I haven't posted here before, but I thought that I really need someone to listen and I'm really going crazy. There is just a combination of things that are hurting me and I really don't know if to post here or there and everything is just too much.
I have been trying to read and learn as much as I can about how to help myself and i'm really not getting anywhere, i'm in therapy, but haven't been able to see my therapist in a month because of scheduling conflicts.
I have PTSD, I'm Co-Dependent, and I possibly have other stress/anxiety/panic disorders. I just want to stop my unhealthy behaviour, everything is fueled by all the fear that I have. This ALWAYS happens to me when I get involved with someone. Everything is great at first, but I start to make up ways that they're going to leave in my head and I draw them away, i make them go because i am so certain that they will leave anyways, I dont know what to do. And I hurt them, I have no clear boundaries, they tell me they want space and I can't give it because I'm just so scared, and it's all in my head. I want to give up because i'll never be able to have a healthy relationship and I feel as though I am ruined and wont ever be good for anyone. I've been thinking about asking my therapist for medication, I dont know how i'm suppose to treat this, but I think if I wasn't so panicked all the time I could deal with it better.
everyday I make the resolution that I wont behave the way that I do, that I will cry and scream but that I wont try to contact him or make any attemp to control the situation, but I've been failing all week. I thought that maybe if I went to support group that they could help me, but I'm not sure if I can be helped. He says that I just want attention, maybe that's true but everything is so real to me, i'm not making up all the anxiety and the panic, it's all real, he tells me that everything is okay, nothing is wrong, and to respect his wishes for space but i'm just so afraid, i'm crazy, absolutely crazy, what kind of person does this to someone?
I just need to speak to someone who can help me or can understand me
Hi Lady. I've seen you on the PTSD board and others trying to read, learn and educate yourself. I applaud you for this. With PTSD, if you aren't willing to do the hard work, it doesn't work. I get very frustrated with people who want instant cures and don't want to work at therapy as you have probably seen in my posts. PTSD is one of the toughest things to overcome. Some therapists will even tell you it's manageable but not curable. Rubbish. I've worked my *** off and I'm doing really well...and that is according to the therapists I've worked with who said I should not have survived let alone done so well.
That said, I want to talk about templates and I'll use myself as an example. Don't feel you need to talk about your trauma but I am fine talking about mine.
I was abused severely as a young child. By the age of 4(3 days after my 4th birthday to be precise)I attempted suicide for the first time. I had been so badly abused by both parents on my birthday that I wanted to go away and never come back. My mother took me to the beach(northeast Atlantic) where I went into the water and didn't come out. I stood and waited for the waves to take me away. I loved the water and wanted to go live there forever. I thought I could become a mermaid.
But a part of me wanted my mother to rescue me. I wanted her to show me how much she loved me by picking me up and wrapping me in a warm towel and carrying me up the beach. I stood in that cold water, shivering and waiting. I finally sat down crying, my lips turning blue and still she ignored me. Finally a lifeguard came over and picked me up and took me to my mother who, quite embarrassed, yelled at me and told me to lie down in the sun and warm up. I was not rescued and in fact, I was further abused and abandoned.
Fast forward to my adult years. Whenever I got into an intimate relationship I subconsciously feared I would be abused and/or abandoned. So I ended up unconsciously testing my significant others to see if they would leave me or abuse me. I always hoped they would rescue me just like my mother didn't.
The problem was, the person I really wanted to rescue me was mom. So I would make the test one they would always fail, just as she did. I was never really aware of any of this until it was pointed out to me over and over and over again. I just kept replaying that day on the beach in every different form it could take, but at it's heart, was the beach all over again.
I even did it again just last year with a therapist. I knew I had to leave him due to insurance and so this fear of abandonment just came flooding back and I did it again. It was one of the first things my new therapist and I worked on.
He was the one who told me to think of it as a template. I do a lot of crafts and so I use templates for scrapbooking and painting and stenciling and all sorts of stuff. It's simply a pre-done plan to follow. And the abuse I went through set me up with pre-planned behavior. I was abused and abandoned and expect deep inside that everyone will do it to me.
