Saturday, 1 August 2015

Learning To Bend But Not Break Within A Relationship

We are taught that true loves means that you love the person and respect the differences.  If you truly love them, you love them as a whole and would not want them to change.  If you want them to change it means that you aren't really in love with them and the change will build resentment and cause a rift that will eventually tear apart the relationship.

But my problem with that is this.  Our partners are not our clones; so there are going to be differences.  For the most part we can accept these.  But what happens when one of those differences causes us pain and distress?  Do we just shut up about it and slowly feel our soul become stifled?  Surely, we should assert our own needs?

We develop habits as we go through life. These habits may serve us and even work within some relationships. What happens if a habit cannot be tolerated by a new partner or similar? Do we say "stuff you, this is me, like it or lump it" or do we, out of respect for the other, modify our habits enough to keep them happy without feeling we were forced and therefore creating resentment.

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. – Aristotle

Our daily lives are often a series of habits played out through the day, a trammeled existence fettered by the slow accretion of our previous actions. But habits can be broken or modified, as difficult as that may seem sometimes. Is the other person important enough to you that you are prepared to make some changes in order to keep them? Some habitual behaviour may serve you when you are single for example, but would not be appropiate within a relationship.

We are all unique. if we are looking to find someone who is exactly like ourselves we would have a long and fruitless wait. Even if we did find that person the chances are that the relationship would become very dull indeed. Differences are good. Celebrate them as long as they do not cause distress.

Our partners, the people we value most, will bring out aspects of our personality otherwise overlooked. Ideally, our relationships make us better people because they encourage us to be more than what we would be alone. In this sense, there’s nothing wrong with taking on some of your lover’s interests, or quirks, or patterns of thought. There’s also nothing wrong with evolving your outlook and behaviour to match a new stage in your life. It’s fine and acceptable that someone may change slightly after making a significant commitment to a relationship.

There is something very wrong when the changes are more than slight. For it would be very wrong if a chameleon stopped changing colours so it might better match all the other changeless creatures in the animal kingdom. Thus it would be very wrong if a person stopped being who they really were to better match someone else. It would be worse still if they never sought to be themselves in the first place.

Having a well developed sense of identity is vital to relationship success. Without it, the chance of waking up one morning feeling totally lost and confused and isolated is greatly increased. And, if you’re not already lost before you begin your love affair, there’s a good chance you may be consumed by it. This is dangerous and unhealthy. Yes, you’re creating a partnership, but effective partnerships ideally require two independent, effective people.

Love? What is it anyway? Some may claim that when you are truly in love then that love does not to be expressed. The knowledge that you are loved should be all encompassing and not require expression.

So about expressing love....

Love should be expressed in every way possible, through words, music, gifts, action, whatever you feel like and maybe more importanly what the object of your love needs.

The problem with the present communication system is that we talk a lot but express a little. The concept of expression has taken a back seat and the concept of social media quickies is in full speed drive. If you do not specifically let someone know that how much you love them, it might take a little time to reach them through other sources and that little time might cost you a lot.

If you do not make someone feel loved, what is the use of loving. Feeling loved is one of the best feelings in the world. We all live for that surely? There is no use of hiding your feeling and thinking that some cupid is going to do it for you or that the other person knows you love them so why bother expressing it. You should tell who so ever it is, how much you love them and how important they are in your life. Maybe not always out loud, maybe not always with words at all.

Circumstances might dictate how you express your feelings too. If you are apart from your loved then that is one of the the most important times of all to make sure they know how you feel. The object of your love may not need to have your love expressed constantly when you are together, but time and distance can bring issues of insecurity and fear to the fore.

No one is perfect. No one will ever be perfect and that is why happy couples don’t look for perfection in their partner. They are considerate, patient, communicate and learn to deal with their partner’s weakness and strengthen them with love.

Understanding your partner’s boundaries is the first step to respecting them. It can be difficult to make the choice to respect your partner’s boundaries when their boundaries don’t match up with whatever it is that you want, but that doesn’t make respecting their boundaries any less important.

