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Old 07-28-2019, 08:55 AM   #781
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I had an insight last week about why i always feel so sick with shame and dread the day after family/social/work functions that require extended interpersonal interactions with people who have not made my "safe" list.

I always spend the whole next day ruminating over my behavior and looking for shameful things that i did that might match up with the horrible feeling of having exposed myself.

In the past i have usually been able to identify some comment i made that seems thoughtless in retrospect and then i will connect all of my yucky feelings with that, and just shame myself for whatever i have identified as my own bad behavior.

Earlier this month, though, i spent a day feeling shamed about my behavior at an author event-- but, try as i might, i just could not find anything i had done that justified the shame.

Like, i had not spoken to anyone at all-- i just came in looking beautiful and sat listening respectfully, then waited in line to have my book signed and thanked the author for coming. Then i went home and i did not actually interact with anyone except the author and the lady next to me who asked my favorite of the author's titles. There was nothing at all in my own behavior that i could pin the yucky feelings to.

Last weekend the same thing happened. I had a very intense day at my dad's birthday, with four different traumatizers in the mix, and the next day i felt shame and regret and i still could not identify anything i had done that was at all problematic.

I have figured out that i am not feeling shame and regret, i am feeling exposure and vulnerability, and that these are not connected to my behavior.

Being around unsafe people makes me feel vulnerable and exposed, but i cannot function in the situation with those emotions at the surface, so i seal them up and push them down while the interaction is happening. The next day, when i am safely out of the situation, the feelings come to the surface to be felt and then i assign them a cause from my own behavior because i was raised to blame myself for everything.
Here's the rest of the story about my dad's birthday: I could not remember any bad behavior, but i could not remember going to bed, either.

I remembered my sister and i saying goodbye to the last of our cousins and then coming upstairs, where my mom was feeding the kids and my dad.

I remembered we sat down and ate with them and then moved to the couch.

Because i did not remember what happened after that, I convinced myself i must have then gotten blackout drunk and showed my ass, even though i had been extremely vigilant about drinking all day (bc at the last family beach house party my uncle publicly denounced my marriage over lunch and i DID get a little sideways, although not to the blackout or ass-showing level, just designated-driver level.)

I have been waiting two weeks for the lecture i was sure Mr. Jenny had been sitting on about my bad behavior, then...

Last night in the car she started laughing about the whole family falling asleep on the beach house sofa after dinner, how i barely woke up enough to move to the bedroom, and how she tried to wake me up by jiggling my boobs and my sister was like "i don't think that's going to do it."

Then the whole family went to bed!

Everything was just as innocent as could be (except the nonconsensual boob action), but i woke up before dawn the next day just sick with shame, and i laid there for three hours convinced that everyone was mad at me, i was on my way to an intervention and possibly inpatient treatment, and maybe would not be allowed to be around the kids anymore.
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Old 07-28-2019, 12:40 PM   #782
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PTSD, the gift that keeps in giving.

I'm looking at it as a gift because it is forcing me to take better care of the me inside, to make sure she feels safe.

We never know when it is going to kick in, blindside, trigger.

In the most unexpected moment, we can freeze, "over-react", jump, withdraw.
I can identify with this, Apocalipstic, because growing up in a day to day events of on-going abuse (emotional, physical, sexual etc) and experiencing sets of similar events over my lifetime has placed an incredible burden on me to develop the skills and language and boundaries/barriers to keep this type of abuse from having any place in my life. When I began therapy last year, it was the mass social acceptance on part of the majority of people in America that brought forth the placement of a perpetrator of epic magnitude to be elected to an executive office, that person clearly should not be in, nor should that type of culture be an acceptable culture in our American society, yet it is -- sadly. Once that perpetrator was elected to office, it sent me into massive panic attacks and spiraling into a full blown case of PTSD, which I only learned recently, is classified as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).



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One of the things that most helps me is the love of pets. They never question me, or tell me I should chill or that I am being ridiculous. They love me no matter what.

They know when I am upset. They lick my tears away.
This is absolutely my experience with pets too. For years now, I always wondered by dogs would lie down on top of my feet and schlick my feet to their hearts' content or why my cat Petunia intuitively knows I am cycling through a stressful event that affects me in deep physiological ways (escalated blood pressure, racing heart beats, cold sweat, migraines that impair my eyesight and ability to think, etc). Animals are so incredibly intuitive and they know more about our own physiological events, moreso than we do, I think.



