Triggered ....is this a trap?

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Sheppane

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Triggered ....is this a trap?
« on: September 03, 2021, 04:05:17 PM »
So triggered right now. Backstory which I've posted in other threads is FOO enmeshment which I have detached from little by little. I have a lot of hypervigilance/ ptsd from childhood and also hugely confused and mixed messages. The message was that we were close and loving and would do " anything" for each other. I thought enmeshment was love. I was the GC - as long as I played the game - and until I didn't. Now I am the SG.  In short the whole system is built on manipulation, love bombing , bullying, and shaming. And yet there were periods where it did feel healthy too. It wasn't all bad . Which causes me periodically to doubt myself.  But this version of love is conditional and withdrawn with punishments/ verbal abuse if there is any challenge to the status quo.

It can be quite subtle and takes the form of no one contacting me for weeks and weeks. And if I call it is met with some form of ..I don't know.... ..coldness/ a sense of withholding. Or deep simmering rage ( unexpressed).  At times when I have spoken my truth calmly - I have been raged at and scapegoated. I have been accused of " destroying " them and much more. All accompanied with love bombing at the same time. A raging/ lovebombing combo. Either at the sane time or in sequence over weeks. In the past I denied my feelings , always making excuses. Now coming Out of the FOG I am at least learning my feelings matter.

But it has been so painful coming Out of the FOG.  I try to let go of the happier memories in the past. And I try and validate the abuse and punishment I have got. Yet my inner child occasionally still craves belonging from them. It has been a very painful journey.

My mom is hugely enmeshed with one of my sisters. My other sister for some reason gets off the hook and on with her life. She lived in a different country for years so I think that allowed some distance. I have an OK relationship with her. My relationship with this ( enmeshed)sister has changed a lot in recent years as I needed to put more and more boundaries in place to protect myself. So now she is designated GC and I am SG. In short the relationship had become completely one way , my role was to caretake her feelings , agree with her feelings and I used to absorb large amounts of her feelings from her. I would make excuses for her behaviour always. She is smart and her behaviour can be very covert.  And I would get approval from the wider FOO for caretaking her, in this way getting my need for approval met. And yet,  it was still never enough. And I was repeatedly told what I did wasn't enough. Or I didn't say the right thing  Or she " feels" I don't care for her . Im always the bad guy.  An ever rising bar engineered to keep me not good enough, keep me caretaking. My needs are not part of this. If I respectfully voiced a different opinion - silent treatment or some passive aggressive behaviour. Same if I set a boundary,  or just refuse to step in or follow the bait.

So I am now LC with this particular sibling. I needed to, to protect myself. I can sense the huge resentment towards me for having pulled back. Not just from her but from the whole FOO.

Fast forward to today - mom's number came up on my cellphone. As I saw it I instantly got triggered. For some reason I felt under attack. I am LC with her too as a result of the shaming attacks. We used to be very enmeshed and since I stepped back it has been seen as a big betrayal I think. Its been about 4 wks since I spoke to her.

She knows I am VLC with my sibling. She is so enmeshed with her that if I speak to one it is the exact same as speaking to the other. Last time I saw this sister she did not initiate any conversation with me but sulked around me while she was charming with others. My parents are so invested in the enmeshement that they do not even notice. They have made it their sole purpose to fawn and enable her and make me the SG.

I really cannot take this any more.  I no longer wish to play games. When an interaction goes well my inner child gets so overjoyed she embellishes it . I have to remind inner child that there is always a pattern , and not to trust that the " better" times means they are here to stay.

I was suspicious when Mom rang. I was trying to listen to my body screaming at me.

The call itself was OK. Nothing very meaningful but it wasn't hugely triggering. Some remarks about my sister and her news. With silence after to see what I'd say. I didn't step in much other than to say " that's good " or something like that. News that I haven't heard from my sister herself because she does not contact me.  And yet I should have known so no doubt that was my fault. At the end of the call she said she'd like to meet me for lunch. Unusual for her. She was pushing to set a date. Like can I confirm right now. I told her no I will need to check my schedule. I said it kindly and thought to myself maybe this is her making an effort. Maybe she is trying to restore something of the relationship ?  I want to keep my part clean and I know that is all I can do. So I told her yes let's do it but I will get back to her on the date.

And yet.. there is a large part of me detecting alarm bells. Is it a trap ? There's an agenda. There almost always is.  To meet me for " lunch" and steer the conversation to my sister. And then berate me- quite nicely at first and then throw questions so quick that I get confused. What usually happens is it starts nice , I calmly try to speak my truth , and then there is a confusing assault of all of my "less thans" the things I don't do , should do,    should do more of. Of how much of a disappointment I am. How they love me but how hurt they are by me. It is always so confusing and I find myself doubting my perceptions in the middle of it, asking ..maybe she's right ? Also because some of what she says may be partially true. l get so triggered I am clutching for a lifeboat and trying not to JADE.  My freeze response kicks in then as it is usually only after when I replay the conversation that I can make sense of it.

I feel so triggered still. I am having a super hard time with this today. I just don't know whether to trust this instinct. Is it a ptsd response in over drive? Maybe the threat is not real. Part of me is telling me to stop being so fearful. I won't rush into it. I know I don't even have to go. Then I wonder maybe she is trying to make some real emotional connection and I'd like to give her that chance.

I'm mainly curious as to why I am so hugely triggered though. And should I listen to that.

Thanks for allowing me to share. Can anyone relate?  :stars:

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Maxtrem

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Re: Triggered ....is this a trap?
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2021, 04:46:04 PM »
That feeling when the phone rings I've experienced it before and it's my uBPDM's number. Unfortunately we don't know if it's a trap, but it would be very surprising if it was to have a real connection with you. Personally I don't think the PD's are capable of that.

If you are triggered, it may be because you have already experienced similar bad events with the same premise. Maybe it's your body telling you to walk away because the mind doesn't know how to act or think anymore (this happens to me often).   

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frosty

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Re: Triggered ....is this a trap?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2021, 10:47:30 AM »
I can really relate to what you said about memories of "the good times" skewing your ability to make sense of your present reality with your family. When my mom is well, she can be intoxicatingly wonderful to be around. She was a young mom, and I always defended her "missteps" my whole life, thinking she was really trying her best. But for all the golden times, there were so many painful memories. So much trauma disguised as love. The fact is that she's not well, and she's getting worse. I really have to keep reminding myself of that, because if I don't, she'll certainly do it for me by emotionally assaulting me when I let her in.
If your gut is telling you not to go meet with her, don't go. She's far more likely to corner you and attempt manipulation than honestly want to re-establish trust in the relationship. It's so hard, because it's so human to crave your mother's love and attention, even as an adult. But her attention is clearly unhealthy for you right now.

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TwentyTwenty

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Re: Triggered ....is this a trap?
« Reply #3 on: September 04, 2021, 03:10:46 PM »
Hi, Iím sorry you are going through this.

When I was in a similar situation, it came down to one thing, and one ruins only:

How much harm am I willing to accept for the sake of this relationship.

In my case, it was none. So we went NC.

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Sheppane

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Re: Triggered ....is this a trap?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2021, 05:39:33 PM »
Update ...

Thank you everyone for your comments I wont reply individually but it's been super helpful to read.

Since I posted sister #2 has been in touch ( flying monkey). Normal calm conversation but then dropped in that I don't contact sister#1 enough, that I haven't called her in ages apparently,  that she would love to have a better relationship with me but feels  I'm not there for her when she needs me,  so she feels she can't tell me anything ( excuse for not telling me anything/ make it my fault) and that this whole thing is causing pain and hurt to my patent who are elderly. Oh and that I don't see her kids enough, help enough, offer to mind her kids enough and that this is also very hurtful for my poor sister. So she has obviously had a conversation with Mom.

Ugggh.

I medium chilled and didn't step in. But I am so angry. What do you do when there is a grain of truth in the accusations?  :stars:

Yes if this relationship was better I would choose to see her more. So it is correct I don't see her very much.  I am willing to be there for her but she doesn't call me - double bind as I can't know what's going on- the expectation being it is on me to be calling to find out. The entitlement. I did this for years , always checking in to see how she was, supporting her through difficult times but it was exhausting and I could not keep it up , and it only added more to the dysfunction. If I expressed an opposite view it always became passive aggressive. So yes it may also be correct that I do not check in as much. I needed to give myself that space.  I have offered to mind her kids in the past but typically then something blows up in the meantime which means I decide to limit contact again and keep the focus on me. So yes I don't mind them as often as I "should".

The expectations are always so high. I'm always a failure/ not enough and the whole family circle the wagons to say how " disappointed " they are. I could arrange to meet this sister but I will get a litany of all the things I haven't done,  all the ways I'm falling short.

 Its so hard to know how to respond. The irony of course being that I could say the exact same things - but no, this particular cold war will be all my fault.  She is definitely giving me ST at moment.  I don't know why. And so if I don't respond and break it then it gives her exactly what she wants to say -that I'm the one not calling. It's like being lured into it.

I feel so confused. Its like I'm in a game I don't want to play. And yet part of me sees the good in her too and is questioning my behaviour. Maybe what they are saying is true ? Maybe I'm at fault for the state of the relationship? I know that this is my self doubt being triggered though. I am the SG and this is how it goes. It goes in cycles though.

Any thoughts appreciated.