Resensitization: Coming Back to Life after Trauma

Traumawoman-laying-on-arms dysregulates the body. It moves energy levels away from baseline to extremes of hyperarousal (“too much,” panic, overwhelm) and sometimes hypoarousal (“low,” lethargy, emptiness), not only alternating but sometimes getting stuck in either extreme.

When we experience overwhelm in the body, one natural response to this dysregulation (and accompanying confusion or relational struggles) is to just get away—perhaps through drinking, sex, anxiety medication, working out, or power-watching television series online. For some, especially when trauma occurs early in life or when physical escape is not an option, dissociation (mentally drifting, wandering, “spacing out”) becomes the path to something that approximates peace or safety. Whatever route you take to numbness, it ultimately leads to separation from overwhelming sensory input coming through the body. Studies have shown that even when mental denial occurs, when we tell ourselves we are not upset, our body still shows all the standard symptoms of activation and overwhelm.

Big names in trauma, including Peter Levine and Bessel van der Kolk, advocate not for desensitization approaches that dull perception (repetitive reprocessing of trauma), but for practices that resensitize somatically to awareness of the present moment, the physical narrative, and an embodied experience of safety and control.

“Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: the past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”
—Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

From Numbness

When we split from Self, we become our own enemy. We deem some core part of Self unacceptable or unsafe and expend huge amounts of energy in an effort to contain and subdue that part.

Sometimes the numbness soothes.

Sometimes it smothers.

Especially in trauma, we move to extremes.

Where we once sought freedom from overwhelming sensations, we eventually embody the separation: fully numb, divorced from life, split from Self, desperately seeking a way to feel real again, to feel connected to others and to life … to feel anything but the empty nothingness we sought and created.

The experience changes from one person to the next. For some, it may be less conscious or intentional. Maybe awareness of behaviors comes from the feedback of others as they accuse you of being irritable or irrational. Maybe they point out how analytical you’ve become, how rigid you’ve become in your rules and boundaries in some apparent quest to manufacture security.

Sometimes the extremes seem less extreme. Especially from a patterned “freeze” response or “learned helplessness,” the only noticing may be more of a familiar giving up, an acceptance of circumstance, buying in to the belief that this is all there is. From the perspective of onlookers—seeing your shoulders fall, your head drop slightly—it might look like a physical collapse.

Character development over the years, adapting around ongoing waves of trauma, commonly moves toward extremes of highly responsible or irresponsible behavior—rigid or chaotic. It might be a complex blend of both, creating artificial structure to protect and control, then engaging in high-risk behaviors to drown out or anesthetize the pain.

Sometimes there’s just the safety of the same old patterns.

Sometimes an anger rises against that monotony. That part contains screams out from inside of you.

Whether it feels safe or not, that unknown, incessant core part of Self keeps making itself known, keeps drawing your attention.

To Overwhelm

Coming back into your body often means a return to the original overwhelm.

Sometimes we can feel it coming. Other times, we are so split from our bodily senses that we don’t feel the pain until it’s too intense to ignore. It might feel like an instant move from “just fine” to overwhelm. What would it be like to drive a car with a speedometer that shows zero or 100 but nothing in between?

“Trauma changes the insula, the self-awareness systems. Traumatized people often become insensible to themselves. They find it difficult to sense pleasure and to feel engaged. These understandings force us to use methods to awaken the sensory modalities in the person.”
—Bessel van der Kolk

Sometimes the only way out is through … through the natural physical sequence of fight or flight—whatever motor pattern that represents in your body, whatever unfinished story it represents in your behavior. Sometimes this requires the help of a trauma therapist, including a therapeutic process of training and resourcing, developing a bond of trust and a mindful grounding in the present moment. The accessing of uncomfortable physical sensations (and state-dependent beliefs that come with the sensations) can become a healing experience rather than a confirmation of negative beliefs formed at a time when you felt incapable of meeting the occasion.

Some people find a grounding, resensitizing support in nature. Others find a necessary social/attachment support in structured groups. For some, it might be yoga or martial arts that return your body to a felt sense of control. Many therapists, particularly those trained in trauma or body-based experiential approaches, come equipped to help a person internalize (to gradually take in, to incorporate into his or her character) an experience and a knowing of safety and control with Self and with Other (the therapist). Whatever the method, for those who have separated from their bodily self, the move to incorporate bodily sensation into their awareness often proves to be a life-altering process.

To Manageable Pain

Sometimes it’s in the shower, cooking a meal, sitting in a garden, or “being” with a therapist. The nervous system drops to a calm hum, the physical containment ceases, and the memories process, unbidden, unstopped. And finally, in stillness, with internal safety and compassion, we observe, feel, accept, and integrate. Sometimes the body shakes—with or without tears. And after all the years of struggle, sometimes a gentle sadness lingers.

Once the overwhelm is past and underlying truths are part of present awareness, only grieving remains. Each new level of awareness brings with it a comparison between what was and what could have been—grieving for the time lost, missed opportunities in life, unmet wishes, past distractions from this centered place of living.

There may be decades of fighting the overwhelm of grieving, and then just the simple, natural, bodily directed process of grieving. No longer does one part of the body expend energy containing the “unwanted” energy of another part. No longer is it “too much” to bear. It just is. We are able to sit with the experience without reaction, without separation, with nonjudgmental presence. It might be less letting go and more letting be.

To Joy

Emerging on the other side of pain, many people find new connections. Many find that the quality of external integration echoes the quality of internal integration, and once Self is internally acceptable, we begin attracting others who also accept and value those parts of Self that we truly value, that perhaps we preserved in hiding so many years.

“If you are divided from your body, you are also divided from the body of the world, which then appears to be other than you or separate from you, rather than the living continuum to which you belong.”
—Philip Shepherd, author of New Self, New World

References:

  1. Siegel, D. J. (2010). Mindsight: the new science of personal transformation. New York: Bantam Books.
  2. Van der Kolk, B. (2014). The Body Keeps the Score. New York: Viking.

© Copyright 2015 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Jeremy McAllister, MA, LPC, therapist in Portland, Oregon

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Diego

    Diego

    February 23rd, 2015 at 10:16 AM

    I guess that to once again be able to feel the joy you have to be willing to first suffer through the pain

  • Pat E.

    Pat E.

    February 23rd, 2015 at 12:19 PM

    You have been publishing a lot of good articles on trauma, PTSD and they are right on target. Thank you.
    Pat E.

  • Carmen

    Carmen

    February 23rd, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    I guess for everyone it is a totally different experience how we process the pain. I think that it is good to recognize that and not to think that someone is doing something wrong just because they may not process it is exactly the way that we would or that we think that they should.

  • sammy

    sammy

    February 24th, 2015 at 3:42 AM

    the key is that that you have to come up with a way to break out of having all of those old thoughts
    those negative ones
    that continue to hold you back
    from wellness and recovery
    and essentially, from the happiness that is your right

  • Jennifer S

    Jennifer S

    March 6th, 2017 at 11:49 AM

    Absolutely we can heal from ptsd after a sociopath or narcissistic abuse. I did. I naturally took apart what had happened by reviewing the memories from the way sociopaths think due to their radically limited and abnormal brains. I learned how genuine, healthy humans think, respond and function as far as trust and relationships dynamics. — These aren’t relationships – they’re crimes. – that’s the trauma we heal from when we begin to see the two parallel realities that were going on.

  • Jeremy

    Jeremy

    February 24th, 2015 at 4:24 PM

    Thank you, Pat. :)

  • Creighton

    Creighton

    February 25th, 2015 at 11:27 AM

    “It might be less letting go and more letting be.”
    very short sentence but SOOO powerful

  • Earnest

    Earnest

    February 26th, 2015 at 7:44 AM

    Am I correct in believing that life is made of choices, so that so much of what you get in return is in large part dictated by what you put into it?

  • D.b.D.

    D.b.D.

