Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?

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DecimalRocket

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Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« on: April 02, 2018, 06:52:59 AM »
Not to be hard on anyone who says this to me or others here. That, or others with Cptsd, but I don't get it when people tell me I'm strong.

I'd expect someone who's strong to be a lot more mentally healthy than me. Someone a lot more confident, a lot more secure in relationships, and someone who actually feels they're deserving of happiness all the time.

Me? I'm not like that at all. At least call someone strong who doesn't cry at least a little everyday.

So how can I be called strong? How can all the different people with mood disorders be called strong?

It seems like I'm weak to me, and other people around here are stronger in many ways.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2018, 06:58:41 AM by DecimalRocket »

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woodsgnome

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2018, 01:49:10 PM »
I also don't consider myself strong--on the surface. But there has to have been a certain amount of strength to have survived, period. Survival isn't just a magic trick--it takes strength of character, if not more, to keep going. It's just not a boastful or muscular sort of strength, but more reflective of one's inner strength.  Whatever the case, something gets us through, often against rather heavy odds.

Many of your posts show great resiliency and a reservoir of strength to put forth the effort you make in trying to live with cptsd. Like lots of things in this realm, we tend not to give ourselves much credit for things like strength, but at second glance that seems to be an apt word for lots of what we've done.

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sanmagic7

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2018, 02:13:46 PM »
i agree with w.g.  i don't think strength is something to be measured against perfection.  the strength it takes to move one foot in front of the other, to make it thru a day while battling this beast, to continue on when it seems that everything is against you is tremendous.

i've often been called strong, even when i've been at my messiest, feeling my weakest, struggling the hardest.   this is not a logical strength, can't be measured.  when i'm feeling my lowest, the one thing i've ever asked for is the strength to make it thru the day.   so far i've gotten it cuz i'm still here today.

we carry the load of trauma on our shoulders every single day.  you've read the stories of others here.  how much strength does that take?  the fact that you, too, carry that load speaks of your own strength.  it won't be perfect, we all falter under this load, but dang, we keep going, keep moving, keep having our lives as best we can.  as do you.

so much of this isn't logical, d.r.  it can be outside our ken to make sense of it.  that's why we're all here, battling together.  others can see in us what we can't always see in ourselves.   your strength lies within you, in your heart, your mind, your being.   how many have not survived?  they were strong until everything stole their strength from them.  that's not their fault.  i don't believe they were weak - i believe the pressure became too great and they imploded.

you're very strong, sweetie, even when feeling your weakest.  it takes both courage and strength to be vulnerable, to show your true you, which you continue to do even while being supportive of others.  love and a big hug to you, full of strength to keep going.

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Cygnus

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2018, 04:18:58 PM »
I don't know if this applies to you, but I know society thinks suffering makes people strong and they seem to admire people that have suffered as if they're wiser or better than those who haven't.  The truth is trauma is a horrible thing that ruins lives, and even if someone survives and is functional, they have to suffer with trauma symptoms which is not good at all.   People usually just repeat the beliefs they're taught by others.  The idea that people who suffer or are poor are 'better' than others is really a sick belief.  Those unfortunate enough to go through those things has a very hard life and it's not desirable at all.   People just go by what they see in movies instead of thinking for themselves.

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Blueberry

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2018, 07:29:25 PM »
I've been called strong a lot too, including in inpatient therapy. Other patients telling me they saw and felt that in me.

There's a certain strength in all of us probably that we get back on our feet and keep going multiple times, or just the very fact that we're still alive, we didn't give up. 

When people try to devalidate/unvalidate (??) me and my problems or even my diagnosis with the one sentence "but you're so strong" that really annoys me! but otherwise I'm OK with it.

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #5 on: April 03, 2018, 05:54:01 AM »
I've been thinking of what all of you said, and trying to review how my experiences organize these ideas.

Berry, I guess we really do get called this way sometimes, huh?

Cygnus, it's true there are some people that call people strong in trauma even if they really aren't. It reminds me of the term "inspiration" porn where people with disabilities are called inspiring just for being disabled, even when they didn't really do anything special. Some people just rely on stereotypes sometimes.

But your interpretation seems a bit too black and white. It depends on what you mean by "better". Someone can be better at music and be terrible at sports. There's no one who's better or worse at everything.Trauma makes people suffer, and I don't deny that it's deeply terrible (After all, I lived it myself), but I don't think it stops people from being wise even if it doesn't assure it.  That, or I wouldn't have benefited so much from many of the people here on this forum.

San and w.g, you two do have a point that it's not something worth measuring against perfection. Well, San, logic depends on how it reaches a goal based on how it decides things from the information it has. Some people have the closeminded logic where their goal is basically to keep the illusion that they can keep it together. My own logic's goal is the open minded one that focuses on happiness or at least I try to.

