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Messages - deepbreaths

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Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: May 10, 2021, 05:46:02 AM »
I haven't posted in a bit, but the holiday brought me on tonight.

First, Hope, thank you for the kind words and the hug. The flower in my icon is actually a gladiolus which signifies remembrance and strength of character. For me, it's a reminder not to run and hide from my painful memories, but to remember them and appreciate the things I like about myself and the strength I now have in who I am/want to be as a result of my abuse/neglect.

But of course, having a tough Mother's Day. I'm not in a place right now where I am ready to forgive M for her neglect and I don't believe she is going to change and suddenly start actually caring about me as a full independent person with my own needs. I'm sure I'm not the only one on here who had a family in which maintaining appearances was of a high priority. A holiday with this sort of pageantry of having a healthy, positive, idyllic relationship with my mother is super triggering and just what I don't need right now. I'm really trying to work on being more authentic in my relationships and with myself in not hiding or running away from my "undesirable" feelings like anger, sadness, etc. I don't want to put on a show of being happy with my mother right now. I called her because I had to, but kept things superficial as always.

Most years I would also take this day to celebrate my grandmother who had a more motherly sort of role in my upbringing, but this is my first Mother's Day without her. I miss her so terribly. I read through this article: from the Mother's Day resources page and it really struck a chord. It mentions the loss of your only safe person, and my grandmother was that for me, so missing her today has multiplied the grief I am feeling over not having unconditional love from M.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: April 16, 2021, 05:32:49 AM »
I haven't been posting here or writing in my paper journal much the last couple weeks, feeling frustrated with all the little tasks I have to do to take care of myself. Very much wanting to leave behind my current responsibilities (and rapidly approaching school deadlines) and go hiking where no one and nothing can reach me. Had an interesting conversation with my T today about having too much responsibility to take care of everyone around me as a child. Both M and F (and B, too), had physical health issues that I often had to help take care of, made them unreliable caregivers. I'm angry that I spent so much of my time taking care of all of my own needs without help and having to take care of everyone else, too. It's not especially surprising that I want to leave what responsibilities I have behind for a little while. I am sad for past me that she never got to be a child.

On a brighter (?) note, today is the 7 year anniversary of me changing my name (I took M's maiden name). Whatever my relationship is with her right now, I'm glad that I no longer have F's name, and M's name is also my grandmother's name and I like having that closeness with her, especially this year when I am missing her so much. But changing it was such an empowering step, it felt like choosing for the first time to be who I wanted to be, instead of what I had been told to be by FOO. Maybe that's just the reminder I need right now as I think about what changes I would like to make in my relationship with M. I have the right to be who I want to be, and to set boundaries that protect my well-being.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: April 06, 2021, 04:40:00 AM »
Thank you Alter-eg0 for the validation.

I was obviously very upset when I wrote that last post, but have been feeling better the last couple of days. I went for a long day hike yesterday which was amazingly restorative. I love to hike, but I don't have a car so getting out of the city to hike is often too much of a hassle when all I want to do most weekends is sleep and try to recharge. But every time I do manage to get out for a hike, I realize how much I needed it and how good it is for me, so maybe I can try to do that more often as the weather gets nicer. If I set an intention here to do that once a month, maybe I will actually stick to it.

What I'm really looking for is to run away to the woods for a while and go backpacking for more than just a couple days. Not super feasible in the current situation with travel restrictions and my current workload, but my work will lighten up a bit in July and maybe domestic travel will be possible by then as well. I haven't taken a vacation in nearly two years and could really use some time off. Being out in nature is so soothing for me, and one of the few places where I can process how I feel. But for now, it gets to be an escape fantasy.

Something my T said a couple weeks ago has been very much on my mind and I was thinking about it on my hike as well. I was expressing how I felt like I don't deserve to be loved, because if even my FOO can't love me, then who could? And I know when I'm not in an EF that that thought isn't rational, but hey it sure feels real when I'm upset. And she said that just because they couldn't love me the way I deserved, doesn't mean that I don't deserve to be loved. The flaws resided with the people who didn't know how to love me, but I deserve to be loved! It makes me cry to write that, which is how I know I need to keep writing it down over and over.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: April 02, 2021, 06:28:20 AM »
Feeling super wound up tonight and having trouble settling enough to go to bed. I had a difficult therapy session today that has left me feeling little hope for the future and very unloved/unloveable. I'm having some desire to SH, not that I really would. Usually for me, I don't do anything more than pick or scratch at my skin. But, I'm desperately craving a release from the way I am feeling right now.