    February 27th, 2015 at 1:30 AM

    You are absolutely right to a degree and I did not realize that there was an exception to the rule until several years ago. We are absolutely personally responsible for our own choices and behaviors and the resulting consequences. In that sense we are responsible for the quality of our own lives. What I never considered was when every choice before you is a terrible choice and in that sense no matter what you choose or how well you choose your choices, happiness seems to allude you. This is my life and I never ever predicted that I would be in a situation that would be devastating and nightmarish know matter what I did or how much work I put into it or how good a person I was. Very briefly (if possible) I got sick when I was about 31 and in the prime of my life in every way finally having to stop work which was devastating all by itself but not compared to everything else that happens next. My sister had just married and had children when suddenly she falls into the grasp of a serious drug addiction which my overdeveloped sense of responsibility insisted I try to resolve for the sake of my niece and nephew, but I found to my total shock that my parents who were loving and fair and respectable for my first 30 years suddenly went from loving, trusting and respecting me which was all earned through hard work and dedication to myself and them my whole life, and for literally no reason that was apparent they no longer believed a word I said, treated me as though I deserved nothing more than abuse, blamed me for my sisters outrageous behavior and her issues as well as everyone else’s, and essentially chose to support my sister emotionally in every way from defending her and protecting her and siding with her without any explanation, never seeking my opinion, or side of any conflict they were judging, no longer respecting me when I begged them to believe she was lying which was her reputation while mine was brutal honesty, but they refused to listen to me or even discuss her at all and all I could do was watch them slowly become hateful towards me as they believed the terrible things she said about me and all while I took her abuse quietly and walked away so I couldn’t sure I was there for the kids if they needed me. I’m going to start another text box in case this gets too long.

  • D.b.D.

    D.b.D.

    February 27th, 2015 at 1:46 AM

    How controlling our destiny can fail to provide happiness continued… I watch is my sister breast-fed her daughter after snorting cocaine. I saw her emotionally abused her child so that she would be needed and the child would fear leaving her side. I enjoyed terrible screaming tantrums and attacks often happening while her child was in my care which I had concern for but that my sister did not. The matter how cruel she was I made sure to say something nice about her each time I was with her children. I bought them clothing when she couldn’t afford it and agreed to help her out often though it was demanded an expected and not appreciated. She’s a vegetarian and one time her daughter was over for dinner and I made a crescent roll not realizing it was banned. My sister found out and screamed at me over the phone like a crazy person, putting her husband on next so he could scream and threatened me with punishment. He is a middle-aged gym teacher who is quiet and doesn’t swear but he was sucked into my sisters craziness and to this day, eight years later blames me for her problems and hates me after believing the lies she told even though Ive treated him with nothing but kindness. My entire network of friends and family have turned against me in the same way and not just because my sister lied but my mother is well who treats me terribly and the points to my pain and calls me crazy which just hurts even more. Back to the crescent roll incident as we call it. I was afraid and shocked and just wanted to protect their daughter. The incident was nightmarish but I have only summarized it. Her husband decided then that I had to be supervised by one of our parents iwhen I saw the kids which suggested that I was no better than a pedophile with whom children were not safe. Until then I had been closer to the children then even their own father, and I had been there for most of their firsts and as a loving supportive part of their lives which everyone knew which made this absolutely wrong and unjustified and cruel. All of these things I could manage, but I adored my parents all my life, and we have enjoyed such a wonderful relationship as such genuine love which I never imagined could alter or phase even then it vanished altogether because of their reactions two incidences like this which they handled in the most detrimental way to me. Regarding the punishment I was told out by my brother-in-law, my parents who are expected to refuse to participate in something so cruel and two I expected to express their disapproval for such cruel treatment towards their own daughter instead refused to defend me or stand up to my sister or her husband at all. They agreed to participate in this cruel punishment which sent of a clear sign that my sisters family saying abusing me in the cruelest ways would meet with no contest from my parents and this was the type a thing they did many times over the years that killed my soul, cause my sister to slowly see me more more like a subhuman worthy of nothing and which gave her the feeling that she was supported and abusing me and I’ve suffered terribly in ways I never imagined. I am getting to a point and I will start a new text box….

  • D.b.D.

    D.b.D.

    February 27th, 2015 at 2:13 AM

    Control or no control who decides our destiny? Continued… Now because I believed that I was in control of my destiny and my happiness I went to a psychiatrist for guidance at the very beginning of this because I believe in making sure that I’m doing things the best way especially in a situation like this. No one else in this entire situation did the same choosing instead to wing it and do what they felt like doing never worrying if they were causing destruction. That of them learned any tools for coping with the stress and when my mother had a heart episode everybody including my parents friends and our family blamed me which is insane. I got some support through therapy since someone listened, but because he felt it was so important that the kids have me to turn to, and because my sister threatened so often to take them from me whether I said anything against her or not, he always recommended that I find a way to deal with my sisters abuse so that I could ensure the maintenance of my relationship with the kids and so that’s what I did. I learned to be treated in the most base and grotesque ways and just walk away. I tried to respond only by setting healthy boundaries and refusing to tolerate such treatment as is my right and as is advised by professionals all the time. My parents however who never took sides all my life, and never treated us differently suddenly refused to listen to my concerns or support me when I had suffered another of my sisters attacks. they asked my sister to send them everything I wrote her and anytime my sister created a scene that no one ever saw but me, I knew that the next thing I would have to face was unfounded blame from my parents for upsetting my sister and criticism for anything I said no matter how rational are calm. They never asked or allowed me to tell them what really happened or why I said what I said, and so I was learning to adjust to losing my independence and ability to work at a very young age while at the same time fielding abuse from every direction from the people that I believed lovedme the most and would never abandon or betray me. Because my family was suddenly my enemy I had literally no support during my health crisis and I dealt with all of this, every bit of it utterly completely alone except for the help with my dog. Now all of this happened over a period of years and because I was so utterly devastated to the point that I cried all day every day for months and months at a time, which actually resulted in the cops showing up at my door because my neighbor all the way down the hill heard me and was worried, I stopped communicating with friends or former coworkers because I simply felt I had no right to track them down or force them to listen to me talk about what I described is a nightmare worse than anything I imagined. years later The result is that I have no friends locally, and finding I had no family thanks to my so-called loved ones telling everybody I was unstable or crazy or driving them to have health problems and do drugs when I literally begged my parents to listen to how they were hurting me and to try to change the way they dealt with all of this but to no avail. I had overcome some of my own issues when I was a teenager and I worked very hard all my life to become respected and known for the quality of my character and the person that I was rather than the issues that I had. It took 20 years of hard work to slowly walk away from my old reputation I did to my new one or I could hold my head up high and know that people liked me because I was likable and had great qualities. All of a sudden I’m realizing that while I’ve been sick at home alone in despair my family has essentially replaced therapy Tatian I earned throughout my life with the one I left behind years ago almost set instantly and I could do nothing about it. Now I continuously attempts to make peace with my sister though it never lasted and it meant apologizing when I done nothing wrong or coming to her to request piece after some terrible abuse, and as far as my parents go, losing nab in such a crazy way is still to me unacceptable and so from the very moment conflict arose I attempted to resolve it. Eventually I found myself begging them to listen to me and try to see how they were hurting me with their approach to everything and I asked them to try something new but they refused to and in fact punished me by calling the crisis people to my street claiming I was suicidal because I tried to explain to my dad that I was so depressed that over the years I had written suicide notes. They knew that for a long time I thought about whether life was worth living day and night and still they were cruel and treated me like my life meant very little to them. My home was the last place I had were no one was judging me unjustly, and they took that away too. Here’s where I’m coming to my point on another text box. I hope you brought popcorn…

  • D.b.D.

    D.b.D.

    February 27th, 2015 at 2:43 AM

    Happiness, is it there if you want it? Continued… I promise to make a point and now I’m about to do it. I’m realizing that summarizing my situation is simply not the small task I thought it would be but I think I’ve painted a pretty clear picture about what has happened to me and how completely shocking and unbelievable it all is. I truly thought that losing my parents to death would be the worst thing I would ever face. I never dreamed it was possible that their personalities would change absolutely and that everything that I trusted and believed in and valued, the love I thought was unconditionally and foreverit all of it could one day vanish and be replaced with only terrible negative things it defied nature and would not be stopped by Hardwork or good deeds. Suddenly I’m facing the world utterly alone, and unable to trust anyone now that the people trusted almost spiritually had betrayed me. what I had valued most was family they proved to be my enemy. I believed that if you were kind you would receive kindness and if you worked hard you would receive the benefits of that hard work. I thought that the love of a parent prevented parents from loving their children unconditionally with their best interests at heart for three decades only to suddenly stop for no reason. I didn’t know that could happen. I didn’t know that I could work my whole life towards a life that I wanted with relationships i’ve valued and cherished, so that I could walk across this earth with my head held high and people knowing me for me and the good things I had done only to have those I love the most destroy it all overnight. I never dreamed that someone else is diction could destroy my life and that my health was so important because without it I would find myself falling victim helplessly in the way I never dreamed. Suddenly the laws of nature are no longer true or reliable such as if your kind to others they will be kind to you, or if you work hard it will pay off and all that other stuff. Virtually everything I knew in life had been shaken and stirred and I was standing there almost like I was naked and alone without having the ability to know what values to hold dear or what in life was most important to me or what I should do in order to find happiness when for eight years I thought to be happy and failed tirelessly. I couldn’t go to work distract myself or go take classes and make new friends and create a new life for myself and save myself from this that way. I had no energy and I was tired all the time and the despair brought on by what was happening to me force me into a place for I barely have the will to face each new day. For the first time in my life I absolutely did not know how to help myself and I saw quite a few therapists who fail to have an answer either. No one knows what to tell me and no one can explain what’s happened or why my loved ones have turned out this way. And the reason that I’ve learned despite our own control over our destinies happiness can still be a phantom is that I only have two choices. I can either walk away from the family that I adored and cherished for 30 years as you I still believe there’s a chance I can get back because they were not like this until the last few years, or I could continue to work with my family and suffer porch treatment and struggle towards a goal of it I desperately want but may never reach.ccthough I’ve been depressed most of my life and at times suicidal I curiously find myself wishing I was suicidal but wanting to be rescued or just find a way to be happy again. Even the easy way out isn’t an option for me. And the truth is I don’t think I have the ability to give up on fixing what’s broken with my family as long as there’s a chance of reconciliation which is as long as my parents are alive. I could never look back and wonder if they may have found a way to love me again if I had just kept working on it and so as you can see we only have so much control over our own happiness. It took a long time to make my point but to me it’s a shocking realization, and I felt it was worth while to share. I’m still absolutely shocked to learn that any of these things could happen to anyone and I believe that it’s unatural and unacceptable for any human being to experience the things that I have. I feel like life has a secret that I now know but have no idea if there’s even anyone else who knows this from personal experience and that is that what you think you know is absolutely not true and nothing is predictable in the end. I don’t think that is true for most people in general but clearly it can become the reality for some, as it has become for me. My life is so incredibly horrific that I’ve wondered if I’m not actually crazy and living in a mental hospital somewhere, just having a delusion that I have this life. I’ve wondered if maybe I’m still eight years old and this is just one really long nightmare that I will wake up from eventually. I’ve considered the fact that aliens could have landed and taken over my parents bodies because the absolute change in their personalities and their values and choices and behaviors is so completely insane, The events that have happened to my life are so unbelievable and inexplicable that explanations just as unbelievable and inexplicable as the events themselves could be true.

  • Jeremy M.

    Jeremy M.

    February 26th, 2015 at 2:00 PM

    Thank you Creighton. :)

  • Jeremy M.

    Jeremy M.

    February 26th, 2015 at 2:03 PM

    Earnest, I’m reading some ‘test’ in your message, and I would love to honor whatever is actually there. I’m not sure what is there, but I am curious.

  • Terri

    Terri

    February 28th, 2015 at 3:54 AM

    If you let it be…try to spend time away from it….really let it be. It is OK. Ok to move on and be better.

  • sadie

    sadie

    February 28th, 2015 at 9:21 AM

    my instinct is to run away
    not healthy
    but that is what is there in me

  • Jeremy

    Jeremy

    February 28th, 2015 at 5:50 PM

    D.b.D.:

    There is some anonymity here, and I hope you do feel some safety in that. You can respond to this or not. There is also a human you, behind all these words on the screen. As a means of reflection to that person:

    It takes a certain level of trust to put so much out there. It also takes a certain level of distrust: a testing of people around you…or a re-creation of what is feared the most – pushing others away – because at least that will make sense in a way. At least it will follow a pattern.

    Many people, following trauma (including lack of attunement in childhood), hold a belief that they are ‘too much’, that if others really knew the real you they would leave. So there may be a strategy that includes alternating between trying to hold it all in, to contain it, and then noticing it’s all coming out, like water breaking through a dam.

    I am seeing the pain of losing, not just others, but your sense of Self – of who you are in this world. There seems to be, for you, a present confusion – like trying to put together a puzzle when pieces are scattered or missing. There is also some sense that you have been playing a role, wanting to ‘do it right.’ Themes that matter to you – places that feel damaged – echo themes of justice and fairness.

    Reasoning and analyzing are a component of therapy. In managing self-regulation, the tendency to move into our heads and analyze suggests a lack of comfort in physical sensations…even an overwhelm when attending to memories, or feeling emotions in general. Especially in the case of early childhood trauma, it happened at a time when we had no resources and no support. When the only emotions that register are terror and loss, it’s only natural to move away from the feelings and into the ‘control’ of the brain. As we grow older we have an opportunity to go back and process, from a resourced space, whatever we could not digest at the time of the trauma. So, especially in working with trauma, reasoning and analyzing tend to lead in circles. The real work is in the body.

    Cognitive therapy only goes so far with trauma. The brain loops old information. The body brings in new information from the present moment. Often, in therapy, we see that the two do not match. The brain says danger is looming while our body says we’re okay. And sometimes words protect us from feeling.

    Thank you, D.b.D., for sharing your story. While the details may be unique to you, I believe there are others out there that can relate to your expression of emotion and your current confusion about life.

    So, these are just words on the screen returned to words you wrote. There’s also a person behind them.

    I encourage you to seek out a therapist in your area familiar with the bodily aspects of trauma. I would suggest Hakomi Therapy or Somatic Experiencing, just because I’m familiar with those. Perhaps others out there reading this have other, equally-valid suggestions.

