general reason for seeking her counsel only masked the cptsd symptoms she was seeing. When she said "I think what you're really dealing with is long-term ptsd"--my gaze went straight to her eyes, thinking she's hit on the truth, and I needed to see it in her eyes at that moment.

Nothing original in that, probably, but this topic does remind me, and this may/may not apply to many on this forum, that there can be cultural differences in how/why/when eye contact is made, or important, etc.

I live in a region with a large native tribal influence, and while it's changed lots over the years, there used to be a definite pattern of implied "rules" that one shouldn't use eye contact in certain ways. Without going into a laundry list of what situations dictated which form of eye contact, I only refer to it as a consideration to keep in mind.

While my emotional reactions to eye contact is pretty similar to many of yours, it seems like maybe some of the cultural factors have filtered into it, in my case.

Successes, Progress? / Re: A Small Act of Kindness Goes a Long Way
« on: August 26, 2015, 08:48:20 PM »
Quoting Southbound:

"I know it's me, avoiding other people and assuming no one wants to be with me. How to get over that? I must have been doing it forever..."

For some, this would be an invitation to all those poor cliches that start with "just get over it." To them, the "how" is easy, well-intended but meaningless to those of us trying so long to emerge from this pit called cptsd. Many times I think I've turned the "I'm not worthy" spigot off, but find the pressure too hard to turn the knob all the way over. It can't be forced, and certainly never right away.

I'm always so sad/angry/hopeless that we had to be wary of our surroundings so much that we couldn't even take in the reactions of people who really DID care. As if the original abusers didn't take enough already, to have to stamp that little extra into our innocence.

I can resolve to see better when people express good things about me in future, but that's never held for long, before the pattern of "I don't deserve" kicks right back on.

I don't know the sure way to get to the self-acceptance part, and maybe I'll never make it all the way even. Maybe the real comfort is just knowing there are what you've been hearing all of a sudden. And those positive echoes you heard from more than one person. I hope you take it all in, Southbound--their sincere expressions didn't happen in a vacuum.


Sadly, I concur with this 100%. It's like I just assume that other people, anyone, will be negative vis-a-vis anything I do. It's insidious, and the worst, so normal for me.

If I don't assume they're mad, it's like they might very well be, any moment, no matter what. Or they'll disapprove of something; if not mad, perhaps recall a time when I fell short of the mark. Or I'll be misunderstood. The list is pretty lengthy...even, let's see, someone calls me and says "we haven't seen you in a bit, why don't you come over--we need our [my other name] fix."

And I know it doesn't show much here, but people do seem to regard me as a funny sort they enjoy having around, but my suspicion bulb is always lit--nudging me with "yeah, right, they're just saying that; they're saying what they think you want to hear," etc., ad infinitum.

I put together an acting gig for a dinner/theater each October. It' a pretty big undertaking, and gets consistent rave reviews from everyone; but afterwards I'm hunting for something, anything, that must have gone wrong, somebody may not have liked, had a problem with that I can assume was my fault. Then the cycle of my mind's swirl turns on me, and I'm so angry at myself, but everybody else loved everything about what I did. Grrrrrrrr....

Oh yeah :yes:, it's still that ongoing project--to trust, to feel, to not just be me, but to have the self-compassion that allows me to accept "me". And for sure it  :pissed: me off.

So let's start from here as we climb towards that true acceptance of ourselves, maybe even for the first time.  :hug:

Successes, Progress? / Re: A Small Act of Kindness Goes a Long Way
« on: August 26, 2015, 12:19:58 AM »
Southbound, good to see you here again :wave:.

I've had similar experiences; I've always felt out-of-sorts about relating to people, and then something dramatic happened to make me, well, at least realize that maybe I'm mistaken to think I'm unworthy, and/or that no one cares.

The best counter-example of my fears/suspicions happened 3 years ago, when a couple who were once employees but mostly friends of mine heard my vehicle had "bit the dust" and gave me, no strings attached (and free), their 2nd car. "You...are...loved" was what they insisted was the sole reason. They knew that it was very hard for me to take that in, and their gift was their way of reinforcing it. They both died shortly after, but their gift reminds me every day of what has been a hard acceptance curve for me.

