Functioning "in public", collapsing in private

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #15 on: October 13, 2014, 06:59:16 AM »
Quote from: Butterfly
To this day I have no idea which version of mum might show up or what she might morph into, she's gone from having a good time and laughing to a full on PA episode for no obvious reason.

Exactly. It was like I had two mothers, a nice one and one that flew off her handle at the least pretext. Jekyll and Hyde. No wonder we began to simply be wary at all times with everybody. I'm still looking at people like their kindness might just be a thin veneer over a rejecting and abusive side.

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AndyT

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #16 on: October 13, 2014, 12:28:22 PM »
I can fully identify with this one. I can function well 'keep it together' most of the time in public, though I have had the odd panic attack. I can cope with an encounter but once in private I fall apart for days. I stop eating and that is really bad and when I discovered I was dealing with another 'Bully' I shut down completely for four days and did not answer the phone and gave up on life. It took a lot of effort to finally ring for medical assistance.

The feeling sick each morning as I go through the ritual of getting up and the closer I get to going out the worse it is.

Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #17 on: October 13, 2014, 12:55:07 PM »
Yikes, that sounds bad. I'm glad to hear that you did ring for help after all. That in itself took a lot of trust, I'd guess. After all, those of us who've been emotionally abused have probably all had our weaknesses and vulnerabilities cast in our teeth. Are you better now? How are you doing?

It's validating to hear how many of us feel like I do - that the social and "official" spheres are full of minefields, and that it takes a great effort to navigate them successfully. That's not what life is really like, but it's what we learned. Before this thread, I wondered why I often found the very idea of socializing off-putting, like it's a chore. I like people! I love people! But socializing? URRRRGH. Now I think I've got a good idea of where this comes from.

So the problem is, we don't feel safe in social / official situations. I'm starting a new thread on how to do that. Maybe someone's got an idea or has things they tried out, or can share a bit about their journey. (EDITED TO ADD: we already have the thread on building trust, I think that's probably the best place for such a discussion.)
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 01:37:50 PM by schrödinger's cat »

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AndyT

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #18 on: October 13, 2014, 01:47:05 PM »
Yes I do remember my childhood and have linked many things right back to then. It was traumatic, I did not get to much bullying that I can recall though I was emotionally abused. I have though been abused by many people whom I should have expected trust.

I would say it's main impact is my fear of close intimacy. As a man this is may seem common but not quite. I am a man that actually wants to talk and write about feelings, but I am useless at the dating ritual. I cannot do the small talk and games, My bullies have tended to be female not male, and that may be part of the Anxiety Disorder. Oddly I can speak in public though.

I sound a mess, but that is trauma, my cognitive reasoning has got be by. Thankfully I do not explode externally, but blame myself if I even slightly might upset someone. 

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AndyT

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #19 on: October 13, 2014, 01:53:41 PM »
Yikes, that sounds bad. I'm glad to hear that you did ring for help after all. That in itself took a lot of trust, I'd guess. After all, those of us who've been emotionally abused have probably all had our weaknesses and vulnerabilities cast in our teeth. Are you better now? How are you doing?

I am still bumping along, I feel very isolated in West Sussex but I keep going.

It's validating to hear how many of us feel like I do - that the social and "official" spheres are full of minefields, and that it takes a great effort to navigate them successfully. That's not what life is really like, but it's what we learned. Before this thread, I wondered why I often found the very idea of socializing off-putting, like it's a chore. I like people! I love people! But socializing? URRRRGH. Now I think I've got a good idea of where this comes from.

I tend to agree, I find the contradictions difficult. I recently got interested in the philosophy of lying and a man called Immanual Kant, who says must never lie as it is a little death vs the Utilatarians that say you can. I find I agree with Kant, and that is contrary to the modern world.


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bee

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #20 on: October 16, 2014, 04:49:06 AM »
So much of what has been described in this thread mirrors my experiences. I'm sure to acquaintances I seem fine, but at home, alone, after being in public, I collapse. Being in public is like running a race. The finish line is the door to my house, and when I enter, I can finally stop running. I am not a person who would ever just stop running while on the course, no matter how tired, or sore I might be.

