What strategies did you use to survive?

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Slim

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What strategies did you use to survive?
« on: January 13, 2019, 11:14:38 AM »
Being very intense, and a dogged determination to master a problem (to the exclusion of everything else) was my main strategy.

Using anger propelled me forward. This anger was due to underlying terror and pain.

Getting pleasure out of my pain, and enjoying being around traumtic and dysfunctional situations.

Problem is they have done their job, but I can't stop using them. (eg going to AA meetings and getting off on the pain)

What did you do to survive?

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Rainagain

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2019, 01:10:19 PM »
Hi slim

I could have written your post, your strategy was exactly what I used.

It sort of worked, but wasn't pretty......

It stopped working for me several years ago, I haven't really got a plan B, a new approach or new survival strategy.

Even a poor plan is better than no plan at all I think.

I seem to have given up, surrendered, not good. But it seems to involve acceptance instead of denial, which is sort of more honest, pretending to be in control isn't control, it is just pretence.

But no control, no plan? Not sure where to go from here.

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woodsgnome

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2019, 04:15:13 PM »
I could construct a long list of things I think helped me survive. But in the end (still surviving; sometimes just barely, though), I've no idea what rises to the top among them.

Similar to Rainagain, it seems that radical (whole) acceptance was a good base point. Until my inner critic grabs hold of that and tries to convince me that "see, you failed and have to fall back on strange notions like that". So that may indicate there's power in learning ways to deal with the inner critic and building other parts of one's being like finding and nurturing the inner child.

That adds up to lots of wandering, though. Going way back, I honestly think humour was my first saving grace, once I was old enough for at least some discernment and not just shock. With the humour I was able to begin discerning the abusers in my early life (and later on) as the buffoons (and worse) they really were. Which in turn meant the inner work I spoke of; except I didn't know the 'why' of how that humour ever developed. Instead of funny, it just seems like last straw or something, but it did convert some of the abusers (not all) into characters my mind could deflect, sadly only after stuff happened. Frankly, dissociation and blanking out was a part of that.

That's more than I thought I'd have in the hopper on the 'how' portion of survival. Perhaps I can add music, wild natural settings, creative vocations, and inspirational sorts of reading (plus the informational; those are useful for the 'why' stuff but can also be triggering). Oy -- better stop, I also tend to ramble, so that's another trait that's a part of the survival puzzle; who knows  :Idunno: . Like the abuses themselves, survival can involve a mix of mysteries.

One last but key element for me has been finding a competent therapist who really does hone to the idea that she's working with me, not just holding to some pet cure-all theory that will save me (I've had t's like that, unfortunately). So at least for me that also has been a huge part of surviving. The downer is it took so long, as therapy can be wildly divergent in its practices and outcomes. 

 
« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 04:22:03 PM by woodsgnome »

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Slim

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2019, 05:59:33 PM »
I agree, Woodsgnome, finding a competent therapist who I can afford, has been significant. Humour would be an asset, and an antidote to being Mr.Intense.

Acceptance is a good tip, and it's not something I am very good at, Rainagain. I will try.

But, Rainagain, I think Control is one thing. I remind myself that managing a problem is a bit more realistic, and practical for me. The total Control or No Control thing, is just reliving my childhood, Learning to control is not healthy, and I reckon is the AbuisveSelf/Inner Critic. Managing is healthy and a bit more balanced. (The inner Critic hates it)

What do you think?

Slim

« Last Edit: January 13, 2019, 06:01:46 PM by Slim »

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woodsgnome

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2019, 07:01:44 PM »
Regarding acceptance, I found 2 books that were quite helpful:

1. The Deepest Acceptance: Radical Awakening in Real Life, by Jeff Foster.

2. Radical Acceptance, by Tara Brach.

While I found these excellent, I also read them in a bit of disbelief, like "really, I can do this too?". Once I was able to accept (LOL) better what they were saying and to knock off my inner critic's disbelief, I've been better able to absorb what they say in those books. Still, my acceptance remains a work-in-progress, but that's probably a good thing -- on this journey it helps, I've found, to be flexible. Rigid beliefs are often what got us in trouble in the first place.

