Other Let's talk about dehumanization.

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
Because that's a fun subject, right? Snorf. And on the merry-go-round we go.

I've been slowly plonking away all this PTSD shtuff, and I've gotten pretty good at it over the years! I have some emotional responses now. They're genuine. I feel some actual feelings and it's totally bananas because I'm 31 and I just didn't have these experiences before now. So neurogenesis is a very real thing. I cheat-coded my own brain and fell flat on my face into trauma lama ding dong. 5g of powdered PE psilocybin mushrooms'll do that to ya. 36g over 4 months, well. All my neurons are growing little potato branches, maybe.

So it's better. But it's also harder. I cry more now. I'm more reactive now. I get triggered now. I did in the past as well in this fractured dissociated way that I can assess based on reading even my own past replies here which are not coherently structured. The dissociation? Off the charts. But my recollection of my own general life is that for the most part I did not have emotional sensations that were similar to what I'm currently experiencing now.

A lot of my trauma and PTSD symptoms were based on neurophysiological responses to stressors that were very apparent to anyone who bothers to speak to me for longer than 20 seconds. It's like this guy I met on the street he said he walked here from New Brunswick and offered me the shoes off his own feet, said he came here out of Liberia (what is it with these Liberian dudes and the f*cking shoes???) told me about his time in the army, he poked me right in the chest and went "you're good, brotha." And then just walked the f*ck away. Wut. You cannot f*ckin' make this shit up! Damon was with me. That really happened.

One time a guy parked at the library ushered me to his van and like the stupid little idiot I am I merrily went over and got in his van and he said "let me get you some tea, let me tell you about the Syrian civil war." Sure, buddy. You tell me about the Syrian civil war, I got you. The schizophrenic at Alderney always sits by me and talks to me because I gave her $10 and a Tim Hortons coffee one time. The very next day she asked for more but I didn't have it 'cuz I'm broke, too. But all this shit to say, and it's a lot of blah that is tweedling around going nowhere, sometimes I feel like people can just tell that I'm f*cked up.

Sometimes I feel so, so, so. Out of place. Disconnected. Alienated. Othered. Isolated. Alone. You are alone. Yo, you remember that Star Trek episode where the Borg Queen was berating Seven of Nine on Voyager? It goes like this:

Borg Drone: Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix 01. You have left the Collective. It was a foolish decision. Now you are alone. You have lost the many. You are only one. You've become human, weak, pathetic. Humans do not have our strength. They are imperfect. Now you are imperfect as well.
Seven of Nine: No.
Borg Drone: You will not survive. You cannot survive without the Collective.
Seven of Nine: I will adapt.
Borg Drone: By becoming weaker, less perfect.
Seven of Nine: I will adapt as an individual.
Borg Drone: One. One alone. A Borg cannot be one.
Seven of Nine: I will become stronger.
Borg Drone: A Borg cannot be one. You will die as one.

Silly, goofy shit, but sometimes that's how it goes. Very often I feel like I'm in a culture of one. None the other people around me get it, not really. Most people I encounter in my life they don't get it but the ones who do on the streets here they always pick me out because you know I'm the guy that stops and talks to them. We had a guy come up on us today, Alex his name was? and he was talking about the old gangs, and I said we have to leave. That's our ride *vaguely gestures to some stranger's car*. Because I couldn't say please shut the f*ck up about shit you do not know what you are talking about.

Anyway, f*ck's sake, I keep burying and burying this lede. Dehumanization. The definition of dehumanization is whatever, let me define it how I want to talk about it. Dehumanization being an action that you took or that was done to you or forced upon you in some way, circumstances that you encountered that created a feeling that you were not an actual sentient, cognitive, special, individual human person. Whatever spirit you got, whatever that life force inside of us is and cognizance and consciousness and abilities and personalities, that stuff is gone. You're nothing-but.

This is the one trigger that will trip me up and wreck my day out the gate every f*cking day. I don't know how to get over it and how to move past it, y'know? And I am just blah-ing my own shit all over this spaghettified diary-lite entry but I really do mean to open this up as a very broad conversation amongst those of us in "The Club" (if you know, you know.) who get it. Dehumanization. What do you do you're at the gas station you want some f*ckin' Pall Malls but the kid at the register's lookin' sleepy and he's just a baby, really. Remember the time you played dead amongst the corpses? Remember the time they cut that motherf*cker's head off?

And you're like. How. How do you interact with other people. Because some days I just don't got it, I just don't. I drop the ball. I get it wrong. I am cold and callous and unprofessional and messy and weird and inappropriate and I don't want to be. I'm a fleshy weird puking walking grievance and I don't want to be. I feel like all these trauma homies come at me because they just see it rising up off me in invisible waves. How do you be? What is it that helps you to gain a surer foothold in the struggle for consideration of your spirit? Your soul? Identity? Whatever. I'm religious but I get it, not everyone is. Your, sense. Your self. Mind, thoughts.

Even the most mundane things will trip me up. I can watch people talking and if they only knew. BAM! And on and on it goes.

So, yah. That's my spiel. Weemie out.
 

frogthroat

MyPTSD Pro
This is the one trigger that will trip me up and wreck my day out the gate every f*cking day. I don't know how to get over it and how to move past it, y'know? And I am just blah-ing my own shit all over this spaghettified diary-lite entry but I really do mean to open this up as a very broad conversation amongst those of us in "The Club" (if you know, you know.) who get it. Dehumanization.
I have never gotten over dehumanization. I'm only addressing it now. I was told by my trauma therapist that only way you start to overcome that is by forming intimate connections with others, feeling like you're part of a community, and allowing yourself to be vulnerable when you feel safe. 🙄 "Safe" isn't something I understand yet because technically you're never completely safe but that's a whole other conversation.
I've always dealt with it by being overly independent but I always get to where I can hardly function. Then I have to seek help. Recently I told my therapist to stop babying me and he said he's not but to me anyone expressing empathy or concern is treating me like a helpless baby bird. I hate that. I hate it when I wake up and I feel like a used condom and it burns so bad that I cry and automatically know I'm gonna f*ck my day up on purpose. It's like you want to feel important and needed but at the same time it pisses you off. It seems like a show of weakness and so the wounds are never really properly tended to because part of it involves putting some trust in at least a few people. That's hard to do when everyone is suspicious because you've seen the absolutely most depraved shit humans can do. To imagine loving and trusting one person, to imagine loving and trusting myself after the repulsive shit I've done to survive seems surreal.
I totally understand about the street people. I've always felt the most comfortable around them, the people I've met in dive bars, on 2nd floor, or at random parties. They're kind of honest in how dishonest they are. Like you're having a beer and joking with Joe Blow but you also know he has the capacity to slit your throat with a straight razor. It's weird. I feel the most comfortable around the people I know would f*ck me over in 2 seconds. People have always seemed comfortable trauma dumping on me too which I don't really mind. If you're comfortable with me then I'm not gonna judge you and I'm also never going to see you again after this event or whatever.
That's my take on it. I could write more but I would have to start dividing it into chapters.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
I was told by my trauma therapist that only way you start to overcome that is by forming intimate connections with others, feeling like you're part of a community
This was hammered into me over and over again as a kid and I genuinely believe it's the right answer. I just don't know how this is done. Every time I try, I'm wrong-footed, somehow. Somewhere in-between the head injuries and developmental problems I got saddled with there's a minefield of Shit that also just... is asocial.

Working internal relationships models, nope. Family dynamics, nah. Aggression and impulsivity, check. Empathy shit, check. Personality shit, check. Trauma shit, check. And how much of that asociality comes back to formative... getting 'shocked' out of the ordinary. Whether that's through having holes put in my brain from drugs and constant unrelenting violence or it's just plain wiring.

This sense of dehumanization and how much of that strips away one's ability to engage with other human beings functionally. One time on voice chat my friends were just shooting the shit about a game they were playing and I had to straight up leave because I couldn't deal with them talking about a game because I couldn't scrub memories out of my mind and I'm trying to play Uno like you're a villain and a monster, you're depraved and evil and everybody knows you're Marked and they can Tell, laaa laaa laaa, the flames get higher.

We were at the lake today and these two older ladies were about and I was able to be social with them and talk to them but little things are still off. I say shit and come back to find out it's totally out of my hands and I've hurt people. I don't know, maybe it's just plain old lack of intelligence.

At what point do you go from wanting to be a good person to accepting that at the end of the day you've been corrupted (this is language that I found in a document my therapist sent me that I don't think she fully vetted, but it was rough to hear because surprise That's A Core Insecurity.) I've been corrupted by this shit. And I'm not a normal person because my brain and mind and body and spirit are fundamentally divorced from regular ordinary Human Things.

Recently I told my therapist to stop babying me and he said he's not but to me anyone expressing empathy or concern is treating me like a helpless baby bird.
Comfort's hard for me, too. And self-soothing. When I was a little kid I'd have full blown meltdowns every time an adult spoke softly to me or tried to touch me. I know some of that's attachment shit. I had some of that "holding therapy" shit done on me. Didn't help, and my face was always itchy from an errant hair, that pissed me off. Heh.

I think we're taught how to accept comfort as kids and when that's inconsistent, absent or downright depraved it messes us all up. Accepting kindness and empathy get trickier because they're wrapped up in expectations and manipulations and false rules and sadistic mindgames.

Or it's yanked out from you chaotically and you're beaten down at the moment of vulnerability instead.

People have always seemed comfortable trauma dumping on me too which I don't really mind.
I never minded it either. Feeds into that "Outsider" mentality though on days like today. I'm the grim reaper walking around and everybody knows it. But, ya know, that'd require me to be special and I'm not. I'm just some guy with shit luck.

That's my take on it. I could write more but I would have to start dividing it into chapters.
Really appreciated you taking the time to read and respond, Frog. Thank you very much, truly.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
OK, the other stuff I wanted to say on this thread took me a bit to pluck up the courage. During a particularly intensive therapy session, K told me "it was natural that you dehumanized them in your mind." Because I struggle to remember their names and faces and genders and where they were and who they were, and who all was there.

Not only was I dehumanized but I also objectively dehumanized other people. So what does that mean? It's cyclical then. Because the goal was always to reward brutality and discourage compassion. To discourage enlightenment and ordinary human things. So I'm a part of the system, too.

I objectified others in my own mind as well because it was the only way I could cope with the things I was being made to do.
 

Muttly

MyPTSD Pro
Your posts give me lots of feelings. Some I can't really access right now.

And I'm not a normal person because my brain and mind and body and spirit are fundamentally divorced from regular ordinary Human Things.

Oh this. Yeah. One of my parts (I have DID) spent a lot of time trying to convince my T of this. And it's not as huge a factor in my life, but I still believe it on some level. And I understand it's therapists job to convince you otherwise, but I think you can only say that if you haven't lived the reality. I was a toddler when stuff started. If there was a starting point. After all, my family was my abusers and they had me from the time I was taken home from the hospital. And none of this is helpful. Hmm... so how about this. Maybe the trick is discovering it's ok to be "corrupted" or whatever word you use. Maybe it's learning that you can still be human, even a good human, and be tainted. Maybe it's coming to peace with the darkness while also letting in the light? How you do that? I don't know. I've been working at it for years. I don't think there's a single answer and I think it takes a lot of time, effort and luck.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
Maybe the trick is discovering it's ok to be "corrupted" or whatever word you use. Maybe it's learning that you can still be human, even a good human, and be tainted. Maybe it's coming to peace with the darkness while also letting in the light?
I like this. My T says "people can be good and bad. It's not one or the other." That unlocked something in my brain a while back. Ho hum.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
Without it being so extreme since technically I can get I right and pass as human enough, it really feels like being undercover and cunning. The nicest I get the worse I'm feeling now. Actually I feel like shit when I'm not nice either.

If I'm good it's a lie, if I'm bad then it's just the flaming truth. Logically I do know that this is so huge bullshit, but I can't let it go.

I am terrorised by the moments of my life where the dams did break and I had so many f*cking feelings all at once and that was impossible to manage. It didn't make sense. My instruments were f*cked. My instruments still are f*cked. But it's easier to navigate cognitively when at least it doesn't jump on your face and it doesn't burn your back with sheer hate, or devouring love, fill with any unhinged feeling you have.

The only moments I feel there is some kind of feeling of belonging is when I'm on quite a good dose of MDMA. The first time in my life I ever felt I belonged was at 27 years old, in a stupid wedding where we were so bored we had MDMA in secret and danced. I genuinely thought "this is actually how it is supposed to be? Just be okay and enjoying others"? And it really did something in my way to relate to people and give more value to their feelings even when their feelings are a bit wrong. I started to feel sympathy for all the defects and the weirdnesses.

Before that I could have that but with very selected people and only one at a time (like all that BPD favourite person crap but I'd say I simply didn't have the bandwidth to manage more than one person at a time to interpret emotions and empathy so it ends up forming that pattern of almost obsessing over a particular person because your full attention cannot be separated and managed). I still do have that but, but my good interpretation and fondness of others has improved a lot. And I lean onto that moment and experience, it was real and it's not something one forgets.

So I can lean on that bit to find I'm actually more sociable than just skimming over or suddenly being consumed by love like a religious icon and burn away. I do struggle immensely with compliments and with sceneries of quietness. Compliments make me awkward and aggressive, nice things and peaceful things will bring me to tears. Anything sweet for me is a synonym of grief. I feel like I've been robbed from the sun and the dunes, and maybe it comes across as pity for myself, but internally it's more like sobbing without really knowing why. I don't cry when people do actually die though. Not if there isn't some nature of vision implicated. I can access feelings through these metaphors I think but I don't feel very connected.

As a kid my mom used to say I was a psychopath and I have no idea where it came from. It is true that I'm more reserved than many kids but I wonder how she made herself such a construct. I was cold, I wasn't warm enough, probably I wasn't Brazilian enough (here mom being racist against ourselves) and it's something I got repeated over and over, that I'm cold, that I'm brutal, that I don't look Brazilian and that I'm all but a little sun. Fine enough I'm not disputing that title.

Now I think that in fact, I am quite agreeable, enthusiastic and very affectionate. That's how people who lived close to me told me I was. Even D ended up saying he didn't understand how in hell I managed to still be nice and fair after all he's done to me. Tricky calculations but I don't think he did say that to manipulate me, there were other things. I regret having been so with him, but I know it's also the proof I'm a decent person, I think; I hope.

I don't need to be pure and perfect I just want to be decent enough as for my presence not to be a f*cking infection. Sometimes I do scare people and I have to say, I do feel satisfied it's the case because it's one of the things I have some control on. People don't come to mess with me. I never get attacked or annoyed in the streets. I have the crazy look. I know I'd fight to death and it's possible to see. It is effective as deterrent. The danger comes from within it comes from those who get close enough to see the breach and stab you just there.

But so, I am also very alone. I don't feel I'm relatable at all. My experiences aren't all this extreme, but I'm born with the knowledge I'm of a different species. Never when I speak things feel natural, it feels like sandpaper. Only sometimes there are moments I glimpse some true connection that isn't just and I can count these moments on a single hand. I love and cherish these moments. But I don't want to risk loosing my life and dignity for it anymore. I have lost enough.
 

frogthroat

MyPTSD Pro
At what point do you go from wanting to be a good person to accepting that at the end of the day you've been corrupted (this is language that I found in a document my therapist sent me that I don't think she fully vetted, but it was rough to hear because surprise That's A Core Insecurity.) I've been corrupted by this shit. And I'm not a normal person because my brain and mind and body and spirit are fundamentally divorced from regular ordinary Human Things.
I've really been wondering about this concept in my own situation. What the hell does it even mean? How can you be corrupted when the concepts involving supposed human morality really don't exist? In my experience morality is always hypocritical and people use it to manipulate situations in their favor. Maybe a better way of thinking about it is your environment affected you and certain neurological factors affected you. People in hopeless situations revert back to primitive lizard brain types of thinking. It's all about survival. It's when things settle you start to question whether you're a monster or not. Sometimes you have to ask yourself is that really fair to you?
For example, as a kid I had to molest other kids trapped with me under the threat of death and I did it. Does that make me a sex offender? Technically yes. Would I have molested other kids on my own accord? No.
And yes. You can get stuck and keep repeating shitty behavior and shitty coping mechanisms. That process isn't linear. You'll always have times where you revert back to that. Accountability is great and necessary to move forward to a certain degree.
Do I think calling yourself a monster in a morally ambiguous situation is helpful? No. Good and evil is too black and white. In a way, to tell yourself you were a horrible person for doing what you did or for what you didn't do in absolute shit situation is an off way of trying to have control over that situation. It's a way to try to make it make sense because there's things that are so awful there's no reason that they should've occurred. Senseless violence is so hard to explain and the "everything happens for a reason" type of thinking doesn't compute. Sometimes it's easier to go back to "I'm inherently evil and terrible." Also, not true. I also understand when you've been taught you're bad from a very young age that it's neurologically hardwired into you.
It's a huge undertaking to start challenging that way of thinking. I've just really started to think about why I think I'm so horrible and honestly sometimes I just don't know. It's just there.
 