I have been aware of this for some time, and do try to be more aware of my energy level. If I'm feeling tired I try to say no to social obligations, though they are already so few, that I feel guilty doing so, though I know I shouldn't. I also try to expect down time. For instance the day after a social evening my to do list should consist of sitting on the couch, and having reheated meals. When I do this, I do bounce back faster, but sometimes "puritanical" guilt gets in the way. As in feeling that I have no right to be tired, and I should do laundry or clean or something. That only results in me mentally kicking myself as  I sit on the couch. Even though in both scenarios I sit on the couch, in the guilt ridden one I do not end up feeling refreshed. So, in my experience, giving yourself permission to have recovery time is important.

Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #21 on: October 16, 2014, 06:21:59 AM »
I can relate to that. If I limit my social interactions or allow for downtime afterwards, I'm always feeling like a wuss. But you're right, bee: the choice is only between downtime and downtime-plus-guilt-trips.

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Badmemories

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2014, 08:12:20 PM »
Sorry this is SO long. identified with SO much of it. Also I am behind because I was back paddling last week! :stars:

schrödinger's cat Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
 October 09, 2014, 10:08:15 AM

Does anyone else do that? While you're with people or at work, you're functioning okay, you're competent, friendly, sociable, everything's alright (at least on the surface). Then you get home and collapse. You only just have enough energy left to drag yourself to the sofa. Nothing gets done, there's no energy left for anything else, just for your favorite kind of dissociation.




I am exactly like that!  :yeahthat:


Posted by: spryte
October 10, 2014, 03:45:32 PM
But, like I said, it's one of the few things that I've actually been able to turn around and see as a "gift" from my childhood. It really helps me help other people because often I can tell how they're feeling even before they can...as long as I don't try to "manage" those feelings, or try to point out something that someone else really isn't comfortable with me seeing. Which has happened. Apparently, not every one likes it when you peer into their soul. Lol. 


During Marriage counseling the pastor told me I was a very intuitive Towards people's feelings...I was shocked when he said that it seemed so normal to me.  :applause:

Like, for instance for me, social engagements are one of the things that I have to be the most careful with. It's one thing to go to the movies with someone, or to hang out watching TV, or DOING something together, but if I'm expected to hang out one on one, just talking? There will come a point where my brain just...shuts down. It's like...I've used up all the fuel in my brain and I just...I've had to seriously tell people...I'm sorry, I have to go home now, my brain has shut down. It gets hard to put together sentences, let alone pay attention to what other people are saying. And I'm almost certain that this doesn't have anything to do with EF's, it's just really a matter of cognitive energy. 

I have a neighbor now through middle of Nov. He has been quit generous with me and paying me for things he needs done. I have decided however that his serious drinking has caused flashbacks both with marriages I had with drunks and FOO. I think that is what caused me to back paddle. (notice the choice of words here, not backslide because that is bad back paddle puts it in a more possitive light! ;D ) He sits at the apartment and likes to drink.. I ha been setting limits on him. He does not seem to like to drink alone. ( not that I am drinking, and he found out that I can find almost ANY song he wants to here on you tube.) At first he was staying and drinking until 3:00AM  :stars: :stars: I am so new at setting limits..but I have been trying!

I think a big part of my problem with all of that is being overwhelmed by stuff. Overwhelmed by my choices about what I could do, what I have to do. Do I practice piano, make jewelry, read a book, clean the kitchen, clean the bathroom, vacuum the couch, clean off the table, make crafty stuff....this list could go on for days and it's somehow like my brain just...seizes, thinking that it needs to Do All The Things.

my ADD does not help me with that! I have been trying to just get up and do one thing! I think It was mentioned on the board here somewhere, to work for 25 minutes, and rest for 5,that works for me but I seem to rest for 25! ;D ;D. I also bribe Myself with playing a game on FB. If I work for 25 then I can play a game or 2!

