dollyvee's recovery journal

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dollyvee

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dollyvee's recovery journal
« on: November 25, 2020, 02:04:24 PM »
Hi all - I think it's time for me to start this and put it out into the ether. I find it helpful to know that ppl reading this have similar experiences to me, which I don't really find IRL.

I've read Pete Walker's Complex PTSD book (the first diagnosis that made sense) and have been doing the work with EMDR. I've been feeling off and having responses to things lately that seem like an EF but I just can't out my finger on what's caused it, and find it hard to get out of. Well, it could be a couple things. I had some problems with my neighbours during lockdown. I started lifting weights a few years ago and it's really helped with stress. Boxing is also amazing but hard to do in lockdown. While working out, I had the music on (not especially loud and only for an hour a day) but the neighbours above me would stomp on the ceiling. I know this might sound crazy but it felt like I was being watched from above. I started going into the kitchen, and even without music, they would stomp on the ceiling. I would accidently drop something on the table and there would be footsteps above me. I like to leave the dishes until morning and wash them while I'm waiting for the coffee to brew, but as soon as there would be the rattle of dishes in in the dish rack, there would be footsteps above me. A lot of the time they would be heavier than what seems normal. I also had another incident at work where I'm pretty sure some coworkers threw a chestnut at the back of my head. When I went to their manager about it, I was the one who was excluded and made to work alone. This really put me back into a place of feeling bullied growing up and not being able to escape from ppl that tormented me.

TW -

My n mom remarried when I was 7 to my step father who verbally abused her and me, and physically abused her later. She told me later that she thought it was right at the time. She was doing drugs before this, and going out at night, leaving me home alone after we moved out of my grandfather's house when I was 5. I'm amazed how smart children are. That I could understand my mom and her friend was doing drugs while I played in the room with the woman's daughter next door. My mom always minimized this incident - which is maybe why I minimize ppl's behaviour/things now. So, she thought my step father would bring her some stability I guess.

My step father was very jealous over how my mom and I were. If I wanted attention from her or was close, he would tell me that I'm a "suck." He was a big, strong "Man" so the last thing you could be was vulnerable. I was quite rebellious and even then could see that his behaviour was wrong. I think he once made me write like 5 pages of lines because I ate something in the fridge I wasn't supposed to. So, I had to sit at the kitchen table and write, I will not pig out. He used to make my mom and I run 2K (?) three times a week with him because he thought we were fat. Really, he hated himself and projected it onto us. My mom's response to this when I pointed out how unfair he was being was, "sometimes it's better in a marriage not to rock the boat." And that was it. There was no one there to really protect me or stick up for me. My grandfather did, but not really. My grandmother, who took all my soaked clothes and told me I was freezing when I went to her house after running 2K in freezing slush, also I didn't tell off my mom or make a scene about what she was doing to me. They thought my step father was not great (or an ape as they called him) but somehow I didn't feel stood up for.

It's like I know this stuff is bad but it never sinks in how bad it was. I know I can't talk about it to ppl. When I mentioned it to a coworker who was sharing his experiences of neglect growing up, I told him I used to have to run. He said that's enough to mess someone up for life.

TW End -

When I come up against unreasonable ppl like my neighbours now, there is still the feeling of not being able to escape. It's like there's no psychic protection and maybe they were a threat but it's like you never really know. I didn't think it I was being a bad neighbour. When I moved out from my old flat, I was told by the upstairs neighbour that I was great, they never knew I was there. I even asked the ppl upstairs to stop stomping on the ceiling and they basically told me I was imagining it. I ended up moving apartments for peace of mind but that heightened response to stress is still lingering months later.

So, I came back to the forum and have found some great resources which is helping a bit. I'm reading about IFS and how to relate to your "different parts" but still a bit cautious about unleashing something I can't control. Haha maybe that's my manager speaking but it's done it's job well for getting me out of that house growing up in one piece to where I am now and am thankful for that. I guess it just still feels like there's so many dangerous ppl out here in the world.




 

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Snowdrop

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #1 on: November 25, 2020, 09:58:28 PM »
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It's like I know this stuff is bad but it never sinks in how bad it was.

