My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today

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VeryFoggy

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My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« on: December 13, 2015, 03:48:49 AM »
When you have flashbacks, the last thing you want to do is to trust your feelings.  Because you KNOW, you KNOW for a fact nobody else feels this way, and you ďKNOWĒ that what you are feeling is ďwrong.Ē  Itís too much, too over the top, and you judge yourself, and you make fun of yourself, and you berate yourself for feeling SO MUCH. You push HARD to just get through the feelings, and to push them behind, down, out, somewhere, anywhere, and you just try to make them go away.

Because something bad just happened now in the present, and you have got to deal with it. And yet?  You are feeling so much terror, and pain, and humiliation, and anger, impotent anger in my case, that you are emotionally hijacked, and there is NO CONTROL.  So you fight!  You fight HARD!  Against what you are feeling and you tell yourself you are wrong to feel this way. You tell yourself that you are weak, and just like they say, just too sensitive. And you DONíT trust your feelings.  You rebel against them, and you feel so ashamed of yourself for being so freaking weak, AGAIN. And you try to find your brain, and you try to STOP feeling, and start thinking again. But you canít find your brain, itís been hijacked too.

But itís wrong, itís the wrong thing to do to fight it and argue with it.  Instead, if you for once, just once, accept it and say: Okay, if I feel this way? Then there is a reason.  Just saying that one thing, just that one thing, and giving yourself permission to feel what you feel, for once, however awful and bad it is. So you just say to yourself, ďItís okay, I am giving me permission for once to actually feel as bad as I actually do.Ē 

Well then?  That is:  The turning point.  From that day forward you start feeling again, and you start regaining a relationship with your own feelings.

And from that point on as you build a relationship with yourself, and allow yourself to feel your own feelings, and instead of fighting them, and trying to squash them or bury them or just get rid of them, and instead you fight back and say NO!  If I FEEL this way, there must be a reason?  From that day forward you start becoming your own friend and champion. And you slowly learn to trust your own feelings instead of stuffing them when they are painful, awful and paralyzing. You keep saying to yourself, like a whispered prayer, thereís got to be a reason, thereís got to be a reason. 

And there is, there really is a reason you feel this way. Youíre not too freaking sensitive, youíre not a basket case, and youíre not a crazy person.  Your feelings are SCREAMING for you to LISTEN.  And the only way they could get through to you after all of the awful years of stuffing?  Is CPTSD.

Your manifestation of CPTSD is caused from forced feeling stuffing and trying to make yourself numb and into a robot who feels nothing and it doesnít work.  They are still there. Theyíve never been let out of their cage, and the more you stuff them, the bigger the manifestation of CPTSD.

But itís not your fault. You donít know anything else!  This is the way you were brought up.  Your feelings were NOT allowed!  Ever! And so you were forced to get rid of them. And now there is a hole inside of you where your own feelings are supposed to be.  But it gets worse, itís much worse than that.  Not only were you not allowed to have your own feelings, you were TRAINED, TAUGHT, and FORCED to allow their feelings, your parentís feelings inside of yourself, and to allow their feelings to take precedence over your own. You were forced to allow their feelings inside of you, and to tell you what to feel. You were not allowed to feel on your own. Ever.

And now you know, now you see it, and you know itís wrong. And now you know.  You have re-train yourself except hahahaha!  Itís not even re-training, itís learning from scratch blindly through trial and error, because youíve never even known, or allowed, or been allowed to have your own feelings!

All your life, you have had your mind, which is a pretty useless piece of equipment without feelings. Sometimes you had your body when you werenít depersonalized or derealized.  And thatís all you had. And the rest of the gap?  The feeling gap?  You filled it in with otherís feelings.  And worst of all?  You gravitated towards people who would treat you in a familiar way. Disordered people.  People like your family.

Itís very HARD to train our brain. Very, very hard.  If you train your brain to pay attention to your own feelings will you never have another flashback?  I donít know.  But you will choose life.  You will allow the third part of yourself to have a seat at the table of life, as it deserved all along.

