Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing

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Biscuits

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Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« on: October 19, 2016, 12:52:56 AM »
Hello

Sorry for wall of text, I have tried to find a way to make it short and to the point but I feel I need to get this all in :(

I am new to the forum, hi to everyone. Quick rundown - I am late 30's, male, and like many I have had many diagnoses and years of therapy / meds. Recently a psychiatrist said complex trauma was a distinct possibility. I looked into it and it really fit for me. Broadly mine came from physical abuse, an emotionally corrosive environment, and later on compounded by divorce, bullying, assaults, accidents.

Therapy has helped a lot, but there is one issue that no matter who I talk to they cannot understand it, and in fact it usually makes people angry, dismissive and look down on me.

Background - in my family, sarcasm, criticism, shaming and public put downs were regular, and of course it was denied. When my sister did it to my mother, she looked destroyed and angry. If anyone did it to my dad, he would go quiet and simmer (against the background of being unpredictably explosive with hitting etc). If anyone did it to my sister, similarly it upset her but she had by far and away the most acidic tongue in the family. So, NO ONE in my family liked it, and definitely did not think it was fun. It was never just jolly, toughen-you-up banter.

I was the youngest. When it was done to me, I would get angry like kids do. But anger was, as Pete Walker says, the one thing for which the very worst punishments were reserved. If it wasn't a freak out or explosion, it was demeaning, shaming, "oh for god's sake, learn to laugh at yourself", or sometimes with my mum, an emotional collapse. She was extremely fragile, and so I also grew up feeling that teasing people and sarcasm both always hurt, and that if I got angry, I was a horrible person. When my sister was in her teens, this got worse and it felt as though she honestly hated me. She would go through my cupboards, find things out about me and subtly threaten me with them, or just outright tell people in front of me. It just felt she would do anything to paint me as a piece of *. From my point of view, i was 4 years younger and just wanted her to like me. I didn't know what I was doing wrong. Again this was all denied by mum (father absent by this point). Everyone had to pretend life was rainbows and unicorns (except for the times she was upset, and then we were support / audience).

Then of course, real life happened. Teasing, banter and its dark cousin, bullying. When it happened, it would unlock that old well of pain, humiliation, and then that sense of despair that came from knowing I was angry. It became this strangling, suffocating mix of stuck anger, humiliation, shame and sadness (which you're not allowed to feel, that's wrong too). On some level it feels like a betrayal - this person knows they are hurting me, maybe even wants to, but everyone behaves as if I am the one who is out of line. It seems different for a guy - you are expected to just "take it like a man".

Its still with me now. But to other people, its interpreted as being conceited, or thin skinned, or over-sensitive. "Its just teasing, its just banter". Sometimes it is, and I know that. I want my emotions to really know the difference, see the spectrum. But still that age old sore spot sits there and as hard as I try to hide the reaction, laugh along, make jokes at myself, exaggerate, bite back, smack talk, ignore them, walk away, change the subject ... it always eventually seems to escalate and begin to set off that internal sense of being hurt, and having no right to do anything - even that being angry at all makes me a piece of *. I just stop trusting, feel more angry and hurt, and then leave.

I've not had a therapist yet that could understand it or offer any help. I have an entire bookcase of cbt, assertiveness, jokes, banter, psychology, self help, schema therapy, psychoanalysis...you name its there and I've tried it. But as is so often the case with Complex Trauma, it has a power all its own. Regular people who have tried to understand it just get sick of me. It comes between me and pretty much every relationship I have and interferes with work. This is all against the background of the other causes of my MH issues. It feels like not only am I the only person who seems to struggle with this, but that even psychotherapy, psychology and psychiatry do not understand it. For years I was dismissed as having "characterological" issues, personality disorder, dysthymia.. whatever it took to get me to go away. My most recent visit to a psychiatrist removed all that. He does not believe I have a PD. Three therapists over 6 years also feel I do not fit the bracket of personality disorder.

I guess I want to find out if there are other people who feel like this, who have found the same frustration?
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 01:18:19 AM by Biscuits »

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mourningdove

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Re: Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2016, 03:07:15 AM »
Welcome, Biscuits!  :wave:

Sorry that you have had such a tough time. :( But I'm glad that you've recently found some "mh" professionals who can see that the problem hasn't been a "personality disorder" on your part. I know what you mean about people not understanding. Luckily, there are many people here who do understand. I hope that you find this site helpful!

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Three Roses

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Re: Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2016, 04:08:48 AM »
Hello and welcome, biscuits!

It sounds like your sister may fit the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. You can search this site for NPD, as well as "gaslighting". Should be some answers there for you.

Richard Grannon has excellent videos on youtube on the subject of dealing with narcissists.

Also, I totally want to validate you for the pain you feel at others' inability to understand the pain this had caused you. This is sometimes referred to as "secondary wounding".

Here's a topic we discussed a while back... http://outofthefog.net/C-PTSD/forum/index.php?topic=4156.0

But anyhow, we're glad you're here! Thanks for joining :wave:
« Last Edit: October 19, 2016, 04:10:50 AM by Three Roses »

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Biscuits

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Re: Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2016, 03:36:49 PM »
Welcome, Biscuits!  :wave:

Sorry that you have had such a tough time. :( But I'm glad that you've recently found some "mh" professionals who can see that the problem hasn't been a "personality disorder" on your part. I know what you mean about people not understanding. Luckily, there are many people here who do understand. I hope that you find this site helpful!

Hi mourningdove

Sorry for the delay in replying and thank you for your kind welcome  :heythere:

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Biscuits

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Re: Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2016, 03:40:44 PM »
Hello and welcome, biscuits!

It sounds like your sister may fit the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder. You can search this site for NPD, as well as "gaslighting". Should be some answers there for you.

Richard Grannon has excellent videos on youtube on the subject of dealing with narcissists.

Also, I totally want to validate you for the pain you feel at others' inability to understand the pain this had caused you. This is sometimes referred to as "secondary wounding".

Here's a topic we discussed a while back... http://outofthefog.net/C-PTSD/forum/index.php?topic=4156.0

But anyhow, we're glad you're here! Thanks for joining :wave:

Hello there :)

Thank you for the welcome and suggestions, I will have a look at that thread you posted.

Yes validation has always been a huge issue. Chasing after it, looking for it in the wrong places etc. Always trying to make the world listen lol

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sanmagic7

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Re: Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2016, 12:44:23 AM »
that age-old tripe about 'you're too sensitive - you need to grow a thicker skin' is bull-pucky in my opinion.  i once read that someone wrote as a comeback to that 'i'm as sensitive as i need to be for myself, thank you very much.'  i loved that.

i've had issues with being 'too' sensitive all my life and as far as i'm concerned, there's nothing stupid about it, about feeling that way, about any of it.  you are who you are, you went through what you went through, and no one has the right to judge you and your sensitivity because they never lived your life, never walked in your shoes.   grrrr!  this crapola makes me so ticked off.  it's a form of bullying in my book, and you nor anyone else deserves that!

i'm really glad, also, that you've finally found some mental health professionals who are able to see you as a person who's been traumatized, rather than blaming your sensitivity on you inside a personality disorder.  so glad you made it here.  hopefully, you'll finally get the help you need and deserve. 

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Biscuits

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Re: Feels so stupid but its the single biggest thing
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2016, 11:28:43 PM »
Thank you sanmagic7

Sorry it has taken me so long to reply, but thank you for your thoughts and comments.

Biscuits