  • D.b.D

    D.b.D

    April 10th, 2015 at 12:05 AM

    Thank you for your nice response. I’ll tell you what the hardest part of all of this is, and it has been a while since I shared my story and I didn’t go over it again now because my on earth what I want to read read all that when I’m living it right now so I apologize if I said this already, but the hardest part is this… We are raised not just by our parents but by society in general, in school, and church, and daily life everywhere that if you do certain things, if you make certain choices then you will get a particular result in return and by understanding these laws of nature and society (such as the golden rule that says treat others as you would want to be treated by them) you’re able to plan for the future, understand how to make your way through society of people without a lot of conflict or drama, and create a life that you want and enjoy. I spent my entire adult life very carefully working to grasp everything I needed to understand so that I could be fulfilled, confident, happy, and peaceful and I succeeded in all those things including having the confidence to feel comfortable in my own skin to where I never really second-guessed myself anymore or worry much about what others thought of me since I knew who I was at the end of the day. Well now in my life, none of the laws of nature or rules of society seem to work anymore and I literally have no way of knowing what choices or behaviors will get my desired results and it’s a very helpless and scary feeling not to mention the fact that I’ve Lost the wonderful benefits that I worked so hard to acquire with conscientious self-improvement all those years. The worst part is that the people who loved and supported me through and overcame so many obstacles are the ones that have done this to me. Talk about a complete departure from logic and what nature predicts right? Life is so crazy now that I’ve named my house Murphy’s later because I believe Murphy’s Law originates right here. If it can happen it will happen if you’ve been in my house or are coming to my house or here right now no exaggeration. Maybe if I moved everything will go back to normal. But let’s be honest my life is so insane and illogical that no matter how crazy the explanation may be for why the people around me are behaving like they are it doesn’t seem too crazy to be true. Some of the reasons I have thought of for what’s happening to me are that I’m actually insane and in the hospital just thinking this is my life, or perhaps aliens have taken over my parents bodies, or I’m actually having a nightmare and will wake up sometime in my bed at home as an eight-year-old. I recently decided that I could no longer pretend that my parents had betrayed and abused me so unspeakably and I tried to talk to them about it because I feel like if they could take knowledge their mistakes and take responsibility they would be able to apologize genuinely and we could move on right away and be happy again like we were, but even though I said I did not want to hear any excuses for the particular incident I chose to bring up at the time, my mother continue to justify her actions with lies and we have not really been able to get along since. I was so furious because just trying to speak to them at all usually gets a bad reaction and I realize I’ve once again failed to help my situation and after eight years it’s getting to be too much so at this point my tolerance for failure as far as improving my life and making headway with my parents is very low and I just can’t help myself and I wind up screaming at them as a flee my house. I don’t feel bad about this because they know when they’re upsetting me and they continue to do it and therefore basically choose to have it happen but they’ve been claimed they cannot see me when these things happen as if they are not the cause, and they refused to see me for long periods of time cleaning they are victims of my abuse as they like to call it there by abandoning me even more and leaving me in isolation which is the very thing that makes me angry and they will not hear reason. I finally realized that when my parents promised my sister eight years ago to keep her issues with drugs and other things confidential as far as sharing it with me, they by default promised to exclude me from their lives because my sisters drug addiction was affecting every aspect of my life which I no longer could talk to my parents about or get any support with and so we literally stopped having a relationship overnight and I believe they felt bad about it and try to justify hurting me by convincing themselves that everything and anything was my fault. It did not matter what it was or who did it, if it was bad or cause stress for anyone in her family somehow they would create a reason that I was to blame matter how crazy or ridiculous that reason was and they would stand by that reason no matter what logic I responded with another hell transparent their tactics were in overtime my sister and her husband saw that they could abuse me in the worst ways and my own parents would not only do nothing to interfere, but would participate in punishments that they have created if that was what was asked of them. I think that my sister began to wonder if the lies she was telling everyone about me might not actually be true if our own parents were in their own ways supporting my abuse and it became the culture and our family to hate and blame me and alienate me from everything. It’s been so many years now that I’m not sure that everyone remembers what it was like before or that I didn’t actually do anything wrong to anyone but in fact continued to be good kind and loving to my whole family the matter what so I don’t know if this is a fixable problem. What I do know and have concluded is that like with people who are not your own family where you can walk away from them and overcome the pain to lead a happy and productive life, the fact that this is my parents who are loved and supported me in amazing ways for most of my life and his love and acceptance took priority over everything else in my life as well means that I will not be able to overcome like I might with other people. If I fail to get my parents to realize what they’ve done and to remember how happy we were and how much they love to me I feel like that will be a pain it will be a dark shadow in my life until the day I die and there’s nothing I can do about that. Like I think I said it’s not like I never had family when my parents were always unkind. I had the most wonderful loving parents whose love and with him my relationship with of the utmost importance in which I nurtured and built over time so that we could really make the most of our precious days here on earth. I idolized my dad and Brandon about my parents all the time, and to repay them for the ways in which they helped me grow up I worked very hard to be a successful person in every aspect of life which is what I knew they wanted and what they worked hard to help me achieve. I don’t know if I’ve succeeded in explaining just why the way they treat me now is so completely insane and truth be told, it is something I never knew could happen to a person and to this day years later I still can’t believe it’s true and wonder if what I’m experiencing as my life is actually real because how do so many people love you for so many years and stop all of a sudden replacing that love with hatred and cruelty? How does the father cry because he doesn’t know how to help you one day and then walk away from you the next as you sob and beg for help to make better a life that is so terrible that you think the death might be better all the time? My family who were loving and supportive and selfless towards me my whole life now regard me as if I am not even human or deserving of human compassion at all and it is frightening. It makes you wonder how to get through life when everything you thought was true isn’t. I am lucky because I know that I have worth and I know what I deserve and that’s probably why I’m not an IV drug user, an alcoholic, or suicide statistic because I have been able to remind myself of this value I have when I have been treated as if I have no value at all. When friends and family, new and old have suddenly turned their backs on me because they’ve chosen to believe lies that defies common sense and do not describe me as the person they know without ever asking questions or waiting to see if it’s true by their own experience you have to wonder what it is about you that makes people regard you with such little respect or consideration whatsoever. When you reach out to a few of those people you thought you could trust and tell them what’s really happening and they either ignore you or respond with cruelty it is almost impossible to remember that you are worthy of the same thing as everyone else. When more than one therapist that was your therapist first and whom you brought your parents to to help your situation only to have the therapist tell you to find someone else so they can help your parents you find that on top of everything else you’re beginning to think that there is something beyond the natural world happening and if life is really worth the trouble. I had a lot of problems growing up with a mental health diagnosis that if left untreated can cause a person to have a very hard life to where 10% of people with this illness are successful at suicide which is the statistic. I overcame this problem and so I have survived what’s happening. I truly believe that I am the strongest and most mentally sound person that I know and it nothing whatsoever could break me because though I have wished for death, and though I have considered using hard drugs because the pain is so bad, though I have cried all day every day for months and years I am still sane and sober and thinking clearly and able to assess my situation with logic and rationale when everyone around me has lost it and while I’m not sure that this is worth everything that is happened it is certainly a payoff that will serve me until I die. I may become so helpless and frustrated when my parents treat me in such a way that I feel if I don’t scream or throw something I will have to just die but I don’t feel like that is a bad or wrong thing because no one could injure what I have remain calm at all times. In fact I am disabled and on medications that are controlled and I am not a drug addict Orr abuser and I could’ve been so know when else may believe this but I feel I deserve the utmost respect for how I have held up and carried myself through all of this. Anyway I tried to find a therapist and I can’t seem to find one who can help me they will not get swayed by my parents who somehow look like such good well put together people that people just believe everything they say. Even in genes and their grubby clothes they look dressed up and pressed and like kind respectable people and because of that which is a really weird kind of thing about them other people just believe what they say no matter how well they know me. The last therapist I tried to get I researched very carefully and told my whole story two and after making an appointment in filling out all the paperwork I read that she did telephone interviews and because I’m sick and so depressed I asked if that was possible and because of that she decided not to see me. I explained that I’m disabled and there’s just no way that I can always be there when she wants me to be there but I can do the best I can and it was clear how desperate I was for help but she said that because I couldn’t be there every time regularly, which to me seems like an unrealistic expectation for therapist dealing with imperfect people so she told me to contact two other therapists and if they were not right for me to contact her after that. I tried to tell her that I felt she was discriminating against me because I was disabled but it didn’t seem to get through and I never contacted her again because the fact that she would be willing to see me if I didn’t like the two people she asked me to take my time and energy checking out and telling my whole entire story to going through the whole thing again but I already done this with her over a period of time and pretty thoroughly to make sure she could help me was basically like she was saying F you. Clearly she didn’t respect my time and energy and that is so disappointing to have happen again (most people would have given up long before this I’m sure after everyone babe cross paths with has abused or treat them cruelly in response to kindness that gets harder and harder her to express and I haven’t sought out a therapist since. Honestly though, and I don’t say this in a delusional way, I feel very confident in knowing what it is I need to do and have happen and I don’t think anyone can help me unless they can help me get through to my parents with whom mending our relationship is truly The difference between my future happiness or lack thereof completely. I’ve made a couple of new friends in the last month though and I am a little bit happier so there may be hope. I’m glad sharing my story touched anyone and I’m happy that I expressed it all because it’s truly a situation so unimaginable that anyone who has experienced this type of thing will be relieved to know that there’s anyone else that has done so as well.