These days I see myself as Three.  Mind, body and spirit.  And my spirit is where my feelings live. And to deny my spirit is to deny a whole part of me. All three are needed for my life. To deny one part leaves a hole.   And when I left that hole?  When I denied my own feelings?  And tried to use logic alone? I still needed that hole filled. So I filled it in with otherís thoughts, feelings and beliefs. Because it was all I knew!  It is what I was forced to do!  I allowed others inside of me to help run my life.  And it was the worst betrayal I have ever experienced.  Worse than any betrayal by a lover or a friend or a loved one.  To turn my back on myself and to ALLOW, yes, ALLOW others who were not me to have a seat at the table of my life was the worst thing I have ever done to myself.

But I was trained to do so as a child.  I was trained that this was the right thing to do.  That I had no right to boundaries or to my own feelings, and that I MUST allow others feelings to take precedence over mine.  And I was trained mine should not even existÖ

But that is how I have lived most of my life and I am now 58. So now, belatedly, it seems the cure is believing in me, and allowing me, all of me, and my FEELINGS a seat at the table of my life.  There will be No More allowing others to tell me what I feel, think, believe, know, or donít know. And if they insist?  Then they are  going to be bid adieu. These people are toxic, and they are the ones who eagerly helped to keep my own feelings enslaved, caged, forbidden and forgotten, And tried to force their own upon me, as they saw the hole in me as surely as if I had shined a powerful floodlight upon the gaping hole within myself. And they were all too eager to fill it.

I think survival as a child definitely required me stuffing my own feelings.  But it doesnít explain the huge feelings I get nowadays when attacked does it? Yes I think it does.  I think you go along acting like a robot, and thinking if I donít feel anything, and if I hide my feelings, and if I smile and act nice, then nothing bad is going to happen to me. But you still have that gaping blind hole within you, and you still allow TOO MUCH from other people inside of you. And the only people who want to get inside of you are Narcissists. 

Most peace loving people DONíT try to get inside of you and manipulate your feelings. But the Narcissists do, they NEED to get inside of you. And because they are Narcissists they MUST have the explosion, the drama, the emotional reaction, and your CPTSD is PERFECT.

They ďknowĒ somehow that you have stuffed and refused and hidden those feelings, but they know itís in there. And once you let them in?  Because you have been trained to let them in, because youíve been trained that you are ďsupposedĒ to let them in with their bad ugly awful stuff?  Well itís home free now! Now they can poke and prod and needle away until they get the explosion of YOUR pain that THEY need.  Because as hard as you try to hide it and conceal it?  Itís still in there. And they find it, gleeful as children on Christmas morning when they find, open and provoke your emotional pain.

But not after you wake. Not after you decide you deserve and are entitled to your own feelings. And that nobody is going to manipulate you ever again. After you find and resuscitate and revive and encourage and support your own feelings?  And start setting boundaries to keep the Narcissists out? The people who want to provoke you and manipulate you and cause you pain for their own pleasure?  Well, it will never happen again. Or if it does, you will ďseeí it for what it is and you will LEARN to set the boundaries needed to deny them entry into your soul ever again.

And always remember, that real people?  Who are not narcissists? Would never pull this crap in a million years.  They want what you want.  A happy peaceful coexistence. They have always seemed so boring to you, and they just didnít give you a buzz. Well the buzz is poison, so wake up, start feeling your own feelings, and seek true friendship with those who ARENíT looking to blow you up, root around in your soul and manipulate you into excruciating pain.  And once you start having your own feelings?  You wonít need the buzz anymore. You will shun it like the plague. And welcome like minded souls.


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Dutch Uncle

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2015, 10:32:20 AM »
Thank you very much. Again a very compelling piece of work. And I mean both the work that has led you to the content of this post as well as the well articulated post.
It resonates with me, and parts of the journey you describe I seem to recognize, and the glimmers of hope I see in my own recovery process get validated by your story.
Very valuable, so thanks again. :kisscheek:

And now you know, now you see it, and you know itís wrong. And now you know.  You have re-train yourself except hahahaha!  Itís not even re-training, itís learning from scratch blindly through trial and error, because youíve never even known, or allowed, or been allowed to have your own feelings!
:yeahthat:
This is what I both experience or tell myself at times (when I have the clarity of mind to access these experiences I had, that is.  ;) ) :
I have ditched the training I have gotten (or at least am in the process of ditching them: old habits die hardÖ) and now I can only try new things and see if they work or not. "may the heavens bless this move" is a saying in Holland, which is specifically tailored to a situation where you haven't got a clue, yet make a conscious move of which you have decided: "I don't know, but right now this really looks like the best move to make."
Some times it works, sometimes it's brilliant to my own amazement, sometimes it blows up in my face...