So how does this apply to you or does it? I don't know. Can you identify anyone in your past who has made you feel the way you feel now? Did someone abandon you, physically or emotionally? Did someone hurt you so you want to hurt back? Are you replaying your fears like I did? If you can identify the person who hurt you the most and then identify the "template" for the behavior, then you can recognize it and stop it.
Someone had to hurt you a lot to have you doing it as an adult repeatedly. But knowing what you are doing is half the battle...more than half. You've got that part. Figuring out the origin of the behavior, for me, was the key to changing it.
When I start to feel that fear coming on, I have to tell myself....I can't go back and make my mother rescue me and I have to stop trying.
Yes, I dont have a problem writing about it either, I too was a victim of child abuse, my mother was physically abusive and she is clinically depressed and is OCD, when I was about 7 (2nd grade), she had accidently gave me a black eye because I had gone outside and dirtied myself and fell asleep in the living room. Well, the next day she sent me to school and obviously the teacher asked what happened to me and I told her because I didnt really know any better and a few days later my teacher sent me to the nurse and basically, I never saw that teacher again, the cops came and took my brother and I and we were in foster care and all I can remember is the loneliness I felt and well, when I described this to my therapist he tried EMDR, because he said it was a good memory for us to work on.
So I suppose we have this in common, I too am recreating something and driven by the fear of being abandoned and left alone.
I guess i feel this way because I missed my mother, she wasn't all bad and she was all we had, my brother would spend hours talking on the phone telling her to come and take us back and she would just tell him that she would but I never said anything, but I would always cry at night because I missed her and I hated where we were, i often thought that the abuse was better than being where I was now and that I would try to not make a mess (she was OCD about everything being clean) ever again so she wouldnt have a reason to get upset with us.
I think when we were returned it was one of the happiest days of my life.
but ever since I started dating the same happenes over and over again, I behave the exact same way, and it drives everyone away. And I also take part in this testing, I test how much they love me and how much they care, and everyday it's a new test just to see if they really care of if they will leave and it's so stressful. I even think to myself "if they say this or dont say or if they text now or dont text now blah blah blah" it's one big giant test, and no they dont pass, and it just hurts me more and more.
The last guy that this happened with, he came back after 5 months and I thought I could be different this time, I thought I could, but it's become apparent that I cant, I thought about 12 step programs for the unhealthy behavior, I've learned that this is my drug of choice, I hate alcohol and I dont do drugs, but I'm just as much of an addict.
I really just need to speak to someone who can guide, because I feel so alone in this right now.
honestly, I didnt know, until you pointed it out that this could all be because of the PTSD, I was only aware that it caused me bad episodes (sometimes). Like if I would be talking to him and he got upset and hung up one me i'd go crazy, crying like a child with this enourmous amount of fear in my gut that I just didnt know what to do, but it didnt happen too often, but maybe all of this is fueled by the same fear.
Lady, I responded to one of your other questions about codependency on another post. (((you)) will be okay. You are brave and you are opening up about things. Don't stop trying and please don't lose faith in trying to find your way.
We all have our healing to do. And you will too!!! If I think of any other good books that have helped me or others along the way I will post that for you.
Best of luck, and many blessings...
You have the fear of being hit but also the guilt of reporting it. Then the extra trauma of being ripped away from your mother and the guilt of watching your brother cry.
Template......fear of abuse....(need to know if they will hurt you)....leads to fear of abandonment......(will they leave if they hurt me or I hurt them?)....leads to guilt/depression for pushing them away.
This is what you keep repeating. You test to see if, like your mom, they'll hurt you because you need to see if the hurt will result in abandonment and then you feeling guilty for having caused it........because you find out it does cause it....if they don't hurt you, you hurt them and then they abandon you...and then you feel guilty because you started it.....and it just goes in circles.
So how do you even start to stop the cycle? Probably the first step is to realize that you shouldn't feel guilty for telling the teacher. You didn't know the consequences. It sounds like an over reaction by child services. That was not your fault. It was your mother's fault for hitting you, not you for having the black eye and telling the truth about it. That is the easy part(like any of this is easy).
