A Safe Place To Be Visible

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woodsgnome

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #165 on: November 14, 2019, 11:43:58 PM »
The inner critic likes to pretend it's acting for you, but does so by a worn-out method -- sending negative thoughts about yourself.

Trying so hard to defeat the inner critic's false thoughts just seems to encourage its own response. Better is what you're doing -- building up strength from the inside out, drawing on that good person you already are. Seems like a small step? No -- it's huge!  :applause:

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Three Roses

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #166 on: November 15, 2019, 02:33:52 PM »
Quote
Seems like a small step? No -- it's huge!  :applause:
:yeahthat:

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Perplex

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #167 on: November 15, 2019, 08:35:02 PM »
The other day when I was feeling frustrated and down on myself for indulging in compulsive behaviour without thinking it through I caught myself thinking "I'm trying so hard to be a better person", and then thinking "Wait, that's not true.  I don't need to be a better person.  What I need is to get better at being a person."  That went along with another thought that flashed through my mind at some point this week, that my quest is to accept myself as I am while continuing to work towards being the best version of myself that I can.

There are plenty of healthy thoughts in here, but what a war it is between the healthy parts of me and the parts of me that are programmed to force me to be ill.
That sounds like great progress, Bach! I'm in awe. I hope you don't mind if I steal that tip for myself.

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Bach

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Devastating Emotional Flashback *TRIGGER WARNING*
« Reply #168 on: November 24, 2019, 11:19:04 PM »
Trigger warning: Physical abuse and neglect of infant/child.










The other day, I read some of this thread:
https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=7916.0

This week is very hard for me because along with my impending Thanksgiving dinner with my mother for the one day a year I have contact with her, it is also the anniversary of the death of my baby nephew a few years ago.  Not only is there all the understandable sadnesses surrounding losing a precious beautiful 8-month old because he got croup, stopped breathing and was revived too late, but today I had an emotional flashback of being pressed almost but not quite to death in the crib, and I'm really pretty darn sure that it was a memory, and not my imagination. 

I believe that the flashback occurred because I've been thinking about my poor little sweetheart and how much I will always miss him, and the underlying knowledge that he died from oxygen deprivation combined with all the feelings I've been trying to process about seeing my mother to produce the memory.  I believe that it is a memory and not imagination because it adds up so well with what I remember about the time when I was about 10 and my mother put her hands around my neck and choked me until I started to black out.  That memory came back to me several years ago after what I didn't know at the time was an emotional flashback, which happened because I was doing some of what I called emotional archaeology.  In an attempt to understand what happened to me as a child, I was at my mother's house while she was away going through the basement finding artifacts from my childhood such as photographs, school reports and letters exchanged by my divorced parents.  After a while, I became overwhelmed by this, and then I found myself sobbing uncontrollably on a bed while having a clear feeling of being a baby in a crib, wet and cold and hungry, crying for help at the top of my little lungs and no one coming to help.  When I talked about that incident in therapy, I qualified it with disclaimers about how I knew I couldn't say for sure that that had actually happened to me as a baby, but it FELT like it had really happened.  Then, a few days after that flashback, I had a dream that caused me to remember the time that she choked me with her hands.  That I knew right away was a real memory of something that actually happened, and I recalled that my reaction to it when it happened had entirely lacked surprise.  I remembered that I'd had an internal voice say something along the lines of "Yes, your mother just tried to kill you, but you're still here.  So just get up and move on," and then did just that.  As if nearly being asphyxiated by my caretaker was something I had already survived at least once before.  All this adds up with everything I've learned about CPTSD in the past six months to convince me that yes, these things happened to me.

This happened this morning, and all day I've been coping well, taking care of myself, and My Person is here and also taking care of me, and thankfully will be home all week, but physically I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  Literally.  My entire body hurts.  Medication and exhaustion are helping to keep me calm, but my diaphragm won't relax.  I feel confident that I will make it through and be okay once I do, but right now every moment is clear crisp crackling only thinly tolerable utter discomfort in every atom of my being.


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Not Alone

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #169 on: November 25, 2019, 02:04:47 AM »
Dear Bach,

How horrible and terrifying. No wonder you feel like you've been hit by a truck. This is a great deal of trauma for your body to hold/remember. It makes me so sad.
  So just get up and move on," and then did just that. 
Unfortunately I also have memories of abuse and then getting up and functioning. You (and all of us) not only should never been hurt in such a manner, but when hurt occurred should have been held and nurtured and comforted. My warmest hug and love to you, Bach.  :hug:

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Perplex

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Re: Devastating Emotional Flashback *TRIGGER WARNING*
« Reply #170 on: November 25, 2019, 02:49:20 AM »
Trigger warning: Physical abuse and neglect of infant/child.