Posted by: spryte
 October 09, 2014, 10:45:56 AM

Grocery shopping? Probably not until I run out of dehydrated mashed potatoes. Or, I'm eating way too much fast food because I can't face the idea of the energy that it will take to shop. 

I am really working on getting out more! I did do quit well when My Son planned the football game (college, big town, lots of people) and the baseball game (same) and riding on the tram! (same thing) and eating out in public. I was so exhausted for 4 days afterwards! All I did was sleep!

I usually buy groceries in MY home town. That helps. Sure I pay a little more, but by going 35 miles to a bigger town and going to the Walmart, that stresses me out a lot! The grocery store is limited and really that makes it easier! Some of the more fancy stuff I can not get, but I try and keep them stocked. When I lived in the cities, then I would wait until late at night and go when the store was almost empty!
;D ;D


Showering? Hmm...how close do I have to be to people today? Am I seeing the boyfriend? 

I have wanted to bring this TOPIC but kind of shy about it. I don't know why but showering and getting cleaned up is Hard for me. I try and bribe myself, I tell Myself how good I'll feel...but in less I have to go out in public then I don't  do it as much as I should. :'( I sometimes wonder about the person I used to be that showered in the morning and bathed at night! where did she go?)

I tried my hardest to negotiate with myself yesterday to just...do one thing when I got out of the bath, tackle one thing in my apartment. Not happening. I went and laid down instead

I spent 4 months like that earlier this year! Every day I'd wake-up think about MY list, lay down and go back to sleep! I watched TV for about 4 hours a day, and slept for the rest!



Unconcious_Ghost
October 09, 2014, 10:04:25 PM
 Takes my mind off things a little with the enormous surfing on the site.  I'm far from being a shopaholic though.  I sure hear ya both with the social interaction fatigue 'energy sapping' it takes. With my current situation, I've basically been alone/isolated for 10 months straight and have a great tomcat for company.  Unfortunately, the isolation has taken a large bite out of my sanity. So, the collapsing with me is a long, drawn out session.  I'm barely coming out of a 4 day long panic attack which was quite nasty; been sleeping and trying to keep sane. Glad I found these forum boards...you folks are the only one's I'm trying to interact with a bit.


I surf on the Web a lot to! Sometimes MY choices are NOT so good. I was studying abuse week before last... that put me in the freezer!  :aaauuugh: Last night I was studying psycos...Interesting..

And the forum boards are a life saver for me. I feel a sense of obligation to read, and post, and that does help me to remain working on Myself!  I do like playing with the posting toys too... as You all can tell! ;D


:cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer: :cheer:
schrödinger's cat
October 10, 2014, 06:41:45 AM
As you can see, I'm feeling antsy as long as I don't see through a problem. I'm often tempted to skip right to the problem-solving stage. It's better to first let myself really feel the problem first, I'm trying to learn that, but it's surprisingly hard. Fact-finding, then analysis, then solutions, not the other way round. 


I am so new at this I am just trying to figure out what My triggers are.. and then like this last one, It toke me a week to figure out that I was getting more depressed, and then to figure out Why, and then to figure out what I need to do!

So anything other than an optimal performance feels stressful. If I tell someone that I'm battling a depression, I later feel they're going to reject me now because I've got problems and am not invincible. If I'm a little slow and serious because I'm tired or something, I'm sure everyone will reject met. If I begin to be bored by a topic of conversation, I feel absolutely trapped and powerless, because how can you change the topic without making the other person very angry at you? If I disagree with what someone's saying, I swallow it and bottle it up, because disagreement needs to be oh so delicately put, or you'll offend the other person and they'll not forgive you for years. 

Especially at work... I told a few people and it was like I was the pariah, like it was contagious or something!

spryte
 October 10, 2014, 07:28:54 AM

And for me, I'm not so sure that it's about specific things that I was taught...Like it was for you, so much as it is just a general..."Be likable! Don't act "weird"! Don't do anything that may cause rejection! Don't show your real self because your real self is awful and people will run away and abandon you!!" kind of thing.