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If you train your brain to pay attention to your own feelings will you never have another flashback?  I donít know. 
I don't know either, but I think the answer is: "Alas, no: I will have them once more, and then some."
But I do find comfort in the knowledge (and this is pretty much an established scientific fact) that we humans do not have control over the thoughts/input our consciousness gets. We do have significant control over how we deal with these inputs in our consciousness. And that's the part we can train. Consciously.
Though as you said: "Itís very HARD to train our brain. Very, very hard."

It's been a good read VeryFoggy, thanks for sharing.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2015, 05:49:34 PM »
If you train your brain to pay attention to your own feelings will you never have another flashback?  I donít know. 

Today I read this article again (http://www.traumahealed.com/articles/take-a-break-from-healing.html) , and it struck me that these phrases address your question:
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A common belief is that no one will violate our boundaries when we are healed enough.
Life is messier than that. Most people clean house just before someone comes over, so we all think everyone else's home is neater than ours.
People do their best to conceal when they get triggered as well, so we believe we get triggered a lot more often than everyone else.
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It is a toxic myth that if our boundaries are clear and strong enough, no one will violate them or hurt us. People's hurtful behavior is their choice.[act/behavior, not ours, I'd add (D/U)]

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obscured

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2015, 08:06:39 AM »
Thank you for sharing your experiences. I can relate so much. Your writing is engaging and hits the mark beautifully.

Narcissists... I am a magnet to these people. You describe the dynamic so well.

I just extracted a covert narcissist from my life. My previous girlfriend was an overt narcissist but I was so blind back then that I could not see her for who she was. These people, to borrow your metaphor, took my flashlight and went into that hole in me so they could poke around and provoke pain to manipulate me with so they could feed on it. Excruciating though that was, I took that pain to therapy and because of the actions of these narcissists I dealt with pain that was otherwise hidden from me and now I am a more aware and less fragmented person.

All the best in your recovery.  :hug:

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Oakridge

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #4 on: December 14, 2015, 10:49:36 AM »
Very powerful and timely post VeryFoggy. I need to read it again after my morning coffee kicks in. I have just cut off my relationship with my former partner of 26 years due to his ability to still find the right buttons to push that can trigger a terrible bout of CPTSD. When we were a couple, I used to say that he knew when i was in a bad place and would then throw gasoline on the fire of my descend making things far worse. I also appreciate the article that Dutch posted. Yes. i can get so consumed with my effort to better manage CPTSD that i forget to just go out and have some fun and take a vacation from it all. Good reminder.

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VeryFoggy

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #5 on: December 20, 2015, 02:42:32 AM »
As I have stated more than once in my posts here in Recovery, the one thing I have found quite difficult about this journey towards recovery is that I have yet to find an author who can tell you HOW to do it.

This nothing against Pete Walker or any other author. But mostly authors help me to identify WHAT the problem is, and where I need to be when I get better, but very little on HOW to address it. Most authors I read focus on me and me alone.  But that's not how I got here.  I did not get here in a vacuum.  Other people were involved in this process of getting me to this point.  So I need, like bread, water and air some information on how to deal with these people moving forward.

And maybe no one can tell you how to do it, because maybe it really is a personal journey each of us must take alone. But I feel strongly there must be some commonality in the steps that one must take, because?  There is commonality in how we feel, what we have experienced, and suffered, and how we got here. So logically to me, since we all got to this place we find ourselves in pretty much the same way?  I feel there must be some sort of a map for us to get out, some general sort of feelings and experiences and actions we could take that would help one to get out.

So, I write my little bits and pieces here and there, as they come to me for HOW to do it, what to do. And they are only hopefully something that will be a spark for someone else, something that will have meaning and touch someone else who is struggling with this terrible struggle of what to do to get out of the struggle, and get to at least a plateau of peace, and to a place of flashback freedom. A place to at least climb up to and rest before moving on to the next leg up of the journey.