If I can't measure it, then I'll make it measurable. Not math level measurable. More like philosophical definition measurable.

It reminds me of the definition of resilience in a system. It's the ability to bounce back from setbacks. Key word setbacks. If there were no setbacks, and progress steadily rises on my imaginary magical graph, then you can't tell if the system is resilient or not. The fastest progressing system can entirely give up when a setback is there, while the slowest ones can still keep going all the way.

Objectively speaking, In other words, if I cry my guts out but keep going anyway, that's strength. It's a more advantageous definition since I'll never get to perfection anyway, and my goals have more to do with increasing inner character than external results, ideally. All this, so I'd get maximum happiness. 

It might not seem like it since I've gotten into my logical-zone mode, but I'm deeply touched.

Here's a  :grouphug: for all, and I promise I'm not dying of embarrassment from how nice all you people are. HAHAHA.

Okay, maybe I am. :whistling:



« Last Edit: April 03, 2018, 05:58:20 AM by DecimalRocket »

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Rainagain

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2018, 11:39:24 AM »
I get called strong, people have said they admire me or are proud to know me.

It doesn't make much sense to me when people speak like that, feels odd and uncomfortable.

My guess is that people with a little empathy who know about my life imagine themselves in my situation and it is beyond them to see how they could manage.

So they think I must be special because I manage, mostly.

What they don't realise is that if you have no choice but to manage its horribly easy, I didn't choose my situation out of bravery or because I could cope with trauma, I had trauma and had to get along with it somehow.

People assume I'm brave or strong, its not that at all, just doing the best you can in bad times.

My only top tip would be acceptance, I spent a lot of time fighting myself as I couldn't accept my situation, I mostly accept my situation these days which is easier somehow.

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Cygnus

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2018, 03:29:10 PM »
Quote
But your interpretation seems a bit too black and white. It depends on what you mean by "better". Someone can be better at music and be terrible at sports. There's no one who's better or worse at everything.Trauma makes people suffer, and I don't deny that it's deeply terrible (After all, I lived it myself), but I don't think it stops people from being wise even if it doesn't assure it.  That, or I wouldn't have benefited so much from many of the people here on this forum.
Sorry I don't understand.  I was just saying society glorifies suffering and people who suffer as strong or whatever because thats what they see in the movies.  Not trying to say anything fancy other than that.   :)

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ah

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2018, 08:32:06 PM »

Cygnus, it's true there are some people that call people strong in trauma even if they really aren't. It reminds me of the term "inspiration" porn where people with disabilities are called inspiring just for being disabled, even when they didn't really do anything special. Some people just rely on stereotypes sometimes.


 :yeahthat:

"Inspiration" porn annoys people with disabilities for the same reason being called "strong" annoys us, I bet. It turns you into a two dimentional trophy people can use to distance themselves from pain and pin it on you.
Or as people have said to me more than once, "I'm not good at pain. You're good at it." Might sound like a good thing to say on the surface, but the subtext is anything but because it implies your pain is something that defines you. Not something that happened to you but who and what you are. That you're different. Maybe that's the last thing people want to hear, that they're "other".

I bet hardship can soften us and make us kinder. The average person with any sort of disability or with cptsd would never dream of being as blunt around pain as the average happy - no - pain - just - now person. But there are also far better, gentler ways to accomplish kindness, ones that don't involve hurting anyone.
Trauma is probably no advised method for gaining anything. I have a hard time imagining an ethics committee approving an experiment where kids would be traumatized so we could quantify their wisdom later on in life.

Traumatized people can be weak too. Well, people can be anything. People are a mess, aren't we? Pain is no guarantee of anything. You're bound to be strong sometimes and weak other times.
Seems to me saying "you're strong" flattens people till their feelings and actions can become a punchline, and that's sort of insulting. It demeans people. It doesn't give pain enough credit. Resilience is important but not if we we forget that trauma is the worst pain imaginable and don't do enough to stop it and prevent it. Sounds invalidating to me.

Life is richer than that, so are people. And trauma is morally wrong, not ennobling or anything.
Anyway, it's how I feel. When I used to be told I was strong I cringed. Never made me feel good, rather like a cardboard figure stuck on a weird pedestal to calm down other people. But if I were just told "Oh no, that sounds really painful" it would have strengthened me. Calling me strong only weakened me.

Just my one cent.

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2018, 12:24:19 AM »
Hmm, you're right Rainagan in that there needs to be some acceptance around this.  :yes:

Oh, Cygnus, I wasn't trying to say you think this way. I was just adding to your insights. :) If I really misinterpreted you, sorry, I have some . . . trouble with understanding people's perspectives sometimes due to a condition, but I try.

