Awareness Can Be a Long Process

Original post date: May 24, 2014
This is another post originally from Safire Falcon.  It was even longer than what I’ve posted here. The second half includes a POV of co-dependence that I’m not completely sure of now. So I didn’t include it. I may edit and include it later. But for now, no. It’s interesting what you can learn about yourself when you go back to old writings. It can be discouraging too when it looks like there’s been stagnancy or even regression.  I did edit what I’ve posted here a little, but not much. I didn’t make any notes on where I edited either.

Awareness is still coming in like a process. I spent a lot of my life ‘asleep’ so awareness has been a bitter pill. But as bitter as it is, not knowing…not being aware of all the bullshit makes me what I used to call ‘stupidly happy.’

The absence of awareness makes any happy I felt non-existent(?) cancelled out. I was played…whether it was intentional or not. And when I say that, I mean whether the person was self aware of their own sickness or not.

I think of my sister when I say that because she is narcissistic in a big way. And I don’t mean in a healthy way. So although she has abused and hurt me I don’t think she has done it with the intention to set out to hurt me. It has everything to do with her having the need to avoid pain. She is very much about winning her arguments, being right and proving that her issues with me are bigger than anything I may feel. And if it means hurting me to accomplish it then so be it. I then become just a pesky obstacle to overcome, manipulate or push out of the way in such circumstances.

She feels justified in pointing her finger, blaming me and to sound all therapist-y, has no problem using “You” statements rather than “I feel” statements.

When it came to ‘romantic’ relationships, most of the time there was an issue or problem, I would try to rationalize any problem in any relationship to be all me. Even if at first in my anger I would blame the other. I’d be the one hanging her head in shame and guilt after it was pointed out to me how irrational I was being. And then I’d take all responsibility.

And just like the ruminations I’d have about my sister, those situations would come up in my head later and I’d ruminate about what I ‘should’ve’ said. What I’d so wished I’d said. Tense and so angry because this…thing…argument, was never resolved.

I’m sure all that owning up and taking the whole blame and feeling so much shame is a form of denial as well as confusion as to what is theirs and what is mine. Although I was conditioned this way, I still see a form of denial in this. Some of the issues would’ve been deal breakers if I’d had my self-esteem about me. But the denial allowed me to stay. It was better than being lonely and in pain.

I find myself thinking about what my sister might say in certain situations being the narcissist I believe her to be, and what I would say in finally sticking up for myself, no more tail between my legs. As well as still wish I could have redoes in many other situations.

A fellow blogger asked me in a comment recently:

“I can’t honestly say that I would rather be where I was, than where I am now. What do you think and feel about that? Comparatively?”

I made one comment saying that I wonder if my anger will ever go away while in the next comment saying that I don’t feel so angry anymore. Yeah, just a bit contradictory dontcha think?

I had to go back and ask myself about that contradiction. I think the first comment was just me speaking from how I’d been feeling that last week or two. Because to be honest I am not over it. I’m not done and I don’t think it’s that easy. I jumped to a response without really FEELING what my emotions really were/are.

So to comment here now on that question she asked me, I will say that I would much rather be aware than be foolishly in the dark. “Ignorance is bliss,” is a saying we’re all aware of but I don’t believe it’s true. We may THINK we’re blissful without knowing, realizing or understanding that someone is trashing us, lying about us, manipulating us.

But isn’t it a better and more empowering feeling to be able to CHOOSE whether we continue to include such a person in our lives with that kind of information as part of the decision making process?

I certainly think it’s better to know the truth…even if it hurts…to know the reality of what that person is doing…is capable of doing. If such people exist, it’s a matter of keeping yourself safe from them. I mean if someone was treating your child like that wouldn’t you prefer to keep them away from such a nasty human?

There is relief from being away from my family now. Thing is when I feel the relief of being away from them, the anger in moments and days can subside so much I don’t even remember that I’m still going through the anger.

If I’m by myself, alone, minding my own business, enjoying whatever I’m doing, there’s nothing to react to, right?

