deepbreaths' journal

  • 27 Replies
  • 816 Views
*

dollyvee

  • Member
  • 158
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2020, 05:44:11 PM »
I had always thought I had a good relationship with my M, but I don't know how much of that was because I depended on her and had to maintain a positive-seeming relationship to survive.

I'm still so ashamed and embarrassed about the state of my life at that time, it's very difficult to talk about it, even with my T. I'm thinking maybe there was a good reason that I had repressed those memories. But I supposed the fact that it's coming up now must mean I'm on the road to recovery? That I can better handle it now than before? But buying new clothes has been excellent and I even managed to throw out some worn-out shoes and junk as well.


I think that's a really good insight deepbreaths  :hug: Gaslighting is a very difficult thing to recognize. It's taken me years to unpick my realtionship with my grandmother and see how a lot of the time, I was there to meet her needs at the expense of having my own. I still feel guilt over it.

It's not easy to go through these memories but you're strong and doing it  :cheer:

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2021, 05:36:38 PM »
Wow, it's been ages since I posted! As always, looking back to read my previous entry feel so distant. My emotions seem to fluctuate mush more quickly than I post. I think a big reason for this most recent gap was dealing with the holidays. I ended up staying with my M for about two weeks and basically shut down emotionally for the whole time as well as a week preceding and following the visit. I'm not yet in a place where I can handle being angry with her, especially not when I see her in-person.

The last couple weeks have also been sub-par for me, I've been somewhat depressed and avoiding doing much of anything at all, including posting on here (although I did pop on a few times to read what others had written). My T hypothesizes that in reality I am angry, but because I can't feel or express that, it turns inward and is expressed as depression. I have managed to feel a little anger at other people, though. Over Christmas I also saw my aunt for a couple days which was a fairly unpleasant experience. She is such a rude and critical person and has to make some nasty comment about every little thing. I felt like I couldn't relax the whole time she was there. In particular, she criticized my behavior as a child, that I didn't clean up after my mother enough, that I was too energetic (despite the fact that this was the only sort of emotion I was allowed to show in front of my parents), that my appearance was poor, etc. My mother stood there and listened to her say these things and said nothing, and in one case actually piled on, saying I was too child-like now! It hurt terribly because I've been working hard to reclaim the parts of being a child that were denied to me when I was young. To be told that I shouldn't have been a child at all...And later I turned that on myself for not standing up to her. I know feeling some anger at my mother for this would be reasonable as well, but it just makes me sad. That being said, I've been talking to her less than usual, so maybe some is leaking out.

I've also been rather frustrated with my roommate and I think finally put my finger on the reason yesterday. She adopted a pair of kittens in the fall. And they are very cute, I like playing with them and seeing them. But, I'm just not up for taking care of anything other than myself right now, which is one of the big reasons that I didn't get a pet myself. So, she got them with the understanding that she alone was responsible for them. And within the first couple weeks she was occasionally asking me to feed them. Which, like, fine...it only takes a couple minutes, although I do find the food pretty disgusting (I've been a vegetarian for quite a few years and find the smell of meat revolting). But recently, she's been going out usually one night a week and staying with a new boyfriend (which not even to get into the pandemic issues of that), and she leaves the cats by themselves for the night, which really means that she leaves them with me. Because she got them in lock down, they are super clingy and don't like to be alone. And I don't let them into my bedroom so they don't get into crafting supplies or damage any of my rather large rock/mineral collection (some of which are also mildly toxic). And while I could let them in with supervision, I find it extremely stressful. So they meow at my door constantly and I can't really do anything with my evening. And I think it's bringing up memories of my M making me responsible for my brother's emotional stability/well-being. Despite the fact that we are twins, I was always called on to be the mature one, to take care of him, protect him, and when he was abusing us, to calm him down. I know that the way my roommate is behaving is different, but it feels like a repetition to me, of her shirking her responsibilities to those dependent on her and making me responsible for them. A responsibility that I don't want and have knowingly avoided. Also the way she explains that she got them because she was feeling lonely in lock down... it feels a lot like my M who had kids more because she likes babies than I think really being invested in us as people, using us to help her get through her depression, and then not wanting to be responsible for actually giving us the nurturing we needed. So maybe I am angry with my mother, but I can really only feel it towards other people (and it's not like I'm expressing that towards my roommate either).

