General advice for supporter of adult daughter

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
" I just shouldn't be going through these things on my own"
"I'm not feeling supported"
" I need to feel held"
"Should you maybe bring someone with you?"
"How can I best support you"
"I hear you. I'm listening" (assuming you meant heard instead of held)

Those are my suggestions. Just ask. She may not know what you can do to support her. I don't. EMDR is hard and overwhelms me out then I just put myself to sleep (or just fall asleep on my own) or spend days in dissociation. It's processing memories and moving them around. It's hard. And it overwhelms many and throws many into a spin where they don't know what they need or how best they can be supported. You sound like you are doing all you can. I would ask her then take cues off her. That said, you can't do the impossible either. Learn to give yourself a break too, you know? You are doing way more then most and are likely supporting her even if she doesn't feel like you are. You can feel rather backwards a lot of the time with PTSD.
 

LuckiLee

MyPTSD Pro
The only things I do for my guy after therapy or during a ptsd cycle are:

1. Listen. Seriously, "Silence is Golden". 9.999 times out of 10 anything I say will be wrong wrong wrong and end up only making him feel worse because I don't know what ptsd is like. Or trauma. Or war. Or sexual assault. Or anxiety. Or suicidal ideation. Or night terrors. Or survivors guilt. Or therapy...

2. Give space. I do my own thing and put extra care into myself during his difficult times. Shopping. Friends. Family. Hikes. Etc. Because once he calms himself that's when he's gonna need me and where I can actually "help", with cuddles, conversation and understanding.

We have been together for a while now so we have a system that works (most of the time 😆) for us. He also found a few things to help himself along the way. His safe place, a favorite chair and blanket. SyFy movies/tv. Nature. Fishing. Making lures. Relaxing music. His guitar. And SLEEP.

When he's in ptsd mode there really isn't much I can do. It's after the episode when things calm down where I can have any impact. Where we can communicate and come up with solutions. And process what is going on. Otherwise it can get ugly!!

You're on the right track.

Welcome to the community! 💐
 

annette1957

New Here
Interesting. You most definitely DO NOT have to come up with some creative solutions for that. That is HER job.

I never put my mother through the ringer like this when I was doing trauma therapy, which is why I feel like she is allowing herself to play the victim and throw all the responsibility in your court. Perhaps you can suggest she discuss what she needs with her T, and then give you a list. Really, I understand what she is going through but she needs to start to take some responsibility for her own recovery.
Phew ! Glad thanks for saying it’s not up to me. I agree I do think she is playing the victim but I don’t know how to respond to this in the best way. I do ask what the T has said she should do to ground herself etc so may be there is nothing else I can do.
One of the things I learned in therapy was just because you feel something, doesn't make it true. I know I sound harsh and I apologize, but having PTSD doesn't give you the right to be demanding of others

I really like your first sentence here ! I have heard it before and will try and remember it! And thanks for your support.

Thanks so much to everyone. I’m just starting to work out how to use the board so sorry if I haven’t replied to everyone individually but you have all made so much sense and really helped. I’m not sure how I can help my daughter stop being ‘the victim’ and start being the survivor but maybe that’s something only the T and she can do not me.

I also think I’m expecting too much and at times I need to accept there is nothing I can do. It’s just hard to put the phone down when someone doesn’t say goodbye but maybe I just need to accept that there isn’t anything more useful I can do and I just need to step back.

Thanks again
 

annette1957

New Here
Ya -- no. She should be working with her t to come up with how people can support her - not expecting to guilt others into "be creative" and do it for her.
Phew!
yep. She's deflecting --- which will not help her in the long run
Can you suggest a way I can help her see this is what she is doing
One question tho -- you said she has CPTSD. Is there any chance she is connecting you to her traumas during her sessions? Because if so it might be worth a meet with her t to sort out if you are the person who can actually be seen as supportive in her mind right now, no matter what you try.
Interesting idea. Do you mean that I am becoming connected in her mind to how bad she feels ??
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
Can you suggest a way I can help her see this is what she is doing
This is the therapist's job, not yours. You aren't her therapist and you aren't trained for this.

