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Question: Have you had a "breakthrough crisis" related to childhood abuse?
Yes - 111 (75%)
No - 7 (4.7%)
Not sure - 30 (20.3%)
Total Voters: 148

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Author Topic: POLL: Have you had a "breakthrough crisis"? (Survivors' Guide step #1)  (Read 3165 times)
blackandwhite
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« on: August 31, 2010, 09:15:45 AM »

After answering the poll and reviewing the material here, leave a comment.

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

What triggered it?

How did you get through it?

How are you doing now?


"I am in a breakthrough crisis, having gained some sense of my abuse." Q&A

What is a breakthrough crisis?

A "breakthrough crisis" is something happens to release a flood of old memories, feelings and even physical sensations of abuse or gives you an insight that shifts your view of memories and situations to recognize them as abusive.

What triggers a breakthrough crisis?

Many things can trigger such a crisis, including seeing a movie or something that reminds you of specific abuse, a life change (getting married, having a baby), or getting involved in a relationship that echoes the past.

Why is this happening?

As a child, you developed formidable psychological defenses to protect yourself, and you probably continued to rely on these rigid defenses well into adulthood, until they no longer worked for you. This is where you may be now. In a breakthrough crisis, your psyche realigns itself in order to bring the past into harmony with the present. Like an earthquake, this realignment results in the release of powerful feelings and energy, and can create periods of disorganization, helplessness and fear.

Is this normal?

The breakthrough crisis is actually quite normal, although it certainly does not feel normal to you. Crises are scary. You have been used to screening out all stimuli that might trigger your out-of-control feelings, only to feel that now you have lost control over your mind. Although it is frightening to do so, it is best in the long run to let these feelings out. Rest assured that this is a temporary experience which will gradually subside as you express feelings and develop a more flexible type of control over your life.

How can I cope?

Be proactive about seeking safety and support. You are an adult and you have more choices and power than you did as a child. Discuss with trusted family and friends; work with your doctor and/or therapist. Get support here at bpdfamily.com. The Survivors' Guide to the right is designed to help you through the process ---> Treat yourself kindly during this vulnerable time.

Assess your safety, support, and coping levels with this tool: Safety First.

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« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2010, 10:32:19 AM »

Yes... .

Several... .I started to recognize the bad patterns of behavior weren't me when my mother threw a fit and broke one of my plates.  I then started to listen to her and realized that while she was saying that "I couldn't make her mad or make her do things" she was then contradicting herself and saying "you made me do this."  Then I started to realize that she was in essence a hypocrite.

Oh... .and then there are 7/28/2010 when she threatened to kill herself and dh had had it with her suicide threats and insisted we call 911... .At which point we later found out she had run to the fridge to get her insulin to OD because she was humiliated that the police were coming to take her to the hospital and she might be placed on 72 hr hold... .I began realizing that things were really in an awful state... .

I had begun to realize this more and more over the past 10 years... .
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« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2010, 12:46:51 PM »

So I'm a little bit of a silent follower of the Survivor's Guide.

I just wanted to share my experience.  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?  Yes, definitely.

What triggered it? Mine came in kinda all backwards.  My estranged father's terminal illness seemed to trigger a sort of grieving process in me, shortly thereafter, my husband and I started having marital problems that put me in a pretty significant depression.  My therapist listened to some of my adult issues (anxiety and certain self perceptions) and encouraged a reminiscing of when I first started feeling the way I did.  The trips down memory lane caused the memories to surface significantly at that point.

How did you get through it?   I was in therapy, so that was really helpful. Smiling (click to insert in post) 

I also googled a lot of information of how I was feeling as a result... .and it really helped seeing the "facts" and possible adult manifestations that can occur.  As strange as it seems, sometimes separating the emotions and seeing the "normal" reactions to childhood abuse helps me a lot. Smiling (click to insert in post)

How are you doing now?    Better. 

~DreamGirl

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« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2010, 01:17:44 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes, definitely.

What triggered it?

Reading SWOE caused me to realize what I'd endured is considered as "abuse." I'd always rationalized my situation by telling myself that having a parent so-afflicted was just my lot in life. Comparing my personal circumstances to my (image) of abuse - made me think my problems weren't so important - compared to other peoples'.

How did you get through it?

With a strong sense of dedication to defining what had happened, and how I might go about healing my past pain, and effectively coping with the future. Reading has also helped a great deal, as it has vastly expanded my knowledge of behaviors I've seen my entire life. The validation of - realizing - after all these years, it wasn't I who had a disorder - but other people - in my life, is indescribable. Just this realization alone went a long way towards defusing the anger and anxiety within. Participation on this message board provided me the support I needed when the days sometimes looked the darkest. This forum can literally be a life-changing experience.

I also got through it because of the love and understanding within my own family. My dw and older children have been instrumental in allowing me the space I needed to effectively cope with my situation. Without their patience and love, I would not be where I am today.


How are you doing now?

I'm doing quite well. Compared to where I was when I had my "breakthrough" experience - I'm doing exceedingly well. I've also learned that this healing process takes time - and isn't always necessarily *easy.* Worthwhile pursuits rarely are.

Thanks for this thread.
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2010, 11:26:45 PM »

Thank you so much aramora, DreamGirl, and CaliocoSilver for sharing your experiences. I think seeing what others go through, and how they start to move forward, is really inspiring. One of our members went through the entire Safety First process on the board for her own benefit and that of our community. You can find her story at the link below:

Feeling safe and moving forward after a breakthrough crisis

One member's demonstration of the Safety First process, showing how a careful self-assessment can improve your situation whatever your current level of safety.

https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=110059.20

Answering for myself:



1. Have you had a breakthrough crisis?


Yes, definitely.

