Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca

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Butterfly

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Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« on: November 20, 2016, 01:41:03 PM »
This is my story and is a work in progress will be back to edit

From the outside looking in our family was warm and close and we had fun, and we did . . . sometimes. That's the thing about abuse and personality disorders, things change on a dime. One moment laughter and fun and without warning a dark storm cloud rolls in for no reason at all and it wasn't in the forecast.

Growing up in a multi-generational home there were layers of abuse as grandparents abused my parents, in turn my parents abused us, their children. So we didn't see it as abuse, this is family, this is love, this is . . . normal. We didn't know any other way, no way to measure, so this was our normal.

Enmeshment and complete lack of boundaries was normal, anyone can say and do anything to anyone and it was accepted. Name calling was common, physical abuse came out of nowhere without warning because uPDm had had enough. Constant hypervigilence became necessary for survival in a very real way. Being able to read the mood to try to 'forecast the storm' meant I might escape the rage. But to the outside world presenting the picture of a perfect and happy family was paramount. Keeping our 'dirty laundry' from outsiders was very very important.

To make matters worse enF blamed me for uPDm rages telling me it must be my fault she's in this mood despite the fact that she was in this mood when I arrived home from school and I'd tried my best to coddle and help her but she was still in the mood when he got home from work. I'd failed my job as a daughter by not controlling my uPDm. So began a lifetime of becoming the toxic emotional dump for uPDm and my being held responsible for her emotional and mental wellbeing.

When I reached adulthood I was fully enmeshed, no boundaries, I didn't know where I ended and others began, I was codependdently wrapped up in helping others. My entire sense of self worth based on how much I can do for others to the complete neglect of myself. Several times I tried to have a sit down discussion with uPDm and enF about what an adult relationship with them looked like for me. Simple, yes? Not for an enmeshed daughter. Wanting to live my life with my new husband, have my own friends, come and go without reporting my whereabouts to them caused massive Hoovers, fits of crying, raging, pleas that 'all we want is a close family' and on and on until DH and I would comply and fall back into our assigned role as submissive children.

Finally we relocated to the other side of the continent, we were free, we had a life. However the FOG reached across the distance and my mind, heart, emotions were still very much codependently enmeshed. We were finally Hoovered to move back after uPDm told us they didn't have long to live. That was 13 years ago when they were middle aged and we fell for it hook line and sinker so moved back to care for them except they didn't need care and our lives slowly fully enmeshed once again.

It was suffocating, my body was in pain, my mind and heart were screaming, I didn't know I was experiencing cPTSD. Doctor after doctor pointed to depression, no medical cause for the utter lack of strength and fatigue. Me? Depressed? My life was great, or so I thought, ignoring the nightmares and lifelong thoughts of suicide. I really was in the FOG and didn't even see I was fracturing to pieces from the stress and cPTSD.

Shopping and lunch with them daily meant I was immersed in abuse between the fun times. They are fun but then the dark storm clouds roll in without warning. Being in daily contact with the abuse meant constant triggers, there wasn't a moment I wasn't triggered and hypervigilance was required at all times. How could trauma become post traumatic if it was constant, current, not in the past? Once I was in actual fear for my life as uPDm rages threw her into a driving frenzy and I'm still not sure what triggered that episode. Daily contact meant daily episodes and I came home, curled up in a ball, wrapped in a blanket, crying and sipping wine to self medicate escape.

Episodes. That's what I'd always called her rages as if they were single individual occurances and not the constant control it really was my entire life. I remember the day I was head butted out of the FOG by uPDm. For an entire month before that day she raged with passive aggressive digs and outright hostility. My crime? I'd run errands without her. Yes that's right. Research lead me to Out of the FOG and my journey began. Newly armed with tools I prepared to battle to take back my life, well take my life since it wasn't something I really ever possessed. I had never individuated or fully separated. It was time.