So maybe a good goal this week is to try some more angering exercises, even though they make me very uncomfortable. I need to find a new one though, because I've been trying to hit pillows, but I have a chronic pain/disability in my arms that means I'm really hurting myself with that exercise more than I would like. Taking suggestions if anyone has any they like.

*

notalone

  • Member
  • 2419
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2021, 05:42:15 PM »
Deepbreaths,

You certainly had a right to be a child and act childish when you were a kid. And now, you have the right to care for the child within.

I have a new kitten and they can be a lot of work. Perhaps your roommate needs to take the kittens with her when she stays overnight at boyfriend's house.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #18 on: February 13, 2021, 06:24:20 AM »
Sleep has been a real challenge the last two weeks or so. I know it's really about the work I've been doing processing some of the memories that came up months ago of M's neglect. But, my T suggested establishing more of a bedtime routine to get the sleep issues under control. Part of that is going to be journaling each night, which I usually only do sporadically. I'm thinking it could be a combination of posts here (which I don't do as often as I could) and in my paper journal that is rapidly running out of space.

I'm oscillating right now between periods of intense distress and depression. Not sure which one I prefer. Well, I probably prefer not feeling anything at all, but that's not a productive step. I'm a bit concerned about getting through this patch. I know EFs always pass, and for me about two week is usually about right for these more intense ones. I haven't quite gone down the road of SI, but I feel that familiar exhaustion, not sleepiness, but that bone-deep weariness that makes it difficult to do anything.

And I definitely have things that need doing. The nature of my program right now is that it is necessarily open-ended and self-driven, which goes a lot better when I'm feeling motivated. I did take a break from paper revisions to a math-based coding problem, which lifted my spirits some. And I'm sure getting my sleep schedule under control will help with that a lot. I also probably definitely put too much pressure on myself to get everything done well and quickly, even in the absence of any real deadlines. My advisor is super chill and very understanding about what I see as slow progress, but I guess I can always blame it on the pandemic. Feeling a lot of guilt over perceived lack of progress (although I have actually made some), and also shame for not being able to "just get over it" and be healthy.

Another big stressor for me tonight is a dentist appt tomorrow. I'm not having any issues with my teeth, it's just a six-month cleaning. And my current dentist is super nice, although this will only be my third visit with him. But, it's been a big issue for me for a long time. There's something uniquely vulnerable about lying in the chair with someone's hands in your mouth. Also, at some point I got the message that issues with your teeth are permanent and terrible, and that any issues such as a cavity or a damaged tooth were a sign of personal failure to practice good hygiene. So if I were to have a cavity (which I never have), then it would be because I am unclean and disgusting as a person. I know how illogical that is, but it is a constant worry that leads to obsessive tooth brushing habits, even though I hate it. It isn't so bad that it's really intrusive, and honestly is good for my teeth, but the amount of stress that goes into it can be draining. Hopefully, I will feel better after the visit tomorrow.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2021, 06:12:53 AM »
Dentist visit was fine, of course. I was quite anxious and brought a fidget. I really like this current dentist, he's very open about talking to his patients who get anxious. I expect he is looking for people with bad issues with dentists in the past, not CPTSD, but it works for me to not have to work so hard to hide how I'm feeling.

Conversely, feeling worked up about talking to M tomorrow given that I will have to mask my feelings. I usually call her once a week, but as I've been working more on processing some of her neglect of me as a child, this has been increasingly stressful. I'm not yet in a place where I want to talk to her about it, much too afraid that she will gaslight me if I bring up these experiences. I blame myself so much already, I can't handle her blaming me too right now. So instead, I'm pretending everything is fine...just like she always wanted me to as a child  :pissed:. Not really quite ready to feel into that anger yet either. Tried some IFS on it this week and couldn't get access to the angry teenager part, she's so hated by other parts that are in control  :fallingbricks:.

