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    Community Voices

    Progress, parental volatility and neglect/isolation as trauma

    Hello. I wanted to post some more thoughts today.

    I was out walking around today and noticed things had changed a bit already. I think it is because I have been coming on here and talking about my past along with the flashback I had. It wasn't really clear to me before that I had never talked about these things so frankly to others who may have experienced similar. Basically, I had only really told friends who hadnt had the same intensity of issues or my ex who was just a blackhole for my emotions to get sucked into.

    It was apparent to me that my deep hatred for what my ex had done to me eased and was replaced with some level of human sympathy. Although I'm still not interested in talking to her, I feel less distraught when thinking about what happened between us. I feel like I am sensing slightly more of my surroundings, like the smell of a particular food near my apartment that I had not noticed before. Another thing that happened is that I could sense more clearly why I had my flashback and it had to do with fears of failure from earlier in my life.

    I had time to think about this fear of failure and realized a lot of it came from particular experiences in my childhood. My mother was a very cruel disciplinarian and often shouted things at me when I failed. At times she would call my a copout who would get nothing done in life with my attitude and that I was headed for failure. I realized the experience of an adult shouting this at me in anger during weak moments of my life took a heavy toll. The intense isolation she imposed on my childhood combined with over a decade of this kind of treatment was likely my initial trauma.

    Thinking about these sorts of ways she treated me makes me realize how diseased her mind really was and is. She stored up all of her discontent with herself and all of her anger, then poured it over me in a wild attempt to "help me". Of course, if she couldn't even come close to helping herself how was she ever going to help me? I began to grow and triage the moment I stopped living with her, and to this day believe that it was the best decision of my life. Thank God that my parents divorced when they did or else I would have lived with her longer.

    It has become apparent to me that I am unsustainably asocial. I spent an enormous amount of time during my formative years alone. When I think back to it, it seems like this endless expanse of isolation. My mother isolated me socially when I was younger due to the chaos of her own mind and her selfishness. Then I spent a long time outside of formal education due to my emotional volatility caused by this. Overall, I was never socialized like most people and spent huge spans of time by myself, thinking.

    To this day it's hard for me to socialize, although I am an empathetic person. Probably too empathetic, and this causes me to be easily used by others. I think being used and abused by my ex was a grievous rewounding that spurred on my recent seemingly PTSD stress responses. It's not a totally bad thing in some sense because now I at least know for sure that something is wrong in my head. However, I just wish it weren't so hard for me to connect with others at this point as it is really holding me back.

    I believe that the isolation of my youth may have been my greatest trauma. Even with how horribly my mom treated me emotionally and at times physically, this devouring void of loneliness and despair seems the most frightening for me to think about. I had more of these flashbacks when my abusive ex and I broke up, and I realized then that there was some kind of trauma in me from being alone. I could feel this creeping, cold fear toward being alone again. When I was young and removed from education I had no one to rely on emotionally. My brother had his own life and my father was simply too calloused from his own trauma. This experience of being totally and absolutely alone, no friends or romantic interests or people to make mistakes along seriously harmed my mind, I think.

    When I think back to this isolation I experienced first with my mom and then essentially with no one, it feels like I'm looking deep into an endless void. It's possible that my mind blocks out the memories of my thoughts and feelings from that time because they are too grim and stressful. I spent all day reading when I could, and the rest of the time I was probably disassociating. Who knows what kind of strange stress hormones and bodily chemicals were coursing through my veins due to this unnatural isolation. My life was like that so long that it was a miracle when I one day got me high school equivalence education and moved on from there some time in my twenties.

    It sounds weird when I put it like that, trauma from isolation. I guess it makes me wonder how someone can even be traumatized by this when usually people have trauma from violence or more direct things like that. However, I really do think it's true. Maybe it is just an unusual way to become traumatized because humans are so social. I was not and still am not that social, though. When I think about my chronic isolation from others, that even includes my adult life, it makes me sad and shameful. It always feels like other people find socializing to be the most natural thing in the world.

