Our Thoughts are not All Serving Us

perception

When we are born into this world we have no lack of self esteem. We do not doubt whether or not we deserve to be cared for. The thoughts that we have as adults of low self esteem, lack of self confidence. unworthiness, doubting ourselves, and even doubting the safety of our environment are all things that are programmed into us by other people.

We can end up with depression and anxiety disorder due to the wiring in our brains that other people put there.

Our thoughts are not who we are. It is easy to think of ourselves as our feelings and our thoughts, but the truth is that feelings and thoughts can be altered and changed. Other people can cause us pain and they can feed thoughts to our brains.

believe

You are who you are inside. You are the same person that you were born as. There is an inner part of you that is not tangible. It is the real self that does not change. It is the self that has value and worth. no matter what else happens or what thoughts you notice you are having.

You do not have to attach to all of your thoughts. Realize that many of them were forced upon you when you were a child and others of them were conditioned into you over time. Any thoughts you have that are negative about yourself, or doubting yourself. are bad programming.

out of mind

Try to notice your thoughts and observe them in an objective way sometimes. If you can observe them as something separate from your true self, then you can ask questions about them. Take one particular thought and see if it is true. Did you decide that it was true ir did someone else tell you it was true?

You can decide that certain thoughts and thought patterns no longer serve you. Something like “I am not good enough for my family” is not serving you. You can write down the negative thoughts on a piece of paper and then look at them from an outside perspective. Bring them outside of your head and onto paper. 

Then see what no longer serves you. Some thought patterns were designed by your brain to protect you as a child or in some on-going situation where your brain felt you were threatened. See what purpose the thought serves and if it is really true. 

tornado

You can be in charge of your own brain. There are ways to alter memories and perspectives about things. You can learn how to do this or get someone to help you. NLP hypnosis is one way that can help with this. Other times compassionate conversation about the negative thoughts and feelings can help. 

Seeing your thoughts as something that is a separate entity from your original and true self can help you to evaluate them. There is no reason that someone else should feel that they have value and purpose in the world but you do not. You have just as much worth as anyone else does. 

We are programmed with thoughts and our feelings are manipulated by certain people who want to maintain their own agenda which is about them and not us. Some people have wanted to alter your behavior and the most effective way was to alter how you saw yourself in relation to them and to the world. 

depression hurts

You do not have to keep any programming that was put into you that no longer serves you, or that never served you in a healthy way. 

Blessings, 

Annie

If you want coaching or NLP hypnosis you can contact me at my web site gentlekindnesscoaching.com

If you mention this post your first 20 minute session will be free. 

People Pleaser Syndrome and Being Targeted for Abuse

If you are always finding yourself at the bad end of unfair and unbalanced relationships, then you might have People Pleaser Syndrome.

Most people who have People Pleaser Syndrome, including myself, have come from a background of being emotionally and mentally abused, manipulated and scapegoated.

It may not be readily apparent to you that you had emotional abuse as a child, because this syndrome will cause you to question any abuse that you have experienced. People may have manipulated you into thinking that your childhood was free of abuse, as part of the mental abuse itself.

Gaslighting a person into doubting their own feelings of being abused, is mental abuse. When you feel like you are being treated unfairly and cannot communicate about it, your reality about the abuse can become confused.

I have done a lot of research recently about People Pleaser Syndrome. There are many lists that you can find that will describe various characteristics and qualities of people that suffer from it. I have also gone through my own situations in my mind, to identify what characteristics that I have tended to demonstrate over the years.

I recommend that you do your own research about this topic, if  many of things on this list  seem to ring true for you.

I have written this list off if the top of my head. Some of these characteristics have been brought to my attention from articles that I have read.

Some of them are direct examples from my own life. All of the things on this list have caused me problems in my own life over the years.

Characteristics of People Pleaser Syndrome

1. You take on the feelings of others as if they are your own.

2. You feel the need to fix the problems of other people

3. You feel responsible for other people’s problems and guilty about them

4. It is easy for other people to make you feel guilty

5. You can easily be forced by others to feel shame

6. You carry toxic shame

7. When other people are unhappy, angry or disappointed with you, it makes you feel like you have the responsibility of fixing their feelings

8. You have trouble doing, not-doing or saying anything if it will get a negative reaction from the other person

9. You want people to always approve of you, your beliefs and your actions

10. You feel the need to always justify your actions and decisions to others

11. You have great difficulty in saying “no” to people

12. You are often talked into doing things you really do not want to do.

13. You are talked into not doing things, that you do want to do

14. You tend to do whatever will keep the peace, even if it is not good for you

15. You have trouble standing up for yourself, but always listen to other people who are standing up for that they want

16. You give other people their way, much more often than you just do things the way you want to

17. You question the validity of your personal wants and needs, when it conflicts with those of others

18. You often put your own dreams and goal on the back burner, in order for someone else to fulfill their dreams

19. You do not express your anger about being treated unfairly by others

20. You tend to allow your partner more benefit of the doubt than they allow you

21. You cover  for other people,  even if they would not cover for you

22. You have C-PTSD from some sort of childhood abuse

23. It is sometimes unclear to you how you feel about things and if your feelings / thoughts are being “put into your head” by the other person

24. You allow other people to tell you “how you should feel” about some things

There are a few reasons that you need help for People Pleaser syndrome. If you are recognizing very many things from the above list, then I encourage you to do some further research, get materials which will help you and work on a plan of overcoming this.