  • D.b.D

    D.b.D

    May 7th, 2015 at 8:20 AM

    Hi Jeremy, I just posted an update on my situation and reread your nice message and I wanted to tell you something that now that things are getting better for me, I’m feeling more inclined to address. You suggested that I seek out a therapist and I’m telling you this maybe to get your feedback, but I actually did seek out a therapist, I researched therapists and spent a lot of time looking for just the right person because of my situations uniqueness, and after going over my entire story with one person I was referred to and not feeling totally comfortable that I found the right person, I spent more time researching and found someone else on your website here that I called and what happened next is what I want to talk to you about. I call this person and told her my entire story which is very long and exhausting and requires that I put trust in this person, and after we spoke for a long time she told me that she felt that she could indeed help me and so we made an appointment and even went so far as to figure out and plan how we were going to include my parents or just my mother which I then followed up on, going through the painful process of trying to convince my mother to attend the second appointment and getting her to agree to it so that I could meet with this new person alone for the first appointment. We communicated several times and I invested a lot of time and energy into making sure that I was well-established with this new therapist before ever seeing her, and I was looking so forward to the chance that I finally might’ve found someone that could help my situation once and for all telling my friends or whatever you want to call them on Facebook that after hearing such terrible things about my life, I have finally found hope that things would look up for me. The night before the appointment I spent a good amount of time carefully filling out the patient intake papers in detail, reading all of the information that most people probably bypass, and within that information she said that she sometimes did telephone appointments which is something I have done with my psychiatrist because I’m disabled and I hardly ever go out of my house because I’m so depressed and I’m not well and that’s just how my life is. That day my parents have been at my house and there had been an incident that had left me feeling terrible and in despair and I was feeling sick and severely depressed and so I messaged her and asked if she would be willing to meet me on the phone because I am disabled by law and I had read that she did that in her paperwork. It was past office hours so I knew I wouldn’t hear back until the next day, what I didn’t anticipate was that she would not respond until after my appointment was to have been over and by telling me that it was a typo, and that she did not in fact do telephone appointments, and I told her that I was disabled and it was difficult for me to get places reliably but that I hoped we could work out a way that we could both be happy where I wouldn’t be penalized and that she wouldn’t be left hanging so that I can get the help I needed. I said that I would do the best I could but I was just asking her to work with me so that we could make it work. She responded by telling me that because I couldn’t be there each time on time reliably she felt that I should find a different therapist and that she could not help me (she didn’t specify that it was because of my disability). she tried to make it seem like she was justified in suggesting I find a different therapist by telling me that she felt she was not able to help me (which is a valid reason for referring a patient to another therapist) it’s just that it doesn’t work when The reason you can’t help the patient is because they’re disabled and can’t be punctual. Sometimes when things happen to me like that (things which are clearly unethical or immoral or just plain bad, and socially accepted as bad) I’m so shocked I don’t even register what is actually happening and so I didn’t respond by confronting her directly about what she was doing. I begged her to reconsider because I had spent so much time and energy finding her in the first place not to mention the investment of my time energy and self in becoming her patient because of the promise she made to try to help me. She just gave me the numbers of two different therapists and told me that if after speaking to them if I still Felt I needed her help I could call her again and we would revisit things. Yes she really said that. She really said that she would see me but not until I had been left out helpless and with another mountain to climb. What she basically was saying was that she had no respect for the trust I gave her or the fact that she agreed to try to help me, or the time or energy that I invested in working with her already and because I couldn’t be reliable enough to achieve perfect attendance, which to me seems like an unrealistic expectation of people in general especially for someone his profession is to understand the intricacies of human behavior and the workings of the mind, she was going to insist that I go through the entire process I’d done with her at least two more times before she would talk to me again, but she was willing to talk to me just not until I had jumped through hoops that no person should ever have to jump through. What’s worse, she was discriminating against me because of my disability which is against the law! She knew without question how desperate I was for help and we had talked at depth and in detail about my situation and my needs and there was no confusion about the fact that I have been let down by everyone and their people and that the trust I was putting in her was extremely hard for me to do, not to mention I was counting on her for a little bit of hope that I hadn’t had for years so you play with her was truly a critical moment in my life at that time and still she just turned me away because of something I can’t help though I promised to do my best to accommodate her despite, and left me out in the cold and I was too depressed and in way too bad of a place to deal with it at the time but I feel like I should do so now. I haven’t sought out a therapist since then and I doubt I will because while I have always gone to therapy anytime I had a problem I couldn’t solve myself I no longer feel I can trust people and that was something that I never ever expected I would ever experience. Two therapist prior to her, or actually three, have let me down in a pretty major way that borders on the unethical as well and she knew about that also so her actions are beyond unjustified or uncalled for. What do you think of this situation, and what do you think I should do about it? I believe that it was unethical and it broke the guidelines but I don’t feel like going to some board is the way I want to go because I believe in addressing people directly first. Do you think that I’m right in my feelings and that this is a breach of ethical conduct worthy of my time and attention? I would really appreciate any feedback you could give me because what happened to me I believe is wrong and shouldn’t happen to another person and I’m willing to do something to make sure that if I can help it, and by creating the least amount of conflict or drama, it won’t. Thanks so much for your attention to this. All in all I think this entire website is amazing and I tell people about it. Not that many people though cause I don’t know that many people anymore. ;0)

  • Tara

    Tara

    November 28th, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    The only evidence-based treatments for the treatment of PTSD are Cognitive Processing Therapy, Prolonged Exposure, and EMDR.

  • Kristina

    Kristina

    April 9th, 2015 at 5:10 PM

    D.b.D… I couldn’t read your whole story, it scares me, as just skimming over it, I see a LOT of similarities, so many…and I, myself, am left alone, due to family deaths, all young, and multiple losses, from rape, to financial “rape”… I almost wonder if I may even have a longer story, if I tried to type it out.Certainly NOT any kind of competition, I don’t mean that in any way, but, the point is…there is someone (me) who has been multiple traumatized, severe traumas, and I struggle with dissociation, and extreme fear of life, and people…and after what I have seen, don’t believe I could ever go back to “trusting” Life…How do you UN ring a bell? I can’t. So, I am grateful that you shared so openly, here, and I just happened to come across it, because I have honestly believed that NO ONE else…could ever think/believe/feel like I do, and it sure looks like you do… I wish you peace, somehow, healing, but, like I said, I can’t imagine HOW..

  • D.b.D

    D.b.D

    April 10th, 2015 at 12:59 AM

    Thank you so much for your kind words. Do you know what D. b.D. stands for? Stands for dead by Dawn. I was pretty depressed when I came up with that name but I’m feeling a bit better now so that peace you wish for me is a little bit more in my life. Human beings are not meant to be isolated for long periods of time especially when they’re facing obstacles and difficulties in life so I can’t figure out why my parents don’t understand why a little love and support would mean so much to me, especially when I have stated clearly in no uncertain terms that I just need a little bit of support from my parents to help me overcome some of the things that I’m dealing with in my life that are unrelated to them. Anyway I have met two girls that I’ve become friends with in the last month who live locally and it has been so nice to have people treat me with kindness and know that there are people that I can speak to you once in a while which is brought a lot of cheer into my life it was not there before. It’s brought hope back as well. For so many years going through the worst thing that was so bad I had never even imagined it, I would look at my phone and there would be not one person I could call for love or support or even a little bit of kindness and that is a hideous existence no one should ever have to face. To be the kind of person that goes through life purposefully and Kutchie it just like trying to be a good person and leave a positive footprint in her awake yet received cruelty and abuse from every person she crosses paths with is the reality that is almost too hard to believe. No one can know what it’s like to experience no kindness or human touch like a hug even for a long long stretches of time like years. It’s not the way that human beings are instinctively meant to live and it makes me realize that I am the most amazing person on earth to be here and to be sane and sober and still going and wanting to be a happy person rather than die. I mean I am still sane and sober and wishing for a happy life all of these years later during which the entire time my parents, in calls, visits, and emails which I’ve seen myself to people I love dearly and thus have lost, claim, with the description they’ve ruined me with, claim that because I am such a nightmare as they paint me, saying I’m a hateful, spiteful, out of control, abusive, happiness sucking monster who attacks suddenly with rage and abuse all unprovoked and out of nowhere at any moment bringing misery and conflict into every corner of their lives for which there’s literally nothing anyone in my family can do except suffer as my victims and seek comfort and false support from my friends and family who are unaware they are being lied to and tell my parents all of the things that they want to hear that make them feel better about what they are doing to me. What’s run-on sentence. My point was that because of what they said about me apparently they’ve been driven to making the choices they have to engage and unhealthy or bad behaviors such as using heroin while raising children or drinking to excess and destruction, all which has caused unhappiness in their lives and even caused them to suffer poor health from the stress like the time my mother betrayed me on an occasion I decided to take a chance and reach out to her in a moment of great need after which I sort of lost it for a weekend and because of which my mother had a heart episode but called it a heart attack and told everyone I caused it and how making everyone think of me as the person who was crazy and almost killed her mother which is a heckuva thing for a mother to say about her own child because. All of these things that my family has suffered have nothing to do with me at all but with the fact that they have all failed to seek help for the issues plaguing all of our lives and therefore they have not dealt with what has happened or learned any tools for coping with what may come while I have sought help since the beginning which does nothing when I’m the only one trying, because you can’t reason with crazy which is what happens when one person is getting help and no one else is. I’m truly shocked that the parents are you my whole life are now cleaning and convincing themselves that anything that anyone else does could possibly cause them to stop having control over thie own free will as if they’ve found that they are doing things by outside force rather than taking responsibility for making those choices themselves claiming that I am in control of behaviors that people do when I’m nowhere near by with the kind of control only God could possess yet I don’t get credit when that poor health gets a clean bill from the doctor or someone chooses to stop taking drugs and do better, or even with a therapist or psychiatrist tells my parents I’m not responsible even though they “take all the advice that they get from the therapist they see regularly” (which means they don’t ever listen and go maybe twice a year) and this is the hypocritical and irrational thinking that has become the mindset of my loved ones …and my father always told me growing up that no one can make you do anything yet here we are. I can remind him how he used to say that and explain how he is now thinking in the opposite way but rather than even acknowledge that I spoke he will pretend I said nothing and that’s how they managed to continue like this. I only meant to talk about how strong I feel I am and that there’s a bit more happiness in my life in this response but eight years of hell leads me to end up babbling on and on whenever the opportunity arises so I apologize. Anyway I’m sorry for what you’re going through and I hope you also find some peace. I don’t believe that very many people ever have to learn that there are some truth about life that are so frightening and hideous that you question your very existence and I’m grateful for that because what I know I don’t want other people to have to know this, and I’m sorry that you have. I hope that anyone else who knows what we do can find some comfort in these messages of mine.