What I really want is to reduce contact for a little bit, but I'm not sure I could bring that up without her getting upset and probing. She's been giving me a hard time about delaying calls the last few weeks as it is. I expect part of that is my B recently told her he wanted to go LC now that he's moved out for the first time. She was very hurt by that, and I'm so invested in keeping her happy that I don't want to pile on, even if it would probably be healthier for me. I don't want to be NC with her (I am with F coming up on 8 years this month), and she wasn't all bad. I want some space, but I also tend to withdraw from my relationships whenever there's a hint of tension, and it feels like running away. I don't think that's the case here, but I don't want to slip into it either.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #20 on: February 16, 2021, 06:12:16 AM »
Ugh, had a very low energy day. I woke up on time after having nightmares about F breaking NC and showing up at a work event. In the dream I was trying to ask for help and was so scared I couldn't speak. I tried to hide from him by going outside and he followed me. Nobody was taking me seriously asking for him to leave, including M who had brought him to the event (despite the fact that she hasn't spoken to him in years either, time is weird in dreams), probably a sign that I still blame her for not keeping me safe from him. Left me in a depressed funk and I didn't get out of bed for an hour and a half, despite having work to do. I made some progress in the afternoon/evening, but I'm often critical of myself when I'm not feeling up to much working. Also, working from home has been a huge struggle recently, I'm sure I could get more done if I had to catch the bus into work and sit at a desk that isn't in my bedroom.  :Idunno:

Just a frustrating day in what has been a frustrating month or so. Here's hoping for a better day tomorrow.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #21 on: February 17, 2021, 05:55:17 AM »
I had a mini panic last night trying to go to bed and am worried about going to bed tonight as well. I think it was noise that triggered me. My roommate closed the bathroom door a little too loudly, and then the kitties were running up and down the hall as they played. It's very understandable that both of those sounds are huge triggers for me, but frustrating that they can still jolt me into hypervigilance so easily. And they are so unavoidable. I hate living in an apartment in a big city where there is no possible escape from the constant din of life happening around me. I can't wear ear plugs or headphones or anything like that to block out the sound either, because not being able to hear, and therefore potentially missing information about my surroundings, is just as anxiety-producing. I just want to run away to the woods and never come back.

I'm trying very hard to stick to this new routine. Doing better on the nighttime side, and actually managing to fall asleep, but I can't seem to stay that way and wake up throughout the night. And then in the mornings I'm still so exhausted, and probably more than a bit depressed, that I just can't bear getting out of bed after my alarm goes off. I did better today, only spending an hour on my phone, down from an hour and a half yesterday, but it's definitely not where I want it to be.

So frustrated with myself today. I just want to feel better and get my work done. Of course, I usually solve both of those by pretending my feelings don't exist. Writing this can be my reminder for the day that feeling my feelings is moving me towards my ultimate goal of living and not just surviving. I'm making the room more of a mess so I can put everything in it's proper place to make it cleaner in the end.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #22 on: February 19, 2021, 06:31:55 AM »
I had a really rough day today after a difficult therapy session. Struggling with feelings of worthlessness. And then shame over those feelings. I feel like I should be "over this" by now, and the fact that I'm not is evidence that I am a weak and useless person with too many emotional needs. Which loops me right back around to being worthless and undeserving of love- my own or anybody else's.

Cognitively, I know that these feelings are a direct result of my trauma and reflect the way I was treated rather than my actual worth as a person. That I should be unaffected by my trauma and be entirely self-sufficient for my emotional needs were things M told me because she didn't want to (or couldn't) protect and support me. I have so much doubt that anything about our relationship could ever change or that it could ever be supportive for me. But also, it's scary to think about losing what relationship I do have with her. I desperately need her love and acceptance for all of me, not just the parts that are convenient for her, but I don't think she's able to do that without a lot of work on her part, that I can't make her do. I probably owe her another recovery letter, maybe that can be something to do later this week, but it's late and I really don't have the energy for that today.