There are more things I would like to cover, and I hope to write more soon on these topics as all of these have bothered me tremendously over the last couple of years  in my own struggle towards recovery:

How To Stand Up For Yourself and Protect Yourself From Abuse

How To Start Learning To Want And Learn That It Is Necessary To Want

How To Pay Attention To Your Intuition And Gut Feelings And Why You Need Them

Why We Need To Have Fun And Be Silly

Why Gratitude Can Rescue Us On Bad Days

How To Identify Unsafe People And Why it Is Okay to Not Love Everyone

All of these topics have consumed me over the last year. As well as what I have already written about which was, Boundaries and How To Set Them, and this one.

So maybe these topics belong in another category like Recovery Journal because these are only things I am doing, and it doesn't mean they will work for anyone else.  But I know I feel better.  I know I have not had a flashback in months. And so?  I feel compelled to share what I am doing in hopes it will mean something to somebody.

Any way you slice it CPTSD is a TOUGH road to walk down, and I know I wanted more than what I have gotten so far from reading and studying.

And I am glad if what I wrote had a little bit of meaning for you. It is my journey?  But if anything I learn can help anyone else? That would make me happier. I've always wanted to help people and it's part of how I got CPTSD. I was so busy not being me I forgot about me.  So if I could help someone remember or learn why it is important to be you?  How there will never be another you, and why it is so important to be you, and that you are needed, wanted, just as you are and that you are not an accident or a mistake? I would feel happier.

I feel strongly I was meant to give, born to give, but have so far been futilely giving to the wrong people, and not giving enough to myself either. If I could help one person stop doing that, and figure out there are people worth giving to, and that you are one of them?  I would feel happier.


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woodsgnome

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #6 on: December 20, 2015, 06:29:16 AM »
Thanks, VeryFoggy.

Your observations are wonderful pointers to the task of mixing what we learn from others (e.g. Walker) and demonstrating how one person--One's SELF--was able to build a road to recovery that inspires everyone to realize their own route to recovery.

You described what needs to happen so well: "...maybe no one can tell you how to do it, because maybe it really is a personal journey each of us must take alone. But I feel strongly there must be some commonality in the steps that one must take..."

Your viewpoints are a treasure, as they come from someone who has struggled mightily with all the ins/outs of a truly complex mindscape (or 'minefield', as it were). Many of us feel like giving up, but something keeps us moving and, hopefully, together as we progress toward finding our inner peace and healing.

You expressed this wish: "I am glad if what I wrote had a little bit of meaning for you." Indeed it has, VeryFoggy. More than a little! What you've been able to take from your experience and share with this forum cannot be underestimated--it is exactly why many of us are here.

It's a confusing and often wearisome trek to figure any of this out; to not just survive, but eventually to thrive. I appreciate the deep insights you've already shared and look forward to more from you.

Thanks again.

« Last Edit: December 20, 2015, 06:36:50 AM by woodsgnome »

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obscured

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #7 on: December 21, 2015, 09:36:22 PM »
As I have stated more than once in my posts here in Recovery, the one thing I have found quite difficult about this journey towards recovery is that I have yet to find an author who can tell you HOW to do it.

So I need, like bread, water and air some information on how to deal with these people moving forward.

Some online resources that have worked for me:

https://shrink4men.wordpress.com/a-shrink-for-men-index/ This site is run by Dr Tara Palmatier, a very qualified and experienced psychologist who specialises in treating men who have been abused in relationships with women who have cluster b personality disorders i.e. NPD, BPD, HPD. Most of the more instructive and informative articles are listed under the earlier years, 2009-2012 with more recent posts focusing on stories from survivors of abusive relationships. She also hosts a support forum which is linked off the index page.

On youtube I can reccomend a few guys to check out. These guys share information based more on academic research than heresay and pop psychology. Spartanlifecoach. Ross Rosenberg. Sam Vaknin. Sam Vaknin is a psychiatrist and is himself a narcissist who is in recovery for his condition. If you want to get inside the mind of how these people tick then this guy is an excellent resource for that purpose but he also explains how to deal with narcissists too.

Hope some of these might be useful to you VeryFoggy. Good luck with your recovery.