The other day, I read some of this thread:
https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=7916.0

This week is very hard for me because along with my impending Thanksgiving dinner with my mother for the one day a year I have contact with her, it is also the anniversary of the death of my baby nephew a few years ago.  Not only is there all the understandable sadnesses surrounding losing a precious beautiful 8-month old because he got croup, stopped breathing and was revived too late, but today I had an emotional flashback of being pressed almost but not quite to death in the crib, and I'm really pretty darn sure that it was a memory, and not my imagination. 

I believe that the flashback occurred because I've been thinking about my poor little sweetheart and how much I will always miss him, and the underlying knowledge that he died from oxygen deprivation combined with all the feelings I've been trying to process about seeing my mother to produce the memory.  I believe that it is a memory and not imagination because it adds up so well with what I remember about the time when I was about 10 and my mother put her hands around my neck and choked me until I started to black out.  That memory came back to me several years ago after what I didn't know at the time was an emotional flashback, which happened because I was doing some of what I called emotional archaeology.  In an attempt to understand what happened to me as a child, I was at my mother's house while she was away going through the basement finding artifacts from my childhood such as photographs, school reports and letters exchanged by my divorced parents.  After a while, I became overwhelmed by this, and then I found myself sobbing uncontrollably on a bed while having a clear feeling of being a baby in a crib, wet and cold and hungry, crying for help at the top of my little lungs and no one coming to help.  When I talked about that incident in therapy, I qualified it with disclaimers about how I knew I couldn't say for sure that that had actually happened to me as a baby, but it FELT like it had really happened.  Then, a few days after that flashback, I had a dream that caused me to remember the time that she choked me with her hands.  That I knew right away was a real memory of something that actually happened, and I recalled that my reaction to it when it happened had entirely lacked surprise.  I remembered that I'd had an internal voice say something along the lines of "Yes, your mother just tried to kill you, but you're still here.  So just get up and move on," and then did just that.  As if nearly being asphyxiated by my caretaker was something I had already survived at least once before.  All this adds up with everything I've learned about CPTSD in the past six months to convince me that yes, these things happened to me.

This happened this morning, and all day I've been coping well, taking care of myself, and My Person is here and also taking care of me, and thankfully will be home all week, but physically I feel like I've been hit by a truck.  Literally.  My entire body hurts.  Medication and exhaustion are helping to keep me calm, but my diaphragm won't relax.  I feel confident that I will make it through and be okay once I do, but right now every moment is clear crisp crackling only thinly tolerable utter discomfort in every atom of my being.
I'm so sorry to hear that Bach but I'm glad you could share this out. I hope you will continue to find kindness for yourself.
I've sometimes been confused whether something was a memory or a dream, or from imagination. But then I reassure myself, that even if in the end it wasn't true (but it could be definitely), then we must have still felt something so devastating to have even thought of such a thing - subconsciously or not. Either way, your experiences are valid and you deserve the time to rest if you can. Wish I could send you strength for this oncoming week.

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Bach

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Emotional Flashback Continues - TRIGGER WARNING
« Reply #171 on: November 27, 2019, 11:18:54 PM »
notalone :hug: and Perplex, thank you for responding and validating.









 IĎm somewhat better now, but Iím still having a lot of trouble relaxing my diaphragm. The muscle memory (because thatís what it is, muscle memory, not a hostile Mother-entity inseparably woven into my being that wants me to be dead and will never let go) is powerful and tricky. Fighting it makes it worse but starting to relax makes it worse too because the muscle memory remembers that there is too much danger in relaxing. At any time there might be another attack coming, so I have to be able to keep some air in my lungs no matter what.

I spoke to my brother on the phone earlier and he was lovely and supportive, understanding and believing everything I told him and showing me by the way he responded how closely he listens to me and how much he cares. I know itís painful for him to hear, but I also know he doesnít mind when I really need it and it will really help me, and it did.  In a little while I need to go make cranberry sauce for tomorrow. That will be soothing and give me a feeling of accomplishment and help fortify me to make tomorrow safely mine.
« Last Edit: November 27, 2019, 11:47:22 PM by Bach »

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Not Alone

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #172 on: November 29, 2019, 03:18:06 AM »
Bach, glad to hear that your brother was supportive. I'm wondering how Thanksgiving went.

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Bach

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Thanksgiving Aftermath - TRIGGER WARNING
« Reply #173 on: November 29, 2019, 06:40:12 PM »
Bach, glad to hear that your brother was supportive. I'm wondering how Thanksgiving went.

notalone, thank you so much for asking.  Thanksgiving itself went pretty well actually.  The food was good, I had some fun with the kids, and I was able to keep my mother at a distance without making a big deal of it.  There were several moments when I felt the old urge to make nice and try to connect but fortunately I finally truly understand and accept that there is no safe way for me to connect with her.  I know that her feelings were hurt when she arrived and I did not approach to greet her, and every time she tried to catch my eye and I did not let her.  I didn't take pleasure in that, but I don't feel guilty about it, either.  It wasn't personal.  I was just protecting myself.  I feel good about that.  I also feel good about how barely anything she said registered with me, it was like Charlie Brown's parents.  So all that was good, and by the time we left last night I was positively giddy with satisfaction and relief.  Unfortunately, though, part of me is still in the flashback.