If you want to respect your partner, then you have to be able to see yourselves as a true team together. You should think like a team in your mutual decisions and always think of your partner when you make individual decisions. You should think about you both striving toward goals that make both of you stronger instead of feeling like you have opposing needs and wants. If you truly look at yourselves as a unit, then you’ll be able to give your partner the respect that they deserve.

If you don’t agree with your partner, discuss the situation respectfully. You can’t always be on the same page as your partner, and that’s perfectly fine. However, when differences do arise, it’s important that you discuss them respectfully. As you move forward in your relationship, you will find that there are some ways in which you and your partner are fundamentally different. Though you can change a bit to suit each other, you can’t change completely, and you have to learn to accept and appreciate your differences if you want to truly respect your partner.

The golden rule in relationships is – ‘You get what you put in’. I believe a couple is supposed to practice this before even thinking of changing one another’s habits. If one finds that their partner has some annoying habits, let them get rid of their own annoying habits first and from that change, a partner can also notice what they can change too. It creates a war when one notices the others annoying habits and wants to change them when they also have their own annoying habits that they haven’t done away with.

With true love, a couple can afford to overlook certain things that they know could easily start-off the 3rd World War in their relationship. I am not suggesting you overlook something then bring it up later when having a heated argument but to overlook it and have the discipline and self-control not to bring it up again.

Arguing shouldn’t always be seen as a negative element of your relationship. In fact, compared to a couple that never argue, it could be that your relationship is actually in better standing.

Why? Because arguing is indicative of two people who each have their own views and opinions, and are willing to share them. Arguments can mean that there is communication, and a desire to share the issues that are important to the people in the relationship.

In a relationship where there is barely a heated conversation, it could be that one or both parties don’t feel safe enough to express themselves. They doubt whether they can be honest about their feelings and be heard, respected, and still loved.

A lack of argument can also signal a lack of commitment. If you just don’t care about the longevity of your relationship with someone, you might just keep your head down and ignore anything that comes up because, ultimately, it won’t matter in the end.

There will be those who disagree with what I have put here. Maybe some would call me a hipocrite. We can all change, we can all learn. Life is not stationary, we must learn to adapt.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD)


Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) - Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a psychological injury that results from prolonged exposure to social or interpersonal trauma, disempowerment, captivity or entrapment, with lack or loss of a viable escape route for the victim.

C-PTSD Introduction

Note: Out of the FOG provides information and support for those with a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder. This page was written to describe how C-PTSD affects people in relationships with personality-disordered individuals. We welcome visitors who suffer from C-PTSD due to other kinds of trauma. However, please note that we are not a general C-PTSD or PTSD support site. See the links at the bottom of the page for general PTSD & C-PTSD information.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of:
  • domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
  • entrapment or kidnapping.
  • slavery or enforced labor.
  • long term imprisonment and torture
  • repeated violations of personal boundaries.
  • long-term objectification.
  • exposure to gaslighting & false accusations
  • long-term exposure to inconsistent, push-pull,splitting or alternating raging & hooveringbehaviors.
  • long-term taking care of mentally ill or chronically sick family members.
  • long term exposure to crisis conditions.
When people have been trapped in a situation over which they had little or no control at the beginning, middle or end, they can carry an intense sense of dread even after that situation is removed. This is because they know how bad things can possibly be. And they know that it could possibly happen again. And they know that if it ever does happen again, it might be worse than before.
The degree of C-PTSD trauma cannot be defined purely in terms of the trauma that a person has experienced. It is important to understand that each person is different and has a different tolerance level to trauma. Therefore, what one person may be able to shake off, another person may not. Therefore more or less exposure to trauma does not necessarily make the C-PTSD any more or less severe.
C-PTSD sufferers may "stuff" or suppress their emotional reaction to traumatic events without resolution either because they believe each event by itself doesn't seem like such a big deal or because they see no satisfactory resolution opportunity available to them. This suppression of "emotional baggage" can continue for a long time either until a "last straw" event occurs, or a safer emotional environment emerges and the damn begins to break.
The "Complex" in Complex Post Traumatic Disorder describes how one layer after another of trauma can interact with one another. Sometimes, it is mistakenly assumed that the most recent traumatic event in a person's life is the one that brought them to their knees. However, just addressing that single most-recent event may possibly be an invalidating experience for the C-PTSD sufferer. Therefore, it is important to recognize that those who suffer from C-PTSD may be experiencing feelings from all their traumatic exposure, even as they try to address the most recent traumatic event.
This is what differentiates C-PTSD from the classic PTSD diagnosis - which typically describes an emotional response to a single or to a discrete number of traumatic events.