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Dutch Uncle

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #8 on: December 22, 2015, 11:58:18 AM »
Some online resources that have worked for me:
https://shrink4men.wordpress.com/a-shrink-for-men-index/ This site is run by Dr Tara Palmatier, a very qualified and experienced psychologist who specialises in treating men who have been abused in relationships with women who have cluster b personality disorders i.e. NPD, BPD, HPD. Most of the more instructive and informative articles are listed under the earlier years, 2009-2012 with more recent posts focusing on stories from survivors of abusive relationships. She also hosts a support forum which is linked off the index page.
Yeah, that site is awesome.
The forum is under a paywall though, which has so far been a threshold for me, as I'm very tight on money.
I couldn't find out what the fee is.
Do you?

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #9 on: December 22, 2015, 12:30:01 PM »
Most authors I read focus on me and me alone.  But that's not how I got here.  I did not get here in a vacuum.  Other people were involved in this process of getting me to this point.
Spot on. I so relate.

As I'm under a barrage of hoovers and Flying Monkeys at the moment by my very dysfunctional FOO, all of whom completely disregard anyones boundaries, I had a realization the other day that I think is a big step on my way to recovery.

Since I experience myself how often and ruthless my boundaries are violated with premeditation, and while I observe how vile, persistent and willful they violate the borders of each other, their spouses and to some extend those of their children (I fear they violate the boundaries of their children much worse than I get to witnessÖ) I see a connection on how I violate my own borders: I smoke, I drink, I isolate myself, I still don't have a job, I could eat more healthy and more joyfully, etc. All things that go against my own boundaries I want to have. These are core values. Off-course I don't want to ruin my health with tobacco, too much booze, loneliness, live in misery because I haven't got a dime to spare, I actually love a variety of food so I could 'easily' have a varied (thus healthy) diet, etc.

How can I hope to protect me from my own boundary violations to myself if I'm in an environment where it's par of the course to violate boundaries? Any boundaries?

This has strengthened my resolve to distance myself from these professional boundary-violators. And I hope (and trust) it's a two-edged sword: By persistently restating and reinforcing my boundaries (mostly by letting the violation have consequences that give me more and better protection from the assaults and giving myself greater safety) I'm both detaching myself from the dysfunctional examples and I'm learning myself how to maintain boundaries which I can, in due time, use more and more to protect myself from my own (self-destructive) boundary violations I inflict on me.

I've also stared to read up on the concept of "Locus of Control" which deals with the fact that there's plenty where we humans have no control at all which is called "external Locus of Control" and on what we have control over (to a certain extend) which is called "internal Locus of Control".
From what I've read so far, the two are often powerfully confused, not only by us with cPTSD but among the 'populace' as a whole.

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obscured

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #10 on: December 23, 2015, 12:01:37 PM »
Yeah, that site is awesome.
The forum is under a paywall though, which has so far been a threshold for me, as I'm very tight on money.
I couldn't find out what the fee is.
Do you?

I joined a couple of years ago and it was free at that time to join. I haven't been asked to pay since either. Sorry i am not sure what it costs now. I guess I am flying under the radar?

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #11 on: December 23, 2015, 12:58:40 PM »
I think you're too valuable a poster and they don't want to risk losing you.  ;)

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rlg6859

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Re: My Thoughts on CPTSD Recovery Today
« Reply #12 on: December 24, 2015, 12:22:28 AM »
This was really spot-on.  I'm early in recovery and have been working on giving myself permission to grieve.  A narcissist in my life is actually what led me to discover I have CPTSD.  I sought out therapy because he did horrible, criminal things to me, but I ended up wanting to talk about my childhood, which led to learning that I had a traumatic childhood, and then a link someone gave to me in this forum took me to something about the connection between narcissists and people with CPTSD.  It all came around full circle.  Looking back, it is alarming to see how this person played and preyed on my every emotion.  It's disgusting, really.  Yet, I am away from that now and have a whole new insight.  I'm actually grateful that I had that relationship because it did eventually lead me to seeing vital truths about myself so I can heal.  I used to pray to God "why?" He brought this person into my life who I loved so much, while this person couldn't let me go but had a complete disregard for my wants and needs.  Now I know why, and I am more grateful than hurt...at this moment for the healing process waxes and wanes.