Anxiety and Depression Support

Shame

It has been found that early childhood victomization, particularly (but not limited to) sexual abuse, leads to some of the most intense feelings of shame, and are also powerful catalysts to not only PTSD, as one could only expect, but to issues of anxiety and depression in almost every case.

As a sufferer of shame based issues from the age of 3, and now being nearly 50 years of age, I can say with some authority that shame-based issues due to traumatic events in early childhood are the most mis-diagnosed, or more to the point, UNDER diagnosed (mental) health conditions, often being completely missed when dysfunctional upbringing is the catalyst.

Abuse suffered by children at a very early age at the hands of one or both parents is often covered up by the abusive parent in order to avoid the obvious consequence of that abuse, and it is very easy for an abusive parent to "blame the victim" and begin, "trying to resolve the child's un-acceptable behaviors" by using school councilors and mental health professionals to create a paper-trail that actually acts to discredit the victim from a very early age.

People wonder how I got to be so smart, and I wonder how I have survived so long.

Anxiety? You bet. Depression? Yup, that too is in all honesty, the tip of the ice-berg. Underneath that has been a pattern of self-lothing that has been encouraged by the fact that, if I am self-loathesome, the abusers in my life encourage it and reward it by being nicer to me.

When I have attempted to set healthy boundaries, the slander, gossip and constant digs, prods, pokes and public humiliation begin again, and I am punished, so better to be the entire problem than to suffer yet another very hostile attack.

As one who has suffered a lifetime of this abuse and also carried the blame, my disability status was not proven for decades. It has led to not only cervical spine, shoulder and carpal tunnel injuries, effects of malnutrition, periods of alcohol abuse, and PTSD, but also stress related diverticulitus, as well as a host of other stress related medical conditions.

So, with all that in mind, is it any small wonder that I find it incredibly frustrating that the insurance I am afforded as a disabled American will NOT in any way provide for the type of therapy that is actually required? The best I have ever been offered is perscription drug therapy to (attempt to) mitigate the effects of the anxiety and depression, at which point the drugs are given all of the credit for MY HARD WORK, which is completely counter-intuative for a person who has been blamed and shamed as "being the un-healthy one."

I have plenty of APA papers written by some of the most respected people in Psychology, and there are lots of Psycholgy Today articles too. It's a real hot button topic these days, but in the meanwhile, myself and tens of thousands, probably more, are slipping right through the cracks because the therapy is considered specialized, and is very expensive.

The coping mechinisims I have had to develop are:

A. Very common

B. Very normal psychological reactions and normal cognitive responses to the abuses I have and still do suffer at the will of an abusive, and politically rather well regarded narcissistic parent.

To add insult to injury, the very normal and predictable responses on my part are almost always attributed to women, because while still humiliating and scary for women to come forward and talk about being victimized sexually, because of social standards, it is often far more humiliating for a boy or man to admit to having suffered similar abuse. Being further emasculated is really not a whole lot of help.

This post is not meant to get anyone down, and I don't suspect it will, because, those who have lived and shivered in the same dark shadow of isolation and fear are generally likely to feel a great deal of relief in knowing there are others that absolutely CAN validate their very real experience, and that NO, we are not the cause of the problem. We are NOT "maladjusted to life" either. Any person with normal psychological and cognitive responses will resort to the same tactics to self-preserve.

There is a poetic phrase common among our Russian comrades. For centuries it has been said very often, "Hope dies last." If you can relate to what I am writing about, and your are reading this, that is evidence not only that you are alive, so is hope.

It's a long post, I know. Here is a link to just one article that is also long. lol There are MANY articles very similar, and a ton of good info in them, so, though there may be no way for me to receive proper care for my shame-based issues through professional people on a one to one, there's nothing preventing me from reading and sharing about this with my peers. (Thank you Health Unlocked an The ADAA!)

psychologytoday.com/blog/th...

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I hear what your saying, and I read your hyper link article. Here's what else I found:

How to Let Go of Shame and Build Self Esteem

Letting Go of Shame

Give up the pursuit of perfection.

Avoid rumination.

Show yourself compassion.

Avoid focusing purely on the past.

Show flexibility.

Let go of the influences of others.

Cultivate mindfulness.

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Yup. There's a ton of stuff on the subject. I have read and read, and could write research papers on the subject using proper APA format that would be absolutely top-notch material.

Unfortunately, solving the isolation that goes with shame-based troubles is hard to do by one's self. lol

The most brilliant neurologist is not likely to be successful in performing honor her own brain surgery either.

