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If You Didn't Have A Chance To Build A Self Before Complex Trauma

Discussion in 'Core Beliefs / Cognitive Distortions' started by Living in the 70s, Dec 27, 2013.

  1. Cactus Bloom

    Cactus Bloom Active Member

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    I’m so sorry. I feel so unconnected from myself and others also and it’s really hard to go through “life” not having this connection and for you, not having memories of your childhood. Sometimes I think it would be a blessing not to remember but I know it doesn’t really work that way. Have you experienced flashbacks or have memories that pop up out of the blue about anything in your childhood that caused the amnesia?
     
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  3. Didn’t know

    Didn’t know Member

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    Fiona,
    Thank you for your response. What I wrote is a bit confusing, I will elaborate.

    Initially, until over 30 years ago, I had no memories whatsoever of life before age ten. It's hard to believe but I really didn't give it much thought. Again, I didn't know what I didn't know.

    Then I began to have flashbacks and nightmares. I had panic attacks after seeing a red truck. I awoke screaming in response to a spider plant hanging near my bed. The plant looked like a person standing over me. I was fortunate to find a therapist who knew about PTSD and I began treatment. I was hospitalized for severe depression and during my hospital stay I was diagnosed as DID (MPD at that time). Over many years I was able to access much of my abuse history through alters who spoke in therapy. I was able to piece together a semi coherent history and I was fortunate to receive needed confirmation of some of it from family and documents.

    However, many of the more minor details of childhood did not return. I suppose now as I write this that is odd. The memories came through alters and were not remembered in a straight line.
    They are disjointed and specific to the abuse. I still have amnesia regarding most of my life under age 10-12 years old. In stark contrast, after my mother left my abuser, I have more memories of normal mundane things although not as many as I perceive most people remember.

    I'm not sure this makes sense to you. It is my experience and it feels normal to me. I wonder if there are others who have similar experiences? I would be interested in hearing from others.
     
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  4. shimmerz

    shimmerz My silence spoke a thousand words you never heard Premium Member

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    It's true. It is something that needs to be done oneself Living, but what I see about you is a relentless pursuit of your own health. I wonder how often you tell that to yourself? Because I think that is your 'self'. Your authentic self.

    I am not certain if it will help, but I have gone through the 'I have no self' nightmare. It is so, so incredibly difficult. I can't even find words to explain how this felt to me. And I think what happened to me is that I recognized that me was made up of programs that belonged to other people. When I broke through it was because I recognized that there were 'self' things that peeked through.
    1. Tenacity as it related to my healing and other things. I claimed that as ME.
    2. My body. Everything I did for my body I claimed as ME. Good and bad. Responsibility for self was huge.
    3. My thoughts. I had to own those. If I was thinking I was a freaking moron then I had to own that. It was only when I owned it that I was able to stake a claim to what I wanted to be thinking - not just what I had been programmed to think.
    4. Feldenkrais. I notice you have listed the Alexander Technique. Feldenkrais is gentle for me. Lots of youtube videos on how to tune into a part of your body. I wonder if you are attempting to feel 'too much' of your body? I don't know exactly what your experience of this was or is, but for me any body work needs to be crazy mindfully slow. I use my hands a bunch in Feldenkrais because there are tons of neurotranmitters in the hands so if I get them calm, then I know what calm feels like.

    Now please, I am not saying you aren't doing these things. I just know that I had crazy issues with my body and have dug my way out. But I also realized that there were so many things in play in trying to attach to my body.
    1. What was I thinking at the time I was trying to connect to my body? I had a mantra and I focused on it. Ho'oponopono was what I used. That isn't for everyone.
    2. Did I want to own my body? If not, no body work today or it would just entrench the 'I hate/don't give a shit about my body' program that I was used to.
    3. List of things that I appreciate my body for.
    4. Breathing was a huge deal for me. I see it is for you too. I learned to teach myself relaxed breathing when I was feeling well only. Never in crisis.

    Much warmth to you in your struggle with this. Please don't forget to remind yourself of the victories and keep reminding yourself of that very cool tenacity that I see so clearly in you.
     
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  5. DharmaGirl

    DharmaGirl Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member Donated

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    Thank you so much for writing the list. It will be so helpful. I haven't been working on stuff for so long, just living in my little world doing my stuff.
    Now I found a great trauma therapist, I will be working hard and going through stuff again so this list will provide so much help for me. Some of this stuff never occurs for me to work on, but now that I have a therapist who I can trust, I guess I will be less dissociated.

    @Beans, when you said," Just looking at others trying to feign a normal life", did you mean all others? I see lots of people pretending to have a normal life, and they don't have any mental illness. I think it is a huge challenge for anyone to live a life that expresses who they are, rather than what society expects from us. This is another issue for me. I watch a lot of homesteading videos, so I have the idea that lots and lots of people are living like I do, but that's not the truth. Not many are. I want to live a back to nature, hippy farmer life, but it is hard to be true to yourself when you are tired, or afraid, or any of the lovely symptoms of PTSD. My father was big on doing what made you happy, rather than successful, and that was a good lesson.
     