    Chronic isolation does something terrible to the mind. Although I have online friends and such these days, I always prefer to recede into my own head. People stress me out and I often don't have a filter or become very tired from physical excitement when around others. I think for a long time my mind blocked out how stressful other people are to me, and I can sense this more clearly these days. Spending so much time by myself and most likely being neglected as a child caused me to get locked up in my own head at all times, which does not seem to have gone away in my adulthood.

    I can't ever seem to stick to the same group of friends or social circle for a long time. Really, I have only had one semi-persistent social circle between my teenage years and adulthood. I never thought about it before, but this is probably a symptom of my mistreatment. It just tends to happen for some reason or another, I become established among some group of people and accepted. Then I find a reason to disconnect from them and delete my social progress. My ex who probably has CPTSD did this in even more extreme ways, but I realize now that it has defined my social life, too.

    It's very likely that these wild swings between isolated neglect and intense emotions that my mother (and father to a far lesser extent) put me through damaged my ability to interpret social reality. I am very sensitive to the emotions of others likely as a survival mechanism to interpret the chaotic emotions of my mother. It is also very likely that these cruel emotions she hit me with as a child extended into my infancy, and I often wonder if this was where her abuse of me began. If that were the case, it would make even more sense how I ended up this way. Of course, I can't remember these things and only have suspicions.

    I really wish I weren't like this and I have to say that I daydream at times about getting emotional revenge on my family. My brother is the only one who tried to protect me from things, although my father tried to make it up to me later in life as well. I don't think that I love my mother and I don't accept most of my extended family as family. I was clearly abused by a narcissistic monster as a child and almost no one did anything about it.

    Although I am glad that I have progressed emotionally as much as I have, I realize that I have been barely holding on for years. It's dangerous for me when the pressure grows as I seek out abusive familiarity or abuse my own body to fill any effort gap. It's simply unsustainable and I need to find a better path forward.

    Thanks and have a good day.

    #PTSD #CPTSD #Abuse #EmotionalAbuse #Trauma #ChildhoodAbuse

    6 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Undertaking reassessment for aspergers at 23

    So my therapist thinks I have aspergers and the more I look at my difficulties the more I think I've been misdiagnosed. I tried to reach out to my parents but they are no help, in supporting me through this or helping me getting re assessed. They have other bigger problems to deal with.

    So i am alone again, like i was during the first diagnosed when I was 11. They never have advocated for me, the school system failed me, tests costs too much for us to afford. It was such a struggle and my parents opted out the big test and I got my adhd diagnoses from my peidetrition and was put on Adderall.

    I feel lost, like I've been pretending. I don't really know who I am. I am a creative accentric person who loves making new world up in my head, writing, drawing and ect... but I am unable to be any of this becouse of my fears of normality.

    I need to get reassessed, I don't have any support, I am alone. I just want to accept myself and have society give me the support I deserve. How? #Aspergers #ADHD #Autism #Depression #Assessment #help #neglect

    3 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Can't Be Happy With My Family

    Woke up again to another emotional flashback and having to walk around the house for a while to calm. Now back in bed going through my emotional and mental states. I came to the realization that I cannot be happy with my family.
    It's one of those realizations that you know on logical and intuitive levels but it takes time to really understand on a level of deep understanding.

    I can't be happy with my family. I love them. I can have good times with them. They drive me to bad mental and emotional states. Like normal relationships. But I cannot be happy with them.

    None of them have come to terms with their abuse and neglect at my parents hands. And they especially haven't come close to coming to terms with the abuse and neglect they enacted against me. And now that I'm understanding all this. Becoming my authentic self. Healing. Finding out what it means to be happy. Being abused and neglected since I was an infant, I never knew what happiness is. If I got close, I got scared and retreated from it. My relationship to them has changed.

    My family, still being as disunctional as they are. Not understanding their own conditions. Do not understand in the slightest where I am and what I am. I'm finding happiness in being myself. And they have no understanding of this. Lying here meditating on this, I've come to realize that I will never be happy with them. Because they can't be happy with me. They will never know the true me. I can never share my authentic self with them. They can never know or understand my truth.

    Unless they come to understand their truth. Understand who they really are. They are all still too afraid. And we continue to suffer at the hands of the insanity of humanity that clings to cycles of trauma, abuse and neglect. Thinking these are good, healthy and acceptable things.