And when you get into a relationship.....get to know them and then, be honest. Tell them what you might do and ask them to help you not do it. Tell them you might push them into hurting you or you might do it to them. If you can be open and honest with yourself and them, then you might get a partner in recognizing it. Work with a therapist in examining your own behavior looking for that trigger...what triggers you to hurt them or trigger the testing behavior. Often, something, like OCD behavior? might trigger your behavior. If that seems to be the trigger, find people who don't have OCD at all.
Here is what I am learning is the most important thing of all.....don't feel embarrassed or guilty or ashamed of any of your behavior no matter how hurtful it/was is or how negative or game playing or anything else. It is a pattern you developed as a child in order to cope with the situation you were in. It was how you as a child survived. It was good for that reason. Very good.
But as you've grown older, that excellent behavior that kept you alive no longer is needed. And it's messing up your life because no matter how much you test....those significant others aren't your mom and you can't undo the black eye or anything else.
Since we all hang onto "survival skills", it's hard to let go of but these survival skills are turning into killing skills....killing your adult life. So it's time to replace them with adult skills.
This is what therapy is about. Not rehashing the past abuse, but identifying the no longer needed survival skills and replacing them with adult skills that bring happiness and togetherness.
If I can do it....anyone can. But you have to be brutally honest with yourself(which you are already doing) and then particularly kind to yourself because you were just a kid and trying to stay alive.
I've felt so stupid this whole weekend really, I've been completely depressed and acting like a manic for nothing! nothing is wrong, and I think the trigger is the OCD behavior.
for example: My bf and I had a fight last Sunday, and the whole week I have been depressed and crying because I had this insane thought that he didnt want to talk to me and that he hated me and that he didnt want to be with me anymore, I was monitoring how much he contacted me by my cell and felt that he was neglecting me, he got so fed up with me that he didnt even want to see me anymore, he came and saw me anyways and everything was fine. We did talk some and he kept saying that he didnt understand how i'm so double sided, when we're together I act normal and when we're apart i'm all crazy, it's ruining my life and I dont know how to control it. A lot of it is the phone, I always stare at it waiting for him to contact me, it's totally dumb, I can't believe I couldnt just understand that he wanted to spend some time with his friends and I mean it was just one weekend, I dont know why all the stress attacks me and the OCD thoughts drive me crazy.
I joined an online Coda meeting and someone there suggested that when I start to feel that way, I take tylenol PM so that I can go to sleep, I feel like I really need to learn how to feel what i feel, but not act on it. I must learn to 'fake it 'till I make it", this is going to be so difficult for me, in that state everything seems so real and painful, I have so much to learn.
Jenny, do you ever feel this way? how did you deal with it?
I'm starting to see why my therapist has told me that he doesnt think I need to be in a 12step program, he doesn't feel the codependency is such an issue, it's probably because he knows that he anxiety is the biggest issue and the uncontrolable thoughts. I may ask for some medication, something to relieve the anxiety until I learn to manage it on my own.
You are absolutely right about my template for disaster, that's exactly what I do. My bf now, he knows ALL the issues, he says it's hard for him because he doesnt understand too well, but he still sticks around, I guess i just need to keep telling myself that he isn't my mother, he wont hurt me and that none of it is my fault either, the problem is.. i feel like, I could keep repeating these things to myself, but how much do i believe them? I was having a discussion in the Coda meeting on how much some of those people believe in God and a few told me that they in truth didnt really, but they pretended to because it made them feel a lot better and that made them believe.
So, I guess, I need to keep telling myself that I believe he wont hurt me, that I know he wont and that he isn't my mother and that time has passed and that none of it was my fault and that I am a good person. If I keep saying it over and over and over again, if I wake up every morning and say these words to myself, if I go to sleep repeating them in my mind, if through out the day I get these notions, I just got to keep saying them. " My childhood has passed, I will not be hurt or abadoned, I am no longer apart of this belief system, I am a good person and i have nothing to be ashamed of"
i also need to remember to lock my phone up somewhere when I'm feeling a bit off, I need to stop going crazy and texting all kinds of terrible things that I dont mean, it just makes everything so much worse.
