Risky behaviors and cPTSD

My behavior while at my worst absolutely haunts me. I am beginning to understand the toll that severe abuse and neglect can have on a person, but have a hard time feeling like I am still a shameful person for acting the way that I did. I released so much shame about my coping mechanisms when I was first diagnosed, but now I feel all that shame again, as no one else in the community has been able to relate at all.

Shouldn't I feel shame over how deeply I have degraded and debased myself?
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
People make bad decisions and their behaviour changes when they're not well. Shame, guilt and embarrassment come with that. Do you have a therapist that you can talk about those things with? I feel all of those things sometimes about things that have happened in my life. are you able to talk about those things here or is it too private?
 
People make bad decisions and their behaviour changes when they're not well. Shame, guilt and embarrassment come with that. Do you have a therapist that you can talk about those things with? I feel all of those things sometimes about things that have happened in my life. are you able to talk about those things here or is it too private?

Thank you for your response. I started working with a trauma specialist last month, but there is so much to deal with in my childhood, we haven't gotten here yet.

My risky behaviors included: extreme consumption of drugs (every drug under the sun, unrealistic amounts), stripping, prostitution, bulimia, near-fatal suicide attempts, promiscuity, no self-care dispite obvious consequences, locked in psych-wards and handcuffed to hospital beds, failed phd with no job living at home, the list goes on. My impairment as an adult is pretty severe, I'm honestly not sure how I even made it this far.

I never understood why I was the way that I was, or why the pain of my very existence was sometimes so unbearable that I couldn't take it. I get it now, but I still feel gross about it.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Ok I understand. It sounds like it's a miracle that you survived... But that should be celebrated, the fact that you did survive and are accepting and coming to terms with your life. After years of abuse and poor living its a long process to recovery but your doing it. Glad you've started therapy. Try to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for things that have happened.

what's your support network like? Friends/family?
 
Ok I understand. It sounds like it's a miracle that you survived... But that should be celebrated, the fact that you did survive and are accepting and coming to terms with your life. After years of abuse and poor living its a long process to recovery but your doing it. Glad you've started therapy. Try to be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for things that have happened.

what's your support network like? Friends/family?
Thank you for your compassionate response, it was nice to read. You're right, this is not a one size fits all thing, I am going to need to practice more grace and patience with myself.

No support system, unfortunately. My intimacy issues are deep, I don't have any friends at this point in my life, and family is not an option.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
sorry your support system is not good. I too don't have friends (really) and alot of people here are the same for different reasons, I also have a 'tricky' family situation although it's better than it was. because my dad was a violent and abusive alcoholic it caused alot of trauma to the rest of the family. I have been the subject of alot of violence and abuse in my life and have nearly died several times.
I think that when things have come to a head we find relationships really difficult because we just need a therapist to talk about the trauma and work out the bad things. I don't need loads of friends, just a few would suffice. And people on here have been very supportive. I hope you get support from people on here. Keep on posting.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
To answer the question of if you should feel shame? No. You don't deserve to shame yourself.
But I get it. I have done many many things I feel shame about. Some as a young teenager, which I can sort of take the shame out of it by saying o was young and acting out and didn't know better. But other things were as an adult. When I should have known better.
I think it's about reframing it. Forgiving ourselves. Understanding ourselves. Knowing that a lot of what drove that behaviour came from trauma responses. Perhaps to block out the trauma or relive the trauma or feelings of worthlessness. What's the point of treating ourselves and our bodies with respect if we feel totally disregarded and how no idea what treating ourselves with respect even is?
So, no, you don't need to feel shame. You are not shameful. What you did is not shaming. But it takes time to work that through in therapy.
 

fern

Confident
Hi, Thanks for sharing. I also did a lot of things that I sometimes still feel shame about (to varying degrees, and sometimes don't). Its been a few years since I left the situations I was in "back then".
I think, most of the time, we are doing the best we can. I know better now than to treat myself like I did then, and try to have compassion for myself. Try to remember my judgement was impaired when I was using, and that there were multiple factors involved.
You are different from who you were in the past. Who you were then, and who you are now both deserve compassion. It sounds simple but it's something I remind myself to come back to over and over again
Choosing to be on your own side with the most kindness and understanding you can muster helps a lot in making the pain softer
It might not come naturally to be compassionate to yourself, but it's something to practice over and over again, like all things in life. You deserve respect, kindness, patience- and you deserve to cultivate them within yourself.

We do what we need to in order to survive. Theres no need to feel shame in that. I definitely did things that violated my own values system when I was using. I was really hurt and sick. I also take full responsibility for those behaviors and the impact it had on myself and others, which helped me grow as a person. But theres a difference between acknowledging that and beating yourself up/overly criticizing yourself and falling into that cycle.
We do things for reasons. We deserve understanding (not justification, but compassionate understanding).
Youve been through a lot and I'm glad you're here.
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
I agree @fern

My T says it's the difference between thinking "I did something" from "I am something".

I think our trauma brains make us think the whole of us is bad or shameful. Rather than separating out a behaviour that we feel was harmful to us and/or others, and then putting that behaviour in the context of choices we had or knowledge we had at the time.
 
I quite often am my own worst enemy. I have compassion for others but not myself. I pushed almost everyone away from me. I have even found myself with my T justifying and explaining why I deserve/earned/ and own my guilt and shame after we spent an entire session going over why it is not mine.....
 
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