I guess that is true, Ah. I agree that we're better off without trauma. Trauma breaks the best of us, and it really is something that needs to be wholeheartedly healed in society. I find it interesting how people tend to be divided between raising self esteem and acceptance. Some people, like you, emphasize acceptance around here.

I've had trouble with people who were too optimistic in a way too. Volunteer listeners who just met me and told me I can do all kinds of things. I never really benefit from encouragement in a way from people I barely know, but people who know me well while still seeing my flaws.

In a way, all of you are right. I have to recognize what I've done well even if it's far from perfect, and be able to accept when I'm feeling deeply weak. When I meant recognizing strength, I meant seeing the tiny instances of it without blindly believing it was something called "inspirational". It's not meant to raise our egos higher than it should be, but more for increasing expectations for what we can do as we progress and so we can make the right choices.

It's as two dimensional to be called entirely weak as it is two dimensional to call us entirely strong.

But there are also some things we can't change. Things we can never change, or at the very least, can't change now or quickly as we like it. That's where acceptance comes in, and I'm glad a few of you reminded me.

See you all.  :grouphug:
« Last Edit: April 04, 2018, 01:24:54 AM by DecimalRocket »

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sanmagic7

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2018, 04:26:49 PM »
reading these replies/responses gave me pause.  it seems that people identify differently with the idea of being strong people - some of it very negatively.  i also read that being called strong is invalidating to some, or that being traumatized or disabled in itself is the source of inspiration in some peoples' minds.

again, i've been called strong both here by many and in real life by many as well.  i know that i am a strong person, one of the strongest i know.  but, i don't see my strength as coming from the fact that i've been traumatized.  rather,  i see strength as being there in spite of being traumatized, being disabled, having to live in poverty, being a victim of racism, etc. etc. etc.

i don't hold trauma or disabilities as a source of strength, or as something to glorify.  rather, i see individuals, such as those people on this forum,  as having some type of strength that goes beyond the ordinary.  to me, posting here, sharing experiences, memories, thoughts, feelings, and allowing vulnerability to show is something out of the ordinary.  not everyone who has had terrible experiences in their lives look for help.

that, in itself, is extraordinary, to my way of thinking.  not that any of us is strong all the time, but we have all shown strength each time we post, ask a question, share a piece of ourselves to virtual strangers.  that's not ordinary - it is so much more. 

this is my own perspective, of course, and i don't ever mean to downplay what anyone feels, believes, or thinks about this.  we all have different histories, experiences, and dialogues pertaining to being called strong.  like what blueberry said she's been told - 'but you're so strong'.  that would annoy me, too.  it sounds like it has some kind of dismissal or expectation about it.

so, perhaps at times we've been called strong when we felt weak, or it didn't seem to fit with our perspective of what being 'strong' means.  but i've seen strength in every single person here - the strength to take a chance, to risk putting yourself out there even when afraid of what might be said about you or your feelings.  that takes some kind of inner strength that not everybody has.

i'm also not judging those who don't take the risk of posting here.  we all have different levels of strength.  for some, they're using all the strength they have just to put one foot in front of the other from day to day.  that doesn't mean they're less strong than others - we have no idea what horrors they may have gone thru to have struck them down so badly.  their ability to stay alive may be extraordinary.  hopefully, one day, something will change for them and their strength will allow them to reach another level. 

just my thoughts about this. 

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DecimalRocket

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Re: Why can those with Cptsd be sometimes called strong?
« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2018, 11:57:17 PM »
You put my view into words, San, and I'm glad you did.

Though, I'd like to highlight this in a cultural perspective. Western self help often focuses more on raising self esteem, while Eastern self help focuses more on acceptance. I remember in the book The Six Pillars of Self Esteem, the author focuses on the difference between self efficacy and self worth. Self efficacy is the belief in our ability to intervene into areas we want to change in our lives and act on them. Self worth is the belief that we're worthy of love and happiness. Following what I said, Western therapies focus more on the first and Eastern therapies focus on the second.

So people will vary on what type of view of "strength" they need. Though this is just speaking generally in a way that doesn't highlight each culture's individual people, Western culture has done more innovations in external action such as technology or in business. Eastern culture has created more innovations for the inner experience like in meditation or yoga. This is why the West tends to emphasize extroversion more, where their talk with people acts or learns from more from the world, the East tends to focus on introversion, where they learn how to change or know theirselves.

So it might be a question of which you need? Self efficacy or self worth? Confidence or acceptance? External or internal change? That, or maybe it's both.