But mere moments later someone could say something, even if it’s something innocent, not intentionally or maliciously meant to push any buttons, and BAM! There I am getting angry, irritated, annoyed, frustrated and then finally confused. What the hell happened there?

Have you heard of Emotional Flashbacks?

Displaced anger happens within these emotional flashbacks.  I go through different points, where I am able to separate myself more in a way that my anger isn’t being taken out so much in situations where it doesn’t belong. But other times, not so much. And then I’m reminded to be careful not to have such a false sense of security. Meaning, “don’t be telling people I’m over it” when there is no possible way it can happen that fast.

I try to keep in mind that my anger and ruminating at their narcissistic behavior and lack of empathy is not hurting them. It’s not changing them. I’m not sending messages through osmosis about my side of it all and how I was hurt.

Intense anger over those things are only hurting me. Sometimes (not always) I can change the energy of the anger with a thought,  “There is no way I will allow this emotion to eat ME up because YOU are the douche bag who doesn’t give a fuck about me.”

And I continue, “You are not more important than me. I don’t care that you think you are in the right by thinking I am the selfish one. I don’t care that you are so self-righteous that when you say that I’m the one so messed up with my head up my ass, that you are so blind to how fucked up YOU really are. And that you can’t even see yourself when you are pointing that crooked finger at me. Look in the mirror and while you’re at it, look how many fingers point back as you point that one out at me.”

Obviously I DO care otherwise I would not be angry. But…

I take comfort in the fact that I am the one with the awareness. I am the one learning where my actual responsibility lies, not where some disordered other perceives it to be.

It’s those moments that I feel stronger in my anger, rather than out of control. The anger isn’t quite as mixed with fear of them anymore. I’ve had time to step back and see the situation for what it is, and these people for who they are.

That being said, I know there’s probably plenty more that I’m not seeing, that is still shrouded. But as I’ve said previously, it’s a process. Even if I had come from a healthy background life would still be a learning process, right?

I now have though the space to think about what I can do to take care of myself if I ever find myself in their presence again. Anxiety certainly creeps in there too, when I think about this. But some days/moments there’s a determination at the same time that comes out of the anger.

Disappointment is also part of the equation. The absence of a family foundation is very disappointing, especially when I’ve been walking around blind to my actual role in the dynamic. However it clears up a lot of the mind-fuck, head spinning confusion I was dealing with. Knowing the truth, SEEING the truth clicks on a bright light bulb in my head.

It sucks yeah. But there’s the reality, which has clarified so much of that disarray. It’s been one long continuous sigh of relief, that can also cause forgetfulness of how I once felt and even how I still feel at certain moments.

It’s always more productive to work within reality and know what you’re dealing with than to continue spinning wheels in fantasy.

Anxiety is a nasty part of the equation to which is something I’ve not always been aware of, thinking it wasn’t a problem for me. But that was wrong. Again, it’s something I was just unaware of, despite being able to look back and see my behaviors that indicated it and situations that brought it out of me.

I cannot change my own past behaviors and go back and ‘fight back’, letting them all know they cannot and will not walk all over me. I do resent myself, in that if I’d insisted on the respect, stuck up for myself, I would’ve felt so much better about myself, therefore manifesting that outward in my treatment of others, choices I made and even the intensity of the emotions I felt.

But I think that being said, I could get into a chicken and egg kind of cycle. I was groomed, ‘beaten down’ with abuse as a small child, into adolescence. My brain was forming all kinds of things at that time. It normalized things that shouldn’t be. It formed pathways to lack of self confidence and I was stripped of self esteem. My brain took to a shape that gave me the beliefs of not being good enough, worthy and that everything about me is wrong.

Over the last decade I have slowly become more mindful of my treatment of others. There were times I have been snotty and even nasty believing that if I show my displeasure I could get what I needed, whatever that was and whatever the situation called for. I was being narcissistic. And I could feel the chaos in my mind, the agitation, the impatience toward myself as well as the other.

I find that my anger is more toward myself than toward them in those situations and I’ve done lots of misdirecting. Something I catch myself at and apologize for, when I do.

