Would this be CPTSD? (potential family triggers, ED triggers, suicide triggers)

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achelois

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*i am no longer in this situation*
After my mom abandoned my family (a totally different traumatic event), my family and my life got really hard.  We were constantly struggling for money, struggling to buy dinner and groceries.  I remember growing up and having to go hungry sometimes because we didn't have any grocery money and we'd eaten everything left, rent constantly being late, etc.
My dad took the brunt of her absence financially, and he ended up out of a job to take care of me after she left.  After that, he was always struggling to find a job, only finding short term ones that were barely enough to sustain us on.  It must have been incredibly hard on him, and he was always very angry and frustrated at never being able to get ahead.

(this happened from 7-15)

I remember constantly being yelled at by him; he'd call me stupid, slow, a waste of money, a brat, ungrateful, a *, sloppy, pathetic, just like my mom.  I had to do chores, like all the other kids, but after my mom left (I was 7) but I did all the chores nearly singlehandedly.  I've had to give up time I wanted to study for a test so I could cook dinner, I had to clean, I had to vacuum, I had to sweep.  During some summers my whole day was spent on chores and cooking every meal, and I wasn't allowed to go outside/go on my computer.  He'd tell me to do a chore he knew I didn't know how to do and than yell at me for not doing it correctly.

Specifically, I was made to put away the dishes.  Putting away the dishes was the one thing I hated most.  I could be exhausted from school and ballet, still trying to do my homework, and if I didn't drop everything and force myself to put away the dishes he would scream and scream and accuse me and leave me in tears.  The dishes were like his one way of controlling me.  I could give him as much trouble as I wanted but if I didn't put away those dishes, he would make my life *.  Putting away dishes was the most humiliating thing I could do.  It made me feel like I was just a slave to him, a servant, I took orders, I threw away my life to please him.

He controlled who I talked to, told me my friends hated me and I shouldn't play with them, they weren't good enough for me, they were too smart and rich for me, etc, , he controlled what I wore and said that if I didn't look and act and talk like he wanted me to, I was embarrassing him and ruining his reputation in the neighborhood, I was making him look bad, I was shaming him, I was a disgrace, etc.

My friends were always smarter than me, nicer than me, they listened to their parents, they did their chores, they were perfect, and I was not.


Everything I did was either meant to please him or i didn't do it at all.

I was in ballet at the time because he constantly told me he wanted to ascend social classes (more subtle than that exact wording) and ballet was the only way to become civilized; he called me too fat, constantly made weight jokes, asked me about my weight all the time.  He himself obsessed over his own weight, and he'd always tell me about how much he wanted to lose weight and tell me all about these diets and gym programs.  I was 11 when he made me cut all carbohydrates and sugars from my diet; I subsisted off of skim milk, spinach, skinless chicken, and grapes.  I wasn't allowed to eat nuts or peanut butter or cookies or ice cream or anything at all.  I was by no means fat; I was just a normal weight for a girl who hit puberty early.  Eventually, I developed anorexia, bulimia, and body dysmorphia.  I hated my hips, I hated the way I looked, at one point I would eat 500 calories one day than the next day binge on every food in the house and then purge it all back up.  My whole life revolved around calorie counting and measuring out my food and instead of school i looked up photos of models and stared at my calorie schedule.  I still wasn't skinny enough.

I loved dance, I loved ballet, I love art, and it wasn't until I realized I was too weak to dance, I was too weak to dance good enough to make him happy that I started forcing myself to eat.  It's been years and I still have issues eating pasta, breads, cheese, and peanut butter, no matter how much research comes out about how its' better to be healthy than skinny.

He made me feel like I was the reason he constantly lost jobs, I was asking for too much money, I was making him leave his incredibly important work to pay any attention at all to me, I distracted him, I ate too much, I was too embarrassing, I wasn't smart enough and now he had to pay attention to that, I was exhibiting signs of mental illness from my mom and he was ashamed of me, I cost him friends, contacts, etc.

If I did anything that pleased him he always told me that it wasn't enough, that I could do better, that my 90% could be a 100%, sure you were good but she did better, and when he asked me what I wanted to do when I was older I wanted to say "make you happy with me for once"

I could never talk to him about anything.  He'd always dismiss me, he'd never ask me how I did at school, he never wanted to hear my opinions, if I said anything he told me my opinions were wrong, I always had to listen to him and defer to him.  If I said something, I got screamed at for distracting him or interrupting him.

I was so incredibly isolated and dependent on him solely for attention, affection, positive reinforcement, which I never got (he would never hug me, pat my shoulder, he was always busy with his work or his games or something other than me) that I ended up attempting suicide a couple times.  If I was dead, I wouldn't cost him money, he could focus on work, he wouldn't be so unhappy, etc.

