Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"

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C.

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Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« on: March 29, 2015, 07:44:55 PM »
Self-Help   

If you'd like...

1.   Record in your journal each episode of abuse that you recount in ASCA meetings or in your therapy.  Describe your story in your own words or in the way you have heard other survivors share their stories.  If you'd like, draw pictures (abstract, child-like, or real) to accompany the words and to create a fuller image of the surroundings.  Include as much detail and emotional expression as you feel comfortable with.  Writing and drawing in story form is helpful in organizing and integrating the past experience for you in a different manner, one that takes into account your adult perspective and knowledge.  Try to sort out exactly what happened and your reactions then as well as now.  Your goal is to develop  a more complete understanding of the abuse episode(s), one that incorporates the roles played by your parents, your abusers, your family and the forces over which you had no control.

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C.

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 07:58:14 PM »
When I first read this step and the activities they sounded like too much.  But then I go to thinking if I focus on one set of memories, and process it well, I think that learning will transfer to other memories.  Especially if I re-frame the memory as my adult self and what would've been an appropriate action by my parents.  Re-parent me.  "Re-mommy" me.  So, when I have the emotional/mental energy this week, I will do so.

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Kizzie

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2015, 09:58:36 PM »
I really like the idea of reframing the incident C.  I'm so busy right now I'm really reluctant to do a lot of the activities in case I end up triggering.  But picking one at a time and then ending off with some reparenting seems like a positive strategy I can manage.

Great idea!  :hug:  (and this is why working as a group is so helpful!)

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anosognosia

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2015, 10:11:55 PM »
Just for the record, do we list them on here? I've made an extensive list in my journal but in the interest of privacy/anonymity I wonder if I should include as much detail as it stands....

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C.

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2015, 04:38:06 AM »
I think that's up to you.  This forum is open for the public.  I've started to share some details figuring that my FOO is unlikely to see and identify what I've written, but it has crossed my mind. 

I'd like to hear your story.  If you'd like, you could send it as a PM to the group members.

Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2015, 06:42:26 AM »
Sounds like a good idea. I'd be open to that. Ana, it would probably depend on what it's like for you to share things: if it makes you feel too vulnerable, or if you have a feeling that you're not ready yet, then there's no pressure to share anything. If you get a feeling that this has been a secret for long enough and it WILL out, then we're here.

I'm kind of pussyfooting around this whole point. Writing each event down in depth is too ouch. So I'm making lists, and things get described briefly, in the style of those example case studies you get in books. That helps me get through it all.

But if I'm honest, I'm even procrastinating doing that. My family's so in denial about everything. There's almost a kind of unspoken doctrine that we're fine, "it was hard but we coped and it made us stronger". In that context, even just thinking about the past gets framed as unhealthy navel-gazing that will only create problems where there were none. So I'm having to swim against that particular tide a lot of times. The times I was physically abused by classmates or my FOO (only mildly) or the time I was sexually assaulted (also very mild), those are easy to acknowledge. But the relentless progression of event after event where it was "just" emotional abuse or neglect? THAT is difficult to write about. Because at the time it's happening, you're getting those strong signals that it's all fine and you're supposed to shut up and be fine with it. "I'm just being honest", that kind of thing. In order to acknowledge what happened, I'm having to de-brainwash myself a little.

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anosognosia

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2015, 11:55:11 AM »
I'll send you guys a PM because the details are what anchor my experiences into reality. Vague terms just make it sound general and generic, and it makes me doubt myself.


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marycontrary

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2015, 01:16:40 PM »
Christ, what DIDN'T they (my perpetrators) do????

Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2015, 03:43:05 PM »
Something occurred to me today. I don't have THE single traumatic event. Well, I have some of those, but I'm not sure I'm up to confronting them. And they only had the impact they had because of other things.

So... how does one journal "an episode of abuse" if that episode lasts for about two decades? I can't just describe ONE event, I'm having to describe my family's habits and style of conversation etc., lots of things that were just how things were done in our house.

So I'm now making lists and talking about generalities (instead of specifics). Easier to do. It works, too: with every sentence I write, I have such vivid memories of the many instances where it happened.

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Kizzie

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2015, 08:06:40 PM »
I know what you're saying Cat, ongoing emotional abuse can be difficult to capture in terms of single incidents, especially when it's covert and you have been trained not to look at it as anything but normal and in everyone's best interests (NOT!). Anyway, like you there are some incidents that are sort of representative so think I will pick one that is not really big to start. 

Anos - I'm good with PMing  :hug: 

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anosognosia

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2015, 09:32:07 AM »
Something occurred to me today. I don't have THE single traumatic event. Well, I have some of those, but I'm not sure I'm up to confronting them. And they only had the impact they had because of other things.

So... how does one journal "an episode of abuse" if that episode lasts for about two decades? I can't just describe ONE event, I'm having to describe my family's habits and style of conversation etc., lots of things that were just how things were done in our house.

