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Author Topic: 4.02 | Grieving Our Losses  (Read 6308 times)
Woolspinner2000
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« on: March 27, 2016, 09:51:06 PM »

The topic of grief has been on my mind today. It was a holiday, the first Easter without my dad, so I was feeling the need to grieve and be sad.  :'( I struggled to allow myself to feel, and I know many of you can relate. The ability to allow myself to feel emotions still doesn't come very naturally. I fight the emotions and tell myself that I shouldn't have them. Reality is that I am allowed to have my feelings and needs.

Grief isn't only about losing a loved one through death. I thought it might be a helpful for us to explore our need to grieve our losses, no matter what they are. Not only do I grieve the loss of my dad, but I also grieve the loss of my childhood since I had an uBPDm.

In Surviving a Borderline Parent, Kimberlee Roth and Freda Friedman have an entire chapter focusing on grief. In the grief chapter they state:

Excerpt
Grief is a normal and natural response to loss, such as the death of a loved one. It is also possible to grieve in response to a figurative death, such as the loss of a relationship or the loss of the hopes and expectations you had for a relationship.

     For adult children of a parent with emotional deficits, this is a common experience. They grieve for what they never had, or what they may have had only periodically: a stable, validating, and reliable caretaker who allowed them to consistently feel loved, accepted, valued, and respected.

-What type of loss/losses are you grieving, especially as it relates to the effects of BPD in our lives?

-How are you working through the grief and/or what has helped you to process and work through your grief?

-What feelings have you noticed as you work through your grief?

  

Double hugs for a tough topic.

  Wools
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2016, 11:30:19 PM »



... .and repeat!

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

I've been grieving for years. Didn't know I was until about 5 years ago. I grieve my lost childhood and years of living in FOG. I grieve not having the idealized parents I was raised to believe I have. I grieve the loss of freedom/being carefree, making decisions out of choice rather than obligation. I still feel like I don't know who I am, what I like because I spent so much time trying to please my parents. My predominant emotion for years was fear. For awhile, I thought it would feel better if my parents had actually died because then my feelings would match my reality... .and it would be less painful than having them in my life, creating chaos.

I worked through this:

www.amazon.com/Recovery-Handbook-Anniversary-Expanded-Edition/dp/0061686077

I must say it did help. I'm not completely grief free, but it gave me a way to think about things and process tangibly. I still go back to my grief letters from time to time and add/edit. Therapy has helped enormously. I've also cried a ton. Just feeling the feelings and being okay with them, letting them be. I was ashamed for awhile to have feelings of anger, sadness, grief towards my parents. They did provide for me materially, I was not physically abused. But I did not get what I needed as a child. I have not been able to tell them how I feel, but writing the letters felt close enough.
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 06:54:21 AM »

Hi Wools

This is a very tough yet very important topic. Thanks for starting it and for the double hugs  

-What type of loss/losses are you grieving, especially as it relates to the effects of BPD in our lives?

I am grieving the loss of the childhood I never had and how this has impacted my adult life. Also how being raised by my uBPD mom affected me emotionally and psychologically causing me to behave in ways that I now realize weren't really me at all. I however cannot change the past but that is still something I struggle with. If things had been different back then, things would also be different right now. Sometimes it feels like I first spent many years being held back and now I'm spending my time continually playing catch up only to realize that some things are gone for good and cannot be restored or reclaimed.

-How are you working through the grief and/or what has helped you to process and work through your grief?

Learning about the concept of radical acceptance is something that I have found really helpful. Those reality acceptance skills didn't make my pain disappear, but they did provide me with ways to better manage my pain and move forward with my life. Acceptance or acknowledgment of reality as it is, letting go and grieving is still probably what I struggle with most, but the reality acceptance skills have helped me to open my eyes to the reality of what I have been through and how it has affected me. These skills have helped in my healing and restored some hope when hope seemed lost.

-What feelings have you noticed as you work through your grief?

It's like being transported back to the days of my youth. I feel the pain, sadness, loneliness, anger and also an overwhelming sense of powerlessness and intense shame. Feeling how powerless I was in the past but also feeling powerless because no matter what I do now, I cannot change the past and that in a way makes me feel powerless all over again. Learning about BPD and all the resources and techniques has greatly helped me in the present as I deal with my BPD family-members and other difficult people I encounter. Yet coming to terms with my past, how this affected me and how this has affected the present (and future), is still something that I find hard. That's why I like what is said in our article about radical acceptance as it acknowledges how hard this is while giving hope that things can get better:

Excerpt
These are the skills of reality acceptance.  It sounds easy. Well, probably doesn't sound easy, probably sounds hard.  It is hard. It's really hard.

All of us are still practicing this. This is not one of those things you're going to get perfect at.  There's not going to be a day when you can say, 'Alright, I've got it; I've got it.  I can radically accept. I turn the mind all the time and I'm willing.'  That day is not going to come.

This is the only set of skills that I teach that I would have to say just about everybody has to practice just about every day of their lives.

... .

Now, I know that these are really difficult skills.  They, they've been difficult for me.  They are difficult for everybody I know.  And the facts of the matter are, every single person  I know is practicing these skills.

But I think if you practice them you'll find over time, may take a while, maybe slower than you want, but I think you're going to find them really helpful . The secret is, don't reject them right away. Don't reject them if you don't feel better right away or somehow your life isn't worth living right this minute.  These skills take time to work.  But, if you keep at it, I think they will work.

PS. Thanks busybee1116 for sharing that infographic. Grieving can be quite a complicated process indeed! Smiling (click to insert in post)
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2016, 08:58:00 PM »

Busybee, thanks for the wonderful visual!   It actually made me laugh because with this topic, we can sure use a sense of humor!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)  What a great picture of how it really is!