In some cases, professional mental health treatment may be appropriate. I am not a therapist and this article is not intended as a replacement for professional mental health treatment. I am just validating your experiences with my own and hopefully helping you to take a look into your own tendencies and patterns.

If you have the characteristics of People Pleaser Syndrome, then you are likely to be a target for predators that will take advantage of your good intentions. There are narcissistic people and other toxic personalities that look for people that are easy to manipulate with guilt and shame.

There are people that actively seek “people pleasers” in order that they can subject their will upon them. If people can easily push our anxiety buttons about confrontation, then you are the type of person that can end up in domestic abuse situations and abusive relationships.

People pleasers try to avoid confrontation that makes them feel guilt or shame. Abusive personalities will sense this about you and deliberately force you into anxiety, in order to manipulate you.

Other problems you probably experience are in work situations and social situations. Dominating people will overcome you at work and in social circumstances. It is just the way they are.

It is hard to compete and get ahead at work if people take advantage of you. Even if there are nice, kind people where you work, there is always one that will destroy you, when they realize that they can use you as a means to get ahead.

It is nice to want to believe that the world is full of people who are compassionate and caring, but  we realize that this is not the case. You may be around many good people in your situations, but it only takes one person to really injure you.

We will talk more about this issue and ways in which we can retrain ourselves to have different habits. These are habits that are rooted into us, but they are not unbreakable.

The most important things are to be able to identify when we are being treated unfairly and not to feel guilty for standing up for ourselves, or otherwise protecting ourselves from abuse.

You have a right to your boundaries, your self confidence and your self esteem.

In fact these things are necessary for you to live and thrive well. Your dreams matter and your happiness matters, just as much as anyone else’s.

I got the following idea from a Teal Swan video about how to make the decisions that are best for you. What she suggests is to ask the question “What would someone who loves themselves do?”  If you keep this in mind as you are interacting with people, then you will have a frame of reference for when to say “no” to people. 

Blessings to all,

Annie

When we Feel Destroyed – We can Find Self Love

hands

There is a moment of utter destruction.

Some would call this rock bottom

Everything we believed to be true comes into question

All the behaviors and beliefs that ruled our lives are in doubt

Our ability to perceive reality properly is in doubt

There is an inner questioning of our very sanity

We feel broken, destroyed

There is grief for past years that we feel may have been wasted

We feel anger towards our abusers who stole things from us, they had no right to claim

There is a condemnation of ourselves for being mislead, abused, and undermined by others

There is a fear of the future and a feeling of doubt as to how to proceed

The going has gotten tough…and we have no idea how the tough get going

This is the moment of deconstruction

Deconstruction of our inner self.

Deconstruction of the world as we have been perceiving it

Deconstruction of our beliefs, our priorities, our perception, our values, our mental behavioral patterns

This is the moment of both utter destruction and epiphany

There has to be a destruction of the incorrect, self hurtful perceptions and beliefs

Truth needs to be seen in a new and different light

Our previous beliefs about wrong and right, being a “good” person no longer serve us

We can realize that what others tell us to do to “be a good person” may not serve us

We finally realize that “others” have their own agenda and speak to us about our behaviors out of that agenda

Reality and perception are personal and individual

We must create our own reality and choose our perceptions of that reality

Allowing others to do this for us, or force their reality upon us, ends up in the destruction of our souls

Now we realize that in the midst of the destruction of who we have been up until this point, is the beginning of our starting to live

We claim the right to choose how we perceive things.

We claim the right to feel what it is that we feel

To think and perceive the truth as it best serves our soul

We draw new boundaries within ourselves and do not give others permission to decide what those boundaries are

We give ourselves permission to study, to learn, to research, to think and to evaluate

We matter

We have as much of a right to our beliefs, our thoughts and our feelings as anyone else does

We no longer have to feel guilty for refusing not to set ourselves on fire, for someone elses’s agenda

We find that we can know ourselves better than anyone else can know us

Those that claim to know us better than we know ourselves are manipultors and we owe them nothing

The person who had been neglected is ourselves

The brilliant mind that needs to be set free is our own

The compassion in our hearts should be valued. Not crushed and taken advantage of

We deconstruct all that has been true

We reconstruct from where we are, in the present moment

We are born anew and can begin to live

Privacy and Boundaries in My Life

When I was 17, I had to move in with my father and step mother suddenly, because my mother had a mental breakdown.

Because of the sudden factor of them having to take me in, they were not prepared for 2 more people in the small apartment (my Sister 4 Years younger than me and myself )

They had other children and all of the bedrooms were already doubled up. There really was no place to put us, but clearly we could not go back to my mother’s house.

She was not even allowing me to enter the house in order to get a change of clothes. All I had to wear is what was on my back.

Luckily I had my favorite stuffed animal with me and my much needed favorite comfort blanket. When my mother had thrown me out, in a crazy rage, the night before, I had taken those things with me, as I headed out the door into the dark streets.

