Loss of Self

FreeSoul

Learning
I get affected by other people’s energy so easily, it’s like someone throwing water over me, which I am unable to do anything about. If the water is clean, though it’s uncomfortable because I would get wet, but not as bad as having dirty water thrown over me.

Similar to water, I absorb other people’s energy, whether positive or negative. Even though the positive energy isn’t as bad as negative energy; I tend to not hold on to what I want to feel; and I am dragged into what others feel, rather than what I want to feel.

Once I was riding with my brother on his scooter, I could feel his energy while sitting behind him. I started feeling as if I had absorbed his disgusting energy, just like one would smell a smelly person, or get some filth on oneself because of touching another person who was covered in filth.

In another incident, I started getting nervous in a call-center mock-call after witnessing another participant being nervous. Now, I wouldn’t feel something like this, if I was the first person to have done the mock-call, which is when I am able to perform really well. I found this from experience.

The most shocking incident that really shook me was when I was travelling in a shared taxi in 2018, and I started thinking as if I am inside this person’s body who was sitting in the front passenger seat. I was thinking as this person and not myself. I felt I am not myself any more.

The same happens with places as well. I went to this square about 2 months back, and all of a sudden, I felt this strong, negative energy (anger) hitting me, as if I got punched, the moment I stepped in that square. Later I found, there was a protest by university students just few days or even hours earlier.

One of my cousins, who is approximately 13-14 years older than me, told me, when I was 6 months old, I would fall sick when I was exposed to other people. I was separated from my parents for about 45 days when they were travelling; and this is when I lived with my cousin, and that's when my aunt told my cousin that I would fall sick when exposed to her neighbours, and she should avoid getting me exposed to other people.

I now wonder, how it all started. There is no way I can remember any traumatic experiences at the age of 6 months. All the traumatic experiences that I remember or recollect, may have happened after the age of 5 or 6.

It could be that the sudden separation at such a young age from my biological mother may have made me vulnerable to being affected by other people's energy.
I also noticed when my brother’s wife was pregnant, my father was really predatory towards her. This is again something, I felt in his tone when he was talking to my sister-in-law. It could be that he was doing the same to my mother when she was pregnant with me, and she got stressed, which then got passed onto me while I was still in my mother’s womb.

Another belief I have is me being handled by too many people since I was born. I have 6 elder siblings, and several cousins. I wonder, this exposure and handling by multiple people upon birth could have made me vulnerable.
 
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It could be that the sudden separation at such a young age from my biological mother may have made me vulnerable to being affected by other people's energy.
I also noticed when my brother’s wife was pregnant, my father was really predatory towards her. This is again something, I felt in his tone when he was talking to my sister-in-law. It could be that he was doing the same to my mother when she was pregnant with me, and she got stressed, which then got passed onto me while I was still in my mother’s womb.
Another belief I have is me being handled by too many people since I was born. I have 6 elder siblings, and several cousins. I wonder, this exposure and handling by multiple people upon birth could have made me vulnerable.
It’s also an exceptionally common byproduct of hypervigilance, as well as several other aspects of PTSD & Trauma.

The process itself is called “mirroring”, which is just a human thing most people do from birth to death (notable exceptions are mostly in the Autism spectrum). One person smiles, the person they’re looking at smiles back. One person is angry, everyone else around them gets angry in response.

Kids usually do it the most (1 toddler sniffing about to cry, can make a room of toddlers bawling their hearts out in 3-2-1...); whilst adults can usual distance themselves enough emotionally from others that an entire office isn’t in tears when someone gets a breakup text.

But the mood of a room, or a crowd, is still a very palpable thing to most people.

- Some of it’s visual... taking in the body language and micro expressions of others.
- Some of it’s audial... raised heartbeats, tone of voice, the scrap of a chair, or shuffling/stomping/jerking.
- A LOT of it is biochemical... people emit pheromones and scents that are highly dependent on mood, and the more survival oriented, the stronger those pheromones tend to effect others. The metallic scent/taste of adrenaline & the cat piss stink of fear are so strong we can actually smell-them... as opposed to most pheromones which are largely odourless.