I'm frustrated that these feelings are impacting my ability to work. I feel like I was more functional before starting with this current T (almost a year ago now). And I know that it's because I was ignoring my feelings and not dealing with them, which was not a long-term solution. But, it's a lot to balance work/ therapy/ trouble sleeping/ the pandemic all at once. I'm exhausted and overwhelmed :fallingbricks:. I don't know how tenable this situation is, something has to give. It can't be therapy because if I don't keep doing that nothing will change. And I've already taken off so much time from work this year to deal with surgery, my grandmother's death, and I need to have another surgery this summer. Also, taking a week away from work to sit around in my apartment feeling bad is really not going to do anything. I'm not quite to the level of SH/SI, but I'm closer to that than usual. I just don't want to feel this way anymore. I'm so tired.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #23 on: February 23, 2021, 06:35:52 AM »
Haven't been on in a couple days. Whatever part of me that is responsible for pushing all of my feelings out of the way and just getting stuff done took over on Friday and I actually managed to make good progress at work on Friday/today and also cleaned up which always makes me feel better. I have so much gratitude to that part for taking on an impossible task and getting me to where I am. I'm hopeful that as I make progress on my emotions I won't need to rely on that particular coping mechanism quite so often, but it certainly is useful.

Since then, I've had a couple very frustrating encounters with M. Actually frustrating is not the word. Enraging. Triggering. Painful. I'm sick of her parading around trying to prove how good of a person she is, and expecting me to give her a pat on the back for almost doing the bare minimum of acceptable.

She and my brother have been having an ongoing fight that he feels like she doesn't respect him, mostly because she doesn't. And she texted me tonight asking if she could give my contact info to a friend of a friend looking for some advice. Which I really don't mind her doing, and I think he actually has my email already, but whatever. But then she followed up with a "joke" about how she was doing such a good job being respectful of her adult children. As if she deserves a gold star for not obviously being disrespectful (which she has done in the past), but there's no award for not treating other people like full human beings with their own thoughts and feelings. I can't imagine that she would get away with something like this with a coworker or her one friend, but for some reason it is okay for her to treat her children that way? Oh, I forgot, I'm not a full person, I'm her property and she gets to set up the relationship and I should just be grateful to her for my existence  :pissed:.

At least I am angry, I suppose. That's a hard one for me because it's uncomfortable and feels very unsafe. I was never permitted to show anger living with FOO and rarely express it now, and always make a note of it when I do. Still looking for a good angering exercise, though. The internet has been very unhelpful, mostly just articles on how to stop feeling anger, not how to stoke the flames. I did at least take that anger and respond to her texts expressing that I was unhappy with her comment, which is a huge thing for me. I was maybe a little sharper than I strictly needed to be, but I did say my piece. Not looking forward to her inevitably bringing it up next time I talk to her, though.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #24 on: March 03, 2021, 06:41:31 AM »
I've had a busy few days and haven't felt like I had much to post. Work has been very productive, mostly working on writing some new code which is a process I find very engaging and really lose myself in.

Update from my last post is that while I did talk to M, we didn't discuss my frustrations. She was feeling down and didn't bring it up, likely because she didn't want to deal with the conflict. And I didn't way anything either, although I did write out what I wanted to say in my paper journal.

Feeling somewhat guilty tonight because the kitties were asking for my attention all day, and while I did stop to play with them some, I lost patience with them while I was working and locked them out of my room. Logically, I can see that this was appropriate and actually totally okay, I often keep them out while I'm working and it's not like I was aggressive towards them or anything. I think the issue, which came up a little in a previous post, is that I'm feeling very responsible for their well being and don't want to be neglectful towards them the way M was towards me as a child. I can see that there are important differences between her not taking care of my basic needs and me not giving attention to the cats every minute of the day. They are perfectly well cared for and a bit spoiled (my roommate got them while we've been in lockdown so they are super clingy). They beg for attention, not because they desperately need it, but because they know they will get it.