I was the same about a lot of my stuff. I could only begin to comprehend how bad it was when I imagined what my reaction would be if I saw it being done to someone else.

I hope it goes well with IFS. There's no harm in being cautious. :hug:

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2020, 10:32:23 AM »
Thanks for dropping by Snowdrop  :wave: and for the well wishes.

It's a really fascinating way to look at myself and is throwing up some new insights. I'm starting to realize my firefighting behaviours (unfortunately for my waistline - it's eating but no wonder) and that underneath them are maybe emotions that have been hidden for a long time. This is where I'm trying to be cautious. It's also really helpful to recognize the other parts and start to find out who they are, and that I'm not stuck this way.

I remember years ago I had the distinct experience of hearing voices chattering away in my head before I went to sleep. It felt kind of soothing for them to go on like this and reflect on what was happening, but I also remember thinking, maybe there's something wrong with me. I'm glad IFS clears this up.

I'm definitely more interested in how the shamanic journeying comes into play and it's really powerful to read your experiences on your journal.  :hug:

I may have met a helper this week. I had a dream of a baby fox that was at my feet. It looked so cute and wanted to be petted. The next day while I was driving home from the city, I had foxes run out in front of my car three times. It hasn't happened since the last time when again, I had three foxes run out in front of my car on the same drive. When I looked up fox under symbolic meaning, I read that in North American indigenous mythology the fox is helpful for ambitious people navigating tricky social relationships. This is exactly what I face at work. I have an innate fear of being used and taken for granted from being programmed to please and not being allowed to have any needs or boundries growing up. I work in a competitive field where people will willingly do this to get ahead and it fills me with anger when I notice it happening. I guess they're old wounds that get triggered, and old wounds on top of those because there is no human resources department I can go to when things happen. I'm alone navigating a dangerous world again. The anger in me wants to punish these people for trying to hurt me, that little girl, but socially and professionally, I can't do this. Unfortunately, some ppl behave this way and I have to find a way to deal with it without stooping to their level.

So, hello little fox, my helper. I'm hoping you stay with me for a while and be by my side while I understand this. A few weeks ago, one of you came and watched me pack up my things at the end of a work day. We were the only two beings in an old stadium close to midnight, and you came and laid down on the grass about 15 feet away, watching me with curiosity.

 


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Snowdrop

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2020, 06:32:39 PM »
Quote
I had a dream of a baby fox that was at my feet. It looked so cute and wanted to be petted. The next day while I was driving home from the city, I had foxes run out in front of my car three times. It hasn't happened since the last time when again, I had three foxes run out in front of my car on the same drive.

That's interesting. I've heard a few times that when journeying to find an animal guide, you should wait for it to appear before you three times.

 :hug:

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2020, 08:32:25 PM »
Oh that is very interesting! A friend mentioned that when we are at a spiritual crossroads, or opening up spiritually, we begin to see three numbers like 111, 555. I wondered if three foxes was similar.  :hug:

The strange thing is, I'm pretty sure there was a fox in my dream the night before I saw them the last time, but can't remember. I've always had "strong" dreams but a lot of times these things fill me with anxiety. I guess maybe that's accessing the true self which touches on the feelings of the exiles etc. Or not as the case may be. Sometimes I just feel numb. I'm looking into that too ;D

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2020, 11:47:05 AM »
A bit of a detour - this may be TMI for some but I wonder if it's all related?

I had a small skin tag that I've had my whole life start to act up in the past few days, bleeding and spewing some great looking other stuff. I was told years ago that it was nothing to worry about. I called the doctor yesterday and he wanted me to get it looked at immediately, but when I asked him if he thought it was cancerous, he said probably not. I just realized that maybe this is the kind of reaction Richard Schwartz described when things are released/accessed without going through the proper channels (one of his clients came down with a fever, the other a migraine). I wonder then if all the feelings coming up the past few weeks have maybe somehow triggered this.

I've had years of "weird" health things that were always dismissed by doctors. I made the mistake of asking for antidepressants 8 years ago because my energy just vanished and I assumed I was healthy, and ever since then doctors have tried to tell me it was all psychological. It took a lot of research and persistence to find out what was sort of going on. After finding out I had CPTSD, and how childhood trauma can raise cortisol levels which then can affect the body, my health stuff started to make more sense. There was a lot of what do I have to do to get someone to believe me and just feeling like I had to navigate through this on my own and this is related to my "old stuff."

