abuse, healing from domestic abuse, healing from narcissistic abuse, overcoming narcissistic abuse, psychopathic abuse, PTSD, PTSD from domestic abuse, PTSD from mental abuse, Uncategorized, women abuse

PTSD from Abuse

Trauma from abuse never really goes away. It is a part of us that we have to live with every day. How that trauma affects us, depends on the person and the healing methods you are able to find that work for you.

Domestic abuse trauma is severe and can impact our lives negatively for a very long time. The attack on our self-esteem by our abuser was deliberate and insidious. Our abuser attempted to control our thoughts and behaviors by making us feel inadequate and ashamed.

The feelings of guilt, shame and worthlessness are carried with us, until we are able to acknowledge that we were truly traumatized and accept the fact that we sustained psychological injury from the abuse.

Once we can accept that we were not at fault,  and did nothing to deserve to be abused, then we can begin to grow and learn how to cope with the mental  injuries.

The scars of abuse will always be with us, but we can work towards reducing the open wounds in our emotions and our minds. When we have gaping, painful wounds, our everyday lives tend to revolve around them.

We try to avoid being “bumped into” in an emotional or mental way. Our brains cannot tolerate even the slightest thing that might re-traumatize us. 

Anything that reminds us of the abuser, the circumstances surrounding the abuse, or how we felt during the abuse, may be  intolerable. This may cause us to organize our lives around avoiding anything that might trigger a state of post traumatic stress. We will develop behavior patterns of avoidance and may be in a state of hyperarousal almost all of the time.

The  hyper-arousal state is when all of our guards are up. We are constantly scanning our environment for possible threats. These may be physical threat or mental / emotional threats. Because of the damage our brains have already sustained, we cannot risk any more damage.

This is something we instinctively know. We know that we cannot tolerate any more trauma or any more re-traumatization.

When we are newly out of the traumatic situation, our ability to feel relaxed and feel safe has been compromised. There seem to be threats all around us. This is true for some victims, but every individual is unique.

Some people may go several  months or more,  without any noticeable symptoms, and then suddenly begin to show signs of post traumatic stress.

We lose our ability to trust our own judgement and may avoid any situation we are not sure of. We ended up in abuse one time and we are afraid to experience that again. We are also afraid to be triggered into having traumatic memories flooding back into our brains.

The memories of the abuse can be overwhelming and painful to us. We want to get away from them. There are people that remind us of our abuser in some way.

There are situations that remind us of situations we were in. There are also other things like locations, songs, sounds, sensations and objects that can remind us of the original trauma.

The individual triggers are different for different people. It is good to pay attention to what triggers you and be mindful of your reactions and feelings.

The more you understand about your own responses, be them behavioral or internal, the further along the path to healing you will be.

Here is a video from the Show Boundaries YouTube channel about a tapping technique that is for PTSD. 

And here is a video from my YouTube channel about PTSD from abuse

For more info about healing from abuse, visit my web site at gentlekindnesscoaching.com

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domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental abuse, mental health

Physical Abuse and the Ongoing Injury in My Neck

Loud sudden noises frighten me and make me jump. I have been wondering why that is and it finally occurred to me that it is the PTSD from domestic abuse.

The way I figured that out was that when I hear loud sudden noises, I cover my face and head. I reach my hands towards my head to protect it. Loud noises are associated in my brain with getting hit. My brain must have wired itself to cover my face when loud sudden noises occur.

It is the same when people reach toward my face.  Even if someone is reaching for the ketchup at a dinner table, I feel my hand jumping up to cover my head and face. Hands coming towards me are associated with being hit in the head.

My mother used to hit me in the head at the dinner table, if I said something she did not like.

When I lived with abusive people, they would bang, smash and break things when I did anything that enraged them. Or they would just get enraged all on their own.

The sound of loud noises frightens me because my brain associates them with immediate danger. My brain will then go into a post traumatic stress reaction. The high adrenaline, fight or flight mode.

One of my ex boyfriends hit me in the jaw really hard once.  There is still damage to my neck from my head being thrown back, when he hit my jaw from the front. It threw my head and neck backwards. I remember having bruising not just at the impact, but also under my entire jaw line all the way to my ears, on both sides.

I was standing up and he was sitting on a chair about 4  or 5 feet in front of me. He was angry because I was asking him not to get drunk in the house with my kids. He wanted me to give him money to buy beer. I had already given him all I could possibly afford for the week.

I told him it was getting too expensive to keep buying him that much beer. He was not working and he kept taking money out of my purse. So, that is what the “wrong thing” was that I did.