So, my father rigged up bunk beds in the living room. For a small attempt at privacy, he took a large cabinet or bookshelf (I don’t remember ) and turned it so that it divided the living room in half.

My sister and I slept in the bunk beds on the far side of the dresser. My Dad and step mother watched the tv, which was sitting on the dresser, on their side of the makeshift wall.

My sister was in the bunk bed right above me. I was in the lower one. The tv was right behind my head, and the sound pounded into my head.

No metter how much I begged my father, he would not turn it down to a level that I could tolerate to sleep. Hebdid not want to inconvenience my step mother, I guess, who had already had to deal with her household being disrupted.

They could have gone to watch tv in their room at 10 pm, so I could get enough sleep, but it just did not happen that way.

So, between the tv, my sister’s snoring, anxiety over sleeping in someone’s living room with no privacy and no door close, anxiety over being thrown out of my house with no belongings etc…I could not sleep.

I had to lay there for hours, listening to my brain go around and around, wishing for peace. I have always been very introverted. The lack of my own room with a door that closed, was a terrible trauma to me.

I could not cry, over the sadness about my mother disowning me and throwing me out into the street …because there was no space or privacy in which to cry.

I could not talk on the phone to my friends with any privacy. The only phone that I could use was in the kitchen. There was no way of grieving or attaining any comfort about the trauma of the situation.

I had no clothes, none of my guitars, no books, none of my personal belongings for 2 weeks, at which time my father managed to get into the house to fill up a few boxes with my things.

Of all the simultaneous trauma, the worst thing for me was the lack of privacy. I craved being able to sit alone, behind a locked door, to be allowed to feel what I felt, cry if I wanted to, write songs and poetry about my feelings and to show whatever emotions I wanted to on my face.

My father always forced me to be strong and not to show any strong sadness or anything. It was similar to how guys are taught not to show weakness and emotion or they are told to “suck it up”…”it isnt that bad, don’t be a big baby”

It did not take long before I realized that I could hide out in the bathroom and just come out if someone knocked. I took my guitar in there, sat on top of the closed toilet seat, placed my sheet of music on the edge of the tub, and practiced my guitar in there for hours.

I became very good at the guitar that year. It is probably the most I progressed from one level to another, in that short period of time, as I ever did since.

My high school guitar teacher would praise my progress and I sucked up the complements , encouragement and support like a sponge. It was my only source of anyone telling me I could do anything right.

The guitar room and the music area at the high school was my sanctuary. I went there before school, and during the study hall periods, in addition to guitar class, band ( I played the flute in marching band and the bass guitar in jazz band) and piano class.

I quickly advanced past the other students in piano class, so the teacher allowed me to use one of the practice rooms, to work on my own…all alone! I was in heaven.

I had an entire private room all to myself for 45 minutes 3 times per week.

So, I have always been sensitive about having time to myself and privacy. I am triggered by any living situations that make me flashback to that situation when I was 17 , which went on for many months until my father was finally able to rent us a bigger house.

Every single time I have had to live here with my ex husband’s parents, they have done nothing but cross my boundaries and invade my space. Nothing is sacred and everything and every space belongs to them, including bedroom drawers, medicine cabinets, my trash, and insistence in opening and going through all of my boxes, when I moved in. This was even after asking repeatedly to for ny ex mother in law to please leave the boxes alone, until I was ready to open them . And to let me open certain personal boxes myself and be able to deal with personal items myself.

I had just had to leave an abusive situation with an abusive partner and I was not ready to open certain boxes because there were too many traumatic memories and triggers, in the boxes.

But there she was, digging through the boxes, and putting stuff all over my apt, in prominent places where I did not want it to be. Putting everything in the wrong place, so that it was making more work for me.

I could not throw out items that were triggering to me, because she would scold and reprimand me for being wasteful and ungrateful to have things.

I had throw things out when she was not looking and bury them under other trash so that she would not take them back out and put them on my shelf.

Living with them, is like tormentb to a highly introverted person that likes to keep my personal belongings and business to myself.

On top of that, there are 13 people living in this house, soon to be 14 when the new baby comes.

I had a guessing game a while ago. I asked people to guess, in the comments section of one of my posts to see who could guess how many people lived in my house.

One insightful blogger guessed 14. If she is reading this now, I had a lot of fun with our messages that went back and forth that day…

Anyway, at first I thought this blogger had done really well to come within 1 number of properly guessing the number of people in the house.

Then I remembered that my ex sister in law is pregnant, so if you count the baby in her tummy as a person living in the house, then she had guessed dead on at 14! Very cool!

She and I had some fun messaging back and forth that day. It would not surprise me if she pops up to comment on this post:)

So, what is the moral to this story or the point to this post? …….Aaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!##!!!

TOO many people on top of me. I wish I had money to rent a room or a small apt that I could go to during the day to work out of.

Blessings,
Annie

Depression from Childhood Abuse and C-PTSD / What is Cognitive Dissonance ?

Depression is not a sign of  a lack of intelligence or a lack of willpower. People will criticize you and accuse you of those two things. 

Many people who suffer from depression are above average intelligence. It is sometimes the very intelligent and creative people than end up suffering from depression. You are able to see the world and think about the world in ways that other people cannot.