coraxxx

Sponsor
For example, as a kid I had to molest other kids trapped with me under the threat of death and I did it. Does that make me a sex offender? Technically yes. Would I have molested other kids on my own accord? No.
Actually, I am not so sure that it falls under the sex offender umbrella. If you are force to kill someone at gunpoint, you aren’t considered a killer either. Having had to undergo that experience of inflicting violence doesn’t mean that you are an offender. There is a level of intention required and also not having your damn life on the line; in the spirit of the law I think anyone right in their minds would interpret that as a form of very harsh legitimate defense. If it’s that or dying, then there is no reasonable law that requires you to die by your own volition.

Perhaps indeed this case really needs another word. Because neither offender / perpetrator or victim render well the quality of that kind of double binding. Being a victim of such a forced act is horrible, and the act is horrible in itself, and it affects others. But the real, definitive, endpoint of this horrible chain of command is the person who forced you.

And it’s not an Eichmann case where there still is a choice other that obliterating yourself immediately. Honestly in all reason and logic and habit of iterating in law rationale I cannot use the word offender for your case.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
And it’s not an Eichmann case where there still is a choice other that obliterating yourself immediately. Honestly in all reason and logic and habit of iterating in law rationale I cannot use the word offender for your case.
This is where it gets piece-y. Break it into Reese's Pieces. Tap tap tap. So, now we're talking about causality. Logic. My brain likes logic games. There were times when I genuinely felt that I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I was good at problem solving. I was good at making money. If X is true, then Y. If it's false, then Z. Things have to match up. It's just numbers with letters attached.

For example, as a kid I had to molest other kids trapped with me under the threat of death and I did it. Does that make me a sex offender? Technically yes. Would I have molested other kids on my own accord? No.
Sifting into the deep. B, my therapist-ex-minister. Went to Rwanda in the 90s. When I explained to him the nature of the Trolley Problem he looked at me and said that trolley problem sounds f*cking stupid. If X is true, then Y. (If you were a hammer, then you drove in the nail.) Do we punish the hammer? Do we spite the nail? Or do we look at who is wielding it.

In a way, to tell yourself you were a horrible person for doing what you did or for what you didn't do in absolute shit situation is an off way of trying to have control over that situation.
Important.

Their constructs were a game. They designed it to fail, you were always supposed to fail. If I didn't do what I was instructed to do, something else would have happened either way. We were never getting out of there with a good outcome. Once you accept that, you have to dig in your heels.
 

prynne

Confident
Thanks to everyone involved in this thread. I've never heard anyone talk about this before. This explains some things for me and makes me feel less alone, as much as that is possible. I've heard that it's common among child abuse survivors to feel fundamentally different from everyone else, but I've never connected that to the experience of being treated as if you aren't a human being and also living a life that was fundamentally different from the lives that everyone else seemed to lead.

