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Messages - blues_cruise

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1
The Cafe / Re: The Potting Shed
« on: March 07, 2020, 01:29:47 PM »
Aww, I love robins and blue tits, I think they might be my favourite little birds. Robins because they're cheeky and have so much character and blue tits because they're just so beautiful. One of my favourite memories in the garden is when I was digging and a little robin kept coming along and sitting on the fork handle, singing and keeping an eye out for worms. So sweet.  ;D

I love this time of year, I think the anticipation of spring and the tiny little signs that start appearing is just as good as when it all arrives.

2
General Discussion / Re: self care
« on: March 07, 2020, 01:22:50 PM »
Oh wow, that list is fantastic. The social media detox is a really good one, I feel so much healthier mentally when I step back from it. Thanks for sharing, notalone.  :)

3
General Discussion / Re: How do you grieve?
« on: March 07, 2020, 01:17:07 PM »
Thank you so much Hope. :hug: It really is such a comfort that someone relates and understands the horrible, weird feelings stemming from emotional incest, though I'm really sorry that you had to experience it too. I think the emotional incest is the thing I struggle with most and I find it so confusing. It's something that anyone could easily write off as me being too sensitive about if I were to openly talk about it to people who haven't been through it. It was covert comments and an unsettling atmosphere/discomfort rather than outright sexual abuse, and yet I know how disgusting it made me feel and he even recalling it makes me feel shame and disgust.

It does feel good to get in touch with my real emotions and to express them healthily, as you say, it is so restrictive and negative to not feel safe enough to do so. I wasn't allowed to make noise as a child either and I remember being yelled at just for happily skipping, which I look back on and just feel so sad about. I now make a point of skipping about in my kitchen as a big "nerrr" to him.  ;D ;)

 :)

4
General Discussion / How do you grieve?
« on: March 01, 2020, 02:22:57 PM »
I was triggered today in the kitchen when I was cooking breakfast and my husband manoeuvred around me collecting things to load up in the dishwasher. I felt discomfort and a bit of revulsion and I knew I was emotionally flashing back to living alone with my father as a teenager. Emotional incest was rampant and I never liked being in a dressing gown or pyjamas around him (as I was this morning, but with my lovely, safe husband). After my mum died it always felt like he treated me as a substitute wife rather than a daughter and he had no concept of giving me space or privacy. It always felt icky and wrong, particularly with the covert sexual remarks or personal comments that would sometimes come up.

I was really agitated and wanted to process this flashback, and I ended up trying out the steps in this article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/mindful-anger/201804/9-steps-healing-childhood-trauma-adult It ended up with me crying my heart out and then feeling a sense of peace and true validation of what I had gone through. This is the first time I have ever managed this and it sounds odd to say that I was thrilled at crying, but it felt so good to finally release this emotion and grieve!

I'm now wondering if anyone else has successfully experienced this. I come from a family where expressing emotion was just not the done thing and I would be ridiculed as a small child for crying. My SIL remarked at my mother's funeral when I was a teen that she was shocked that myself and my brothers didn't cry, and looking back I'm shocked myself that I was so closed off because I remember having a lump in my throat and wanting, no needing, to cry but feeling like it was unsafe to show so much emotion in front of people. I feel like everything I was ever taught in my family regarding emotion was just so wrong and toxic.  :no:

5
Friends / Re: Letting go of a friend
« on: March 01, 2020, 02:05:59 PM »
Thank you both so much.   :) :grouphug:

Yes, I think I've been considering other people's needs and abandoning my own for far too long and the more I consider it the less I think I'm just being too sensitive. I think with this particular person too I'd been pretending to be something that I'm not just to feel some kind of acceptance. It's the first time I've really started to look at what's best for me and my personality. I'd kind of known for a while that she had really been taking me for granted and been quite shallow about it, but I assumed that this was better than losing another person in my life. Turns out that it's not particularly better though as I feel that a shallow connection uses up such valuable energy that would be better spent elsewhere. I don't think she's a bad person and we're simply very different people, so the idea of boundaries in this situation has been a long time coming. Weeks have gone by since I last saw her and neither of us have felt compelled to text the other, so I think that says it all really!