Putting all that attention on all of those things is MENTALLY EXHAUSTING.

So, naturally, those people who I feel the most comfortable hanging out with, are the people I feel most comfortable being myself with because I'm not "entertaining" anyone. There is very little...I don't know "energy" is the best word I've got, expended in being social with them. 

 
I think the years of bullying at school Caused me to feel this way!

Right now the only person that i feel comfortable to talk to Is my daughter! She listens to me rant and rave, and comments. That helps me not feel so crazy! It sure is exhausting monitoring Your words, and wondering what reaction You are going to get!


So, to sum it up...
Emotional abuse / bullying / etc -----> social situations are "not safe" -----> simple common sense and a healthy self-preservation instinct make us become hyper-aware of warning signs, hidden dangers, emotional risks etc ------> if repeated enough times and without enough positive experiences to offset that: social hypervigilance sets in. At the same time, we begin to circumvent dangers and manage other people's emotions in order to minimize our risks. Over time, this becomes second nature. We're not even aware that we're doing it, and that it takes an effort. For that reason, we're often drastically drained by social situations that require a great deal of circumnavigation and micro-management.
The great unifying theory of spryte's and cat's social woes. I couldn't resiiist. Sorry. 

:yeahthat: :yourock: :yeahthat: :yourock: :yeahthat: :yourock: :yeahthat:
spryte
 October 11, 2014, 05:01:43 AM
Unpredictable yes. I don't have enough clear memories to be able to really break it down the way that you are able to, but there was hitting and lots and lots of screaming rages with awful things said which I won't repeat here. She'd come home from work and take a nap. I'd tiptoe around the house so as to not wake her up. If she was asleep, she couldn't be screaming. Any little thing could set her off. The "big blow out" that happened that resulted in me moving to another state to live with my father the next day was over under done chicken nuggets that I'd cooked for dinner. (I was 15). If I wanted to do something, like go to a friend's house, I'd have to predict when she was in the best mood and become nearly invisible so as to not set her off, until it was time to ask - and then again until it was time to go so as to not make her angry so she'd change her mind about me going.


Were You in My home Sprite? Exactly what I lived through! I am just now waking up to the fact that things like this were abusive!

Butterfly
 October 12, 2014, 05:58:12 PM

Spilled milk - to this day the phrase don't cry over spilled milk sends me reeling. How else would one respond to beatings because I once again flinched at the wrong time too close to my milk, thereby spilling it and provoked the beating I tried to avert by flinching. Unpredictable. Seriously unpredictable. To this day I have no idea which version of mum might show up or what she might morph into, she's gone from having a good time and laughing to a full on PA episode for no obvious reason. 


Taking care of the GD's had me thinking about that... You see My first response was to COPY My Mothers example... and Yell at the kids for spilling their milk..Now I calmly say " it's OK everyone has accidents, it is better to put the milk further away from the edge." When I notice the milk is to close to the edge I remind them! I think that I also yelled at My kids, because Daughter also yells! I think that was one of the FLEAS I passed on to her. :doh: Hopefully she will see My new example, and maybe I need to apologize to D when I get time, to make her aware of both MY wrong response to her, and her wrong response to her kids!

I still flinch! Flinching is so unpredictable that I don't know when, or where it is going to happen...

:fireworks: :fireworks:Great post a lot of valuable stuff in here! :fireworks: :fireworks:

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Kizzie

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #23 on: October 18, 2014, 11:43:25 PM »
So much of what has been described in this thread mirrors my experiences. I'm sure to acquaintances I seem fine, but at home, alone, after being in public, I collapse. Being in public is like running a race. The finish line is the door to my house, and when I enter, I can finally stop running. I am not a person who would ever just stop running while on the course, no matter how tired, or sore I might be.

