when you feel dead/numb inside

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all4peace

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when you feel dead/numb inside
« on: October 31, 2017, 01:53:06 AM »
enD is asking for a talk again.
uNBPD?m is really ramping up the texting, like 1000%.

I don't know what is motivating either of those changes. And I just.don't.care. I have nothing left inside for them. I really just do not care. I am not used to this feeling about another human, this total nonfeeling. I have felt love, anger, frustration, sadness and grief. But I don't remember feeling absolutely nothing.

What is this? Is this unhealthy? My siblings still believe that, as our parents, they deserve a chance to say what they need to say. I offered enD the option of doing so via text or email since I'm not in a good place right now for a face-to-face. But I honestly just don't care.

I am so freaking weary of these parents, DH's parents. So exhausted by their emotional immaturity, their pettiness, meanness, self absorption. I am so sick of their needs and their lack of concern for what others need. I am so over their inability and unwillingness to do what their generation is supposed to do--be a source of love and support for their children and grandchildren as we finish our job of trying to raise decent, hard-working, loving and responsible kids to head into the world on their own. I am so done with the time and energy it takes to "deal with" our parents, time and energy that simply never goes anywhere productive but just gets dumped into a black hole of nothingness, with relations only spiraling ever downwards.

Every morning when I wake up, I have a few seconds before it hits me, a few seconds before I remember that this is our life now. I can still see how incredibly rich and blessed my life is, but there is also a big hole where loving parents and grandparents could have been.

I am getting to this strange place where I feel almost nothing at all.

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Malini

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 05:57:42 AM »
Hi all4peace,

Dead and numb or emotionally detached? I'd venture that you have finally reached the point of 'whatever' and 'I'm so over them and their shenanigans' a point where you're an outside observer with no emotional investment about how things will pan out.

Detachment like going NC has two sides or two shades. Sure it's a relief to finally be able to find a place of calm and peace and not be in a constant state of emotional upheaval, waiting for the other shoe to drop, on constant guard for yourself, children, DH. And at the same time there's a deep sadness that things are finally over and that the page of all4peaces dream of a large and loving family for her and her kids has been turned forever.

It doesn't mean you don't care, and have no more empathy, when my enND had his medical emergency this year, I still felt empathy and shock re NMs appalling 'photo shoot' of the whole medical drama, but I felt no compulsion to do anything apart from support my B and make sure my kids were OK. Outsiders probably judged me for being heartless, unloving, unsupportive etc, but I sailed pretty much through the whole drama with minimum personal damage and that is all that counts now.

'dead and numb' does sound unhealthy, but reframed as calm and detached, I'd say it's a very healthy place to be.

 :hug:

PS all4peace, I initially and incorrectly thought  you were referring to your ILs, which is why I used shenanigans,etc, I know your folks are less  'shenanniganny', further away, etc sorry for that.
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Blueskies

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #2 on: October 31, 2017, 07:14:11 AM »
I also feel weary. It sounds like a natural progression. Maybe it is still some form of grief - depression is a stage of grief. It sounds healthy in that you have accepted that nothing will help or change them, but I imagine that could trigger a type of depression which may manifest as numbness...? Like you said there is a hole where they could have been - there is loss. Let your body feel what it feels...I wouldn''t worry about it. it sounds normal given the situation. In families where you are not allowed to express yourself it's normal to shut down. Maybe it could be that too...maybe you are angry with them but it's not safe to get angry with them so it just feels numb. I feel a bit like that.

You could always write them a letter but never post it and express all the feelings you need to - if necessary start with saying you feel dead and numb and see if it turns into anything. My guess would be anger and deep sadness if anything at all.

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Wish Camp

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2017, 08:49:20 AM »
I agree with Malini that maybe reframing it as calm and detached is a better way of thinking about it. I understand what you mean completely. My Nmom has been trying to push for a talk recently which included a kind of surprise visit. She said she was coming on October x and instead came October y. She stood in my front door, took an inventory of us and left. I felt absolutely nothing. My husband and son were more affected than I was.