2. What triggered it?

A lot led up to it, including the birth of my daughter and revisiting what I had experienced from my parents now that I was a parent myself. The crisis was triggered by my mother's decision to go NC with me, as she had with almost everyone else in her life. Without the day to day struggle of coping with the chaos of being in a relationship with a person with BPD, I started to have insights and feelings I hadn't previously allowed to bubble to the surface. It was quite painful and I realized I needed support.

3. How did you get through it?

I've always been a reader, so once I connected the dots to my mother, I started reading everything I could on BPD. The more I learned, the more I realized how much what I had experienced growing up and in my family as an adult was not normal. There were years I could barely remember and a sort of flat knowledge of quite a few traumatic experiences, but it was obvious I hadn't really incorporated them, just pushed them off to one side where they continued to haunt me.

I joined here and went into therapy. Through both, I also began to see how these experiences had shaped me and identified things I wanted to change about myself. About a year ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD. I have been doing EMDR and supportive therapy for some time. I've maintained a yoga practice for a decade; adding in some mindfulness exercises has helped a great deal with PTSD symptoms. With therapy and yoga/mindfulness, my family (husband, daughter), friends, and online group (here  Smiling (click to insert in post)), I feel quite supported.

4. How are you doing now?

Well. PTSD symptoms have diminished, though not disappeared. My relationships have generally improved, especially with my husband as I'm more open and direct. I don't feel like I'm "done," but I do feel like I have a good platform for continued healing.
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2010, 12:24:47 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes

What triggered it?

Having cancer 4 years ago and then having my mom have it a couple months later. It brought everything to the surface. So many times she turned things into a competition, telling me I couldn't handle things she went through - It was truly awful and the beginning of the end for me. I felt so jealous of other women going through it that had love and support from their parents. The selfishness, denial, manipulation. I realized being around BPD was TRULY toxic, and I had to make some BIG changes! Shortly before I got sick I remember lying in bed one night, thinking being around their stuff was going to kill me. It truly was life changing in a good way. It really brought out my father's enabling too. For the whole year after he didn't even ask how I was. My own dad! He was so doting on her tho, it was heartbreaking. I realized I was losing my life trying to please them and be the "right" kind of daughter. Only it was never going to happen. Cancer honestly gave me guts Smiling (click to insert in post) I started confronting them about things and the whole dynamic of our relationship shifted. I KNEW I would NEVER treat my daughters that way if they had gone through something like this.

How did you get through it?

Tons of support from my husband   . Then 2 years later he found out about NPD, then a year later about BPD and found this wonderful place. I have also been working with a T for the last 3 years. The best thing I did for me in the last year was NC. For almost 8 months I had no contact with my mom and very LC with my dad. I did a lot of mindfulness practice too, with yoga and breathing exercises- they all helped with the sleep and stomach issues I was having. Also journaling and staying with the exercising.

How are you doing now?

My stomach and sleeping are so much better now. I spend holidays how I want to now. MY FAMILY and I come first now. My goal this year was to be authentic for once in my life. I realized playing into their stuff was a form of dishonesty and I didn't want to do that anymore. I would say I am doing a lot better. There are still layers to this as I am discovering but they only set me back for days at most now, not years.  Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2010, 07:59:31 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes

What triggered it?

Getting married.  I had been living with my then-fiance already, but somehow the ceremony made it real to me, that I could really depend on this person, that I had the safety and support I had always craved.  I think it gave me the strength to see clearly what had happened - that it wouldn't be as devastating to finally acknowledge that my mom didn't love me, because I was loved in the present.

How did you get through it?

At first, therapy, then trying to address things with my mom directly (this was a continuation of a pattern, but a bit more consciously perhaps), finally realizing that this was an ingrained behavior pattern, not one that I had caused or that I could fix and deciding to limit my efforts to reach out to her.  Throughout, the support of husband, therapist, friends IRL, and this board   were invaluable.  

How are you doing now?

Little by little, I see progress.  I have let go of a lot of pain and anger and sadness, and I continue the process.  Sometimes I don't realize how much I've really grown until I see other from my FOO and how they continue these destructive patterns, and then I realize I don't, not anymore.  Those are good moments.  But there are "bad" ones, too, moments where I slip into old behavior patterns and realize there's still work to do.  I try to see those as an opportunity for further growth rather than setbacks.   Smiling (click to insert in post)

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« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2010, 08:07:38 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis? Yes.  



What triggered it?


It happened March 2009, after I broke up with my boyfriend.  I remember crying and crying and crying and feeling abandoned and crying and I just couldn't pull myself together.  I wasn't crying about the ending of the relationship I was crying about something deeper.  Around this time I started having emotions run to the surface that where overwhelming, having nightmares about my dad abandoning me.  I was literally freaking out and didn't understand why.  

How did you get through it? My friends and therapist.  Journaling and lots and lots of walking.

How are you doing now? I think that I'm on the right track.  It has led me to a place where I feel I am at peace, after a year of ups and downs I have been able to slowly detach and see just how dysfunctional my family is and have started to care for myself and try to not let their drama take hold.
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« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2010, 09:00:51 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

I am having an intense breakthrough crisis right now and it began in the past few days. I have had several this year and began to think I was having a nervous breakdown and felt so unsafe. It’s so intense so I know the healing must be strong.


What triggered it?

It seemed to come out of nowhere tonight. I just logged onto the website and had a flashback memory of when I was 6 and my uBPD/NPDmo went overseas to visit her FOO for 3 months and left me with and 2 siblings with my uBPDf. I am having the memories of her non emotion or seeming interest for me or my siblings when she left or came back and the stories that she told over and over again that were all about her, her love for her FOO and how she felt about seeing her FOO after so many years. There's no stories in my memory of her saying or showing that she missed us.  As the memories are coming up I am reauthoring the stories from my perspective and its very different from my mo's.