I have been aware of this for some time, and do try to be more aware of my energy level. If I'm feeling tired I try to say no to social obligations, though they are already so few, that I feel guilty doing so, though I know I shouldn't. I also try to expect down time. For instance the day after a social evening my to do list should consist of sitting on the couch, and having reheated meals. When I do this, I do bounce back faster, but sometimes "puritanical" guilt gets in the way. As in feeling that I have no right to be tired, and I should do laundry or clean or something. That only results in me mentally kicking myself as  I sit on the couch. Even though in both scenarios I sit on the couch, in the guilt ridden one I do not end up feeling refreshed. So, in my experience, giving yourself permission to have recovery time is important.

I know what you mean about relating to a lot in this thread BadMemories, I could have written Bee's post!  Wow, just wow. 

Those of us with CPTSD expend an enormous amount of energy "holding it together" in public.  Which leads me to ask myself, "What is "it" for for me exactly?" and it always comes back to my IC.

As an adult I must daily do things that my IC feels so ill-equipped to deal with, so holding "it" together is not letting her respond outwardly to what often feels like a big scary world, and keeping others from knowing she is very often "steering the bus" as GT put it once.   I too feel like I'm holding my breath, waiting to cross the finish line at my front door  - great way of putting it Bee.   

The way I view recovery now is that as my IC integrates more and more, I will not need to be as vigilant or to expend as much energy hiding her away, not letting others see her and keeping her from reacting to situations as a child does.  She will be much more a part of me and the totality of my self - hard to find the words for this but that's about as close as I can get.   

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spryte

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #24 on: October 22, 2014, 12:54:42 PM »
Kizzie - I really do think that's a lot of it. I haven't really spent as much time thinking about it, but I do know that for ages now this whole "being and adult" thing has just felt like an absolute farce to me. It's weird for me though because my adult side IS pretty competent. She can "do" the whole adult thing without anyone really being the wiser that...Ok, so anyone seen Men In Black? There was that one alien in one of them where like, the little guy was inside the big guy, steering him? That's totally what it feels like a lot of times...that my terrified little kid is inside, steering the adult. And I guess I just walk around amazed that no one ever notices...like, "What's wrong with you people?? Can't you see what an absolute fraud I am?"

And now that I have started doing some inner kid work, I kind of get it now. I'm starting to actually separate the two and see that I am an adult, and that in many ways I am capable and take comfort in that. But that there are still all these ways that my inner kid needs to be taken care of. It's all really convoluted, lol. It's hard feeling so fractured.

Bad Memories - the hygiene thing. I get it. It's hard to talk about. To be honest, I've been absolutely terrible about it. I don't take care of myself nearly the way that I should, and it's a big source of shame for me. It's one of the things that I've been looking at and for me, I think it's a couple of things...one of them is the demand resistance thing. You'd be surprised how people seem to think that they have any right to determine how often you shower, or to comment when you don't. Even when you don't need to. Both my father and one of my exes had this notion that you had to shower every. single. day. And that if you didn't, you were gross and disgusting. I don't like showering every day, I never have. So, part of it I think is kind of a rebellion against that.

The other part, the larger part, which has always been true for me I think, is this complete abandonment of my body that I've got going on. I'm going to write about that in a different post - but lets just say that my body has been in an emotionally abusive/neglectful relationship with my mind for as long as I can remember, and the ways that I take care of it/don't take care of it, definitely reflect that. It's something that I'm starting to work on with this new Body Project thing that I'm starting and I'll post about that later.

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Sandals

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2014, 11:48:54 PM »
+1 to this for me, until I couldn't even do the office-functioning any more. i get it, 100%. It's amazing the show we can put on for others while we're barely holding on. Also, I think this is reflective of how we're not used to meeting our own needs...

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voicelessagony2

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2014, 11:59:12 PM »
OMG yes...

In fact, I have noticed this pattern of working REALLY hard at keeping my * together, I push myself to be the BESTEST of the best at what I'm doing, so when the contract is over I am exhausted and I also fall apart because I see it as a failure... if I really was the bestest of the best they would have kept me working. :( So the only other option is that I'm delusional about my skills, and a fraud, and they figured it out.