TW -

Growing up I had asthma and remember asking my mom to take me to emergency so I could be put on oxygen when I was about 5/6. I had been there before and I liked it, it felt soothing and was a relief that I could breathe. I remember her once asking if I really needed it because she had to get up and go to work the next day, and I was inconveniencing her basically. I felt like such a burden to want to take care of myself. My mom smoked all the time and this really affected my asthma but she would never stop. So, no matter what, I was a burden. Growing up, so much of my attention was focused on how do I get my n mother to take care of me, and the feelings that came along with it when she didn't.

It's taken me a long time to start to meet my physical needs and realize that it's my responsibility to do so (and that it feels good to be my own adult with my own life). So, I guess there's a lot of things coming up around if this is something really serious, I'm not that little person anymore asking for my n mom to take care of me; that I don't have to panic about not getting looked after.

TW - end

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2020, 07:03:26 PM »
After writing my previous post today, I remembered a dream I had the other night where I was pulling a sliver from my toe. The sliver turned into a little plastic bag of parasitic fishes with rainbow colours. I thought maybe, if my skin issue was related to memories coming up, this might be a good place to start. So, I tried my first IFS experience.

IFS

I wanted to ask for help on with this. A clearing in a forest lit by moonlight came to mind and I asked if there was a helper. There was a bent (not hunched but bent at an angle) tall, lanky woman. I had to talk to her and ask her if it was ok to let this happen. I think she was scared that I wouldn't be protected, but also that she had been working so long to protect me and feeling like she wasn't being heard/taken for granted. That this was the part who has to be "right" and rigid. (This is where it gets a bit hazy - I think I'm need to practice listening or noticing when the Self is present).

A brown horse with a black mane and shiny eyes appeared. I rode it to a really bright desert with a pond and put the bag of parasite fishes in the pond. The sun was hot and dried up the water but a part of me was scared that they weren't going to die so I tried to burn them. It was like this fear that they were still in me got so large that it filled up my mind. So, I asked if there was someone behind this fear. A tiny, very toddler like me (?) came out. I also got the sense that I was fluffy, like I was wearing a pink snowsuit (I think I used to have one). I felt so warm to this little girl. That she was so cute and small. I got comically tall around her (but maybe this was a blended self part that was tall as I could see how tall it was).  I got the sense that she made things (fears) very big because she was so small and this was how she protected herself. I wanted to take her and put her somewhere safe and a treehouse came to mind. I thought this was funny because she was like a little ewok. The forest was very green surrounding the treehouse.

I got the sense that she was still scared* in the trees and asked if there was someone to stay with her. I saw balls of light but they didn't really have a shape but felt that they could help protect her. Next time, I will go back to her and try to show her that I can protect her.

*reading Owl and Snowdrop's experiences after my experience, I realize that maybe she is still stuck in the past and even though I was so big next to her, and she also didn't believe that I could protect her, that I was capable of that. I also really understood what they meant by "ball of protectors" and this felt somewhat like that. There was also a voice checking in in the background too and is a very rational part, trying to explain everything and relate it to my life. It makes me wonder if ppl who have narcissistic trauma might experience IFS differently as a lot of us had a very deformed sense of reality growing up  because our reality was never validated. I also wonder if this affects our Self in IFS. It gave me the idea that maybe I need a "reality compass" when I'm doing this, or some sort of string/anchor. I get the sense that it's very easy to hide parts of myself that my protectors want to protect.

 



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Snowdrop

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2020, 09:32:14 AM »
That sounds illuminating, Dollyvee.

Quote
I realize that maybe she is still stuck in the past and even though I was so big next to her, and she also didn't believe that I could protect her, that I was capable of that.

When I encounter a part that may be an exile, I find it helpful to ask how old the part thinks I am, and what her role is. If the part thinks I'm a particular age, she might be a protector for a part of that age. If she doesn't know what I mean by role, she's more likely to be an exile.