How are these things so noticeable to most people, and yet they remain unaffected by them?

- First off, they aren’t unaffected. Most people simply don’t notice the uptick in their heartbeat, or their mood slowly changing to match the people’s around them.

- Secondly, years of practice in maintaining their own personal integrity in the face of other people’s emotions & behaviours. Unless surprised by someone else’s emotions (good or bad), very tired/sick, or in a large group (mobs get ugly fast), as soon as most people notice their mood shifting... unless they like where the energy is taking them, like someone’s infective laughter, or a kid exuding joy... they both consciously & subconsciously block out other-people & reassert themselves. One of the interesting subconscious actions most people take is a deep breath. Which floods their system with the local scents/pheromones, which makes it more easy to dismiss them as not-their-own. ((It’s a process called “acclimating”. And it’s why you can get bowled over by one person’s perfume, but they keep spraying more and more on themselves, because they can’t smell it at all.))

Jumping back to PTSD/Trauma-land? Why is mirroring other people’s emotions such a common thing?

- Hypervig = not only being aware of all the things that fade into the background, but being highly reactive to them. Jumping at shadows, ears hurting from the painful gong-like crash as someone gently lays a fork on their plate, lights are too bright, scents are too strong, other people’s emotions smacking you in the face like a wet towel being whipped at bare skin.
- Dysreg / Emotional Dysregulation = Not only being highly reactive to what’s going on externally, but unable to regulate our own emotions (and physical responses) internally... chain reactions of overreactions triggering even more chain reaction setting off even more overreactions, and on and on.
- Normal people stuff = even normal people lose the ability to maintain their boundaries (where you end, and I begin) when tired, sick, or surprised. How often are people with PTSD sleeping badly (tired), dealing with stressed immune systems & never-ending-colds / slow healing injuries, etc. (sick or stress sick), or have an overactive startle-response (being surprised). Quite a fair bit of the time, yes?
- Lessons learned in trauma = when it becomes a matter of life or death to be constantly reading the mood of the people around them? That knee jerk response (often the product of years, or lifetimes) doesn’t just...go away... when no longer living in trauma.

And a few other things, but this has already become novel-esque, and it’s about to get worse 😉

***
I have ADHD, which means that none (or at least very little) of the subconscious filtering most people do as they learn to prioritize incoming stimuli and distance themselves from others has ever been automatic. I’ve always had to do it manually. Which makes now having PTSD especially vexing, as PTSD f*cks that system sideways, and doesn’t even allow things like consciously assessing and dismissing until half a dozen other things are dealt with, first. Infuriating at worst; to Annoying at best. Makes me feel like a freaking toddler with no self control. Grrrr.

But on the upside? It ALSO means I’ve had years and years of playing games with myself to practice that assessment/prioritizing/etc. Like walking into a square where I get hit with ALL ALARMS BLARING VIOLENCE VIOLENCE VIOLENCE!!! ((When it’s sunny and beautiful out, and people are cheerfully going about their lives)). Means it’s both long standing habit, and quite fun, to flick around and see what info is hitting those alarms. The smell of cordite (weapons fire) & dried stale tang of blood & fear might be 1:50 pieces of info saying old-recent violence. Or I might be feeling (through the bones in my feet and behind my ears, as sound sound won’t be close enough to hear for a minute or three but the vibrations herald it) the steady rushed pound of LOTS of booted feet, too used to moving in formation not to fall into unison even when moving quickly and rapidly dispersing, as soldiers or police surround the square, still out of sight.

So PTSD may make the whole process / series of games of
- assess & dismiss
- evaluate & prioritize
- pick the lie you’re going to act like you believe (most people lie almost constantly; their face and body saying one thing, whilst their words say something entirely different. Knowing which they want you to act on? Gets a bit tricky.
- etc.
a seeeeeeeeriously difficult pain in the ass. But at least it’s not new.
 
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