Who am I? Age 30 to 35

Who am I? From age 30 to 35 …  Sept of 1987 thru Sept 1993

The beginning of my discovery of who I am … dysfunctional and overly responsible and caretaker?

Pillar of strength of the family?  Letting go of dreams and grieving over what would never be?

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I’ll call this my period of Discovery with Hope

He had cheated and I made him leave and I agreed to reconcile on the condition we got into marriage counseling.  This was my first real experience with therapy and of course in my head I was going BECAUSE of HIM.  I still remember that huge chart on the back of his door.  The one where we mapped out relationships with biological family and each other.  It seemed like forever before he started “real counseling” and then when he did!!!  He started identifying things with ME????? I wasn’t the problem (so I though) I was the perfect Mom, Wife, Daughter, Employee etc.  When he started using words like “dysfunctional” and “roles” man did I get UPSET and darted out that door like a canon.  I think I actually accused him of taking a bribe from my deceased ex.

I did go back and it was hard to face initially.  The realization that I had not “miraculously” escaped my childhood untarnished?  When my dreams and heart started to crumbled to the ground but not all at once.  It didn’t save our marriage but it save me as I can’t imagine trying to cope and learn all of this stuff at one time.  I was glad we reconciled I had my youngest.

It was the first therapist to ask me if I thought I was Jesus?  He brought to my attention that all my behaviors of how I saw others and interacted with others was very unhealthy and distorted. Children are not meant to become caretakers  at the age of 5 (this is when my brother was born).

He identified that what he saw was I was the pillar of strength in our family.  The Mother of my brother and in some cases even my Father.  How wildly bizarre and strange is that????  SO  at age 5 a caretaker.  But then at some point, when my Mother accused my Father and I of being in cahoots and talking code because we both coughed at the same time then I really became lonely because in order to keep her calm he just did what was needed.  So she already identified me to be the Devil when I was young what did that make me?

Dan (the therapist) was also the one who helped me to understand that just because my Mother exited at age 16 did not mean that we could now just “wipe the slate clean and be a “real” family and somehow establish a healthy Father-Daughter relationship.  It was a very difficult time as he helped to make sense of that because I was able to stop expecting and then being very upset … it did take quite a bit of time to grieve that one though.  More dreams shattered more broken heart.  All that time I would spend lying in bed thinking “Someday ……”

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My Daily Journal – Every Day is like the movie “Groundhog Day”

2/24/2013 7:44 a.m.  Very rough morning.  Been awake since 6 and just lying there not wanting to get up and actually praying in my head to God to please don’t make me do another day of this.   1 hr 44 minutes of arguing with myself.  It’s so hard.  Other than the fear that comes with going to bed I’m usually in a somewhat decent space, replacing the tapes, finding good in the day and then it all gets wiped out in the night when the demons come and I have to start over again.  I wish someone would invent a bed ejector.  Last night the biggest T of all traumas and not once but twice.  Almost like I’m getting better and better at “coming to” and soothing and back to sleep and here it comes again as though the nightmare with flashbacks had “unfinished business”.  Cleaning up all that blood L.  God Dad what were you thinking to make me do that over and over again although I guess I always looked up to it since I never showed emotion or it got to the point where he didn’t even have to ask.  The most unsettling part was waking up and she was back home???? WTF.  She must have been doing so really smooth talking to get him to agree to make up a story.  I never wanted more to open my mouth as I did that morning but I never did.  Why? Nobody ever told me not to speak.  Well she did.  What am I supposed to do with this one … comfort that child?  On conscience level still can’t tap into the emotions of that but because of what it does to my body I’m sure if and when it does present itself it will be ugly.  I guess I should have thought about that when I started working on emotions that once I start making sense of them there is no “OFF” button to stop them from coming or rather from identifying what they are about.  Geez and they say kids are so resilient, what kind of b.s. is that?????  I don’t really have anything else to say or maybe I just am tired of saying it.  Same shit different day.  Not liking the person I am becoming AT ALL and if there was ever a time that I could do as most people do and just “Portray” myself and talk like the person I would like to be instead of the person that I am it is NOW.  Just feels to fake and not possible for me to do even though I clearly see the negativity.   I know I’ve been thinking about my Dad a lot …. Wishing he was closer, 1000 miles is just too far away.  I would love to be able to go and just sit and talk with him for a little and pop in and see him.  Or maybe I’m grieving something I never got???  I don’t think so I worked through all that pain in my 30’s when I learned about the dynamics of relationships.  I agree that knowledge is power but at some point it also becomes TMI..

