Activity 1, Professional help: Your T's response to misplaced responsibility.

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C.

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Reminder: In order to honor our group process we ask that only current members post and respond here please.  Thank you.

Note:  Your recovery is unique to you.  These topics and activities are suggestions.  Please feel free to do and respond to those that work for you at this time.

Professional Help

1.   What is your therapist's response to the question of responsibility for the abuse? How do you feel about this response?  Is it helpful or not?  Tell him/her what you feel and discuss what you need from him/her in this regard.


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Annegirl

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my T told me my mother was addicted to me serving her.
she asked me if i believe we all have a choice in how we act. I said yes, she said we do to a point but there comes a time where circumstances made my mother who she was and made her act the way she did.
I agree with her first point but thought she was making excuses for my mother on the 2nd point. I wrote to her about this and told her i felt angry about that. She said she can see my mother treated me very badly.
Now i can see her point, but then when i was really angry i couldn't.

She also told me a week ago that my parents clearly did a bad job at parenting and we did thought inquiry about an email my mother sent me that was demanding me to respect and not hold grudges to my parents. She tried to make me see that my mother wanted this strange concept called "respect" but that had nothing to do with me so i had to say the full sentence "she should expect respect." i couldn't say it or see it, i just saw her big red face in front of me demanding respect.
my T gave me an exercise for the following weeks on people shouting at me, telling me things i didn't agree with to not be defensive as she said this is what causes the pain and causes me to harm myself. my exercise is to just say yes to them, seeing that thats how they think but that it has nothing to do with me or what i should do.

i should add that she doesn't believe in victims or bullies, she believes when we are empowered we won't be victims anymore. It worked because one time my husband started shouting , i kept calmly validating him but not doing what he told me to do and he backed off very quickly.

this is a very difficult exercise and i have failed 2 times but managed it 1 time and am ashamed to go back to my T, partly because i cried last time and feel embarrassed about that.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 06:27:37 AM by Annegirl »

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Kizzie

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she asked me if i believe we all have a choice in how we act. I said yes, she said we do to a point but there comes a time where circumstances made my mother who she was and made her act the way she did. I agree with her first point but thought she was making excuses for my mother on the 2nd point. I wrote to her about this and told her i felt angry about that. She said she can see my mother treated me very badly. Now i can see her point, but then when i was really angry i couldn't.

I can relate to what you're saying Anne.  When I read posts at OOTF by members who understood their parents behaviour toward them to be because they had suffered abuse in their childhods and had developed a PD,  I would get very angry.  It felt as though they were letting their parents off the hook and that was so invalidating of all that I had gone through. 

I would ask myself, "I have a disorder and I don't behave that way so why are they any different?" It wasn't until I understood that a stress disorder and a personality disorder are two different things and that CPTSD is treatable while many PDs are treatment resistant that I got it.  My parents and NPDB had slipped further along the mental health-illness continuum and something in them had broken. I was injured, but not broken; I could recover, they never would.

It took a lot of anger and guilt and time to get to that point, but eventually I came to understand that my parents were the way they were because of what they had gone through as children. And perhaps for the first time ever I had this wonderful moment of clarity in which I realized it was not me, that they did not love or care for me because I was unlovable or unworthy, it was because they suffer(ed) from a PD.  Perhaps this is what your T was getting at?

FWIW, I think the fact that you managed to do the exercise once is worth celebrating as is letting the tears flow in therapy.  Both are steps forward in your recovery :hug:



« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 08:27:15 PM by Kizzie »

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VeryFoggy

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Annegirl - When I read your post I was only puzzled.  I could not and still can't wrap my head around it. But it sounds a lot like a website I was reading the other day called thework.com and it is an idea taught by Byron Katie.  I read The Work over, and over, and over, and I tried working through it several times.  But I only ended up being repulsed and feeling totally invalidated.  I finally gave up and said that's not for me and went back to reading Pete Walker's lists for Suggested Intentions For Recovery and Human Bill Of Rights.  These are much more in line with what I am capable of doing, and what I believe is fair and reasonable expectation to have for my life, and from my interactions with others.