TRIGGER WARNING - Abuse and neglect












This morning when I woke up, I almost immediately felt myself starting to get wound up, and all I wanted to do was take a magnesium bath.  So I did that, and it was really soothing, but then I went out to the chiropractor and accidentally stumbled into a post-Thanksgiving conversation that riled me up again.  So now I'm lying on the couch with my weighted animal buddies and waiting for the distressed baby in my gut to calm down.  She has a name, SE, and she's the original survivor.  SE stands for the name that was on my original birth certificate.  I didn't know until I was in my 20s and had to get a copy of my original birth certificate for some administrative thing that I'd been given a different name at birth.  The certificate I got then showed that my name had been changed when I was a year old.  I asked my mother about that at the time, and she told me that it was because I was failing to thrive and as part of my treatment she changed it in accordance with an old superstition about hiding me from the Golem.  The important part of that story is, of course, the part she had no idea she was telling me -- that I was fed so inconsistently during my first year of life that I was literally starving.  That fact was confirmed to me by my brother.  He's two years older than I am.  He didn't get wonderful parenting either, and he remembers the doctor visit during which appetite stimulants were prescribed for both of us because we were malnourished.  I have learned a great deal about what happened to me as a child thanks to my completely non-introspective mother telling me what she thinks are colourful anecdotes about my childhood or her experiences as a mother that she has no idea are revealing horrifying truths when added up with other things I've found out through my previously referenced emotional archaeology.  My mother believes that she would never have left me alone when I was sick with the flu when I was just barely ten years old (literally -- it was the week of my 10th birthday), when in reality that week was a formative experience of my life, during which I took care of myself while lying on the couch with my quilt watching game shows all morning and cartoons all afternoon, and then took care of myself alone in my room lying in bed reading a book after the rest of the family came home from school and work, so as to prevent anyone else from getting sick.  Which I long remembered as being a GOOD week, that I was kind of sorry was over when I got better.  Anyway, whatever.  I'm doing pretty well with the older inner children, Middle B in particular is tremendously grateful that I'm dealing with SE, because apparently she's the one who has been dealing with SE all these years, but I don't know what to do with the poor little babe.  She's so tiny and hurt.  She doesn't understand.  She hasn't been fed in so long that when she is fed again her tummy will hurt and if she cries from the hurt the monster will come again and there will be the fight for life, but she doesn't know what any of that is.  She knows fear and almost nothing else.  I feel so bad for her.  I wish I could hold her in my arms so she could sleep and feel safe and loved and warm but she's just a cold little tense ball of torment and unshed tears.  I don't know if she even understands that she's alive.  How will I ever make her feel safe after what she's been through?   

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Not Alone

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #174 on: November 29, 2019, 08:21:02 PM »
Bach,
Good job with your boundaries at Thanksgiving.  :applause: Do you realize how big it is, the way you handled that?

Glad you are caring for yourself with bath and weighted animals.

Bach, I truly believe that in time SE will be able to not only tolerate, but soak in care and tenderness. I wish I could hold SE, wrapped up in a soft, warm blanket. I would feed her small amounts, what her tummy could safely handle.

Love to Middle B.

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Bach

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #175 on: November 30, 2019, 07:26:23 PM »
I think I've worked through the part of the flashback that involved the terror and grief and lack of control of enduring the horrific abuse I experienced, but my gut and diaphragm are still very tight and that feeling is triggering anxiety and panic from remembering what my daily life was like before I had any understanding of the root causes of my mental and physical troubles and I felt like this nearly all the time with no real sense that there would ever be anything better. It's very hard to tolerate and my resilience is low along with my sensitivity being very high.

notalone, thank you for understanding and believing me. Your kind words for the children are appreciated. They especially need kindness and to be believed.

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Snowdrop

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #176 on: November 30, 2019, 07:59:57 PM »
I don't think I can express it any better than notalone. I believe you and I believe the children.

It's just a thought, but if Middle B is used to dealing with SE, could you perhaps ask her how she thinks you could help SE?  Could you try wrapping SE in a soft blanket?

Sending love and hugs. :hug:

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Bach

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #177 on: November 30, 2019, 09:23:04 PM »
She wants to be swaddled but not too tight, and cuddled by gentle arms against a supportive body with her head secure and a face close enough to hers to feel the whisper of calm, relaxed breaths on her head.
 But Bach doesn't know how to do that from where she is and I'm too tired now from taking care of these littler ones for as long I can remember.  She has to do it without me.  I want to go back to sleep  :'( :'( :'(
« Last Edit: November 30, 2019, 09:25:01 PM by Bach »

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Snowdrop

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #178 on: November 30, 2019, 09:39:15 PM »
 :hug: :hug: :hug:

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Not Alone

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Re: A Safe Place To Be Visible
« Reply #179 on: November 30, 2019, 10:03:04 PM »
 :hug: