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How Do I Do It? Returning to Place of Trauma

Discussion in 'General' started by piglet, Apr 18, 2006.

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  1. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    I have just got back from visiting my parents. I went yesterday morning. It feels like I've been away for weeks, not a day and night.

    I talked to my mum about work and that I'm having problems again. She says she doesn't understand. She was freaked out, but trying hard to pretend that she wasn't. My Dad just complained about having toothache.

    The worst part was yesterday lunchtime. We were just finishing lunch when the dogs all jumped up and went to the front door. My brother had just walked in. My mum immediately jumped up and started fussing round him (I told her 2 years ago about some of the abuse), looking at me as if to say "please don't start anything". I have never once started anything during any visit. I am too afraid of the consequences. However, if he ever starts anything, I really don't know if I would just cower in the corner, or if I would really be able to fight back. I worry about this every time I go to see my parents.

    I don't understand how I can get terrorised by flashbacks and nightmares from the slightest trigger when I am away from my family and I have nightmares both before and after visiting them, but when I am actually with them, in the place where I was abused, I remain perfectly calm throughout. It is not until I have got a few streets away that it all hits me.

    Since I got back home I have been hot, with the shakes and feeling sick. I am also very tired, but I am afraid of what the night will bring. On the bright side, at least I survived another visit to the family, and I will not be expected to visit again for a couple of months at least.
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Your definately into punishing yourself, aren't you? Returning to the location of the trauma is generally a very large step, one which most never do until they are at peace with themself. They generally use it as a final healing process. I think this is merely prolonging your trauma, and making you worse.

    I don't know myself how you handle it, or do it. Thats are seriously tough decision on your part. I don't doubt for a second you would be anxious before and then after revisiting the place of your trauma.

    It must be pretty tough for you Piglet, when the trauma has occured as a result of family, and within your families home. That must be pretty tough for you. I imagine you having to decide, do I see my family, or don't I because of the traumatic surroundings! Only you know what is right for yourself though... pretty tough decision you have to make. Damn....

    Yer, did you expect anything different response? I know my family sort of knows about PTSD, but they don't understand what happens to me, what has happened to me, nor what goes on inside me. Well... no body could really be expected too actually unless they have PTSD. I don't even think about it anymore, when people close don't understand. I kinda just rub it off and let it go, as I know they couldn't understand, even if they wanted too.

    How did that make you feel? I imagine it wasn't very good.

    Yer, this is pretty standard with us. I hate feeling that way, and I know Kerrie-Ann doesn't really understand when I get sick, she seems to think an hour or two of sleep will fix it, but it doesn't. Its so much more than that. Its like we have to start from scratch again with the traumatic incident/s that we have endured. It takes our bodies and minds a little time to get on top of things again, and actually realise that this isn't new to us, and we know we can control it through exercise, relaxation, etc etc.

    Its tough, and I think your doing pretty well for even returning to your parents house. I know if it were me, I would make them come to me... thus I can control the circumstances in which the visit occurs, so I don't end up sick for days afterwards.

    Wow....
     
  4. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    I have the view that I would rather keep the bad memories in one place that's already lost to me, rather than bringing it into my own home. I keep the number of visits down to an absolute minimum - Easter/Christmas. This is a real shame, because I hate Christmas for all the stress it brings. Trouble is, there are members of my family that I do want to see. I have 2 adorable nieces - my bad brother's - and another normal wonderful brother (he is usually too busy to visit the family, but comes over if he knows I am coming) I hold a lot of anger and disappointment with my parents, but I still love them. They didn't know the majority of what went on, but they knew enough that they should have done something.

    I cleary remember one occasion when my dad picked up the phone to call the police when my brother was having one of his rages. It had got to the point where my dad had become scared of my brother too. I remember standing there feeling so much hope that things were about to change for the better. Then my mum said "if you call the police, they will take him away. If he leaves, I leave". My dad put the phone down.