The other thing is that with every encounter, I ask if that part has protectors, and make sure that I'm not blended with any parts. I then get permission from every possible protector or interested part before going any further.

Quote
It makes me wonder if ppl who have narcissistic trauma might experience IFS differently as a lot of us had a very deformed sense of reality growing up  because our reality was never validated. I also wonder if this affects our Self in IFS.

I know that those of us with CPTSD experience IFS differently to others. This is a quote from one of the chapters in the IFS New Dimensions book: From the perspective of IFS, people with complex PTSD and DDs have exiles who carry burdens of extreme emotion and beliefs, as well as firefighters and managers who are either rigidly controlling or easily overwhelmed. This complicates the inner family of a client with DD in a number of ways. Parts tend to be more dissociated and may seem to have no connection with each other; parts are often phobic of each other and do not want anyone, including the therapist, to know about them and treatment is further complicated by the possibility of the inner family having layers of dissociated parts who reveal themselves only as progress is being made.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 10:57:52 AM by Snowdrop »

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #8 on: November 30, 2020, 04:00:45 PM »
Thanks for the advice Snowdrop  :hug: It's really great to hear the things you have done before as a road map for things to try

I do get the feeling that things could pop out of nowhere and it seems that they will morph and change into other parts. There's also a sense of frozenness when thinking about the self. I know before in therapy where I was asked to focus on how I was feeling or thinking during certain exercises, there was a sense of not knowing, or having multiple options. That my answers maybe weren't coming from the Self. It made me think that something similar is likely to happen in IFS and would be hard to discern what is actually real.

I amazed at what an experience it was though. How these things came together and how natural it felt to react to them. I'm glad I wrote everything down right away as even going back an hour later to write my OTTS post, I had forgotten quite a bit,

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Snowdrop

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #9 on: November 30, 2020, 08:11:04 PM »
I'm glad you got on so well with it. :hug:

Quote
I know before in therapy where I was asked to focus on how I was feeling or thinking during certain exercises, there was a sense of not knowing, or having multiple options. That my answers maybe weren't coming from the Self. It made me think that something similar is likely to happen in IFS and would be hard to discern what is actually real.

It makes me wonder if you were blended with multiple parts. I think IFS makes it easier to tell when this is the case.

One thing I found really helpful is to spend time recognising when I was my Self, and when I was blended with a part. If, say, I felt scared, I'd say to myself "now I'm blended with a part that feels scared". Any time I felt anything other than those Self qualities, it meant I was blended.

I also looked for things that made me more my Self so that I could cultivate Self energy. Off the top of my head, it could be worth trying things like the Tapping Solution app. I usually feel much more my Self after using it.

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gravity

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #10 on: November 30, 2020, 09:51:45 PM »
Just wanted to say hi dollyvee.  Seeing discussion about IFS is making me curious about it, so thanks for talking about it.

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2020, 11:18:33 PM »
Thanks Snowdrop and thank you for stopping by Gravity, welcome. I'm glad you are finding it useful. There are quite a few ppl on here who are using IFS (like Snowdrop) and have a lot of great insights.  :grouphug:

I also looked for things that made me more my Self so that I could cultivate Self energy. Off the top of my head, it could be worth trying things like the Tapping Solution app. I usually feel much more my Self after using it.

This is interesting - I will have a look at this app. Thanks Snowdrop  :hug

With the therapy sessions, it was like not really knowing what to choose. It may sound strange but for a long time I felt really empty, like there was nothing there. I thought for a while that maybe this was narcissism and I was the narc, but I think children of narcs aren't allowed a self. Growing up in a narc family, there was a lot of enmeshment and lack of separation/boundaries. Any separateness was usually shut down or looked at badly.

TW -

After a while of living with my step father and mother, and having to run, write lines, being made to do an unfair amount of chores, but really not being listened to, minimized, treated badly and bullied, I told my dad that I didn't want to live with my mom anymore and could I live with him. There were problems at my dad's house but nothing like my mom's house. It actually felt like a loving family. My mom wasn't having any of it though and told me that I, as an 8 year old child, abandoned her. She refused to kiss me or show me any affection after that and for a good 25 years after. After this (it was probably always there to a degree though), I think I really tried to ppl please because I had the self belief that something I wanted and needed was somehow wrong, and there are years of "if I just did this, then maybe x would like me," or just numbing everything out because you were told how wrong it was. Not just told, but shown how unlovable she thought I was. My grandmother has narc behaviour as well but in much subtler ways, which is another layer of self doubt.

