A couple of questions

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blahblah

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #30 on: August 10, 2017, 09:38:52 AM »
So I hit rock bottom again. I had an entire week where I felt like my old self. I felt carefree. I loved being with my wife and kids and I had hope and dreams for the future. It's been years since I felt so free. Then my wife had an episode. It didn't escalate, it didn't get big, there really wasn't any wild drama, but it triggered me. The past couple of days have been down right awful. I started to constantly feel like I couldn't breathe. I got claustrophobic. Had nightmares etc. horrible.
I'm slowly getting better now.

It's like I've got shell shock from the years where she was treating me really bad. And thyes slightest hint of it really affects me.

A good thing about this, is that I think it shows that I'm not in the fog anymore. My body has let go and is actually reacting to stuff now.
I hope I can get the good feeling back because that was amazing. I felt genuinely happy with no black line going through all the good experiences, so to speak.

Hoping to wake up without a pit in my stomach soon.

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zenagain

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #31 on: August 10, 2017, 11:44:56 AM »
 :yeahthat:  I am here with you BlahBlah... Seems like I am the one ranting lately to my ucovertNPDw over the slightest hint of her trying to break me into her old PD whipping boy.   I have stated that I really do not want to go back to where she and I were a month ago as far as how she treated me, but she is using all of this standing up for myself against me - to paint me black.   Some quotes, "I hope you feel better for standing up for yourself, but I need you to start thinking about me again"  :stars: :aaauuugh: :sadno:

Trying really hard to not JADE and just chill, but its even more difficult when I am holding on the little bit of progress I felt I had made...   

be strong!

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blahblah

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #32 on: August 10, 2017, 02:47:59 PM »
Thanks a lot. I really need it these days!
The quote you shared is awful. It would make me furious.
I feel for you and I hope your situation gets better. Just remember that WE actually hold the power to make it better. As soon as we go back to our old ways, things start to get horrible again.
And what's the worst that could happen?
Divorce.
And in many ways, that's not a bad thing.


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blahblah

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #33 on: August 11, 2017, 01:53:00 AM »
Question:
How do you let go of the past?
Since things aren't as chaotic with my wife I can feel that I react more strongly to small things she does that triggers me.

I feel absolutely horrible these days. It's like an old wound that won't heal. I feel like I'm losing hold of me and reality. Getting anxiety etc.
I'm sure it's some form of ptsd to some extent.

I have huge amounts of sadness because of the conflicts, the way I have been treated, the way I haven't been able to connect sexually with my wife. All of this. Lasting for many years.

I feel like many men would be able to have a good relationship with my wife as she is now. Because she has gotten better. But I can't seem to see past the past, which makes it really hard for me to enjoy things and make a fresh start.

Thanks

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Bloomie

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #34 on: August 11, 2017, 11:49:13 AM »
blahblah - Hi there. I just read through this thread and the ups/downs and myriad of emotions you are experiencing in your marriage and life. I was compelled to post when I read your question about how to develop a thicker skin... I literally used to pray for a thicker skin before I knew that having a thicker skin wasn't going to empower me to regain my rightful place in this world and move from someone who was barely surviving to someone who is thriving. I hope it is okay for me to suggest something related to your questions above...

Have you ever done much reading or info gathering around Complex PTSD? I am wondering, given the very traumatic past experiences you have had with your wife's unstable behaviors toward you and your children, if you may find some help and answers from a couple of really great resources I would like to recommend.

I found the work of Pete Walker to be sentinel in my own healing journey. Like you, some time after the worst of it in a relationship with a unstable and highly manipulative PD person, I found myself easily triggered and feeling like I had a gapping wound that simply would not heal. I found myself crying non stop, and I never cry, I am always okay, :sadno: sitting in front of a therapist in a pretty broken down state. This wise woman looked at me and said... you do realize how angry you are right? What? Me? Angry... no! I was sad, uncertain, confused... well, yes that was true, but I was also really angry, hopeless, fed up, wounded and had been stacking "shoulds" and "oughts" and me doing all the "right" things on top of all of that - and it all was tumbling down and manifesting in physical and emotional symptoms I could no longer suck it up and ignore.