I'm really struggling to maintain my relationship with M right now. I'm trying to process a lot of neglect from her that previously was always "less bad" than abuse from F or B, but caused some deep wounds of its own. I would very much like to go LC, if only for a little bit, but am so scared of losing what love I do get from her by upsetting her. One of my big issues is that her love has never been unconditional, but demands that I behave as the model daughter she wants me to be. I'm expected to take care of her needs, and any needs I might have are burdensome to her.

I spent my entire childhood being told explicitly that I was responsible for taking care of my own emotional needs, and any upset feelings I might have should be dealt with where M didn't have to see. I was punished for crying or complaining. At that time, I learned to turn my anger and hurt feelings inward at myself, because there was no one else to express them to safely. So it's no wonder that I struggle now to regulate my emotions in non-self destructive ways.

Birthday / Re: Depressed about upcoming birthday
« on: March 29, 2021, 04:53:38 PM »
Thank you rainydiary and woodsgnome, it's always helpful for the reminder that I'm not alone in having these feelings and that they are a reasonable reaction to my experiences.

I had a relaxed birthday and spent some time with friends in ways that I normally would, although a friend insisted on going out for ice cream, which was acceptable as I don't ever need an excuse for that. Had a chat with my B and confided in general terms how I was feeling (I left out any resentment about having to compete with him for attention), and was surprised to find that he didn't share my experience. Upon reflection, I think most of the complaints I had about our birthday don't apply to him; it was disappointing to not be able to get that sense of camaraderie with him, but at least I can get it here.

I haven't gotten around to sending "thank you"s to everyone who sent me messages, but gracefully it was a small group of mostly extended family. I wasn't excited to get those messages, but also none of them came from people that I would expect or even want to be privy to how I'm feeling. The one exception was that M didn't even try to message or call me despite not knowing that I didn't want to celebrate this year (we are in regular contact, so it would be expected for her to call me). Which somehow is also bad? Like she couldn't be bothered. Ugh.

Birthday / Depressed about upcoming birthday
« on: March 22, 2021, 05:58:56 AM »
My birthday is coming up this week, and I'm finding myself quite down and anxious about it. My birthdays are always a big trigger for me, a reminder of the ways in which I was never anyone's priority in my FOO. It didn't help that my B and I are twins, so birthdays didn't do anything to change the dynamic between us of always having to compete for M's limited attention. I think it's affecting me a little extra this year since I have been working with my T on processing M's neglect.

I think it also stresses me out to have people wish me a happy birthday? Something about the obliviousness with which people assume I must be excited about it rubs salt in old wounds of having to hide the pain of my abuse/neglect and put on a pleasant face in public or at school.

I would like to find a new way to claim this day, but have so many negative associations with traditions like birthday cake (if I wanted one, I had to make it myself). Has anyone on here found non-traditional fun ways to celebrate or even just practice self-care around birthdays?

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: March 03, 2021, 06:41:31 AM »
I've had a busy few days and haven't felt like I had much to post. Work has been very productive, mostly working on writing some new code which is a process I find very engaging and really lose myself in.

Update from my last post is that while I did talk to M, we didn't discuss my frustrations. She was feeling down and didn't bring it up, likely because she didn't want to deal with the conflict. And I didn't way anything either, although I did write out what I wanted to say in my paper journal.

Feeling somewhat guilty tonight because the kitties were asking for my attention all day, and while I did stop to play with them some, I lost patience with them while I was working and locked them out of my room. Logically, I can see that this was appropriate and actually totally okay, I often keep them out while I'm working and it's not like I was aggressive towards them or anything. I think the issue, which came up a little in a previous post, is that I'm feeling very responsible for their well being and don't want to be neglectful towards them the way M was towards me as a child. I can see that there are important differences between her not taking care of my basic needs and me not giving attention to the cats every minute of the day. They are perfectly well cared for and a bit spoiled (my roommate got them while we've been in lockdown so they are super clingy). They beg for attention, not because they desperately need it, but because they know they will get it.