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I am finding that there are people and things that trigger me, and to be able to fuction and go to work every day and do the things I need to do to take care of me, I have to avoid many of those things and people.

I want to please everyone, I do. I want everyone to know the truth, my truth, but most people can't handle it...they just look at me aghast if I am so inapropriate as to answer in truth to their prying questions...or they don't believe me, even if they were near and knew all along.

I think when they know they did nothing to help it makes it easier for them to sleep at night if they rewrite history for themselves.

Peace is fixing my vaccume cleaner on a Saturday alone with no loud noises, yelling, pressure. I never expected this.
I appreciate your personal experience which you have articulated in ways that I totally understand because it's nearly the same experience I have. Recently, about two weeks ago or so, my therapist asked why I basically had only a few close friends (of many years) that I could even talk to about such things. I explained to her that many of my close friends, outside my immediate family, never had an inkling of the type of things I have endured over my life time and that even when I gave a glimpse of the types of things I have endured, there were a couple of friends who could not even grasp the magnitude of having to live with acts of abuse or violence committed against me, by members of family or those whom I was in a relationship with in romantic type ways. I told my therapist that at appropriate times, with certain clients in my clientele (hairdressing), that there were times I could share a personal experience with them, so they'd know that I knew what it was like to be violated, abused, etc., and not have any way to extricate myself from them in immediate ways. In some cases, I could remove myself from those prior situations, but growing up, when you're the kid who is being violated, there wasn't a way or remedy to help me be removed from the on-going perpetual emotional, physical or sexual assault committed against me. But I can relate to your experience when you say that ''people look at you aghast as if I am so inappropriate as to answer in truth to their prying questions." My sister-in-law, when I first began to share about the long-held secrets of my immediate family abuses and misrepresentation of who my family is (because they do an awful lot of facework, keeping up their social face, so people won't know about their dreadful secretive, ghastly, behavioral issues which they keep well hidden from public view) could not believe my family was capable of such egregious behavior. In fact, for the longest time, I could tell she would never be able to grasp the depth of abuse I've endured by the types of comments she'd have in response to what I would share with her. The past two years she has demonstrated to me that she better understands what I've been through, but at the same time, in my own opinion, I feel that people who have never endured traumatic experiences of any magnitude have a really hard time understanding how such things can even happen. In my sister-in-laws case, her inability to grasp the level of abuse I've endured was not entirely out of sheer ignorance, but sort of like what some people do when they hear about such things -- turn a blind eye on what they hear or see? I'm grateful that my sister-in-law has the capacity to learn and accept what has happened to me, but as a survivor I can't help but think of all the emotional burdens survivors of abuse carry by not only trying to make sure these types of situations or events of abuse are not kept from public knowledge but also so we can not be held prisoner by the events themselves.

I hate it that as survivors, we end up with more emotional types of labor to endure (sharing our accounts with those in our lives) and yet for all the ways we disclose our lives in support groups or with therapists, perpetrators still never pay the price for what they've done to us.



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One more thing.

My therapist told me that predators can tell if a person has a past of abuse and they are drawn to us.

Stay safe.
I agree with this, completely, due to my own life long experiences. I recently told my therapist that I feel like there's some invisible target on my back that is some sign to perpetrators, abusers or any type, where they seek us out and are drawn toward us. In fact, I'm grateful for that 'moth to flame' type of effect because once that begins to happen, I can shore up my boundaries to keep people of that type of disturbing mentality and behavioral issues from having any place in my life.