I think hearing her stories about her and her feelings and experiencing her lack of interest in us made me bit by bit just accept her behaviour and attitude as being normal. I think I was so devastated and felt so powerless that I gave into her stories in the end and that's the way our lives have been -  everything's been all about her and had nothing to do with her children.

As the bits and pieces have been coming up about these memories it is  shifting my understanding of how deeply abusive my Mos behaviour was and still is – and that has been a process that has been happening slowly all week.

I am feeling all tingly in my body, my stomach hurts and I feel emotional. The emotion is this incredible sadness and I remember feeling this sadness and fear when I was a child and not being able to bear it.

I moved to a town far away from my FOO and have chosen to have NC with uPDsisters and LC with mo and PDbro. That has also helped to trigger the crisis’ I’ve had this year. It  started as a slow awareness over months and it seems the physical space, NC and LC has helped. Some of the triggers has been watching reality tv shows about families and crying for hours when I saw family members be kind to one another. At my work I’ve been observing how mothers speak about their children so respectfully and with so much appreciation. It’s like I’m seeing and hearing these things for the first time in my life and I’m 47.

Another major trigger was last weekend when I went back to the city my FOO live in. I took control and changed my patterns of where I stayed rather than automatically staying with my Mo. And my weekend was about me rather than being about my FOO. I began to take charge of how I would feel about my choices and the memories started coming up when I came home.

How did you get through it?

I’m still getting through it. What’s helping is knowing what it is – a breakthrough – a healing crisis. At the end of it I know I will feel stronger. I can see the process I have been going through now, whereas before I was in it and struggling and didn’t know what was going on. This website is helping in the most amazing ways – finally learning I am not alone and I am not crazy but have grown in an psychologically and emotionally abusive family environment has been such an enormous help I can’t even put words around it. Feeling I can relate to the experiences of the amazing people who are sharing their experiences on this website has been an absolute blessing because it broke the internal feeling of isolation. I was also talking with one of the few healthier people from my past about a week ago and he was complaining about my FOO. I went quiet and he asked me what was wrong and I said, it’s so hard knowing my Mo doesn’t love me. And he said, yes, she doesn’t love you enough. That helped to have my reality confirmed by a person from my past – it was like a whoosh of relief and another internal ceiling was broken. That was a new experience. I’ve also been walking, eating well and trying to get better sleep patterns and that’s helped. And I am actively reaching out to healthier people to form good support networks in my town. And last week I took myself off for a healing session with a woman who helped me to release a lot of old thought patterns and create new healthy affirmations. Yes, it is a work in progress and all these things I am doing for myself are helping me. I’m so grateful to have found this website and to be on my healing path.

How are you doing now?

I’m hurting in my body – my legs are a bit shaky and my body feels really sore; like its burning up and my stomach is really sore. And I feel okay because I know this too shall pass.  Thanks so much for this post and explaining what is happening – the post has helped to bring out something that has been sitting inside of me probably since I was born. I feel like I’m  shedding my skin and rebirthing. I’m looking forward to what’s ahead. More courage and healing to us all.

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« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2010, 11:32:37 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes, two major ones. 

What triggered it?

Finding out about the metal illness in my family was really the end of the road for me. I couldn't cope any more with my BPDm or my BPDsis as they were in my head 24/7 and that along with my worsening health made the stress relentless.  I went to my dr and was sent to a pdoc and still I was not getting to the bottom till I went online and typed in something like 'mean manipulative mother'. I then clicked on a caregivers site where I learned for the first time the truth and now with the help of this site I've been learning better coping and healthier life skills. It was like the last door of this cage that I had built around myself had been opened and the light shown in and now everything started becoming clear and made sense. That though wasn't my first breakthrough crisis as my first one was over 20 years ago when I was married and found out about the abuse of my daughters. That realization was so life shattering that I didn't feel like a woman or even a person because I blamed myself for not protecting them.

It seems that I had built this very protective place in my head where I lived and no one or nothing could ever get through and I felt safe there but now it was broken and there was no where for me to go or hide. I know I would not have made it if it wasn't for my 3 children as my uBPDexh had left us with nothing so I had to step up and find the strength to look after us.  My young son was heartbroken, my next dd was street-drug addicted and not going to school at 14, my oldest dd at 16 was pregnant and in a criminal gang, and I was a complete mess, couldn't eat, sleep, even think about the abuse without throwing-up. That was my lowest and sometimes all I could do was crawl but I slowly did start finding my way out.

How did you get through it?

Over the years, I read and I went to whatever I could find, like al-anon, tough love, individual counseling at pdoc's and abuse and rape counselors but these all helped but didn't get to the bottom of my issues. I kept busy working and when things got too tough for me to deal with, I used other distractions like addictions that I'm now working on to rid myself of. I look back now and have a hard time believing what we survived at all but even at the worst I believed that we would make it though. This was when I saw how I really felt spiritually and not what my mother wanted me to believe and I spent many a day and night in prayer just like I was taking to a very good friend.  I didn't know where else to turn and prayer seemed to comfort me because I couldn't talk about these things to anyone else.  The little I did talk to my family, I only upset them and caused more fear so I stayed quiet for years but this too was when I still wasn't aware of my mother's PD or how my own abuse had played a big part in all of this as well.  Slowly things have been sorting out and me and my children have managed to still stay together and although we don't talk much about the past, we do have some pleasant memories.  I feel sad to say though that when I realize how deep I was buried in the dysfunction, I don't know if there could of been any other way to break me out of it except to have had the experiences happen as they did.

How are you now?

I'd say I'm a very different person from who I was 20 years ago and even though me and my children still have some major issues, we know we are healing and have not lost the faith that things can be  better. I have the assurance now that I've found the end of it so that alone is empowering. The biggest thing though and surprise for me is that... .I like me better now.

justhere

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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2010, 10:47:43 PM »



Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

No, I haven't, but that's because I was lucky enough to never have been abused. (God bless my mother, may she rest in peace, she was awesome and loved me unconditionally while still managing to give me good boundaries for my behavior.)