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Who am I? Age 38 to 40

Who am I? Before I begin my “inner child” work I want to go back and look at critical points in my life to try to understand who was present, inside of me, on a conscious level.

From age 38 to 40 …  March of 1996 thru Fall of 1997

It took me writing the below to get there but I would say my “ID” my “inner child” was an empty black hole but I wasn’t aware or in tune to be anything other than that – a big empty spot that I assume was like that because of what I didn’t get as a child.  I did at this point become aware of this subconscious need to always perform up to the level that was asked but I learned that there must be balance and after what I just went thru I was bound and determined to bring that balance into my life and I started to push back on my employer who wanted more and more until I was depleted whereby they would just dispose of me like an instant camera.   My esteem was still very much in tact other than the hurt felt by those at work looking at me differently as a result of the “mental breakdown”

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In March of 1996, so when I was 38, I started to experience some serious anxiety.  I would have panic attacks to the point where I thought I was dying and would go to the doctor a few times only to find out that it was anxiety.  It was then that I realized how stress can affect a person’s body.  Once I even passed out in my office while I was a manager of an accounts payable department and they had the ambulance come.  I remember the passing out and that as I was coming to lying on the floor with my entire body shaking as though I was having a seizure and them giving me oxygen and all the gals who worked for me just hovered over looking at me.

I then spent the next year trying one anxiety medication after the other to no avail.  Honestly on a conscious level I just chalked it up to all the stress in my life.  I was a single Mom with two daughters, age 4 and age 11 at the time, and at this point my entire family now had moved to Florida and my girls’ Dad was not in the picture at all.

He seemed to only pop into the picture when he and his girlfriend were fighting and then he would show up, unannounced and maybe this was part of the stress as it was around that time that we had returned home from soccer practice and I was making dinner and heard my children screaming for me.  As I walked outside I saw him standing there, by a tree, with a knife threatening to kill himself if he couldn’t have his family back.  It was also around this same time that he showed up at my work with threats because the IRS was going to take his tax refund because of back child support and some may say I caved out of weakness but honestly I just thanked God that I was able to provide for them and was quickly becoming aware that PFA (Protection from Abuse) helped to escalate getting assistance but even then it was still too late.  My youngest thought for a long time that Daddy was going to come and cut off her legs and my oldest at times would wake up in the middle of the night insisting he was out there and I would have to walk the perimeter to assure her she was safe.  Although she still claims that one of those times he was out there … I vaguely remember this and just making it back inside the front door and shutting it and locking it.  Yes he was out there but made no fuss and after a short while he was gone.

My Mother was actually more of a handful for me than my children were.  She left my Father when I was 16, just up and took off with the Pagans.  It never occurred to me that I would then become the next of kin and the one that the entire world would look to.   It was one crisis after another.  She was either showing up at my work making a scene demanding money (the government requested that I be her representative payee because she would go thru her money in less than a week and then constantly going into the Social Security office creating quite a scene).  I did this for a short while but finally I had to stop because I just could not take the constant harassment.  That still didn’t stop her from showing up, demanding the receptionist to call me, whereby she would be in a rage about something …. Wanting to know what I had done to my brother.  She would call my office and argue with my boss and insist that he was the man at the Social Security Office.  The calls from either the hospital or the Mental Health Office on Janet Ave seemed to come all too frequent as they would try to get my assistance and of course I tried to give it.  She was my Mother.  I learned in Sunday School and Church and lived by the 10 Commandments to Honor thy Father and Mother.  Or the Police would show up at my job or at my house wanting me to drop everything and assume responsibility.  Sometimes the crisis could be quite a challenge like the time she hopped in the car with a bunch of guys and went to the beach and while she was inside getting them cigarettes they drove off and left her there with no shoes, purse, or money.  It took some creative thinking working with the Western Union Office inside the bus station as to how I could wire this woman money when she had no ID and finally we came up with some secret questions and even then I was so exhausted and praying so hard that the question would not be something that would set her “off” whereby she would again insist that again was the devil and scheming.  It just went on and on and on.

The job pressure was also unbelievable.  We were going thru a major downsizing at the time and work was coming in faster than I could automate.  I was thankful that the Daycare center closed at 6 or that my daughter(s) would have soccer or brownies or girl scouts as it made it so much easier to get out the door those particular days.

