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Seeking Clarity: Unpacking Trauma and Emotions

Even though I know it will be helpful and has been helping me, I haven’t wanted to read the psych book on dissociation lately. It’s gotten to the part about cognitive distortions. I think the previous chapters on emotions hit very close to home and now a part of me doesn’t want to do them. I feel dejected and worthless as I try to read now. I guess a part of me registered not having a high window of tolerance as a failure and now doesn’t want to continue on.

The window of tolerance isn’t about how much abuse or discomfort I can put up with. It’s about my stress levels. I’m not a failure for operating under higher than normal levels of stress. I’m not a failure for not being able to handle added stress, particularly given my already higher load.
 
I realized that my background anger. The dark and heavy kind comes from my memories of my uncle. He was and still is rather stern. He would turn everything I said into something negative when it wasn’t, inserting things I never said. Every positive accomplishment was turned into a negative somehow. Spoken goals would be turned into hopeless and unattainable fantasies. His tone was always judgmental. He would hit me for childish mistakes but he would babysit me often, especially in the summers when school was out.

I feel ashamed to admit that his personality is a part of me. A part that leaks out into my daily life often. I often feel my facial expression turning into a scowl or a face of judgmental and disgust. My tone sometimes becomes stern and judgmental like his. Even my shoulders tense up in a way that makes them appear bigger. In those moments, I can feel that part of me trying to project strength and intimidation. It’s hard to see that in myself and even harder to acknowledge at one point I thought it was real personality.

I’ve wanted to change and get rid of this for a while. I would try pushing the anger out of my consciousness even physically scrunching my face and tensing up my body in the hope that it would go away. Now I have to accept that it is a part of me. It’s difficult. It’s like grieving who I thought I was. I know it’s a part of me there to mimic him as a form of protection. If I can beat him at his own game or anticipate his quips at me, I won’t be thrown off guard and hurt by it. But it hurts have commonality with people I don’t want to be like. I guess it’s inevitable though because we’re both human and all part of the same family. There’s bound to be commonality. I guess it’s unrealistic to want to be nothing like him and others but I don’t have to be as trigger happy or mean as him and I’m not. I’m not because I don’t want to be and because I don’t want to be mean and negative toward others. I don’t want to discourage them from good and perfectly innocuous things. No one should do those things.
 
I realize that there’s a part of me that still wants to reach out to a past person. I saw him in a YouTube live chat and I immediately blocked him and afterwards stop watching that channel since I didn’t like the blatant racism in the chat. But I’ve been thinking about what it would be like to talk him again because of that. I’m not sure why exactly. But I don’t think it would be a very good idea.

He was a poly substance abuser who was in denial. Plus, he was very mean and nasty about me being unemployed at the time and wanting to get my symptoms under control more before I started working again. It was really hard to think and I couldn’t even read one sentence in a book. I wanted to hold off on starting the relationship because I wanted to control my symptoms more to be sure but he kept pushing and seemed really interested so I went to see him. Bad idea. He also wanted polyamory, which I am not okay with.

I want to find someone I can marry and stay together with for life. I want monogamy. I want someone who will be understanding and work with me as I try to heal. I want someone who will communicate with me instead of taking passive aggressive quips at me in front of others. I want someone who is willing and wants to talk about tough topics instead sweeping them under the rug and ignoring them. I want someone who will want to talk in private about sensitive matters instead of coaxing it out in front of others. I want someone whose idea of fun doesn’t involve lying to get what they want and being on drugs. I want someone whose friends won’t enable their bad behavior. I want someone who won’t play the victim when they’re confronted.

In essence, I don’t want to revisit the relationship with him. It wasn’t good for me. Hopefully the other parts of me can realize that too. If they don’t, it won’t trigger me and I won’t shame them for it. But more talks on the issue may be necessary.
 
I think a part of me feels weak for having been assaulted.

It wasn’t that I was weak and because of that they were able to take advantage. They did what they wanted to do. It wasn’t because I was lacking in some way. I might have lacked a more abrasive response but that’s not something I should or can be held to task for. It was shocking and the freeze response is a natural reaction to that.

Being a victim does not inherently mean that I am weak. It just means that the perps had bad intentions. It would have happened if someone else was there in that room. It didn’t happen because it was me. It isn’t inherently because of me. It’s not my fault.
 
A part of me doesn’t want to move on. It wants to hold onto the things that people have done. I think it might be a defense mechanism. I don’t want to forget what happened and have it repeat again. But acceptance is what is missing.

I also need to realize that it’s better for everyone to not try to change them. I’m just trying to turn them into someone else. It would be better to seek out that person I want instead of trying to make them into something they’re not and maybe don’t want to be. Plus people can feel that who they are currently is not wanted and it can make them feel crappy about themselves. I don’t want to do that to others. I just want a clean break and to fulfill my own needs and desires in a safe way for everyone involved.
 
I think a part of me feels weak for having been assaulted.

It wasn’t that I was weak and because of that they were able to take advantage. They did what they wanted to do. It wasn’t because I was lacking in some way. I might have lacked a more abrasive response but that’s not something I should or can be held to task for. It was shocking and the freeze response is a natural reaction to that.