I think the fear at the heart of it today, is that I am occasionally annoyed by them, and it evokes my own negative beliefs that my emotional needs are excessive and burdensome to others (especially M, but everyone else too), and that she was unwilling to pay attention to my needs was, in fact, the correct response to my unreasonable desire for attention and affection. Her expectation was that I would be able to handle all of my own needs, despite living in an unsafe environment, and additionally tend to her needs, as well as the rest of FOO. It has been the greatest shame of my life that I have been unable to live up to this impossible standard, and I feel undeserving of love and attention because of this flaw.

While I love animals, I didn't want to adopt one myself because I know that I'm spending all the energy I have right now on trying to take care of myself, and that I don't have the bandwidth to be responsible for anything else. The kitties are really stirring up those feelings though, because I feel like I'm letting them down.

I have the perspective to see that those thoughts are coming from an ICr and that they are not true. But, on an emotional level I really do believe them. It's like the rules I apply to everyone else don't hold for me. If anyone I cared about described these feelings, I would be quick to reassure them that. But when it comes to me, the secret is that I really am that flawed.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: February 23, 2021, 06:35:52 AM »
Haven't been on in a couple days. Whatever part of me that is responsible for pushing all of my feelings out of the way and just getting stuff done took over on Friday and I actually managed to make good progress at work on Friday/today and also cleaned up which always makes me feel better. I have so much gratitude to that part for taking on an impossible task and getting me to where I am. I'm hopeful that as I make progress on my emotions I won't need to rely on that particular coping mechanism quite so often, but it certainly is useful.

Since then, I've had a couple very frustrating encounters with M. Actually frustrating is not the word. Enraging. Triggering. Painful. I'm sick of her parading around trying to prove how good of a person she is, and expecting me to give her a pat on the back for almost doing the bare minimum of acceptable.

She and my brother have been having an ongoing fight that he feels like she doesn't respect him, mostly because she doesn't. And she texted me tonight asking if she could give my contact info to a friend of a friend looking for some advice. Which I really don't mind her doing, and I think he actually has my email already, but whatever. But then she followed up with a "joke" about how she was doing such a good job being respectful of her adult children. As if she deserves a gold star for not obviously being disrespectful (which she has done in the past), but there's no award for not treating other people like full human beings with their own thoughts and feelings. I can't imagine that she would get away with something like this with a coworker or her one friend, but for some reason it is okay for her to treat her children that way? Oh, I forgot, I'm not a full person, I'm her property and she gets to set up the relationship and I should just be grateful to her for my existence  :pissed:.

At least I am angry, I suppose. That's a hard one for me because it's uncomfortable and feels very unsafe. I was never permitted to show anger living with FOO and rarely express it now, and always make a note of it when I do. Still looking for a good angering exercise, though. The internet has been very unhelpful, mostly just articles on how to stop feeling anger, not how to stoke the flames. I did at least take that anger and respond to her texts expressing that I was unhappy with her comment, which is a huge thing for me. I was maybe a little sharper than I strictly needed to be, but I did say my piece. Not looking forward to her inevitably bringing it up next time I talk to her, though.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: February 19, 2021, 06:31:55 AM »
I had a really rough day today after a difficult therapy session. Struggling with feelings of worthlessness. And then shame over those feelings. I feel like I should be "over this" by now, and the fact that I'm not is evidence that I am a weak and useless person with too many emotional needs. Which loops me right back around to being worthless and undeserving of love- my own or anybody else's.

Cognitively, I know that these feelings are a direct result of my trauma and reflect the way I was treated rather than my actual worth as a person. That I should be unaffected by my trauma and be entirely self-sufficient for my emotional needs were things M told me because she didn't want to (or couldn't) protect and support me. I have so much doubt that anything about our relationship could ever change or that it could ever be supportive for me. But also, it's scary to think about losing what relationship I do have with her. I desperately need her love and acceptance for all of me, not just the parts that are convenient for her, but I don't think she's able to do that without a lot of work on her part, that I can't make her do. I probably owe her another recovery letter, maybe that can be something to do later this week, but it's late and I really don't have the energy for that today.