Here's to finding ways that help you. Hope part of that might be this token of encouragement ...  :hug:

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Rainagain

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2019, 09:02:31 PM »
I don't know what I think any more.

One possibility is that control/surviving is a bit like being caught in a rip tide.

You can't fight it or meet it head on, you have to accept it, let it carry you offshore, save your strength and swim back once you are out of the rip.

Maybe.

Would have been nice to have been rescued but I'm having to go through the lot as a solo effort it seems.


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Slim

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2019, 09:52:59 PM »
Thx Woodgnome...those look like the good stuff... I dont know them, but do know Tara Brach.

Hi, Rainagain, yes I agree, it always feels like a solo effort....and I have to remind myself that I am not an island. The solo effort was again somethign fromchildhood. It sounds like you are having an uncomfortable day: beginning to realise that indeed, you did survive, and alone. Nowadays, I talk to people like you and woodsgnome directly...that's something new for me. To talk to someone, who gets me, who lives like me....and even if we know each other through the forum...we share our energy

Hugs and friendship

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Rainagain

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2019, 01:12:22 AM »
Hugs and friendship back at ya slim.

Its good to know of others trying to get back to shore, not many people understand.

I meet some people who have had very traumatic experiences, but they seem to be lost somehow, unaware and not understanding themselves clearly at all.

They are still fighting the rip and haven't noticed its not working for them.

I've found some insight which I'm thankful for, mostly from this site I think.

I do feel sorry for those that don't have that.

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Slim

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2019, 10:02:28 AM »
Rainagain, you seem to be at the beginnng of recognising how much courage you have.
Maybe 10 years ago, I wonder if you would have been able to use this forum for insights. Would you have had the confidence to share ideas, and feelings?

 I don't want to accept this simple truth:  it takes years to create a self concept. It would be quicker if that pesky inner-critic didnt try to take away all that progress.

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Rainagain

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2019, 12:45:04 PM »
Oh slim,

Your last post made me smile.

Ten years ago I hadn't heard of cptsd, I didn't think there was anything wrong with me, I thought my conflicts were all due to others, I didn't reflect or own any of it.

I was a scary rage fuelled nightmare in a lot of ways.

Hard now to describe it, I think the trauma was all I could see or feel.

I would never have been on this site, and if I had stumbled across it I wouldn't have made any sense to any of the people here.

Things subsequently got worse for me, but oddly it got so bad that it somehow allowed me to start to get out of the 'living the trauma constantly' way of existing.

I suppose things got so extreme that I could see my responses were ridiculous, that everything was so extreme that being outraged and blaming others just wasn't enough any more.

I fell out of that tree and hit the ground so hard it woke me up from my nightmare, sort of. That is what the beginning of my acceptance felt like, crashing to earth.


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Slim

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2019, 07:37:31 PM »
Hi Rainagain
Hitting the ground hard is a great analogy....it's one that I will have to steal and make my own!
Yes, I understand that now, acceptance is sometimes sudden and painful.
Slim

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Rainagain

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2019, 11:33:45 PM »
Its all about the narrative we have of our story I think.

If we change our story we change everything.

And our story is malleable, look at it differently and everything changes.

I'm in the middle of change so I feel the power of it. Maybe its mad but I think we can be what we please, and people only see what we want them to see.

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Slim

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2019, 05:32:11 PM »

You have echoed my feelings, exactly.  The emotions I feel, no matter how silly, or how obnoxious, are my own. And if I feel nothing, then thats good too. I won't censor my feelings at all, but I will take note of them.
I was groomed to push away and deny  what I felt. That is getting less now!

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woodsgnome

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2019, 06:47:28 PM »
Slim reflected: ""I was groomed to push away and deny  what I felt. That is getting less now!" Good deal!  :applause:

My own trail towards this self-realization has been painfully slow, resulting in a coyness about revealing my true values and passions for fear of judgement and rejection. I hope you can continue working this out as well.


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Slim

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Re: What strategies did you use to survive?
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2019, 07:06:00 PM »
........resulting in a coyness about revealing my true values and passions for fear of judgement and rejection. ....
I hear you, woodsgnome. Sharing my feelings with someone I trust, is still a work in progress too!