In reading the stories that have been posted here thusfar from everyone else who has said Yes, I am blown away by the strength and fortitude you all have shown to get through that and *survive* intact. Thank you for sharing your stories so candidly here.

I continue to be impressed by the amazing people who populate these boards. 
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« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2010, 05:14:42 PM »

YES!

I can think of two. Both are from my past before I even realized anything about BPD. I always knew my mom wasn't right in the head but never really knew it was her and not me.

The first time was when my dh and I took our two boys and agreed to vacation with my parents. (BIG MISTAKE) My parents took my niece and nephew. The whole week I watched my mom treat my niece so horrible. She treated my nephew some bad but he is pretty much golden. She constantly fought with my niece over wanting to fix her hair and couldn't stand that she just wanted it pulled in a pony tail to go out on the beach. She would scream ugly things at her and even hit her with the brush... .All of a sudden flashbacks from my childhood! It was awful. It was one of the hardest weeks ever for me. I felt like I was going to have a nervous breakdown. Then I had no idea that I was abused as a child. This event happened 12 years ago almost.

The second time was about 5-6 years ago. My dad had just had major heart surgery. He was in his hospital room sitting up in a chair. He began throwing up. She began to yell at him for messing up his clean gown. She just kept yelling at him and doing nothing to help him. I jumped up and began helping him and called the nurse. I lost it with her and yelled back. I told her to help or shut up and leave... .she left... .Later I had to leave to return home (2 hrs away). I did not talk to her for days and then the next time she called she acted as if it never happened.When she was yelling at my dad I had flashbacks to my childhood and of being sick and her always being mad at me for being sick. She would yell at me and tell me it was my fault. It was something I had done wrong, etc... .

It was after this second breakthrough crisis I was driving home, crying all the way, and that was when I decided to seek help. I finally, after all the years went to a counselor. This is the first time someone ever told me I was abused as a child... .then 4 1/2 years later and back in counseling is when I was told about BPD.

Right now I am at step 4 I guess... .a very hard step for me! 
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« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2010, 09:51:50 PM »

Yes, over 16 years ago.  I've written about it elsewhere (forgetting to roll up the window when driving somewhere with uBPDxh, and expecting him to punish me, then getting angry with him for not doing so because I thought he was just delaying it to be sadistic - he genuinely had no idea what I was on about).  I've had many moments since then where a situation would trigger emotions or behaviors that totally surprised me, and that weren't totally appropriate to the thing that triggered them (way more intense than if I had been reacting only to the thing at hand).  When it happens now, it's much less intense, but tends to manifest as a mild to moderate depressive episode, some anxiety, and obsessive reading on this and other boards.  It's like I know something is trying to bubble up, and I am trying to nudge it along by reading about similar things.
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« Reply #13 on: September 06, 2010, 10:07:48 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yeah... .earth shattering

What triggered it?

Stress from moving out living away from family. Worked at a Software company that went through allot of corporate changes, which accelerated my depression and brought back many past issues.

I developed psychopathic thinking to deal with the extreme stress and ultimately suffered a nervous breakdown along with delusions (inanimate objects having intentions of spying on me and telling me what to do). I was later diagnosed with agoraphobia after seeing the therapist.

How did you get through it?

My wife has been a huge help. Seeing a therapist and reading allot of material. also posting on bpdfamily.com. Also making the first steps in setting up boundaries and developing my own social circle. Also living far away from FOO

How are you doing now?

Much better. learning to interact with family members in a much healthier fashion. Healing and facing hard truths along with grieving fantasy bonds.
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« Reply #14 on: September 19, 2010, 01:08:01 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?   Yes.  It was 20 years ago, when I was 16 years old. (At least, I think this would have been considered a “breakthrough crisis”.)

What triggered it?   I was sent to go live with my biological father because I was too difficult for my mom (according to her).  I didn’t really know him very well because I had not seen him since I was 7 or 8 years old.  (Long story, there.) 

Shortly after moving in with him, my mom started calling me at his house all the time, and raging at me over the phone.  (At the time, my mother was pregnant with my soon-to-be little brother.  I was very excited that she was having a baby because I only had one sibling – a sister, aged 15 at the time.)  One such call was to tell me that she had a miscarriage and to tell me that I “killed” my little brother.  She said I killed him because I caused her so much stress that it caused the miscarriage.  I was devastated and inconsolable.  Of course, I told my biological father what was going on.  He was shocked.  He sat me down and told me that she was lying, and that my mom was not pregnant.  I couldn’t believe him.  I felt my world turning upside down as he started telling me everything he knew about my mother (since he had been married to her for nearly a decade).  I had never heard any of this before because my mom had kept me away from my biological father.  He brought out all sorts of “proof” and told me about other lies, and lots of other stuff about her.  It was a period of immense crisis for me. It was the first time I realized something was wrong with her and that she might be mentally ill.  Up to that point, I always thought it was all my fault.  I knew my life was different than other kids, and that my mom was different, but I had always assumed it was because I was so bad.

How did you get through it?   I got through it with the support of my biological father, helping me to see the truth.  But, the bad part was, at age 16, I tried to confront her about the lies and this brought about a rage storm of epic proportions.  She made me move back home and away from my dad.  And our mother/daughter relationship and my life at home was a thousand times worse than it had ever been after that.  I ended up running away and trying everything I could to survive.  Life after that and until I turned 18 years old were the worst years of my life.  She hated me more than ever and treated me like her worst enemy – venomous at every chance.  I am surprised I lived through those years.  I had been blackened before I learned the truth of her lies and her mental illness.  But once I was armed with that knowledge, I was the absolute enemy.  How dare I confront her.

