"Listen to your body"

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all4peace

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"Listen to your body"
« on: October 26, 2017, 12:56:43 PM »
(This could go in Working on Us, or PD ILs or here, if mods don't think this is in the correct place.)

I've been hearing this from my T, my healer friends, from people on this forum: Listen to your body. Your body tells you the truth.

I spent more than 20 years not listening to my body, thinking that pain was something to endure (both physical and emotional), that terror was something to be conquered. I worked very, very hard to ignore my body. Until my body started sending me signals so strong even I couldn't ignore them. After my first hospitalization, I started examining WHY I worked so hard to ignore pain, to my own self-harm, WHY I was spending time with someone who caused me such tremendous anxiety that half of every week (before and after our weekly encounters) I had chest pain so tight and intense that the only way to relieve it was to get DH to push very hard on my back and chest simultaneously. Why I continued to try to push myself into contact with this person despite needing vigorous exercise, and deep breathing to try to get on top of the anxiety, and even then once had a spontaneous nosebleed right before I saw them?

So now I'm trying to listen to what my body says.

But here's the problem: With likely CPTSD, our bodies are also trained to react. And we may have developed patterns that are overreactive. We may actually need to learn to calm our responses wayyyyyy down. We may need to learn to teach our bodies that we get to be in control, that we will keep ourselves safe, that we don't have to have contact with someone if we don't want to.

My question is, how do I honor my body's wisdom while simultaneously understanding that it may be reacting more than it needs to? I want to trust it, but I'm not sure how to.

When I am startled by my parents or ILs presence, my heart lurches so badly I can feel it, everything in me goes weak, I have a hard time breathing for a little while, my guts let me know they are unhappy. It's a total stress response. Do I listen to that and never have contact again? Or do I learn to calm that down, go for very short contacts or very protected?

I'd love to hear what you've all figured out!
« Last Edit: October 26, 2017, 01:04:21 PM by all4peace »

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kazzak

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2017, 01:12:49 PM »
Hi all4peace, I've been thinking about this also and am happy to reflect on my experiences. I don't fight the somatic responses that I experience but instead try to have an awareness of my body and the emotions that I'm feeling. Ultimately, I don't want to keep the trauma in my body but let it flow out - as much as possible. I've had success with that - with guidance, practice and time. It does work.

But, as you point out to some extent, the crux of my problem is that I live in a high stress environment because of my exNPD/HPD. I've been able to put up some pretty strong boundaries - including no contact, permanent protection orders, batting down many flying monkeys, etc.

What I want to do is put down my defenses so that I'm not living on edge, with anxiety.

The drawback to putting down my defenses, based on hard learned experiences, is that can make me vulnerable to my ex's shenanigans down the road. It won't be next week, probably not next month. But the story isn't over.

I've reached a point personally that my defenses are lowering, I must as I have a child, also with CPTSD, living in this high stress environment too. I will keep aware of my vulnerabilities and remind myself if/when the time comes of the danger that comes with a relationship involving ex. But for now, for the sake of my self care, and care of my son, my approach is to let as much go as possible - when (and only if) it is safe to put down the defenses. Safety - internal, emotional/external, physical - comes first. But self care isn't far behind. Healing and releasing trauma is key to me.

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Blueskies

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2017, 01:17:51 PM »
Sounds like a question to work out in therapy. I also have cPTSD. I can't even speak to my M.  I won't put myself through that. I tried to keep in contact by email but she kept attacking me so I stopped. I know one day I'll try and have some help with the trauma.

Usually the sooner I listen to my body, the sooner I feel calm. If I try and push past whatever my body doesn't want to do then I'll have a much more extreme reaction. I think the quicker you can interpret an emotion, the more your reactions might settle down. Your inner child has to learn to trust that you will listen. So if a family member says something disrespectful to you and you feel anger or panic but try and squash it down in order not to create a fuss then maybe it'll turn into a huge reaction. That's not your body overreacting - that's your body trying to get your attention because you didn't listen when the feeling began and was less intense.

Also look at the internalised messages that get you to ignore you body - all the dismissive thoughts you may have internalised from your FOO. Write them down, get familiar with them so if one comes up it's a red flag and you can stop and see what's going on. I would have some distance from them or see them in very small doses while you get to know yourself. Maybe if something happens or is said that causes a reaction, you can have things that you do or say to protect yourself - ie put down a boundary. I find establishing boundaries is the only thing that stops the panic - feeling like I'm not allowed to say 'no' or protect myself causes panic, which is not surprising.