I'm frustrated that these feelings are impacting my ability to work. I feel like I was more functional before starting with this current T (almost a year ago now). And I know that it's because I was ignoring my feelings and not dealing with them, which was not a long-term solution. But, it's a lot to balance work/ therapy/ trouble sleeping/ the pandemic all at once. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed :fallingbricks:. I don't know how tenable this situation is, something has to give. It can't be therapy because if I don't keep doing that nothing will change. And I've already taken off so much time from work this year to deal with surgery, my grandmother's death, and I need to have another surgery this summer. Also, taking a week away from work to sit around in my apartment feeling bad is really not going to do anything. I'm not quite to the level of SH/SI, but I'm closer to that than usual. I just don't want to feel this way anymore. I'm so tired.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: February 17, 2021, 05:55:17 AM »
I had a mini panic last night trying to go to bed and am worried about going to bed tonight as well. I think it was noise that triggered me. My roommate closed the bathroom door a little too loudly, and then the kitties were running up and down the hall as they played. It's very understandable that both of those sounds are huge triggers for me, but frustrating that they can still jolt me into hypervigilance so easily. And they are so unavoidable. I hate living in an apartment in a big city where there is no possible escape from the constant din of life happening around me. I can't wear ear plugs or headphones or anything like that to block out the sound either, because not being able to hear, and therefore potentially missing information about my surroundings, is just as anxiety-producing. I just want to run away to the woods and never come back.

I'm trying very hard to stick to this new routine. Doing better on the nighttime side, and actually managing to fall asleep, but I can't seem to stay that way and wake up throughout the night. And then in the mornings I'm still so exhausted, and probably more than a bit depressed, that I just can't bear getting out of bed after my alarm goes off. I did better today, only spending an hour on my phone, down from an hour and a half yesterday, but it's definitely not where I want it to be.

So frustrated with myself today. I just want to feel better and get my work done. Of course, I usually solve both of those by pretending my feelings don't exist. Writing this can be my reminder for the day that feeling my feelings is moving me towards my ultimate goal of living and not just surviving. I'm making the room more of a mess so I can put everything in it's proper place to make it cleaner in the end.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: February 16, 2021, 06:12:16 AM »
Ugh, had a very low energy day. I woke up on time after having nightmares about F breaking NC and showing up at a work event. In the dream I was trying to ask for help and was so scared I couldn't speak. I tried to hide from him by going outside and he followed me. Nobody was taking me seriously asking for him to leave, including M who had brought him to the event (despite the fact that she hasn't spoken to him in years either, time is weird in dreams), probably a sign that I still blame her for not keeping me safe from him. Left me in a depressed funk and I didn't get out of bed for an hour and a half, despite having work to do. I made some progress in the afternoon/evening, but I'm often critical of myself when I'm not feeling up to much working. Also, working from home has been a huge struggle recently, I'm sure I could get more done if I had to catch the bus into work and sit at a desk that isn't in my bedroom.  :Idunno:

Just a frustrating day in what has been a frustrating month or so. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

-NC with F since 2014, I was NC with my brother for about a year (2013).

-Mostly witnessing PA (although with my brother a portion of that was aimed at me) and emotional manipulation. For F, the choice really came down to feeling unsafe when I was around him, it left me feeling depressed and anxious, I felt like he had lost the right to participate in my life. For my brother, I was afraid to trust him and also angry at him. In both cases, NC was about protecting myself and putting my own safety and health first which can be hard for me when I'm around people (flight-fawn type).

-I don't think F understands, as far as he was aware, I was spared any violence because it was directed at other family members and not me, so I should have no issue. I wanted to articulate it to him at the time and it ended up going through third parties (my mother, his wife, my then-therapist), in part because I was still a teenager. Because of that, I wasn't fully in control of the message he received and he expected it to be a short-term situation rather than the long-term arrangement I wanted.
With my brother, he was admitted involuntarily to an in-patient therapy program and another youth program that kept him away from home, so I wrote an "impact letter" to him at the time. I'm sure then he was very upset about it and maybe didn't fully understand, but he does now.