Being a victim does not inherently mean that I am weak. It just means that the perps had bad intentions. It would have happened if someone else was there in that room. It didn’t happen because it was me. It isn’t inherently because of me. It’s not my fault.
Profound. And true
 
I realize there’s a block around hoping for relationships. It’s like I’m not allowed to. Like I’m not allowed to look forward to what I want from others. I think it might be due to the intense triggers that I experienced in past relationships. It’s like I don’t want to hope for better because I’m scared of repeating the same relationships and getting triggered all over again.

The past won’t necessarily be what happens in the future, especially when I have the present. In the present, I can choose to leave relationships at the first sign that they are detrimental to me. Even if someone’s behavior is like the past, I can choose to leave them behind.

I can’t say that I won’t ever come across manipulative or abusive people again. I can’t say that I won’t be a target for some random person. But the likelihood of that happening again is lower and gets lower the more I heal and find peace mentally and emotionally. The more peace I find the more clarity around my mental faculties I have and the more I can see things as they are and react appropriately. That’s the real fear isn’t it. The fear that it will happen again and I’ll be triggered with my whole world turning upside down again. It doesn’t have to especially now that I know how to keep calm and evaluate situations. Now I have skills and techniques to help me deal with things.

Relationships aren’t inherently abusive or manipulative or immoral. Relationships aren't always bad and detrimental to me or others. Most of the time they can be good and beneficial to me and others. People aren’t always bad and aren’t always detrimental to have around. I see evidence of this all the time in my own relationships past and current. It isn’t always so bad.
 
I had moments of peace and serenity today. It was really nice. I could think clearly and I felt like I was whole. I felt so smart too like I really had all my mental faculties. It didn’t last long but it was a glimpse into how I could live if I keep challenging the negative thoughts and orienting myself to the present when flashbacks come up.

What brought me out of the peace was thinking about relationships. There’s a lot of flashbacks around difficult moments in relationships that replayed in my head and the feelings were astounding. It was harder to know what to do in the moment because my mind and emotions were filled with anger. I didn’t let the feelings keep me from working or performing other tasks today but the sharp contrast in my mental capacity and how I felt about myself was interesting. I guess I need to challenge the belief of relationships being associated with anger and overwhelming amounts of it too.
 
I realized that I get overwhelmed by relationships because a part of me thinks I’m getting too big for my breeches by wanting more for myself. It doesn’t just apply to relationships but other aspects of my life too like career.

I think it comes from my family always telling me that I couldn’t possibly achieve the things I wanted or couldn’t do what others could. I had to watch others get a voice while I was repeatedly shut down. Others in the family who liked the same things as me were never put down for it, only me. Even my birthday ended up being a celebration of someone else while I was talked down to. I guess I eventually learned that I did not deserve the things I wanted because of who I was.

But it wasn’t because of me. It was because of their own backwards beliefs about what black girls could and could not be. They did discourage their own kids from certain things too that they would go to praise in others. Talking to them it affected them too. It’s just their own weird view of what’s acceptable and what’s not, which changes with the wind it seems.

There’s nothing inherently wrong or bad about me where I’m not allowed to have what I have clearly earned. I’m not having an overly high estimation of myself if it’s true. If my accomplishments are real and my own, which they are, I deserve what I’m getting and I deserve to be proud of myself.

I think the anger at relationships I felt was the inner conflict around wanting good, healthy relationships and thinking that I’m not worthy of it. I’m a good person and I make a great partner and friend in those who deserve it. I don’t have to accept liars and cheaters because they want me. My opinion of them matters too. I’m allowed to choose for myself and to choose the best option for me. Otherwise, I’ll consistently be left with what I don’t want and probably repeatedly traumatized.
 

On Relationships​

I realize that I still think I have no choice in matters as if I’m a child. I always have a choice. I just have to choose what is good for me and what I like or am interested in.

A part of me feels like a hypocrite for wanting someone who can do the things I wasn’t able to do previously. I guess I feel like I shouldn’t have good things because I wasn’t always “good” myself. But that’s not fair and doesn’t really make sense. If that was the case, I shouldn’t have a job because I wasn’t always able to perform the tasks in the past. No one would deserve or be given anything then.

We aren’t born perfect and skilled. We learn and grow over time and that’s what I have done. It’s good and necessary to require and want more as I learn and grow, otherwise I’ll always be stuck and never fully get what I want and need.
 

On Being Sociable​

I’m very much antisocial. I don’t want to put myself out there to others out of fear of repeating trauma. I don’t want to be exposed to certain people again so I don’t interact with others, particularly strangers. I don’t know them and I don’t trust that they won’t be like people from the past.

I know this runs counter to my desire for companionship and a romantic relationship, but I don’t know if I’m ready to let that guard down. Maybe I’m just projecting past experiences onto others and confirming that it will happen. The truth is I don’t know if it will but I don’t want to take that chance again.

Maybe I don’t have to force myself to reach out to people who I don’t know are safe or not. Maybe I can look for evidence of safety and reach out to those people. Not everyone will put me in some form of danger. There are moral people out there who wouldn’t want to see someone out j danger or harmed. They exist. I can befriend them.
 
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