TW end

I think my Self is probably there, as a feral 8 year old somewhere. A bit wild and a bit untamed. Or I guess that's maybe a part. I can really relate to what you posted before about parts being phobic of being found out and ready to dissociate but I do think I made some headway. Finding that little girl part was very interesting. When things settle down a bit at work, I'll try another journey.

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Snowdrop

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2020, 10:45:07 AM »
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I think my Self is probably there, as a feral 8 year old somewhere. A bit wild and a bit untamed. Or I guess that's maybe a part.

I think you're right, Dollyvee, that's likely to be another part. If it feels as though you weren't allowed to have a Self growing up, it's possible it might be hiding. But your Self is there, and you're allowed to have one. :hug:

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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #13 on: December 05, 2020, 08:26:48 PM »
Quote
I think my Self is probably there, as a feral 8 year old somewhere. A bit wild and a bit untamed. Or I guess that's maybe a part.

I think you're right, Dollyvee, that's likely to be another part. If it feels as though you weren't allowed to have a Self growing up, it's possible it might be hiding. But your Self is there, and you're allowed to have one. :hug:

Thank you Snowdrop  :hug:

It was a busy week at work this week and a lot of stress trying to arrange to see a doctor in the city away from my usual doctor with all the Covid restrictions. I've also had to deal with my boss, who is nice, but a bit of a control freak, gently explaining to him why things may not be working and how we might better approach this. It's really been tricky to navigate standing up for myself. I've also been really exhausted and am hoping that whatever is happening health wise is not that serious. It would sort of be fitting though, just as I felt like things might be ok, up pops my protectors who are scared of success (well change to the system).

I noticed a couple things - that as the week went on and I felt more overwhelmed, I found it hard to kind of check in (not journey) and tune in to my parts. I felt like I didn't want to make another IFS journey because I was scared it wouldn't be like last time or maybe something would go wrong. When speaking with my T today, I was ready to tell her all about my parts and share. I realized that that is a part of me - wanting to share and have connection without checking in to see if that's something I want. I guess this is where the Self comes in. It does bring up some anxiety to have to do this and makes me wonder if my sharing/anxiety is related to my health and tiredness rn. I know I have a lot of desire to share and help ppl at the expense of myself as that's how I was brought up. It's not a limitless well of energy but something to be looked at with attention. I also get the impression that I have to share everything (and look for a witness) because nothing ever made sense growing up and maybe I still don't trust that it does. It's like if I'm separate, I won't be protected.

My T also wanted to do a grounding exercise at the end because I guess I seemed distressed and agitated. I didn't want to do it. I know what she was saying but I guess a part of me felt like my concerns weren't being heard and I felt vulnerable.

Found this exercise today about connecting to the Self and wanted to give it a try:
https://www.new-synapse.com/aps/wordpress/?p=234

I don't know, maybe I'm just a bit angry and agitated because this stuff is coming up rn and I feel like it's not the easiest to connect to.


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dollyvee

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Re: dollyvee's recovery journal
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2020, 05:59:12 PM »
I did an IFS experience to try and unpack some of my emotional congestion this week and see what was coming up.

IFS

I asked for help in allowing the parts to step back and allow the Self to be present and if I had permission to do these things. There was a noise of voices. A very angry part was upset that I wasn't going to be safe and look at what was going on. I tried to comfort the part and show that I was an adult and could take care of things now. Then I got the impression that I was in a cement bunker, but the voice seemed like it was still angry. I tried explaining that the Self was in charge and it would be ok. Got the impression of winter and things being under ice, and the feeling of my mom. I guess it was like freezing out these feelings from around that time with my mom.

I'm confused by this journey as I thought these things were supposed to be loosed and let go, not frozen. Perhaps my protectors are refreezing them to keep me safe. I'm not sure if I got through to the angry voice about the Self being in control.