The recurring lifelong nightmare that plagued me was a dark figure chasing me. Desperately I tried to move, to scream for help, but no sound came from my open mouth and I was paralyzed to move in the dream. My journey out of the fog was mirrored in my nightmare, as I learned boundaries and found my voice in real life then in my nightmare I was able to whisper a small protest and whisper for help. The faintest whisper but it was a start. As I found my voice in real life, verbalized boundaries, spoke up to the bullying and passive aggressive attacks then in the nightmare I screamed and fought the faceless figure. Finally I had my voice in real life and in my nightmare. Today there are no more nightmares.

The first step was boundary work and tying boundaries to core values strengthened me as a person, through boundaries I was able to separate and individuaute. By defining core values I found my authentic self. Unfortunately me as a separate individual isn't something uPDm or enF understand​ or accept. They define love as enmeshed and any other love language is foreign and not a 'real relationship' so at this point an adult to adult relationship isn't happening. It's ok. I accept their limitations and allow others to be themselves, make their choices and live the consequences. 

Another key was learning to feel feelings, to name them, to recognize anger at a lower level instead of just ignoring what my body was screaming. EF and triggers are a signal to me things have gone too far and I had to pay attention to emotions at lower levels. I had to learn to recognize anger. Maybe I even needed to learn to feel anger. Anger signals a violated boundary. Since I had never had boundaries before I had to learn what a broken boundary felt like and what anger at a broken boundary felt like and then how to respond to that anger. So after boundaries my next task was learning to feel and respond to anger at a low level, to be able to speak without freezing. Having boundaries attached to core values made them a part of me, they became internal, responding to boundaries became more of a natural response, very little thought required.

I know who I am and so does everyone who interacts with me since I'm able to clearly articulate my values and boundaries. Other people are responsible for their feelings and I'm responsible for me. My marriage is improved since both DH and I learned boundaries and how to better communicate. I've learned to have needs and limitations. Friendships are enriching and sources of mutual encouragement. Association with others is strengthening and upbuilding.

Contact is currently low contact, occasional email or text for wellness check, talk of neutral news topics, weather, even less frequent occasional phonecall. Family gatherings are medium chill, casual conversation about common interests. I never did do a time out or NC so the key for me was dialing back contact to allow time between contact to heal from triggers. We never did have the heart to heart regarding the past. No need since it would be denied and gaslighted or the usual massive Hoover. I drew a line in the sand and from that day addressed abuse in the moment as it happened. Nothing about others changed, I changed, I decided the abuse was over, I took my power.

The FOG, the Fear Obligation Guilt, exist only in our head and only if we allow it. Once we choose to take our power the FOG can evaporate and we can begin to heal from cPTSD. Its been months since feeling triggered, any uPDm 'episodes' give me feeling of Meh and make me roll my eyes inside thinking 'there she goes again' and I walk away or end the conversation. Working on myself, boundaries, healing was intense and daily, I was relentless and pursued wellness as if my life depended on it, because it did. In a very literal way my physical well-being was on the line not to mention my emotional and mental health. My healing journey continues and i wish all here peace and healing as well. You are not alone and life does get better.
« Last Edit: March 27, 2017, 01:22:11 AM by Butterfly »

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Three Roses

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Re: Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2016, 04:19:17 PM »
(Thought I'd pop in to your thread to tell you, don't be discouraged if no one responds, as people comment less in the Journal section. If you want comments, you can ask a question or ask for input.  :wave: )

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Butterfly

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Re: Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2017, 10:49:36 PM »
Thanks Three Roses. Kizzie had asked I put together my story so it's a work in progress. I so appreciate you popping by!

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jdcooper

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Re: Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2017, 01:37:48 PM »
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My entire sense of self worth based on how much I can do for others to the complete neglect of myself.
 

I know that so many of us can relate to this!  I grew up with such a strong sense that I must empathize with others to the detriment of my own mental health.  I remember my sister calling me when she was going through a divorce and me listening to her and giving her legal advice (I was an attorney) and trying to help-but later realizing she had never done the same for me.  How could I have been so blind to what she was doing. Using me.  I couldn't sleep any night I talked to her because I felt so used.