That behavior may also come from the dissatisfaction I’ve felt about my life. I believe this is also a result of childhood trauma. Making clear and concise decisions about my direction in life and my future, were severely impaired.

I did not have someone who steered me in any sort of direction. I had no one to reel in the reins and I was neglected in many ways. I played alone a lot as a child, I remember. In high school my parents were completely uninvolved in what I was doing in school. And I was able to get away with dating a man 7 years older than me when I was 13 and then when I was 16, I ‘dated’ a man the same age as my own mother.

I wouldn’t call that dating, but used the word for the sake of simplicity.

At 18 I began to binge drink and worked only part time. College was discouraging for the short time I attended because as I said, I had no direction and had NO idea what I wanted to do with my life. So at that time I saw no reason to stay in school. And I had no parent speak to me about this decision. I had no support and I was left to feel my own way through despite not having been prepared to do so.

It all led to a chronic anger because I was not able to express a healthy anger. And by the time I’d reached young adulthood, I certainly didn’t even know that’s what I was feeling to induce such behavior. In fact I didn’t even know when to be angry sometimes. For example, I wasn’t hip to when someone was being disrespectful. Boundaries weren’t exactly something shown to me, given me or taught that I even had the right to.

Anger doesn’t feel good, especially when it’s chronic. Chronic embedded anger is different I think than healthy anger. Chronic anger seeps into every part of your life. It destroys relationships, it diminishes chances at having healthy relationships, including with the self. It eats away at the body and brain. It keeps blame right on top, even if it’s justified blame. Chronic anger keeps one in a state of not being able to move forward, feeling that someone else needs to make up for it. An apology is owed. Closure cannot be found from within.

But unfortunately, people like narcissists or other disordered individuals won’t come forth with apologies and validation. So working through it alone is a must if I want to move forward, despite the difficult.

Validation and acknowledgement and even approval is a healthy human need. But the need for those things can run over to the point of becoming pathological, meaning it creates codependence and people pleasing.This can obviously become detrimental and put a codependent in dangerous situations.

This happened to me. My family situation and their treatment of me while my father was dying is a perfect example of how detrimental it can be. I cared more about how they felt in general and what they thought of me more than I did about my own feelings pertaining to the situation.

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Complex PTSD is an isolating, severe, exhausting disorder ~ Lilly Hope Lucario

This is such an accurate and articulate description of the way I’ve been feeling in the last three years.

The update is hopeful. The issue for me though, seems to be that there are no specialized therapists available in my area who are covered under public assistance.

Without an income I’m on my own and that scares me.

Even attempting to reapply for disability seems daunting and scary.

Last time I had a lawyer that showed up two minutes before my hearing, giving us no time to discuss anything and then blamed me for not doing well/saying the right things in the hearing.

Other attempts have been met with feeling like I wasn’t taken seriously. I think I struggle with telling people exactly how this feels and why I can’t work, so they don’t take me seriously.

Healing From Complex Trauma & PTSD/CPTSD

shaming

Complex PTSD is a very isolating, exhausting and devastating severe illness.
The psychiatric equivalent of cancer.
It affects every part of your life, magnifying every problem intensely and affecting daily function.
PTSD is a very severe, but normal reaction to severe abnormal trauma.

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Catching Up With Myself: A Short Bio

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I have been struggling, the last few days, whether to continue writing my story or not. I almost voted for “not” but have somewhat changed my mind.

I won’t go into the reasons here. There are too many other details. Just that I would also like to do something with two other blogs I started as well. So in doing that, some editing, rearranging and changing is needed.

Edit Friday 10/27/17: At this point I don’t remember the details I refer to. I guess it doesn’t really matter. What matters is now and what’s going on for me. This is marked private right now but I’m putting back on public so I feel the need to edit and add some stuff.

