Must appease the toxic person

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I discovered a new cognitive distortion that I would like help thinking through. I realized recently that I become very focused on appeasing the toxic person. For example, my ex was a vulnerable narcissist, and when the relationship ended, though I had no desire at all to ever get back with him, I kept obsessing (and still do a little bit) about his perception of me, what I could have done different, and just feeling emotionally without closure. I also find myself ruminating sometimes about my bf's ex. She sounds like a narcissist too (grandiose?) and causes trouble with him and with their son. I find myself imagining her sense of superiority over everyone, including me, and I think about how I could vindicate myself. Btw, she and I couldn't be more different, so there's no point of comparison, and there's no jealousy or anything like that. I'm realizing that I'm still focusing in on people like my father, and there's an unresolved part of me that is still longing for love and recognition from people who would never give either to you. I seem to be more focused on these type of people than those who are actually kind and loving to me. How can I resolve this? What they really deserve is my total apathy.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
I could be wrong but to me it seems maybe there are parts that are (for good or bad) similar to your father and for obvious reasons from your relationship with him, you unaware of these parts and they want to be recognized and integrate. And these people even though you do not seem to like them much or relate to them much, they are still reminding you those parts of you that you are not aware of or maybe do not like yourself. A long shot thought and may not even make sense at all. but it seems there is something there for sure...and i hope you find it.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I think you're absolutely right, @grit. It's frustrating that I keep discovering new dysfunctions. But it is such a strong pull to want to figure things out with them and make things better somehow. But my dad would never be appeased, and neither would these people. I was re-reading Body Keeps the Score today. When we are traumatized, we first look for safety in another, and only if no one is there do we have the fight/flight response. That embrace by a parent literally makes us feel okay. What if you never got that? I think that part keeps looking to these folks to finally make it okay.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I think I might be similar. And I wonder if it comes from a fawn response?

I try and please. And accommodate. And placate.

I *think* the way to overcome it (or at least what I'm trying to do), is *be me*. To recognise my feelings and own them. To take my space and not apologise for doing so. To put in boundaries. To try and not let other people to invade my being.and really really accept that some of these relationships come with limitations. It's not about us making it better but accepting people are the way they are. work in progress for me.
 

PreciousChild

MyPTSD Pro
I think part of it is a fawn response, and part of that is exerting some control over the outcome by being laser-focused on and appeasing the scary parent. I think you're on to something about focusing on the self, @Movingforward10, and enforcing boundaries in the here and now. In meditating about this issue, I did some mental reparenting stuff, like imagining myself as a girl and then imagining my dad becoming aware of his actions, and he apologized for his treatment, etc. But then I had a realization that I didn't really need that from him. She and I held hands and she smiled and grew large. She realized that she was me and could take of herself, and she kept growing in size. That probably sounds weird, but I've found that imagining such things have made a real difference to my progress. It has something to do with how are identities are shaped by the stories we tell about ourselves (which is something van der Kolk talks about). I felt like that helped.
 
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