I think the fear at the heart of it today, is that I am occasionally annoyed by them, and it evokes my own negative beliefs that my emotional needs are excessive and burdensome to others (especially M, but everyone else too), and that she was unwilling to pay attention to my needs was, in fact, the correct response to my unreasonable desire for attention and affection. Her expectation was that I would be able to handle all of my own needs, despite living in an unsafe environment, and additionally tend to her needs, as well as the rest of FOO. It has been the greatest shame of my life that I have been unable to live up to this impossible standard, and I feel undeserving of love and attention because of this flaw.

While I love animals, I didn't want to adopt one myself because I know that I'm spending all the energy I have right now on trying to take care of myself, and that I don't have the bandwidth to be responsible for anything else. The kitties are really stirring up those feelings though, because I feel like I'm letting them down.

I have the perspective to see that those thoughts are coming from an ICr and that they are not true. But, on an emotional level I really do believe them. It's like the rules I apply to everyone else don't hold for me. If anyone I cared about described these feelings, I would be quick to reassure them that. But when it comes to me, the secret is that I really am that flawed.

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2021, 06:28:20 AM »
Feeling super wound up tonight and having trouble settling enough to go to bed. I had a difficult therapy session today that has left me feeling little hope for the future and very unloved/unloveable. I'm having some desire to SH, not that I really would. Usually for me, I don't do anything more than pick or scratch at my skin. But, I'm desperately craving a release from the way I am feeling right now.

I'm really struggling to maintain my relationship with M right now. I'm trying to process a lot of neglect from her that previously was always "less bad" than abuse from F or B, but caused some deep wounds of its own. I would very much like to go LC, if only for a little bit, but am so scared of losing what love I do get from her by upsetting her. One of my big issues is that her love has never been unconditional, but demands that I behave as the model daughter she wants me to be. I'm expected to take care of her needs, and any needs I might have are burdensome to her.

I spent my entire childhood being told explicitly that I was responsible for taking care of my own emotional needs, and any upset feelings I might have should be dealt with where M didn't have to see. I was punished for crying or complaining. At that time, I learned to turn my anger and hurt feelings inward at myself, because there was no one else to express them to safely. So it's no wonder that I struggle now to regulate my emotions in non-self destructive ways.

*

Alter-eg0

  • Member
  • 92
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #26 on: April 02, 2021, 04:03:11 PM »
That's a hard way to feel, deepbreaths. And it makes a lot of sense. I recognise what you say. Take care!

*

deepbreaths

  • Member
  • 27
    • View Profile
Re: deepbreaths' journal
« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2021, 04:40:00 AM »
Thank you Alter-eg0 for the validation.

I was obviously very upset when I wrote that last post, but have been feeling better the last couple of days. I went for a long day hike yesterday which was amazingly restorative. I love to hike, but I don't have a car so getting out of the city to hike is often too much of a hassle when all I want to do most weekends is sleep and try to recharge. But every time I do manage to get out for a hike, I realize how much I needed it and how good it is for me, so maybe I can try to do that more often as the weather gets nicer. If I set an intention here to do that once a month, maybe I will actually stick to it.

What I'm really looking for is to run away to the woods for a while and go backpacking for more than just a couple days. Not super feasible in the current situation with travel restrictions and my current workload, but my work will lighten up a bit in July and maybe domestic travel will be possible by then as well. I haven't taken a vacation in nearly two years and could really use some time off. Being out in nature is so soothing for me, and one of the few places where I can process how I feel. But for now, it gets to be an escape fantasy.

Something my T said a couple weeks ago has been very much on my mind and I was thinking about it on my hike as well. I was expressing how I felt like I don't deserve to be loved, because if even my FOO can't love me, then who could? And I know when I'm not in an EF that that thought isn't rational, but hey it sure feels real when I'm upset. And she said that just because they couldn't love me the way I deserved, doesn't mean that I don't deserve to be loved. The flaws resided with the people who didn't know how to love me, but I deserve to be loved! It makes me cry to write that, which is how I know I need to keep writing it down over and over.