You and Kwamina shared honestly about your struggles that have caused you grief. The grieving over what you both lost is a powerful voice, showing that you are both survivors, with resiliency and the desire to continue to heal.

I still go back to my grief letters from time to time and add/edit. Therapy has helped enormously. I've also cried a ton. Just feeling the feelings and being okay with them, letting them be.



You make a great point here, the allowing yourself to feel. What a difference it will make and has made for you! This is you learning who you are.   I am very glad and proud of you for doing this hard work, and I'm sorry too, for all of your loss and can hear the pain of some of what you went through.

Kwamina, when I read your post, I grieve with you. It is so sad, all that we lost and how it affected us so deeply. Yet to not turn away from looking at the reality, it helps us to focus the anger and grief outward instead of inward, doesn't it?

Learning about the concept of radical acceptance is something that I have found really helpful. Those reality acceptance skills didn't make my pain disappear, but they did provide me with ways to better manage my pain and move forward with my life.

You've shared an example of how it is possible to grieve yet not get stuck in the grief itself, and you have moved forward. For both of you it's clear that this isn't an easy process, but it does bring hope and a way to move forward.

Thank you for being so real.


Wools

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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2016, 01:50:06 PM »

I still go back to my grief letters from time to time and add/edit. Therapy has helped enormously. I've also cried a ton. Just feeling the feelings and being okay with them, letting them be.



You make a great point here, the allowing yourself to feel. What a difference it will make and has made for you! This is you learning who you are.

This is a very important point indeed, allowing yourself to feel your feelings. I had an experience yesterday in which I did just that. I was meditating and while I was doing that a memory from my childhood came in my mind. I was bullied in High School and the memory was related to how that experience made me feel. It felt like a dark cloud was entering my mind reminiscent of the dark cloud of depression and I had an impulse too push it away and even stop meditating altogether. I however regained my focus and allowed myself to feel whatever I was feeling. The cloud passed and it truly felt like I could feel the negativity from that memory drifting away. It wasn't gone, I could still sense it, but it was not hovering over me anymore and I could see it drifting away in the distance. I was thinking about how it helps to focus your attention, but not what you see, push away nothing, cling to nothing. Watch your thoughts coming and going, like clouds in the sky.
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« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2016, 09:27:12 PM »

-What type of loss/losses are you grieving, especially as it relates to the effects of BPD in our lives?

-How are you working through the grief and/or what has helped you to process and work through your grief?

-What feelings have you noticed as you work through your grief?

Hi, Wools!

Since my uBPDm was killed two months ago, I have been experiencing so many various shades and degrees of relief and freedom and peace that there has been nothing of grief in it. However, I have become aware, just this week, of a grief I had not previously identified; grieving my lack of a full-fledged closeness with the rest of my FOO.

My sister, brother and sister-in-law drove up to my mom's house a couple of weeks ago, and together with my father took what they wanted/needed from mom's house and cleared out the place so the estate can be settled. It was definitely my own choice to not be there - I have no good memories, and many uncomfortable ones, associated with the place (she moved there while I was in college), and I wanted nothing that belonged to her (I already had any childhood belongings that mattered to me.) Furthermore, I knew that if I went out of a sense of duty to help with the cleanup, I would struggle with great anger and irritation both at the "hoarder" state of my mom's house and at the personality conflicts of my siblings, while having to deal with resentment as I knew my husband and I would be called on to help finance the whole cleanup operation (everyone else in the family is flat broke, or worse.) So, I chose to keep myself out of the situation entirely, and to their credit, everyone treated me decently over that choice.

And then I saw on a Facebook post my sister-in-law recounting how they had been able to get the local Goodwill to donate a large truck and a couple of workers to come and pick up two trucks-full of goods to take back to the facility - not their normal operation, but they agreed to it because my mom was a murder victim in good standing in the community. I'm not sure why learning this gave me such a sense of loss. I think it was really just a reminder that, because I have to distance myself from the disorder that still exists among my siblings (my brother is volatile/sometimes abusive, and my sister was still somewhat enmeshed with my mom and very opposite in personality to me), and because of my tender emotional scars that surround everything having to do with my mom, I am also necessarily cut off from the good and joyful things that happen with them. I can be glad that the Goodwill saved the day, but I have to be glad from a distance, because I decided not to be there. I don't regret this, but it does make me sad.

My siblings both spoke, and spoke well (I was surprised at how their words were both truthful and yet kind) at my mom's funeral. I did not. I played the piano for the hymn-singing - my mom did love singing, and she loved me playing. I gave what I could, and what I can give is never going to be the same set of things my siblings can give. I know they both wish I were closer with them, but while my distance hurts them, they might never be able to understand how much their presence is difficult for me to navigate without damage. And just because my mom is dead, that doesn't change that reality.

The feelings I'm noticing in all this are sadness - of the wistful sort, not the tragic sort - and a sort of peaceful clarity. I hadn't gotten to that point until yesterday when I finally identified why I kept thinking about that Goodwill truck.
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2016, 09:34:15 PM »

Kwamina, thank you for sharing this valuable lesson from your own experience:

The cloud passed and it truly felt like I could feel the negativity from that memory drifting away. It wasn't gone, I could still sense it, but it was not hovering over me anymore and I could see it drifting away in the distance. I was thinking about how it helps to focus your attention, but not what you see, push away nothing, cling to nothing. Watch your thoughts coming and going, like clouds in the sky.

You were able to experience and allow the memory to come and go without becoming lost in it. Sounds like it was healing.