Yes, I fake until I make it all the time. It's all about teaching our brains to not be afraid. What do I do? I guess I write. Last Thursday I had a major run in with one of my doctors(been very sick of late). I went to his office just to talk to him in person for a minute because miscommunication was getting to a real problem after 3 months of illness. He again did not understand and blew up at me. I was scared in the exam room when he announced he was going to do a couple more sterile taps of my knees....a rather painful procedure....actually afraid he'd make it more painful because he thought I was criticizing his office set up(it's a "factory type orthopedic practice and deserved criticism but I wasn't doing that).
I was back on the beach in my emotions. I was looking for him to rescue me and he didn't. Instead he yelled at me just like my mother did when the lifeguard brought me out of the water. I felt like I was cowering when he approached me with the needles. I wasn't but inside I felt it. I knew I had lost trust in him after having him as my doctor for 21 years.
While I was in the office I "faked it" until I could get out of there and went to my car and cried. I came home and wrote him a long letter telling him how he made me feel. I didn't send it...just wrote it and then edited it ad nauseum. And then I called and left a message for my therapist and we talked by phone on Friday.
I saw my therapist today and he applauded my writing and re-writing but not sending the letter. It would have served no purpose but to make him more angry, not change what was wrong within the practice or his way of treating patients. I will not go back. I have lost trust that he won't hurt me and since it's a surgical practice, that is no good.
In this case, I faked it but I will not "make it".......I will not go back....I have legitimate complaints. Sometimes I fake until I make it because I know the problem is mine and I need to change my reaction. But in this case, I did react but the behavior problem was the doctor's.
I think you are on the right track. You do have to keep telling yourself that you are okay, that he isn't your mother and you are safe. When trauma tells your brain one thing, it takes a ton of your telling yourself otherwise to override the trauma. There are many in NYC who will still quake at the sight of a low flying plane over the city no matter what they tell themselves. It takes time.
Your idea of putting the phone away when you are having OCD thoughts is good too. Turn it off and put it somewhere that you have designated as...the phone's safe place. You can't hide it from yourself so make it a very special place that your brain will register as "the safe place" where the phone can hide from you. By making it symbolic, it takes on more significance and will work better than merely hiding it from yourself. When the phone is in it's place, it must stay there until...just until.
Co-dependency has kind of gone out of fashion with therapists. It really is not what they thought it was. We all need people and it's not like we are addicted...we have needs and we need to find out why and then work on that. When people get anxious, they tend to do one of two things.....hang on others or isolate. I isolate....I wish I could hang on others. I hide...literally. Being dependent has it's advantages.
I think you are doing the right things and moving forward despite how horribly hard it is. You are trying to take control of your anxiety. It takes work and you are working hard. Congratulations. And remember...NEVER feel bad about what you have done...you are working to change it and that is all anyone can ask of you or you of yourself. And the behavior stems from trying to survive.
On a side note...I was very intrigued by the stories that came out after the tsunami 5 years ago. Reporters told of the people of these tiny islands who escaped any deaths because for generations, the people had been taught to run uphill if the ground shook. They didn't know why because nothing bad ever happened...and then the tsunami hit and they understood why. And we all heard of the elephants doing the same thing....they headed uphill. Monkeys too. We have survival instincts in our genes. Strong, strong instincts. But if you were a business woman in NYC and you ran uphill when the ground shook you be running every time the subway went underneath the building or the winds blew. It's an instinct that doesn't work. So we learn to overcome our instincts.
Learning to change our behavior is as hard as trying to convince those islanders not to run uphill when the ground shakes.
Have you ever tried medication for the anxiety? I mean, right now, this all makes sence, but when I get in one of my moods a lot of it goes out the window, all that's in my mind is like these flashing red lights saying "CAUTION! CAUTION! RUN! RUN! CAUTION!" and that's exactly what I do, I start running for my life, with knowhere to go, that's how I feel, like I need to run but there is knowhere to run, i'm stuck between two thick walls and all I can do is sit there in my misery and take it and cry.
I dont know what kind of medication there is and how I would take it, I dont want anything I need to take on a constant basis, sometimes I am actually okay, in fact, in other parts of my life I am fine. Maybe just something to take in that moment to calm me, I thought the tylenol was a good idea, but I guess I can speak to my therapist on Wednesday.