How are you doing now?    I’m doing alright.  I left “home” at age 18 and have never returned.  For the past 18 years (I’m 36 years old), I have tried to forget the past and move on with my life.  But recently I realized I need to re-visit the past in order to learn to heal.  I’m prepared for this journey to be a long and painful one, but one I must take to ensure I live my life to the fullest and learn to be happy.  I have had many issues in my adult years; I have suffered.  I know am ready to face the fact that many of the problems in my life stem from being raised by a BPD mom.  I’m not trying to point fingers or assign blame.  I seek truth and understanding so I can move on with my life.

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« Reply #15 on: September 20, 2010, 11:57:22 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?  Yes. This year for the first time.  Although I believe it took me to be a part of this board to realize what was happening to me.

What triggered it? I had been in therapy trying to figure out exactly what was "wrong" ... .the only word  I had at the time to describe the web of chaos and manipulation I had been tangled in my entire life, and one session my T said she believed that my mother was unBPD. I had always known that my family was not right, and that mom was sick... .but it was our normal.  Her rages were all she knew how to do when she was angry at the world.  I moved out at 18 because I couldn't handle it anymore, but it continued on into my married life and adult hood... .even so I blew it off, what my T suggested and then my curiosity got the better of me and I researched it.  When I discovered the similiarities of what I had been reading and my family life I became temporarily addicted to finding out more.

In the midst of all my self learning, my mother flew into a rage at me and solidified what I had been reading and newly understanding about BPD.

I brought back my info to my T, and for the first time really let the knowledge that I was raised in an abusive environment and that I was not ever going to get the family that I had been striving to achieve my entire life sink in.  It overwhelmed me with emotion. 

I think it was the starting point of allowing myself to live the truth.  I cried "futile tears" for hours, and stayed very low for weeks.

How did you get through it? With the support of my husband and his family and my friends. I started to tell my story, not for pity, but for validation that I was not crazy and that families weren't supposed to treat family this way.  My H and my friends rallied for me, my T clarified my tangled thoughts, and I journalled a lot of the process and memories to help me bring the truth to reality.  I shed a lot of tears.  I seperated myself from my foo to get distance to allow myself to live authentically the way I believed I should and not to their standards and twisted fallacies.  A lot of talking, crying, processing and research... .

How are you doing now? Better. I am still NC from my FOO and this time around I do not feel the guilt that I used too that always drew me back to their webs... .day by day I am stronger, and I can see the way the dynamic functions as I stand on the outside looking in.  I still have wonderful support, but there are still days that are incredibly hard, when the FOG seeps in and takes over my rational mind.  I keep reminding myself that I am protecting my sanity and my daughters health.  And although there were good times, and nice memories, the old patterns and manipulations still lie beneath the surface waiting to rise again.  I am feeling stronger, and more like me. Healing slowly... .and letting myself grieve for the family I was always chasing that never will be. For me I was stuck at #2 for a long time... .but slowly I have been moving up... .now I can say I am teetering between 12 and 14, and that makes me  Smiling (click to insert in post)

Zita
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« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2010, 06:31:07 AM »

I would say that mine occurred when my uBPDm disowned me this Christmas for not seeing things her way.  This is the third time that we have gone down this road, but this time was more severe for probably something less important.  I talked to an uncle who knew some of our past from actually talking TO my parents about how they parented, and then from me retelling him some things.  I also began to see some patterns of their parenting being repeated in my own parenting with my kids, and I wanted it to change.  I had an anxiety attack in early February this year when I heard through the grapevine that my mother was discussing with her friends on FB suing me for grandparents' rights.  I went to the doctor and got into therapy... .and that is how I'm getting through it, along with having this fabulous board full of information and supporters to come back to when I need.  I guess there's a difference between knowing that things aren't "right" and putting a name to what you dealt with:  abuse.  Therapy is going well, and I've even moved on to marriage counseling within it, working on making my marriage healthier and more stable, so that we can parent better also.
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« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2010, 11:41:29 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Several, at a few different times in the past few years.

What triggered it?

I've been in therapy, and family history is something that we address regularly. When I first joined the board my therapist and I were focusing more on the possibility that one or both of my parents probably have BPD, or NPD, or a combination of several similar personality disorders, which lead to a clearer sort of breakthrough crisis for me, where I could see more clearly what some of the patterns of abuse were, and where they likely stem from. Pretty much every time I work on a fourth step I have some sort of crisis.

Reading some of the stories here, and talking about things that had happened, and seeing that it happened to other people as well, and not just me (or not just in my head) was also very triggering at times, and I took a bit of a hiatus to focus on some other aspects of recovery for a while and re-stabilize. (It was a pretty rad summer overall :} )

How did you get through it?

Sometimes I need to defocus a little, to avoid getting overwhelmed, or turn my attention more to other aspects of recovery to come back to things fresher and not as muddled.

How are you doing now?

Pretty good today. Tomorrow may be different, but that's okay too. It's a process with lots of ups and downs. :}
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2011, 09:12:06 PM »

What triggered it?

As the bits and pieces have been coming up about these memories it is  shifting my understanding of how deeply abusive my Mos behaviour was and still is – and that has been a process that has been happening slowly all week.

I am feeling all tingly in my body, my stomach hurts and I feel emotional. The emotion is this incredible sadness and I remember feeling this sadness and fear when I was a child and not being able to bear it.

Some of the triggers has been watching reality tv shows about families and crying for hours when I saw family members be kind to one another. At my work I’ve been observing how mothers speak about their children so respectfully and with so much appreciation. It’s like I’m seeing and hearing these things for the first time in my life and I’m 47.

I have experienced some of the same things! Who knew someone else's illness could affect another body not their own? I've been watching Keeping up with the Kardashians and weeping at their strong family bonds.  I never knew family could be so close.