    That is the point where I truly believed I was damned to this existence and that my parents were not going to make things better. That was a real difficult time for me. I actually spent a night lying in wait for my brother with a kitchen knife. I had persuaded myself that I could kill him before he hurt anyone else, cos I truly believe that someone was going to die. He never came home that night.

    Fortunately, I managed to take stock more realistically. I decided to do as hard as I could to try and get the school grades to get to college. I found out that there were grants available to help me live in halls. I needed 1 D grade and 2 C grades to get a place at uni. I got 2 Cs and 1 D. I still think I could have done a lot better, but under the pressure of the time, I think I did good.

    I did really well away from home, and other than one incident in the first year that I think was my first flashback (a friend grabbed me round the throat as a joke - I collapsed to the floor and put my arms over my head to protect myself - my friend was horrified!), I thought I was finally getting my own life.

    In my final year, I suddenly became ill. I had no energy, I could not sleep, I didn't want to eat. I went to the doc and they told me I was depressed. I didn't respond to the medication I was offered. I was told that I should consider going home and coming back to repeat the final year when I was better. Not a bloody chance! I went into overdrive to get all my work done and came out with 2 grade levels higher than I was expected to!

    Anyway - I now believe that this was my first real ptsd-like phase, at least, when it took control enough to stop me living what was my normal life. I don't remember having nightmares, but I do remember crying my eyes out an entire night and being very angry with my brother. I was "ill" from January to May. I then finished uni and had to go home. I think that I maybe just went back into the old behaviour patterns that kept me safe. My brothers had both moved out by this time, so the household was much calmer and safer.

    Just realised that this is turning into my life story..... :redface: Best go get some breakfast. Maybe I'll print this and take it with me to the docs on Monday!
     
  5. bennjamin

    bennjamin Member

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    i did it exactly one year after...obvious during daytime and not 100% to replicate the event.

    Just to sit there and think and breathe.
     
  6. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Yer, I think it helps us all. I sit here at times and read through some posts, which I have already read numerous times. I pick up some of my other material here and read through things, or just ponder what is going on, how I can best cope with certain parts of life, etc etc. Sometimes it becomes a form or relaxation for me... however sad that is.
     
  7. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    I had wanted to go in my old bedroom when I was at my parents - just to see if my flashbacks/nightmares are accurate - I keep getting the feeling/image whatever of sitting against my bedroom door, with my feet planted against my radiator pipe and bureau, one hand pushing up on the door handle to stop it opening. All the while, I can feel through my back the door being hit, and bending in at the bottom, and just thinking "if that door opens, I'm dead".

    This is one memory/load of memories (happened regularly) that I can recall easily. I use to sit there for hours, cos the bastard would have a go to get in, then go away a little while, then try again. I think I spent a whole day like that once, waiting for him to go out, or waiting for my parents or older brother to come home. I also had to keep my radiator turned off, cos I burned the bottom of my foot on the pipe one time - it hurt like hell for days, but I didn't dare say anything. Not helped by my mum turning the damn thing back on "aren't you cold?". Personally, I would rather be cold than hit or worse!

    It makes me very sad and angry beyond explanation. Anyway, I couldn't go in there in the end, which is probably a good thing, as I'm struggling with aftereffects of the visit anyway. I always stay in my normal brother's old bedroom these days. It feels so much safer.
     
  8. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Again, your tougher than me about that issue. I know I couldn't return to any place of trauma at present, ie. some countries, as I know I would be sick weeks before even getting on the plane... anxiety would be kicking my arse all over the place.

    Do you really think its right for you to continue putting yourself through that? I ask, because only you know the answer obviously....

    I think you need to make your mother stand up and really look at what is going on, why it is going on, and what maybe she needs to do to help fix it! At a guess anway....

    Has your counsellor or anyone said anything like that too you? ie. really let your mother know, make her listen!
     
  9. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    My mother lives in constant state of denial. She wants to have a nice happy family - probably like the Waltons tv show.

    She won't challenge my brother about his behaviour cos she's afraid he'll stop her from seeing her grandkids. I don't want to get the blame if that were to happen, so I don't push it. I know that I can't be held responsible for other people's actions - but bloody hell - I was for the first 18 years of my life and it's damn hard to break out of it.