He suddenly jumped up and came towards me very fast. I had no time to move out of the way. He slammed his shoulder right into my jaw, and left me standing there completely stunned. I saw stars going around my eyes, just like in the cartoons.

There is still some residual bruising on the front of my chin area, all these years later…maybe 5 or so years…I cannot remember right now.

I was surprised by the hit because he had not hit me before and I was not prepared for the impact. It almost knocked me down, but not quite. It just injured my jaw, chin and neck. There is a  herniated disc in my neck and a couple of other bulging discs, according to the  CT scan I had a couple of years ago.

I did not go to the ER or the doctor at the time. I was afraid.

It was a couple of years ago that I told my dr about the incident and that I was having pain in that areas of my neck. I still can hardly sit in the passenger seat of a car, because every bump and turn hurts my neck.

Blessings to all for peace and healing,

Annie

domestic abuse, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, poetry, PTSD from domestic abuse

No One Hears

No

One

Hears

the silent

screams 

of the

victims

No

One 

Sees

The scars 

we

cover up

No

One 

Feels

The sadness

in

our hearts

No

One 

Knows

the terror

of our

nightmares

Every

One 

Thinks

the victim’s

trauma 

goes away

Only

Victims

Know

the scars

are

here

to 

stay

domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness

Narcissists Change the Rules of Your Relationship To Suit Themselves

If you are in a relationship with a narcissist, you can NEVER please them. They created the illusion for you at the beginning of your relationship that they were very pleased with you. They made you feel like you were a wonderful partner for them. This illusion was just that…an illusion.
The narcissist will set down the standards of your interactions with them, at the beginning of the relationship. You will attempt to comply with them, because they have convinced you that this will benefit you somehow.

They want you to believe that the rules were a mutual agreement between the two of you. They want you to think that the rules evolved, as a natural process of the growing relationship.

The rules about constant contact, personal interaction and how to solve (or ignore) disagreements were made by both of you…..or were they?

No matter how much effort you put into following the rules of the relationship, you cannot follow them. Why? Because the narcissist will change the rules when they feel like it. They will not always tell you that there are different behaviors required from you, or tasks that they want done.

The rules will suddenly change and you will break them, because you are still trying to be a good partner and follow the rules you think are correct. When you do not do what the narcissist want you to do, you will be punished for you misbehavior.

One example of how the rules can change is the clingy aspect of the new relationship. At the beginning of your relationship with the narcissist, they were clingy and needy. They told you that they wanted to be in constant communication with you.

They called and texted you all the time. They answered your emails. they answered when you called them or called you back right away.

They told you that they wanted to be supportive of you. They made you feel like they thought about you livingly all the time and really missed you when they had to be away from you.

This made you feel special and wanted. You felt that the narcissist had always had bad partners who had abused them in the past, but now they had you. You were the one partner that they needed all along.

You were made to feel safe in the relationship. You were made to feel admired and valued by the narcissist.  They told you often. “I am so glad to hear the sound of your voice. Seeing you is the best part of my day.”

Then one day, you were not able to pick up the phone,  right away. You were working, shopping or on the other line. Maybe you were in the shower. You were not aware the narcissist was calling you or there was no possible way for you to answer the call right away.

When you called them 2 hours later, they were furious. They questioned the very nature of the relationship itself. They thought they could trust you and now they felt betrayed.

They will overblow the situation of your not calling them back right away, into a major relationship issue.

Then their true colors begin to peek through the charming exterior.  They become cold to you and make you feel emotionally shut out.

This  “emotional shut out” is cruel punishment. It is a tool of manipulation to control you. They have already set you up to need them to be there for you. They have isolated you from your other emotional support, by demanding all of your time.

Once you have lost contact with your friends and family, the narcissist becomes your sole source of emotional comfort. This is done deliberately and it is calculated into their plan. Once they have you in a position of being emotionally dependent on them, they can use it against you.

The narcissist ensures that you will have to turn to them for emotional support. They allow you no other place to turn. Then when you do not follow “the rules” they can restrict you from their emotional support.  They manipulate you by making you feel like you have to “be good” in order to have emotional love and approval.

They may have hinted that they might have to break up with you, because they need to be with someone who is reliable. They made you feel selfish and inadequate.

So, you comply with the newly set down rules they make which are probably as follows.