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stasia

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2017, 02:03:58 PM »

When I am startled by my parents or ILs presence, my heart lurches so badly I can feel it, everything in me goes weak, I have a hard time breathing for a little while, my guts let me know they are unhappy. It's a total stress response. Do I listen to that and never have contact again? Or do I learn to calm that down, go for very short contacts or very protected?


I have similar physical reactions to contact with M; it's what finally spurred me to go NC or take a long time out or whatever it is I'm doing right now. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and talking about it some in T as well.

Here's the thing: I ask myself WHY do I (and you) want to calm my reaction? For myself, because it doesn't feel good? Or so that I'm able to have contact with M again without having panic attacks and otherwise freaking out?

If it's the latter: WHY do I want to have contact with M? Answer: I don't. That is what SHE wants, and I am not her. That is what society expects of me because I am an only child and my mother has no one else in her life. I'd be quite happy never having to talk to her again, but I still get waves of guilt over how sad she must be that she doesn't have me in her life any more, and what kind of horrible person does that to their poor abused elderly widowed mother who clearly is too anxious to function in normal life.

So I guess for me, "listen to my body" is shorthand for "it's OK to make choices that are right for me even if they upset other people" and "don't make decisions based on FOG." If that makes sense at all. I don't know; honestly I'm still muddling through a lot of this. I just know I don't ever want to experience another one of those shaking, crying, numb-hands-and-arms, can't-catch-breath panic attacks in response to M.

(Note, this carries over into other aspects of my life, I'm discovering. I had an acquaintance stomp a boundary recently (though I don't think she is PD) and I was able to say no and remove myself, where the past me would've stayed quiet and done what she wanted. My body had a "nope!" reaction - not a panic attack, but just that "I don't like this" pit in the stomach - and I was able to listen to that and do what's right for me. Progress!)

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MIB

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2017, 02:06:24 PM »
I don't know if this is helpful for you, but I find yoga helps, and meditating/mindfulness. There are a number of great, free apps to help with the latter (I like Chill, One Moment Meditation, and Stop Breathe and Think). I'm by no means perfectly relaxed (!), but I find these strategies help, even some days if just in the moment that I'm employing them (which is better than nothing).

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coyote

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2017, 02:28:00 PM »
I think there is a difference between when it is time to listen to our bodies and when it is time to exercise control over our bodies. Many eastern philosophies talk about the mind's ability to control the body. ALL4peace, it seems you are talking about a stress response your body is experiencing, the old fight or flight response. In this case my response would be to work on retraining my mind to calm down and minimize the stress response.

I agree when you say, "With likely CPTSD, our bodies are also trained to react. And we may have developed patterns that are overreactive. We may actually need to learn to calm our responses wayyyyyy down." I think though it is not our bodies we need to calm down but our minds. It is the mind's perception of the threat that stimulates our physiological responses.

So yes, I like meditation, imagery, focusing on breathing, mindfulness, positive self talk, whatever strategy that works for that person, as a way to calm the "monkey mind" as the Chinese say, and minimize the physical responses.

That said, to avoid the stress response and the harmful effects that has on our bodies, we may have to limit contact with the stressor until we have developed more skills. It is a personal thing and I think different for each of us. Just my 2 cents. Hope this helps.
How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.
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Bellie

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2017, 02:56:44 PM »
Body awareness and labelling.

When you realize that you are not feeling comfortable - work out where in the body you are feeling it.

e.g.: You're in a situation when suddenly you say to yourself :

"Uh oh, I'm feeling really shitty right now, can't breathe. There's pain. WTF? Head is spinning."

Stop and work out what sensations you are feeling. Tell them to yourself.

e.g.: Yup, My hands are sweaty. My stomach muscles are tense. I feel heat behind my eyes. I have pain in my lower back.

Already, you are separating yourself from the anxiety by just labelling the sensation. Then, you can work out why. Like, "I'm feeling stressed or frustrated or confused or ....'

I'm not a therapist but this strategy might help in the very moment of a panic attack?
I also go one step further and ask myself where this learned response came from. When have I felt this way before? As a child perhaps? A lot of my learned responses come from my childhood experiences.

Hope this was of help?
D



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Malini

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2017, 03:03:59 PM »
I'm also a member of the 'listen to your body' club.