The word "no", boundaries and reflecting on my own needs seems to be becoming way more of a thing for me nowadays, in some ways there is a sadness at letting go of what no longer feels right but also a feeling that it's the natural course.  :)

6
Friends / Letting go of a friend
« on: February 26, 2020, 08:32:31 PM »
I don't know if I expect too much, if I'm over-sensitive or whether it's the opposite entirely and I'm growing a bit more of a backbone. Basically I feel quite discarded by a 'friend' and have done so for a while. If I text her then it can be up to a week before she will respond, throughout which time she will have been messaging other people, going out with all her other friends and using Facebook. She's a massive extrovert. So on that front I'm pretty much just low down on her list of importance. It's got worse over the last few months and I don't really see much point in bothering with someone who blatantly can't be that bothered with me. I'm not perfect and can take a while to respond to a message if I'm feeling particularly low so I've been very tolerant, however this is tolerance framed by the understanding of how mental health can make a person disconnect. I can only have so much tolerance and benefit of the doubt and realistically I know she's just using me.

The big thing (or at least it feels big to me) and something that really upset me was her completely forgetting my birthday and not even realising until a few days later. Our birthdays are close together with hers being at the beginning of November and mine towards the end. Even though I was really struggling with anxiety I made the effort to go to her party where there were a lot of people I didn't know (my anxiety is social and this was really triggering for me), spent a long time and a fair bit of money picking out gifts for her and wrapping them nicely and spent more money and time preparing some party food to bring along. I didn't expect her to go to all that effort for me because I didn't have a party or anything like that, but she couldn't be bothered to even give me a late birthday card.

So I've been debating whether there's any point maintaining any illusion of 'friendship' or to bother making any more effort with someone who I've started to feel has really given me little reason to care anymore and the answer is no. I'm feeling so done with it. It's very similar to the feeling I had when I couldn't take any more contact with uNF, like both my brain and heart get on to the same page and say no to allowing anyone to take advantage of me. It's good in a way because I'm starting to see more of my worth and not hold on to the wrong people just for fear of being alone. I don't think I'm being unreasonable, am I? That's the thing, this is so new to me and I've always been such a people pleaser.

Just felt like I needed to get this off my chest, it's been on my mind so much! My brother's also massively distanced himself from me and barely bothers to contact me either. On the one hand it's hard not to blame and shame myself and assume all the responsibility (the old mindset I guess), but on the other I know I'm a kind, good-hearted person and don't deserve to feel like that.

7
Successes, Progress? / Re: Breathed through a panic attack
« on: February 21, 2020, 08:47:36 AM »
Thank you all.  :) :grouphug:

8
Successes, Progress? / Breathed through a panic attack
« on: January 27, 2020, 01:41:31 PM »
I'm currently easing myself off anti-depressants which I had started taking about 3 years ago due to depression, anxiety and panic attacks. I'm doing it extremely slowly, reducing my intake by 5mg per month so as to help my brain get used to it. I've been learning a lot about the reptilian brain and the prefrontal cortex just recently (thank you, Bessel van der Kolk!) and it's really helping me to understand what is happening in my brain when something triggers me into panic mode, and how important it is to self-soothe and try to keep my breathing calm. I'll be confronted with feelings of panic more as I come off the anti-depressants and I'm hoping that with the coping mechanisms I've been developing over the years that I can learn to take the sting out of them and feel more in control without medication.

The other day at work my boss caught me off guard and queried something, which turned out to be a human error I had made. Of course, my amygdala registered this as a threat from an authority figure and kicked off into fight or flight mode, triggering flushing, tense muscles, mouth dryness and tears behind my eyes. Amazingly though, I recognised what was happening and knew that my best option was to breathe through it. I made a conscious choice to attempt to untense my body, regulate my breathing and speak kindly to myself and within a couple of minutes it had passed! I couldn't believe how much more in control I felt compared to years ago when this first started happening.