Claudiaduffy, it sounds as if you too are on a track of discovery with the recent death of your mom. It's interesting how the death of our pwBPD affects us in ways we didn't expect. I can understand your grieving the loss you shared:

I have become aware, just this week, of a grief I had not previously identified; grieving my lack of a full-fledged closeness with the rest of my FOO.

The feelings I'm noticing in all this are sadness - of the wistful sort, not the tragic sort - and a sort of peaceful clarity. I hadn't gotten to that point until yesterday when I finally identified why I kept thinking about that Goodwill truck.

I too frequently grieve the loss of what my siblings and I missed of our extended family because of our uBPDm banishing us from seeing them anymore. Years have passed, and how much we have missed! I'm sorry too for the loss of what 'could have been' for you. Thank you for sharing what you are learning.

I believe pleasehelp asks a question in another post about grieving our childhood losses and what that involves. In his article about Grieving and Complex PTSD, Pete Walker says the following:

Excerpt
Grieving is an irreplaceable tool for metabolizing and resolving the

overwhelming feelings that arise during emotional flashbacks.

Grieving aids the survivor immeasurably to work through the innumerable death-like

experiences of being lost and trapped in emotional flashbacks. Grieving also supports

recovery from the many painful, death-like losses caused by childhood traumatization.

Recoverees need to grieve the death of safety and belonging in their own childhoods –

the death of their early attachment needs. They need to mourn the myriad heartbreaks of

their frustrated attempts to win approval and affection from their parents.

I find those words to be rather comforting, and propelling me on towards the healing that comes from learning how to grieve. As Kwamina shared the example from his own life, he let the feelings come. Several of you have mentioned this same thing, allowing ourselves to feel what we feel so that we can grieve properly.

Pete Walker also comments in the same article about the basic needs of children, and when I read them, I grieve for what I did not have: 

Excerpt
As the grieving process therapeutically evolves, survivors typically uncover a great deal

of unresolved grief about the deadening absence of the nurturance they needed to develop

and thrive. Children will only flourish if the following types of needs are consistently

met: 1. Physical needs for affection and protection; 2. Emotional needs for caring, regard

and interest; 3. Spiritual needs for recognition of their worth and basic goodness; 4.

Verbal needs for welcoming inquiry, positive feedback, and multidimensional

conversation.1

  from www.pete-walker.com/pdf/GrievingAndComplexPTSD.pdf

Don't give up!   We are all on this journey of healing together!


Wools
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2016, 10:49:43 PM »

My apologies for posting prior to seeing this thread.

Great responses. After digging deep and repeatedly asking myself why I keep thinking of fantasy childhood, it's because i really wanted parents. I did not have them no will I ever have them.

Almost all my fantasies involved my parents dying or being far away. I noticed someone said this earlier as well. There is always a big funeral  in my fantasy world for them.

I think I am having another breakthrough. As the previous poster stated, they too wanted thought of the death as it matched the physical reality. I wished them no harm. My subconsciousness must have already considered them dead when I was young.  I wonder if this is why the trauma is still there. Much like a child in a coma. You cannot mourn the death yet  that has not happened yet but is inevitable.

Wow. this is really hitting me. I think the fantasy funerals made it easier to grieve the loss of a parent.

I think what is best for me is to grieve the loss of the relationships that never were. This may have been the strength I needed over the years to remain NC. To be candid, NC was easy. If anything, they went NC on me.

I do wish i could get myself un hung from this part of my life.

Again, I think focusing on the relationship part may be he best way to grieve.

Thanks
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« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2016, 08:03:07 AM »

Great thread and made me think all night. I realize I accepted my parents leaving at a young age. F was in prison and M took of. Once he got out, I slowly went with him and M was out of picture. By the time I was 13-14, I did not know M. She started another family as did F. Although I lived with F, I was clearly unwelcome and he was mostly high / drunk so there was no bonding.

After reading this post last night, I vividly recalled being a young teenager and very lonely. Moving around alot having an unstable home life, is difficult. I looked back to my very early fantasies ( around 12-15 yrs old) and always saw similar themes. One early fantasy was my parents had a nice farm and was friends with another couple who had a beautiful daughter. I selected some random girl at school who had simple beauty to fill this role. Both parents were killed or had an accident while on vacation or some other scenario and girl moved onto farm with her siblings as we were both the oldest and I had siblings as well. I was able to step up take over farm and raise this new family as one and there was so much love.

I would get so immersed into the details like getting the kid's into bed and us having a glass of wine in the evening on the back porch under the stars. I was somehow trying to turn a tragic situation into a love story of sorts. I am not sure 14-15 year olds should be thinking like that. Is that normal?

I am not sure if I have ever truly sat down and mourned not having parents and a childhood. I think the first step is to accept what happened to me and go from there. I think these fantasies were a way of avoiding the grieving process. If that is the case, I may have been walking around with PTSD all these years. Admittedly, I was always a bit reclusive. Maybe this is why.

Around 15 / 16 I had a handful of close friends. These guys were my lifeblood. I am sure I needed them more than they needed me. They all knew my situation. By my mid 20's, they had all moved on into marriage, etc and I was unable to make that transition. I can see now I was a bit maladjusted. I could not transition into a stable relationship with a woman. I desperately wanted to but the only relationships I could have were drinking buddies. I was very shy around women and this did not help.

Maybe I had arrested development and  could not move past adolescence. After writing that sentence, I see that as a strong possibility.

Once these guys moved on , I truly felt devastated. I moved across country to start over. To them, I was a buddy to have beers with and get a bit crazy. They had families and i could tell I was not part of it. To me, they were my brothers who I needed to survive. I felt as though it was my oxygen being taken away when these guys moved on.

I think this it has been almost 20 years since I saw these guys but that have stayed with me in my mind. To them, I am a blur at best. I have to understand how this all fits into my childhood. It was probably the closest I ever came to a functioning family. We were  there for each other and we had fun together. Losing them hurt like hell.

What I need to do is somehow heal / grieve from all this and put everything into perspective.

This is a great thread
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« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2016, 04:48:13 PM »



... .and repeat!

Laugh out loud (click to insert in post)

I've been grieving for years. Didn't know I was until about 5 years ago. I grieve my lost childhood and years of living in FOG. I grieve not having the idealized parents I was raised to believe I have. I grieve the loss of freedom/being carefree, making decisions out of choice rather than obligation. I still feel like I don't know who I am, what I like because I spent so much time trying to please my parents. My predominant emotion for years was fear. For awhile, I thought it would feel better if my parents had actually died because then my feelings would match my reality... .and it would be less painful than having them in my life, creating chaos.

I worked through this:

www.amazon.com/Recovery-Handbook-Anniversary-Expanded-Edition/dp/0061686077

I must say it did help. I'm not completely grief free, but it gave me a way to think about things and process tangibly. I still go back to my grief letters from time to time and add/edit. Therapy has helped enormously. I've also cried a ton. Just feeling the feelings and being okay with them, letting them be. I was ashamed for awhile to have feelings of anger, sadness, grief towards my parents. They did provide for me materially, I was not physically abused. But I did not get what I needed as a child. I have not been able to tell them how I feel, but writing the letters felt close enough.

Thanks for that link busy bee, I requested that book from the library.

I'm grieving the lack of parenting I had as I continue to  parent my teenager through thick and thin. My parents had each other and they still abandoned me. I'm a single parent and I do a much better job of being a parent then either one of them.

I have been talking about my ptsd lately and last night I took my sleep medication again so I could sleep through the night. I was waking up between 1am and 3am every morning and then I couldn't get back to sleep because I would start to think about things.

Ironically my ACA sponsor told me to do grief work and then she ended up leaving the program!

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« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2016, 04:55:23 PM »

Hi Wools

This is a very tough yet very important topic. Thanks for starting it and for the double hugs  

-What type of loss/losses are you grieving, especially as it relates to the effects of BPD in our lives?

I am grieving the loss of the childhood I never had and how this has impacted my adult life. Also how being raised by my uBPD mom affected me emotionally and psychologically causing me to behave in ways that I now realize weren't really me at all.

Oh my goodness, that right there stopped me in tracks.

I was so split black, not just by my mom, her sister, my brother. The only one who didn't buy into that stuff, was my dad, who didn't defend me either. It makes me angry just thinking about it. I still have to deal with that today. Its horrible. Any time I talk about my daughter to any of them they remind me of how horrible I was a teenager. Yeah I was really horrible. I was suicidal, abusing substances, had undiagnosed depression and an undiagnosed learning disability. I was a real bad child alright.

Yes, I'm angry, not the same thing as resentful, not at all.
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« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2016, 05:55:34 PM »

Hi all!   

I've come to accept that for me, grieving is an on-going process.  As circumstances change in my life I find myself going back re-grieving the losses; the actual death of my parents and how sad it is that I mostly feel relief, the parents and childhood I never had, how I have let them affect my adulthood, all the 'normal' or expected life milestones that I have never had and never will have.  In another thread Turkish wrote "none of that was necessary".  *That*.  It is so damn sad.  Sad like claudia-d talked about, that wistful sadness that gives me an dull ache in my chest and I just sit with it.  Like Kwamina said, I try to "Watch your thoughts coming and going, like clouds in the sky."  I think I have made progress with not judging my feelings and simply acknowledging that it is okay to feel what I am feeling.  I'm still letting go of my need to be OK and normal in spite of everything.   This too I think will be an on going process for me.

Acceptance... .it is the only life-line I have right now.  And it is a choice that I make daily and sometimes I have to do it several times a day.  I am not always successful, but I am getting better at it as time goes by.

Yes, there is so much sadness here, but there is so much more hope and determination in all of you.  Reading the posts here I can *see* it, in between the lines of grief and sadness and your hope and determination is inspiring.

Thanks for the thread Wools!  You are a star.  Keep twinkling   
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« Reply #12 on: April 03, 2016, 09:30:21 AM »

I am realizing that I had / have arrested development. I was unable to move past my teen years until my early 30's. This is why I was so hurt over losing my teenage friends.

It's a natural development to move onto new sets of friends in a healthy way. When we are unhealthy we cannot reach those milestones in human growth. 

The other people I met along the way I almost discounted as they were not as close as my teenage friends and I was quickly let down. If i was developing properly, I would have understood the nature  of friendships change and I should be able to adapt. I was almost obsessed with a group of guys who I essentially barhopped with from 17-25 yrs of age. I viewed them as family and could not break that mindset.

Somehow growing up the way I did  caused me to develop this way. It's almost as if I lived in complete fear of the world and when I let my guard down a bit to embrace friends I could not handle them moving on. It brought back the traumas of my parents leaving.



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« Reply #13 on: April 03, 2016, 12:45:19 PM »

This topic is great

For those of you who like humor, I suggest you google SNL (Sat night live) women's group. It's a funny skit about a women who does not fit into the typical suburban housewife social group. Sadly, the analogy of many of our lives does mirror the skit.

Most of us were not properly prepared for adulthood. You are supposed to go through the rites of passage i.e innocence of youth, learn how to identify stable relationships, how to interact with the opposite sex, learn how to prepare for a career, family, etc.

I used to be and still am envious (in an unhealthy) way of kid's who grew up in nice families that taught them these things. I think I was grieving  not having these things when I was young. I read stores of little kid's (4-8) whose father died or was not around would pretend to have a dad. Those stories always made me cry.