I'm not sure how to describe it, but my body tells me the truth, when my mind is trying to wrangle itself around unpleasant stuff or I'm trying to trick myself into thinking everything is all right or I'm trying to avoid dealing with stuff and hope sticking my head in the sand will make the problem go away.

Because, sometimes, I need a break from dealing with stuff and crazy magical thinking takes over, and I believe (fervently hope) that  I can solve my issues using shortcuts, by ignoring them and with minimal emotional investment. At some point my body says 'uhhuh Malini, nope, you're not getting away with this, this is too important and you need to deal with this'  and usually the type of ache and pain indicates what I need to work on.

For example, for years, I thought I was managing to deal with my toxic FIL really well, except every time we visited him for a couple of days, I'd get a terrible sore throat and my left arm would be really sore (he sat on my left side). Whenever I got home, the pains would subside. So I started thinking why throat and why arm?  I realised that I was being forced to swallow a lot of unpleasantness and the words I wanted to say were getting stuck in my craw and that my left side was tense from protecting the rest of me. So everything wasn't as hunky dory as I had magically hoped it was, and I was forced to address how to manage this relationship with DH, MiL, my kids, etc.

More common was my back pain to the point of being on the verge of scans, etc  (I'm carrying too much emotional stuff - too much other people's emotional stuff) and pain around the heart ( I had this a lot whilst going NC and also when my DS's left home), I knew I wasn't having a heart attack, but that as brightly as I was smiling for all concerned, my heart was 'breaking' and I needed to do something with those feelings (share with adequate people, journaling, get support).

So it's more of a warning system for me. It hasn't stopped me jumping at shadows, or startling when the doorbell rings, it's a way of forcing me to take my blinders off and do something to effect change about whatever is troubling me.

This might sound like mumbo jumbo and I have no idea if this makes any sense. I do know that since going NC, my back problems have subsided considerably.







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Spring Butterfly

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2017, 08:03:50 PM »
Do you get this type of strong body reaction at other times, with other people? Does this happen with just the toxic people in your life or with everyone? Do you ever experience this and there is not a reason for this response?

My personal experience has been this: that the response may be at a higher level than it needs to be but the base emotion is valid. Another words if I feel fear in the form of extreme panic there is a reason for the feeling of fear even though perhaps the level of fear is too much for the situation.

At the same time the emotion of anger was missing entirely. There was an extreme imbalance in the emotions of fear and anger. Once I was able to get in touch with anger even a little bit and start to respond to the lowest level of anger there was better balance in fear and panic. Karla McLaren, and I know I talk about this a lot, but it really helped me reading her blog and her book language of emotions. It helped me understand fear and panic, anger, and the message of emotions. But, and this is a huge but, what it meant for me to respond to lower levels of anger was to stop being concerned about what toxic people thought of me standing up for myself.

Personally my experience has been that the typical cPTSD response is there and it's there for a reason - the body is sending up huge red flags when it comes to toxic persons. I did not experience panic or fear when I was with safe persons, non toxic people. For me the level of panic was because I had not listened to fear at a lower level when around toxic persons so my body had to absolutely smack me over the head with it because I wasn't listening plus I was not feeling anger at all so fear had to take over to protect me and in massive quantities because I wasn't listening. Once I started protecting myself and responding to anger and fear at a lower level my body and mind no longer had to escalate to an extreme level to get my attention.
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Jade63

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2017, 11:50:45 PM »
WHY do I want to have contact with M? Answer: I don't. That is what SHE wants, and I am not her. That is what society expects of me because I am an only child and my mother has no one else in her life. I'd be quite happy never having to talk to her again, but I still get waves of guilt over how sad she must be that she doesn't have me in her life any more, and what kind of horrible person does that to their poor abused elderly widowed mother who clearly is too anxious to function in normal life.

So I guess for me, "listen to my body" is shorthand for "it's OK to make choices that are right for me even if they upset other people" and "don't make decisions based on FOG." If that makes sense at all. I don't know; honestly I'm still muddling through a lot of this. I just know I don't ever want to experience another one of those shaking, crying, numb-hands-and-arms, can't-catch-breath panic attacks in response to M.

