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Crazy Makers

(92 Posts)
garlicbutter Sun 22-Jul-12 21:48:36

I have been 'triggered' into a right old state by a controversial thread in Mental Health. I am not attempting to 'diagnose' what's up with the OP, she's in a serious pickle.

Her thread's triggering factor for me is its theme of other people forcing their opinions - she's mentally unsound - onto a person who believes she is sane. It's taken me a while to figure out why it got to me. The answer is Complex PTSD, which I have although it's not a recognised diagnostic term. (I have "generalised anxiety disorder, which patient relates to her earlier diagnosed PTSD".)

This is too long for an OP. Finishing in next post.

garlicbutter Sun 22-Jul-12 21:49:20

The extended trauma that caused my psychiatric breakdown(s) was a double whammy of being viciously bullied by my mad boss while also being meticulously gaslighted by my weird husband. The extended trauma that made me vulnerable to these two sociopaths was my abusive childhood. I've written about all this before (and am eternally grateful to Mumsnet); it's probably not necessary to do it again but I need to talk about how crazy-makers can, literally, make you crazy enough to need hospitalisation and long-term mental health care.

Not enough people recognise this, particularly those who are uninformed about emotional abuse and the abused targets themselves. Head-fuckers are really dangerous. While your head's being messed with, people around you tend to see the crazy but not the abuse. This isolates you even more. It needs discussion.

I'm a bit fragile atm and might not be able to engage much immediately. But I know there are several regulars of this board with personal experience of what used to be called "mental abuse". It might be good to talk about it closely.

akaemmafrost Sun 22-Jul-12 21:53:45

I think this is a good idea for a thread. I relate to a lot of your posts GB though I don't post much. I had an abusive childhood, was bullied viciously at school and in various other environments and then endured a 10 year marriage who was abusive in all ways it is possible to be. I actually had a nervous breakdown and believe I have complex PTSD as well. It affects every area of my life and I cannot be in close relationships apart from my dc because of it. I would very much like to understand more though would find it difficult to contribute much.

garlicbutter Sun 22-Jul-12 22:24:01

Oh, Emma sad It's a bugger, isn't it? All those neural pathways we've developed that make us tolerant of bullies, anxious to please, anxious to understand and ... anxious! I've bookmarked some websites about Complex PTSD but they got jumbled up when I changed browsers. I will look them out and post as I find them. Information is power, they say.

I'm on a self-devised programme of overwriting the neural pathways that make me a superb target. It's in line with the work I did in therapy but I imagine will take longer and be more convoluted than it would be with a really good professional! As well as constantly building & reaffirming self-worth and boundaries, I'm doing "compassion work" which is a combination of neuroscience, buddhism and mindfulness. As weird as it sounds, my psychotherapist was really impressed that I'm doing it and they actually run courses based on this work. My book is Paul Gilbert's "The Compassionate Mind". There are other books for it on Amazon, too, many with CDs.

I'm going to self-compassionately have a long shower now, and go to bed with a pill. My head needs time to process today's unexpected roller-coaster.

I'm SO ANGRY that people can do this to other people (us)! They're the ones who get away with it ... OK, they must be sad inside and we end up much wiser thanks to all the repair work. More than anything, I think, I wish psychological abuse weren't so sneakily effective. It robs you of your available defences and people just stand there, missing it all! angry

Oh dear, I need that calming shower, don't I wink
Night!

DrinkFeckArseGirls Sun 22-Jul-12 22:31:17

Spot on. Funnily enough none of the doctors I've seen (not that many just 1 GP and 2 psycholgists but still) could diagnose me, so it just went under PND. But this is exactly what I have been suffereing with. Actually a friend months ago told me it was PTSD but when I mentioned it to the psychologist, she made a face like that confused. It's because I did not suffer a life threatening situation. But when I read about PTSD I knew it was about me, really confusing when the professionals tell you one thing and you know deep down another.

greenearrings Sun 22-Jul-12 23:37:53

garlic,that book is superb and I do believe compassion work is the way forward. As you will have read,Paul Gilbert believes this approach can repair the neuro pathways which have been damaged by childhood trauma.

Your experiences and diagnosis are very similar to mine.

I am practicing this approach ,too.And delivering it as a mh professional.

However, I am not sure I agree about crazy makers.....my life changed following a toxic bullying boss ,combined with a controlling and abusive partner and ,despite previous therapy and professional knowledge and experience,it was MN that helped me find the light.

However,the light turned out to be more about learning to recognise just how unhealthy and toxic my family were and are,and how much of this - all of it - I had,and was still, seeing this as normal. Dismantling this,and taking responsibility for myself, has been - still is- a long ,painful road. But I seriously believe that the obvious vulnerability I carried from childhood - the backward inside out wiring which I had learnt and which meant I truly did not recognise bullying and abuse for what it was - has been seriously eroded. I hope it will be rewired ,finally,with compassion work.

Yes,my boss, ( and the system in which he operated) and my exp were cruel bullies and committed acts of abuse - gas lighting and controlling being my personal deepest horrors. But it wouldn't happen to me now.They might try,but I feel confident that I would notice early enough and be able to say '"hang on are you serious ?" i am not even sure that people like them would bother to try that stuff with me now. I give out different signals,I think.

I am not saying people who behave like this cannot or do not make some people crazy.
And I am absolutely not victim blaming.

But this is a dynamic which requires both partners to dance the dance.

I would say it is the hard wiring we receive through faulty /abusive /not good enough parenting which sets us up to be vulnerable to be unable to deal effectively with these people and situations and even sets us up to attract them to us.
The biopsychosocial model which Paul Gilbert uses makes sense to me - crap childhoods (maybe not even abusive,could be due to "blame-free" factors like war,death of parent/sib,illness) combined with a genetically inherited tendency towards certain sensitivities, along with the way in which we ,as children,make sense of our experiences - how our core beliefs are formed (which is down to a strong degree of chance in itself ) are what lead us to behave as we do,and thereby to form the relationships that we form,or even seek as adults. We repeat familiar patterns,seeking to get it right at last.We feel comfortable with a familiar fit,even though it is painful and awful.

I am going to come back to this tomorrow. I think this is an excellent thread.
i hope i am not rambling and missing your point.

garlicbutter Mon 23-Jul-12 09:54:45

Hell, no, not missing it, green grin I think all these factors intermingle so as to create the abusive 'dance' between partners. Thing is, you don't even know the factors are there until a crisis forces recognition. I've read a ton of very convincing stories from women who say they were perfectly balanced pre-fuckwit, had perfectly balanced childhoods, but still got trapped in their partners' control games. I tend to think "Hmm, maybe not quite as sorted as you thought?"

But ...! It's possible, I suspect, for a girl from a balanced family to be rendered vulnerable by the various pressures on women: to be confident and compliant; sexy and virtuous; pretty and immune to vanity; fragile and strong; powerful and malleable. I've caricatured it as I don't want this to be overly political, but most Mumsnetters will know what I mean! The majority of women get through life without being grossly abused, so those issues won't be top of mind for them and they'll happily pass such 'feminine' values on to their daughters. Thus creating, perhaps, a potential abuse victim who will feel she's doing everything right until it turns out to be wrong. Men who take unfair advantage of such feminisation are, of course, abusers. So maybe I'm saying the way we teach our girls teaches them to be ready abuse targets, without any major childhood factors. I'm not sure.

I'm unqualified to know, really, since I was abused in childhood. The extent of that abuse didn't become clear until my late forties! Going back to the beginning: We really don't know we're fucked up until someone takes the piss. We think we're feisty, we're passionate, we're intense or we're cool. This gives the crazy-makers their hook.

I realise this thread's going all over the place atm, but I don't mind wink It's a very big topic and the more different input we get, the more likely we'll find common ground and decisive factors.

garlicbutter Mon 23-Jul-12 10:16:37

I've worked out how X2 "did it". There was a moment when he was sitting on the sofa with his sister, all cuddled up and laughing at something. I walked in the room and he looked up at me with a expression that an observer would find natural: a sort of twinkly grin. But it wasn't. It was a smirk and it was goading.

He never cuddled up with me, not in a relaxed and happy way. Every second with him, I felt a little nervous; as if I were on trial. He was so cold with me, I assumed he just didn't do easy affection. My friends assumed the same. The whole time I was with him, I was waiting for the moment he'd relax that much with me, while also accepting he was undemonstrative. But, now and again, he demonstrated that he does do easy affection when he chooses.

Although I understood that I was feeling the absence of [what he shared with his sister that day], I didn't understand that he knew it. By withholding, he kept me in a permanent 'early dating' state, hoping he'd relax with me, until I was desperately craving that easy cuddle. Whenever I decided we clearly weren't emotionally compatible and I should call it off, there'd be a moment like the above, or he'd give me half a second of what I needed ... I'd think we were getting there, and fall back in. I only saw the true picture when I saw that smirk. And even then, I didn't believe my own judgement. Who would, normally? "I saw my husband cuddling his sister and he was doing it to make a point"? You'd say I was crazy, huh.

greenearrings Mon 23-Jul-12 10:23:37

Yes,agree.

A dance then,yes. And so,just as the good girl - albeit feisty,passionate -even politically aware - and cool feels she is doing everything right until it turns out to be wrong; so the good boy - valiantly taking on the role of ...(reluctant to post caricatures here....hmmm....why? not sure...)....feels he is also doing it right until ....

A gross generalisation,yes.

And I am not an abuse apologist.But this dynamic is so common that we need to look at it from a broader perspective than what a bastard the men are (even though they may well be ).

At this point i feel under equipped to argue my point,and at risk of being misunderstood,possibly of triggering or offending women. I do not wish to do so.

Yes ,abuse is wrong. Yes ,there are some people for whom the damage was done too early for repair (not starting a nature/nurture debate about psychopathy,here....) and who have malign intent driving their behaviour towards others.....who will not change....

And yes,relationships in which this is the dynamic are toxic and cannot continue. The person on the receiving end must be supported in finding safety,peace and repair.

But I wonder if labelling the perpetrator as "bad" is too easy in terms of beginning to understand what drives the behaviour,whether change is possible and where societies responsibility lies in addressing why this is so widespread.

and it is dependant on the dance.

My taking responsibility for my own behaviour in the dance is what has led me out of it. And is why i will not do it again. It does not mean I deserved what i got. just that,had I known how to behave differently,it would not have occurred in the way it did.

Could the same not be said of the abuser?

PurplePidjin Mon 23-Jul-12 10:24:05

I had a totally normal childhood and still ended up with PTSD after a violent break in.

Surely, logically, several consecutive or simultaneous events could cause several incidences if PTSD in a person? That sounds pretty damn complex to me!

BTW it took me 2 years to get over "Simple" PTSD, so i truly wish you all the very best recovering from compound occurences thanks

greenearrings Mon 23-Jul-12 10:24:30

What hope for humanity if a large section of people are "bad". and only to be "punished" ?

akaemmafrost Mon 23-Jul-12 10:32:53

My ex H used to be generous, kind, witty, man of the match, king of the party, supportive to his sisters and Mum, in fact the only person he hated and would barely make eye contact with in public was me.
Do you know how "crazy making" that was? I'm sure you probably do. It had to be me didn't it? He got on with everyone else (only it came out later that he DIDN'T). I must be a real awful person, boring, uptight, worthless etc. Even my own DH had nothing to say to me. His family obviously picked up on his lack of care and respect and acted accordingly, though probably sub consciously.

So my own parents were abusive, very withholding and punitive, right until adult, I was still terrified of them till my early thirties. Now my own DH could apparently barely stand to be in the same room as me.

It must be me right? Except then I found MN and realised it wasn't. I didn't even know it was all abuse, just thought I was a rubbish person.

Lots more to say but will leave tin there for now.

greenearrings Mon 23-Jul-12 11:31:12

My ex behaved in the way you describe,garlic. I thought it was me until i read the first npd thread and recognised my own life .

My father behaved like this to my mother and still does. She reacts by behaving in the same way towards me. My father gives every impression that he hates women. He behaves appallingly all the time,even now he is an old man.I struggle to find compassion for him,even though i know he suffered extreme abuse himself as a child.

That is why i was so slow to notice that behaviour in a "normal" setting such as work. And took it on as my problem. And why i felt so at home with my ex from the start,and tried so hard to understand and help him.He had an awful childhood. But he didn't see anything wrong in what he was doing ,ever. i am sure he is behaving the same to someone else now.He was a fantastic guy as far as everyone else was concerned,pillar of the community etc,and worked in family mediation. wtf.

But i don't think either of them set out to make people crazy,or believe this is what they do,ever. even though that is the effect of their unforgivable behaviour.my ex claimed he couldn't understand why all his relationships failed.My father is a bitter man who has no friends.

The abuse I received set me up to be vulnerable to more abuse. the abuse those two abusers (there were others) received ,seems to have set them up to abuse women.

Restart Mon 23-Jul-12 15:43:10

It is a dance. I was shocked to realise that my Ex had been bullying me for years. He didn't scream and shout or exhibit what I classified as bullying behaviours. He simply wore me down on everything, he would go on and on until he got his way, he would make me feel guilty and unworthy. He was passive aggressive and controlling. He gas lighted me on many occasions. Yet because I was so used to all of those treatments from my family, I just accepted that it was because I was less valid as a human being. I covered up for him, I defended him and most importantly I enabled him. He left me for another woman, and now he is dancing a very different routine. She says jump he says 'how high?'. She is like his narcissistic mother, self obsessed and he is the little boy desperate for her attention. The dancers are intrinsic to the style of the dance. My ex had neglectful parents, his mum abandoned him and his brothers, his dad couldn’t cope and survived by avoiding as much of life as possible. I had neglectful parents, my dad left and my mum was nuts. The combination of my Ex and I was a chemistry experiment gone wrong. He dealt with his childhood by trying to control everything, I dealt with mine by trying to comply. His father’s avoidance of responsibility and his mums absence made him determined to live a life of material accumulation. He never valued me as the mother of his kids, I think it hurt him deeply to see me love our kids because his mother didn't love him the way he needed to be loved. He resented me and the resentment built. My childhood taught me to comply or face punishment. the rules of compliance were changed without warning constantly, so I became a very anxious frightened person, too afraid to have core beliefs or opinions of my own, because to express them would be interpreted as insolence, and that was the ultimate crime. I lost myself, and learnt to live in response to others rather than as a person in my own right. Recently I dated a guy for 15 months. I tried to split up with him maybe 4 or 5 times, because I found him emotionally unavailable. Each time I tried he would suddenly open up to me and communicate and that would be enough to draw me back in, pretty soon I would realise that I was back to being treated as though I was on a never ending interview, passing tests and being judged, never quite declared fit to be his true partner or equal. Finally I split with him. I don't think it was a deliberate tactic on his part, I think he was emotionally crippled and could only display emotions when forced to do so, he had his childhood demons and a divorce that had cut him, so he was hyper vigilant. Being with him was making me crazy, none of my needs were being met and I was again dieing inside. He wasn't making me crazy, the situation I allowed myself to become stuck in was. It was the groove I was used to, I slipped in to it and followed the track around and around. I was so hurt and angry at my X, but it wasn't his fault any more than it was mine or should I say equally as it was mine. We were a diabolical combination. We fit together like a co-dependent tongue and groove set. I look back at our relationship and I too can list the occasions when something registered deep inside me as wrong, just like gb's moment with her Husband and his Sister. I knew it was wrong, if I were healthy I would have known to walk away, but instead I stayed. I swallowed my emotions, added one more tick to the 'things that must be wrong with me list' and I persevered. I'm trying to reprogram me myself. Compassion is key. I think I too have PTSD. I think I lived on a knife edge for my childhood. I spent my days trying to build a house of emotional cards only to have them flattened. There were no emotional safe places, just an open battle field where I was the canon fodder. I was traumatised when my Ex left because I had done everything possible to comply, I had given up my dreams, I had lived where he wanted, worked as much as he wanted, sacrificed my own happiness and none of it was enough to add up to anything. I did all that in exchange for what I thought would be safety and security but instead I got my greatest fear - abandonment. I don't think he made me crazy I think he exposed me to my greatest fear and that made me crazy. The only thing I had as a child was the belief that compliance would save me. So - I'm so sorry i have meandered in and out of topic here. I think it's our own inner belief systems that make us crazy - the ones hard wired in to us during our childhoods. These people we attract and are attracted to because of the familiar feelings they illicit - they simply give us our cues and we then auto pilot our lines and positions in the dance.

Kernowgal Mon 23-Jul-12 19:14:40

Interesting reading indeed - am starting to wonder if my friend is suffering from PTSD after three years with an incredibly EA/PA boyfriend and other violent relationships before that, plus witnessing her stepfather's DV towards her mother.

Next time we talk about it I might raise it with her, she's very open to talking about it and I think she would be interested herself. She doesn't seem to have any boundaries and often her behaviour/conversation in a group situation is completely inappropriate but she seems totally unaware. She's very unsettled and all over the place and her parents don't know what to do with her. Financially she's a disaster zone. I feel like she needs someone to sit her down and ask her what's up and what can they do to help her.

greenearrings Mon 23-Jul-12 20:23:00

Restart - yes,yes,yes and yes.

seaofyou Mon 23-Jul-12 21:20:02

nLP under hypnosis is fantastic for PTSD! 3 sessions stopped the flash backs of my brothers death I had for 3 yrs. Still had the anxiety but it faded slowly over time. Does anyone else get a blob before flashback in corner of vision of upper right or left eye before flashbacks also?
But can return with vengeance as did when I was threatened with a knife. It is amazing how calm you become when you stare death in the face.
The PTSD changed into a flight/fight panic state though when ex started attacking house....I went from wanting a gun to accepting we were going to die over 2 yrs of attacks. Like you Purplepidg it is when my life (or as in my DB death) the PTSD occurs...sadly I have had a lot of life threatening experiences...no wonder my home will be my prison/safe haven for rest of my life! Life threatening experiences is the main cause of PTSD.

garlicbutter Mon 23-Jul-12 23:35:46

I need to do some serious calming down before coming back to this thread. Thank you very much for such powerful posts. It is a huge topic, isn't it?!

Emerald50 Tue 24-Jul-12 03:00:44

Hope this post is not too long - I believe I have ingrained PTSD. I am 48. A bullying incident that happened with a sibling earlier this year triggered a reaction that brought me back to my childhood. Over twenty years ago I had moved to the other side of the world to get away from my Dad as I believe I had to, to survive and thrive. I am happy to say I have a wonderful husband and three children and have built myself a great life in a great country with some wonderful new friends and some friends that are like family to me.

But I am haunted by my past and it immobilises me sometimes - almost every day I wake up and ask myself what happened in my life to have made me leave a country I loved, everything familiar, my family, my culture, part of my identity and my friends. I have always felt a little like I am living in exile and luckily my husband was aware of my family situation before we married and he is very supportive. We both agreed where we would live as I met him after I had moved. I said to him the other day that maybe I didn't love him enough - because I would have let him go rather than allow him have to go through all the emotional pain with me of my past but he said he knew what he was up for when he met meas I was honest with him and was up to the job. What a guy so that is why I live where I do too in his country of birth. I feel extremely lucky to have a supportive partner who allows me to show the scars. One of my biggest fears was I was unworthy to be loved because my Father made me feel like I was nothing. A couple of times after my Father had bullied me I felt like I did not want to go on with my life. I consciously looked for a man unlike my Dad as I was early thirties before I married so had had time to think about it.

Parenting my three children threw up my 'default' parenting setting and that scared me - there were times when I reverted to what was familiar to me in my own upbringing and I recognised I needed to get help or risk continuing the cycle. This is why I am on this site and attending psychotherapy as well as other avenues - to overcome my past and become the great person that I know I am (it's very hard for me to say that!). I sometimes get a glimpse of her and I like her, but mostly I am hard on myself and have a hard time loving myself. I had the luxury recently of spending sometime by myself and this period of reflection showed me a glimpse of a person that was not angry or damaged anymore by the past.

In my childhood I had a very abusive controlling critical Father who I now recognise was a bully and possibly suffered NPD or BPD and the bullying incident with my sibling reminded me of the way my Father had treated his own family (my Mum and four siblings) and how us children did not stand a chance as we were just innocent lovely little kids to not become damaged from his emotional abuse. He played us all off against each other so the bonds were broken between many of the siblings. I am happy to say I have never felt closer to my siblings (not the bullying one who I no longer have contact with) but as adults we have started to open up as to what it as like for us all. As this recent bullying incident played itself out I realised that my sibling was repeating the sins of the Father and had no insight whatsoever into the damage he was doing. I got a glimpse into the past of how my Father had possibly handled difficult stresses in family life and put so many people offside and how ultimately had damaged peoples lives. No one had ever successfully stood up to my Father (apart from my husband) and as you can imagine my husband became the bad guy then and was put down to other relatives.

I really related to the post about outsiders seeing the crazy but not the abuse. My Dad was just thought off as eccentric and it was all a bit of a laugh to the extended family. My Fathers siblings knew that my Father was bullied by his Father my Grandfather. They were happy to stay on the sidelines and not get too involved. I feel angry with my Aunts and Uncles too. Our cousin don't get it when I try to open up to them of a little of what it was like. They cannot relate to that side of my Dad as he was a 'street angel., house devil' and could be charming. He was very chauvinistic as well though that was part of the times as he would be 86 now if he were alive.

For many years I have known that my depression is reactive and have had to slog it out with many professionals to get the correct help I need. Connecting with other people who can relate to Chronic/Ingrained/Complex PTSD is part of the way forward for me I believe. I can relate to so much of the other posts.

I returned back to the family home in the past few months and spoke to my other siblings (not the bully one) and my Mum about my trauma which started when my oldest sister had violent psychotic episodes when I was nine years old- and since those conversations it is the first time I have allowed myself to take the lid off and stop protecting my Mum and Dad who dealt with my sisters situation 'as best they could' but unfortunately neglected the effect of their own way of dealing with it on their other children. The combination of a NPD or BFD, Bullying Father and my sisters psychiatric breakdown in a time and country where the stigma and misinformation was enormous was combustible. It as all shoved under the carpet and no one spoke of it. Hard to believe even us siblings did not band together but we were all screaming out for attention and understanding of the situation (inside ourselves).

I now try to 'feel' the pain as opposed to talk about it. What has prompted me on my current path and recognition of ingrained NPSD was seeing the effect on my other siblings in their mid-life and how they are so hurt and are not healing and my love for them. They have turned to outward stuff to heal because it is too painful for them to look within. I understand this completely. Because my Mum is still alive they are still dealing with my dependent sister who had now become so much of her illness instead of the lovely clever artistic person she is who happens to suffer from a mental illness. She had no chance to learn strategies and boundaries to cope with her mental illness. She is 54 years old now. My other sister and brother are just getting by day to day blocking the pain in their own way. Neither have partners or children and my Mum is not capable of supporting them as she is very much of the if you don't talk about it it doesn't exist mentality. She is part of the problem because she chooses not to deal with things. That is her character.

I hope some of you can relate to my and that it helps not brings up more pain though we do have to go through the pain I think - doing in together would be healing I think. It has been good for me to write it down. Thanks for reading.

garlicbutter Thu 26-Jul-12 11:27:33

I related to a load of it, Emerald! I'm really sorry I left you unanswered. It's been a weird week and I need to collect some thoughts.

Restart Thu 26-Jul-12 14:07:33

We are here in this safe environment to share these stories and relate. Non of us are as alone as we thought we were. I go over this thread in my mind and think how i have behaved in a crazy way frim being worn down , manipulated and bullied - i'm hiping the healthy me i'm building wont let that hapoen x

garlicbutter Thu 26-Jul-12 14:47:24

It's weird, isn't it, how the recognition takes so much effort and then the realisation that no-one else can fix the source? Proper guidance helps a lot, I find, and I'm glad there's so much on the internet as it's hard to find the right professional even if you can afford them.

I'm going to look at my triggers because I'm still reeling from my involvement with mental health threads: the 'damage' hurts but is a signpost and I should read what it says!!

• Being unheard. This was the overriding theme. I am disbelieved because I'm crazy, insecure, damaged, sensitive, or worthless or old, fat, female, poor, whatever. There's always a reason. In some circumstances, the aggressor really does have the power to silence me as adults did when I was a child. I'm actually better at dealing with them now (though not enough yet, imo) although I still tend to feel as if I'm faking - an opponent can easily destabilise me if they figure out how to put me back in 'helpless child' mode.

My irrational reactions come when somebody assumes this authority, without really having it. I seem to award the power to them. This lets people bully or discredit me, I get frantically upset and try persisting (like a misunderstood child) instead of standing full height and asserting myself. Need to think about this. I definitely awarded power to X1, X2 and mad flatmate. In fact, I rather suspect I'm always doing it. Oops.

• Being unwelcome. It shouldn't happen - I've usually been popular and had great friends - but the parental message that I'm so shit, nobody would want me around, is still hurting me. X2's emotional withholding made me feel desperate longing until the desperation took over and I went crazy. This was irrational because I knew you can't demand affection or approval. I knew I shouldn't be with someone who acted like he didn't want me. But I ended up being with him anyway, and demanding.