    It makes me think of what Dr. Bessel Van De Kolk often cites regarding father daughter incest in a textbook he had when he first started out in the mental health field as a practioner. How it only happens to one in 10 million women. How it has no negative affects and can actually help women in dealing with life. Having had this in a textbook at any time for the field that is supposed to attend to the mental and emotional well being of people is a horrible indictment of the overall understanding of what is healthy and what is not in a society. Granted this is no longer the common perception in this field but it betrays the common understanding of popular understanding in the populace. The ignorance of what is healthy and what is not.

    I cannot foresee any of my family choosing to be healthy in this respect. And by so, they make it impossible for me to ever be truly happy around them. I will always love them. Respect them. Honor their being. But they will never be in a place where I will be able to be happy with them. Before I had to use adaptive strategies to overcome the anxiety, pain and suffering I felt around them to try to get along with them. Now I have to develope new strategies to overcome the pain, loss and grieving of never being who I am with them. Which means never being happy with them.

    Childhood trauma, abuse and neglect. The gifts that just seem to stop giving. Just when you think you may have beaten them back enough, you find new ways they steal the joy and happiness in life.

    Why should we change as a society? Why should we progress? It's obvious to me. But to so many people, it's the opposite. And they have no idea how destructive those beliefs truly are.

    #CPTSD #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder #DissociativeIdentityDisorder

    8 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    What musician or band have you loved the longest?

    <p>What musician or band have you loved the longest?</p>
    48 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Sharing-Pt. 23

    Today is Going To Be A 2 Pt. Post.
    In January Of 2019 I'd Gotten To The Point Where I Could Tolerate 1 High Stress Situation As Long As The Other Situations(& Environment) Remained Low Stress.
    I Was Working Towards Being Able To Get A Part-Time Job At The End Of The Year.
    I Made THE BIGGEST Mistake Of My Life By Thinking That, If I Moved In With My Brother(2nd Oldest Child & 1st Oldest Son), That This Would Be The Beginning Of The Fresh Start That I Deserved,Needed, & Wanted.
    By The Time The 3 Yr.s Ended I Was No Longer Broken & Healing-I Was Shattered.;;;;
    My Brother & His Wife Had 2 Animals & Decided To Get A 3rd.
    Problem With This Was:
    1)My Brother Didn't Have Time For This Animal Except For Occasionally
    2) My Brother Has A Bad Back & Couldn't Handle Dealing With The Main Handling Of The Animal
    3) My SIL Had Her Own Mental(& Emotional) Health Issues & Couldn't Handle The Animal
    4) Housing Rules-Where They Lived-Were That A Household Couldn't Have More Than 2 Animals.
    Couldn't Stake The Animal Outside Because They Weren't Allowed To Put A Fence Up & The Animal Would Bark Like Crazy & There Were A Few Times Where It Would Get Off The Stake. So, It Couldn't Be Staked Because It Wouldn't Be Quiet, Docile, & Stay Hidden.
    It Lived In A Cage Because It Couldn't Be Controlled, Had To Be Watched, & There Were Kids In The House.
    It Wasn't Violent It Was Just ADHD.
    I Couldn't Handle This Dog Any Better Than My SIL YET I WAS THE ONE WHO WAS EXPECTED TO DEAL WITH IT!!.
    I Had NEVER Trained An Animal In My Entire Life.
    They Expected Me To Train This Animal.
    They'd Give Me Instructions BUT I Couldn't Always Remember Them Or I Couldn't Remember Them Entirely.
    I Couldn't Ask Because I'd Get Attacked(Verbally,Mentally, & Emotionally) As Well.
    Didn't Really Matter, Though, I Got Attacked Either Way It's Just I Didn't Want To Make It Worse By Asking.
    I Was Expected To Listen For This Animal, At Night, & Take It Out If Needed.
    Thing Is I Was Expected To Take Care Of The House,2 other Animals(in addition to this one), & 4 kids too-ALL During The Day.
    If I Missed It's Signal-Because I Was Passed Out From Exhaustion-& It Pottied On The Floor I'd Get Attacked.
    I Was Working 10-11 Hr. Days.
    I'd Get Anywhere From 2-4 Hr.s Of Sleep-Most Times It Was On The Lower End Of That.
    This Was A Major Contributing Factor To The Decline Of My Health.
    It Was 1 Of The Major Stressors In My Life & Contributed To Me Being Overwhelmed To The Point Where, When I Wasn't Suffering From Brain Fog, I Was Dissociated Or Did Dissociative Daydreaming.
    They,Eventually, Did Get A Trainer For The Animal.
    Blamed Me, Though, For Having To Do This.
    It Took A Yr. Before They Did It, Though.
    Eventually, The Dog Stopped Going At Night BUT,My Hr.s, Were Still 10-11 Hr.s Every Day.
    This Situation Spawned My Utter Hatred Of(& Towards) Animals.
    Also, When Housing Came Around, We'd Always Have To Find A Way To Hide The Damn Thing.
    They Told Me That, If They Ever Got Accused Of Animal Neglect & What Not It Would Be My Fault.
    They'd Make Sure,In Actuality, The Animal Was Neglected & Abused By Me & Would Make Sure I Went To Jail Instead Of Them.