I was getting better at coping with the anxiety.  I was learning about breathing and ALWAYS had a brown paper bag with me for when I would start hyperventilating.  Even so none of the meds they were trying were working and the last one was Valium.  Nasty nasty stuff.  I recall one night staying up till 3 am putting some charts together and the next morning, against my boss’s wishes, went storming up to our CEO’s office and sat and shared with him my charts.  I knew that in order for him to pay any attention to me that I needed to show him proof.  Of course at some point I started to hyperventilate and needed to use the small brown paper bag.  By the time I got downstairs my boss called me into his office and I was order to take two weeks off.  I was also given a message by the CEO that I should have just said NO to all the work???  Now I was a basket case and I really thought I had suffered some kind of brain damage.  I was forever checking everything 3, 4, 5 times.  I couldn’t even read the newspaper.  I could read the words on the paper out loud but could not put them together to make sense of anything.  I recall it was February 1997 and the kids had a long break and I sent them to FL with my Father and that actually had a wonderful time with Grandma and Pop Pop while I was trying to “get it together”.  I joined a Gym and was doing all I could think of to “get it together”.  My Human Resources Office was calling me throwing severance packages in my lap.  Finally, FINALLY I miraculously ended up sitting in Philhaven having an assessment done by a Psychiatrist and crying hysterically that I had brain damage.  He came over and sat down next to me and took my hand and said.  You are going to be okay.  You just blew a lid to a Major Depression and we need to get your on the right medications and I want you to come to our intensive outpatient program for 2 weeks.

It turned out to be 3-1/2 weeks and it was the WORST AND BEST 3-1/2 weeks of my life.  The first thing they did was called my job and told them to stop harassing me and started citing out of the American Disabilities Act (which by the way was only changed in 1993 to include mental illness).  Next I was told I couldn’t start on antidepressants until I got off the Valium and they  gave me a “weaning schedule” which I went home and tore up and over the weekend basically came off of Valium cold turkey except for the one or two times I had to lick, yes lick a pill, to settle me down.  My doctor was not very pleased on Monday to know that I had done this because of the risk I put myself in but the job was done.  It took trying a few different meds but I finally found the right one and I am still on it to this day.   I also learned so much over the course of the next 3-1/2 weeks.  Worst and Best 3-1/2 weeks of my life.  Part of what came out of that 3-1/2 weeks was that I needed to let my Mother go.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to do in my life.  She was my Mother.  She had no one.  She was severely mentally ill.  Letting her go was not in any way shape or form something that was open for discussion by anyone on my treatment team, not even the Chaplain.

I returned to work and they did not make it easy.  My first day back I was handed an outline 3 pages long with due dates and told “If you cannot complete these tasks, you will be let go”.  I did them all in record time and over some months the uncomfortableness of how others looked at me started to go away.

As I step back thru this journey …. Was I caught in a cycle of trying to win my Mother’s love and affection?  Even now I say I don’t think so.  I was a daughter who had strong values and I was just trying to fulfill what I thought God wanted me to do.  It had not even occurred to me that I was taking the commandments a bit too literally.  Sure it hurt that she always wanted to hear or know about my brother but I always knew that she hated me and that she thought I was the devil.  I was still her daughter and expected nothing from her.  There is nothing in the commandments nor do I ever recall hearing any sermon about what a child needs or should have, according to God’s law?

As for being in touch with my emotions?  Other than falling apart I still really couldn’t be angry?  I recall an exercise we did in the gym and we all were in a circle and the ball was our anger and the exercise was to hit the ball as hard as we could and I even had one or two from the treatment team trying to talk me into being angry and I’m sorry I just could not get there.  No matter how many times they tried to convince me that I had a right to be angry I just could not feel it nor could I ever pretend to feel something that just was NOT there.

We had an exercise outside that was geared towards building trust and we had to walk across a shaky bridge that was balanced by others in the program.  I couldn’t do it.  I wanted to.  I tried so hard.  I felt like a failure because I could not do the exercise but I gave it my all.

I definitely learned a lot about bringing some balance into my life.  We did a collage in art therapy and mine hung for the latest time on my wall and it was a great reminder to me to balance my life.  I was trying out different hobbies and reading books about how to connect with my inner creative side and from that learned I loved gardening, photography, painting, and watching a good movie on a Saturday afternoon.

As for my inner child … there was a big empty spot always there but I didn’t know what it was.

I slowed down and enjoyed more but pretty much went back to resuming my life “as normal” and trying to bring balance in.  I had pretty good esteem in that I never looked to others to make me feel okay nor did I feel the need to compete with the Jones or brag.  I just felt very okay with me.  The empty spot I probably thought was the love I never got but was really not “in tune with it”  Not yet anyway.

I was very much aware of my need to always accept the challenge and do it and from that point on g to see it more as a strength to recognize we all have limitations and to respect those and that I certainly could not count on anyone to do that for me and especially not my employer.  I learned the hard way that they would take what they want and anything extra they could intimidate me into giving and when I was all used up they would just toss me out the door.  I never ever gave that much again.