I'm still hiding from people. I've got plenty of pragmatic excuses but, all the same, I'm keeping an unhealthy amount of distance. Then, of course, I occasionally crack and splurge inappropriately. And yet ... I long for easy affection! Gah.

OK, stopping here for now smile

greenearrings Thu 26-Jul-12 20:42:31

Emerald,I ,too can relate to a lot of what you say. I'm sorry about your sister,your description of her "becoming" her illness,is how I try to understand,make sense of and deal with my parents. They both had horrendous childhoods and are totally locked into their own private hell. And their relationship is a toxic dynamic. I suspect they might each have been different;healthier;if married to other people.
Still they were,and are crazy makers to me. Except now I don't allow it. They still do it,but I manage the whole thing differently,and barely see them.

Restart - I have re read your post many times. What you say about the emotionally unavailable man and your experience of trying to end it,then getting just enough to stay really hit me between the eyes........I am struggling to work out if that is what is happening to me right now.........on the other hand,I am still so hungry for love and attention,yet terrified of it,whilst t the same time ,having no real idea of what a real ,grown up relationship would be like,that I am unable to tell if it's me or not.
The only time I felt as if I was getting enough attention,and therefore felt secure,was with the crazy maker ex who I failed to spot as controlling,bullying and mean until far,far too late.Of course,he was an illusion and a fake,but it disturbs me that the intense attention and silly soulmate fantasy that I so readily swallowed ,could have felt good,and even been mistaken for love.

I believe I was looking for unconditional love -parental love,never having received it. Not what a grown up relationship should be about. What my parents gave me,I understood to be "love",not realising that it was anything but. No wonder such crap felt familiar and comforting..........
Garlic - i do believe my twat radar is alright now. But I fear that I am too damaged to give and receive proper love in a healthy grown up relationship.I suspect I am,myself emotionally unavailable. I also know that I have been capable of pretty bonkers behaviour - yes,as an outcome of a crap dynamic - crazy maker stuff....but still,not ok. I feel shame,and fear of my own capacity/potential (?) to behave abusively.
My fear of abandonment is acute.
I am great at helping others,and "get" it all intellectually...yet find it hard to "feel" it myself.....classic borderline trait/ptsd effect.....

garlicbutter Thu 26-Jul-12 21:31:53

I get it all intellectually...yet find it hard to "feel" it myself.....classic borderline trait/ptsd effect..... YY, me too! As I'm on a severe down atm, my behaviour (or, rather, inertia) is doing me damage ... and I can see that, and know what to do and even what to think, but it doesn't get through confused

I suspect a lot of the problem is fear of getting it wrong. I've been called emotionally unavailable (by twats, mainly) but it can't have been true. I was practically free of boundaries: my emotions were out there, spilling all over the place! I used to believe the more you love, the more you'll be loved - which I'm sure is true with 'normal' people but, like you green, I wanted unconditional love so that is what I unwisely gave.

I am unavailable now - definitely. I'm assuming this is a necessary over-compensation. When you're learning relationships all over again, as it were, it's probably sensible to tread carefully. And, well, maybe this is 'normal'? (Not hermitting, I know that isn't normal.) People without psychic injuries don't go around baring their hearts; they usually take years, don't they, to become fully available to their partners? And even so, they don't assume complete transparency or unconditionality.

So, green, in an extremely rambling way blush, I'm wondering if the relationship you mention is demanding too much of you, in terms of emotional availability? Might the other person be themselves withholding, while requiring surrender from you?
I don't know, of course. Just asking.

garlicbutter Thu 26-Jul-12 21:41:13

I feel shame,and fear of my own capacity/potential (?) to behave abusively.

Don't! I did, until I figured out the repeating-patterns thing, and that I was with people whose patterns triggered mine. At the same time, I learned from therapy that anger's OK - and discovered my "angry voice", of which I'm disproportionately proud! - and from observation that freaking out is actually pretty normal. Weirdly, this latter discovery set me free. I don't think I will ever rage again, except on purpose. Your potential to behave abusively is a natural human quality. Everyone can behave abusively.

D'you know, last night I had a really strong urge to describe some of the raging, ranting, throwing, fighting, sobbing things I've done. Now I don't. We all know what it looks like, anyway, don't we.

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