Here is a link to Pete Walkers work: http://pete-walker.com/complex_ptsd_book.html
To the left of the screen you will see a list of free articles that have been eyeopening and of great help to me in unstacking all of this piled up stuff. I found his book - COMPLEX PTSD:
FROM SURVIVING TO THRIVING - to be so helpful in understanding the specter that was cast over my emotional well being and psychological stability from a PD loved ones abusive, coercive, unpredictable frightening behaviors. The damage from it all was cumulative and was taking a huge toll on my life.

Another tremendous resource - if you haven't already taken a look is our sister site: Out of the Storm found here: http://www.outofthestorm.website

Here is a link to the symptoms: http://www.outofthestorm.website/symptoms/

You may want to just take a look and see if anything resonates with you and seems familiar to your own experiences.

For me, there came a point when I had to simply focus on my own healing and the wellbeing of my children. That was what I could do. The PD person, in all of their drama and trauma, good times and bad swings, was going to have to figure themselves out because I could no longer hold up under it all and had to prioritize my children and myself.

I wish you strength today and courage. All you have to do is today. If you can keep yourself from projecting too far ahead and simply stay focused on today, I have found it reduces some of the angst and anxiety. You are not alone and I am thankful you keep coming back. Take what is helpful to you that is offered here and leave the rest.
Bloomie 🌸
"Some people really don't get it, that we matter as much as they do." Moglow
"It takes emotional maturity to maintain decent relationships." Spring Butterfly

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142757

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #35 on: August 11, 2017, 03:14:25 PM »
Question:
How do you let go of the past?
Since things aren't as chaotic with my wife I can feel that I react more strongly to small things she does that triggers me.

I feel absolutely horrible these days. It's like an old wound that won't heal. I feel like I'm losing hold of me and reality. Getting anxiety etc.
I'm sure it's some form of ptsd to some extent.

I have huge amounts of sadness because of the conflicts, the way I have been treated, the way I haven't been able to connect sexually with my wife. All of this. Lasting for many years.

I feel like many men would be able to have a good relationship with my wife as she is now. Because she has gotten better. But I can't seem to see past the past, which makes it really hard for me to enjoy things and make a fresh start.

Thanks
ve
Remember what we said about time & wounds on the 1st page of your thread? This is the process. I don't know how much sports you watch. But there have been many times a player was injured but kept playing, sometimes at a higher level they'd never reached before, Then afterward, they find out the seriousness of their injury & they can't play the next game.

You may have gone thru something similar mentally. Adrenaline was pumping, so to speak. You were in the moment w/o time to reflect on all that was truly going on inwardly. Now the "game" is over and you can properly assess things. Now you are aware of your injuries and your senses are more acute. It's the process.

See her behavior for what it is. Realize truth isn't behind it. Her fear is. Set your boundaries. Remove yourself, bodily if you can, mentally if you can't, so that you won't have to endure her episodes. That way it won't affect you as badly.

But be honest about her progress. Sometimes we see "improvement" when actually we've just become numb. You need to be aware if her behavior is making you worse. You don't want the wounds to become permanent.
"Somedays you just can't get rid of a bomb."

Adam West (Batman)
9/19/28 - 6/10/17

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Oldguy61

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #36 on: August 13, 2017, 12:49:14 AM »
Question:
How do you let go of the past?
Since things aren't as chaotic with my wife I can feel that I react more strongly to small things she does that triggers me.

I feel absolutely horrible these days. It's like an old wound that won't heal. I feel like I'm losing hold of me and reality. Getting anxiety etc.
I'm sure it's some form of ptsd to some extent.

I have huge amounts of sadness because of the conflicts, the way I have been treated, the way I haven't been able to connect sexually with my wife. All of this. Lasting for many years.

I feel like many men would be able to have a good relationship with my wife as she is now. Because she has gotten better. But I can't seem to see past the past, which makes it really hard for me to enjoy things and make a fresh start.

Thanks

I've been checking back with the thread every few days. Good to see that this thread is still getting some discussion. And of course I'm glad to hear that you're doing better lately, blahblah. Anyway, concerning the subject of anger:

The book "Boundaries" talks about how people may find that they feel a lot of anger when they first get educated on boundaries. From the book:

"It's no secret that quite often, when people begin telling the truth, setting limits, and taking responsibility, an "angry cloud" follows them around for a while. They become touchy and easily offended, and they discover a hair-trigger temper that frightens them." (p. 116)

In other words, the experience of someone violating your boundaries makes you angry. That is, anger is your natural internal warning signal that a boundary violation is occurring. So with your growing consciousness of your boundaries and any ongoing violations, it means getting in touch with your anger. That can be painful initially.