Difference between C-PTSD & PTSD
Although similar, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) differs slightly from the more commonly understood & diagnosed condition Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in causes and symptoms.
C-PTSD results more from chronic repetitive stress from which there is little chance of escape. PTSD can result from single events, or short term exposure to extreme stress or trauma.
Therefore a soldier returning from intense battle may be likely to show PTSD symptoms, but a kidnapped prisoner of war who was held for several years may show additional symptoms of C-PTSD.
Similarly, a child who witnesses a friend's death in an accident may exhibit some symptoms of PTSD but a child who grows up in an abusive home may exhibit the additional C-PTSD characteristics shown below:

C-PTSD - What it Feels Like:
People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel un-centered and shaky, as if they are likely to have an embarrassing emotional breakdown or burst into tears at any moment. They may feel unloved - or that nothing they can accomplish is ever going to be "good enough" for others.
People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel compelled to get away from others and be by themselves, so that no-one will witness what may come next. They may feel afraid to form close friendships to prevent possible loss should another catastrophe strike.
People who suffer from C-PTSD may feel that everything is just about to go "out the window" and that they will not be able to handle even the simplest task. They may be too distracted by what is going on at home to focus on being successful at school or in the workplace.

C-PTSD Characteristics
How it can manifest in the victim(s) over time:
Rage turned inward: Eating disorders. Depression. Substance Abuse / Alcoholism. Truancy. Dropping out. Promiscuity. Co-dependence. Doormat syndrome (choosing poor partners, trying to please someone who can never be pleased, trying to resolve the primal relationship)

Rage turned outward: Theft. Destruction of property. Violence. Becoming a control freak.

Other: Learned hyper vigilance. Clouded perception or blinders about others (especially romantic partners) Seeks positions of power and / or control: choosing occupations or recreational outlets which may put oneself in physical danger. Or choosing to become a "fixer" - Therapist, Mediator, etc.
Avoidance - The practice of withdrawing from relationships with other people as a defensive measure to reduce the risk of rejection, accountability, criticism or exposure.
Blaming - The practice of identifying a person or people responsible for creating a problem, rather than identifying ways of dealing with the problem.
Catastrophizing - The habit of automatically assuming a "worst case scenario" and inappropriately characterizing minor or moderate problems or issues as catastrophic events.
"Control-Me" Syndrome - This describes a tendency which some people have to foster relationships with people who have a controlling narcissistic, antisocial or "acting-out" nature.
Denial - Believing or imagining that some painful or traumatic circumstance, event or memory does not exist or did not happen.
Dependency - An inappropriate and chronic reliance by an adult individual on another individual for their health, subsistence, decision making or personal and emotional well-being.
Depression (Non-PD) -Depression is when you feel sadder than your circumstances dictate, for longer than your circumstances last, but still can't seem to break out of it.
Escape To Fantasy - Taking an imaginary excursion to a happier, more hopeful place.
Fear of Abandonment - An irrational belief that one is imminent danger of being personally rejected, discarded or replaced.
Hyper Vigilance - Maintaining an unhealthy level of interest in the behaviors, comments, thoughts and interests of others.
Identity Disturbance - A psychological term used to describe a distorted or inconsistent self-view
Learned Helplessness- Learned helplessness is when a person begins to believe that they have no control over a situation, even when they do.
Low Self-Esteem - A common name for a negatively-distorted self-view which is inconsistent with reality.
Panic Attacks - Short intense episodes of fear or anxiety, often accompanied by physical symptoms, such as hyperventilating, shaking, sweating and chills.
Perfectionism - The maladaptive practice of holding oneself or others to an unrealistic, unattainable or unsustainable standard of organization, order, or accomplishment in one particular area of living, while sometimes neglecting common standards of organization, order or accomplishment in other areas of living.
Selective Memory and Selective Amnesia - The use of memory, or a lack of memory, which is selective to the point of reinforcing a bias, belief or desired outcome.
Self-Loathing - An extreme hatred of one's own self, actions or one's ethnic or demographic background.
Tunnel Vision - The habit or tendency to only see or focus on a single priority while neglecting or ignoring other important priorities.