I've always had that feeling of being an alien on earth. Not going to be able to explain it better than others already have, not right now.
Sometimes I feel so, so, so. Out of place. Disconnected. Alienated. Othered. Isolated. Alone. You are alone.
Very often I feel like I'm in a culture of one. None the other people around me get it, not really.
How. How do you interact with other people. Because some days I just don't got it, I just don't. I drop the ball. I get it wrong. I am cold and callous and unprofessional and messy and weird and inappropriate and I don't want to be. I'm a fleshy weird puking walking grievance and I don't want to be.
This sense of dehumanization and how much of that strips away one's ability to engage with other human beings functionally. One time on voice chat my friends were just shooting the shit about a game they were playing and I had to straight up leave because I couldn't deal with them talking about a game because I couldn't scrub memories out of my mind and I'm trying to play Uno like you're a villain and a monster, you're depraved and evil and everybody knows you're Marked and they can Tell, laaa laaa laaa, the flames get higher.
But so, I am also very alone. I don't feel I'm relatable at all. My experiences aren't all this extreme, but I'm born with the knowledge I'm of a different species. Never when I speak things feel natural, it feels like sandpaper. Only sometimes there are moments I glimpse some true connection that isn't just and I can count these moments on a single hand. I love and cherish these moments. But I don't want to risk loosing my life and dignity for it anymore. I have lost enough.
I understand all of this. I know that bc of these issues we'll find it hard to believe that the other really gets it though. But I think I do. And I think you do.

Dehumanization being an action that you took or that was done to you or forced upon you in some way, circumstances that you encountered that created a feeling that you were not an actual sentient, cognitive, special, individual human person. Whatever spirit you got, whatever that life force inside of us is and cognizance and consciousness and abilities and personalities, that stuff is gone.
I think when they treated me like a piece of meat, they taught me that I should act like a piece of meat 24/7. Or more like, just be what you are. "You aren't a person, so stop trying to pretend to be one. Just shut the f*ck up and do what I tell you to do. Nothing else you can do is of value".
I don't need to be pure and perfect I just want to be decent enough as for my presence not to be a f*cking infection.
I feel like I need to be perfect for my presence to not be an infection. To begin to deserve to exist. And then I know it still won't be enough
It is true that I'm more reserved than many kids but I wonder how she made herself such a construct. I was cold, I wasn't warm enough,
I became so reserved that it should have been disturbing. When my brother and I were children, our afterschool program would play a game like the quiet game, where you couldn't laugh or you lost. My brother and I were always the last two left. Completely f*cking joyless. You think you're going to be able to make me laugh? I don't even exist right now. At some point, I would get worried about the other children finding out that I'm not human and I would pretend to laugh. I don't know how those camp counselors didn't notice that something was horribly wrong with me. Maybe they didn't care.

I would never do anything for fun or for any reason involving myself. My brother and I would sit still and silent, waiting for instructions. I think it freaked them out when we were the only two left at whatever camp we were at. They would tell us to Feel free to play with this or that...
Now I think that in fact, I am quite agreeable, enthusiastic and very affectionate. That's how people who lived close to me told me I was.
When I was a child, other children always made sure that I knew that I was different and that I wasn't welcome. Now, adults tell me that I am perfectly normal and do and say all of the right things. It confuses me. I don't know what to believe. I think they're lying, sometimes. Someone once told me I have resting scared face and everyone I have repeated that to laughs and knows exactly what they were talking about. Strangers always apologize to me after they tell me a joke and I never know what I did wrong. I always think I did a good job of pretending to be a human who thought something was funny. But I don't get the right reaction, the reaction I see everyone else gets. They can tell I'm different no matter what I do. They can tell I'm not the same thing that they are.
 

Weemie

MyPTSD Pro
When my brother and I were children, our afterschool program would play a game like the quiet game, where you couldn't laugh or you lost. My brother and I were always the last two left. Completely f*cking joyless.
A heartbreaking experience to be certain. Funnily enough (not so funny, I know.) I have the very opposite experience. I have a dissociative disorder on top of it all and every time I'd go to the daycare where I'd also be abused (locked in rooms, restrained against my will, dislocated arm, lalala) one of my old parts that has since transformed would rattle the chains and follow me like a dementor out of Harry Potter.

And I'd say to myself OK, we're going to go in there and show everyone how unhappy and miserable we are! We're going to frown and be really sad! I remember saying this to myself at 5-ish years old. But as soon as I got to the building I switched on and would smile and laugh and joke and play around. That entity would be forcibly pushed right out of the center stage by something else taking over.

Lots to decompress there, I suspect...
 
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