New to CPTSD

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Violet Magenta

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New to CPTSD
« on: October 19, 2020, 12:52:47 AM »
Hi everyone. Many of your stories have aspects that sound so familiar to me. I only recently realized that I may have a kind of PTSD. What I was going through didn't exactly match up to PTSD experiences I'd heard about with survivors of war. And I'd grown so used to unpleasant feelings and panic attacks, that I didn't know or acknowledge they were happening, or that they might be a symptom. I developed chronic pain around ten years ago. I was sure I'd injured myself. Doctors found nothing. Physiotherapists had various theories. A few astute practitioners asked me gently about my emotional life. This was the crack in the door, that slowly enabled me to see that I'd been abused, emotionally as well as with physical violence. I think the emotional stuff may have been more damaging to me in some ways, because I couldn't see it for so long.  A friend noted casually that my ex was disrespectful -- I was so shocked and surprised that I had to get her to explain how. I just didn't see it. I had come to expect disrespect and emotional abuse. It was a given that my needs were nonentities. To this day, I still have a very difficult time with identifying and trusting my own feelings, figuring out boundaries, and protecting myself. I'm either too trusting or not able to trust. I'm working with a therapist now, Somatic Experiencing, and on my own with various resources trying to improve esteem, boundaries, and the ability to be in touch with my feelings. Thank you all for being here and sharing your experiences. It helps to not feel so alone.

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marta1234

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Re: New to CPTSD
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2020, 08:02:31 AM »
Welcome Violet Magenta,  :heythere: happy you found our forum :) .

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Violet Magenta

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Re: New to CPTSD // TRIGGER WARNING
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2020, 06:25:30 PM »
Thanks, Marta! Today I'm ready to share a bit more of my story. It's hard to know where to begin. I'm fairly certain I experienced violence in utero. My dad was hitting my mom by then I'm sure. There would've been yelling, cortisol, and whatever else penetrated the safe walls of the womb. My earliest happy memory is when I was left alone, placed in a room in the upstairs of the house. Nobody else was up there; it was so quiet, and the sun was shining through the window, lighting up the bright magenta carpet. As the afternoon shadows grew, this became tinged with violet, and hence Violet-Magenta--it's still a very calming colour range for me. I grew used to the daily tensions, and eventually it just became "normal" to be punctuated by blow ups. I remember thinking my mom was being murdered by my dad, but didn't quite know how to use the phone enough to call for help. I remember crying and wailing and telling them I was going to call, to try to get my dad to stop. But I didn't really know how to use the phone yet. Another time, much later, when I was around 14, my dad turned his rage on me. He charged up those same stairs, to that same room where I felt safe, and dragged me out and began cuffing me in the head and then kicking me down the stairs, so I was half falling and half being held up by the grasping and hitting. He kept at it in front of my mom in our living room. She started yelling at him, and I started running. I only made it as far as our gate, and he caught up with me. He was furious because I'd lost it, and was screaming. He dragged me back into the house. The next thing I recall is my mom trying to calm me down. I was hyperventilating. The next day, it couldn't really be ignored, what had happened. Usually my family would just ignore such things and carry on like nothing happened. But I had this big blood clot in the front of my left eye. So my eye just looked all red, and it was impossible to miss. I decided to take it as a badge of toughness, with my tomboy friends, so I told them what happened. I guess it helped to have them -- I remember hanging out with them at some skate board competition the day after, and it was a relief to be away from home and to just be a teen having fun. Though the shadow was there. And there it was visible in my eye. Because it couldn't be denied, my mom told me it was there because I'd cried too hard, and got too upset. When she took me to the Dr a few days later, this is the story told the Dr, too. That I'd got really upset and cried so hard that I got a clot. There always had to be cover up, blaming and shaming. There was no internet back then for me to check up on this claim. I now know that such clots are caused by blunt force trauma to the head, and that it can actually be very serious. I should've been taken to ER for it, but I guess fortunately it was the only clot, and I recovered. But for years I believed this stupid story that I caused by being too upset. Working with my T, I'm slowly uncovering stuff. I didn't think it was PTSD per se, because I could remember, but I'm realizing that key details are coming back, like the stupid blame/shame business. Or the feeling of almost escaping, but not quite. By a pretty early age, I'd already normalized constant feelings of hypervigilance and shame, and I just kept shoving them down to try to be normal and fit in. It was a losing battle, and I was utterly exhausted by it. I struggled also with stomach issues by my teens, and then by my twenties I had started to have pain in my neck and shoulders. By my late thirties, the shoulder pain had become excruciating, and there were times I couldn't even turn my head. The only treatment that's helped ease these symptoms has been embodiment and somatic experiencing with my T. To complicate matters, I'm now the primary caregiver for my former abusers. A big challenge is to change co-dependent patterns, while also calming my over-activated nervous system, and connecting to my compassion. There's been a lot of friction in the family over challenging old family roles. My brother erupted into physical violence and I had to turn my back on him for awhile. The old patterns repeat over the generations. I'm not sure what his own kids had to go through. I just try to keep the door open for them as their Auntie. I'm getting more and more idea of what my parents and their parents carried as trauma. And here I am. Able to share it with you today. That's a step.