C-PTSD Causes
C-PTSD is caused by a prolonged or sustained exposure to emotional trauma or abuse from which no short-term means of escape is available or apparent to the victim.
The precise neurological damage that exists in C-PTSD victims is not well understood.

C-PTSD Treatment
Little has been done in clinical studies of treatment of C-PTSD. However, in general the following is recommended:
  1. Removal of and protection from the source of the trauma and/or abuse.
  2. Acknowledgement of the trauma as real, important and undeserved.
  3. Acknowledge that the trauma came from something that was stronger than the victim and therefore could not be avoided.
  4. Acknowledgement of the "complex" nature of C-PTSD - that responses to earlier traumas may have led to decisions that brought on additional, undeserved trauma.
  5. Acknowledgement that recovery from the trauma is not trivial and will require significant time and effort.
  6. Separation of residual problems into those that the victim can resolve (such as personal improvement goals) and those that the victim cannot resolve (such as the behavior of a disordered family member)
  7. Mourning for what has been lost and cannot be recovered.
  8. Identification of what has been lost and can be recovered.
  9. Program of recovery with focus on what can be improved in an individual's life that is under their own control.
  10. Placement in a supportive environment where the victim can discover they are not alone and can receive validation for their successes and support through their struggles.
  11. As necessary, personal therapy to promote self-discovery.
  12. As required, prescription of antidepressant medications.
What to do about C-PTSD if you've got it:
Remove yourself from the primary or situation or secondary situations stemming from the primary abuse. Seek therapy. Talk about it. Write about it. Meditation. Medication if needed. Physical Exercise. Rewrite the script of your life.
What not to do about it:
Stay. Hold it in. Bottle it up. Act out. Isolate. Self-abuse. Perpetuate the cycle.
What to do about it if you know somebody else who has C-PTSD:
Offer sympathy, support, a shoulder to cry on, lend an ear. Speak from experience. Assist with practical resolution when appropriate (guidance towards escape, therapy, etc.) Be patient.
What not to do about it if you know somebody else who has it:
Do not push your own agenda: proselytize, moralize, speak in absolutes, tell them to "get over it", or try to force reconciliation with the perpetrator or offer "sure fire" cures.

C-PTSD Links
Use the following links to learn more about C-PTSD and get support:
PTSD Forum Contains a Wiki page and Active Support Forum.
Psych Forums PTSD Forum. - Resources & info about recovery from PTSD & C-PTSD
C-PTSD Page - by Author Sarah Tata
Trauma: Complex PTSD C-PTSD Article by Dr. Allan Schwartz

C-PTSD Support Groups & Links:
Out of the Storm - Support Group for people who suffer from C-PTSD.
Out of the FOG Support Forum - The Support Forum here at Out of the FOG.
PTSD Forum Contains a Wiki page and Active Support Forum.
Psych Forums PTSD Forum. - Resources & info about recovery from PTSD & C-PTSD
C-PTSD Page - by Author Sarah Tate
Trauma: Complex PTSD C-PTSD Article by Dr. Allan Schwartz

For More Information & Support...
If you suspect you may have a family member or loved-one who suffers from a personality disorder, we encourage you to learn all you can and surround yourself with support as you learn how to cope.


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