Yes, I've taken medication and I have some on hand to take as needed. I've been on anti-depressants and they have helped too....and since I have spine issues and nerve pain, it helps that too. But because of those spine issues, I have muscle relaxants which are mainly anti-anxiety drugs so I use those if I'm really bad. You can both immediate use drugs and drugs you take constantly. They can really help when you are losing control.
You do what you have to, to make the re-learning easier.
with this whole codependency thing, I really thought I was lost, but now I'm starting to see that it is not so. I just have a lot of fears and that causes me a lot of anxiety, but I think with the medication it might be helpful, you know what I'm seeing? my therapist had mentioned all of this to me, when he first told me I was suffering from PTSD he told me that we would find different ways to manage it, but that it would never go away, it would be with me forever, he said with therapy and later some medication, it could be controled and managed. I didnt really think I would ever consider medication, but I'm definitely started to see how much PTSD has hurt me and is still hurting me and that medication will probably be a vital tool in helping my learning process.
I can't function in the state I get, in those moments nothing matters but my survival, going back and reading my first post to start this thread I feel shameful for feeling that way as I dont feel that way anymore, I also felt very shameful for my behavior and I know that I should be gentle with myself, the truth is that i'm VERY hard on myself most of the time, honestly, I feel guilty for everything, I apologize constantly, I especially notice it with my coworkers, if I do something wrong or say something wrong there is this big giant piece of guilt inside of me, to be honest, the fact that I felt guilty for what happened to me I'm not really aware of. In my mind, I dont feel guilty, but subconsciously maybe I do. Just like my anger, I dont feel any anger in my mind, but there is tons of anger inside of me, which comes out every so often when I lash out at my mother or other people.
I may not think I feel guilty, but perhaps I do, possibly because I always heard rumors that my family blamed me for what happened, my cousin would often tell me.
but thank you for your insight, I can't express how grateful I am, this definitely puts pieces together, I only started seeing my T in November and we hadn't gone through this so much and since I hadn't been in a relationship until 2 months ago, no symptoms had appeared, but now they're definitely presenting themselves and we can work on them directly and hopefully with some meds, that will make it less difficult.
I guess I'm not as crazy as I thought, I am actually okay
Yeah, you are okay. No, you can't even forget...they haven't come up with those memory blasters like they had in Men In Black but just knowing where it comes from is a big step forward.
You said you felt guilty for causing you and your brother to be taken away from your mom and I think you carry a huge amount of guilt. Kids will always find a way to blame themselves when things go wrong in a family. How many kids blame themselves for their parent's divorce? I blamed myself for being such a bad kid my mother and father had to abuse me. We all do it.
But realizing it and seeing how it has penetrated your life...that is part of the work. And don't feel guilty for anything you've posted. It tells me who you are and that seems to be a nice person who is working hard on recovering.
PS. Getting a tooth pulled tomorrow so I don't know if I'll be around or not. Might need a day or 2 or be fine...just don't know.
I just wanted to give you an update on my app with my T yesterday, it went well and he helped me understand a few things, and he recommended to me "I hate you, don't leave me" a book on understanding Borderline Personality Disorder, this kind of scared me, he told me not to worry about the label and that I wasn't crazy, but that some of the stuff I'm experiences has a lot to do with BPD. He said the book had helpful advice but just not to read into that label, because that although I may be experiencing some of this stuff, I wasn't out of control or suicidal or anything like that, it was just to help me understand myself a little more.
honestly, this is become a little overwhelming, he told me that a lot of people simply don't do relationships because they dont want to deal with any of this stuff and they'd rather just be alone, I dont know, it all seems hopeless right now.
Borderline Personality tends to develop in people who were abused prior to age 6 when the personality is formed.....like with me. I've fought both and I've won against both. You can change the personality too.
But as he said, what you are experiencing has a lot of do with it but it's not deep seated in your personality. But it will explain a lot.
What he said about doing relationships......I celebrated my 35th anniversary this year. So much for that prediction. I even had a shrink who told me in no uncertain terms to not marry that I wouldn't be able to make it work. He got divorced and I'm still married.
And I have very normal kids, college graduates with good jobs and lives. My son is married but my daughter is not. And that is the way she wants it...him too. He has a wife and little daughter is is very happy.
So much for psych profiles of our futures. I think I've broken every mold they tried to put me in.
Your future is what you make of it and work to make of it.