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I had to learn to recognize anger. Maybe I even needed to learn to feel anger. Anger signals a violated boundary. Since I had never had boundaries before I had to learn what a broken boundary felt like and what anger at a broken boundary felt like and then how to respond to that anger.

When that anger gets suppressed in us from a very young age-Its hard to get it back.  Anger is powerful.  It lets us know things are not right.  So many women learn to cry when they are actually angry.  I could go on and on about how anger has been so difficult to express in my life.  How it has come out in such inappropriate ways.  Anger is my number one emotion to try and get in touch with.  Grief-no problem.  Anger-inner critic comes out and condemns it.

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Desperately I tried to move, to scream for help, but no sound came from my open mouth and I was paralyzed to move in the dream. My journey out of the fog was mirrored in my nightmare, as I learned boundaries and found my voice in real life then in my nightmare I was able to whisper a small protest and whisper for help.

Finding ones voice.  So so powerful.  Speaking up.  Letting it out.  We were squelched for too long.  It's time to let go of freezing  and denying our feelings.

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Research lead me to Out of the FOG and my journey began. Newly armed with tools I prepared to battle to take back my life, well take my life since it wasn't something I really ever possessed. I had never individuated or fully separated. It was time.

Discovering who we really are separate from what was thrust upon us-well if feels alien at first.  It sounds like you have incredible courage and strength to do what you need to do to separate from that toxic situation.  Well done!

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Kizzie

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Re: Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2017, 05:15:06 PM »
Wow Butterfly, your story is so hopeful   :thumbup:   I really relate to it as it is quite similar to my situation (although my NPD FOO were somewhat more covert) and my road to recovery.  It took a long time for me to see how enmeshed I was and just how traumatizing my FOO were/are - tk goodness for OOTF!

I particularly liked your line  "How could trauma become post traumatic if it was constant, current, not in the past?" So true for many of us thus it's not quite accurate to say we were traumatized as children and it just stopped at some point as we became adults.  It carries on if you are in contact with your perpetrators (or find new ones to continue the abuse as so many of us do), until you can get boundaries in place, dial down the contact enough so you have room to breath and think and find out who you are separately from all of the enmeshment. I honestly never thought I'd see the day when one of my NPD FOO pulled something and I had a "Meh" reaction, but I did - huzzah!   So glad it happened for you - I love the title of your story by the way. 

I'd really like to add your story to the personal stories on the web page if/when you feel you are happy it's a final version.  And even if it's not, I can replace it if/when you update it.  Can you let me know if you're OK with uploading it?  It would be here - http://www.outofthestorm.website/personal-stories-of-complex-ptsd/.

 :hug:    Kizzie

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Blueberry

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Re: Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2017, 08:58:32 PM »
Butterfly, it really helped me reading your story just now. I can so relate to some parts.

We had fun and laughter too, sometimes. Some stuff I thought was love or normal. Not till as an adult in therapy did I learn: um, no, not quite.

And this: "How could trauma become post traumatic if it was constant, current, not in the past?"  That's something I really need to read at the moment.

Good on you for no longer allowing the FOG.  :cheer:
I'm not that far yet.

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avemaria

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Re: Journey from Oz to "Meh"cca
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2017, 11:43:19 AM »
Butterfly, thank you for writing and Kidzzie thanks for reposting.  Your story or the way you talk about it is very powerful and relatable.  This part put into words my struggle in this life of reliving a trauma and trying to overcome daily.


"Another key was learning to feel feelings, to name them, to recognize anger at a lower level instead of just ignoring what my body was screaming. EF and triggers are a signal to me things have gone too far and I had to pay attention to emotions at lower levels. I had to learn to recognize anger. Maybe I even needed to learn to feel anger. Anger signals a violated boundary. Since I had never had boundaries before I had to learn what a broken boundary felt like and what anger at a broken boundary felt like and then how to respond to that anger. So after boundaries my next task was learning to feel and respond to anger at a low level, to be able to speak without freezing. Having boundaries attached to core values made them a part of me, they became internal, responding to boundaries became more of a natural response, very little thought required."

I hope to read more from you soon.