Furthermore, emotions doesn't recognize time. An old injury can upset us 20 years later as much as it did at the time. Thus, people with injured boundaries may have some catching up to do. As they get in touch with their boundaries, they may re-examine old boundary violations that they didn't even register at the time and feel new anger welling up. (p. 117)

So how do you deal with the anger? Well, once you get good at establishing and protecting your boundaries, you stop the violations and you no longer have reason to get angry. Secure boundaries = happiness and health. That stops any current and future causes for anger.

What about memories of old violations of boundaries that revisit you from the past and make you angry in the present as described above? What do you do to get past that older anger?

The book "Boundaries" talks about the need to practice forgiveness. That is, you let it go and free your head of the old violations. Of course, forgiveness doesn't mean you let your guard down around that person. Forgiving isn't the same as reconciling. You can forgive someone and still keep your distance from them and distrust them, since they haven't repented or made amends. Forgiveness only requires one person; reconciliation requires two. You should forgive and move on in order to free your head, regardless of how you feel about the individual. (p. 256-7)

At the same time, the authors acknowledge that forgiveness can be tough. For example, the book emphasizes that it may be necessary to go through a grieving process in order to forgive properly. "To forgive means we will never get from that person what was owed us." (p. 268)

It also means giving up blame. When you blame people, "it says that you can never be okay until someone else changes. This is the essence of powerless blame. It may make you morally superior to that person (in your own thinking, never in reality), but it will never fix the problem."

To sum up: It's a tough balancing act, especially if you're still living with the PD partner. But basically the idea is to 1) Practice secure boundaries to remove any cause to get angry in the present and future; and 2) Cleanse your head of resentment over old boundary violations and rip-offs by your partner in the past by practicing forgiveness. Do all this, and you can attain some kind of zen state of equanimity and detachment. From there, you can evaluate clear-headedly how your boundaries are working out and where to go next.

Get rid of the old anger, set up boundaries to prevent new anger, and you'll be in a better state to evaluate and see whether the relationship is worth saving.
« Last Edit: August 13, 2017, 12:54:24 AM by Oldguy61 »

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blahblah

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #37 on: August 13, 2017, 03:28:11 PM »
Thanks everyone. I read your new comments today, and they really helped! I will def. check out cptsd. I don't have much time now, but I just want to say THANK YOU! to everyone replying to this thread. Will write more later:)

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blahblah

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2017, 03:54:33 AM »
Thanks everyone. I have some more time now.

Luckily, yesterday morning i felt absolutely empty (aka no pit in stomach). It is such an amazig feeling waking up and feel "clear" and having no worries. Then it dawns on me that i'm a highly creative person ( i used to write and record music), because I started sensing things on a deeper level... as in how things smell, look, feel etc. And on top of that i just felt so much joy because i was just "me". Thats how i always felt in the past (before my marriage).

The feeling started to disappear during the day. Probably because of normal stress etc.
Today was pretty standard, as in a pit in the stomach, but no feelings of anxiety etc.
But your posts about boundaries and cptsd def. make sense.

This is from the "out of the storm" symptoms page:

Symptoms Shared by CPTSD and PTSD

According to Cloitre et al (2016), CPTSD shares three main symptoms with PTSD which include:


    Re-experiencing the past in the form of nightmares and flashbacks. While in PTSD flashbacks tend to be visual, in CPTSD they are often emotional.  That is,  a sudden, overwhelming rush of emotions such as anger, shame, humiliation, abandonment, and of being small and powerless much like a child would feel when abused.  These are referred to as Emotional Flashbacks (EFs). and can last for minutes, hours or even days (Walker, 2013) .


I definently have those. When I feel like i'm doing mental progress (setting boundaries, etc), all of the sudden old things can come back and I get overwhelmed, angry, sad or whatever feeling is connected with that specific memory.


     Sense of threat - constantly on guard or hypervigilant, strong startle reaction
OH YES! I think stuffing anger/not speaking up (which I am getting better at), is one big cause of my pit in the stomach. But ALWAYS being on my guard is just as big of a problem.

