Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...

  • 31 Replies
  • 5532 Views
*

alovelycreature

  • Member
  • 165
    • View Profile
Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« on: November 10, 2014, 02:40:01 PM »
I met up with a friend from high school the other day, and we were talking about how we didn't understand that we were being abused as children. Both of us come from comfortable middle class families. We talked about how when we were in high school, even though we felt our parents were saying or doing things that were abusive, we could not see ourselves as victims because our basic needs were being met (food, clothing, shelter, etc.). I remember often thinking to myself when i was a teenager that what I was going through wasn't abuse because there was someone worse off than I was.

I was curious if anyone ever faced these same feelings at any point? Or if you just always knew that you were being maltreated or that your feelings were justified.

*

Rain

  • Member
  • 459
  • Hiding your Light is a loss for everyone
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #1 on: November 10, 2014, 03:07:58 PM »
How I relate, Lovely!

The Cori Emotionally Absent Mother book cleared up the mystery fully for me, and Pete Walker's book CPTSD: Surviving to Thriving book clears it up also that this abuse happened in our earliest years even before most of us remember.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 06:50:50 PM by Rain »

*

alovelycreature

  • Member
  • 165
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #2 on: November 10, 2014, 03:44:26 PM »
The Emotionally Absent Mother book sounds really interesting. Someone told me about the Pete Walker book on another forum on this site I think. Thanks for sharing.

My Mom was always about her "image" too. She would always saying, "It's better to look good than to feel good!" which I know is from a movie, and I think the movie has it, "It's better to feel good than look good."

I look back now and know that my experience, feelings, and emotions are all my truth and don't need to be justified by anyone. When speaking with my friend, it was something I hadn't thought about in years. When I was in college I had a professor say to me, "Anyone's most terrible pain is their most terrible pain. Whether it's as extreme as abuse or breaking a leg, that person only knows their worst pain." That has always stuck with me and has been a mantra.

I think lately for me it's not flashback that have been coming into my conscious, but just my childhood thoughts and views of what was going on at the time. I think over the years I spent years in therapy doing exposure, that I didn't ever have the space to consider my actual thoughts of feelings back then of what was going on at the time. It's at points enlightening, and at points saddening.

I'm glad I have the opportunity to talk to other people who understand :). Thanks for sharing.

How I relate, Lovely!


The Cori Emotionally Absent Mother book cleared up the mystery fully for me, and Pete Walker's book CPTSD: Surviving to Thriving book clears it up also that this abuse happened in our earliest years even before most of us remember.


*

alovelycreature

  • Member
  • 165
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #3 on: November 10, 2014, 03:48:05 PM »
I think one of the things that I found so terrible was not being believed or others not validating my reality. It sometimes feels that it can be more traumatic to not be believed. I totally agree with not believing in comparisons. Everyone is not only different, but your worst pain is your worst pain. No point in comparing realities. You're not on a soap box, you're at a table with others who are listening :)

Quote
I was curious if anyone ever faced these same feelings at any point? Or if you just always knew that you were being maltreated or that your feelings were justified.

I think everything is relative to what our normal is.  As a child, our parents presented and dictated what our normal would be.  Since I was restricted to them I didn't see 'other' options.  I did see others having a 'better' situation and wished 'better' for myself but that was their life and mine was mine (my normal). I guess you would say I didn't know options.

Within my own 'normal' I experienced just what you are saying and carried it into adulthood.  I saw my mom and my sister abused, felt so bad for them both but had not even considered that I too was living side by side with them in the same situation.  What happened to me was 'nothing' compared to what I know happened to them. 

In my early 20s I was asked to go to my sisters counseling session.  My sister was struggling and we were told that she was molested a lot by our father, that she hated me because it was her and not me and somewhere in the conversation I was asked if it ever happened to me.  I did not want to admit anything, felt so bad for my sister, minimized it to "...one time he tried but it was nothing like what she went through".  That was the first and last time we talked about it until I ended up in counseling (50 years after a event, and having the VF of it).  As I told my counselor, to even talk about what happened to me in my sister's counseling session would have been like going to see my sister in the hospital having just come out of heart surgery and me walking in and displaying my bandaid of a wound when hers was so much worse.   


I believe because of that I completely dismissed my own experience like you did.  I can see that now.  That is why I don't like comparisons about what brought us to CPTSD.  No matter the cause, the injury and effects are just as harmful and should never be minimized.  My heart hurts when I hear people minimize their own experience.

Let me jump off  of the soap box.  sorry....just wanted to say...ohhhhhhhhh how I relate to what you describe.   :yes:

*

Rain

  • Member
  • 459
  • Hiding your Light is a loss for everyone
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #4 on: November 10, 2014, 04:06:46 PM »
Lovely, to add a bit more ...and to NOT take away from what your professor said, but I do not think it is entirely true his phrase.