It's been in my mind for months that I have nothing left to say. There's no good or bad, just an equilibrium of sorts. I actually think if I had to have a conversation about anything family dynamic related, I would have to take a pass. Sorry, been long enough there's not much to talk about.

And I like what Malini said about the shades of detachment. The calm is there but the sadness is too. And, maybe when/if you have a meeting with your parents, that feeling of detachment is what will help you get through that moment.

This stuff is just plain hard. We yearn for a happy, healthy family and that's all we get, the yearning. They don't change.

Blueskies also has valid points about looking at that dead and numb to see what emotions are behind it. Anger and sadness that you can't have that talk where the PDs realize their mistakes and seek to make life changes to have a relationship with your family.

My deepest wish is to hear my mother give a sincere, remorseful apology. The kind where she can identify the wrongs SHE committed. I might have something to say then.  Instead I get a generic I'm sorry.

Please take care of yourself. WC :bighug:

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2017, 09:40:15 AM »
It sounds like you are feeling the grief stage of acceptance and this is actually a good thing if it is acceptance.
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practical

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2017, 11:29:29 AM »
For me it is the "whatever, this is no longer my circus or my monkeys" state. You might feel numb, because there is just nothing left, they took it all, they scrapped the barrel of your feelings bare. It is fine to feel this way, those feelings are real, appropriate, human. Love needs nourishment, and you didn't get any, you got poison instead of nurturance.

My siblings still believe that, as our parents, they deserve a chance to say what they need to say. I offered enD the option of doing so via text or email since I'm not in a good place right now for a face-to-face. But I honestly just don't care.
First of I strongly disagree with your siblings, if what your parents have to say is more of the same abuse, than no, nobody has the right to say anything abusive to you, doesn't matter that they are your parents. Secondly, why would you care? You could most likely write out this conversation without your F ever saying a word, you just have heard it too many times. It is all a broken record and you are tired of listening to it.

I'm to some extend in a similar place as you are, I'm done, F has killed all my feelings for him and then some. I think I feel less for him by now than an elderly person I might meet a supermarket, whom I might end up helping. I had a thread about this on the Elderly board and maybe it will help you together with the responses I got. http://www.outofthefog.net/forum/index.php?topic=69215.0
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Marisa

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2017, 11:32:21 AM »
I could have written this post. This is exactly how I am feeling about my parents. Thank you for putting it into words. All of these replies are so helpful. You are not alone!

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daughter

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2017, 11:50:02 AM »
A4P: I think that "numbness" is actually excellent progress, indicating that you're far less susceptible to FOG, more resistant to "but we're your parents" gas-lighting, and re-prioritizing your time and energy to your FOC.  You are "dropping the rope" here.

Your parents (and in-laws) no longer "deserve" to dominate you, nor to demand your time and attention.  You are long past the "obey your parents" and "abide by your parents' wishes" dictum.  They've not earned (yes, EARNED) your respect and attention.  They've proven to be unreliable, not empathetic, entirely self-centered and unreasonably demanding, despite numerous chances to "prove otherwise".  You've come to realize that your parents (and in-laws) are self-entitled people prone to bad behavior, disrespectful edicts, lacking in accountability for their actions (and inactions), who exercise an innate selfishness in their interactions with you (and DH).

I think pd-disordered parents "feed" on their "good girl/dutiful daughter" children like us, expecting us to consistently "conform to expectation", to "please" them regardless of their callous abuse heaped upon us.   Our parents have failed to establish and maintain a genuinely empathetic and mutually-respectful relationship with us.  They simply "reign over us".  Your parents, and your in-laws, no longer merit much of your attention, beyond "weddings and funerals" formalities of extended family relations.  It behooves you to maintain that polite distance, your emotional detachment from their pd-disordered grandiosity and bad manners, without allowing yourself to be "pulled back in".  There's no further "duty" to be rightfully placed upon you, whether your parents or in-laws.  Permanent quiet disengagement is appropriate here.  Be careful you don't find yourself, the former "good girl/dutiful daughter", being drafted into service as defacto nurse-housekeeper-cook-chauffeur for either couple, because that's likely goal here.  There's a long history of you (and I) dutifully conforming to expectation, in a selfless and self-effacing manner, to our parents' wishes and demands.

