Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject

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Hope67

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I have been reading a book today by Cathy Glass called 'A Terrible Secret' - I like to read her books as they are about the experiences of a foster carer looking after fostered children, and I find that Little Hope (my smaller inner child/part) likes to hear things and read experiences.

Anyway, the child in the book is 14 and a half years old, and relates the relationship between her mother and step-father, and the relationship has many examples of 'coercive control' - and I am finding that I relate to many aspects of it - i.e. that my FOO (parents) demonstrated many aspects of being coercively controlling of each other and of me.

I just wanted to put it somewhere in the forum, so I can say it somewhere.  It felt important for me to do that.

I've been getting flashbacks whilst I read the book, and my teenage parts have been sharing things with me too. 

Hope  :)

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woodsgnome

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2021, 08:49:13 PM »
Thanks for that observation, Hope67. It reminded me of an easily overlooked facet of all these messy relationships. Often lumped into the general category of 'emotional abuse', these coercive parts to it can easily corrode and eventually destroy lives.

My own parts have lots to still uncover. It's scary to realize, too, how there have been consistent patterns, for me, of falling into so many coercive situations throughout the whole rough ride.

Learning to get outside this corrosive trap takes a lot, but I guess it's also worth it on the other end.

I trust it's alright to offer you and your parts an encouraging  :hug: ~~ hoping you'll continue finding ways to come away from having gone through so much coercion, some overt and some hidden.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 08:52:20 PM by woodsgnome »

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Hope67

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2021, 10:00:08 AM »
Hi Woodsgnome,

Thank you for what you wrote, and also for the hug  :hug: 

I must admit that I wondered where to put the subject 'coercion' and I put it in the 'emotional abuse' category, as I think it felt like it might best be under that umbrella. 

I have also realised some consistent patterns across different parts of my life where coercive control has operated.  Your description of a 'corrosive trap' is very powerful, and I pictured a stretch of woodland and trying to avoid various traps and negotiating my way out, and that it would be worth it at the end - to reach the safety of a pleasanter place.  A safer place. 

Hope  :)

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rainydiary

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2021, 02:23:09 PM »
I appreciate you sharing about this as I have not considered coercion as part of my experience.  It also resonates with me about reading or daily routines bringing about reminders of the past.  Iím noticing that coercion shows up in my life when others did not communicate effectively and did not have good ways of dealing with their own needs.  I think it has more shown up in my adult life especially in my encounters with my in-laws but I am interested to consider how it might have shown up when I was younger. 

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woodsgnome

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2021, 04:32:11 PM »
Despite the warning signs, I often went ahead in certain areas with things that didn't quite feel right, especially regarding relationships. One time I had a directly related dream with the obvious message: stay away, don't go any further with this person (a boss/employer in that instance).

I came to be hurt deeply, but at the time I felt despite the odds, and the dream, I could survive. The job was important to me, and that seemed to override the warning signs. And ... I  wound up in a brutal no-escape situation that drove me deeper into a roaring depression it was hard to extricate from.

I'd done this sort of thing before, though. Over and over, and now I don't see my tendency to get into these traps as indicating a flaw of mine; just not enough discernment at the time to keep out of the situations.

The downside is the resulting pain and added stress. But looking back, I can at least give myself one credit -- I wanted, desperately, to trust people, even if things seemed a bit 'off'. None of this makes up for what happened, but I at least have that one small consideration indicating that I wasn't all bad with these messes; neither were they my fault.

Yes, they were awful, but the other trap -- of feeling guilty -- I was at least able to see, if only in retrospect. I wanted, so much, to trust. I got burned but also saw in myself a quality I was craving for. The people ended up as untrustworthy, it turned out, but my heart wasn't out to do harm, only find trust.

Lots of work left to not just recognize those traits, but get past them. Step one, though it's also hard, was an is the ability to forgive myself for having that desire for trust, even if it was elusive. When one comes from a background of not being able to trust -- in the end, I can't fault myself for that. One small step of recognition helps to at least ease the pain.

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rainydiary

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2021, 04:57:53 PM »
Woodsgnome, as you described your experiences I could relate to it and it brought to minds I ignored my helpful inner voice and did things that I knew deep down would bring me pain in order to be pleasing to others.  I wanted to be liked so badly I did things at the expense of my well being. 

When you mention the word ďsurvive,Ē it reminds me how I have come to see my survival instinct.  I have been surviving all this time, not really living or being myself as fully as I want to be. 

I hope to move to a place thriving but right now am on a place of recognizing all the ways I am still trying to survive.  It is challenging for me because a part of me still wants validation from others.  Really I want a witness to my growth and to help me along the way.  But for me also that trust part is difficult.  I still donít trust many people or myself if I am honest. 

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woodsgnome

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2021, 10:00:44 PM »
Hey, Rainydiary ... I know we're all 'only' virtual sorts of witnesses on this forum, but in your wish for those who can share what you're about and try to relate to your survival, well, we're here for you, like this ~~~  :grouphug: ~~~ !