I have to realize I am not trying to get back to a "golden age' of my childhood. I vividly recall my 11 & 12 th grade years where I spent time in the garage on a table with a noose around my neck. Trying to get up enough balls to kick the table out from underneath me.  I simply did not want to live. One would think that this period of my life should be erased from my memory but it is not. Maybe I should look at this period of my life as hell, grieve having had to go through it all and downplay any friendships that got me through it. I guess I am trying to figure out what to grieve and what to keep and a good memory.  I am beginning to think maybe some of my friendships were "quick alliances" and nothing more. I never screwed a friend over and even said yes to one who needed to stay with me for his last few months of HS as his mother was moving.

As children, I think kid's could sense many of us were "not right". I am in my 40's and these "flare ups" still happen. This tells me I obviously endured some sort of trauma. I also notice how many of the friends I survived with made it into the "normal" world as I did. Job, family, etc. I suspect a few of them want nothing to do with the past and that does hurt me.

I think I may be stuck in the past way too much and need to dig myself out from that. 

I need to grieve someway / somehow.

Thanks
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« Reply #14 on: April 03, 2016, 01:08:04 PM »

Have you ever tried listening to your inner child, Pleasehelp? I don't recall from your previous posts if you mentioned that you see a T. I've been learning a lot about my own Lil' Wools this past year, largely due to help from my T, and it has been enlightening, freeing, and allowing me to grieve. From the things I hear you saying, I would agree that you are focused on your teen years at the moment, and that is what is causing me to ask.

Wools
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« Reply #15 on: April 03, 2016, 03:49:09 PM »

I am realizing that I had / have arrested development. I was unable to move past my teen years until my early 30's. This is why I was so hurt over losing my teenage friends.

It's a natural development to move onto new sets of friends in a healthy way. When we are unhealthy we cannot reach those milestones in human growth. 

The other people I met along the way I almost discounted as they were not as close as my teenage friends and I was quickly let down. If i was developing properly, I would have understood the nature  of friendships change and I should be able to adapt. I was almost obsessed with a group of guys who I essentially barhopped with from 17-25 yrs of age. I viewed them as family and could not break that mindset.

Somehow growing up the way I did  caused me to develop this way. It's almost as if I lived in complete fear of the world and when I let my guard down a bit to embrace friends I could not handle them moving on. It brought back the traumas of my parents leaving.


please help, please try to be compassionate with yourself. I hear a lot of harsh judgment of yourself in there. That's a trait of an adult child of disordered parents: we judge ourselves harshly and have a very low self esteem. I know, i struggle with that one too.
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« Reply #16 on: April 03, 2016, 03:50:41 PM »

This topic is great

For those of you who like humor, I suggest you google SNL (Sat night live) women's group. It's a funny skit about a women who does not fit into the typical suburban housewife social group. Sadly, the analogy of many of our lives does mirror the skit.

Most of us were not properly prepared for adulthood. You are supposed to go through the rites of passage i.e innocence of youth, learn how to identify stable relationships, how to interact with the opposite sex, learn how to prepare for a career, family, etc.

I used to be and still am envious (in an unhealthy) way of kid's who grew up in nice families that taught them these things. I think I was grieving  not having these things when I was young. I read stores of little kid's (4-8) whose father died or was not around would pretend to have a dad. Those stories always made me cry.

I have to realize I am not trying to get back to a "golden age' of my childhood. I vividly recall my 11 & 12 th grade years where I spent time in the garage on a table with a noose around my neck. Trying to get up enough balls to kick the table out from underneath me.  I simply did not want to live. One would think that this period of my life should be erased from my memory but it is not. Maybe I should look at this period of my life as hell, grieve having had to go through it all and downplay any friendships that got me through it. I guess I am trying to figure out what to grieve and what to keep and a good memory.  I am beginning to think maybe some of my friendships were "quick alliances" and nothing more. I never screwed a friend over and even said yes to one who needed to stay with me for his last few months of HS as his mother was moving.

As children, I think kid's could sense many of us were "not right". I am in my 40's and these "flare ups" still happen. This tells me I obviously endured some sort of trauma. I also notice how many of the friends I survived with made it into the "normal" world as I did. Job, family, etc. I suspect a few of them want nothing to do with the past and that does hurt me.

I think I may be stuck in the past way too much and need to dig myself out from that. 

I need to grieve someway / somehow.

Thanks

Hi please help may I ask if you have or have had a therapist or any 12 step recovery? Those are very hard things to be dealing with on your own. Please be careful with yourself.
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« Reply #17 on: April 03, 2016, 04:54:51 PM »

Hello,

  No. I am not currently in counseling. I have gone through psychotherapy in the past and realized it was a life long process of healing. At some point, I may start again.

If I could somehow grieve he first 18 years of my life, I would be okay. After 18, my life has been okay excluding a divorce from a BPD which forced me to open my eyes to why I would have gotten involved with someone like that in the first place.

I think it was the formative years that threw me off. If I can somehow accept / grieve how I did not get the proper "nourishment" during this phase, I honestly feel everything will be okay. My soul will be at peace.

Thanks for asking
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« Reply #18 on: April 04, 2016, 06:54:25 AM »

The concept of my inner child is new and I have just begun to research it. Wow !

I think for starters visualizing myself at the key ages when I recall most of the trauma and then supporting and being kind to that person is a get way of healing.

It's obvious that my years of fantasy living were merely a way of reconstructing these periods of trauma to make them less painful. My fantasies always involved a great deal of emotional pain. This was done for the reality effect but I always healed right. In other words, I as able to go through the meat grinder and  come out happy , stable and well rounded in my fantasies. Maybe I feel I am not and that is the purpose of my fantasies.