  • Kristina

    Kristina

    April 10th, 2015 at 11:32 AM

    Hi, I am reading your two messages, just taking me some time, as I happen to be going through some very triggering trauma memories, and having a struggle, right now, but I am almost through to the end of your first message, so I wanted to make a short reply, to say I see them, and will keep trying to read, and listen, and understand. #1. I think you are very well spoken, very clear in your wording.. So, that is something GOOD.. I know when I’m emotional, like now, my thoughts and words don’t always come so clear.. I think we definitely both have in common…that we were absolutely cold cocked..(out of no where, could have NEVER possibly seen it coming) by the ones we were the closest, blood relations..to.. The things that have happened in my family and life.. just like you said, There are certain “laws” of life…that if you do “this”..then..”that” will happen.. AND WE DID the “right/best” things…and they DIDN’T happen.. Am I correct, that this is something we share in common? (I’m hoping to understand, and talk with you) I also have had many times, when I don’t feel REAL… like HERE..in life.. Like I am watching from outside my self…or sometimes, INSIDE myself, but it’s not me..that is responding to the situation.. I saw that you have wondered if it is a nightmare…or if you are in a mental hospital, somewhere.. I also have had the strong feelings, upon waking…this HAS to be some LONG, ridiculous nightmare..this CAN’T be real.. I will read more of your message and get back to you in a few hours, I have a feww things going on, right this minute.. Hang in there, you are NOT alone!! :)

  • D.b.D

    D.b.D

    April 10th, 2015 at 3:04 PM

    Kristina, I think you may be one of those rare, chosen people that has come to learn that there are in fact truly grotesque and horrifying laws of nature and truths about life which render you incapable of predicting the outcome of choices and behaviors and therefore feeling completely unable to control or predict or plan for your future or your own life quality or environment because what used to work and get certain results (that still works for most people) just doesn’t work anymore for you and your just helpless, I feel like a victim and your face in the world with no foundation or beliefs or ideas to value our trust in and it’s very scary and no one can really understand that but I’m wondering if that’s what you are going through and do you understand this? This is my situation and it’s almost impossible explain to people who try to understand what I’m going through by relating to it with experiences they’ve had in their life, experiences that people go through as a matter of life which is such that those things are well known to happen, and for which there are resources based. On a history of dealing with these problems and learning how to cope and manage them, and many people around the world when you can find and support groups are other places that will know what you’re going through and can relate genuinely and thus help, understand and, support each other, and being a part of regular life it’s nothing like this for which there is no general knowledge by the human population that this can happen, no understanding of how it works, why, or how to manage or fix it, and people like me and (I’m guessing you) are totally alone and hopefully, I pray to God, few and far between, like in the tens not thousands of the whole population of earth, because human beings are not equipped to cope or live with any life quality having this knowledge which defies all logic, all nature, everything we know about human beings and how to successfully navigate life on earth so that you can be happy and respected and peaceful and whatever. People always talk about how they could get hit by a bus one day like it would be such a surprise, but no one realizes that your whole life and everything you understand about the world do you live in and how to make your way through it with any successor control can be turned on its head with no explanation and you can do nothing about it and no one can help you that is The real you could get hit by a bus one day. Is all of this sounding familiar to you and how I actually found someone that has gone through this and knows that this life can be unpredictable to the degree that you can be left stripped bare if everything you are and what you’re made of and what you know? I genuinely hope this is not your experience but if it is I hope we can communicate outside of the sport because no one knows we’re going through and no one should have to unless they come across it by way of their own life experiences. This can lead a person insane if they’re not strong enough mentally to deal with it and I am and I realize that nothing can break me and I am an amazing human being. I’m so grateful that I got a lot of help when I was a late teens and early 20s-year-old for some issues that really difficult because I worked very hard and I learned how to really understand the world we live in and what works and what doesn’t and I don’t crack or get suede or manipulated and I deal with reality like it’s all there is. I take very addictive medication and I have not become an abuser or addict in trouble, p instead reducing my dosage, and I have not turned to alcohol and I have not killed myself and I have never ever rested for a moment when it comes to attempting to help myself or my family which I feel is pretty crucial to my future happiness at this time, though that may not turn out to be true. All I know is that because it’s my parents and their love and acceptance has always been so valuable and important to me to lose it now is just something I don’t believe I can just walk away from and overcome to go want to lead a healthy happy life. I have the tools to do this and I want this but I think that because parents have the kind of relationship they do with their children and their children value their opinion in their respective there all of it so much that with parents it’s not the same thing as if it were A friend or boyfriend or even husband that was using you because at least if you have a really good relationship with them most of your life, you have lived earning and valuation and enjoying their love and respect and to lose it after 30 years is simply not something I know that I can help with in a way that I will be happy as far as I can tell at this time. People always say that I should stop trying or I should step back or I should walk away but people don’t realize or understand that I’m used to a relationship with my parents I put at the top of my list of priorities and valued more than anything and worked my whole life to learn and nurture and gain respect and trust so that we could enjoy a wonderful loving and warm relationship that meant everything to me and that I expected I would be able to take comfort in when they were no longer here which would help me to face the rest of my life as an adult child who’s lost parents and is now on my own so finding that not only have I lost them while they are still alive but they’ve been replaced by look-alikes that are cruel and abusive, it’s the kind of thing I would have a nightmare about growing up and wake up crying to run to the phone and call my parents and make sure they were still alive and everything was okay, and I told them last week that this is my worst nightmare and would they please listen to what they’re doing and stop it so that I don’t have to suffer like this in a way that I know they never wanted me to do before, and don’t understand why they do now, but they don’t respond to anything about our issues at all and have not done so all this time which is why they still exist. I’m about to say something about how insane this is but I think I made that clear. I just still can’t believe it’s happening I don’t understand it as I said. Am I making it obvious how this is truly like I’m living in a state of shock and cannot get out of it but somehow I’m managing to stay grounded, focused, driven to survive with happiness, and truly mentally rock solid and stable? Wondering if this is not real does not mean I’m crazy. It means that I’m experiencing something that should not be an responding to it with the natural reaction that anyone would have. i remember that they would reassure after a nightmare that they loved me and always would, yet today a parents unconditional and spiritual love, support, and guidance done with the child’s well-being and future success as the goal, all which that a child believed, with the kind of belief that you put into like one thing if you can leave anything on earth because it is innately and cosmically to be trusted as exempt but very laws of nature and nurture, from being erased from existence, or compromised during the lifetime of that child and parent as that is supposed to be and I think we are even born with an understanding of that and we don’t have to warm it but we already know it because it’s part of our make up to be this way, yet for many years without a moment of kindness or concern for me on my feelings or my very existence to soften extended periods of this all I experienced was abuse and unkindness and disregard this if I was not even a human being with the same feelings and needs as others. When I believed in with my entire soul and mind is not true for me though it is still true for most people on earth and nothing I suffer, no risk that it puts on my very life, no amount of pain however unbelievable or acceptable by description or obvious to anyone seeing me in person as my parents have for years and walked out the door without offering any support help or effort seems to help them feel anything empathetic towards me. What makes it even more unbelievable is that I didn’t live a normal boring life. I had a lot of issues growing up that not dealt with would have ensured I lived a terrible life, but my parents did so much to support and guide me through years of overcoming these issues and achieving success beyond what we imagined, and after being so proud of what we accomplish together, and enjoying an equal and respectful relationship that we nurtured and dealt with hard work and love, and after seeing all of their sacrifice and suffering and love pay off completely and more, they stood by observant, often times even see me please by the decline I began to suffer, and out of nowhere for no reason. I’m not just fighting with my family, because of their ability to convince everyone I love and know that I’m crazy and abusive and unpredictable for which there’s nothing we can do but suffer as my victims and garner sympathy from everyone and anger from them for me, I’ve lost my reputation which I’ve spent 20 years conscientiously working hard to earn and enjoy rightfully and by being a good person with standards and qualities that I worked hard to hear to you when most people just get by trying to be okay person, as I said I lost all of my friends and family, my friends and family who knew me as one person yet believed what was described as somebody completely different and which went against their own commonsense, which if that’s not bad enough, when I tried fearfully to reach out to a few people I thought I could trust, and explain clearly and explicitly as I have on this board what was really happening and plead for some help or just A little kindness and support, I was either turned away or ignored or threaten with blatant cruelty and hatred which is again unbelievable, and shows that life does not have rules that you can count on and people, no matter what species they are or what the natural instincts are of that species, can act in a way that defies everything we know. Gone are my relationships and most upsetting of all, gone like it never happened is the result of my lifetime of focus, and hard work which did on my own betterment, to ensure that all the benefits I was enjoying would be there as was expected one day if I d give up, and after doing all the right things as much as I could and as hard as it was, and I think we all know that it’s easy to be a bad person and leave a negative impact on the world but very difficult to be a good person and do the things that go against our instinct to take care of number one and serve the self first before others, and they didn’t just watch it happen, they are the ones that spread the lies and emotionally abuse me and took the love and abandoned me four years after I became disabled as a young person at the prime of my life, questioning me if I asked for help and humiliating me when I had to go I told them right as they were doing it that they were humiliating me and to please stop and it didn’t matter the doctors told him this wasn’t my fault. The people I knew who would not engage in conflict, who always told me I had to face the music when I was wrong rather than cover for me, and insisted that no one could make you do anything suddenly put the burden of everybody’s poor choices on me as if I was God and could control people with him I was nowhere near and his health I could not have anything to do with and they advertised it to the world, and are childish and manipulative and cruel in the way that I know they would never approve of before. this is just A reality I never imagined could exist outside of a nightmare, and it’s one that I’ve come to accept that right or wrong, realistic or not, I can not walk away and except it for myself and what it’s going to do to me for the rest of my life which is causing you pain and misery that will be a struggle I will suffer with in a way that Will be very significant to my quality of life ;;.so I keep fighting and trying and failing and will do that to the end of their or my days. I feel less inclined to communicate with them, which is always a one-way street anyway, as time goes by,,but I know that I cannot say right now that I can or will be able to walk away or give this up and so that’s what I have to say about that to anyone who’s thinking that I’m wasting my time taking abuse I don’t deserve. I know that I don’t deserve this and the fact that I know that I have value and worth is the only reason I’m alive and as I said I live in reality and the reality is that what I had in my life that I valued and felt was the most important thing crucial to the happiness of a persons life (love of family) is too important for me to say forget it and walk away without it anymore. Let’s say I do that, then I have decided to welcome and walk willingly into a world in which I do not know how to function, and commit myself to live in this world that I know that I will never be able to grasp for as long as my life continues, and I can’t do that to myself on purpose because it would be like suicide. I did mention that I have so much long suffering in my life that I have not been able to talk about that I do tend to babble on and on? I realize I’m doing that now but if you’re in my position then you know what I’m saying and I think that any understanding about this life either of us could share with the other is valuable so I’m sharing this with you.
    My one friend (who I just made and is the first friend Ive had in about eight years) tries to help me with some advice that just does not apply and I just can’t seem to help her understand that no one can help me because there’s no explanation for what’s going on and therefore no solution to be found. She is actually someone who was my sisters friend to contact me because my sister gave her bike to me without permission because she was on drugs, the third bike she had screwed this person out of and she wanted it from me but my sister and I are not talking …. Anyway now we are friends. When we first spoke she was afraid to say anything because my sister had made her fear talking to me about anything which is what my sister has done to everyone and why no one speaks to me now. Thankfully she has realized that my sister has no right to do anything like that and she’s actually entitled to deal with the issues my sister has caused in her life anyway she feels Shen needs to do so and now we are friends and good friends and I feel like there’s a little hope for now. Yes people will feel very sorry for me and that’s all anyone can do because there’s no solution to be found for a situation with no explanation or cause. I believe we humans are not built to cope with knowing The truth that I know and you may know, yet some of us are allowed to see behind the curtain where the real secrets lurk, and thus are forced to deal with what we know the rest of our lives and I’m so happy to meet you but so sorry you’ve ever had to learn what I know. Is there a way we can exchange information and communicate off of the board… if you want? i’ve been writing this for like an hour and a half or more now so if I repeated anything or it seems out of order sorry but I’m so tired and I just don’t care to edit it again. Anyway thanks so much for writing back I really appreciate it and I’m so sorry for you too.