If you can do that work (that sounds like The Work by Byron Katie) more power to you.  But for me personally? I do not believe it is applicable at all in the case of dealing with people who have PD's.  I just don't.  I think it could be excellent for dealing Non to Non.  But still quite, quite difficult to achieve. So if you are going to pursue that line of thinking, please be very patient with yourself as it sounds almost impossible to me and not something I could ever do.  There's just too much rebel in me or something. :)
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 06:29:53 PM by VeryFoggy »

Annegirl, I'm absolutely puzzled by your therapist. Just saying yes to an abusive person? Wouldn't this be incredibly triggering?

What about your right to leave an abusive situation? Doesn't this method mean that you have to stay in that abusive situation or the method won't work? Like, if you keep on thinking "oh, if it gets worse, I'll walk away", that method would automatically chalk that up as some kind of failure? Isn't that a lot of pressure? Or are there failsaves, or a Plan B for when the yelling turns even more abusive, or a plan for how to care for yourself and recover from the triggers afterwards?

That method is based on the assumption is that the yelling and such will just run off of you like water off a duck's back. But when you've got CPTSD, nothing "runs off". I'm amazed that you could it once.

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...she doesn't believe in victims or bullies, she believes when we are empowered we won't be victims anymore.

Hm. I wrote several replies but ended up deleting all of them because of excessive swearing. But maybe I'm simply just getting this all wrong? I mean, maybe you do feel safe with that therapist and she isn't putting undue pressure on you. But why does your therapist talk of empowering you - and then she sends you up against yellers with no better defence than validating the abuser (???) - and she puts the focus on your mother's life story and on your mother's expectations before you're done with your own lifestory and your own right for respect? I don't understand.

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Kizzie

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I didn't go there Very Foggy, but now that I think about it it does sound Katie Byron's The Work.

And Anne if that's the approach your T is taking with you, FWIW please be cautious.  Byron basically contends that we are ultimately responsible for all that happens to us.  By extension this means as children we made a conscious choice to accept our abuse and therefore are responsible for what happened to us. That could not be farther from the truth IMO.   
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 08:58:12 PM by Kizzie »

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Annegirl

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Thank you Kizzie i believe this is what she meant  :hug:
Thank you Very Foggy and SC  :hug:  :hug: maybe I havent explained it very well.
It is ok if you point blank cant see it or disagree, but when i understood it, its quite a deep concept it is VERY empowering. You stop seeing yourself as a victim. My T is the most empowering loving woman I have ever come accross, I never told you the other things she tells me as it wasnt applicable to this question, but she tells me that(when I am upset) "how dare they expect that of me?" "saying that my mother "should expect respec"t is the same as saying "my mother is stupid" "my mother should think these things" because it is who she is and has absolutely nothing to do with what i should do or believe.

At school there was a boy being bullied and he worked out that his bully got people to laugh at him, so he thought if he got people to laugh too then they wont laugh at the bully anymore but with/at himself.
he started making jokes about himself, and it worked, he stopped being bullied, and made alot of friends. The point is he saw tht guy as simply another person who did strange hurtful things, and himself as an equal person who could overcome this challenge, not a "victim".This is talking about my circumstances now, something i heard from that boy not from my T.
My T says when I was a child I was helpless against my mother, had no choice either, but now I am not helpless toget over this abuse. I had learned helplessness, so I wont see myself as a victim.

With my husband, the yes, is to see it from his point of view without seeing that what he is saying is true.without agreeing. Validating that he also can get upset about things.
   Believe me for someone like me who always had to say yes to my mother and do what she said it is difficult to grasp but to me (firstly G-d),also loving people and books and the work of Byron katie has helped me to not become an abusive parent like my mother was. I was always an angry person thanks to my upbringing and thought children should definitely be taught to stop doing things through hitting them. But "the work" has made me question all these thoughts and turn them around to see the truth in the situations.
My T always tells me I am one of the most remarkable women she has ever met (which is empowerment and I'm sure she says it to all her clients) and that she loves me, she is very loving, deep and wise, and what she says is definitely working in my heart and mind.

Maybe you havent understood the work, my T clearly said to me I was stuck with no way out, she said that it wasnt my fault, and though sometimes people have found a way out of abusive situations some people cant.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2015, 09:16:41 PM by Annegirl »

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Kizzie

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I'm glad to hear your T is very caring for and empowering of you Anne. Please disregard what I said about Byron's The Work. If it is helping you, that's what matters in the end  :hug:

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Annegirl

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Thanks so much for that Kizzie  :hug:

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VeryFoggy

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Well obviously I don't understand it at all.  Because I tried Byron Katie's Judge Your Neighbor worksheet.  And my first judgment was:

My sister is being cruel and abusive towards me.