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    The Transformational Power of EMDR

    I sat at my desk in my 6th grade classroom, my anxiety mounting. I counted down the minutes until the big hand on the clock above the chalk board in the front finally reached 12:00 noon. As my classmates emptied out of the room, headed to the cafeteria for lunch, my palms got cold and clammy and I felt a growing sense of panic. I had to use the bathroom, but the prospect of entering a stall in the school’s boys’ room filled me with so much fear, that doing so would be unthinkable. I would have to run home—fast, without soiling myself—and make it back before anyone noticed I was missing.

    Fortunately, our house was only eight blocks from school. So, as my classmates ate Sloppy Joes, I flew down Oakland Avenue, never looking up from the sidewalk, until I made it to my street, down my block, into my house, up the stairs to the room I shared with my brother, and finally into our bathroom. I avoided a crisis that day…and managed to avoid the same crisis every school day of my life. Unfortunately, this extreme terror of public restrooms followed me into adulthood.

    It was just one of the psychological disorders I coped with growing up. I suffered from multiple phobias, although I had no idea what a phobia was as a child and young adult. I thought being terrified of using a public restroom, having an acute fear of heights, and experiencing a full-blown panic attack at even the suggestion of intimacy with a woman was simply the way I was wired. It wasn’t until I reached my 60s that I realized I was wired that way for a reason—and it wasn’t simple at all.

    I began psychotherapy in my 20s in Boston, and my search for emotional healing stretched over 22 years, three more cities, and seven different therapists. I was exposed to traditional talk therapy, CBT therapy, and Intensive Dynamic Short-Term Psychotherapy, but none of them offered any substantive or lasting relief. My search ended when I walked into the office of Dr. Jeffrey Magnavita in Glastonbury, CT. While my other therapists had focused in on my various phobias, Dr. Magnavita zoomed out to look at the bigger picture of my life. To my surprise, he diagnosed the source of my phobias: trauma.

    I was introduced to EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), an evidence-based, memory-focused trauma therapy. And from the very first EMDR session, I felt relief. Dr. Magnavita would guide me to a memory, or physical sensation, or emotion from a particular time in my childhood and have me move my eyes from side to side, following his two fingers. This “bilateral stimulation,” a unique feature of EMDR therapy, allowed my brain to process memories that got frozen in my nervous system long ago and this, in turn, led to a dramatic decrease in my symptoms. My past was no longer intruding into my present.

    EMDR was life-changing. In time I came to understand that I had suffered significant childhood trauma. The memories I processed in therapy were of extreme neglect and abuse at the hands of my parents, my brother, a school bully, and a pediatrician. These memories had been so fragmented in my conscious adult mind, that I could never make sense of them. Yet, they haunted me, and distorted how I viewed myself, the world, and the choices I made.