  •  Check your phone frequently for calls in your call history.
  • Do not go anywhere without your cell phone glued to you.
  • Frequently check your text messages and your email. (the narcissist may communicate by a means that they do not usually use, just to check that you paying attention )
  • Let the narcissist know if you are going to unavailable for any period of time and  exactly (to the minute) how long that time period will last.  
  • Notify them immediately upon becoming available again. ( Don’t take a shower, stop for coffee. Do not  do anything in between that specific thing that you have to do, and notifying the narcissist of its completion)

You can follow these rules for a while and they will be the rules for however long the narcissist wants them to be.

But the rules you follow become different that the ones that they have to follow. You will begin to notice that they do not call you back for hours and hours, because they are talking to someone else on the phone. They expect you to be available at 8pm, each night so they can call you. But one night they do not call you until midnight.

 The rules become confusing to follow. You are made to wait for them, but they will not tolerate waiting for you. You have to revolve your schedule around them, even to the point of finding out from them when the best time is for you to take a shower. Your personal care should not interfere with their needs.

So, you sit there by the phone and they do not call. Hours go by and you call a few times. You worry that something may have happened to them.

But if you try to talk them about this, they will not communicate in any logical way with you.  They can be angry when you make them wait, but when it is you that has to wait, there is no discussion.

Your feelings of worry, loneliness and fear about what is happening in the relationship are simply “NOT OPEN FOR DISCUSSION.”

The narcissist rule of “Not Open for Discussion” is a whole post in itself. We will get to that one soon.

There is no two-way communication at all. They are allowed to insist on your being there for them, but they are not there for you. You long for the clingy narcissist that you had the relationship with in the beginning. They seem not to need you anymore, in the way they originally said they did.

There may even be short-term rule that they make and do not inform you about. They always have an agenda to be met.

By expecting you to comply with an agenda that is in their head, they set you up to fail. By expecting you to do things that you have no idea they want, they set up to fail. They love for you to fail, because they can use this in order to watch you suffer.

It must have been your fault that you were not aware that they needed help with something. They may even say to you “Next time check with me if I need anything, before you just start talking about your day.”

There is no way to keep track of what the rules are, or when they change. The narcissist may give you the schedule for the next 2 hours and then tell you they are disappointed in you because you did not remember that the other thing needed to be done also.

They will say “I count on you! I count on you to make sure my needs are met. I count on you to make me feel safe. What am I supposed to do, if you do not help me?”

There is always a need of theirs that is greater than the needs that you have. Their problems are more urgent. Their feelings are “more sensitive” than yours are. Thier past was more painful. Their struggles are greater.

There is always an emergency or something that is critical for you to do. Things have to done the “right way” and you are supposed to know what that is, even if they do not tell you.

YOU CANNOT WIN!  DO NOT PLAY THE NARCISSIST GAME WITH THEM !

They are far better at this game than you are. They have years of experience of learning about how to control and manipulate other people. They are better than the average  psychiatrists at predicting human behavior, modifying human behavior and studying people.

They will study your mind and then take it apart. Don’t play. Get away !

domestic abuse, gaslighting, life, mental health, mental illness, narcissist, women's issues

Spotting a Narcissist by Inconsistencies do

Narcissists have inconsistent things about them.  If what they tell you about their past, does not seem to make sense with their current behavior, then pay attention. If how they describe people taking advantage of them, seems inconsistent with their ability to dominate in situations, then pay attention.

Do not believe only what someone tells you about situations that you never saw. Look at how they actually act when you are together. Things should match and make sense together.

Why do some of us go from one narcissist and end up with another one? The first one had certain red flags and those red flags were presented in their unique personality style. We meet someone who has a different personality, different interests, and a different approach with us.

Yes! We think. I have now found someone completely different than my past abuser. This person is not the same person, so they must be safe. They must be better.

Do not confuse personality with a mental disorder. Everyone has a unique background and a unique set of personality characteristics. We want to believe that we could not possibly have run into, and been targeted by another narcissist.

Narcissists do not target just anyone. They target people who are compassionate, reliable, selfless and kind. They also target people who have something to offer that they can use. Something that they want.

Just because someone has a different personality, and is interested in different aspects of you, does not mean they are not a narcissist. It is tricky to tell right away, but if you are vulnerable then you need to go slow and be careful.

The earliest signs that you will see may not have to do so much with them being abusive to you, as clues from them about past relationships. Ask them about their past. A narcissist will often tell you how people have mistreated them in the past.