I'm not shaming myself either for being so obviously distressed in front of my boss because none of this is my fault and I can't control my amygdala or other people's reactions. I've only just started to understand what's happening in my brain myself, so I can hardly expect other people to immediately understand! I can only control my own reaction to it and to continue self-care and coping techniques.  :yes:

And with that, it's time for yoga.  :))

9
Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Re: Two Great Quotes
« on: January 18, 2020, 12:21:06 PM »
I love these. :) I think these quotes can apply to both the survivor and perpetrator of abuse too. The perpetrator has the option of owning their actions if they choose to and ultimately our own responsibility is to protect ourselves from their poor behaviour when they choose not to.

10
Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« on: January 18, 2020, 12:12:08 PM »
Quote
Ultimately he hurt me time and time again with no acknowledgement or remorse and it just became unbearable.

You've hit the nail on the head when it comes to forgiveness for me. I used to feel so guilty, ashamed and as I later came to realize, angry when I would read something about forgiveness. For me forgiving would be not only be turning my back on younger me and what she endured, but might invite more trauma because like your F my NPD parents  do not acknowledge their behaviour nor feel remorse and that will never change.  If I don't keep my distance and keep that in my mind the abuse will repeat itself if I open that door again.

I do feel compassion now I know my parents developed NPD because of a lot of trauma in their lives as children, but I find I have to be careful not to let that overtake me so I do continue to protect myself.

Yes, absolutely.  :yes: Having done a fair bit of reading on trauma I do recognise that my father shows a lot of signs of having been traumatised himself and I feel empathy for that because I know how horrible it is to go through, however I also recognise that we all have a choice and that it's not my responsiblity to take the emotional blows for him. Rather than do the enormous amount of self-reflection and healing work needed to break the cycle he instead chose to self destruct and carry out the very same abuses to all his children. This just baffles me as I can't imagine why on an earth a parent would do this to their children with the full knowledge of how horrible it is. Any empathy is just non-existant or completely miniscule. I think acknowledging his pain is as close to 'forgiveness' as I can get without enduring contact and the sacrifice of my self-identity that would go with it.

11
Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Re: Feeling shame over no contact
« on: January 01, 2020, 07:44:31 PM »
Thank you so much for the supportive replies and happy new year to you all.  :)

Reacting to this is completely understandable Blues, TBH it is why I am apprehensive about the proliferation of trauma coaches on the internet and cautious about what they advise.  We're (survivors of relational trauma) just beginning to understand finally we need not feel guilty or ashamed and that in fact staying in contact with our abusers may inflict additional trauma and/or trigger old trauma to the point where we cannot feel/think clearly enough to recover and heal.

Thanks Kizzie and yes, absolutely. I mean, I'm all down for forgiveness which is what this coach endorses, but I think boundaries and self-care are just as important, if not more so. There's no point in forgiving a parent for past wrongdoing only to have them attempt to do it all over again. Plus I don't think 'one size fits all' when it comes to this. This coach apparently comes from a background of child neglect driven by her parents' alcohol and drug abuse but when she was a vulnerable child it was obvious to outsiders that she was being badly abused and neglected and as a result she had trusted teachers and neighbours around her who would help her, if only via small acts of kindness or offering brief stays of refuge when her parents were kicking off. In my situation (and I expect this is true for a lot of us) no-one had a clue how bad the psychological abuse and emotional neglect was at home and since I had no obvious signs of malnutrition or bruising it was assumed that my dad was a good parent. My mum played along with the delusion too so outside closed doors all was assumed to be fine.

Blues-cruise, I admire you for following your heart's instincts.  :applause:

I also concur with Kizzie that there's too many self-proclaimed self-help gurus out there who lack credibility pretending to help vulnerable people. I know of one highly-acclaimed author who was praised for inventing a word ('woundology') which is no more than a cleverly disguised put-down of abuse victims. Based on what I've seen,  she has no notion of what she's talking about, except perhaps feeding off of those trying desperately to find some way to find hope.