    I have traded my old mental “operating system,” plagued with anxiety, doubt, fear, and a core belief of being worthless and unlovable, for a new one. I now wake up in the morning phobia-free, untethered, and at peace. I have become my authentic self, as I no longer need the façade I had created over the years to mask my internal turmoil. My brother, who tormented me when we were children, began his own EMDR journey a year ago, and this paved the way to a friendship I would have never believed possible after 20 years of estrangement. The secrets we’ve shared over our weekly Zoom calls have created a strong and lasting bond that I will always treasure.

    I disclose this part of my life story to you in the hope that it imparts two morals: 1) trauma is a part of life but needn’t be a source of shame, and 2) it doesn’t have to take a lifetime to recover from trauma; if you (or someone you know and care about) are suffering, seek out a certified EMDR therapist. It’s worth finding out if what was so transformational for me could be for you, too.

    5 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Reflection over this medical journey I’ve faced is laced with pain, questions, questions of why… Why does our medical system continue to fail me? Why am I dismissed because I’m not a text book case? Why are doctors so ready to treat symptoms without proactively trying to find the cause of pain?
    Almost 8 years ago I started this journey, with hope, determination, being my own advocate only to end in this place of more questions than answers, surgically botched and left to endure no quality of life, after promises of better quality of life.
    Subtotal Colectomy with IRA…. Failed…. Permanent End Ileostomy…. Ending in severe internal rectal pain…. This is not normal. I’ve endured procedures for symptom relief without success, I’ve been given medication upon medication for symptom relief without success. So when does our medical professionals decide to proactively work to find the cause of our pain instead of treating symptoms? Of course I’ve had conservative testing which showed mild causes…. Never has a doctor approached a proactive decision to find the true cause of my pain. I’ve been dismissed, I’ve been failed, I trusted in our medical system and found the US healthcare is worse than a third world country. Europe, the UK, Egypt all have more progressive doctors that treat the patient as an individual, unlike the US treats Americans like a herd of cattle, herd’em in and herd’em out. Never did I dream I would be an American unable to find quality healthcare.
    It is my mission until my last breath to make a change, to advocate for better healthcare for all Americans, to fight against our medical neglect to be a voice for all of us that remain unheard. This is not acceptable in America. We deserve better, we pay for better, and yet we receive neglectful healthcare, we receive pills instead of answers, band aids instead of solutions.
    As I sit here running out of options, I’m reminded I’ve fought this fight, I will continue to fight and I pray for all of us facing neglect from our healthcare system that we may somehow band together to make changes, to get the healthcare we deserve and pay for.
    To say this hasn’t affected me in every way would not be true. Physically I’m botched from surgeons only to happy to pick up a knife, promising a better quality of life. Only for them to go AWOL when complications aris and I’m not their text book success story. Mentally and emotionally I feel rejected, dismissed, failed, unworthy..Due to doctors not taking my condition seriously, being proactive, basically just sent home with more debt and no answers.
    But as long as I have breathe I will continue to fight. We all deserve better!

    1 person is talking about this
    Community Voices

    TW child neglect and abuse

    I just had a conversation with my boyfriend about my childhood and the fact that no one in my family stepped in and stopped what was going on in our house. I won't go into details but I had a few aunts and an uncle and a grandmother who knew our home life, yet no one stopped up and gave us a better life. Except my older sister went to luve with grandma while us two younger girls were trapped. It's no wonder we all have PTSD and depression and anxiety in our 40s...

    7 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Bad Dreams about past memories

    TW: abuse, family dysfunction.

    Everytime I see my father, I have bad dreams for days afterwards.

    He was in and out of our lives as children, him and my mom split up several times until she finally decided to divorce him when I was 24. That was after many years of verbal abuse and some physical as well. The physical abuse was never directed towards me, although one of my younger sister did experience it. Me and my siblings have no contact with my father, however his family still supports him (my aunt, uncles, grandma) - despite his abusive nature, drug problems, and neglect toward his children.

    I recently saw him at a funeral and allas the nightmares started again. Memories of childhood, nightmares where my mom would take him back. The funeral was last weekend and my dreams have been consistent since then. I wake up covered in sweat, scared and confused. I don't understand why this is happening. I don't know if I need to seek professional help for the dreams to go away. It's inevitable that I'll see my father at some points, at funerals and big family events. How do I make sure I don't have these dreams for days/weeks afterwards?