    I have discussed the whole family visiting thing and the talking to mum thing at great length with my last counsellor. After trying my mum out with some of the less scary stuff (just your standard violence), I realised that there was no point in going any further. I settled for her not putting pressure on me to visit so often, and she doesn't tell my brother when I'm coming - he can't bear me visiting my parents without him being there, so he comes over the moment he knows I'm around.

    The silly thing is, my mum lies to him, saying that I dropped by unannounced (something that he does all the time and invites himself and his wife to dinner, where mum fusses round them to keep him happy). What I would really love to say would be "actually, it's been planned for weeks, cos I have to prepare myself in case I have to put up with being in your presence - you disgust me and make me want to vomit you psycho bastard etc". At which point I might have to run like hell, prepare myself for a beating or something equally unpleasant.

    My brain says I'm a fool and I should just cut my losses. My heart says different. Why should I lose contact with my parents because my brother's a psycho? Surely he would then win? but then maybe it's not about winning....

    I frequently tie myself in knots over this whole thing - like my other problems aren't hard enough to deal with!!!
     
  10. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Maybe you should tell your brother what you think off him infront of his wife and your mother... Would he beat you in front of them? Wouldn't that just further prove to your mother who is in denial that this shit has been happening. Hangon... bloody hard way to go about it, but you know what the right answer to that one is.

    Just throwing things around, thats all....

    I think it sucks hearing about this tearing you apart each time your heart says, visit family, and your head says, don't do it, you'll regret it! Can't you meet your family at another place, something more mutual and public even?

    I imagine your brother would be around their everytime you visit as he is probably shit scared now, as an adult, of what might be said, and not being their to defend himself!!! He could be actually shitting bricks???

    Does he beat his wife?
     
  11. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    He hit his wife once - she hit him back and told him if he ever did it again she was gone. He just settles for having tantrums now and runs to mum to take it out on her and wind up my dad!

    I have been more worried about his kids and I always look for signs that all is not well. He has a 3 year old girl with his wife and a 13 year old with a former girlfriend. He only sees his oldest girl when she comes to stay with my mum and dad. She lives with her mum and step-dad. I'm fairly sure I would know if the kids were being hurt - I picked up a few years ago that something was wrong, and it turned out that her mum's current boyfriend had hit her and told her not to tell. She was too scared to tell her mum, but she told me after some encouragement. The boyfriend immediately became and ex-boyfriend once her mum knew, and my niece and I had a long conversation about how people deserve to be treated with respect and no-one ever has justification to hit another person unless they must defend themselves or someone else.

    I do feel confident that he wouldn't hurt his kids and I think that maybe you are right about him being scared of what I might say. He is a bully and a coward as well as a psycho!

    I have also said to my mum that if there's ever the slightest indication of something untoward, I would call the police and social services.

    I visit the family much less than I used to since I went to counselling. Mum and dad come visit me occasionally now. I miss the dog then though. They have the last of the dogs we bred when I lived at home. I hand-reared her as her mum got sick soon after giving birth. She's nearly 10 and has not been too well (she's an Irish Wolfhound and their average life expectancy is 7). As strange as it sounds - I'll probably be less inclined to go to their house once the dog has gone. I miss the dog more than I miss them! mind you - that dog's grandma was a life-saver to me. She stopped my brother from coming in my room at night - she only growled at him once and that was enough - would you argue with 150lbs of wolfhound? It's strange that an animal can protect me with one growl where my parents couldn't protect me and I couldn't protect myself. I never want to be without a dog.
     
  12. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Yer, Kerrie-Ann would totally agree with that sentiment... "never be without a dog"!

    Its great the kids are safe. So how are you feeling today? Are the affects getting better from your visit yet, or still the same?
     
  13. piglet

    piglet Well-Known Member

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    I'm feeling worse today. I just can't sleep, no matter how many times I try the relaxation stuff. All the walking is tiring me out too! Off to the GP this morning so that he can see that I'm still alive.
     
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