 


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all4peace

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2017, 11:50:54 AM »
When we were children, and got in trouble, the "spankings" happened mainly when dad got home. I have a black humor joke that describes what it was like for dad to get home, "Let the beatings begin!" That's what mainly happened, unless mom was so out of control that she did it herself. What this meant is that we had a long time of waiting, dread building, anxiety, fear, before we finally faced whatever we were going to be beaten with--metal spoon, wooden spoon and finally the metal end of a fly-swatter since they kept breaking the other instruments on our backsides.

This feels like the adult version of this, only this time I feel a sense of numbness. I'm an adult. Dad can't beat me. I refuse to let mom use him as a pawn to "defend" her from some unknown nebulous "hurt". I have not exchanged angry words with my parents. My interactions with them mainly involve me giving 2 for every 1 of their efforts. There is no Big Bad Behavior (as daughter says) from me. Something is eating at mom, and therefore dad is being sent in to deal with it, and unfortunately mom isn't going to be able to name anything.

The reality is that our families are growing up, our kids are getting older and we and/or our spouses are just sick of dealing with uNBPD?m's obnoxious behavior. For a variety of reasons, we are not as involved in our parents' lives anymore. And their behavior in the last few years has been steadily burning bridges between them and their adult children. Their behavior our entire childhood made those bridges rickety and precarious in the first place. My entire life with them has taught me that they will not be self reflecting, apologizing, working to build bonds. They will be blaming, denying and justifying. And I.am.just.so.very.done.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 11:53:13 AM by all4peace »

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TalenCrowhaven

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2017, 04:13:11 PM »
A4P,

Thank you for posting this. You sound well on your way to your final healing and onto a better life.

What you've written is what I've been feeling this morning and trying to put into words. Or, maybe it's just coming to terms with my now lack of feelings for certain members of my FOO.

My "car" is simply out of gas when it comes to dealing with these people. They have driven it into the ground and no amount of love or anger will resurrect it. It is now a lost cause. A waste of energy.

I am simply (stick a fork in me) "done".

Life is gradually getting better in a lot of ways.

I hope this will be the case for you!

 :bighug:



« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 04:29:26 PM by TalenCrowhaven »

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overitall

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 12:36:46 AM »
All4peace,

I completely understand how you feel...I was abused over and over again....I tried to be the "good one" and included my uBPDm and uNPDf in my kids' lives....I walked on endless eggshells...I cannot tell you how many times I lay in bed at night and "replay" the events of the day in my mind....

If I was a good enough Mom, they would care more about me, right?  Uh, no....instead they tried to smear me to my own kids...when I tried to distance them from my kids, they tried even harder.  They didn't care about me, but wanted to continue a relationship with my kids wherein they could smear me.....Uh, no...I became exhausted....my DH became exhausted...my kids became exhausted...

When my kids hit their teens they started realizing that there were some BIG problems with my FOO....drama, triangulation, smearing. etc.  I was always on the defensive when my parents were around....I recall a holiday where I was the host and my parents were pissed because dinner was an hour late (I had three kids under the age of 5)  I was supposed to be able to take their abuse and keep on ticking....

For me, my 40th birthday was a turning point....I realized that I had spend 40 years dealing with this crap and I definitely didn't want to spent the next 40 dealing with their crap.....I had enough....I was done....I, like you, am empty....I don't care anymore...my father is terminally ill and I am sorry he is suffering, but I don't have anything to say to him....I really don't...I'm done...I've been done for a long time now

I think for my FOO, they have just realized in the past two years that I am DONE....some people think it's "heartless".  Any and every person who ever witnessed how my parents treated me understand why I feel the way I do....

Parents tried the very last "drama move" recently at a very public event....most people did not even know who they were....they got ZERO attention and sort of scurried away because no one was paying attention to them....my complete validation of that fact that it is over for me...I am free of them... :yeahthat:

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Silent Vixen

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2017, 01:26:45 AM »
So sorry you feel like this..dead inside.

I wonder if it's your body protecting you
from hurt. pain. it's awful.

This is how I feel also. Hugs-

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broken

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2017, 02:51:40 AM »
I was actually thinking the same thing as Vixen.  All4peace, I've been following your posts a lot because we have so much in common, and I am possibly near the same point as you in this journey. 

I also feel dead inside when I cannot avoid dealing with NM or 2 of my siblings.  When I don't hear from them I simply feel more alive and at peace.  When I was a kid I remember feeling dead inside as well, of course back then I could not escape her rath.  I remember reading that this is a survival mechanism.  By mentally 'playing dead' we can't be hurt by them.

Sometimes I wonder if I'm not just too exhausted to think about it at that moment.  Either way, I believe it does equal progress.  It's better than being angry all the time.  Anger on occasion keeps us safe from letting down our guard, but too much of it only hurts us and keeps them in our heads.  So.. Here's to playing possum with their abuse  :cheers:

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WomanInterrupted

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2017, 04:50:44 AM »
I call the numb phases, "Conserve Power Mode."

You know how your computer goes to sleep when you're not using it, to conserve power?  (If you don't turn it off, that is.)

To me, it's the same thing.

You're conserving your power.  You know SOMETHING is on the horizon - or your body feels that way - and the numbness prepares you for that next battle.

A4P, I understand you're doing the Cancer Dance/Dearth of Information thing (been there more than a few times!  Would you like a couple of spare tee shirts?   :roll:)

And the IL's haven't stopped their endless yammering for your DD - I don't know if you recall I said they might expect her to be their caregiver and want to groom her for the role.

Then I saw a post where your FIL (he of the nebulous cancer diagnosis) tried giving her a BIG hug that she deftly side-swiped.   :thumbup:

And they sort of all acted fake-nice to you and DH, to varying degrees...  :barfy:

To me, this makes a certain amount of sense - and very well could be wrong - but it seems like grandpa is going to NEED DD as a caregiver because grandma is going to be FAR too exhausted to do anything except read the paper, watch her soaps and hang out on FB all day, catastrophizing to all within her sphere.  :dramaqueen:

Grandma is also going to be too "exhausted" to do housework or prepare meals.  FB posts take TIME to craft!

You're not an option, your DH isn't an option, and they *couldn't possibly ask the Favored Children* - who will go back into the woodwork the minute the words "home health care" are mentioned, so WHO is left?

Your DD.
   :aaauuugh:

She's not a sacrificial lamb and you know that - I think you're conserving power for the moment they *refuse* home health care and insist FAMILY will take care of it - meaning your DD.

And you're also having problem with your PD parents - aren't we just SO blessed, getting it from both sides?   :stars:

I think your body might be expecting something major on that front, too.

From my own personal experience - just GO with the dead inside feeling.  It's protecting you.  You're recharging your batteries for the next time you have to go to battle and say, "I'm afraid that's just not possible.  No.  I said no.  What part of that word don't you understand?  It has TWO LETTERS.  HOW the have you gotten this far in life without the most basic comprehension of the most rudimentary of negative word forms?"

Well, you don't say that - you think it while either Medium Chilling people or avoiding their calls.   :bigwink: :ninja:

I think you're sensing the Calm Before the Storm.

SOMETHING is up.  The dominoes can't stand as they are - they're going to start toppling soon, going in all directions, and *you're* going to be expected to try to start catching them before they hit the ground, which *isn't possible.*

So...you conserve power.  You go numb.  You feel dead inside as you recharge and just wait for it.

THEN you will spring into action - NO on DD as a caregiver for "something" that may or may not have been cancer, NO to your parents, NO to *anything you don't want to be involved in when it comes to the PDs in your life.*

When it happened to me, I didn't FEEL like a well-oiled machine, but knew what I had to do - keep saying NO and putting up boundaries, again and again and again.  Keep smacking down the unreasonable with facts, logic, Medium Chill and dead silence, as needed.

And I had the strength and perseverance to see it through, thanks to the numb/dead inside/Conserve Power Mode phases I went through.  :)

If it feels like you're standing before a field littered with landmines and you know there's a possibility any, all or some of them could go off at any time -  numb/dead inside/conserve power helps you deal with it when it finally happens - or starts happening in rapid-fire succession, with one thing after the other after the other, after the other.

You'll have the amazing ability to just keep rolling with it while keeping your boundaries in place.

If that numb/dead inside feeling doesn't feel like acceptance - it isn't.

It's regrouping while waiting for the other shoe - or a bunch of them  - to drop.

 :hug:

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daughter

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #14 on: November 01, 2017, 12:22:03 PM »
A4P, I think WI has flagged an important consideration re: in-laws' renewed interest in DD.  I recall DD's role as "mother's helper" for SIL.  With your MIL soon distracted by surgery, perhaps they're motivated to get DD to serve as "grandma's helper", as bedside attendant, as household help, along with watching SIL's kids again (MIL won't be doing it, right?)  My alarm-bell would be sounded.
 

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all4peace

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2017, 01:08:19 PM »
malini, I'm really not sure. This feels more like numb instead of detached, although I guess I've achieved a lot of detachment if I can achieve this. Maybe it's somewhat of a defensive mode, anticipating whatever is going to come next. Maybe detachment feels like dead/numb in comparison to the high level of emotional engagement I used to have with both families.

blueskies, it does feel like mild depression. Flat, slow, gray. I know what to do to try to push past it, but it gets exhausting constantly fighting anxiety or depression.

wish camp, I'm so sorry. I can understand how upsetting it would be for your family. I get absolutely furious about the way DH's family treats him but far more meh about my parents, and vice versa with DH also. I wish you would get the heart-felt apology that would help heal your heart. :bighug:

spring butterfly, I still find pockets of grief. I was shocked to find one in the middle of T this week when I was explaining that in adulthood I had really valued my relationship with my D but that he seems to be lost right now, cold and checked out himself, likely in "protection" of M and the relationships they are losing due to her behavior.

practical, I read parts of that thread and appreciated it. I'm so sorry for your loss and all the energy you put into trying to help your D and B. :bighug:

marisa, I'm so glad you could get some help from this thread. Not feeling alone, and feeling understood, are so incredibly helpful!

daughter, I think my parents are starting to pick up on my very obvious lack of FOG at this point. I'm not playing the game the way I used to, and now that several years have passed it should be obvious this isn't a silent treatment (like my mom uses on people). I imagine it's frustrating for people who haven't learned appropriate adult-to-adult relationship tools.

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all4peace

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2017, 01:29:46 PM »
talencrowhaven, that's really hopeful. I guess numb is better than rage, grief, or terrible pain, in some ways. Maybe we work through our excruciating emotions until we have to find a different way to feel towards those who have wounded us. Maybe this is just a natural defense mechanism, a psychic callus, so to speak. When I reached the end of my coping abilities with next-door PD ILs, "done" is a word I thought about alllll the time. Maybe I'm pretty much "done" with my parents also, at least in the dynamic they are choosing for us at this time.

overitall, your screen name says it all :) There's something about 40. That's when things started really changing for me. I was just so done with dealing with the bad behavior from my ILs, and I think something must have shifted in me with my parents also. Mainly, I was so anxious and depressed that I stopped contacting them nearly exclusively, as had been our pattern. They seem to have been hurt by that but didn't reach out instead.

I'm really sorry for all you've been through. It cuts pretty close to the bone when someone tries to interfere in our relationship with our kids.

silent vixen, I do think it could be a defense mechanism. I'm so sorry that you're feeling like this also, unless for you it is welcome.

broken, it is a relief in contrast to burning anger! Really, much of what I (don't) feel towards uNBPDm is based on how she's treating other people in our family. I just don't really care anymore. At least not right now.

WI, I think you could be onto something. I've worked really hard to not be so hypervigilant, to calm the inner child and reassure her that I'm no longer powerless. So maybe I'm just in a deadish emotional state since that's preferable to fear and dread.

It gets confusing since I post on both families, but the shenanigans are coming from the ILs (with DD) and there's mostly nothingness coming from my side, except a lot of texts from uNBPDm lately and dad's request to "talk" after I requested that he work a little bit on the adult relationships before getting back into texting communication with my kids (it had been as bad as them not speaking to me at multiple family events)

daughter, DD's recruitment is on the IL side, not mine. They would have to be literally deluded to think she could be a caregiver as she hasn't had time alone (except once with SIL) with them for more than a year now. I think it's more about claiming victim status while bravely, tragically and valiantly fighting (a very, very treatable) cancer.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2017, 09:27:05 AM »
"Maybe detachment feels like dead/numb in comparison to the high level of emotional engagement I used to have with both families." This part of your post brought to mind when I was no longer filled with excruciating dread and fear it felt like I had no emotions at all. It took me sometime and practice to learn how to feel emotions at a very low level. There were several articles on the categories of emotions - sad, mad, scared, glad - and the varying levels of each emotion but emotions fall into just a few general categories.

Once all the drama and chaos is removed these emotional categories on a very low level we're barely perceptible to me because I was only used to recognizing emotions at a hyper-vigilant extremely high level. There were actually a few exercises designed to help very young children recognize the category of emotions that helped.

It wasn't just toward the toxic persons but in general I had difficulty recognizing emotions at that point in the journey so it may be a totally different thing for you if you're recognizing emotions in other areas of life.

On the topic of your D and becoming "done" with your parents in addition to IL - even if you are the one to initiate or recognize the death of a relationship or the fact that the one you thought you had doesn't exist, either way it's grieving what wasn't, what never was, what you recognize will never be. Coming to terms with the impact of the enabling parent is a huge milestone.

Once I had totally disconnected from the drama and chaos of uPDm and enF and toxic IL I felt nothing for them, they had become like strangers to me and I was on the outside looking in, just some odd person I'd crossed paths with, it was surreal.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 09:35:54 AM by Spring Butterfly »
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Shockwave

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #18 on: November 05, 2017, 05:35:37 AM »
There is a saying for times like these: you're fresh out of fucks to give.  Pardon the language but a uPD will be more than happy to suck you dry of anything you've got and then some. I remember the exact point in the relationship with my uPD mother when I ran out: the month before I moved out,  both of my uPD parents decided to tell me how horrible of a parent I was and that I better not change the "program".

So I get the feeling you're experiencing.  You're there. You've lost the ability to care.  That is alright. Some people have earned it. 
"Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So we'll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A Dark Knight."
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all4peace

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Re: when you feel dead/numb inside
« Reply #19 on: November 06, 2017, 01:51:13 AM »
spring butterfly and shockwave, both your posts resonate with me. I think it can be both things, at different times.

I'm getting alternative therapy to help release loads of internal scarring that has been causing problems in my adult life and leading to repeated hospitalizations. My healer's belief is that suppressed emotion can get locked up in the body in many ways, including excessive and very tight scarring. So I got therapy this weekend and all that deadness and numbness opened up inside of me. Lots of emotions. And I came home to correspondence from uNBPDm adding onto dad's wish for "a talk." Let me tell you, no more dead and numb feelings. Just a whole lotta anger. Starting to feel BPD myself, all this emotional rollercoastering.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 02:29:11 AM by all4peace »