 :yeahthat:

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Happypants

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2017, 05:47:57 AM »
For anyone on here who has a physical response, i can recommend belly breathing.  I'm prone to waking at 3am in the morning, and the thoughts start taking over.  I believe it's just a habit with me to wake at that time, but it seems to be during a particular part of the sleep cycle and it's impossible to shift to thinking about anything positive or happy.  I have trained myself to acknowledge this fact and remind myself that whatever is bothering me (usually family) will be more bearable in the morning, but my body is still wired by this point, heart palps, feeling like my throat is constricting, feeling like i want to crawl out of my skin.  Then i tried belly breathing which is something i've used after running.  It's just breathing into your abdomen (instead of your chest - actually starts to feel more natural) for a count of 3 or 4, then breathing out for a count of 7 or 8.  After a few times i find my body feels like it's sinking into the bed and my mind stops racing.  Have tried it when feeling panicky while shopping and it helped then too x

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Fightsong

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2017, 06:09:19 AM »
A4P I hear you.

I've spent so long not listening to my body that now I can't really tell what it;s telling me!? I mean I am learning but sometimes I just don't trust it. And  I don't know what the feelings feel like in my body. And I second guess  what i 'should' be feeling. I've been having therapy for 2 years and my therapist still has to ask me - what are you feeling? What are you feeling in your body? I get the impression that its my younger self who doesn't know now more than my  adult self  (actually - I just realized that). Its a lot better than it was though.  I have to remember that.

I think I believe in the body thing. I think my body does 'know'. And i think that's why i tuned out. Ugh I haven't  said anything helpful at all! Just wanted to join in.


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kazzak

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2017, 11:31:01 AM »
For anyone on here who has a physical response, i can recommend belly breathing.

Check out Peter Levine's book named "Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma ...." to learn more about some of the physical reason that does work well.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2017, 12:03:33 PM »
Happypants, what is it with 3am? No matter what time I went to bed like clockwork that 3am choking fit would want me from sound sleep. T recommended feeling the sheets and grounding saying out loud that I'm safe in addition to the belly breathing.

Kazzak, cliff hanger!
∑ Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage. Plan accordingly, make time to heal
∑ Individuation is the key to emotional freedom
∑ It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
∑ If others were self observant, introspective, this forum would not exist

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kazzak

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2017, 01:26:43 PM »
Kazzak, cliff hanger!

Oh, I'm not trying to tease, just didn't want to bring off topic :) In basic language, when you get a breathing cycle deep down into the belly (like described) it is connected with the (ancient) reptilian part of our brain, releasing trauma. That is the basis/premise of breathwork, and how our ancient bodies have developed over generations beyond our comprehension. Remember our ancestors are cavemen.

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Blueskies

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2017, 01:54:48 PM »
I think a certain amount of disassociation may be normal with people who have gone through what we have (going numbing, disconnecting). I'm sure breathing, meditation and yoga could help.

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Shell92127

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #16 on: October 27, 2017, 02:21:05 PM »
Box breathing and learning to meditate helped me not get overshadowed and over react.
I took training in TM and it is expensive but it is the cadillac of all forms of mediation. There are now 46 years of research about benefits of TM !!!

The TM technique helps with daily life & it improves your mental health.
 And it is so easy! Some of the benefits of TM : improved mood, reduces anxiety& stress, helps with PTSD
and there is now recognition by the American Health Association that TM helps to normalize blood pressure.

Read the book, Super Mind. Studying mental health requires studying physical health. Simultaneous improvement in both are well documented in the TM research and continues to develop as one continues to meditate.
Brain function during TM soothes the brain and strengthens the brain naturally and effortlessly. Increased activity and coherence in the pre-frontal cortex during TM is evidence of improved brain functioning and mental health.

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all4peace

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #17 on: October 27, 2017, 02:24:07 PM »
Hi all4peace, I've been thinking about this also and am happy to reflect on my experiences. I don't fight the somatic responses that I experience but instead try to have an awareness of my body and the emotions that I'm feeling. Ultimately, I don't want to keep the trauma in my body but let it flow out - as much as possible. I've had success with that - with guidance, practice and time. It does work.

But, as you point out to some extent, the crux of my problem is that I live in a high stress environment because of my exNPD/HPD. I've been able to put up some pretty strong boundaries - including no contact, permanent protection orders, batting down many flying monkeys, etc.

What I want to do is put down my defenses so that I'm not living on edge, with anxiety.

The drawback to putting down my defenses, based on hard learned experiences, is that can make me vulnerable to my ex's shenanigans down the road. It won't be next week, probably not next month. But the story isn't over.