     Avoidance - of thoughts, feelings, people, places, activities relating to the trauma (e.g., dissociation, derealization)
Hmmm maybe. I avoid expressing things that might upset my wife, but I am getting better at that as well, but it's still a problem i think.
I dont avoid places, activites... Well, I have bad feelings associated with being intimite with my wife, because of all the problems she has had with it.




Symptoms of CPTSD Only

Cloitre et al (2014) suggest that CPTSD differs from PTSD in that it has three additional symptoms:

    Emotion regulation Emotional sensitivity; reduced ability to respond to situations in an emotionally appropriate and flexible manner

I dont't fully understand what this means. I have problems connecting with my anger, and often sugar coat problems at work etc, and just ignore them. But that isnt nec. a bad thing. Once it starts to build up inside me, THEN it's definently a bad thing. I don't really know about this symptom. I have some things i can do better, but don't feel like have any core issues with this


    Negative self-concept - Feeling of worthlessness and defectiveness. Walker suggests that those with CPTSD suffer from toxic shame and have a virulent Inner and Outer Critic.

I don't really feel worthless or defective. I know that I'm actually a very "good" person. In other relationships, i tend to help out, support and do good. I am good at expressing myself verbally and in writing etc (English isn't my first language, I'm Danish, so please ignore typos here;).. So I don't really connect with the description of "Negative Self-concept".



    Interpersonal problems - Difficulty feeling close to another person; feeling disconnected, distant or cut off from other people (depersonalization, social anxiety). 


Meeh... No so much, I think. I feel connected to other people. I'm generally a very "warm" person. I don't mind hugging/touching etc. I don't feel like the above applies to me.


Thanks for the links! I had no idea this forum existed! (out of the storm).

I will be talking to my therapist next week, and one of the topics i want to talk about will definently be how to "calm back down" after this whole thing. Because my body doesnt really know how to do it anymore. CPTSD will be something I will ask her about.

Thanks everyone. *PLEASE* comment if you feel like it. Sometimes your comments literally makes my day bearable. (no preassure thoug!)

:)
« Last Edit: August 15, 2017, 04:00:45 AM by blahblah »

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Bloomie

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2017, 08:58:42 AM »
Quote
I will be talking to my therapist next week, and one of the topics i want to talk about will definently be how to "calm back down" after this whole thing. Because my body doesnt really know how to do it anymore. CPTSD will be something I will ask her about.

Really wise to talk through the way things are manifesting physically for you with your T and all of your questions and concerns. We can offer support and encouragement here, but nothing can take the place of face to face interaction with a skilled therapist. So thankful you have that in your life as you sort through the things that are triggering you.

Keep taking those healing steps forward! Just as the trauma is cumulative in the affect it has on us, I have found that every step I take toward health, healing, wholeness is cumulative as well and adds up in a really good way in our hearts and lives. Peace to you today!
Bloomie 🌸
"Some people really don't get it, that we matter as much as they do." Moglow
"It takes emotional maturity to maintain decent relationships." Spring Butterfly

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Hermione

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2017, 12:17:15 PM »
I just found this website last week and wanted to thank you and everyone else for posting. I can relate so much to what you are all going through. :-\  Am also living with a "pit in the stomach" and a slew of other awful feelings, due to many years of feeling trapped with BP (2) alcoholic NPDh.  We have kids, which is the only reason I am still in the marriage. 

Took me a long time to realize that I could not help him and that the toll on me, over the years, was devastating.  Felt quite traumatized.  Began working with a therapist on my own recovery.  Two years later, I can see that individual therapy has been helpful to me for other areas of my life (including processing childhood traumas that made me vulnerable to PDs).  Am not done yet but have a lot more clarity now about the situation and have hope for myself and the children.  Also a lot of anger.

You asked in your initial post about the last straw. I have been asking the same question and my therapist is encouraging a gradual and careful separation approach because of the children (also since safety is not a concern and I need to figure out my work situation).  At the same time, the therapist and I have agreed that if certain (i.e. dangerous) behaviors happen the children and I would leave right away.   

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blahblah

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #41 on: August 17, 2017, 01:40:05 AM »
So sorry to hear abort this hermione.
It's just downright awful what we go through.

It's so tough and I wish you the best! Keep on writing here. It's very inspirational to read all of your stories!



I think we had a small breakthrough here.

