NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up

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iamthefire

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NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« on: April 03, 2019, 11:05:25 PM »
I keep trying to leave. And I never last more than two days of no contact. The pain is so extreme. I feel like I'm missing my right arm. Sometimes it feels like it's less painful to be abused than it is to try to stay away. It's to the point now I feel like I'm a total prisoner. Of my own mind. I feel like there's no way out. Don't get me wrong, I have no financial ties. I live on my own as well. There is nothing keeping me from leaving but for the fact of the trauma bond, Stockholm Syndrome, addiction.  I am in therapy and it's not working. I feel completely hopeless, lost and exhausted. The roller coaster I'm on is ridiculous. I can't take much more of it. I know none of you are psychologists. But does anyone have any suggestions at all? Anything? Or even just your experiences with this?

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notrightinthehead

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2019, 03:29:24 AM »
Yes, it is like an addiction. It is an addiction. And sometimes you hate yourself for it. Have you tried treating it like an addiction? 'Just for this next hour, just for this day, I will stay away?' Then start counting the days you have managed and give yourself a reward - a smily with a  5 on it for 5 days or whatever is a reward for you. At CoDA you admit that you have no control over it and no  control over your feelings. But - you can stay abstinent just another day.

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Boat Babe

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 06:34:39 AM »
I totally get it and you have all my sympathy. All I can say is that if you stay, you will continue to live in misery. If you leave and stay left, you will experience acute withdrawal that IS NOT A PERMANENT STATE OF AFFAIRS. You will feel all the pain of trauma bond separation until the healing begins, and it does. The crux of your current dilemma is that in order to heal you have to go no contact. NC allows for reality to re-enter your life, clear thinking to inform your decisions and for you to see your PD loved one for who they are; a very damaged soul who YOU CANNOT HELP.  It was this that I found most difficult, leaving someone who had many wonderful qualities, who I loved and desired madly and who had been so messed up by their FOO. I abandoned him, the one thing he feared most. But I had to. It was him or me in the final analysis. I went through hell for a couple of months, unable to do much except go through the motions like a zombie.  Six months out and I am ok again. I still miss him but I got myself back and that means more to me than being in a relationship that was harmful, in which I compromised my values in order to be with someone. I no longer walk on eggshells, all my time and energy goes into my life (adult son with health problems, care work, dog, voluntary work, friends etc etc) one of the things that I am pleased with is that I have drastically reduced my alcohol intake (he was a heavy drinker) and I have so much more energy as a result.

What I want to say is that you can survive leaving a beloved PD person and it sounds like it is necessary. I wish you well. And keep talking here. OOTF has been an absolute blessing to me.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 12:16:33 PM »
Yes, it is like an addiction. It is an addiction. And sometimes you hate yourself for it. Have you tried treating it like an addiction? 'Just for this next hour, just for this day, I will stay away?' Then start counting the days you have managed and give yourself a reward - a smily with a  5 on it for 5 days or whatever is a reward for you. At CoDA you admit that you have no control over it and no  control over your feelings. But - you can stay abstinent just another day.

My friend suggested that. And to write down what I want as rewards and they will make sure I get them. Sky is the limit. I have a good support system. That's why this is so maddening. I have more than what most survivors do and I cant do it. So far. I have so much respect, love and empathy for those who get out with less. You are my heroes.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 12:18:36 PM »
I totally get it and you have all my sympathy. All I can say is that if you stay, you will continue to live in misery. If you leave and stay left, you will experience acute withdrawal that IS NOT A PERMANENT STATE OF AFFAIRS. You will feel all the pain of trauma bond separation until the healing begins, and it does. The crux of your current dilemma is that in order to heal you have to go no contact. NC allows for reality to re-enter your life, clear thinking to inform your decisions and for you to see your PD loved one for who they are; a very damaged soul who YOU CANNOT HELP.  It was this that I found most difficult, leaving someone who had many wonderful qualities, who I loved and desired madly and who had been so messed up by their FOO. I abandoned him, the one thing he feared most. But I had to. It was him or me in the final analysis. I went through hell for a couple of months, unable to do much except go through the motions like a zombie.  Six months out and I am ok again. I still miss him but I got myself back and that means more to me than being in a relationship that was harmful, in which I compromised my values in order to be with someone. I no longer walk on eggshells, all my time and energy goes into my life (adult son with health problems, care work, dog, voluntary work, friends etc etc) one of the things that I am pleased with is that I have drastically reduced my alcohol intake (he was a heavy drinker) and I have so much more energy as a result.

What I want to say is that you can survive leaving a beloved PD person and it sounds like it is necessary. I wish you well. And keep talking here. OOTF has been an absolute blessing to me.

You sound a lot like me. Hating to leave someone with good qualities especially when they have abandonment issues. I am happy to hear of your success. I hope to be the same someday soon.  I go through deep depression when I try to leave. I identify with zombie and nothing I like feeling good.

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not broken

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2019, 12:49:09 PM »
iamthefire:
One of the things I have found most helpful in my journey to heal is this book: "Boundaries- Where You Are and I Begin" by Anne Katherine, M.A.  I fight the back and forth of leaving, but this is helping me see things from a different perspective and it was so crystal clear with the descriptions.  I have a new therapist since Oct/Nov who specializes in trauma and this week was the first week I could answer a question about WHAT I WANTED.  It wasn't about him or what I didn't want.  I have a long way to go, but that crack of light has given me hope of what I can have and what I don't have to live with, and being okay with it.  Please trust me when I say that you do not want to have a family with someone who makes you feel this way- even more painful than what you are describing is to realize it when you look at your children and hear what they are saying, and it finally connects the dots of your experience as well.  Imagine the pain of a child who is developing, and the damage.  Consider this your window to see what you could be giving your kids.  It is a sobering thought.  I wish I didn't have this advice to give, but your kind heart is evident and when someone is controlling not only your behavior, but your thoughts there is great agony in believing in yourself enough to know you are doing the right thing for yours and his children by removing them from such a toxic environment. Dig deep and find your boundaries; embrace them and hold tight.  It is then that you will see your own crack of light and want more.

The one thing everyone here has told me is to do whatever I can to shift my focus to myself, and not about him.  It truly is the key to remove the shackles, one click at a time.   

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openskyblue

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #6 on: April 04, 2019, 01:31:02 PM »
Trauma bonds are very tricky and strong. After three years NC with my exhusband, he will pop up in my head at the oddest times, like a broken record on tape delay. I have mastered the statement, "I am not putting my awareness there." It's my mantra, and on stickies at random places in my environment.

This might not be kosher, but I'm a believer in small steps to get over addiction or change a behavior. How about you put some limits on how you allow yourself to contact your ex. Sometimes we have to fool ourselves into adopting real change, at least to get the ball rolling. Something like:

-- If you can't go longer than 2 days, how about you stretch that to 3. Then to 4 and 5 and so on. Sometimes we have to practice what we are trying to change.

-- Make rules of contact and stick to them. For example, make it a rule that you are only allowed to contact via a phone call  -- no texting or messaging. I suggest this, because texting/messaging is a communications method that is fast and easy -- also rife with chances for misinformation and miscommunication. if you have to call on the phone, you hear his voice, his evasions, his lies better. That may help you disconnect.

Of course, this could be totally useless advice, but I thought I'd throw it out there. There's not hard and fast rule about how to do NC. I'm a believer that everyone has to figure out what works for them.


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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2019, 08:38:57 PM »
iamthefire:
One of the things I have found most helpful in my journey to heal is this book: "Boundaries- Where You Are and I Begin" by Anne Katherine, M.A.  I fight the back and forth of leaving, but this is helping me see things from a different perspective and it was so crystal clear with the descriptions.  I have a new therapist since Oct/Nov who specializes in trauma and this week was the first week I could answer a question about WHAT I WANTED.  It wasn't about him or what I didn't want.  I have a long way to go, but that crack of light has given me hope of what I can have and what I don't have to live with, and being okay with it.  Please trust me when I say that you do not want to have a family with someone who makes you feel this way- even more painful than what you are describing is to realize it when you look at your children and hear what they are saying, and it finally connects the dots of your experience as well.  Imagine the pain of a child who is developing, and the damage.  Consider this your window to see what you could be giving your kids.  It is a sobering thought.  I wish I didn't have this advice to give, but your kind heart is evident and when someone is controlling not only your behavior, but your thoughts there is great agony in believing in yourself enough to know you are doing the right thing for yours and his children by removing them from such a toxic environment. Dig deep and find your boundaries; embrace them and hold tight.  It is then that you will see your own crack of light and want more.

The one thing everyone here has told me is to do whatever I can to shift my focus to myself, and not about him.  It truly is the key to remove the shackles, one click at a time.

That is the thing. I am not able to have kids so that is good. I was looking for my second half of life partner. We have talked about marriage but neither of us have made any moves. I am old enough and wise enough to know not to mix finances with someone I don't trust.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2019, 08:41:12 PM »
Trauma bonds are very tricky and strong. After three years NC with my exhusband, he will pop up in my head at the oddest times, like a broken record on tape delay. I have mastered the statement, "I am not putting my awareness there." It's my mantra, and on stickies at random places in my environment.

This might not be kosher, but I'm a believer in small steps to get over addiction or change a behavior. How about you put some limits on how you allow yourself to contact your ex. Sometimes we have to fool ourselves into adopting real change, at least to get the ball rolling. Something like:

-- If you can't go longer than 2 days, how about you stretch that to 3. Then to 4 and 5 and so on. Sometimes we have to practice what we are trying to change.

-- Make rules of contact and stick to them. For example, make it a rule that you are only allowed to contact via a phone call  -- no texting or messaging. I suggest this, because texting/messaging is a communications method that is fast and easy -- also rife with chances for misinformation and miscommunication. if you have to call on the phone, you hear his voice, his evasions, his lies better. That may help you disconnect.

Of course, this could be totally useless advice, but I thought I'd throw it out there. There's not hard and fast rule about how to do NC. I'm a believer that everyone has to figure out what works for them.

I like that. Make rules about the NC. Thank you. He isnt actually my ex yet. He still calls me his gf. I dont have a label for us after the past 2 months of hell. I dont think there is a word in the English language.

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Artemis T

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2019, 03:57:07 PM »
I am currently grappling with this. Sometimes you can find yourself thinking it would have been better to have stayed tethered to those trauma bonds rather than leave because at least you'd be in less pain. I started comparing the symptoms that I experienced to that of narcotic withdraw and they are similar, it is most definitely an addiction and as such you do need to give yourself time to recover.
My therapist was helpful in that she gave me a worksheet of questions that ppl get on their first day of the 12 Step Sobriety program. When I answered these questions (I was to replace the name of an addictive substance with that of my ex) it helped me treat it like an addiction and recognize I had to take baby steps.

One thing that helped me with the chest pains, and anxiety was writing encouraging notes to myself in my notes app, or writing my feelings in my notes app.
Things like "you went one day without checking his and his new gf's social media good job!" or "one day at a time, you'll get through this". My therapist asked me to envision a container and to put all these thoughts inside of it so I can bring it to our next session and sort them out together. It has helped. Little by little.
So may create small actionable goals that can help reduce some triggers?  For me it was social media lurking.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2019, 02:01:29 AM »
I am currently grappling with this. Sometimes you can find yourself thinking it would have been better to have stayed tethered to those trauma bonds rather than leave because at least you'd be in less pain. I started comparing the symptoms that I experienced to that of narcotic withdraw and they are similar, it is most definitely an addiction and as such you do need to give yourself time to recover.
My therapist was helpful in that she gave me a worksheet of questions that ppl get on their first day of the 12 Step Sobriety program. When I answered these questions (I was to replace the name of an addictive substance with that of my ex) it helped me treat it like an addiction and recognize I had to take baby steps.

One thing that helped me with the chest pains, and anxiety was writing encouraging notes to myself in my notes app, or writing my feelings in my notes app.
Things like "you went one day without checking his and his new gf's social media good job!" or "one day at a time, you'll get through this". My therapist asked me to envision a container and to put all these thoughts inside of it so I can bring it to our next session and sort them out together. It has helped. Little by little.
So may create small actionable goals that can help reduce some triggers?  For me it was social media lurking.

The weird thing is after our many breakups we arent even friends on social media. I haven't pushed the issue because with my iffy feelings on our future, I dont want to make it an issue when I am not sure of the next step.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2019, 02:21:55 AM »
I am currently grappling with this. Sometimes you can find yourself thinking it would have been better to have stayed tethered to those trauma bonds rather than leave because at least you'd be in less pain. I started comparing the symptoms that I experienced to that of narcotic withdraw and they are similar, it is most definitely an addiction and as such you do need to give yourself time to recover.
My therapist was helpful in that she gave me a worksheet of questions that ppl get on their first day of the 12 Step Sobriety program. When I answered these questions (I was to replace the name of an addictive substance with that of my ex) it helped me treat it like an addiction and recognize I had to take baby steps.

One thing that helped me with the chest pains, and anxiety was writing encouraging notes to myself in my notes app, or writing my feelings in my notes app.
Things like "you went one day without checking his and his new gf's social media good job!" or "one day at a time, you'll get through this". My therapist asked me to envision a container and to put all these thoughts inside of it so I can bring it to our next session and sort them out together. It has helped. Little by little.
So may create small actionable goals that can help reduce some triggers?  For me it was social media lurking.

Yes. I have had the exact same thought. It is less painful to stay than try to break the bonds. Which is super scary considering all he has done.

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bgirl12

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #12 on: April 13, 2019, 10:03:25 PM »
From my experience , you can't properly grieve and heal if you are still going around the block with them. It sounds like that is what you are about to do again.
That being said, if this is a relationship you can go no contact with, I recommend doing it. If there are other factors, then you have to set those limits. And know that if you don't things will never improve. Tell yourself until you believe it that they are not going to change and knowing that- what will you do? I really feel for you. I support you. Some random strangers online believe in you and support you doing what is best for you. Reach out to your loved ones and don't give up on yourself.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #13 on: April 14, 2019, 01:51:09 AM »
From my experience , you can't properly grieve and heal if you are still going around the block with them. It sounds like that is what you are about to do again.
That being said, if this is a relationship you can go no contact with, I recommend doing it. If there are other factors, then you have to set those limits. And know that if you don't things will never improve. Tell yourself until you believe it that they are not going to change and knowing that- what will you do? I really feel for you. I support you. Some random strangers online believe in you and support you doing what is best for you. Reach out to your loved ones and don't give up on yourself.

Thank you. So sweet of you to say. Tomorrow I am trying NC again. I have my letter ready, friends ready, plans etc. This time is a little different. Since I posted this, he has committed physical violence against someone else.  In a way I didn't think possible.  Another woman for speaking up. He was trying to force her to have sex outside of our relationship . She turned him down. He got angry. She threatened to tell.  She got jumped. I think he was one of the 2 men who jumped her. I am terrified.  Brought this to a whole new level. I now have no choice. I must go. I have put as much into place to ensure success.

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Rose1

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #14 on: April 15, 2019, 07:58:57 AM »
Do it quietly, don't send the letter.

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openskyblue

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2019, 11:21:43 AM »
 :yeahthat:

In my experience, this is a donít poke the bear situation. I recommend you NOT send a letter. Just go NC.

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iamthefire

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #16 on: April 15, 2019, 03:36:44 PM »
I did it yesterday and so far I am safe. He blew up my phone and said he was coming over but I wasnt home so I dont know if he did or not. It has been 24 hours since I heard from him.

It is still a struggle with my emotions. Even knowing all I know, it is taking all I have to stay away. I just will never understand how someone can mess with your mind and emotions to the point all logic goes out the door and you will take the abuse just to be with them.

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Boat Babe

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Re: NPD and trauma bonds and wanting to give up
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2019, 09:11:42 AM »
Understanding will come, but that is not your priority now.  Your number one priority is your personal safety. Please take all steps to protect yourself.  Much love.