When pain is so overwhelming, we block it.   We go numb.  We do not "feel it" then.   So, to feel nothing ...be numb ...is to not know ones worst pain.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2015, 06:51:31 PM by Rain »

*

Rain

  • Member
  • 459
  • Hiding your Light is a loss for everyone
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #5 on: November 10, 2014, 05:19:00 PM »
I'm glad I have the opportunity to talk to other people who understand :). Thanks for sharing.

What you share certainly helps me, Lovely!!  Thank you.   I'm glad you are here.

*

alovelycreature

  • Member
  • 165
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #6 on: November 10, 2014, 05:32:23 PM »
No, Raine, that is a totally good point. I think at the time it just clicked with me and justified that my feelings were to be mine to had. Feeling numb or dissociative is the worst though. Not feeling connected to your body or self just sometimes feels like a flashback to me. I used to feel that way so much that now when I feel numb it just feels like some horrible flashback. It is retraumatizing!

Lovely, to add a bit more ...and to NOT take away from what your professor said, but I do not think it is entirely true his phrase.

When pain is so overwhelming, we block it.   We go numb.  We do not "feel it" then.   So, to feel nothing ...be numb ...is to not know ones worst pain.

*

Rain

  • Member
  • 459
  • Hiding your Light is a loss for everyone
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #7 on: November 10, 2014, 05:38:57 PM »
I understand what you mean now, Lovely.

And, what you write helps me sort it out.   It is re-traumatizing.

So very much to unravel.....

*

alovelycreature

  • Member
  • 165
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2014, 05:46:18 PM »
So true. Denying your own experience does continue the abuse. I never thought of that. Thanks for the seeds :)



And, the denial, the dismissing of others in what we went through.

It continues the abuse....

Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2014, 09:18:50 PM »
Definitely at a table with others who share the same experience. Same here. Or, similar here. In my case, it was my mother's story who always overshadowed my own, but the effect was the same - I decided that I was fine, and that was it. Well, everyone else also decided that I was fine. It felt like a profound, absolute abandonment. Others abandoned me, and then I abandoned myself, too.

I'm kind of glad we have each other. It's such an amazing relief, hearing others talk about their story and it's like my own.


Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #10 on: November 11, 2014, 07:28:01 AM »
So true. Denying your own experience does continue the abuse. I never thought of that. Thanks for the seeds :)

And, the denial, the dismissing of others in what we went through. It continues the abuse....

Pete Walker keeps mentioning "self-abandonment". That's what this is, isn't it? Ah-hah. I found the word a bit too abstract when I first read it. It's clearer now, thanks to what you both wrote, Rain and Alovelycreature.

*

Rain

  • Member
  • 459
  • Hiding your Light is a loss for everyone
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2014, 07:12:31 PM »
Definitely at a table with others who share the same experience. Same here. Or, similar here. In my case, it was my mother's story who always overshadowed my own, but the effect was the same - I decided that I was fine, and that was it. Well, everyone else also decided that I was fine. It felt like a profound, absolute abandonment. Others abandoned me, and then I abandoned myself, too.

I'm kind of glad we have each other. It's such an amazing relief, hearing others talk about their story and it's like my own.

If there were ever a post that described the purpose of the OOTS forum, this is it, Cat.

Well said, as usual, and English is not your mother language ...amazing.

I love your "Others abandoned me, and then I abandoned myself, too."    There I am in your words, as well.

Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2014, 07:37:33 PM »
Thanks, Rain.  :bighug:

*

lostinspace

  • Member
  • 19
    • View Profile
Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2014, 03:36:16 AM »
Something tells me I have found what was missing all these years! Answers. I could not understand why I let others make decisions for me: like I just went along for the ride! Nothing mattered that much, well I didn't matter very much.  :sadno:
I often cater to others, losing my own identity in the process. But, how could I have not fought to be heard? I was indeed . . . overwhelmed! I believe my siblings still control me, so my trauma continues. . .

Re: Well, I can't have experienced trauma because...
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2014, 01:04:40 PM »
I could not understand why I let others make decisions for me: like I just went along for the ride! Nothing mattered that much, well I didn't matter very much.  :sadno:
I often cater to others, losing my own identity in the process. But, how could I have not fought to be heard? I was indeed . . . overwhelmed!

Same here. Did you stumble upon Pete Walker's texts on the Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fawn responses yet? It's here: http://www.pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm. I found this really eye-opening, and very comforting to realize that this isn't who I truly am, it's simply an instinctive response to overwhelming trauma.