In that way, maybe our presence to your 'survival' mode is in its own way a boost, for what it's worth (worth a lot, especially when we're so alone). I know it isn't the full picture you envision, but sometimes our desires hit snags and need flexibility.

A small example for me was adding a word to my chief 'goal' in life. I used to state that I was only looking for peace. Then I changed it, upon realizing that with change as a constant, looking for a singular sort of peace doesn't fit the reality of how life proceeds, moment to moment and not static.

So now I see my main goal as being oriented towards finding a peaceful flow, or less stationary. My metaphor for this is to picture my life as a canoe journey, but at some point (cptsd) the craft was flipped and I was thrown into the water. I clung tightly to a rock (peace) but realized that my only hope was to move with the flow, hopefully the peaceful flow where I'm still surviving, but moving with life.

I hope this makes some sense; I know I get carried away with these sometimes. But this brings up something else about my view of 'survival' -- a willingness to surprise myself with things I hadn't considered before. One book ("Taming the Gremlin") I read years ago suggested 'playin with options', which I relate to my "life-streams" new slant towards finding a peaceful flow rather than a more static form of peace. I think this all ties back to getting past those stuck places where we felt coerced and trapped by forces and/or people beyond our control. It's a process I'm still trying to work out, but it does feel better having realized that I could un-burden myself of the guilt I used to feel. 

Meanwhile, I hope you will be able to at least picture some options that might open things up for your own safe flow in peace as you safely travel forwards.

 :hug:

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rainydiary

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2021, 02:19:20 AM »
Woodsgnome, I appreciate the images you offer.  It does make sense and it is helpful to have you put it into words.   :hug:

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Hope67

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2021, 12:42:28 PM »
It also resonates with me about reading or daily routines bringing about reminders of the past.  Iím noticing that coercion shows up in my life when others did not communicate effectively and did not have good ways of dealing with their own needs.  I think it has more shown up in my adult life especially in my encounters with my in-laws but I am interested to consider how it might have shown up when I was younger.

Hi Rainydiary,

Thanks for sharing this.  I've only just caught up with this thread, as I had forgotten where I'd put it, but I had read your replies and those of Woodsgnome too - and am grateful of your comments and discussions.

Hope  :)

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Hope67

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #9 on: January 28, 2021, 12:44:31 PM »

I'd done this sort of thing before, though. Over and over, and now I don't see my tendency to get into these traps as indicating a flaw of mine; just not enough discernment at the time to keep out of the situations.



Hi Woodsgnome,
I wonder if the tendency to do something 'over and over' is a way of us wanting to replicate a pattern and try to change the ending or having a better ending?  I don't know.  That was what came to mind when you said this.

Hope  :)

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woodsgnome

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Re: Coercive control - Trigger Warning as content is about this subject
« Reply #10 on: January 29, 2021, 03:26:15 AM »
Hi, Hope. I think it's more about finding a better ending. I'll try to explain.

I've sometimes felt that yes, something might have backfired before, but the goal of a a better outcome has occasionally lures me back to 'play with options' despite my doubts. 

An incident I had in mind while reflecting on this topic involves a time when I was desperately wanting a 'perfect' job I was uniquely qualified to succeed in.  I thought I could overcome all odds to get to fulfill that dream.

In my eagerness I chose to overlook many warning signs about my wisdom in pursuing it. I plunged into the situation anyway, and immediately found myself in the clutches of the narcissist who wanted only to use me (subtle at first, worsening once this person knew he 'had me' in his clutches).

In retrospect it seems that there were many times I felt eager to trust, and overlooked the odds I now see were beyond my easily shattered sense of self-worth. However, my intent, which I've often questioned (based on the painful outcomes), ran along the lines of being super eager to forge ahead as I was still desperate to trust. 

My Inner critic wants to scream: 'see, you allowed yourself to be taken advantage of'. Or I can dismiss the Icr, step back and realize the beauty of my actions to wanting to fulfill a dream (may it was all fantasy, and I'm too damaged to really know).
I'm trying so hard not to find fault with my desperate hunger to find a way to trust. It's been very difficult, but in spite of the hurt and tears I still feel okay about myself. I've taken these chances (although I passed on most), despite the burn when it did crash. Now I can also see all the signs, the most important ones -- IT WASN'T MY FAULT!

Still an ongoing work, apparently. I have days that tear me apart with self-doubt and anger that I got duped into situations I couldn't handle. Then again, I'd like to feel I'm doing better at turning off those feelings of shame that I somehow failed. I'm not sure I've fully succeeded yet -- but turning off the self-blame light seems critical if I want to truly feel that at least I can trust myself, even love myself.

Fortunately my T has been able to stick with me on this and help me make it through the muck towards self-acceptance. Cool -- at least I've found I'm still open to trust, and I'm okay with that.  :)