Thanks for all your posts, Apocalipstic…. naming and sharing about experiences helps survivors in so many ways.
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Old 07-28-2019, 01:49 PM   #783
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I have a difficult time and am very careful about sharing anything about the abuse I've been through with anyone outside of therapy because of the way some of the things I've shared in the past have boomeranged back around to hurt me. For example I once had someone I'd confided in about some of the abuse I experienced as a child later in anger say to me – I wish he (my abuser) had gotten you in the ass! Another time someone I was living with flew into a rage and asked why was I telling them about things that had occurred in my past did I want to provoke them, make them angry, was I trying to get her to kill my abuser? No? Then why was I telling her this shit! She went off about how she was sick and tired of being with women who'd been abused because she felt like she was constantly being punished, made to suffer for someone else's sins. Then she stomped off angry to go who knows where, to do who knows what, only to return late that evening without saying anything. She never explained her behavior and certainly never apologized for her outburst. I felt completely abandoned when she left me to just sort through it, work it out on my own. It also felt like a major mind f**k because she was the one who told me I could tell her anything about my past and she wouldn't shame me, judge me, hold it against me, use it to hurt me like that male partner of mine had. Yet she did.
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Old 07-28-2019, 03:43 PM   #784
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I have a difficult time and am very careful about sharing anything about the abuse I've been through with anyone outside of therapy because of the way some of the things I've shared in the past have boomeranged back around to hurt me. For example I once had someone I'd confided in about some of the abuse I experienced as a child later in anger say to me – I wish he (my abuser) had gotten you in the ass! Another time someone I was living with flew into a rage and asked why was I telling them about things that had occurred in my past did I want to provoke them, make them angry, was I trying to get her to kill my abuser? No? Then why was I telling her this shit! She went off about how she was sick and tired of being with women who'd been abused because she felt like she was constantly being punished, made to suffer for someone else's sins. Then she stomped off angry to go who knows where, to do who knows what, only to return late that evening without saying anything. She never explained her behavior and certainly never apologized for her outburst. I felt completely abandoned when she left me to just sort through it, work it out on my own. It also felt like a major mind f**k because she was the one who told me I could tell her anything about my past and she wouldn't shame me, judge me, hold it against me, use it to hurt me like that male partner of mine had. Yet she did.
My first butch lesbian partner did the exact same thing, the mind-f*ck thing you describe, where they persuade you to believe that you can tell them anything and they won't use it in controlling ways by shaming you or blame you when you're the victim, etc. I've actually seen that type of control pattern among the abusers who've had access to my life. So, now a days, when I hear someone say something like that, it's like a giant red flag about the person who makes that claim because in my own opinion, based on past experiences, to me? When someone says that? It's like they want you to believe they'd never do that, then they do exactly what they say they won't do, which to me, is like gas-lighting or as you aptly describe it -- the 'mind-f*ck'. They want you to think and believe that they own some modicum or shred of compassion. But, it's never been my experience that any abuser or perpetrator has any ounce of conviction about what they do or say (a form of narcissism, maybe?); like it's their favorite line to parrot, hoping you won't see them for who they really are or catch on to how manipulative they are or their level of secretivity, yanno?

Because to me, that's how abusers are: They are masters of control. It's like a perverse sickness, if you ask me. You mention that your abuser was male; but abusers/perpetrators in my past were both male and/or female.


It hurts, suffering through something like this, what you went through.

I read your other post, where you said you got booted from therapy. Hopefully you will find a competent therapist you can see on a regular basis, outside the quarterly visits you have with your psychiatrist. My insurance at work does not pay a cent toward mental health services at all, so the burden of paying for services to see a therapist is on me. Luckily, my primary physician referred to me a teaching clinic, which is licensed by the Board of Psychology and Practical Medicine Boards. I make a small payment every week, and I'm grateful I can afford the small payment I incur weekly. I also have to pay for parking because they don't have free parking.

I am keeping my fingers crossed for you as move forward in your recovery.

--K.
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Old 07-29-2019, 09:35 PM   #785
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Thanks. I've experienced abuse at the hands of both men and women too. None of it felt good but I found the abuse handed down by women especially painful, more so than what I experienced with men, even when the abuse wasn't as intense. As much work as I've done in therapy over the years I still don't understand, fully get why that is.
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Old 08-10-2019, 01:42 PM   #786
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My son and I went out and over breakfast had a good talk. He has the same concerns I do about the apartment J and I looked at but even so thinks I should move if I'm approved. As he pointed out every place has it's pros and cons but we're not talking amenities, interior design, just being picky. We're talking basic safety.

I don't know I don't feel scared being here. I mean I left home for good three days after turning fifteen and compared to the places I stayed back then, oh this is a cake walk, complete and total joy, gun fire and all. However no this is not a place I want any grandchild of mine to ever be exposed to.

I once had a therapist tell me I should ask myself - Is this something I would want for my children, anyone else I love and care about? And if the answer is no then I shouldn't find it acceptable for me either. I should be just as protective of myself as I am of others.

Fact is often times I worry more about the well being, health and safety of strangers than I worry about the well being, health and safety of me. Most of my life I've just felt young and strong and invincible. It's only now in my mid 50's I'm starting to think Hmm... maybe not so much.

And even more depressing it's only going to keep getting worse. Well unless I have much better luck than Ponce de Leon did in finding that fountain of youth. Instead I'm finding out the worst thing about getting older isn't as I thought growing uglier, it's going to be not being able to run faster.
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