Like you, mine has been a long process of shedding the isolationist stance of "who, me?" and then something like that happens. It's a process of building the trust that relationships can be safe, and can even spring from that hard-to-grasp unconditional love.

Thanks, Southbound, and KayFly, for your reminders that maybe it's not all gloom, that maybe we really can connect, even when it seems so out of reach and that there was, indeed, a connection, and it was from the heart.

General Discussion / Re: More than one T
« on: August 25, 2015, 12:12:34 AM »
I've never had 2 T's simultaneously, although for a while I attended a series retreats hosted by a person who wasn't an "official" T. She was as qualified as any T, in my uneducated observation, had a very caring and knowledgeable approach. These were 5-day intensive 5-day retreat-style events limited to 6-12 people. Not quite the same as 1 F2F T session per week. The best part was her fee--the client decided! She admitted it was a gamble but always did alright doing it that way.   

I recall telling a couple of T's I was doing the outside workshops, and their response was sort of "that's nice, hope it helps; let's see now, your fee today is..."

I do admire your skepticism that surfaces about T's; I feel the same bumpy sensations about whether they're in it for their clients or know the rest.

Along those lines, my own feeling at this stage is that I'd tell the current T what was going on, and most importantly, why. It might be a good gauge of how much she's really tuned in to understanding your needs, given that she's made it plain she's unavailable other than via the sessions. If she's put out by what you're doing, after you explain, it might be a sign she considers her way the only way.

Thanks for posting about the online possibilities. I'm currently without a T, muddling along. Even the T's I had probs with at least were a sounding board, sometimes. Unless something changes, there are no good options for local "live" T's here presently. Plus I never seem able to get past my natural hesitation around people, T or not, in person.

Introductory Post / Re: Hamster Wheel
« on: August 24, 2015, 09:51:16 PM »
I hope you can be alright with the "gut spill". It sounds like you have some justified spilling. Many of us feel embarrassed but there's a point when the nice facades we'd all like to project spill over. Sounds,and is, awful; but if it doesn't spill it hurts all the more inside.     

You brought up the fear of passing on what you've experienced as a family legacy. I've read quite a bit lately on how genetics isn't a good predictor, or at least a sure one, of what really happens in any family line. It's not that robotic, there are too many variables, in biological terms but especially the emotional realm.

Your awareness of the very legacy you're afraid to pass on may actually be a big asset in considering whether or not to chase your real dreams. You expressed it well when you said that you: "Did lots and lots of reading and recognised EVERYTHING. Such relief that who I seemed to be was a healthy response to an unhealthy situation."

You recognized the legacy, but now you could be the turning point in that heritage, it seems. Who you are has already moved beyond to the next step. The wishes and dreams are always yours, regardless of any legacy that can be left where it belongs...back along the trail. Legacies are past events, period.

I always liked this saying: The Past is a Foreign Country. You don't live there. Anyone can choose to hold on, of course; but it may not be good for who we really are--someone who sees a new way, and it looks pretty good, so we forge our own way ahead. We've doubts, fears, but also knowledge that we truly can find our own path. It might be a truer legacy than the one we thought we were doomed to repeat.

All of the observations in this thread I can relate to, big-time.

I chose an isolated way of life long ago, but the triggers/ef's are unpredictable and border on absurd. Except they're not absurd, they're my "normal".

I'm still learning that it's okay to be my "normal" and not someone else's. That's when I just want to stop and cry 'cause I also hate myself for feeling that way, as if any of it was my fault.

***I know this is a thread on triggers, but there are a couple of references in the next 2 paragraphs that might trigger someone else***

It gets pretty bad. I can be off in a woods, but remember a time when some bad things happened years back during a school excursion to a wooded park. That will lead to memories of the bullying on the trip to and from; that of course can bring images back of many other times and settings associated with that school; my present-day peaceful saunter can deteriorate quickly into unease.