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marta1234

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Re: New to CPTSD
« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2020, 08:37:07 PM »
Violet, I read everything you wrote. Iím so sorry you went through this. I donít know what much to say (how much can you say with these pasts), but I wanted to extend a supportive hug(if itís ok). I wanted to congratulate you on starting your therapy and having a somatic T, this is a great step  :cheer: Thank you for sharing your story. Sending lots of support  :hug:

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gravity

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Re: New to CPTSD
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2020, 10:05:00 PM »
Hey Violet Magenta.  I read this after you left a post on my journal and I just want to say I am so sorry you went through that.  I want to say my heart breaks for how much abuse you endured, the physical, emotional, mental.  No child or person should go through that.  I want to give you a supportive hug, if that is alright with you.  If not, it's okay for you to not accept it.
Congratulations again on finding a T that helps you so much.  The road ahead is going to feel really, really tough sometimes, like you're not making progress at all.  But you are.  You said it yourself. "That's a step."

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Violet Magenta

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Re: New to CPTSD
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2020, 10:59:54 PM »
Thanks, Marta and Gravity. Your hugs and support are appreciated, and especially helpful today. My mom's in the hospital now, and she's being so kind, loving, and sweet -- then, I feel so guilty for the feelings coming out about the not so good stuff. But apparently inconsistency is tough, because you never know quite what you'll get as a kid, and it keeps you trying to attach. Sigh. My T says my interactions with my parents can be seen as an opportunity to learn what's happening. Anyway, it helps so much to have found OOTS and to feel in good company supporting each other.  :grouphug:

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C.

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Re: New to CPTSD
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2020, 11:03:12 AM »
What a wonderful example of a step, and I think a gigantic one...Thank you for sharing your story here.  It mirrors my reality so much.  Your parents sounds so similar to mine.  The constant tension and explosivenss in the home.  Your natural acceptance of the denial, as a youth you had been programmed to deny, hence the false explanation for your injury.  And I am touched by the now mature perspective of your experience that you shared, of what ought to have happened, like an ER visit.  My parents too are close to reaching the age of needing caregiving.  I also appreciated your awareness of the inconsistency w/your mother.  The current sweetness.  Yet, your awareness that it has been sporadic.  Again, thank you for sharing such a mature and insightful perspective on your experiences both past and present.

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Violet Magenta

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Re: New to CPTSD
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2020, 05:47:55 PM »
Thanks, C. I had an insight about what you noticed, but I think I'll give the Recovery Journalling a try. So, I'll try starting a post over there to record these insights. In summary, by the end of yesterday, I saw that both parents were "bait-and-switching" me! Now that I can clearly see the pattern, I can also see how I slip into EFs exactly related to my need for love and acceptance. Thanks for your reply. It helps to feel really seen.