I also realize it's a waste of time to try and connect with other's who knew me during this period. Many were really messed up ( the adults) and want to put that part of their life behind them.  I am not sure if they understand the people they did drugs with had a little child ( me) that could use help in getting answers. They do not care and that is okay.

The only person I should be connecting with from my past is the child in me that suffered the blunt traumas. I spoke to my childhood friend yesterday ( I hope you all have at least 1) and said it bothers me that we missed out on so many rites of passage i.e healthy activities, stable friends, dates, etc. most teenagers go through. I commented on how I think it affected us as adults. He pointed out we were socially awkward and that was not an option for us. He was right. My parents in addition to  emotionally abandoning me (which happens to many kids), they created so much stress in my life I almost could not function. The quick "reunion" I had with my F a few years back after 25 years( which I suspect had to do with him needing money) he complained his life was so out of control back then. He blamed his ex-wife's drug use. Of course it had nothing to do with him. He worked long hours and was a great guy in his mind.

I remember signing up for soccer and making the team in the 9th grade. A few days later the police raided the house and my father was facing severe prison time. Admittedly, I hid evidence during the raid that helped him with a partial acquittal. I recall calling my friend from a pay phone crying and telling him. He invited me over for dinner but I declined. I then asked my mother's mother a few day's later if I could use her address as I wanted to stay in the school system. I offered her money to use the address and I said I would live in a room in another city. I had a p/t job.  I needed her address as my F appeared to be going away and I did not want to go into foster care. She said no. I left that fall afternoon looking at the leaves and deciding to quit soccer as I was planning on becoming a runaway for a few years.  That was just one of countless stories. One reoccurring  fantasy during this period was a nice stable family who was involved in crime with my F would take me in as a surrogate to help work "the business". It was always the same theme ( stable surrogate parents, an unusual but valid reason for taking me on and cute daughters -ha,ha) I know it sounds absurd but I was reaching for straws at the time. I can feel the anxiety writing this from that period of time. 

You cannot be remotely stable and grow as a teen in a healthy way with that kind of crap going on. I need to cut myself some slack and understand my whacked out, maladjusted younger years were not my fault. On the contrary, I probably came out a hell of a lot better than most.

I need to begin helping my inner child heal and that may be the only aspect from my childhood I should worry about.

Thanks for any feedback and I hope my sharing benefits other's as well.

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« Reply #19 on: April 04, 2016, 07:23:22 AM »

Wools rightly makes the point about the importance of inner child work. When grieving our losses and coming to terms with the past, I too believe this is very important. In another thread about exercises for self insight, several great exercises for connecting with your inner child are mentioned:

I not too long ago came across an exercise which can help you enhance your ability to feel. I got it from the work of Pete Walker, M.A. who specializes in grieving and trauma-recovery:

Here is an exercise to help you enhance your ability to feel and grieve through pain. Visualize yourself as time-traveling back to a place in the past when you felt especially abandoned. See your adult self taking your abandoned child onto your lap and comforting her in various painful emotional states or situations. You can comfort her verbally: “I feel such sorrow that you were so abandoned and that you felt so alone so much of the time. I love you even more when you are stuck in this abandonment pain – especially because you had to endure it for so long with no one to comfort you. That shouldn’t have happened to you. It shouldn’t happen to any child. Let me comfort and hold you. You don’t have to rush to get over it. It is not your fault. You didn’t cause it and you’re not to blame. You don’t have to do anything. Let me just hold you. Take you’re time. I love you always and care about you no matter what.”

I highly recommend practicing this even if it feels inauthentic, and even if it requires a great deal of fending off your critic. Keep practicing and eventually, you will have a genuine experience of feeling self-compassion for that traumatized child you were, and with that, you will know that your recovery work had reached a deep level.

I found Homecoming: Reclaiming and Healing Your Inner Child by John Bradshaw to be extremely helpful. The book offers a lot of meditation and visualization exercises that had a very powerful effect on me. In one of the exercises you visualize your adult self going down a long corridor with doors on both sides. You enter the doors one by one and extract from each room your baby self, your toddler self, your school-aged self, your adolescent self, your teen self, and your young adult self. The exercise forces you to visualize what you looked like in each stage, which for me was really hard because I had some mild body disassociation as a child. I would look in the mirror and not recognize the person standing in front of me and it would take me a second or two to put together that the vision in the mirror was me. Well the exercise kind of re-welded my adult self to my various stages of child selves and I had a very distinct feeling of wholeness afterward, and of relief that now each of my child selves were safely in my capable adult hands. I highly recommend it if you're feeling disconnected from yourself.

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« Reply #20 on: April 04, 2016, 09:10:00 AM »

Great topic Woolspinner Smiling (click to insert in post)

Right now I am 42 and grieving my loss of identity and trust.  I have been trying so hard lately to remember who I was and my true likes/dislikes.  I an only latch onto two, the person my mom wanted and the rebellious person I became at times.  I don't want to live a life of anti BPDm.  I feel like I am grieving at this point because I feel so out of touch with myself and my memories which are so fragmented and often hidden. 

I mourn the loss of my BPDm from time to time too.  Just had a dream where she was "normal" and that just broke my heart.  I want to go home and go shopping, movies, tea room, etc but reality has kept me from doing so.  My BPDm has become a monster to me, at least when I was younger she could show some loving sides, whether real or not, and we had fun times.  As Ive grown older and older, it's like she rejected me more and more until I just feel like some horrible stranger that she hates .   For so long I clung to young things from childhood because I associated them with love and acceptance.   Just being mature and grown (at 42) feels like a sin.  Even my cousin recently texted me to say I reminded her of some new pre-teen star on a new Disney show.  It probably frustrated me more than it should have as I have struggled to be taken seriously despite being quite successful.