Many people who have depression were misunderstood, and mentally abused as children. You were very possibly the child in your family that noticed that things were not as they should be. Ot at least you felt in your heart that things were not right.

Other children in the family may have had no idea that anything was wrong or at least not in the same way that you did. They did not notice that other families functioned differently or think about how the children should actually be treated.

If you ever opened your mouth to an abusive parent about the situation, you were scolded and then branded the annoying child. You were the one who had to “complain” about everything  ( but in reality, you were perfectly within your right to point out things that were abusive).

You were perceived as  the one messing with the status quo of the family. Your feelings were invalidated and you were told that your reality was not the “right” one to have. It was not the way your family wanted you to see things.

You may have even been blamed for the behavior of the abusive parent. But it was not your job to “Keep” your own parent from being abusive to you or to your siblings. It was not your job to keep your parent from abusing the other parent.

What did they want from you? They wanted you to do whatever it is that they wanted at the time. The rules of an abusive parent change from day to day. They want you to behave one way and then they want something different. It is part of their own mental illness.

This also served to disturb your reality, because once you thought you had things down so as not to upset the abusive parent, then the rules would change.

There may have been two abusive parents, or there may have been one abusive parent and one parent who was trying to keep the peace. In some cases the parent who was trying to keep the peace. may have damaged you as much as the abusive parent. 

The reason for this is that the quote unquote “non abusive ” parent was codependent. They wanted to keep the abusive parent’s outbursts to a dull roar. They may have told you to “behave” so as not to anger the abuser. They wanted you to take on the responsibility of the abusive parent’s emotions.

No one can take on the responsibility of another person’s emotions. No matter what you did, the abuser would eventually yell, be verbally abusive, use the silent treatment or some other manipulative tool to get their way. Their way was to keep you in fear of their reactive behavior. They wanted to get reactions out of you, so that they knew they had control.

The non abusive parent can sometimes actually be abusive in the way that they force you towards the abuser. They kind of “throw you under the bus.”  They make you interact with the abuser in the ways that they tell you to. This is also controlling and abusive behavior.

So, now you have C-PTSD from long term psychological abuse during childhood and teenage years. This is carried with you as an adult. The problem is that your memories were a child’s memories and your adult brain is trying to deal with this abused child that still lives inside of you.

There is cognitive dissonance in your brain. What means is that there are two co-existing realities. One reality is that you were told that you were NOT abused. You were told and they still may be telling you, that you did not suffer any differently than other children. “All families are different”

Even now, one of the parents may be denying that any mental, emotional or physical abuse occurred. But if you feel like an abused child is living inside of you, then you were abused in some way. If you feel that things were not fair and that you were never treated equally to other children in the house, then you were abused.

Maybe you were the one that had to “cover up” for the family. If you resisted then punishment would have followed. You were supposed to do what you were told. You were supposed to do what the abusive parent wanted you to do, even when they did not make it clear to you what they wanted.

The family is still denying the abuse. They deny that you were treated any differently than the other children. They deny that any opportunities were withheld from you. They deny that you were forced to deal with adult situations that children should not have to be responsible for.

The cognitive dissonance is in your brain, because these two realities are both there. As a child, you were told you were being treated fairly, even when you were not. As a child, you were told that the family was not abusive to you. They may have said to you, “Look at all the things we do for you ! Look at all the things we have given you that other poor children do not have. You are an ungrateful child.”

This alone is abuse. It is the parent’s responsibility to provide safety, shelter and food. Also love, care and encouragement. The fact they they may have had you living in a nice house means nothing. This is the house that they wanted to live in. You just happened to be there. They did not buy the house for you in particular.

The fact that food was provided for you, if it was…does not make up for the your having to live in fear of any physical or verbal outbursts, or that you had to walk on eggshells so as not to “upset” the abusive parent.

Your brain also knows that you were abused. You were told that you were not abused. You are still being told that you were not abused. But you remember things that happened. As an adult you can see that those are not things that you would do to your children and then call them okay.

The coexistence of these two realities –  I was not abused. I was an ungrateful child.

and the other reality – I remember being abused. I remember having my self esteem crushed down. I remember not being able to have a normal, healthy childhood.

This is the cognitive dissonance. This confusion of dual realities in the brain of a very intelligent person, can make you feel crazy. Your efforts to make both of these realities true, does not work.

There is no closure or any way to speak up for this child inside of you that was abused, alienated and criticized. There is grief for the childhood that you should have had, but did not.

It is in the mind of an intelligent human, that these reality disagreements become torturous. You are intelligent and feel that you should be able to resolve these issues for yourself or with a therapist. But still you carry this feeling that there is something wrong with you.

“There is something wrong with me.” is in the background of your mind. The reason that you feel this way is that you were the one who could see that “you were not abused” You were the one that was told to shut up and stop complaining. You were always told that reality was different than it really was.

So, you carry these feelings that there is something wrong with you. Even when you do things well, you still feel like you are not worthy of feeling good about it.

You were not praised enough. You were criticized too much. You may still have older parents that judge you and minimize your feelings. They may minimize anything that you have accomplished or anything that you think.

What has to happen is that you have to decide what realities are true.