Honestly, I like the idea of you stepping back and do agree she is deflecting and being demanding.

That said, I also wonder if she really wants support but just doesn't know how to get it or how best someone can be supportive, if that makes sense. PTSD is rather confusing a lot of the time. But, still, this is on her to figure out and she shouldn't be putting pressure onto others to "support her the right way". She needs to be able to tell you what she needs or she needs to figure it out with her therapist.
 

Freida

Sponsor
Can you suggest a way I can help her see this is what she is doing
Nope. That's going to be a big part of what she will be doing in therapy - learning her triggers, learning coping skills, learning when she's deflecting or dissociating and when she's not. And until she knows what will help her she can't answer what helps her...if that makes sense?

It's wonderful that you want to help, but you may not be able to right now - and that is something she and her t will need to talk about --- how she can accept that this is her is issue and what she wants from others.

I think that is pretty common....we are so tied up in our own nightmare that we don't know what we want from others

Basically we can be a bunch of cranky toddlers who want someone else to give us a cookie and make us feel better rather than doing what we should do -- like go take a nap! 😁
Do you mean that I am becoming connected in her mind to how bad she feels ??
Possibly? Does she think of you as part of the cause of her trauma? Or has she connected you as someone who didn't support her during the events that led to her ptsd?

It doesn't mean that it's true...just that our brains get so tangled up that sometimes we have a hard time identifying who the bad guy is, and then we take our feelings out on those closest to us.

PTSD is one of those things that doesn't make sense to the sufferer or the supporter because it is so individual to each person. Especially when first starting therapy -- that is a beotch because treatment means you get worse before you get better. And that can happen over and over and over - every time a new thing comes up. So getting those coping skills down is super important. But you cant do it for her.
 

annette1957

New Here
Thanks again all but I still seem to be going round in circles. I don’t know what to do to help my daughter and she’s doesn’t know what will help. She doesn’t know if the therapy is helping, she doesn’t know if she should take a break from EDMR. She doesn’t want to start all over again with a new therapist but may be this one isn’t able to support or reassure her.

She said she needs to feel safe. If I say “you are safe” she still says she doesn’t feel supported or reassured. She says her therapist isn’t being supportive and also the t doesn’t know what the answer is ( ie what is the best way forward)

My daughter made an interesting analogy. She said if she was ill in any other way she wouldn’t be expected to come up with the answers about what will help, the doctor would know what treatment to give.
Mental health is so complicated.
As it is she’s been seeing various therapists for about 4 years now and nothing seems to have helped much.

Sorry if this is just an out pouring but my daughter has come to stay for a few days it’s been a difficult day and tomorrow could be worse.
 

Sweetpea76

Moderator
Just because she says she doesn’t feel supported doesn’t mean you aren’t being supportive. Sometimes you can do flaming backflips with a rose clamped between your teeth and it’s still not enough. She feels like shit, and it sounds like nobody helping her is making the cut right now.

Be kind to yourself mama... stay patient, stay calm, and try not to take it so personally. Easier said than done, I know.
 

DharmaGirl

MyPTSD Pro
She said if she was ill in any other way she wouldn’t be expected to come up with the answers about what will help, the doctor would know what treatment to give.
The doctor (psychologist} does know what treatment to give her. EMDR. Or CBT. Or DBT. To continue her analogy, I had back pain for the last 10 years. I had surgery which fixed the pain for about 6 months, then the surgeon decided it was all in my head since his surgery didn't fix it. That's what happens when doctors have a case they don't know how to fix. After 10 years I found a surgeon who did the correct surgery and fused my spine. This caused huge pain, worse than any pain I had. After about 2 months, the pain started going away. Now I have little pain. The surgeon did his job and isn't interested in the pain or problems while healing. For that, you go to a physical therapist. The physical therapist gives you stuff to work on and you find what works for you. That is what therapy is like. You find the right therapist and therapy, then there is a lot more pain than usual and you start to see results. Also, when I have issues my doctor always asks me what I want to do about it.