  • Kristina

    Kristina

    April 10th, 2015 at 5:17 PM

    I am also so grateful, to have found someone that seems to have the level of understanding, although, like you said, to me, I am also so very sorry that you have had to be exposed to these things. Most of the people that I have come across, and communicated with, certainly have had nothing near the depths or severity of traumatic experiences, and have only been able to offer condolences, or as you said, use their frame of reference, which just seems so far from the reality that I (and I believe you also) have had the unfortunate experience of living through. Please forgive me, I am exhausted, also, I have had a very trying week, myself, and am just barely “holding on” without crashing… I need some self care, really have been struggling.. But, I am following, and I am amazed, I really really have believed I was alone, and possibly “beyond repair”.. so I am very hopeful in our connecting, that somehow, some way..we can benefit, can possibly heal, can be a source of support, and strength for each other. I need to ask, please, if you wouldn’t mind, if I could get back in touch with you possibly in a couple of days, just because I really so badly need to focus on the self care, on resting, recuperating, reviving, and then would be in better shape to converse.. Thank you, I wish you peace, inner peace, in the meantime. Take Care

  • D.b.D

    D.b.D

    May 7th, 2015 at 7:48 AM

    Kristina,
    How are you doing? You said that you were exhausted & needed to take some time to take care of yourself so I thought I would just check on this page and see if you’d written and since you haven’t I just want to say I hope that you’re okay and not suffering too much. Please don’t feel obligated to respond. I just wanted you to know that someone was thinking of you. If your like I have been for so long, you believe that no one is thinking of you I would notice if you lived or died but I’m telling you that that is not the case. Things came to a boil with my parents and it became unavoidably clear finally that they were not going to do a single thing to improve the situation and prior to them going on a Luxurious European vacation (which I don’t feel they deserve whatsoever), I made a last ditch effort to reach them using every tactic I could think of and no matter what I said or how I said it they blatantly ignored me completely until finally, after I made it clear I was willing to do anything it took to repair our relationship, and asked him (my dad is the one I text or communicate with most often) point-blank what were they willing to do, they responded with an email which I will summarize as them telling me that they will do nothing different, there is nothing I can do, and they hope that when they return they can see me and that said they hope I will, I guess, be willing to suck up there abuse in silence as basically a requirement for us having contact. He offered no other alternative or direction in which we could turn to improve our situation. They wrapped up their message by telling me that obviously they love me or why else would they want to see me or be with me I think was the exact wording, to which I replied that clearly they did not want to see me at all since they made it impossible for me to do what they wanted me to do in order to meet the requirements they set for them to be able to be in my presence and therefore they clearly didn’t want to see me and do not love me! I do believe that my parents are genetically the same people they were the first 30 years of my life and those people are good loving people who live a value driven life and do good things and live well, I just believe that psychologically they are confused and altered in such a way that they are acting out of desperation and almost in survival mode trying to protect themselves from the truth of how they have hurt me and what they’ve done to me which I believe they felt they had to do in order to ensure that my sisters sobriety was not compromised (a sobriety which does not exist and which she has manipulated them into believing they are in control of so they better do what she says or else she could go off the deep end or it will be their fault). She is very very smart in the way she manipulates them and everyone else by admitting openly to drug use so that everyone will congratulate her for facing the truth, Believe that she is making a breakthrough and if anyone steps in the wrong direction we could all fall apart so everyone tiptoe carefully, and give her all kinds of room to get the help that she says she knows she needs but never actually gets and probably lied about saying she’s going to AAA but instead went and had a drink with friends, and after a while when people start to get suspicious again she’ll admit to drug use again and repeat the cycle which is going on for a long years. Unfortunately everyone around her is too stupid to realize they’re being duped. Unfortunately also, explaining this to them does not help. My point is I do believe they love me deep down in a place that they just cannot access at this time and knowing this I have hope that we will one day be together again but all I can do is wait and not hold my breath.

