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I am asking for some possible assistance, please. Overwhelming guilt & shame.

Shaylee

MyPTSD Pro
I am thoroughly mortified I can’t figure out something that should be simple. However, I would rather bear my anxiety and panic in asking for help so I can hopefully figure this out.

I wrote this post in my journal yesterday.

I want suggestions, if poor possible, on how to… fix? this. My guilt and complete shame in what I have apparently done is suffocating me. However, with everything I have learned in the past 2 months, I am doubtful I would handle this in a healthy manner. I would appreciate some suggestions, guidance, opinions, or ideas. I am hopeful she is an actual friend and it can be fixed. She is only 1 of 2 I have so each one is precious to me and since I f*cked up somewhere I would like to fix it if possible.

I apologize if I am not being clear but I am not in a good place at the moment and having some issues focusing on what i am typing. I have proofread several times but I may have missed things. Sorry.

Thank you in advance.
 
something that should be simple
i watch myself when i start shoulding around, especially when i am assuming ^it^ is simple. all too often, it is the simple things which are hardest to actually do. what is shouldy or simple about that?
My guilt and complete shame in what I have apparently done is suffocating me.
i often wonder if guilt and shame literally suffocate us by shutting off oxygen to the brain. for sure, i, up close and personal, have the IQ of a whiskey bottle when attempting to function under the influence of guilt and shame. i at least start the process of self-forgiveness before attempting to make amends for wrongs i have done.
with everything I have learned in the past 2 months, I am doubtful I would handle this in a healthy manner
perhaps the most important thing i have learned in my recovery is that it is seldom healthy to handle things alone. humans are a gregarious species. as much as i hate to admit it, i have learned to accept that i am merely human. bearing that in mind helps with the self-forgiveness.
 
It’s hard to pinpoint stuff like this when the ones giving tips aren’t the ones in the room with you. I could help far more if I was able to interact with you in person and get a better feel for what they mean.

Since that’s not a possibility, what I would do is bring this to my therapist and see if we can do some role play. It feels weird, I’ve had to do it a few times with my therapist for various conversations. But they would have more context and ability to be able to guide you in how to communicate more effectively.

I’m sorry that happened though, the feelings from it are horrible I know ❤️
 
I could help far more if I was able to interact with you in person and get a better feel for what they mean.
Understandable, thank you.

Since that’s not a possibility, what I would do is bring this to my therapist and see if we can do some role play.
I thought about this but I don’t see her for almost a week. I am extremely leery of letting things like this sit for that kind of time, kind of sends up a ton of red flags 🚩 for my brain.
 
That she invited you over afterwards says to me that she wants to still be friends and does not think of you as a horrible person.

I think the key here is that what you perceive as coming out of your mouth is different than what your neighbor and daughter perceive. That's a confusing place to be, I'm sure, and it makes sense that all the guilt and shame of PTSD would pile up. But that's also a very different thing than being a bad or horrible person! I've had similar things come up, and I know how painful it can be.

I do think your therapist will be able to help you put together a plan to move forward.
 
Second what @Wendell_R said.

you’ve been given some (difficult) feedback from your daughter and a neighbour. We all have our flaws. It doesn’t mean you are terrible and everyone hates you.
the reality is:
you have a husband (a life long relationship)
a daughter (a life long relationship)
a neighbour , who is your friend as well as a neighbour.
that shows you’re able to manage relationships. You have people in your life.

it really difficult hearing something that others find hard about ourselves. But, it is ok.
maybe reframe it? They want relationships with you so they have given you an opportunity to think about one aspect of your behaviour that they find hard, so that you can be aware and change and your relationships flourish even more. See it as a gift they have given you to maintain these relationships and let them blossom?
rather than a terrible flaw.
as it isn’t a terrible flaw.

you’re not belittling someone.
you’re not mistreating them.
you’re not dismissing them.
you’re not emotionally abusing them.
you’re not pushcislly abusing them.
you are just, sometimes, they think, telling them what to do. And jeez, we all do that sometimes!

so see it as a loving gift. And you can repay the gift by understanding, learning, and growing. Like we all try to do each day. We’re all the same.
 
so just to be clear -- this is a neighbor you are good friends with, not just a "neighbor"?