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« Reply #21 on: April 04, 2016, 09:26:30 AM »

Thank you Wools for starting this thread and for sharing your own story of grief. Clearly this is a shared emotion among nonBPDs, especially the concept of trying to heal our grief by acknowledging our inner child.

Just this morning I listened to a guided mediation about healing out inner child. It was very healing for me to listen to this meditation, so I hope it's okay to share it here: https://youtu.be/-_dTtHriNlk

The people who made this meditation ("The Honest Guys" have made dozens of others on their YouTube channel. I listen to one every day before work.

Cheers, and healing energy to everyone posting on this thread.

~BluePearl

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« Reply #22 on: April 04, 2016, 10:54:33 PM »

I am begging to reach out (or in) to my inner child. There are three(3) ages 6 , 11 and 16/17 that I need to connect with.

I feel like a big brother to this little guy in many ways now. It will be interesting to see if my inner child heals and how this affects me today.

I have been under a stressful period lately and reached out to old friends. I connected with a few and others no luck.

I realize many of us need more in a friendship than the other side. They may see us as a casual acquaintance whereas we see them as a surrogate sibling.

The only person i should be connecting with is the inner child. Friendships are not substitutes for healthy families. they complement your family but should not be seen as substitutes. This is what I have learned recently. This is a result of growing up the way we did.
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« Reply #23 on: April 05, 2016, 08:45:01 AM »

I am going through a stressful period and knew my past would be coming back to haunt me as it always does. I see the patterns. I start remembering old traumas and try to rely on old friends for strength.

The problem is I have only 2-3 people from childhood I can rely on. I should not complain as it's better than most. These people were my family and to them, I was some guy to party with.

I also always revert back to my fantasy world about a certain middle class town where I get taken in as a surrogate family member. There is nothing special about this place or the people. I realize it's where I first saw normal / functioning people. This was my benchmark for how to live. Identifying strangers and seeing how they lived i.e house , car, etc is what i modeled my life on. That is what is causing my emotional attachment.

This is a clear indicator I grew up in a messed up home. I had to teach myself how to live and what I need to teach myself now is how to stop thinking of guys from almost 20 years ago as "family" . In addition to my inner child

To be candid, some of them may have thought of me as a bit of a loser. Most 18 yr olds are still at home (or at school). Not working full time, going to college nights and living in a 300 sq ft room. 


I think we were punks back then and quite possibly do not wish to see people from that period. As mentioned, on my side, I was much more invested into them than they were to me. My need for "family" caused imbalance. I vividly recall waiting around on christmas, and t-giving for them to finish with their families so we could hang out. I can see now how unhealthy this was for my self-esteem.

I am asking myself where I went wrong to end up with no support network and I have no answers. Everyone went their own ways so it's not like I was ostracized.


These BPD parents really messed us up.

I recall about 12 yrs ago I was really down financially and was walking along the street thinking who I could call for help. I went through a checklist and realized there was noone. i always did try to maintain relationships and help people but  I still ended up with alone. That was despair.

I have stated earlier it's unnatural not to have close family around you. It's how we are wired as humans and it hurts to the core when these relations are not there.

It's funny, I no longer complain about what my F or M did or did not do. There is no need. I think I am focused solely on trying to heal. The crazy stories where I almost died, etc is useless. I need to focus on healing.

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« Reply #24 on: April 05, 2016, 03:56:49 PM »

I am hoping (God willing) to be out from under this stress in a few days. Heavy stress always causes a flare-up. Much like an old wound, I even know when it's going to hurt. I always learn something more about myself in the process.

I find myself fantasizing about how my childhood could have been. I think this would have shaped me into a different person today. The only other thing I can do is become the person I want to be.

In many ways, we are much richer and deeper people as we know how important it is to grow. Oddly, that is a good thing we can take away from our experiences. It still hurts like hell, but that is at least one good thing.

I think I was so obsessed with strangers because they appeared to be healthy and I could tell i was not.

I worked in  a store when I was young. I would see presentable looking mothers bring their kid's (who were clean -cut and appeared to have a fun and loving relationship with mom) into the store and my young heart would ache. Oh, to be part of a family like that, i would think.

I know everyone has problems but they seemed happy and content. I so desperately wanted to be part of that life.

I wonder how much strength I had as a kid. I did some sports but quit my last 2 years as I worked nights. I knew I better have cash as I was moving out soon. I don't think one can be charismatic, popular and academically successful while living in hell. I remember wanting a girlfriend so bad and telling my friend I was simply not in a position for it. I knew my living situation was precarious.

Based on my situation, I did the best I could. I am simply reflecting on if i somehow could have let the heavy blows roll off me a bit more in my younger years. Actually what I am doing is beating on my teenage self for not doing more. I need to connect with that young guy and tell him he is doing fine. He was planning his escape and did not have time to enjoy things in his youth. 

Sometimes surviving is impressive unto itself. Admittedly, I am impressed by that 17 year old's ability to survive and later thrive.
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« Reply #25 on: April 06, 2016, 07:39:28 AM »

Hi please help,

It's funny, I no longer complain about what my F or M did or did not do. There is no need. I think I am focused solely on trying to heal. The crazy stories where I almost died, etc is useless. I need to focus on healing.

You've been through a lot in your life. In many ways your parents unfortunately did fail you. You however cannot change the past but can work in the present on moving forward in a more positive way. That's why I like the refocusing you are doing in which you are putting your healing first Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Sometimes surviving is impressive unto itself. Admittedly, I am impressed by that 17 year old's ability to survive and later thrive.