The other day in therapy, it came to light that I am in a crisis. I am still very much going through a lot of the shit that is trauma and PTSD. So this explains a lot of the struggle I have with organizing my thoughts and going back and forth to the fence. Wanting to start other blogs to reorganize and to blog about other topics. I know that I still want that. And it will come eventually. It’s overwhelming because I’ve started many others also on what I wanted to be spin off topics…which are in the realm of healing. The things I want to refer to in my healing are online and so I need to have a place to hold onto them other than book marks because that is not organized at all. And if I lose the lap top then the book marks are gone.  I procrastinate though. All part of trauma. Eventually these kinds of posts, the ones that refer to my ambiguity on writing on this topic and wanting to blog about other things on other blogs ends. The fact that I fight myself so much is also telling. Self-doubt.  

One change is that I’m posting my long hidden ABOUT page here…as a post.

Below you’ll find what I wrote for the ABOUT page:

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I am a “middle-aged” (if I live to be 100), single woman, with what I now know to be Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Also diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, GAD and major depression. Those came from one therapist and another therapist dx’d me with dysthemia.

I am dependent on a man who is a slave to his job. If not for him I would be homeless.

Healthy relationships have always eluded me. (In reality I know it is I that has eluded them.) This is part of my emotional issues, which resulted from a toxic environment as I grew up.

I became aware of difficulties with my emotions when I was 18 while in a relationship with my first age appropriate boyfriend. I have been in and out of therapy since I was twenty and hospitalized twice for depression in my early and mid-twenties. I had taken a variety of anti-depressants at different times, none of which worked for very long, if at all.

I have never attempted suicide but have felt that death would be better than life in my deepest, darkest, depths of depression. I have used alcohol, pot, sex and the company of others, as coping and escape mechanisms. I also used to sit in my bedroom in times of intense distress, writing or watching TV and chain smoking cigarettes.

Back then…in my 20s and even through my 30s, I was led to believe what I had was depression and nothing more. Not to belittle depression as a diagnosis. Not at all. Because I know the darkness, depression involves. There’s nothing small about it and not only a dark place, but also a scary and lonely place to be.

But the reality was  that it was (and remains) depression plus…Plus post traumatic stress disorder.Plus borderline symptoms. Plus anxiety.

I was already showing many symptoms, but there was no one to inform me of this, let alone to help me heal from it. Now that I know what I know, I feel as though I slipped through the cracks when I was young.

When the symptoms began to really surface in my late teens and early 20s and I was realizing something was seriously wrong, I began to distance myself from my family in general, which included my sister in particular.

Little did I know the chasm that was already there, because I just did not have the deep awareness of what was going on. The toxic dynamic of my family was my normal, although I also knew it wasn’t normal…or more accurately, I knew it wasn’t healthy…despite not always having the words to express that knowledge or the ability to put my finger on it.

I knew because of the way I felt much of the time around my family and particularly my father, because of his immature behavior and unpredictable moods. My father is the main culprit in causing my emotional issues and was the one whom we all walked on egg shells around as we kids grew up. There is so much more to tell here but much of it deserves and even requires their own posts. Lest this one be so much longer than it already is.

So for now, let me get back to my sister. She and I were close when we were young children, although we were almost six years apart. (I am the oldest of three, with a brother in the middle.) Once the depression and anger hit me, my sister and I grew apart quickly.

Looking back now, I realize the depression and other symptoms had manifested themselves in other ways long before I was even aware of what depression really is and I certainly never even entertained the possible diagnosis of PTSD, since I had no idea that you could acquire that via abuse and being bullied at home, school and in your own neighborhood.

Lots of kids went through being teased, bullied and even beat up. It was just part of some children’s childhoods…it’s just the way it was. And you grew up, went on with your life, made a living and you just grew out of all that shit. Besides, I figured, so many kids had it worse than I did

That’s how I thought about it and when that didn’t happen for me, I blamed myself for not being able to be as tough as some other kids. Why couldn’t I just suck it up and stop feeling like I was trapped, like I didn’t belong (or fit in) anywhere and like I stuck out like a sore thumb?

When I started therapy back in those early days of my late teens and early 20s, and spent time in the hospital, I don’t even remember being told of a diagnosis. I remember hearing and using the word ‘depression’ and I remember getting and filling prescriptions for pharmaceuticals for it.