But at the end of what Byron Katie wants us to do I am supposed to say:

I am being cruel and abusive towards my sister
My sister is not being cruel and abusive towards me
My sister is being kind and loving towards me

And I could NOT in good conscience ever, ever say anything remotely like any one of those 3 things!  Maybe I got it all wrong, but that is what I THOUGHT the woman was saying. But this is simply untrue and that never, ever happened!  I am a Freeze Fawn, and I have never been abusive to my sister in my whole life, let alone in the one specific instance that I was analyzing using The Work as guidance. And my sister certainly was not being kind and loving towards me. She was actively trying to manipulate me into believing I was insane.

So again, either I don't get the concept of The Work at all, or it's just NOT right for me.  Because I cannot lie to myself.  That has been one of my core problems I have identified in my family relationships.  All my life I have pretended that all of these people who have been destructively cruel to me, and who did it with the intent of keeping me under their control, were actually very nice people underneath, and I that could make them become very nice people if I just loved them harder, and tried harder to please them. Which turns out to be horse manure.

Because it's just not true.  My T has helped me see I have been in horrific denial. And all of these people are actually horribly mangled, sick, damaged, wounded people who are so broken they can NEVER become nice, kind, loving, caring people.  And I must face reality and deal with reality. With what is, not what I would wish it to be.

So mostly I am getting a lot of exercise in.  By walking away.  As I will never be able to receive any kindness from them ever. It will always be manipulation, lies, deceit, criticism, etc, etc, etc. My T has helped me see, and I know that I cannot change them.  I've tried for 57 years and it did not work. But if I stay around them and involved with them, then I will have to face that for the remainder of my life I will be the constant recipient of abusive behavior that I do not deserve.

So I have great and deep compassion for them. And I feel great sorrow for them. And I even feel love for them.  From afar. Far, far away.  Because they have nothing to offer me except more pain.

And that's the best I can do.  And I feel so much peace, so much happier, so much calmer, with all of that stuff being out of my life, and that battle is over and done with. It is finished. I have released them into God's care, and there is nothing I can do to help them. 

But I can help me.  I can save me.  And that is who is getting ALL of my focus, love, and attention these days.

And again, I was intrigued with The Work but I just could for the life of me make heads or tails of it. And maybe I have got it all wrong.  If I do have it all wrong, then PLEASE correct me.  I would like to have misunderstood.

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Annegirl

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Yes veryfoggy you have misunderstood. Byron Katie doesnt say that.
Just dont worry about it. Different ways of getting healing work for different people.
So just focus on what works for you.  :hug:

Also Veryfoggy, it helps more if you do it with a trained professional. Until you really understand that its not about them.

Byron Katie wrote in her book how this work came about. She was like us, been very badly abused, her mother didnt love her. She spent years lying on the floor in a cold concrete place as she didnt believe she was good enough for a bed or to be near her children. She was severely depressed cptsd, suicidal, self medicating etc and then she realised it was because she was living in other people's thoughts and judgements of herself and how she thought about them. The reality was she hated herself.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2015, 12:53:06 AM by Annegirl »

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VeryFoggy

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Thank you for the explanation Annegirl.  That helps a lot, and that part about Byron Katie's personal experience is no where on the website. Her idea is presented like a prescription, and it makes no sense at all the way it is presented on that website if you ever look at it:  thework.com

And I don't feel that way, that I hate myself. I have known since I about 8 years old that I was a good, loving, kind, caring person. I have spent my whole life trying to convince people who were incapable of believing that, of who I really am.  I have known who I am for a long time.  It's kind of weird. And I even stopped trying to hate me at about age 8.  They tried to make me hate me, that started when I was several years younger, but by the time I was about 8 years old, I had made up my mind about who and what I was. And I did not agree that I was a bad person.  That part I guess is that rebel I was talking about earlier. I just could NOT agree with them that I was bad when I thought I was good.