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  6. Living in the 70s

    Living in the 70s "Go dté tú slán" Premium Member Donated

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    Thank you for your considered response, it means a lot.


    Can you tell me more about this please? I am not sure what you mean.

    I am not quite sure what you mean? Can you tell me more please?
     
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  7. Living in the 70s

    Living in the 70s "Go dté tú slán" Premium Member Donated

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    It is really tough, and yes practice in a calm situation.
     
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  8. Living in the 70s

    Living in the 70s "Go dté tú slán" Premium Member Donated

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    That really could be a thing!
     
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  9. shimmerz

    shimmerz My silence spoke a thousand words you never heard Premium Member

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    Well, I think what I am trying to say is that I hear you in your frustrations. I get it totally. I am just wondering how often you focus on what an incredible job you do in your tenacity day by day and minute by minute to improve your situation. I am just concerned that you are focusing mostly on what you can't do. I only say this because I got stuck there too. And a lot of that was because I wasn't able to breathe or feel my body. Consistently. So frustrating.

    I have a theory, and it is only a theory, that we get to our authentic 'selves' when we are able to incorporate our body, heart, mind and soul in being aware of each other and to be in sync in a meaningfully positive way. I had to put my attention on each and really work to own each of those pieces of myself. I realize that through the abuse I suffered that I lost (or given away) 'pieces' of myself to my abusers. I had to reclaim those by breaking attachments to the people, the abuses, current and past dysfunctional shit. Once I broke those attachments I was able to move forward and rebuild my authentic self. This is a process that I am still in. I am seeing many, many shifts in myself as I rebuild. I have learned to come from a place of 'I' (authenticity). I don't take others thoughts or opinions about myself into consideration much these days. Not like the old me at all.

    Worse than tough because I am literally frozen inside my body. I figured that out when I started on the CBD and noticed that my back was able to move again. It made my window of tolerance larger so I wasn't triggering over everything as quickly as I used to. I am wondering if you have a strong freeze response yourself? If so, that may well be why you are having such a difficult time breathing. I mean, literally my diaphragm was so frozen that even with really conscious effort I couldn't 'breathe' the way everyone was telling me to. The CBD has loosened up my muscles - and it is a chronic freeze state I am in because when the CBD oil wears off I know it. I can feel myself stiffen up like a board again. So frustrating.

    I am not sure if you are aware of my situation at all but I used to go catatonic (extreme freeze state). Regularly. Like for days at a time or sometimes many times in a day. I couldn't get myself out of these states if my life depended on it. I kept trying to move but not a chance.

    Then I scaled down and tried to get my baby finger to move. It worked. Then 2 fingers while catatonic. Then my whole hand. Then my arm. You see, I couldn't will my whole body to move, but if I started with a tiny section of myself - well that led to success.

    I really do strongly recommend the Feldenkrais Method. They literally work with kids and people who have missed developmental targets (like us). They have a few videos on Youtube that show the process of a baby and how they 'get into their bodies'. Something, it seems that you and I never had the luxury of doing.

    And really, I have had kids and I recognize how intensive their struggle is to claim their body. It takes a long time to master it, you know? And Feldenkrais seemed so stupid to me early on when I was exploring it because it was so slow. I felt like an idiot doing some of the stuff because it seems like nothing useful. But it is. I am actually starting to feel again (not pain, but I will keep trying). I am realizing that my brain is so active because I am not focusing on my body. Did you know that people generally do that? lol. Let me answer that for you. Me neither. But now I am noticing that I am noticing different muscles while I am walking. Because I have literally been purposely mapping to my brain different areas of my body.

    No idea if this makes sense to you at all and please I am not offended if you feel it is a bunch of hooey. If anything resonates with you then I am thrilled. And please don't hesitate to ask if you require clarification on anything that seems relevant to your situation.
     
  10. Living in the 70s

    Living in the 70s "Go dté tú slán" Premium Member Donated

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    You are most welcome!

    It is only a small snapshot of the things that I have attempted and done, I hope that it will be useful for you, but you may require a different combination of things than what I did/do. I don't have the answers, and I have gone up a lot of dead ends for me!
     
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  11. Living in the 70s

    Living in the 70s "Go dté tú slán" Premium Member Donated

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    Rarely

    Well you are totally on the mark there. That is my abiding focus.

    Yeah well I am stuck there, that is for sure. Thanks for your insight.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2018
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  12. DharmaGirl

    DharmaGirl Crazy Chicken Lady Premium Member Donated

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    I wish you could see yourself as we do. I've had others describe me, and I was amazed at how they saw me. I keep seeing the worst, but when I look around, I see the best in others. I should give myself that gift. It is hard to do when you were left with no doubt that you were fat, ugly, stupid and not deserving of friends or a good life.

    People make fun of being politically correct, but since it is not ok to make fun of fat people in person any more, I feel better about doing things. They still do it on the internet, but not in person so much. I think it is a good thing. Language makes a difference!
     
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  13. Living in the 70s

    Living in the 70s "Go dté tú slán" Premium Member Donated

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    It certainly does make a different!

    I have never really had ongoing positive reflection from say a parent, so I wish I could understand how other people see me, because what I see is very poor indeed.
     
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