Was there something wrong with you as a child, or was that a tactic used by the family to keep you quiet? If there was nothing wrong with you as a child, then is there anything innately wrong with you now? Are you really undeserving of being happy, or are there other voices playing in your head.

When you hear the voices telling you that you are less than special, and doomed to fail at everything, are those voices coming from the truth? Or are they voices left over from the past, that abusive people put into your head.

Beginning to differentiate between reality and lies will help you. Beginning to tell which thoughts are yours and which thoughts were drilled into you, will also help.

These are all things that I have been recently learning and they are very helpful to me. When I start to feel depression sucking me into the pit, I go over the thoughts in my head and try to tell what is what. I do still get depressed, but at least I can identify where certain destructive thoughts are coming from.

By seeing your thoughts in a rational way, you can come out of the severe level of emotional overload, at least for a few minutes at a time. This can help you to come out of depression sooner and not go into it as deeply.

I have been taking Life Coaching Courses and studying all kinds of things. Even studying philosophy, in addition to psychology helps to make the brain think better.

I am hoping to be able to help myself and be able to help other people to see that they are worthy of love, care and happiness. This is why I have decided to go into Life Coach work. It will get me out of having to do heavy lifting at work and also I can really help people who are suffering in the same ways I have suffered for years.

Blessing to all,

Annie

How are You Today ? Blog What you Feel…

As I am sitting here and you are sitting there….wherever you may be….somewhere in the world…It occurs to me that you are in your own mental state and I am in mine.

We are all in various states of mental wellness and various states of highs or lows. Some of you reading this right now are feeling up and relatively confident today. Others of you are feeling fatigued, discouraged and depressed. 

Still others of you have chronic pain which is either tolerable today or raging to the point where you can hardly move.

Some of us are recovering from a break-up, others of us are still in a miserable, possibly dangerous relationship. Some of us are happily married right now and others are wondering if we will ever find love again.

Some of us feel relatively trusting of people at the moment and others of us have been broken and are in a dark reality about humanity. 

We are all human and we are connected through this blogging world. As each person reads this post, they do so from their own perception about reality and their feelings about blogging and the world itself.

Some of us are hopeful about the future and other of the readers here are nearly ready to give up and are considering leaving the struggles of life…as we speak.

It occurs to me that at any given time, there is someone reading my post that has lost all hope and is reaching out to grab a hold of anything that might ground them….for any reason they might be able to find… just to hang on for one more day.

Someone is thinking about self harm and they are blogging to try to get their mind away from wanting to injure themselves.

It occurs to me that there is someone reading this post that had lost a loved one and is trying to live day by day…..trying  to find the meaning in life without their loved one….sometimes it feels hopeless…the pain can be overwhelming.

It occurs to me that someone is reading this post who is about to make a really bad decision because they are not in the mental state to make the important decisions without some feedback. Their perception of reality has been  damaged from abuse or trauma…and they are going to guess about the decision and guess wrong…

It occurs to me that some people reading this post today are going to reach out into the blogosphere and let people know what they are going through. They are going to seek support and they will get it.

It occurs to me that another blogger is not going to blog about what is going on with them today. They are not going to be transparent or honest about what is going on in their brain.

They feel that it is too dark and that the other bloggers would be burdened by it.  They do not feel that they are worth the other bloggers’ time with this problem.  They are going pretend they are okay, even though they know that they aren’t

Some of us will read the same posts as each other, We will support and encourage the very same people and be a village of support.

Some of us will read posts on blogs that no one else here reads and they will be offering support to someone …while none of their usual blogging friends will know about it.

Someone needs help. Someone needs to help someone. Someone needs both.

We are all reading this post from different places in the world and different places in our brains. But we are all connected in some way. 

Blessings to all of you. Please reach out if you need help. There is always someone to talk to on here. The other bloggers have talked about things on here and received support. You deserve the same.

Blog as you feel today. Be yourself. Let yourself FEEL. We cannot keep going through our days and keep shoving all of our feelings down. We have to pretend at work that we are okay.

We have to pretend in many situations that we okay. But sometimes we are not.

Some of us feel connected to others and some of us feel completely alone…

There is someone reading this post that is feeling encouraged about their life and feels bad writing about it, because other people are suffering. Don’t hold back

It is helpful to us to know that someone dug themselves out of depression or other mental suffering, and is now feeling and doing well. It is good.

There is someone who thinks Annie is a bit crazy for writing this odd post. But as I said…today is a day to blog what you feel and what you are thinking…no matter how off the wall…or outside the box …it  might be..

Peacefulness and Love,

Annie

Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety Disorder Similarities

Avoidant Personality Disorder

 “afflicting persons when they display a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation”  Wikipedia

This part of avoidant personality is associated with social anxiety disorder. Many people that have APD also have social anxiety disorder. There are feelings of fear of being embarrassed and “not fitting in” due to inability to understand and respond correctly to social cues.

So, some people with APD will avoid social situations in order not to feel the extreme anxiety associated with certain types of social interaction. Different people are different about what kinds of social situations trigger their anxiety. Some people with social anxiety disorder, like myself, are very good at one on one interactions, even if they are with strangers.

Avoidant Personality Disorder causes avoidance of more things than just social interaction. Also some people with APD are not afraid of social situations at all. It is other things that provoke anxiety attacks.