    #CheckInWithMe #BadDreams #Childhoodtrauma

    9 people are talking about this
    Community Voices

    Courage, Self-Love and Complex Trauma or CPTSD

    Part 1 of 3 Finding courage and self-love while living with complex trauma

    Part of the reach of HeartBalm is to speak on the topic of complex post-traumatic stress disorder, also referred to as complex trauma, its splintered and related themes and challenges, and directly to those that are dealing with this multifaceted condition. Complex trauma is an amalgamation of long-term abuse and neglect, and therefore when trying to understand a traumatic past from an adult perspective it reveals itself as a confusing mosaic of multi-layered events, scattered along our timeline from the non-verbal stage of life to the adult now. It is only when we can begin to join our awareness of what is arising, and be with dissociative episodes and flashbacks with compassion and self-love, (and without self-criticism and judgment) that we can begin to find a finger-hold on mitigating and understanding complex trauma, and how it is infiltrating and affecting our lives.

    The definition: Complex PTSD happens in response to chronic and repetitive neglect, emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse, usually occurs in childhood and is typically deeply interpersonal within the child’s caregiving network. The child has no way to escape, or survive without the parent(s) or caregiver(s), and endures a cruel and imprisoned world of abuse and neglect with no empathetic witness to help or validate the child’s feelings or what’s happening. Often siblings are recruited as proxies to the abuser(s) adding to the vast interpersonal web of perpetrators. The child alone in this situation can endure predatory behaviors such as: scapegoating, gaslighting, stalking and bullying, humiliation, neglect, physical and sexual abuse, withholding of love and attention, making love and affection conditional, and total invalidation of the abuse, and needs of the child. The child has no safe space or family member to retreat to which increases the view of the world that the abuse will never end. Because the brain is still developing and the child is just beginning to learn about the world around them and who they are as an individual in that world, as well as developing first relationships – severe and repetitive trauma interrupts the entire course of their psychological, and neurological development.

    When you’re born in a burning house, you think the whole world is on fire. But it’s not.

    _Richard Kadrey

    The child who endures this type of trauma begins to cope by going into survival mode and developing deep-seated survival strategies such as giving up and losing their sense of self to try and find a way to appease the abuser(s) and mitigate the trauma, becoming highly adrenalized, hypervigilant, hypersensitive, and hyper-intune to the harasser(s), the environment, and the telltale signs of looming abuse. The child’s brain begins to develop entrenched neural pathways that create survival mechanisms that become the first responders to recurring traumatic events, and the brain is left to fracture and compartmentalize to save and secure the parts that need safety and protection, as well as create parts that mirror the abuser(s). The child’s mind only knows survival under these circumstances. Logic, understanding, reasoning with the perpetrator(s), or speaking to another adult about what is happening is not an avenue for a baby or young child. There is no concept for anger, hatred, being abused, or neglected from a child’s perspective nor the ability to describe what is happening – the only understanding is confusion and the downward spiral to self-hatred, unworthiness, feeling unloved, unloveable, disconnected, separate, unwanted, and constantly under threat. This is the primary reason why abusers choose children because they are easy targets and there are generally no witnesses, or the mechanisms in place to fight back, understand or escape. As the child grows the brain is set up for survival and begins to meet life from this debilitating place of untrustworthy broken relationships, lies, betrayal, lack and scarcity, shame, low self-worth, and a menagerie of inner self-critics on steroids.

    Self-hatred is only ever a seed planted from the outside in.

    _Hannah Gadsby

    The adult survivor therefore must contend with a brain that is still functioning through the lens of survival, and continuing to meet life and all of its challenges and burdens with the limited scope of survival strategies, avoidance, and fear of connection to others, overwhelmed by a nervous system caught in fight-flight mode, and trying to make sense of a patchwork of years of trauma. The healing journey for complex trauma is not an easy one. Finding the right trauma-informed therapist or mentor can help, and having trustworthy friends or loved ones to reach out to that can hold the space for you and love you through difficult times is als

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