Because in that case I think she was actually trying to help by pointing out something you do that she doesn't think is really a big deal. That's why she laughed - because she isn't upset about it. Shes just letting you know it's there. Kind of like lettuce in your teeth.

And I totally get it. I was in 911 for 23 years and dispatchers are THE bossiest people you will ever meet. 😁 It's a job requirement. Plus I'm the oldest child - a double whammy.

I used to be totally unaware of it, because everyone around me was the same way. See a thing, fix a thing, move on to next thing. Stopping to ask if someone wanted my help? yaaaa..nope.

My non 911 friends started calling me out on it because I was making them crazy. As hubby said "stop treating problems at home like events you need to manage!"

Was that tough to hear? Yep
Did they say it to be mean? Nope
Did they laugh about it? Yep
Because they weren't trying to hurt me. They were trying to make me aware of my conversation style because it was annoying.

Kind of like lettuce in your teeth - you WANT your friends to point those things out so you can make changes without drama. 🤗
 
IME, until I can step away from the guilt/shame I cannot do jack to change anything.

So that’s step 1, for me. Divorce myself from my emotions, to be able to look at something calmly/cooly/rationally.

What can be a SMIDGE alarming? Is, once having done that, I’m absolutely unwilling / have zero desire to change those things I feel badly about. IE it’s not actually about WHAT I’m doing, but the EFFECT they have on others I love, that I care about. Which means taking a different tack than changing those aspects of my behavior.

For example? When I’m excited? I interrupt people.

Amongst my best friends… that creates a synergy… each of us leapfrogging off of the other person until we have a SHAZAAM! kind of breakthrough, or consensus, or whatever. Each of us adding into a -now- complete whole. That is either fun, or necessary, to get to.

A LOT of people? Take any kind of interruption not as deep involvement/interest/excitement in what THEY are speaking on, but disrespect, dismissal, & insult. So instead of a synergistic meeting of minds, they shut down, shut off, enrage, disengage. <<< That’s EITHER a personality mismatch, or situational thing.

You’re a backseat driver, according to the people who know you best.
I interrupt people, according to the people who know me best.

NEITHER IS INHERANTLY BAD. (Directors, scientists, project managers, teachers, etc. use the “telling others what to do, when, & how” / IE backseat driving… to their profound professional advantage). But? Like MOST personality traits, and behavior patterns, they will annoy the f*ck out of a lot of people, or almost anyone in certain situations. When we care about some of those people we’re driving crazy? It’s useful to learn to put a leash on certain behaviours around them. Not because the behaviour is inherently bad, or because we’re bad people… but because it annoys the f*ck out of them, and we’d rather not do that.
 
I think the key here is that what you perceive as coming out of your mouth is different than what your neighbor and daughter perceive.
Ok, I can see that, thank you 🙏

so see it as a loving gift.
🤨 A very strange perspective. I haven’t ever had an experience where someone doesn’t like something about me and it being a loving thing. However, given everything else you stated, I can see your point. I will need to mull this over.

so just to be clear -- this is a neighbor you are good friends with, not just a "neighbor"?
Yes, she is the one I am getting Ms. Tiki from hopefully. (If everyone is right and she hasn’t disowned me.)

Kind of like lettuce in your teeth.
Ok, kind of goes along, I think, with what @Movingforward10 was saying also. Thank you for the analogy.

Because they weren't trying to hurt me. They were trying to make me aware of my conversation style because it was annoying.
Ok, I can sort of relate to that. I was a CNA then LPN in an ER for several years. I also have pretty much always been a manager in every other job I have held. Plus I have raised 4 kids to adulthood (Pretty certain a mom factor is running around somewhere). So I can see how the different speaking styles would impact my personal life over time. This would possibly alter my perception and then goes along with what @Wendell_R said.

Which means taking a different tack than changing those aspects of my behavior.
Ok, I don’t have to change completely to suit them and be acceptable again?

For example? When I’m excited? I interrupt people.
Thank you for the example. I actually thoroughly understand. I do the same. I rope it in as much as possible (it is a dead-giveaway I am excited) with everyone but my sister. My sister I don’t have to. It’s like we speak each other’s language. We have many times have had multiple conversations at the same time. One of my daughters said it gave her a headache to listen to my sister and I talk and did not know how on earth we kept anything straight. I remember feeling like it was such a freeing experience to not have someone get mad at me for a change.