Another time, as a young adult, I was just relaxing alongside a park trail in an urban area, when I was grabbed by a stranger I didn't know was around. Although I was able to escape, it's memory is a horrific trigger. Even when I'm around where I live, 100+ miles distant from that spot, just the woodsy setting can trigger the panic--the beauty and peace I seek destroyed. 

It's pretty bad to be triggered not just around people (almost 100% sure thing for me; afraid of everyone), but off alone. The ef's are omnipresent--whoa!!!--trigger word for me right there, and it popped in place just from that school memory--my adult abusers used that word to make you fear the deity who loved you so much he/it scrutinized everything you did 24/7 your whole life. It's awful how this stuff invades the most peaceful stroll nowadays, alone.

When I used to travel about by car more, it was habitual for me to worry whether the person in the back seat of the car 4 lanes over might not approve of me and that I better be nice; they probably don't like me. But the reality is that of course they probably never saw me in the first place.

Words, places, even peace and beauty, all triggers. If I ever wrote my autobiography, I think I'd call the book "Triggers".

Lately I've been reading lots about accepting--not tolerating, but accepting and going from there, 'cause you have to live life no matter the past. I guess I do accept that I can't stop the mind's waterfall. I just have to watch that the bad stuff doesn't pool up and stagnate when it crashes over the precipice; that I let the cascade descend into a fresh, precious stream of life going back to the sea.

So I hope we can all find that fresh stream.

The Cafe / Re: Today I feel ..... (Part 2)
« on: August 23, 2015, 05:57:52 PM »
I feel...wonder, strength, and gratitude...

The it is I can bounce back from being so sad and spent lately? I know the why of my emotional fatigue, but the wonder is knowing there might be a break in those low-hanging clouds, at least for a while. Which leads to...

...the gratitude is for the strength that supports the wonder...and that strength comes from the people on this forum...I just wish I had more to give back than some clumsy word-choices. . So...let me at least try this:



Symptoms - Other / Re: The Ache
« on: August 23, 2015, 11:37:13 AM »
Thank you, everyone, for the kindness you've shown here. I'm  overwhelmed with the depth of care from people who “get it”.

I'm also very tired. It's almost as if what I called The Ache has notched it up a bit lately...and while “this too shall pass” seems further down the road than ever, I can only keep traveling. Maybe The Ache will tire of the trip and leave me alone; alas, that's only a wish, 'cause it's never shown any sign of doing that.

A favourite song of mine concludes with this line: “you came when you were needed, I could not ask for more.” That's what your messages were to my weary needed. Thanks again.

Symptoms - Other / The Ache
« on: August 22, 2015, 12:12:02 PM »
After all this journeying with EF's and triggers and all those labeled symptoms, it seems like there's only one true constant. It's what I call The Ache.

I've always felt there's a part of me being dragged around. It's irritating and I've tried all kinds of techniques, programs,  books, this/that/other in efforts to understand, diminish, get rid of The Ache, and it sticks like perma-glue.

As if it's saying, “you're stuck with me, kid. And I ain't goin' away.” Then I rage and cry and that only seems to please this monster. But I have to live, so I travel on, whether The Ache is there or not. Not there? Wonder what that's like.

With or without a name, The Ache just stays and I can't shake it loose. I can be humming the happiest tune, walking in a peaceful forest, any place of joy or distraction; and the Ache is always there. I've begged it to leave. Nope. I've written its name on pieces of paper, even strips of bark, burned 'em, and it pops right back. The Ache has its own magical powers.

The Ache feels numb and heavy, and I cannot recall a time it wasn't present. I tell myself I accept that, as what else can I do? But I'm not sure I really believe that. Tamping down expectations seems helpful, but I'm so sad when I realize my only takeaway true friend remains The Ache.

Introductory Post / Re: I'm new
« on: August 21, 2015, 04:22:53 PM »
Hi, tiggerd2,

I've looked at both your posts, and note via your story something I've gone through--I think I reach a certain stage of recovery, walk further down the road, and realize--I left a lot of help back there (like the books you mentioned in your 2nd post), and now I wish I hadn't. And I don't have a support system anymore.