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

I cannot tell you all how grateful I am to find this site and to hear about so many similar experiences. In some ways, I am finally able to realize I'm not the crazy one, and I'm not a bad person. In other ways, I feel stupid that I didn't see the signs sooner.  I guess we trust family members, and it takes a long time to figure out we've been duped.

I had a breakthrough crisis about a year ago.

What triggered it? Several things have happened over the last 5 or 6 years with my mother that have made me question her ability to process and analyze information rationally. It's almost like she's never heard a word I've said in 32 years. Sometimes she seems concerned for me, caring, but most of the time she only cares about herself. Anyway, I was studying for my PhD qual exams.  The pressure of performing and needing to be perfect, to pass my exams so I wouldn't disappoint anyone, to prove myself finally as worth of respect, as being an individual with knowledge and intellect.  The pressure exacerbated latent? or dormant stress management strategies.  I shut down. I couldn't handle simple daily tasks. I felt disorganized, walking in a haze. I had suicidal ideation. I woke up clenched in a ball gritting my teeth every morning.  I would have moments of sheer panic. If I failed this test my life would be over. 

How did you get through it?

I started going to counseling at my university and thankfully my in-laws and my husband were there to encourage me and listen and cheer me on. I have a lot of good girlfriends and I tried to tell myself nice things like "you are nice to animals" "you are creative" "you are good to nature" It was almost as if I had to convince myself I was worth existing. I was proving to myself that I was worthy of having a voice. I'm crying right now thinking about it.  I remember looking in the mirror and hating myself. I would nitpick every little flaw until I couldn't see myself without feeling ugly.  My mother always does this. Every time I walk in her house at FOO she hugs me, then she holds me back at arm's length ans says things like, "oh honey, you need to start bleaching that spot on your face" or "sugar, your teeth are getting crooked again. why don't you look into getting braces again."  I was in a writing class at the same time as my breakthrough, so I was able to write through a lot of it and get helpful feedback from my very small peer group.

How are you doing now?

Now I have identified the problem, and I realize it's not me. I was able to pass my exams and I've started talking with other family members about my mom's BPD. I have turned a real corner in my life and my thinking. The veil has been lifted and I can finally see . . . maybe for the first time ever.  I see her manipulation and her antics. I am trying to establish better boundaries. But she still hurts me. Right now I'm wondering, "should I call her? it's been a long time since I've called her. she's probably really upset right now" So I have a ways to go.

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« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2011, 09:01:06 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis? I believe so. 

What triggered it? I had been having behavioral issues with my teenage d for a while & last year it just escalated to a point where she was out of control.  She manipulates & behaves a lot like my BPD/ASPDm, so that was it. It was an ugly situation - my hair fell out, I gained weight & even had panic attacks. I was very jumpy & unable to complete the most basic tasks. I shut down to a point where I couldn't clean my house or cook meals.  If I even took a shower that day, it was an accomplishment.  In hindsight, I was probably an inch away from a an inpatient stay.

How did you get through it? I'm still wondering. Smiling (click to insert in post)  Actually, I started reading everything that I could get my hands on about BPD, but the biggest thing by far was running across this website. I now have the ability to connect with other people that really do understand my struggles. After reading post after post here, I know for a fact that I am not crazy. I am only dealing with the effects of being raised by an abusive, manipulative mother.

How are you doing now? Much better now that everything is making more sense.  I still struggle with anxiety & depression, but it's at a manageable level right now. 
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« Reply #20 on: March 01, 2011, 03:07:53 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis? Yes.

What triggered it?

Started therapy for "unrelated reasons" (ha), and the therapist zeroed straight into my relationship with my mom and told me that her behavior wasn't normal. A bit of a pre-trigger was a visit home after a long time away where I was oh so good and still couldn't seem to get along with my mother, and noticed that she seemed really unreasonable and mean and like she was actually trying to start fights. I chalked it up to stress over her recent illness at the time.

How did you get through it?

I read everything I could find about what the therapist was hinting about that week. She didn't get to the BPD suggestion until our most recent session less than a week ago. I started this at the end of December. I was fortunate enough to have been able to take time off from work to deal with it, and read, and obsess.

How are you doing now?

I feel better than I did when I started therapy but I think I'm still a bit in denial. I clearly recognize myself and my behaviors in the descriptions of children with mothers with BPD, but I don't remember a lot of things that actually happened, and the things I do remember seem relatively minor. I read Understanding the Borderline Mother and I could clearly see me (no good), and my dad (the Huntsman), and my sister (all good), and my brother (narcissistic golden boy) but my mom? I don't know. I avoided thinking about it (her) for so long.
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« Reply #21 on: March 01, 2011, 12:59:17 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yep - two. Six years ago, my mother asked over the phone, "Could we arrange a time when you aren't busy to talk?" I knew things were "off," that she could never be pleased, and this was not as innocuous as it sounded, but I was deep in the FOG and had no idea what was wrong. I consented to schedule a phone conversation - but I sat down armed with a pen and paper and wrote down every thing she said.  She commenced on an hour-long "rant" - in waif fashion, not raging - about all the things that were wrong with me and my husband and my life and my treatment of her. 

The most recent one was last month, as she was facing the reality of having to be on her own, responsible for herself, for the first time in her life.  She's been weaving the web - conference call with her lawyer, conference call with a financial planner guy who begged me and my sister to help support her, lots of waif stuff.  I went into screaming maniac mode with her over the phone and decided yes, we need to revisit the impact BPDm is having on my life, obviously.

What triggered it?

In that first phone monologue, what she said was so over the top that I was finally - finally! - forced to admit this was not my fault.  Had no idea what was wrong with her, but I decided it was definitely HER that had the problem.  Realized that much of what she was accusing me of was things she did herself (projection) and that there was nothing normal about this.  She had always doled out the abuse in such tiny, measured, subtle servings that it was almost impossible to put your finger on it.  And yet, as my husband said after the phone conversation, "You are 30xx years old and you are afraid of your mother. Why?" I didn't know but I couldn't deny it was true.

More recently, I'd just become complacent due to her good behavior. I had let my boundaries get weaker, and because I never had come to a place I was comfortable with as far as what I would or wouldn't do about her increasing poverty and declining functionality, I was staring into a big, black hole thinking, she is going to suck me in, she will ruin my life, but I don't know how to resist without being crippled by guilt.  My own alarm at where I'd ended up again is what caused me to lose it.

How did you get through it?

Six years ago, I met a psychologist friend for beers and related what had happened. She threw out the possibility of her being borderline and gave me her therapist's name. I read up on BPD and saw the light ... .also did about 8 months of therapy which helped, but I honestly wasn't ready to take full advantage of it at that point.

This time - still working on it, and this board is an amazing resource!

How are you doing now?

Way better. I have drifted in and out of the FOG because my mom is so subtle -- she doesn't overtly say most of the stuff people like to quote on here directly to me (I have the strong suspicion she says it to other members of FOO and her friends, however). It's all hints and innuendo and tone. Like, she'll bring up an event from four years ago and completely twist what happened, and I'll think a-ha, so our relationship for the last four years has been filtered through this fictitious interpretation of that particular moment, and this explains why you said x about y six months ago even though it made no sense at the time.  But my sister and I are a united team at this point, and we validate each other when we sense "a disturbance in the force" that it's real and we're not crazy. 

BPDm has gotten worse in the past couple years, so she's become more obvious - her game is slipping, I like to say -  but she's also been trying to make more demands on me, and I'm working on reasserting boundaries again.   
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« Reply #22 on: March 01, 2011, 09:13:00 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes, more than one.

What triggered it?

Different things at different times.  The last one I am not sure of the exact trigger but it happened after visiting my FOO.  My mom had a rage during that time and it wasn't nearly as bad as those in the past but just seeing her face contort into the monster and see her scream was traumatic.  Also things she said about my SIL reminded me of things she said about me.  I read some journal entries after that which made me feel so horrible and low when I realized just how bad it was.  I can usually read my journal entries and look at them objectively but at that time I was really feeling crappy.

How did you get through it?

Had a therapy session where I talked it out with my T, sharing with her some of the worst things my uBPDm said/did and how I felt.  Then we scheduled EMDR for one of the traumatic moments and that made me feel MUCH better.

How are you doing now?

Not as great as I was but not as bad as I was either.  I've minimized my speaking with the uBPDm and haven't visited my FOO since the last time.  I did have a few nightmares that really brought my mood level down but am thankfully better now.

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« Reply #23 on: July 04, 2011, 12:07:17 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

More than one. The first one was thirty years ago when I married-I began experiencing nightmares. I realized that the childhood abuse I had endured was horrific and living away from my parents, and out of the home, afforded me the opportunity to stop being guarded and start healing. It was a dark time and I remember how confused I was-my functioning became limited. Unfortunately I married an abusive man and my ability to heal was impaired by DV.

The second occurred about 18 months ago when my r/s ended with a dNPDbf. I did not know he was a NPD and the devaluation by him of me was fairly painful and confusing.

What triggered it?

In my younger years-leaving my parents home triggered it. There was distance between us and I felt physically safe. I think my mind allowed me to finally feel all the emotional upheaval of having been horrifically abused.

In my adult years-it was the break up conversation and email exchanges that followed between my exNPDbf and I that triggered my memories of my dad. I began having flashbacks of the abuse and got in touch with a deep sense of shame and guilt.

How did you get through it?

The first time in my youth-I entered into therapy but the T was unlicensed and practiced hypnosis-not a T treatment recommended for a person with PTSD. The T had good components but was destructive in other ways. The therapist had poor boundaries and tried to establish a sexual r/s with me. Thankfully, I was healthy enough to break the T and sought help through books and education.

Recently, I entered into T with a licensed and skilled T. I read, attend dv support group, and joined this board. I am still getting through it... .

How are you doing now?

Better, much better. The flashbacks stopped, I can sleep at night, the sense of shame is dissolving as I am learning to love myself and realize the shame belongs to my abusers, not me. I also have found forgiveness toward them and me. I am working on establishing boundaries and have ceased my contact with abusive people in my life, am recognizing my role in my FOO, and am mindfully working on healthier r/s with my children and friends. Right now I am working on recognizing my self sabotaging behaviors and dealing with the underlying causes of those behaviors. I am also contemplating a law suit against my former T.



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« Reply #24 on: July 04, 2011, 01:26:25 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis? Yes.

What triggered it? My PhD qualifying exams this past year and an Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)$$hole from work.  The quals were okay and the profs were fair, though I was unnerved by the lack of control I had.  As for the jerkoff, this "fellow" PhD candidate was spreading rumors about me being 'retarded' and tried to 'talk about these rumors she heard' a few days before my exams.  Soon afterward, I started having flashbacks.

How did you get through it? I started seeing a T and put the Bullet: comment directed to __ (click to insert in post)$$hole on ignore.  A couple of the profs knew what she did and made her life hell in return    It was during the sessions with the T that I started erecting boundaries for uBPDm.  At first, it didn't work, as I was still in the FOG, but when I got back from a trip recently, I realized that she was the one with the problem.

How are you doing now? Much better.  I put her on NC and am focusing on healing myself mentally, emotionally, and physically.  My depression and anxiety are at very low levels right now.
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« Reply #25 on: July 14, 2011, 07:52:04 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

     Yes, I'm having one right now.

What triggered it?

     Another insane fight between my mom and aunt, then getting a nasty attacking blaming email from my aunt, and all kinds of other fallout.  When I tried to set boundaries, I was again attacked by my sister, and my words were taken out of context, twisted and used against me.

How did you get through it?