APD will cause people to have anxiety attacks related to things that are threatening to them. Anything that makes them feel powerless, inadequate and unable to handle the task, will be avoided. The problem that occurs is that avoiding things that need to get done will sometimes cause more problems for the APD sufferer.

These are things that end up happening, when someone with APD avoids doing things that are important to get done.

1. Fear of opening envelopes that may contain bills, notifications from insurance, Notifications from authorities, etc.

Bills become delinquent. Fees are added on and make the bills higher. Credit is adversely affected. Accounts are closed. Business relations are injured.

More anxiety is created because these things are the very things that the person was afraid of coming true in the first place. They do not want to see money they owe that they cannot afford to pay. They do not want to feel scolded by whatever it says inside the envelope.

2, Avoiding answering and making phone calls.

There can be an extreme phobic fear of making answering the phone. There is a fear of having a panic attack, if you answer the phone. You miss getting certain information that may be about things you need to take care of’

Making phone calls can be impossible. People with social anxiety disorder do not feel that they know how to handle conversations on the phone. Again, different people are different and will avoid different kinds of calls.

Some people become incapacitated to make any phone calls at all. Email can be a good coping skill for this. I often use email and text to interact with family members and certain other people. I am perfectly comfortable talking to my best friend / boyfriend on the phone. I always answer the phone when I see it is him. So for me, it is not a fear of the phone, but a fear of being dominated by people who are aggressive or more assertive than myself.

I wrote a post about being assertive for the kindness blog. I was researching this topic in order to help myself to become better with this. I am currently working on improving assertiveness skills. I have trouble remembering what I want to say and how to say it, once someone become very dominating in the conversation.

I want to get to the point where I can keep my thoughts together in order to stand up for myself. especially if I am being accused of anything, or if the person is doing something that violates my rights. If you are struggling with the same things then this post may be helpful to you.

3. Avoiding dealing with bills and credit companies. Over time the avoidance makes situations worse and the anxiety continues. The longer things go unattended , the longer the anxiety continues and increases. This makes it harder and harder to take any action.

The first thing that happens is that we are alerted to a problem that requires action on our part. The net thing that happens is that our brains go into a mental anxiety loop. Obsessive running thoughts are so severe when we think about taking action, that we become paralyzed to do anything. We put it off, in order to reduce the feeling id anxiety, self criticism. inadequacy, worthlessness and depression.

Anxiety and depression go hand in hand with both Avoidant Personality Disorder and Social Anxiety disorder. We know that other people can do these things much better and easier than we can. We are aware that something is wrong with us, that we cannot take care of ourselves the way other people can take care of themselves

3. Lack of Self Care.

In the end there is a lack of taking care of yourself, when you have these disorders. Other people take care of things that need to be taken care of  They have learned how to “parent themselves” better than we have.

Mostly these kinds of disorders come out of abuse and trauma in our pasts. Most likely our childhood lacked the proper support and guidance to learn how to “parent ourselves” as adults

Somehow we need to learn how to prioritize ourselves and our needs that have to be taken care of. Survivors of abuse can often fall into prioritizing the needs of others to the point of neglecting our own needs.

One of our needs is to learn how to parent ourselves, stand up for ourselves. We need to learn how to feel deserving of things to go in out favor. Being assertive and taking care of things, that invove dealing with other people is a skill. It is a skill we have trouble with but that needs to be tended to.

These mental disorders are associated with real neurological differences between our brains and the brains of other people. These changes occurred over time, from repetitive behaviors. We may have developed behaviors as a child, that were needed to survive.

Once behaviors are repeated over and over, they become wired into our brains, To override the feeling of anxiety at making a phone call, we have to change our behavior slowly over time. Find ways to be able to make that call, even if it means having a friend hold your hand while you make the call yourself.

We can rewire our brains. I am still learning how but I believe it can be done.

But in the mean time, I am writing this, instead of working on the taxes.

Ok. I am getting back to that now

Annie

and avoidance of social interaction.[2] Individuals afflicted with the disorder tend to describe themselves as ill at ease, anxious, lonely, and generally feel unwanted and isolated from others.[3]

People with avoidant personality disorder often consider themselves to be socially inept or personally unappealing and avoid social interaction for fear of being ridiculed, humiliated, rejected, or disliked. Avoidant personality disorder is usually first noticed in early adulthood. Childhood emotional neglect and peer group rejection are both associated with an increased risk for the development of AvPD.[4]

SHAME …Why do Victims of Abuse Carry the Shame?

Carrying shame with us is possible the single most devastating, caustic thing that can happen. We must find our way out of shame, because it will destroy is by crushing our self esteem and keeping us incapacitated, by self doubt and a feeling if unworthiness.

Shame is an emotion and it is a state of mental trauma. Any type of severe trauma can cause us to carry shame. In turn “shame” itself can cause mental trauma. Most often, a mental state of “shame” was brought on by others who intentionally manipulated and traumatized us into feeling unworthy and shameful.

Shame, according to Wikipedia

Shame is a negative, painful, social emotion that can be seen as resulting “…from comparison of the self’s action with the self’s standards…”.[1] but which may equally stem from comparison of the self’s state of being with the ideal social context’s standard.  Wikipedia

So, shame is made up of…

1. a person’s personal feeling about who they “should be”

and

2. the person’s feeling about “who they are”

3. When the perception of “who you are” does not meet your standards of “who you should be” then the result is feeling shameful, for not having the ability to be the person that you “should be.”

Who should you be? Where do our concepts of our “perfect selves” come from? Are the reasonable? Do these ideals of who we “should be” come from our own minds? Or were they projected onto us by others?

Also, where does our perception of “who we are” come from? Are we really seeing our true selves?  Are we seeing ourselves through our own eyes ? Or are we seeing ourselves in an untrue way, through the eyes of society? Are we seeing ourselves the way other people say they see us?

Are we perceiving ourselves through the eyes of society and the stigma and misconceptions of society?

Are we still seeing ourselves from the eyes of our abuser? Are we really worthless and stupid?  Are we doomed to never do any better in life than we are doing? Or are we confusing our true potential with the twisted ideas that some abuser fed to us?

The problem with people who have experienced abuse, is that they were manipulated at the deepest levels of their brains.  People who were abused as children were made to feel worthless from a very young age. The natural developmental stages of self conception and identity were damaged.

People that in domestic abuse, were emotionally and mentally damaged. The abuser uses mind manipulation to make the person feel useless and stupid. The narcissists forces a fictitious reality on their victim and this reality changes.

The abuser changes the reality, constantly on order to manipulate the victim. If the victim buys something that the abuser wants at the store, the abuser may hide it. Then they will call the victim stupid for forgetting to buy the item at the store.

This reality manipulation over time, has the effect of confusing the victim about their own sense of reality. After the victim leaves the domestic abuse situation, they still have a feeling of shame and worthlessness. It takes time before the person will be able to see the proper perspective about who they are.

If we have been abused, we do not have the same sense of ease in feeling “normal.” We feel different that other people and often do not feel like we “fit in.” That sense of shame that we experienced during abuse, still looms over us.

Nineteenth century scientist Charles Darwin, in his book The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animals, described shame affect as consisting of blushing, confusion of mind, downward cast eyes, slack posture, and lowered head… Wikipedia

This quote by Darwin is interesting to me, in that he describes the physical and mental appearance of shame. He describes the physical manifestation of shame to be “downcast eyes, lowered head”..

When I was living in an abusive relationship, I got comments a few times from people, that I looked down when a man entered the room. I was not aware that I did this at the time.

Actually it was one of my hospice patients that first pointed it out to me. She noticed that when a male aide came into the room to assist me, I lowered my head and looked down. I would not make eye contact with him.

As soon as the man left the room, my female patient said to me “Never! Never, look down when you meet a man! You are just as good as them. You are taking in a submissive posture with men and you should not.”

I was very surprised that I had done this and not even been aware of it. After that incident, I tried to be mindful of my body language with men and women, at least just to be aware of what message I was sending. Also to be aware of how I felt about men.

It is amazing that a woman on her death bed was so mindful and caring about me, that she noticed this and “scolded” me about it. It hurt her to see me be submissive to men like that. She was seeing into the future and how that submissiveness was going to harm me.

This lady knew nothing about the fact that I was living in an abusive relationship. It was purely an outside perspective.

Clearly, at that time, I felt afraid of men and my way of protecting myself was to take on the “submissive” posture. I also had a feeling if needing to protect my face from being hit. The downward position of my head, made me feel safer.

Psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman had theories about shame as it related to childhood abuse. Her studies were about how a person from childhood abuse sees themselves through the eyes of their abusers.

toxic shame is induced, inside children, by all forms of child abuse. Incest and other forms of child sexual abuse can cause particularly severe toxic shame. Toxic shame often induces what is known as complex trauma in children who cannot cope with toxic shaming as it occurs and who dissociate the shame until it is possible to cope with.[18] Judith Lewis Herman

Abusers tell their victims to feel shame. They shame them by verbally abusing them, mentally torturing them, sexually violating them and / or otherwise physically harming them. There is no physical abuse without mental abuse.

There is no sexual abuse without mental abuse. The damage to a person, goes into their identity, their self esteem and their ability to view themselves in a “normal” way.

What I mean by “normal” is to be able to view yourself on a scale of reality based levels. What you are worth to yourself, and other people should be based on the person that you are. When a victim views themselves through the eyes of the abusers, they will always have a feeling of secret shame.

It is hard to break the brain patterns that were inflicted upon you by your abusers. You are worthy! You are important! You matter! Those are the true things that you need to know and believe!

Your abuser did not want you to know that you were a worthy and special person. They may not even have wanted to know that themselves, because it was easier for them to abuse you if they thought of you as “inhuman” rather than a real person.

You are a real person ! you are just as valuable and worthy of love as anyone ! Over time we can heal from these wounds. The PTSD (post traumatic stress) will never go away entirely. The past history of abuse will never go away. It is something we have to live with for the rest of our lives.

Instead of trying to crush it down, push the memories into the deepest recesses of our minds, we need to be ourselves and connect with others who will understand. We need to support and validate each other.

Together we can heal to a point where we can function better. Together we can create a community of support and love, that will uplift each and every one of us. Together we can turn our trauma around and use what we have learned to help others”

Together, we can be the “Wounded Healers!”