They have been misunderstood and mistreated by others. People have taken advantage of them and not done right by them. Their past wives and girlfriends all were at fault about the relationship ending. Somehow they ended up with women who injured them. (remember you are not hearing the other side of the story)

Look for how they talk about women in their lives, past, and present. It may not come out right away but pay attention to how they talk about the women at work , on tv, from their past and right in front of you.

Here is a really big one.  What do they say about how other women speak of them?  The narcissistic men that I have known told me that their ex girlfriend expected too much from them. The girlfriends were unreasonable and demanding. The women left them in anger and were mean to them. (remember this is one side of the story)

Their past women were strong and dominating in the relationship. The poor guy was trying his best but it was never good enough for her. She used to complain about everything. He was never good enough for her.  She was a cheating, deceiving , liar.

Sometimes these perceptions are really how they saw things. They eventually get very jealous and think that someone is cheating on them, even if they are not.  Of course. women do cheat and this alone is not enough to know anything. But if it is combined with other things that do not make sense together, then you should be careful.

This guy who claims that he let these women walk all over him, should not be a dominating person. If this same guy who told you that all of his past girlfriends walked all over him, acts dominating in social situations and demands his way, then you see an inconsistency.

See how he is in a restaurant when the food is wrong. H9w does he deal with the waitress? See how he acts when the hotel reservation was messed up and they have no non-smoking room. How does he react?

Situations where people make mistakes, are good ones to keep an eye on. When the narcissist does not get what he asked for, he will have trouble working it out in a normal, reasonable way. He will get angry, demanding, critical, or sarcastic to the person who made the mistake. Or he will say things to you, behind the person’s back.

If a mistake is made by a worker, when you are on a date, see how the guy responds to mistakes, in regards to you. Do they pay attention to how the situation is making you feel? Do they make a scene and tell you that they are doing it “for you”?

When you say “No. It’s okay, I really don’t mind sitting here, I am hungry and I would rather eat here than wait for another table.” Do they make a big fuss and embarrass you , in spite of you asking them not to do that, and then tell you “I am doing this for you, honey. I want this date to be perfect for you.”

This is confusing, because they seem to be considering your feelings. You think they are trying to fix the situation for you. But you just told them what you would prefer and they completely disregarded your feelings. They continued to embarrass you anyway, in the name of “doing it for your own good.”

They will take up the entire time you have together, making a scene and demanding for things to be done right. Then they will complain about it for the rest of the date.

“This date is ruined now. It is not the perfect date I wanted for you.” But you tell them that there is still more time left to the date and you would like to have quality time with them. Why don’t they just let it go?

But no, they did not get their way. They do not value the time with you over having things go their way. They are so upset about what has happened that they just can’t get over it enough to pay attention to your feelings. Anytime things do not go exactly their way, they can think of nothing else.

This is so confusing because they will tell you that they wanted things to be just right for you. But “just right for you” would have been having the trouble pass away early and then forgetting about it , so that you could enjoy the rest of your time together.

These are a few things that I can think of. Pay attention to how much they are really focused on themselves. See what happens when they do not get their way. How do they react when you tell them how you feel about the fact that all of this is interfering with your comfort.

You want to be with someone who will work things out with you, in a reasonable and fair way. Yes, they can send their food back, politely. They can ask for a window table, if they want that. But here is the problem. The narcissist will tell you that YOU want the window table. You will see when you get there, that it is better.

You can tell them that you do not mind a different table. They will tell you that it does matter. They are doing this for you. Then you have to wait through the scene and 45 minutes to eat. You really did not mind another table and you would have rather had them paying attention to you and not completely ignoring you, while they “fix” things for you.

They do not think that you know what you want, or they are not willing to do what you want. They will not discuss it with you. If they are indignant about not getting their way, then those feelings will override them communicating with you about the situation. You will have no say about it.

They are the man and they are handling it, despite how you feel. Now, is this the same guy that told you that his ex was dominating over him all the time? Did he tell you how she always had to get her way and did not consider how he felt?

How can this person who is now clearly dominating the entire situation over top of you, have been so dominated and abused by his ex?

This is the combination that comes up as a red flag.

When mention that you do not see that he feels walked over top of by you, then he will say, “Oh but you are different. ”   “I feel safe with you.”   “You respect me.”    “You are a real lady.”    or something like that.

It is the contradictions that seem confusing that you will see your red flags. Normal men are consistent about their behavior. The narcissist will seem one way when he talks about his past and completely different right in front of you.

Everyone takes advantage of them and dominates them. But when you see them, they are more than capable of getting their way. They are intolerant of compromising at all.