     I'm still trying to get through it.  It's very scary and unsettling.  I'm doing a lot of reading, posting, and talking to my pastoral associate, since my T is out of town.

How are you doing now?

   Shaky and scared, uncertain, wanting to flee, struggling with FOG, trying to keep out thoughts of harming myself
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« Reply #26 on: July 14, 2011, 10:02:06 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?       Yes, very recently.

What triggered it?

     The first one: visit with my father, he called my dd then 2 a bad girl.  Went through me like a knife. I had to walk away and call my brother.  I had no idea what it was or what it meant.

     Recently: seeing my dd now 8 hurt by my BPDh when he "split" on her and then turned it on me.  I was a wreck for days.

How did you get through it?

     I'm still working on it.  I have taken DD8 and I both to individual counseling and joined a support group both for me and one for her.  I have also talked to my mom a little trying to figure out where it comes from.  Dad was violent and abusive to her in front of me and he also was verbally abusive to me.

How are you doing now?   Better, still having anxiety and upset stomach.  Taking action is very important for me and it is helping me.
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« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2011, 05:33:25 AM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes

What triggered it?

I was 30 years old.   I had a near-death experience, I was gravely ill with a ruptured appendix... .my uBPDmother drove me home from the hospital, when I made a remark about how much coffee she was drinking... .she became enraged, drove dangerously and screamed out of control at me, saying 'don't you know what the past few weeks have been like for ME?'... .

The next day I had an appointment with my doctor, and at the doctor's surgery, I ran into an old friend from my childhood who said he was so proud of what I had achieved, given my family background and how insane my mother was.

This triggered childhood memories, and with my mother's behaviour the day before, it became clear to me for the first time that IT WAS NOT MY FAULT.  It was then that I realised that I had experienced abuse.


How did you get through it?

I sought therapy


How are you doing now?

Much better but still working on it... .
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« Reply #28 on: May 23, 2012, 06:28:30 PM »

Have you had a breakthrough crisis?

Yes,  I have had many.  When I got cancer 2.5 years ago my uBPDm became a monster.  I now know that she felt like I was no longer going to be able to give her the attention and support she required.  After 17 surgeries in as many months and chemotherapy, I was scheduled to have my final surgery the following morning when I had a full blown surgery PTSD fllooding/flashback.   Three days later, after the surgery I saw a therapist for the first time in my life.  She explained what PTSD was and we worked through some of the horrible surgery memories.  Eventually that flooding experience (rapid heart rate, panic, shortness of breath, overwhelming fear) reminded me of other times when I felt the same way.  And then the memories of abuse came flooding back, only I didn't consider it abuse at the time.  My dawing memories made my uBPDm that much more "uncomfortable" as I began to see our relationship somewhat differently.  Since then I have had several breakthrough crisis that feel really monumental.  Since January I have acknowledged to my self that I was sexually assaulted by a neighbor and my uBPDm told me I shouldn't have let him do that.  (I was only 6.)  Just last night I was responding to this question when I realized that my mother may have witnessed the whole thing.  I remember telling her on the path that connected our two houses.  From that vantage point I believe she would have seen what happened.  It has left me feeling raw and exposed.  I am not sure how to process this.  I am still grappling with it.  One of the biggest shifts in my thinking has been over the last month since learning of BPD.  I never percieved my childhood as abusive or my mother as sinister but now, in retrospect, I am beginning to see how mean spirited, rageful, calculating and sinister my mother is and has always been.  It gives me shivers just thinking about it.
What triggered it?

Cancer.  My uBPDm (I don't refer to her as mother any more) bizarre responses and treatment during my battle with cancer.  With therapy I have begun to realize just how unusual my childhood though adulthood, had been.  It's funny that I just a month ago I called it "my unusual childhood" when in fact it was an abusive childhood with many traumas (at least to me) that were unspeakable ... .until I began to speak of them.  I am learning that I am not alone.  My triggers can be almost anything.  I never know what it will be.

How did you get through it?

It has been a roller coaster.  As I have tried to disentangle myself from my uBPDm she has consistently responded with everything from small digs (I lost 50 pounds though exercise and living a healthier lifestyle.  When my husband said to my uBPDm following my first 5K race - ":)oesn't she look fabulous?"  And I really did.  I was a perfect size 4, lithe and lean.  To which uBPDm responded, "Well she didn't have a choice?"  "Huh" asked DH.  "She had cancer, she had to."  Narcisistic Queen Witch answer!)  to full smack downs (uBPDm extorded $70,000 in June 2011 and is still trying to justify her actions to all who will listen.  Then in August 2011 I was under investigation for charges of physical and psychological abuse stemming from the time I confronted my mother, the year before about why she allowed me to find her when I was just three with a gun in her mouth and had to run and get the neighbors to help me and many other gems... .).  At one point in April 2011 I got in a fight with DH and he said "You're just like your mother."  It triggered a full blown PTSD flooding episode ending with me in the flooding of the moment, overdosing on 40 sleeping pills.  I have such regret and shame over my actions especially because now my mother could tell everyone that I was mentally unstable.   Since then I have begun EMDR and have started allowing myself to acknowledge and feel the pain, shame and guilt I have carried around for years.

How are you doing now?

Each day I take two steps forward and sometimes one step back.  But I am getting to the heart of the matter.

Healing Hearts... .
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« Reply #29 on: May 27, 2012, 10:41:42 PM »

Yes, I think I have had a Breakthrough Crisis.

My first trigger was when my mom left my dad. Her leaving opened my eyes to really how little she truly cared for us. All of the abuse that I thought was just misunderstood discipline showed for what it really was. Recently I started reading Understanding My Borderline Mother and it helping me see just how much abuse my mother put me and my family through. I think I am still getting through it. bpdfamily.com as definitely helped me even in the short time I have been on here. Right now I am doing as much reading as I have time for and started thinking about it all. Just trying to unravel all of the emotion.
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