Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?

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mercury

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Hi all. Just looking for a place to share, heal, and hopefully find my way through.

I'm feeling really lost at the moment and I'm not sure how to deal with re-traumatization. I'd be really open to any helpful material on people or solutions for people who have recovered after a childhood trauma and then an additional adult trauma.

I was sexually abused as a young child, starting very young to the point where it is one of my earliest memory. It was intermittent, but over an extended number of years.

I never told any figure of authority, parents, not even the therapist I had as a teenager for my severe depression. Only in my late teens did I first tell someone - my best friend.

After finishing college, I finally sought therapy and lucked out with a good therapist, it was a helpful relationship and I found her very helpful. I began to feel less intense self-loathing, and feel like I could have a good life or be a worthwhile human.

At around the time, I met my (spoiler!) late husband. It was, for a time, a good relationship. I began to believe that life would be good now, I was loved, and I could have nice things in my life, too! I loved him very intensely, he was very supportive, and we got married. Our circumstances were very difficult. I supported us financially while he studied, all the while also doing my own Masters, all the housework, cooking constantly, etc. I stayed in a job I hated to afford our lives.

Just as I reached the end of my 20s, my husband killed himself. He covered his tracks very well, but several months after his death I discovered that he had dropped out, wasn't studying, and had been making almost everything up for 6-12 months.

Having that trauma on top of my childhood trauma has completely broken me. I felt like, after the initial round of therapy, I could function because lightening didn't strike twice, I could have a good life, life was safe, I didn't need constant hyper-vigilance, I could trust people.

I'm currently in a new and loving relationship, very seriously, but my intense issues are causing serious issues between us. My primary symptoms are intense all-encompassing self-loathing and hatred of self; intense lack of trust in myself, the universe, and other people; and near total inability to cope with my emotions. I can't deal with any criticism, however minor, and fly completely off the handle because any criticism or any mistake I make "means" that I am correct in my intense self-loathing.

My health insurance kicks in juuuust now, so I am going to seek help - again. Is it even possible to trust that I will ever feel better or life will ever feel safe?  :fallingbricks:

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ah

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Re: Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2018, 04:56:00 PM »
Hi Mercury, welcome! :heythere:

The way I see it, maybe "safe" may be too good to be true. After all, life isn't totally safe. Neither are people. And our brain is so habituated to feeling unsafe so changing all that may be beyond our power. Maybe life feeling safer may be a huge goal in itself.

I was thinking as I read your post that maybe recovery is a lot like mercury. It has its ups and downs. Sometimes you're very triggered, other times it's easier. Sometimes things catch you by surprise despite your best efforts. It doesn't seem to go in a straight line.
Information really helps me. Reading about trauma and the brain.

And there are good people here who understand.
I'm so, so sorry you went through so much. No wonder you're feeling the way you are! I can relate to that very much. You're not alone.

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Kizzie

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Re: Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2018, 05:43:58 PM »
HI Mercury and a warm welcome to OOTS  :heythere:

So sorry to hear of all that you have gone through, that was a big loss you suffered in more ways than one and it is no wonder (to me) you are having issues.  Getting into therapy is great self-care though. That can go a long way toward helping you deal with your grief and anger, ignite some self-compassion for yourself and hopefully help you to begin to build some trust again. 

You did mention that your current relationship is a loving one - have you told your partner what you are dealing with? 

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Deep Blue

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Re: Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2018, 01:33:52 AM »
Hello mercury,
What you said really struck a chord with me.  I have lost 6 friends to suicide.  I canít even imagine how hard it must be to have lost a husband.  Thanks for sharing so honestly with us.  Welcome and I hope you find this a healing place.
- Deep Blue

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mercury

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Re: Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2018, 07:22:56 PM »
Hi all, and thank you for the kind words! Sorry for taking a while to reply. My new partner is loving and clearly WANTS to be supportive, but he's kind of out of his depth and really so am I. I don't know what to tell him to do to make things better for me, and it feels manipulative because I sometimes think that the only thing that would make me feel better would be like... a weeklong retreat where I am hugged constantly and told that I'm a good person and there's nothing fundamentally evil or poisonous about me. For 7 days continuously with no break, in the hope it breaks through the wall of self-loathing I've got going on.

ah, I'm going to try to take your comment to heart especially. Maybe aiming at feeling safer will be easier than aiming at feeling safe.

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cosmo79

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Re: Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?
« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2018, 02:50:52 AM »
Hi Mercury,

Just wanted to thank you for writing about the week-long retreat. I think so many of us need exactly that...and maybe for a month, or a year! I'm so sorry for everything you went through, and am glad you're with someone kind. I don't know if you've read anything by Peter Walker, but I found the chapter on relationships in his Complex PTSD book pretty helpful.

Thank you also to "ah" -- I agree that "safer" feels more realistic, and I never thought of saying that as a way of reassuring myself.

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cosmo79

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Re: Childhood trauma, tentative healing, adult trauma, where to next?
« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2018, 05:07:08 AM »
P.S. Mercury, I think you are a good person, for what that's worth.  :hug: