Abandoning the Self

This is such a great post about Abandoning the Self, and recovery from complex PTSD. I hope you all find it as interesting and helpful as I did!

Out of the Mire

I live in Minnesota.  I overheard someone say once that we work for our seasons.  That’s an oddly funny thing to say, but, if you live here, then you’ll understand the meaning in that sentiment.

As a seasonal change approaches, the current weather patterns seem to want to hold on almost as if they have a personality.  Summer just won’t leave! It’s sticking around in October like a bad guest! And yet the warm temperatures seem to loiter in the atmosphere in spite of midnight frosts.  We all begin to assume that this year Old Man Winter will stay in his cave.  This will be the year that Minnesota tricks winter.  Halloween approaches and the kids are wearing short sleeves! We’ve done it!

And then it happens.  The cold suddenly appears and refuses to go.  Just like that.  Where did all the lovely warmth go? No transition? No warning shot across…

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8 Responses to Abandoning the Self

  1. MJ says:

    Thanks for sharing! It’s good information, isn’t it?


  2. Exodus says:

    ” Would I be this upset if this simply felt like an isolated incident rather than an incident attached to a series of familiar events happening to me all over again?

    Learning to stay present by cultivating a mindfulness practice, developing curiosity around behaviors and choices so that we can ask questions like the aforementioned, and building a safe and supportive community even if it’s only a therapist are steps that we can take so that we can engage in a dynamic and active recovery process.”

    I always examine what drives my emotions- esp. relative to Norman’s behavior. I’m not boasting or trying to sound like an enlightened Buddha- it’s just my personality to seek understanding and identify the root of everything and likewise, I am aware that I’m just as guilty of over-thinking and over-examining the elements and dynamics in my life. I’ve even noticed that when Norman makes a truly genuine mistake ( it’s usually easy to tell the difference between those and the repeats) I really don’t even care and I just row with the flow. I’m human and so is he. Everyone has a bad day, everyone has stress, everyone makes mistakes. I’ve been more than aware and more than fair even to the point of compromising my own good sense and self worth in the process of trying.

    Funny thing, Norman accused me of not living in the present moment and he accused me of dwelling on the past and living in the past. Norman’s perception of being present and mindful means that a person should just bury their past and ignore it and therefore, I shouldn’t care at all what he’s done to me for years. I should just wake up a new woman with absolutely no memory at all of his crimes against me. Wouldn’t life be so blissful if ignorance could be that effective? Waking up a new person is only half the story about being present. I agree that we should be mindful and insightful and understand that how we perceive any experience – good or bad- is dictated by our emotions in the moment. That said, we must also understand that our current emotions have been formed by past experiences. For me, it’s not about living in the past. I already know that I can forgive anything in the moment as long as a person makes a sincere effort to rectify their mistake and replace it with a better habit or behavior. That’s the problem…Norman keeps reminding me that I’m stuck in the past. Norman creates the time warp, not me. I’m trapped living with the same old worn out destructive and hurtful behaviors on a different day. Tada! And once again, I awoke to the coffee grounds on the counter. Thanks Norman for reminding me that you are still the same disrespectful, incompetent, unreliable, angry and bitter and abusive man as yesterday and the day before and the year before.

    It’s true that in dysfunctional and codependent relationships it’s very common for the truth-seeker/sayer to get accused of being the trouble maker, the one who rocks the boat and makes everyone else’s life an unbearable mess. Every dysfunctional family needs a scapegoat and the truth-sayer is the one who gets chosen. I’ve lived with this my entire life- in my own family as well as my marriage. So, it’s no surprise to me that Norman would accuse me of living in the past. He needs to find the easiest way to justify avoiding his own emotions so that he can tout that he lives in the present moment without any resentments or hurt that control him. He says he won’t allow the past to control him so he believes that dismissing it, not naming it, not owning it as his own past that he can just be a new man every day with a horribly mean controlling wife. He has no awareness at all that it is indeed his past that has complete control over him in every minute.

    Liked by 1 person

    • WritesinPJ's says:

      Exodus: “He has no awareness at all that it is indeed his past that has complete control over him in every minute. ”

      Oh, the irony. I’ve thought this so many times. To be so driven by control issues means he’s not in control at all.


  3. newshoes123 says:

    PJ, thanks for sharing once again something truly useful.

    These two statements really make sense to me. “There is a phrase for this in DBT–distress tolerance. We have to dedicate ourselves to learning to tolerate emotional distress so that we can consistently show up in our lives while feeling our pain without, as Walker said, defaulting to maladaptive coping strategies. Personally, I like to use functional dissociation. It works, but it is a form of resisting the pain which only leads to prolonged suffering.” I mean it explains why I haven’t been myself, why I haven’t been taking care of myself (gaining so much weight from eating my emotions) and why I react the way I do when a pa event happens. I have developed coping skills to try to just get through from one day to the next. I’m still using these skills but I have also added a mental phrase to the mix: “like bandaid – rip it off then it’s done”. It’s worked so far but it doesn’t mean I still like the way that I am in this pa relationship. Even though I know all of this, it’s good to get a reminder once in a while.PJ, ano

    And this statement too. “Validation, validation, validation with a huge dose of self-validation. In this context, it is vital that we begin to see where we are living with crazymaking, accusations, denial, and manipulation. It is very hard to construct a proper narrative of events when the people closest to you are questioning your perceptions and gaslighting you.” Yes but… as much as I know that it’s not about me, it’s about them, when you’ve been with the same partner long term, I don’t think that you can see how much goes on in your own life. It begins to be normal at some point and it begins to feel like the same day over and over, like GroundHog day. Had someone told me years ago, “you are being abused” I would have told them they were wrong. I know better of course, and even in therapy, it never truly goes away.


    • Exodus says:

      “It begins to be normal at some point and it begins to feel like the same day over and over, like GroundHog day. Had someone told me years ago, “you are being abused” I would have told them they were wrong. I know better of course, and even in therapy, it never truly goes away.”

      Newshoes, I actually did tell people that I wasn’t being abused because I thought that I should be able to rise above Norman’s poor character and I didn’t want to appear to be a victim. I also didn’t want to believe that I had chosen a partner that would set the bar so low for me that I couldn’t even get under it. My brother did the same thing with his PA wife but sooner or later, despite taking the high road, we both became road pavement no matter how hard we tried to cope. My brother, with more confidence and financial security, didn’t tolerate as long as I have but nonetheless, abuse became our normal.

      One of the ways that I got a true glimpse of what I was enduring was when I invited someone to stay with us. My coping skills became extremely obvious to me ( and everyone else) because I noticed that I would feel shamed or embarrassed by my own ” submissive’, tolerant or compliant behaviors in front of other people. At times, I became so humiliated and disgusted with myself that I would start snapping at the guests!


    • WritesinPJ's says:

      newshoes: “when you’ve been with the same partner long term, I don’t think that you can see how much goes on in your own life. It begins to be normal at some point and it begins to feel like the same day over and over, like GroundHog day. Had someone told me years ago, “you are being abused” I would have told them they were wrong. ”

      Yes! The same day over and over! In past years, four different professionals when seeking help and relief, and the word ‘abuse’ still wasn’t in my conscious thoughts. It took an online forum for that to click. Looking back, I wonder how all four missed it. Good grief. There were two more after that, and they barely got it. Barely.


      • Exodus says:

        PJ’s, I was thinking about the process of trauma-bonding to trauma-UNbonding this morning ( heavy thinking again). I’ve been really tired lately and depressed and as Newshoes mentioned, ‘ felt like throwing in the towel’. While I was packing this morning, I thought about giving up and just resigning myself to this life with Norman, I sat down, sipped some coffee and thought about all the (legal) things that I could do to spiritually elevate myself to such a state that I could tolerate him and smile and be a happy woman and wife I looked at all the boxes stacked up on the wall, imagined myself ‘moving back in’ with Norman. My mind was instantly flooded with ‘happy’ visions of holidays, my beautiful kitchen, warm fires, canning the veggies, AND THEN it was suddenly flooded with all the sh** that is hinged to every single one of those thoughts- like all the fights over T’giving and Christmas, all the fights over how he is so selfish and neglectful, how I have to live with all his filth and clutter, all the hurts and all the anger that manifested over everything from waking up to coffee grounds to grocery store mistakes, etc.. I panicked. I jumped up in fear and began packing even more rapidly.

        I realized that my love/hate relationship with trauma had tipped more toward hate. While there is still doubt in my heart ( not my logical mind) as to whether Norman can change and things could be different and easier, the thought of going back terrifies me. My mind quickly shifted to thoughts of my peaceful, safe and happy home full of positive energy from happy people and a happy dog that I didn’t have to worry about around Norman. When I fantasize about those happy experiences and Norman comes into the picture, it ruins everything. I begin to feel disdain for him as I recall all the times that I had to manage his negativity, manage his anger, manage his messes, and coverup or excuse his character flaws.

        I realize that we are much more resilient than we give ourselves credit. I’ve begun to heal even though I’m still living in this hell house. I know that it’s only going to get better- at least in terms of ending my suffering with Norman.

        It’s sad and I’m angry that I have to do this. I cry a lot. Sometimes I wish Norman would come to me and say, “Look, I’m truly sorry. I have psychological problems that have manifested into hateful, destructive and evil behaviors that have hurt you terribly. I know that. I know that it will be difficult for you to trust me again and feel comfortable living with me but I promise that I’ll do everything to earn your trust once again. I love you and I’m very blessed to have a wife like you who would stand by me for so long and I have a lot of rectifying to do and I am starting right now.”

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I wanted to end this post on a happy note. Hope you had a good laugh 😀


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