    What has made all of this possible for me is that I have made a couple of friends in the last month and a half or so who I get along with extremely well and with whom I communicate with on an almost daily basis. One of these friends was a friend of my sisters before me and it’s the first person at all literally whom I’ve been able to talk to about my sister and more I’m portantly tell the truth about what has really been going on and defend myself against the lies that everyone has been told. Just being able to tell one person who I really am and what has really been happening to me has made me feel so empowered that I don’t care if anyone else ever knows the truth. It’s also so wonderful to realize that everybody is aware of her bullshit but I guess no one really cares enough to do anything or no one’s been crazy enough to get close enough to her to be the kind of friend that feels responsible enough to get involved. I have not had a friend for years and it has allowed me to get out of the role of the victim because I am no longer 100% dependent on my parents for every human need. When they left for their vacation I told them that I could not comply with her wishes and that I felt there was nothing else I could do and I did not communicate with them at all while they were gone until two days after they returned which was yesterday when my father left me a voicemail which I did not listen to. While they were gone I found myself becoming happy once again and I know that if I attempt to engage in a relationship with my parents the way things are now that happiness will be a thing of the past faster than I can blink, and I will not sacrifice my happiness again, not for one more day of my life which I told my parents in an email as well as that I had exhausted every idea I could come up with regarding how to improve our situation leaving me with no other choice but to truly and finally leave the ball in their court and let them know that while it’s not what I want, I will keep communication to a complete minimum until they are ready to make an effort. I don’t feel sad, or panicky, in fact I feel really good about this and I don’t know if it’s just so much time is passed it I’m finally able to let go, or that this happiness that I’ve finally come by again it’s so wonderful that it outshines any hope of a relationship with my parents, or that I’m finally not dependent on them for every single thing which I truly believe is the worst way to live life and I’m so grateful that I’m not in that place anymore. I’m not going to jump the gun and say that I think this is all over where that my life is getting better in a way that will be consistent because I don’t want to be disappointed again, but I am seeing a light at the end of the tunnel that I did not think I would ever see you again and there are no words for what that means to me right now. I just hope that you find that light too and so does everyone else who is suffered trauma like we have or differently than we have. No one should suffer- it’s not right and it’s not fair and we should take care of each other because we are feeling creatures and we can do that for each other if we want to. It’s within our ability, and therefore, I believe, our responsibility to at least prevent ourselves causing suffering in the lives of others.

  • Jesse

    Jesse

    April 12th, 2015 at 12:28 AM

    Your article is definitively well-expressed and beneficial. Last year I finally got a handle on sobriety and I’ve not since then read such a well-articulated testimony of how trauma can affect a person. Many days I have been so split I’ve hardly experienced one coherent thought. I’m thankful for your commentary on our experience & although I don’t miss the city, I wish I could have visited with you in P-town!

  • Jeremy McAllister

    Jeremy McAllister

    May 8th, 2015 at 12:52 PM

    D.b.D,

    We all bring with us from childhood certain strategies around emotion. Sometimes we do our best to diminish our struggles, to pretend they are no big deal. Sometimes we amplify, we carry the sense that we are not being heard, that others don’t get it. Sometimes that is true. Sometimes others just don’t get it, no matter what. Sometimes we protect ourselves so well that it is hard to absorb and really allow those times we do feel someone ‘gets’ us. (We protect ourselves against what we really need the most.) And sometimes we come to a place of recognition of the parents we internalized – noticing that if they were somehow dismissive or deflecting of us then we become dismissive of ourselves, or we deflect and ask others to take care of the child within us. If we never felt heard, we do not know how to hear ourselves – how to sit with and be with internal discomfort, how to soothe, how to honor, how to be an ‘ideal parent’ for our internal child.

    Whatever strategy you have noticed in this interaction with a therapist, notice that before even setting foot in a room you have already elicited a response that confirms you are ‘too much’. While your instinct might be to say this is where therapy ends, I invite you to just hold the idea that this is where therapy really begins. And do it again. (Maybe experiment with meeting someone before testing them, before convincing them you are ‘too much’.) And stay with it.

  • D.b.D.

    D.b.D.

    May 9th, 2015 at 12:49 PM

    Jeremy,

    While I appreciate your response Im not sure I really understand what you’re saying. I described a situation that happened and feel like it is worthy of being addressed in some way because ethically it was, in my opinion, a breach of conduct according to the profession. That’s really what I wanted your feedback on. Of course I’m interested in anything you have to say so if you wouldn’t mind clarifying what you said in your message that would be great. I’m not under the assumption that I’m too much or I’m not worthy of help, but I have not been able to find help with a variety of professionals over the last eight years and so I recognize that my situation is difficult and that’s all I meant. Maybe I will seek therapy again or not but regarding this particular situation I feel it was extremely unethical and I’d like some feedback on how I should approach it because I don’t feel ignoring it is the right thing to do anymore. Also I recognize that speaking out like this is a feature unique to my personality which is not like the majority in my experience, because people generally seem to prefer to pretend things don’t happen just move on. I always speak up when I see that there is a wrong, or defend people that can’t defend themselves because I guess I have an over developed sense of justice or responsibility that I can’t ignore. Also I feel like without people to speak up in life society would not be as advanced as we are. Someone has to make a difference by putting themselves out there and so that’s where I’m coming from. Even if I fail nine times out of 10, the one time I succeeded in making a difference or doing something right it makes all my failures worth it.

  • maree r.

    maree r.

    June 5th, 2015 at 12:12 AM

    Best article I’ve ever read describing my situation.
    I’m in a dissociated state now, it’s been 7 days since I was able to do basic self care, & that’s a regular experience for me.
    I need to find a therapist in Australia (SE QLD) who works with these understandings.
    Any links gratefully received.

  • sophie

    sophie

    June 6th, 2015 at 12:32 AM

    I’m also looking for a therapist who can do all this for my 10 year old daughter. Working with the body makes perfect sense and and all the theory is spot on. But, the reality is you just can’t find a therapist who does all this stuff and works with children.

  • Andrea B

    Andrea B

    August 16th, 2015 at 2:50 PM

    Look up Somatic Experiencing Australia.
    We just trained a bunch of people there! Wonderful people!

    Warmest wishes. <3

  • Jennie

    Jennie

    November 12th, 2015 at 3:11 PM

    Exactly the same, this really struck me. Although I’m in SEQueensland Australia as well

  • Bruce

    Bruce

    August 17th, 2015 at 12:44 PM

    finally ! I knew I haven’t been right for years and years. My life has been from the sidelines disconnected and in a different plane to everyone else’s I need help. Where do I go in North Qld?

  • The GoodTherapy.org Team

    The GoodTherapy.org Team

    August 17th, 2015 at 8:26 PM

    If you would like to consult with mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage, https://www.goodtherapy.org/, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area. If you’re looking for a counselor that practices a specific type of therapy, or who deals with specific concerns, you can make an advanced search by clicking here: https://www.goodtherapy.org/advanced-search.html

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

  • Maree

    Maree

    November 12th, 2015 at 8:47 PM

    Thanks you Andrea B, I have indeed been trying to find someone via the Somatic Experiencing website already, & left some messages, but haven’t managed to make contact with anyone yet. I’m so keen to get hooked up with someone into this modality that I’ve been planning to move down to northern NSW next year, as that seemed to be the closest place to Brisbane that anyone was trained.
    As I am on Disability Pension, it’s important to me that I see someone who is accredited by Medicare to see people via a Mental Health Care Plan, & it’s not possible for the SE database to tell that as far as I can see.
    I’ll try phoning, xm

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