I've reached a point personally that my defenses are lowering, I must as I have a child, also with CPTSD, living in this high stress environment too. I will keep aware of my vulnerabilities and remind myself if/when the time comes of the danger that comes with a relationship involving ex. But for now, for the sake of my self care, and care of my son, my approach is to let as much go as possible - when (and only if) it is safe to put down the defenses. Safety - internal, emotional/external, physical - comes first. But self care isn't far behind. Healing and releasing trauma is key to me.
"Letting it flow" makes so much sense. I just gave that same advice to a newer member who is talking about the flooding that is going on with her right now on this forum.

I was recently startled to find the ILs in a very, very safe place for me, for 2 entire days. My body felt it intensely. My heart felt like it actually lurched in my chest, every muscle in my body went weak, and my guts went wonky for a few hours. I found a place to be alone, did deep breathing, and calmed myself. And then I simply avoided them those 2 days. When I can plan my time with them, I have severe chest pain for the day before, pressure, tightness, gut issues, and once even just started gushing blood out my nose when I had been putting my face in my hands and working on deep breathing.

With my parents, I just feel depressed. Heavy, sad, slow, like crying. As it has gotten worse over time, I've felt anxiety build in my chest and gut before needing to see them, but nowhere near what it had been with the ILs.

I don't have this with any other relationship. I don't look forward to time with some people, and I might feel mildly nervous or anxious when stepping into a new situation, but I have never had this level of bodily anxiety in my entire life.

As a child, I was always physically alert to what the mood in the house was, how mom was, whether this would be a safe time to do xyz or not. I don't remember feeling anything in my body back then, though, unless of course I was being hit.

As far as safety, I had told DH that I needed his family away from our home and not privately reaching our children by text, and that would be "safe enough" for me. I'm also nearly NC with them at this point, and that is usually a level of safety I can live with. But as I consider whether I could/would move away from nearly NC to VVVLC, my body screams "No!!!!" and I don't actually know if it is a learned response or a valid one, or if those are one and the same. I don't know if my body is overreacting from the position I used to be in--totally exposed, no protection, no boundaries, no voice. I'm no longer in that unsafe of a place, but maybe my body doesn't know that yet? Or maybe it just needs more time to heal?

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all4peace

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #18 on: October 27, 2017, 02:32:32 PM »
Sounds like a question to work out in therapy. I also have cPTSD. I can't even speak to my M.  I won't put myself through that. I tried to keep in contact by email but she kept attacking me so I stopped. I know one day I'll try and have some help with the trauma.

Usually the sooner I listen to my body, the sooner I feel calm. If I try and push past whatever my body doesn't want to do then I'll have a much more extreme reaction. I think the quicker you can interpret an emotion, the more your reactions might settle down. Your inner child has to learn to trust that you will listen. So if a family member says something disrespectful to you and you feel anger or panic but try and squash it down in order not to create a fuss then maybe it'll turn into a huge reaction. That's not your body overreacting - that's your body trying to get your attention because you didn't listen when the feeling began and was less intense.

Also look at the internalised messages that get you to ignore you body - all the dismissive thoughts you may have internalised from your FOO. Write them down, get familiar with them so if one comes up it's a red flag and you can stop and see what's going on. I would have some distance from them or see them in very small doses while you get to know yourself. Maybe if something happens or is said that causes a reaction, you can have things that you do or say to protect yourself - ie put down a boundary. I find establishing boundaries is the only thing that stops the panic - feeling like I'm not allowed to say 'no' or protect myself causes panic, which is not surprising.
Thank you! Yes, something to discuss with T. There are so many things to discuss that it's hard to get to them all! I love the reminder about listening so our bodies know we are listening and can then calm down. uNBPDmil is using cancer to try to get our DD alone (again), and my initial reaction is panic and rage, but when I remind myself that we don't have to give in, that we can hold our repeatedly spoken boundary, it does allow me to stop panicking and become calm again. Maybe it will just take more times like this to have less and less of an elevated initial response.

Stasia, unfortunately I don't have good answers to why I want to have contact. Because I really don't want to have contact. VLC is easier in many ways than NC. I'm really just trying for an easier route, I am not convinced things are bad enough for NC, and I still have kids at home that I feel I need to make some effort for them to have very limited time with grandparents, supervised.

MIB, thank you for the great suggestions! I can definitely get myself calm when there's NC, but it's during contact that I struggle with. Are you doing the meditation while in actual present contact with the PD?

coyote, that makes a lot of sense. If it took nearly 20 years to develop a response this strong, it seems unlikely I could unlearn it in 5 months. As my mind gets into a better and better place, perhaps my body will follow. I have been very glad to see that while my initial response is still as strong, it doesn't last nearly as long, so that is an improvement.