So you've established the "now" starting point. Really, it's what we all have to do, it seems. That may sound like another silly old advice crumb, but I've had to relearn it several times.

Arriving "without a support system", as you say, is more than a tad scary; the "just give up" line tries to lure us over the edge, but then we reach out, and here you are. So--WELCOME.

We've wandered into this support system from a lot of different trails. But now that we're here, it's become each of our "now" starting points, I guess. I feel overwhelmed much of the time, but still trying to fight off the doubts, fears, and low self-esteem (and low self-compassion) to see where the new "now" trail goes.

On post #2, you regretted all the books you threw out. I thought I'd thrown out one I had a long time ago; one that I thought was nice but too silly, and moved on to the more "serious" tomes. But in my tons of books, I didn't see the silly one where I thought it might be, so gave up looking for it.

So the other day, I discovered it hadn't been thrown out, and was sitting on a shelf like it was saying "gimme me another look, fella". So I did. And I still found parts a little silly, but not off-putting anymore, and I wanted/needed some silliness anyway. It had some really cute drawings--many show the evil-looking gremlin (your inner critic) analyzing your every move while you learn to ignore him.

Here I am yapping on when I haven't mentioned the book's title, which is...TAMING YOUR GREMLIN, by Richard D. Carson, 1983, but reprinted since). The premise of the book boils down to 3 points: simply notice, choose and play with options, and be in process.

Good to see you here, tiggerd2. Look around and play with options. The past isn't prologue, as I hear too's past. Oh, and my cat is also a core part of my "support" system. :bigwink:

Inner Child Work / Re: Fear of IC Work
« on: August 21, 2015, 03:43:09 PM »

First, it seems you've established enough trust with your T to give this a go. Remember that trust level and it may help bring the fear level down. You have the ultimate say in trusting to travel into unknown territory.

And, as you said:

 "i made her promise we would go really slowly and if i freaked out we could stop."

Precisely. You've informed her you have certain boundaries, and they need to be honoured. Following on the trust referred to above, it's a good start; you know your needs, and even more so your fears, and the two of you are willing to work on this together. All you can do now is try, and you and she know the the famous saying, take one step at a time.

Hoping for a best step forward  :hug:   

General Discussion / Re: Talk therapy
« on: August 21, 2015, 03:03:03 PM »
stillhere said about the current T:

"back then, I was minimizing my story.  This time, I'm trying to be more self-directive.  The problem is that people in therapy aren't in the best place to do that."

I wish I'd done that more when I was in T. Back when I started, I was resistant to it anyway; being a do-it-yourself sort, I guess; but the pain of living without some outside observations drove me to seek relief, even if I didn't fully trust it. 

Lots of hem-hawing through sessions, not enough focus or even distracting, albeit perhaps well-intended, chit-chat from the T. The sessions disintegrated entirely when my last T's chit-chat resorted to his in-depth discussion of chainsaws or life in the woods or...

My own attitude would shift, though, and maybe that threw the T off too; uh-oh, an old mistake of mine just kicked in, while typing this--shift the blame to myself, it's my fault again. Yikes :doh:

The deal with me is that I tend to start scared of anyone (T or not), warily figure how to be safe, and too often fall from my freeze perch right into the fawn trap of "what should I be like" in this role of client/patient rather than the "I am" person I can be away from the T chambers. That risks the old kick-yourself routine and it goes downhill from there, another near-hour wasted.

Like Trace, I've looked into on-line therapy and will be keeping an eye on that thread to see if anyone has experience there.

Thank you, stillhere, for that great observation; it's all about making T visits more attentive, I guess. In my own case, if I ever get back to T, it's what do I really need, now--overriding my people fears and fawning that always hit me before...although I've also had numerous confidentiality issues in the past, too. There's a thread about confidentiality in the therapy section.

Funny aside, get to my last T's office, I had to pass by an obvious "children's" area with scaled-down chairs and such. Sometimes I wondered if I shouldn't just stop there and have the T meet me in the kid's zone. Arrested development writ large, or something of that sort.

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