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My Daily Journal

2/23/12 5:13 a.m. I’ve decided to journal when I first wake up.  It is when everything hurts the most.   My body, my back and neck so tense.  My breathing is shallow.  I feel weak.   My anxiety level is now again a 4, how much longer can my body continue to operate in this constant state of hyper vigilance? Even though I’m getting better at coping and managing the nightmares and the flashbacks they are still fresh.  In some ways it still feels like just yesterday and last night there were 3 of them. 

The time I was maybe 4 and hid in the tiny little closet, behind the vacuum cleaner, all day after my Mother had gone on a rampage.  I stayed there until my Dad came home from work at 3 even though at some point I could hear outside the door more and more neighbors come and go to help my Mother look for me.  When my Dad got home I just busted out of the closet and into his arms.  Over and over again I was asked why I did that.  I was silent and had no words and I don’t know why.  I was then punished for doing this because I had scared everyone.  Didn’t they see that I was just a little girl and I was the one who was scared?  Is this when my body shut down?

The second one, again around the same age 4 or 5.  My Father was working 11-7 and when he did my Mother made me sleep with her.  I just remember waking up because the bed was soaking wet and I thought I had an accident in the bed and was going to be in big trouble. I was scared and sobbing.  I knew this would set her “off”.   At some point I was there trying to wake her up and then realized that her pajamas were soaking wet and I couldn’t wake her up.  I just sat there sobbing in the soaking wet sheets drenched with urine.  Then my Dad came home.  Then the ambulance came.  She had overdosed AGAIN.  I just watched them put her body into the ambulance.   Nobody really paid much attention to me.  Why?  Was I already that numb and looked okay?

The last one I had to be 8 or 9.  Remember coming home and my Dad asking me what happened and before I could open my mouth my Mother told him that my door wasn’t shut and I fell out of the car?????  That is not what happened!!!!!! I remember as plain as day.  We were in the white Ford Fairlane with the red interior and it was just getting dark.  We were somewhere over by the cemetery and she looked over and said your door is not shut right and reached over and I watched her pull the shiny silver handle up and thinking she was going to shut it better but instead pushed me out of the car and sped away.   I sat there alongside the road for what seemed to be eternity just sobbing and crying.  My knee and my elbow and hand bleeding and burning from the scrape.  Finally she came back.  She got out of the car and came over to me and just disgustingly made a remark about someday she will get the job done.  She yelled and screamed at me to get back into the car.  When I wake up from this particular flashback I still have to turn on the light to check my knee and elbow and had because they hurt that much in the nightmare.

As I sit here I can’t connect to anything I was feeling.  It’s all trapped inside that little tiny part of my brain that now causes me to be so anxious. 

Dear God please help me make sense of this.  I keep waiting for you to answer me.  Although today I do feel a sense of orderliness about what I need to do.  I need to start sharing this story, not for me, but for others especially all the children out there suffering and someone in their life knows they are suffering or these stories may cause them to wonder????  Children have no voice and never speak and I have no clue why?  People please open your eyes and ears.  The statistics for child abuse, child sexual abuse, and 5 children die every day from abuse?  Abortion turned out to be a big deal in the political campaign and yet these statistics are published on government websites and are never even mentioned in the campaign?        Signed https://www.facebook.com/PrisonerofPTSD

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My Child Within: A Poem to the Wounded Child

My Child Within: A Poem to the Wounded Child

My Child Within by Kathleen Algoe is a moving and wise poem that describes the journey of embracing the wounded inner child as a primary focus in the recovery from childhood abuse, trauma, and neglect.

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Welcome to my Blog

This is my first post in my Blog of Prisoner of Complex PTSD. I am now 5 years into my healing journey of Complex PTSD as a result of Childhood trauma and I am trying to organize my information so that users can quickly identify with me.  My story is just a brief biography of myself.  My passions describes the things most important to me.  My Illness includes information to my Major Depression Disorder and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  My Wellness includes a high level summary of what I am using for Wellness as does my Wellness Toolbox which includes all techniques I use to keep myself “well” in the sense of the “best that I can be” at the moment.  Finally, my most recent endeavor is my decision to begin Inner Child Healing and what prompted me to start blogging.  I do have a FB Page called https://www.facebook.com/PrisonerofPTSD however trying to organize information was becoming quite cumbersome which is why I am here.  Because I am such a visual person you will find that included in most sections are loaded pictures, some I grabbed from other sites and some have been digitally prepared by me.

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