-Not really, there's nothing that I want from him or that could make me feel differently about the abuse, I understand that he himself witnessed abuse as a child and was repeating patterns he didn't understand. I don't think he ever learned a healthy way of loving people and I don't need that in my life. With my brother, an important part of reconciliation was his admission of the ways in which he hurt me and sincere apology

-No, I have absolutely no intention of going back into contact with F.

-I think communicating more clearly about why I wanted NC and what that meant for me would have been helpful, but I was really not in a place that I could have done so at the time. One big regret is also losing contact with my step-brother that I know was having issues with F, although I don't know that they ever escalated to PA. Other than that...going NC earlier, I wanted to much earlier, but it wasn't in my control.

Recovery Journals / Re: Blues Cruise's Journal
« on: February 16, 2021, 04:44:34 AM »

 No contact helps but I never feel truly at peace and I don't think I will ever truly grieve and find peace until he no longer exists in physical form. Is it too much to admit that? It's such a taboo thing and really hard to describe because I don't wish death on him, but I feel it will be a relief when I'm no longer looking over my shoulder or feeling like I have to keep my head down out of shame for choosing no contact.

Hi Blues Cruise,
I only read as far as here, but this part really resonates so much with me, and my own experience, and I am grateful to you for articulating that - maybe some people might feel it's taboo to admit it, but I feel that too, and I agree it's sad.

 I really felt this, too. I've been NC with my F for several years and still have nightmares and, I don't know that fantasies is the right word, but imaginings, that he will show back up in my life at work or my home. I also question what I would do if he were ill or if I would attend a funeral. I don't have any good answers, but you are definitely not alone in these worries.

Recovery Journals / Re: deepbreaths' journal
« on: February 14, 2021, 06:12:53 AM »
Dentist visit was fine, of course. I was quite anxious and brought a fidget. I really like this current dentist, he's very open about talking to his patients who get anxious. I expect he is looking for people with bad issues with dentists in the past, not CPTSD, but it works for me to not have to work so hard to hide how I'm feeling.

Conversely, feeling worked up about talking to M tomorrow given that I will have to mask my feelings. I usually call her once a week, but as I've been working more on processing some of her neglect of me as a child, this has been increasingly stressful. I'm not yet in a place where I want to talk to her about it, much too afraid that she will gaslight me if I bring up these experiences. I blame myself so much already, I can't handle her blaming me too right now. So instead, I'm pretending everything is fine...just like she always wanted me to as a child  :pissed:. Not really quite ready to feel into that anger yet either. Tried some IFS on it this week and couldn't get access to the angry teenager part, she's so hated by other parts that are in control  :fallingbricks:.

What I really want is to reduce contact for a little bit, but I'm not sure I could bring that up without her getting upset and probing. She's been giving me a hard time about delaying calls the last few weeks as it is. I expect part of that is my B recently told her he wanted to go LC now that he's moved out for the first time. She was very hurt by that, and I'm so invested in keeping her happy that I don't want to pile on, even if it would probably be healthier for me. I don't want to be NC with her (I am with F coming up on 8 years this month), and she wasn't all bad. I want some space, but I also tend to withdraw from my relationships whenever there's a hint of tension, and it feels like running away. I don't think that's the case here, but I don't want to slip into it either.

Family of Origin (FOO) / Re: Considering legally changing my surname
« on: February 13, 2021, 09:07:02 PM »
I legally changed my surname when I was 18 to take my mother's maiden name (which also was my grandmother's name who I was very close to). I have been very glad for it, it felt like a powerful way of claiming a new way forward in life that didn't have to be defined by my F. I feel a lot more confident introducing myself that way, and I celebrate it every year, bigger than my birthday even.

But I understand that it can be costly and time consuming. I was young enough that I didn't have too many accounts and things that needed changing and all of my professional work is under my current name.

I hope you are able to find a choice that feels good for you.

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