I do know and remember though, that when all the symptoms began and while I was in therapy and in the hospital, I never heard the words ‘post traumatic stress’ in context with my diagnosis or me at all. I didn’t hear those words until I started therapy after a particularly nasty break up in 2011/2012 with someone I would call an over-lapper.

An over-lapper though, is someone who needs to hook another person into a relationship with them before they can leave the one they are currently in. (I’ve been one myself too by the way.)

I admit it was an affair, since he was still married. But according to him things were bad and he was planning to divorce. That’s a story worth it’s own blog, (not post… blog) but I will perhaps go into it here, because having extra-marital affairs, (although something that is very much judged, tends to turn into a ‘burning at the stake’ and only blamed on the woman, which is utter bullshit) is a symptom of some real emotional issues and a toxic background.

Understand though, that I am not justifying it. I had a tough time with it. I fought with myself all the time. He may have been a narcissist. He was certainly narcissistic and I think, after reading about it in In Sheep’s Clothing I think he is also what Dr. George Simon refers to as a “Covert Aggressor.”

In addition, I was seriously addicted to him. It truly was a chemical addiction. If you’ve never heard of this, you can find out more in a book called, How to Break Your Addiction to a Person.

A probable cause for this and my very real arrested development, is that my direction in how to do life was non-existent when it was needed…in childhood, adolescence and my young adulthood.

I never finished college. I’ve gone to trade school at three different times for three different things and graduated, but then didn’t do much with those diplomas. I have had a series of jobs, none of which I’ve ever felt settled in.

Even as a pet-sitter I was miserable, especially during the busy times of year, like the Winter holidays and certain times during the summer. I would find myself so run-down from so much work, it would cause fatigue and a major depression.

So to call myself by a job title and actually identify with it, nothing has ever really resonated.

Unfortunately, I have always thought of and grew up believing that a person’s job/career is a major part of identity. So that’s been really difficult for me and moving around from job to job has made me feel as though I was always trying to find myself.

Speaking of identity, I don’t really know who I am. And since I grew up feeling like someone’s career is a big part of identity, I’ve been lost for all of my adult life.  So in addition, being so emotionally abused by my father as a child and emotionally neglected by both parents, I never had a chance to form much of an identity.

The dynamic in my family and the toxicity it bred, along with my temperament, set me up to be the scapegoat of the family. I’m not sure which one of my siblings is the golden child. My brother is pretty admired by my mother (last I knew) for his accomplishments, but as kids my brother and I used to actually joke that my sister was the favorite of my mother.

My father became ill about a year after the end of the aforementioned affair and I still wasn’t fully recovered from the break up. I was apprehensive about getting involved in helping out with my father’s care because of some fairly recent blow ups and blow outs as a result of an email I sent to each of my family members.  So I had fears of being around my siblings, figuring certain things would be brought up and used against me.  I also felt uncomfortable about being around my father in such an intimate manner as the email was about his past behavior and my feelings about that. (I also mention this in the ABOUT page in this blog. (To be posted)

I knew there would be a humongous elephant in my father’s apartment whenever I was around.

Having no car at the time, I tried to manipulate my way out of it with silence. But then their manipulations and guilt trips began along with the same ultimatum from three family members: mother, sister, brother.

I eventually did give in to their manipulations and the situation was a nightmare, becoming a secondary trauma. And I am still struggling with the trauma their behavior caused me. It’s frustrating.

I have already talked about this and I am sorry to repeat it. This is something I originally wrote on March 17, 2016.

It’s so sad to think that my parents, my family didn’t like me. Perhaps didn’t love me either despite my being told they do/did.

It’s difficult to accept. Since it keeps coming up and I still think about it, still get angry about it, I know I have not fully accepted it. I can actually physically feel the block sometimes to the acceptance of it. Actions do speak much louder than any words. People who love you don’t repeatedly abuse, hurt, manipulate, triangulate and gaslight you. They just don’t.

But when you grow up being slammed with messages that you’re less than, that you’re not worthy of being loved and you’re not all that intelligent, you grow up to think something is wrong with you, that you deserve all that adverse treatment. At least I believed it.

There’s no self love and I don’t think I’ve ever really even liked myself.

Here’s the link to my About page.