So I'm now making lists and talking about generalities (instead of specifics). Easier to do. It works, too: with every sentence I write, I have such vivid memories of the many instances where it happened.

I recently talked to a psychiatrist about this. People who have complex trauma often present with an accumulation of "microtraumas", which makes it harder and trickier to diagnose as supposed to a series of sensational events.

I'm not trying to diminish experiences on either of those spectrums, but I'm saying especially in this community that it's totally expected that some of us have difficulty recounting traumas that are easily anchored in time and space.  It's complex PTSD, afterall. It's complex.

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Kizzie

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2015, 09:19:32 PM »
So in thinking about a representative incident I had a bit of a revelation.  I have always said that I was not physically abused and yet the memory that I chose to work on was of being spanked really hard (bare a**) and then put into a hot bath when I was around 5 or 6.  My B and I embarrassed my NPDM when she had a friend and her son over and when they left, wham.  She was furious and spanked us so hard it left red hand prints and man it hurt to sit in the hot water. I remember being really scared and then my M started to cry and that turned to shame about being bad and making her cry.  Yeesh.

In dredging up this memory I then remembered other spankings, some slaps on the face and being grabbed and pushed when she lost her temper.   I was thinking of physical abuse as being beaten up I guess, but in retrospect that was physical abuse and it only stopped when we got too old to be manhandled.  I do also remember my F slapped me across the face when I was around 19 for arguing with him and my M. (Hunh - I just said in my head as I wrote that "Well you were yelling at them" as if I deserved to be slapped. Wow, well trained to take the blame). 

So my "take away" from this is that remembering really is important.  And so far I haven't had an EF (really busy though so maybe that's helping me to distance myself). Right now I feel I know more about why I developed CPTSD by working through the steps and letting myself remember. Tks all  :hug:

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anosognosia

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2015, 10:28:17 PM »
Kizzie your anecdotes are so powerful and I see my own childhood in so much of what you wrote.
Thanks for that, really.

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C.

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2015, 02:17:28 AM »
It is great reading everyone's thoughts and experiences here, thank you.

So today I was feeling the urge to record my memories when I found a post-it pad.  It was perfect.  Because my memories are disorganized and non-sequential essentially.  Then I thought I'm just gonna start with year one.  So I did.  And I was surprised (although in  hindsight it's clear) that my birth story and my first year are classic to a N family like what I remember Cat describing at some point.  How the stories all evolve around the parents and facts.  Exactly.  Not one detail or positive about my birth.  Nothing about me, how I was and how I changed during my first year.  The one positive is to show how smart I was by crawling early (just and N showing off to the world, see I'm intelligent cause my child is...).  And a detail about an unpleasant, "funny" detail for my mom.  By itself that year to others might seem "normal," but I realized that an emotionally healthy family or one that's recovered would have many stories, including happy ones about the infant.  I know that I do about my two kids, and they're heard them.  Details about the wonder of their births, the joys of milestones the first year, little personality traits I picked up on that first year, etc.  As for me, zero.

So like I've mentioned before I decided to make a happy ending out of cookie dough instead...I told that baby me that I loved to look at her, and be with her, soothe her, etc. etc.  I'm sure I didn't get that as an infant.  Just sleep, feed, change repeat.  A cry for anything else was usually met with silence and being left in my crib to cry myself to sleep.  I've seen my mom with my nieces and own kids, she never notices their cues...she's always "playing" and "having fun" w/them, but it's her agenda...

I'm going to try recording things w/post its and cards.  That way I can create pics/words that describe my experience as well as a new one I can create for myself now.  If there's a side note about my mom, or dad, or brother, or a place that gets a different post it.  Then I'll sort and put together later.

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bee

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Re: Activity 1 "Journal about episode(s) of abuse"
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2015, 07:06:33 AM »
I think I've mentioned that I've started writing down all the incidents that I remember. Of course I've written some down while journaling during the past many years, but this is a concerted effort to get them all together. I never record more than one incident a day, and I've taken several long breaks from it.
I also experienced what Kizzie did, as in remembering more things.
It also helps me when I start to doubt myself. Sometimes I start to think maybe it wasn't really that bad. I can look at what I've written and reassure myself that I am not being "too sensitive".


I have had some incidents get stuck in my head. Once I remembered them, and wrote them down, I couldn't stop thinking of them, and would have constant EFs. This is what usually works for me if that happens.
I envision a box that can be padlocked. I envision all my feelings associated with the incident as swirls of color, I put all of these into the box, and lock it. I then visualize putting that box into a heavy duty safe. The safe goes onto a plane. The plane flies to heavily fortified vault on another continent. The safe gets put in the vault. It may sound weird, but it usually works to stop the EFs. I can still visualize the incident, but it's like I'm watching it on tv. I get the feelings back out when I'm ready to work through them in T. If it still bothers me to even think of it, I do the same exercise again, but this time visualize my memory of the incident going in the box.