But all of my life I have always picked out people who looked in their actions to be like my parents to try to prove my goodness to.  I have done this all my life over, and over and I have never succeeded. Nobody I chose to get close to, ever sees or appreciates who I really am. My goodness has no meaning or value to them, just as it has no meaning to my parents. I choose people who are incapable of appreciating or seeing my goodness, to try to make them appreciate my goodness. Silly me!

And I have literally spent my whole life trying to prove to people, the wrong people, that I am a nice, kind, caring person.  I have been begging the wrong people to look at me, and to really see me all of my life.  And they cannot. It's impossible. In THEIR minds there is something wrong with ME and they need to fix me.  And until they fix me?  They cannot love me.

So those are the people I was born to, and those are the kinds of people I chose to associate with for deep relationships. It's all I knew. So I was on this gerbil wheel always trying to make people who could not love me, love me.

But my T has helped me see that if I start choosing instead like minded people?  I will be much happier.  And I found this to be true on OOTF, and now again here on CPTSD. It's a start. A very, very good start. I have been amazed by the kindness of the people on these forums, and amazed by the kindness of my T.  And there are also a few left in my life whose kindness also amazes me.  That I am grateful for.

So instead of life looking like a fight to prove who I am?  It is starting to look like a pretty nice place to be after all.  I just have to be more aware. Some people can see me, and some can't. And I need to stay away from those who can't. It's hopeless.  I will never convince them because they are so broken inside of themselves that they will never see it.

I started out in life thinking I could fix it.  But acceptance that I can't fix it is bringing me a lot of peace. It's not my fault.  I didn't cause it. I can't cure it, I can't control it. But I can walk away. And hope for a new day.


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Annegirl

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Oh very Foggy, I so hear you.
I am impressed that you have managed to stay so strong and love yourself, this is life saving.
I was just telling my husband this morning, why do people (meaning him at that time and my family) think they can talk to me the way they do. He had just been telling me I wasn't doing a good enough job at making the house a beautiful, cosy home. I am managing to make meals etc feed the children keep the house clean do homeschooling etc etc etc, when all i want to do every day is curl up in bed and stay there for hours.
And when he talks like that I start going back to my old feelings. I am trying to get out of the hating myself mode.

Thanks for that explanation, Annegirl.  :hug:  I'm glad that your therapist is such a kind woman, and that the method is working for you.

Maybe it's different if you're doing it with a therapist. I stumbled upon the website once, and my experience was very like that of VeryFoggy - there are the worksheets, and you're supposed to do them, and that's it. The explanations covered the usual situations (i.e. normal people dealing with other normal people), not the exceptions: what if you've got (C)PTSD, what if you're dealing with someone who's got a personality disorder, what if you're trying to work through issues of child abuse or bullying, what if you're a victim of systemic abuse like racism etc. It's probably a limitation of the format. I mean, if you included AAALL the exceptions in the worksheets themselves, they'd be long enough to be used as wallpaper.

The underlying theory - well, yes, that's something that sounds sensible. I worked as a shop assistant once, and we were told something like this - if a client is being impatient or difficult, they're simply giving us information about themselves. So if they're glaring at us and saying: "WHY is that thing I ordered not here already??!", that might feel like they're telling us we've been slow or incompetent, but in reality, they're just telling us how urgently they want this item. I was able to use this method with my very irascible workaholic boss, and it worked a right treat. Most bullies thirst and hunger for opposition. They want a real opponent they can dig their fangs into. Calmly validating my boss took the wind out of his sails. Which was a relief, given that my boss started picking on me shortly after my father died. The whole story was rather sad, because the way my boss reacted made it clear that it had never been about the things he'd criticized. He was just predatory: spotting weakness, homing in on it, responding to fear by making himself look even bigger and stronger. I have respect for his achievements, his sense of humour, his energy - but his social skills and attitude towards others? He's a playground bully.

And I'm using the word the way I'd call someone a "passenger" or a "host" or a "guest" - simply as a description of what someone's doing. So it's not like I'm saying "he's a bully" the way I'd call someone a "man" or a "child" or a "genius", as descriptions of who someone is. I'm assuming your therapist's words about not believing in bullies is about that latter thing, where people think that a bully or victim is what someone is.

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Annegirl

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Yes SC thats exactly it. You explained it all so well, and I admire that you learned that as a shop assistant how to handle people's anger!