So I see this pattern now, and after my last job ended I purposely avoided going back to work. It's been nearly a year now, but I am determined not to put myself back on that merry-go-round. I am here in OOTS looking for answers to gain some balance.

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Badmemories

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #27 on: November 26, 2014, 03:21:00 PM »
voicelessagony2 wrote
 November 24, 2014, 04:59:12 PM

In fact, I have noticed this pattern of working REALLY hard at keeping my s*** together, I push myself to be the BESTEST of the best at what I'm doing, so when the contract is over I am exhausted and I also fall apart because I see it as a failure... if I really was the bestest of the best they would have kept me working. :( So the only other option is that I'm delusional about my skills, and a fraud, and they figured it out.


No Voicless, That is NOT true. That is what YOU inner critic is saying! The truth is that YOU were/are so stressed about something with your cpstd that You have to have down time! I was bullied as a child and I still think that no matter how GOOD we try and keep it together that we still don't seem normal to others. I mean I have been a victim so long that predators sense that and play upon our hurts. If the predator can sense that then others can to. :yes:  As a victim I can not sense predators because I was TRAINED to be a good girl and listen to what others say, do it, and believe it. I do not feel that I have a sense of judgement abut others because WE were not taught to listen to the "red flags".  One thing I have noticed about NPDH is that he has a better sense of "BAD" people than I do! I guess it is because of his predatory nature that he knows He can not play them!
Keep on Keepin on!  ;)


 

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voicelessagony2

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Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #28 on: November 26, 2014, 11:20:31 PM »
Badmemories,
Thanks... I know that's probably not true, that I'm delusional etc., and I know on some level that my inner critic is stomping the life out of me, but it's been in control for so long that I can't fight it even when I know what it's doing! So many layers of crazy...  :doh:

Also I have consistently failed to protect myself against predators. Nearly every relationship I have ever been in has been with either a predator or an abuser. They sense my weakness like a shark smells blood, instantly. So, yeah, I've always known that there must be SOMETHING, a vibe that I give off, that scares people or repels them in some way. There is no other explanation.

Re: Functioning "in public", collapsing in private
« Reply #29 on: November 27, 2014, 03:13:30 PM »
Have you heard of this "repetition compulsion" thing? I read about it in this book a few weeks ago, and it was very eye-opening. The theory goes like this - we're compelled to seek out and create the same circumstances we grew up in. Apparently, familiarity feels safe - even when it's a very wonky kind of familiarity. So consciously, we know that abusive people are bad. But subconsciously, abusers (or withholding people, or whatever) feel familiar, so we tend to feel drawn to them.

If I understand this right, the thing to distrust is this instant attraction, this instant sense of "oh, we could be friends": that's a sign that your subconscious has recognized a familiar pattern there. ("Oh hey, a withholding person who has the social skills of a rabid boar! Why, we're practically family already!") If that's true, then slow-build relationships should be okay? And it's probably also an advantage to know what kind of pattern tends to feel familiar, so we can double-check people around us to make sure they're safe to be around.

I had several fiascos with formerly good friends of mine. Before that, I couldn't explain this at all - why the same things kept on happening over and over again. Each time, it happened out of the blue and shook me to the core. I felt like a jerk magnet. It really really felt like people smelling blood in the water and homing in on it. In hindsight, I'm beginning to see that most of these people gave off warning signs that I simply overlooked. Why? Good question. It's probably got to do with how similar behaviour in my FOO (like withholding, minimizing, trivializing) was normalized: it was this ordinary, harmless thing that people like me were expected to be "not so over-sensitive" about. So of COURSE I ignored the warning signs. That's what I was taught to do, after all. It's encouraging, actually: I'm not a doormat, I was merely taught to think like one. So the more I move out of denial and the more I call a spade a spade, the easier it will be to recognize warning signs now. Or so I hope.