It’s useful to learn to put a leash on certain behaviours around them. Not because the behaviour is inherently bad, or because we’re bad people… but because it annoys the f*ck out of them, and we’d rather not do that.
So, I need to first of all figure out what I am doing to make them think I’m ‘backseat driving’ and then treat it like my interruption issue, because, no, I really don’t want to be annoying. It scares me to death to annoy people.




Ok. So in summary talk to my therapist about it. I am more than likely making a mountain out of a molehill. She was actually being a loving friend by communicating something I should be aware of not attacking me. What I was/am doing/saying doesn’t necessarily make me a bad person, it is more or less a misperception on my part of what I consider ok versus what she does. I just need to understand what I am doing/saying so I can restrain myself without necessarily changing myself for her.

Thank you. I have had tears falling all day. I still feel extremely devastated and betrayed all at the same time. Your different perspectives, while not altering how I feel, have calmed me down quite a bit. (I am happy to say I was finally able to take a nap.) I have some doubts as to my reactions (a beginning I think?) which gives me a very small… glimmer of possibility that things may be ok? Maybe it can wait until I speak to my T on Wednesday? (Still feeling an extreme sense of urgency).

This went exceptionally better than I what I envisioned. I almost passed out from hyperventilating of sheer terror on what would be said trying to post this here.

Again, thank you. 🙏
 
Maybe it can wait until I speak to my T on Wednesday? (Still feeling an extreme sense of urgency).
Learning to live with this and giving it time is huge. I don't know if early life for you was similar but I think a lot of us who were not allowed to 'get things wrong' (i.e. be human) as a child otherwise something terrible would happen, go into this hyperarousal state and can only calm if it is immediately sorted (i.e. placate danger).
But: this isn't that. And learning that it isn't that. And learning that discomfort is sometimes part of life. And managing these emotions, is all part of the healing journey.
You're doing great!
This went exceptionally better than I what I envisioned.
And yay to this! Again, a learning and healing moment. It's ok to say these things. It's ok to expect to be met with kindness when you say these things.
It's not the past. There is no shame in this.
 
Complete agreement with @Movingforward10 , not just about your experience, but ours as well! We were definitely not allowed to get things wrong when we were young, with all the PTSD aftermath.

I am more than likely making a mountain out of a molehill.
We find it useful to think, "What would a non-PTSD person feel or do in this situation?" From what you've said, this IS more than a molehill, but not an insurmountable mountain either. Addressing it is doable, but hearing the message would be hard even if you didn't have PTSD. Knowing that can help you understand and have compassion for all the feelings that have come up, while also helping you to come up with a plan forward with T.
 
I think you're getting very mired down in your own feelings of self-loathing. Their statements may or may not be the 100% reality of the situation. But what is true is that you are using those words to berate yourself about how much of a miserable piece of shit you are.

That's coming from the fact that you already think this about yourself, and this is just "confirmation" that it is true. My best advice here is to just look at the situation, examine it from all angles, remove your thoughts/opinions/feelings, and just lay out the facts of what happened. You can check with others if you want. They may agree or they may not. And then look at it and decide, did you do some shit that you regret? Then change that.

There's no mythological "who you are." There's no over-arching, unchanging "self." You have the power, and the choice, to choose your actions at any moment in time. Being likable? Is a skill. It's a social skill, that can be developed over time. The fact that you aren't liked right now could be because you're unlikable, or it could be because you're surrounded by unreasonable people. Sometimes that's hard to discern in and of itself.

But what you need to work on first, is genuinely how you feel about yourself, because until that stuff is sorted, any number of little tiffs like this are going to set all that off. And, if people don't like you? You can either: accept that how you prefer to navigate the world is something the people around you don't jive with, and they can suck it up and either deal with it or stop interacting with you. Or as a thinking, feeling, sentient being: you can choose to change how you act.

There really is no mythological "good person" or "bad person." The fact that these specific people don't like you in a specific moment doesn't make you worthless. There's just neurochemistry, electrons, and particles in synchronous orbit. That's it, that's all we are. Circuits firing. We are just fortunate enough to have this strange thing called Consciousness.
 
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