Survivors deserve understanding and empathy, not taunts and suggestion they're somehow to blame for their circumstances.

Personally, one of the best things I could have done years back was to go non-contact; and stick to it. I'm still haunted by much of what went on, but followed my heart in staying clear of further damage I might have come by had I succumbed to the guilt flag some tried to wave in my face.

Best to you -- none of this is ever easy.

Thank you woodsgnome, regardless of how hard it often is I don't think I would ever have started the self-care necessary to feel better had I not have withdrawn from contact. No longer do I have to endure the dreaded anxiety of imminent phone calls, the frustration of being bullied during the call and then days and days of emotional recovery. Such wasted energy.

I think you're right, it seems like some of these self-help gurus are in a position where it could be easy for them to take advantage. I do think the one I was looking into means well but clearly has little background knowledge or understanding of how insidious and permanent the effects of personality disorders can be, particularly the purposeful psychological manipulation of the abusive parent. The most comfort I get is from others who have been in a similar situation and have an understanding of how it feels, plus published authors such as Pete Walker and Bessel van der Kolk who have years of experience surrounding trauma and whose work and insight I feel better able to trust.

:grouphug: for you blues_cruise.

fwiw I have tried to explain to FOO why I can't maintain contact but in their narc way they twist up my words and just plain don't listen. They play devil's advocate instead and try and find a flaw in my reasoning or prove I'm using the wrong words etc. So I think doing a fade-out NC is just fine!! I know I'm not the only one whose words just don't get through.

Thanks Blueberry. I'm fairly sure that upon receiving a letter of no contact my father would instantly have phoned all family and friends up to play the victim and smear me to all who would listen. It's what he did in the past whenever I dared to defy him after all. And yes, my words would have been twisted! Ultimately he hurt me time and time again with no acknowledgement or remorse and it just became unbearable.

The sad thing is, I think he does have lucid moments where he wants to make an effort and it really feels like a punch in the gut to reject that when in the moment he probably is genuinely trying to do something good and reconcile. I just think it's so fleeting, plus his unhealthy coping mechanisms (i.e. using other people as an emotional punchbag) are so deeply ingrained and his ego so massive that he would just feel entitled to continue mistreating me and pushing for too much unwanted contact if I gave him even a foot in the door. Before resorting to no contact I was willing to communicate via email only but he threw it back in my face and insisted on phone calls, which just created far too much anxiety within me.

Anyway thanks again all, it helps to share this stuff.  :hug:

12
Going Low/No Contact with Abusers / Feeling shame over no contact
« on: December 30, 2019, 11:31:17 AM »
I've been no contact with my (suspected) N father for nearly three years, though saying that 9 months in I had a moment of guilt and sent a Christmas card so perhaps officially it's more like two years. Anyway, the last couple of months haven't been easy. My birthday is in November only a few weeks before Christmas, so I've had a double whammy of hoovers from my N father, the first of which contained a letter along with my birthday card claiming that he misses me. No apology or any indication of self-reflection or desire to change though. Admittedly I eased into no contact by fading away rather than writing a letter to explain, however as the adult child in this 'relationship' should I really have to be the one to point out all the poor behaviour that led to this? How is it not obvious to him that if he treats people cruelly then the consequence is that they will withdraw from him? It just shows to me that he hasn't done any of the necessary self-reflection or positive behavioural changes that would be needed to have any form of relationship. He seems to think that he can just soften my heart by sending me letters and gifts and that I'll somehow just slip back into the old routine. It can't work like that. It just saddens me that he doesn't have any emotional intelligence whatsoever.

Anyway, emotions have been high and with all the family idealisation Christmas promotes I've been feeling the pressure of being no contact. I want to remain no contact and whenever I have listed pros and cons of getting back into contact the only things on the 'pros' list are that society would stop judging me harshly and that it would please my father. The cons are having a relationship with an unkind person who I do not like and allowing myself to be sucked into the abuse cycle. I'm just not doing it and it annoys me that people seem to think that I should. A couple of family members were supportive to begin with but now that the reality that I'm serious has sunk in they seem to have distanced themselves from me. I don't think they appreciate how abandoned I felt as a child living alone with someone so emotionally abusive and how much it has affected me into adulthood. I didn't have another parent around to protect me or any kind of distance from him or way to escape; it was daily psychological torture.