Being Able to Speak About Our Mental Illness or History of Abuse

Some people with mental illness speak freely about it and others are afraid to speak. Many of us have issues of mental illness because we were traumatized and mentally abused. It may have occurred during early childhood and is so far back that we do not really remember. There may be clear memories of some type of trauma or abuse during childhood.

We may have sustained psychological injury at the hands of an abusive partner during adulthood. Often times people are abused in childhood and then end up choosing partners who abuse them also. Not that we know that in the beginning. NO one hooks up with an abusive partner on purpose. They are often very charming and seemingly sweet at the beginning of the relationship.

If we were psychologically injured as children, then we were also probably conditioned that we do not speak of such things. There is secrecy and guilt built into those early relationships. We were taught that we do not talk about abuse, feelings about what goes on on our homes and to keep everything inside.

I remember Pat Benatar’s song “Hell is for Children” and she sings “Be Daddy’s good girl and don’t tell Mommy a thing. Be a good little boy and you’ll get a new toy. Tell Grandma you fell off the swing”

Very powerful lyrics and a great song. This is where the secrecy begins. We are taught that to be “good” means keeping your torment to yourself. Do not involve other people into the situation. Do not talk to people about your problems. Keep everything bottled up.

These behavioral patterns continue into adulthood. They are imprinted onto our brains with big “DON’T TELL” stampers. It is very hard to  break out of the patterns of not talking about things and keeping our “shame” to ourselves. We feel ashamed about what happened to us as children. We feel shame for having chosen an abusive partner.

We do not see other people around us, ending up in these situations. We feel ashamed and guilty. We feel like people will not believe us or that they will judge us. There is a feeling of not wanting to burden another person with our problems. No one wants to hear about MY problems, They are busy with their own problems.

Some of us even have trouble opening up to the family doctor or primary care physician. It can even go so far as not wanting to go to a therapist because we do not think they will  want to listen to. We may not think the therapist or psychiatrist will believe us. Maybe we will not explain our problems properly , in a way that they will understand.

Maybe the psychiatrist will think that his other patients have “real” mental health problems and we are just “faking it” or maybe we are afraid to tell the psychiatrist the whole truth because he never would have met anyone that bad before. Maybe we are the worst one ever and they will decide to commit us to a psychiatric facility.

These feelings have been conditioned into us by abusive people who did not want us to tell on them. They wanted to control us and they did not want to be revealed. Once their game is exposed, they can no longer play.

It is hard to change how we feel, We have ingrained reactions to things. Emotions are associated with anything that triggers memories from past trauma. Even the voice of the therapist sounding like your abusive father’s voice, could send you into post traumatic stress and immediately shut down your ability to communicate with them.

The solution is complex and it takes time to be able to open up to other people about mental illness. Sometimes people will respond in ways that are horrifying to us. Some people treat the mentally ill, the psychologically injured, like they are third class citizens. Like we are not competent , not reliable, not truthful and not worthy.

We already feel a low self esteem and a feeling that we are not as good as other people, if we endured years of mental abuse. If we had to hide things as a child then it is easy to go into that “safety mode” of hiding again.  I put “safety mode” in quotes because it is our old belief system. It was how we survived for years. It was the way we knew that we had to be, in order to avoid further trauma. Not that it kept the abuse from continuing.

It is necessary at some point, for us to open up and speak about our mental illness. We need to speak about our abuse during childhood or our abuse from our ex husband. It is not shameful. Anyone who makes you feel ashamed is not doing the right thing. You should be able to have feelings and thoughts like any other person.

You may have had experiences that are unique and that are so unusual that many people just cannot deal with them and they do not want to hear them. I am not suggesting frightening people or distressing them with your story.

The point is to reach out and find the right people to tell your story to. WordPress is great because we can tell our story here, with an avatar as our picture if we wish. We can be truthful and transparent. It is a healing thing to write about out thoughts and feelings about what has happened to damage us mentally and emotionally.

We are not designed to sustain trauma and keep it locked up inside of us. We are people that need the community of others, We need to be listened to and understood. We must have our feelings validated or we will become more mentally ill.

It is very tricky sometimes to know who is a safe person to talk to and who is not. It is hard to know what part of our story to tell someone and what part to leave out. We are so much in the middle of what is going on in our obsessive, constantly running brains, that we cannot always see the forest through the trees.

Reach out anyway and try to find other humans to talk to. Therapy works for many people, but it is very common for someone to have to try out 2, 3 or even 5 therapists before finding the right one. It is a scary thing to tell a therapist your story, if you are not in the habit of talking about it at all.

I am writing this post in order to validate anyone that has a behavior pattern of never talking about their mental illness or their history of abuse. It may have been the rule of the abusers in our lives that we were not “allowed” to speak of these things, but the times have changed to new times.

If you are, however, still in an abusive situation, please be careful. You do need to be careful who you talk to about the abuser. Call a women’s shelter (or a men’s shelter). Talk to people on wordpress, but be careful to protect your identity.

If we can not speak then we have no voice. If we have no voice then who are we? We lose our identity.

Blessings to all and to all a good night 🙂

Annie

Find Your Happiness

happiness

Previous Older Entries

Categories