My wife almost never can go to any social stuff on her own. She is nervous, afraid of other people's judgment etc. but I have been pushing her lately. In a positive way of course. As in "you can do this, you are strong, you don't need me" etc. and in other areas I have been more direct as in "you need to be able to do these things on your own" and "I can't be around helping you with these things all the time". All done in a supportive and loving way.
And it seems like it's working. Also in our normal day to day life.

The day before yesterday she said, during dinner, that I wouldn't mind if she died. I'm used to hearing stuff like this and just said something to the effect of "of course I would care" and just continued eating or whatever.
The next day (yesterday) she called me in the middle of the day to just tell me that she was so sorry she said that. That if I said anything like that to her, she would be devastated. She was genuinely sorry and texted me afterwards as well.
I said thank you etc but made sure she knew I didn't deserve to hear stuff like that and that I deserved better than that.
So amazing to hear her having emotional insight!

When I got home I told her I needed to hear her saying the same things again and she did. Totally honest and very "I'm so sorry!".

As mentioned earlier in this thread we are seeing a sex therapist.  After the whole "I'm sorry" from her part, we talked about how she feels that all the kind things I do, only do when I want to be with her sexually etc.
and she told me right there, that she knows that is not true. And she then listed off all the kind things I do for her during the week without me doing it in connection with anything sexual/me just doing it to get her to sleep with me.
She said she can see that but it's like there is this voice in her head that is saying all the negative things about me instead (me only giving her attention because I want sex etc). And she knows that is not true.

I was really happy and continued to express my sadness that it was like that.
I then told her that I feel like there is this empty hole I keep trying to fill up with nice gestures, love etc but that it's never enough. And that it makes me so sad.
She replied: yes I can see that now.

It was just a moment filled with retrospect insight on her part.

I hope this is not only momentarily. But who knows. I know how things can quickly turn around.
But this is amazing. Nothing less.

Regarding her feeling afraid that I only do nice things to sleep with her(which she acknowledges is stupid - her own words).
She wants to find books about how to keep the chemistry alive etc in a relationship. What a husband needs to do.
I was very hesitant with this because I just thought that it would be more load on my shoulders.
But she expressed she just needs to read "this is what a man needs to do" and then she can see that I do it, and then she knows, technically, that I'm being a nice person.
She can read in black and white that I am a nice person, because I do those things. And then she her "stupid" thoughts don't have any reason to be there.
She acknowledges that this is weird and backwards but that it's something she needs to convince her "bad voices".
She wants me to do stuff she reads in the book so she can know that I'm loving.

I have mixed feelings about this because it IS just more work for me but at the same time she acknowledges that this is backwards and just something she wants us to do to trick her mind/bad voices.

I don't know if the last part makes sense for you:)

But it's stuff like this that keeps me wanting to hang around. That gives me hope.
That's also the reason why I sometimes feel completely lost in this relationship, because if she was just "bad" I could justify leaving.

But right now I decided to go with all the positive energy here. It feels so good.
Thanks everyone.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2017, 01:50:20 AM by blahblah »

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DancingRain

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #42 on: August 17, 2017, 08:58:34 AM »
Our PD's aren't all bad all the time, and I think that's part of what keeps us hanging on for so long.  It is really good that she seems to have some self-awareness and is willing to admit and work on stuff moving forward.  At least for the time being.  I hope it lasts and that this is the start of an upward trajectory. 

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Skippyd

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #43 on: August 17, 2017, 09:24:56 AM »
Thanks oldguy for that post about boundaries.   I've started standing up for myself recently and feel a lot like you describe- like an angry d***.   It doesn't feel good.   It doesn't help that my wife isn't used to it either so she naturally sees it and portrays it that I have lost my mind and something is wrong with me. 

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significantotter

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Re: A couple of questions
« Reply #44 on: August 17, 2017, 10:37:05 AM »
blahblah,

I relate to so much of what you've said. I'm stumbling my way through trying to make this work, but have come up against "you've changed." and "you're putting up walls, i can't connect to you anymore" and "you're not in love with me." many times in the process. I'm not sure this is the type of marriage i want. Where i'm constantly managing my responses and can't share myself completely with him. I don't think I am in love with him anymore. Years of this cycle has chipped away at me.

But I do LOVE him. And the good times are very good. It's so hard. I feel for you.