Dcox, I'm thankful that I don't struggle as some of you had, in the sense that I only get this when there is present or imminent contact. I do not have body responses any other time, thank goodness. I struggle with insomnia when there's a lot of contact, but only feel that physical dread in actual contact or right before it.

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all4peace

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Re: "Listen to your body"
« Reply #19 on: October 27, 2017, 02:40:13 PM »
I'm also a member of the 'listen to your body' club.

I'm not sure how to describe it, but my body tells me the truth, when my mind is trying to wrangle itself around unpleasant stuff or I'm trying to trick myself into thinking everything is all right or I'm trying to avoid dealing with stuff and hope sticking my head in the sand will make the problem go away.

Because, sometimes, I need a break from dealing with stuff and crazy magical thinking takes over, and I believe (fervently hope) that  I can solve my issues using shortcuts, by ignoring them and with minimal emotional investment. At some point my body says 'uhhuh Malini, nope, you're not getting away with this, this is too important and you need to deal with this'  and usually the type of ache and pain indicates what I need to work on.

For example, for years, I thought I was managing to deal with my toxic FIL really well, except every time we visited him for a couple of days, I'd get a terrible sore throat and my left arm would be really sore (he sat on my left side). Whenever I got home, the pains would subside. So I started thinking why throat and why arm?  I realised that I was being forced to swallow a lot of unpleasantness and the words I wanted to say were getting stuck in my craw and that my left side was tense from protecting the rest of me. So everything wasn't as hunky dory as I had magically hoped it was, and I was forced to address how to manage this relationship with DH, MiL, my kids, etc.

More common was my back pain to the point of being on the verge of scans, etc  (I'm carrying too much emotional stuff - too much other people's emotional stuff) and pain around the heart ( I had this a lot whilst going NC and also when my DS's left home), I knew I wasn't having a heart attack, but that as brightly as I was smiling for all concerned, my heart was 'breaking' and I needed to do something with those feelings (share with adequate people, journaling, get support).

So it's more of a warning system for me. It hasn't stopped me jumping at shadows, or startling when the doorbell rings, it's a way of forcing me to take my blinders off and do something to effect change about whatever is troubling me.

This might sound like mumbo jumbo and I have no idea if this makes any sense. I do know that since going NC, my back problems have subsided considerably.
Not mumbo jumbo at all.

My guts really react. I was just this week wondering if my guts were fed up with me not listening to them, ignoring them, talking loudly over the top of them, and finally just freaked out on me. I knew a lot of things at the gut level and refused to listen.

My heart has hurt pretty badly, radiating to my chest and back, just a clenched painful fist of pain. I also had not been listening to my heart. I wasn't protecting it. I did not keep it safe. I kept opening to people who harmed it. Maybe it had enough, too.
Do you get this type of strong body reaction at other times, with other people? Does this happen with just the toxic people in your life or with everyone? Do you ever experience this and there is not a reason for this response?

Personally my experience has been that the typical cPTSD response is there and it's there for a reason - the body is sending up huge red flags when it comes to toxic persons. I did not experience panic or fear when I was with safe persons, non toxic people. For me the level of panic was because I had not listened to fear at a lower level when around toxic persons so my body had to absolutely smack me over the head with it because I wasn't listening plus I was not feeling anger at all so fear had to take over to protect me and in massive quantities because I wasn't listening. Once I started protecting myself and responding to anger and fear at a lower level my body and mind no longer had to escalate to an extreme level to get my attention.
No, no reaction with anyone else besides parents.

Your last paragraph nails it! I love Karla McClaren's work also and finally realized that I have been ignoring emotions at their quieter levels and didn't notice them until they were screaming at me.

Happypants, belly breathing is the main thing that got me through the last couple years! It's something I instinctively knew to do when having bad physical pain and then the emotional pain. Lots of very deep, slow, calming breaths. I love our body's ancient wisdom.

Interesting about the T question. I can't say I usually "feel" anything in therapy at all. Why am I only feeling in my body when it has reached the level of mortal fear/dread? Maybe I'm still incredibly tuned out to my body. I'm also getting an alternative therapy for physical scarring, and I can't "feel anything" in my body there, either.

blueskies, I'm being only slightly tongue in cheek when I say that dissociation would be a welcome coping mechanism at this point.

Shell92127, I will look up TM. Thank you!