I remember once he was angry and he screamed at me to make him some food.  I made bowl after bowl after bowl of breakfast, and he refused each one, forced me to make a new one, and than blamed me for wasting food.  I tried to fight back and he threatened to throw each ceramic bowl filled with food I made at my head.  (when him and my mom were together, they constantly got into screaming fights.  there were stains all over our house where he'd thrown a bowl at the wall filled with something, he hurled a tub of my hair gel at the wall, when i spent time on an ipad gift we got instead of listening to him talk he ripped it from my hands and smashed it against the rail in our house until it broke in two.  I was in elementary school)

Now, I have terrible social anxiety and I'm incredibly introverted because I believe that every time I talk, I'm embarrassing, no one cares or listens, I flinch every time I hear steps on a stair because he would always stomp on the stairs when he was angry.  My boyfriend does the dishes because every time I try to put them away I end up in tears, a shaking nervous wreck.  No slamming doors, no loud noises, no clanking of dishes in the sink because he would do all those things when he was angry.  If anyone raises their voice at me I start remembering him when he gets angry, and immediately start regressing to the mindset I had when he was angry at me, and I usually start crying/feeling worthless/feeling humiliated.  I constantly pick at my face and body and obsess over little flaws in my appearance that no one else can see.  Male authority figures (teachers, policemen, etc) scare me, and I spent the majority of my school life avoiding them even when it would've helped me in school because I was so afraid of them.  I have major depressive episodes where I constantly think everyone hates me and I'm pathetic and I'm terrible and I don't deserve love and that there is someone else who is making my loved ones more happy, that I'm not enough, that one little thing I do, one sentence or one behavioral tick and they'll just leave.  I'm constantly hating myself and my appearance and my actions and words and behaviors, even when I'm not depressed.  I used to be really bubbly and happy and friendly pre-mom, but now I don't really talk to anyone at all, I don't start conversations, because I believe that I and what I have to say is unimportant.  Every time I try to talk about what happened I become incredibly paranoid he'll find out.  Even typing this up I'm irrationally afraid he'll somehow find this and punish me.  I want to control everything around me to fit into the little world view he made me exist in.  I'm so constantly afraid I'll act like him, raging at other people, blaming them, controlling them.  When I'm having a bad day or something happened that reminded me of him I "zone out"; everything becomes nonimportant and I feel like I'm removed from the world, I stop feeling feelings, people become non-important, I'm just floating along in a glass fish tank.  A therapist told me I fixate on escapism; my favorite characters and books are of female characters who escape from their situations and find freedom.  I also apparently fixate on romantic relationships that involve saving/redemption.  I ruined my grades by spending the majority of my school years on the internet reading stories and pretending I was in a fictional world where everything was good and I was the hero.  I can't plan ahead; I can't visualize myself in a year or in three years; I can only plan for tomorrow, I have enough money for tomorrow, I did all my homework for tomorrow, I have plans for tomorrow, I can't visualize myself getting a job, going to universities, etc.

There's more, I just don't have the time right now to type it all out.

Is this CPTSD (from emotional abuse)?


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Wife#2

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Welcome, Achelois! I'm so sorry that you went through this! Welcome to this site, where we all try to help each other grow past all that pain. I'm glad you found us.

No, I don't know whether that qualifies as cPTSD. We're not professionals around here, we can't diagnose anyone, even ourselves. I don't have a diagnosis, and they still let me come and get help here. So, don't stress too much about the exact diagnosis. You are welcome, regardless.

That being said, while I'm no professional and can't say for sure, it does sound to me like you are going through a lot of the cPTSD symptoms. And emotional abuse will certainly stand as a causing factor.

I'm very glad you're not in that situation anymore. You do still sound pretty young (I'm near 50, so lots of people sound young to me). If so, hurray! You've begun trying to figure this all out AND you've done more than just think about it. You got somewhere. You risked and posted! To do that young is something many of us celebrate. We wish WE had got a handle on all this when we were young.

Please feel free to click around - review the resources and the information about how to post, where might work best to get responses, lots of resources for learning more about cPTSD, even good info about therapists.  We're glad you found us and look forward to learning more about you, the person!

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Coco

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Hi sweetheart,

Your experience is definitely consistent with CPTSD.

With those experiences you described, it would be very, VERY weird if you didn't develop CPTSD. You'd have to be born a sociopath not to develop CPTSD in the face of all that. Or in other words, any normal person would have CPTSD with that background.

I am like you. Lots of us are, on here. I'm also in a very similar phase to you.... just realizing. We could be friends. I'm finding it very beneficial to be around people on this board who live in a similar world I do. It's never happened for me before. It's so nice not to be so acutely aware that the way I'm interpreting reality is so different to those around me.

I'm feeling really optimistic about our options and futures now that I know more. I think you'll like this place, and there are lots of really good books. Right now I'm reading 'The Body Keeps The Score" and it's amazingly helpful. I've also really enjoyed books by Darlene Lancer lately. She's great at explaining codependency which is the big symptom that woke me up to the fact that something was unusual in my life, and she's also great at raising self esteem.

I'm so glad you're here, and I really like your vibe. You seem gentle, intelligent, honest, and kind.

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joyful

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Hi Achelois!
My experience was very very VERY similar to yours. Although I am still in it as I have not been allowed to move out even though I'm in college...
I would also say that your experience would most likely cause cptsd. Whatever the technical name is, it causes terrible pain and you deserve to heal from it.

On a different note, ballet was also a big part of my childhood and growing up years. I loved it. When I wasn't beating myself up over not being "good enough" or being shamed by a teacher, it was an escape for me. It always makes me happy when I find someone else.

Anyway, welcome, and I am so so so sorry for what you've gone through.
 :hug:

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Blueberry

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Welcome, Achelois!
I've heard that traumatisation is "a normal reaction to abnormal circumstances". I don't know who coined that.  We can't give you a diagnosis, but I will certainly say that that sounds like extreme emotional/verbal/psychological abuse, that went on for years as well. So I agree with Coco that with that on-going situation in your childhood, it would have been odd to not develop some of the symptoms you mention.
Anyway, you can join up here without an official confirmed diagnosis. I hope you find the site helpful and supportive.