Good luck. I wish I had known about these things to look for in my last relationship. He seemed so sweet and I thought he just needed to be with someone who would be considerate of his feelings, because all the other women were so abusive to him.

In the end, I was emotionally crushed and broken. But I ignored the times at the hotel when the reservation was wrong and all of a sudden, it was like I did not exist. The only thing that mattered was that he got his way.

He was actually wrong to begin with and had made the reservation wrong.  Even when this became clear, he was still angry with the person in front of us. He still stayed mad for hours after it had been rectified.

No matter what I said about the time together being important to me, he would calm down to just be together. He was still holding anger about not getting his way.

abuse, domestic abuse, domestic violence, life, mental abuse, mental health, mental illness, PTSD from domestic abuse, PTSD from mental abuse

Compassion for Yourself…Your Healing Begins with You

bfmh15-4-copy

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

http://blogformentalhealth.com/take-the-pledge/

What would you say to a friend who came to you with bruises on her face? How would you feel about her being abused and what things would you wish for her?

How would you feel if she tried to justify the abuser’s behavior by telling you that she had caused it, by triggering him in some way? Would you feel any sympathy for the abuser or tell her to go back to him and try to do better? Do you think that anything about her personality was deserving of the bruises on her face?

What If she were mentally tortured by verbal abuse and gaslighting, to the point that her brain was no longer functioning normally anymore? She was afraid to leave the house, visit her friends or do any of things that she used to love.

Would you want her to get out, get help, and heal from her mental wounds? Would you want her to continue to spiral down the path into further mental destruction?

When you think of this friend, you have compassion for her. You may even have anger towards the thought of the abuser. You know that she is not deserving of abuse and that she is deserving of love. You feel kindness and understanding towards her, don’t you?

What if it were your sister? Your daughter? Your mother? Your co-worker?

How would you want her treated, once she had left the abuse? Would you think she needed time to mentally heal? Would you want her to have support and gentleness from others, about her healing?

What if this person were you? If this person is you, can you offer yourself the same compassion, forgiveness, and compassion that you would offer your friend? You need the same kindness that this friend, that I had you picture in your imagination, needs.

You need kindness and compassion from others, but it all starts with you !

You have to be understanding with yourself. It takes time to heal and it takes however much time it takes. truthfully the past abuse will never go away. It will always be something that happened to you.

You are allowing yourself time to heal, forgiveness for your imperfections, and the general kindness that anyone should have, if they have suffered such trauma. This is real brain trauma. it creates actual organic changes within the brain…Your brain !

Be kind to yourself with your thoughts. Think about yourself as you would think about your friend. Be there and be supportive of your own path to healing, however long it takes. Don’t judge yourself. Don’t think in terms of “should” be able to …or “should not have…”

The truth is the truth and what you did is what you did.  You endured what had to be enured. You worked your way out when the timing of getting out was right for you.

If you are still living in the abuse, then forgive yourself for that too, but begin to work on your plan today. Be careful and get support from outside sources that can be trusted, even if you cannot trust family members. If you need people that are disconnected from your life to help you, for the sake of safety, then seek outside help.

Treat yourself the way you would  treat any woman you knew that came to you in distress. Any woman who was in danger of her physical or mental safety.  Healing starts within you and with your ability to feel compassion for yourself.

Blessings,

Annie

Uncategorized

Living With Threat That Lasts for Years…PTSD from abuse

I chose the theme of this blog , the dancing ladies that you see swirling playfully around the top of the page. I like to see them, every time I look at this blog. They look so carefree. They are not afraid.

Fear is one one of the most mentally destructive things, to be experienced for an ongoing time period. Humans were not designed to be able to tolerate fear in the body and the mind, for prolonged time frames.

Our fight or flight mode is set up for the threat to last for only a few minutes and then be over.

When we live in abuse, we live in almost constant fear. We feel afraid to anger our partner and take care with every word we say. We have to careful where we go and what we do, so as not to anger them.

When we sleep, there is fear. When we wake up, there is fear. When we are out of the house and away from them, there is a lot of fear. We go home to the unpredictable. The fear of the unknown mood of the abuser upon our arrival home, torments us.

I actually used to stay awake all night because i was afraid to sleep, Then i would sleep on the couch, in the living room, during the afternoon. My entire schedule was eventually all built around ways I would feel the least amount of the threat.

The constant feeling of threat haunts you years later. Sometimes it just kicks on like old times. Once it kicks on, it is impossible to turn off. It has to run its course. That is post traumatic stress disorder .

be Yourself, but be safe first !

Hugs

Annie