I keep thinking that there surely must be something I could do to feel better and I'm coming up blank. I'll be fine for a while but then I remember that I have a parent who I no longer speak to through my own choice and I feel shameful about it, like I'm defective and a horrible, cold person. I unfortunately read something on the internet yesterday by a self-proclaimed childhood trauma recovery coach who was condoning remaining in a relationship with abusive family, and it made me feel so angry and sad that someone who otherwise seems quite knowledgeable about recovery would suggest that it's the right thing to do. If I were mentally strong enough and had a healthy level of self-confidence and assertiveness skills to have rock solid boundaries and simply shrug off the harassment and abuse that comes with it then I would entertain contact just to stop getting judged negatively, but until them I'm not putting myself back in the firing line.

Just getting this off my chest really, it's been bothering me so much of late but hopefully once the new year is in it will settle down.  :dramaqueen:

13
Family of Origin (FOO) / Re: Distancing myself from enablers
« on: July 08, 2019, 09:19:06 PM »
Thank you for the encouragement and support everyone.  :)  :grouphug:

Wonderful that you are choosing to avoid the rabbit hole and let go of the people and things that keep the CPTSD running full steam Blues. Going NC/LC with my family has been so healing.  I hadn't realized that contact with them required as much energy as it did and that I was constantly reacting to them versus living my life.

 :grouphug: 

Thanks Kizzie, yes, the energy spent reacting to the FOO is so tiring and it's a relief to feel my mindset start to change. No contact with my father really does feel akin to escaping a cult, or at least how I imagine it might be feel (scary and confusing!) When I saw the photo of him though I pretty much just thought, "Ah well, I know what he's really like" and got on with my day. It does feel like progress.  :)

14
Family of Origin (FOO) / Distancing myself from enablers
« on: July 05, 2019, 11:33:00 PM »
After months of guilt (my default reaction) and confusion on my part, I feel like I've finally gained some clarity tonight. Just getting this off my chest!

Brother has distanced himself with me completely over the past year and a bit following me confiding in him about the abuse I went through with NF. Tonight I went on his Facebook page because I randomly felt strong enough, and found that back in March he had posted a light-hearted photo of our father which pretty much painted him as a kindly, funny old man. It's like he's made a conscious choice to completely reject me and embrace the lie, even though he knows it's fake. It's sort of sad. He touched upon feeling the trauma of being the golden child back in 2018 but chose to hide under a rock rather than confront the truth.

I could go down the rabbit hole of being angry that he's enabling the false, innocent facade of this child abuser and hurt that he's blatantly not on my side, but you know what? I'm choosing to let go. I'm so sick of being painted as the one that's wrong in the family, even more than that I'm sick of the constant shame spirals I work myself up into which result in me believing that it's true. I know my truth and the abuse that I went through and I know so many others do too. You can't force people to see what they don't want to, nor should you need them to see it in order to be at peace with yourself.

There is an odd peace from finally knowing exactly where I stand with the siblings. I feel so done with people who are incapable of empathy and who choose to invalidate what I've gone through. My family is proper messed up and I'm seeing properly how deeply the dysfunction actually runs. I'm so relieved to be an adult and to be able to choose my FOC. Happy to be here in this safe place with you guys too.  :)

15
She was given an ice cream cake to celebrate her leaving and she shared it with everyone but me.

 :witch: >:D :snort: That's a horrible thing to do! How petty too, it screams volumes about the type of person you were dealing with.

You can't stop the emotional flashback but you can acknowledge that although this person's behaviour is entirely about them and not you, it still hurts to be treated like that. I hope you're feeling a bit better a couple of days on. I mean, yay, the  :witch: has flown away!  :cheer: You don't have to deal with her ever again.  :hug:

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