The child and teenager you were definitely deserves a lot of praise for his resilience and ability to survive the things you've been through. You were just a child and your parents were the adults which makes them fully responsible for their actions. I might have mentioned it before to you, but the the Survivors' Guide in the right-hand side margin of this board, is an excellent resource to aid in the healing process. The guide takes you from survivor to thriver through 3 major stages: 1. Remembering --> 2. Mourning --> 3. Healing.
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2016, 09:35:41 AM »

Thank you for the feedback. After years here, I finally started the guide at your urging. Instead of naturally heal, I immersed myself in a fantasy world that had pain and suffering but ended up okay.

This fantasy world was / is my drug. I spent so much time there I never addressed the root cause of initially going there. I will spend hours and days fantasizing about a fictitious event as a mechanism for dealing with trauma.

I also realize this real healing needs to be done. I was recently trying to connect with old friends and I now understand I am chasing shadows. There is nothing there. Oddly, I am a bit relieved but not sure why. Maybe deep down I too do not want to be reminded of the hard times we had in life. Had these been healthy relationships, they would have easily endured the test of time. Clearly, most were not healthy. There was a strong presence of drugs and low level crime that a few do not wish to think about. One or 2 may even feel their shortcomings (not getting through college) , etc were attributed to hanging out with a bad crowd. I was able to get a degree but one kid I talked to recently said he wished he had done things differently and finished.

Maybe they too had a bit of trauma and they are trying to cope as well.

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« Reply #27 on: April 06, 2016, 09:32:10 PM »

Thank you Harri for sharing with us about your own personal journey of grieving. You are growing! I can see so clearly how far you've come from those first days of posting.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

I think I have made progress with not judging my feelings and simply acknowledging that it is okay to feel what I am feeling. 

Acceptance... .it is the only life-line I have right now.  And it is a choice that I make daily and sometimes I have to do it several times a day.  I am not always successful, but I am getting better at it as time goes by.

I think about the term "radical acceptance" that Kwamina has used. You are doing that, and allowing those feelings. But this is the what I love the most:

Yes, there is so much sadness here, but there is so much more hope and determination in all of you.  Reading the posts here I can *see* it, in between the lines of grief and sadness and your hope and determination is inspiring.



Thank you for the hug and nice words, Harri. Right back atcha! 

Loveisfree, I think you make a good point with the things you shared, showing that grieving truly is a process, one that takes time and goes through various stages and times of the  Idea going on.

Right now I am 42 and grieving my loss of identity and trust.  I have been trying so hard lately to remember who I was and my true likes/dislikes.  I an only latch onto two, the person my mom wanted and the rebellious person I became at times.

You are able to see some of what you've lost, and even though it is painful, it shows that you are working at processing your way through it. BluePearl is very correct in her observation:

Clearly this is a shared emotion among nonBPDs, especially the concept of trying to heal our grief by acknowledging our inner child.

It's great that you are starting to work with your inner children now, Pleasehelp. Kudos to you!  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)

Thank you to each one of you for telling us about your grief. Hero of the day awards for not being afraid of this subject.


Wools

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« Reply #28 on: April 06, 2016, 09:42:28 PM »

There are so many feelings we can associate with grief: anger and sadness, abandonment and helplessness to name a few. Once again I would like to quote Pete Walker as he talks about Grieving and Complex PTSD especially as it relates to feelings and grief:

Excerpt
[Feeling]is best illustrated by contrasting the two concepts “emote” and

“feel”. Emoting is when we cry or anger out the energy of an inner emotional experience.

Feeling, on the other hand, is the passive process of non-reactively staying present to

internal emotional experience. In complex ptsd recovery, feeling is surrendering to the

internal experiences of our childhood pain without judging or resisting them, and without

emoting them out.Feeling is a kinesthetic rather than a cognitive experience. It is the process of bringing

one’s awareness out of thinking and into the internal emotions, energetic states and

sensations of the body.

As a grieving process, feeling involves consciously reversing the learned survival

mechanism of clamping down on pain to banish it from awareness.


Feeling “occurs” when we bring the focus of our consciousness into an emotionally or

physically painful state, and when we surrender to this experience without resistance.

When we relax acceptingly into a feeling, we can learn to gently absorb it into our

experience.
[/i]

Until I started T a few years ago, I banished all feelings, and as I read what Pete Walker has said, I find sudden understanding as to why I did this. All of those years, lost feelings. That is something to grieve. As a child, it was for my survival, but now as an adult, it is sadly a well ingrained behavior that doesn't help me to live life in color. My T has helped me so much, constantly reminding me that feelings are normal, and that it is okay to feel them. I've learned that it's okay to feel the happy feelings AND the sad, painful feelings. Most importantly for me, I'm learning to not be afraid of them.  Doing the right thing (click to insert in post)


Wools
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« Reply #29 on: April 06, 2016, 10:42:25 PM »

I am begging to reach out (or in) to my inner child. There are three(3) ages 6 , 11 and 16/17 that I need to connect with.

I feel like a big brother to this little guy in many ways now. It will be interesting to see if my inner child heals and how this affects me today.

Great start. I was able to connect with my preverbal/toddler self after a bit of trying and help with my therapist (it was very powerful when I finally did, even though little me would not stop crying in my visualization), but the older ages didn't "trust" me very much. It took more time with the toddler self for me to gain access to my preteen 11 year old self and then my 17 year old self. Funny that we have similar ages to reckon with! I guess my point is just be patient, it felt silly at times to hug a pillow, comforting an imaginary baby and then cry along with my pretend baby while soothing my little-me self and my adult-self at the same time. But then relief. The relief! To know that there were so many locked in feelings that I had pushed away at such a young age, no wonder I felt so awful.
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