Part of her problem is that she is not owning what is hers to deal with. I really think she needs to stop EMDR until she can come up with self-soothing exercises and be able to ground herself. This could be CBT therapy. If she is unable to handle the therapy, she is not ready. Of course I don't know her so I could be dead wrong. I don't think I am. I had therapy for about 6 years, and continue to have it. I use this website to heal. It's interesting that she isn't on here looking for ways to help herself. I hope you get to the point where you feel it's ok for her to have to struggle without having to fix it, since it is best for her to be able to fix it herself.
 

Friday

Moderator
Can you suggest a way I can help her see this is what she is doing
How much do you want to fight with her?

I don’t fight with my son... everyone else I push to their limits. What Will you do when provoked? Come AT me, motherf*cker. SHOW ME. Who. You. Are.

My kid? I suck it up for. Because I’m Mom. I’m safe. I’m going to be the one that catches every iota of bad behavior. And every -do you still love Meeeeeee- moment (until he finds a partner who holds his heart).

My kid? The only way I show him what he’s doing is by showing him my own past & what I’ve done, and then stepping back and letting him process it. He’s too old (teenager) for me to boss. I can only influence. And only as much as he lets me. So I DO call him out, when he’s being an ass. As I would anyone I care about. But I don’t fight with him over stupid shit, because he’s tired and in pain. The same way I didn’t fight with him when he was a toddler & losing his mind over this/that/the other. <<< My rule about getting emotionally invested in an argument with a child? Is that it’s like getting emotionally invested in an argument with a piece of furniture. We ALL do it it, from time to time, but it’s usually regrettable & solves nothing. >>> It’s much the same with people in pain. Regardless of their age.

My daughter made an interesting analogy. She said if she was ill in any other way she wouldn’t be expected to come up with the answers about what will help, the doctor would know what treatment to give.
Trauma Therapy isn’t like going to the doctor with a sore throat, or broken arm, or a regular therapist for life-woe-stuff... where you feel better almost immediately. It’s like going to a physical therapist after getting reconstructive surgery. Where it will HURT, and be exhausting, and there is a helluva lot of work involved. And sweat/blood/tears IF you do the work to get better. And then you do. But it will get worse first. And it will be exhausting during.
 

lostforgottensoul

MyPTSD Pro
My daughter made an interesting analogy. She said if she was ill in any other way she wouldn’t be expected to come up with the answers about what will help, the doctor would know what treatment to give
Others have said the same. Mental health therapy doesn't work like that. The therapist guides and the patient does the work. Only you can fix you in mental health. The therapist only guides. It often gets worse before it gets better. Think of it like getting out of a forrest. You aren't going anywhere unless you walk. You might have harder times to come where you have to fight through weeds but you have to, to get out. It's a lot like that. She is wanting someone to fix her for her and it doesn't work like that.


She said she needs to feel safe
And she may not no matter what others say or do. Feeling safe takes time and may not come if she is going through the mud of trauma. Understand that you may not make her feel safe and that is ok and will come with time. Just do what you are doing. You seem to be doing it all right!
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
She said she needs to feel safe. If I say “you are safe” she still says she doesn’t feel supported or reassured. She says her therapist isn’t being supportive and also the t doesn’t know what the answer is ( ie what is the best way forward)
Awww, she is hurting. Therapy is unbelievably painful. Of course she wants you to take the pain away and for her therapist to do that too. Sadly, the answers to her pain are inside of her. Only she can do this and only she can make this better. She needs a little mindshift, but she will do that in her own time.

I agree with what everyone else says here.

What I also would add is: OMG! A mum and daughter who share not only the fact there is a mental health diagnosis for the daughter, but the mum knows the daughter has therapy, and when that therapy is, and speaks to her about it, and goes on a forum to get more advice to support daughter???? OMG. Sorry to make this next bit about me: but this is mountains apart from my experience of what a patent does and thinks. So whilst she is saying that she doesn't feel supported, she is actually being supported by you. You are considering her and her needs (parents do that?!).
I hope she can get to see that in time.
(I also wonder how old she is? And I also wonder, like others have said here, if the CPTSD there are bits she links with you. And I also wonder if, at some point, a few family therapy sessions together might help? )
 
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