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Very insightful and very useful information. I am the daughter of a narcissist. Gemma Xx

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Sadly there is a site for daughter's of narcissistic mothers, but none heard toward the male counterpart. The info is pretty much the same, but for heaven's sake, I've been emasculated enough! lol

Men who grew up with similar abuse characteristics often have fathers that also interfere with their son's hopes of finding a good woman by implying to people that their son is gay. {sigh}

I could no more be turned on by the thought of being intimate with a man than a gay man could just "change his mind" and decide he'd rather be with a woman. It's been tried.

He's a sick fellow. He can't seem to help himself. He has shown intense jealousy toward me from my very birth. He just can not STAND to see me succeed, nor to be different from him in any shape or manor.

Gramma, you are probably very familiar with daughtersofnarcissisticmoth... but I mention it because others may not be. The site fits the behaviors pretty well spot-on either way. The part about that daughter (son) being seen as an extension of the narcissist fits exactly. Agree, be the same, do as they want, or you will pay dearly, and when you least expect it. (Actually, you CAN expect it, because it will be at the most devistating moment)

Blah. I love my father because, "he's the best (only) father I have ever had." That does not mean I will ever be able to actually trust him enough to be a real part of my life in any meaningful way. That would be foolish. He's 75 years old, and still acts the same way.

It just is.

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Well put old-soul. I know the "routines" well. Thankfully my mum is now dead x

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Iit's sad to hear you say that, of course, but believe me, I get it. I really appriciate your support a lot. I was so reluctant to start this thread. I was flat out afraid that my talking about the truth would cause me to come under attack, and thus alienate me in yet another place where I maybe could have at least been somewhat comfortable as long as I didn't actually say anything about the real me.

Having a narcissistic parent makes it very in-safe to tell the truth. It feels like they are always there, watching and waiting to rip you down if you DARE to talk about your past . . . because so often times that has proven to be a fact. I am afraid right now just typing this.

A lot of times I type things that are the truth to share with a friend or a support group of one type of another, and then erase it, because there have been so many times In have been made to regret telling the truth in the past.

<hello mr. hreen reply button>

<click>

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I have not talked, seen, or heard from my toxic parent in 9 years, and my healing has begun. Just because someone is your biological parent, does not make them your parent. A parent should care, nurture, protect, and love their child. Mine never did, does not know how. My biological mother is a sadistic sociopathic narcissist. I will not put my self in harms way ever again. I am loved now...in spite of her.

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Of course it makes me sad (and a little angry, but mostly sad) to know you grew up, "behind enemy lines." In my case, my mom was actually pretty wonderful, although way too over-protective to the point of smothering at times.

This created a bit of a different dynamic in that, as an only child, it was important to me to stay near by gographicly so that at least she and I could spend time together a few times each month.

When you said that your parents simply don't know HOW to care for, future, protect and love their child, I think you really hit the nail right on the head faux. I really believe that this is not only our truth, but also the key to healing ourselves. Anything less leads only to a hardened and isolated heart, and I am not that person either.

Obviously, this was not such an easy thread to write, but since my mom's passing a little over 3 years ago, I have seen my father's behaviors and jealousy toward me come completely off the leash.

Sometimes it appears he is trying really hard, and maybe he is, but it inevitably leads into a trap. Someone had pointed out to me that, to them, it looked like he was extremely jealous of me, and my accomplishments, and over the next year or so I saw many clear indicators of that, and also made a lot of connections with past deeds.

It's really not my job to figure out a solution to his difficulties, only to heal myself, which has really started to happen at a much faster rate as a result of limiting my contact with him dramaticly.

I don't hate the man. In fact, I still love him, probably now more-so than ever. I definately hate the way he's behaved, not only toward me, but toward my mom as well, but I pray for my father. I pray that he is able to be happy and contented. Why shouldn't I? As you stated regarding your own parents, my father doesn't know any better. I DO. Thank God.

Do I have struggles with feelings of shame, self loathing, and feeling un-worthy of fair treatment still? You bet. But It's gotten better (again) as I have found more places to get the kind of loving support my mom offered, although in more appropriate proportions. lol

I have hope today. Today, I know my choices don't have to make sense to anyone else. I have been me for 49 years, and was RIGHT there with me the whole time - every second. No-one else has that point of reference.

Our situation certainly is similar, but that doesn't mean I know all there is to know about yours, and therefore can not say what choices are the very best FOR YOU in any given circumstance, because you will always have more experience and knowledge about your past, as well as who you are than anyone else ever will, regardless of how similar their circumstances may be.

In my opinion, based on a whole lot of experience and learning, the best thing people like us can do is offer encouragement to one another, and be good listeners. I can always offer my own experience, and never be wrong, because it really is MY experience, it I avoid offering advice like the plague, because I don't know all of the details of another person's particular situation.

I have had enough experience with others trying to force completely un-workable solutions on me for 10 lifetimes. Having a narcissistic parent will give one plenty of experience with that! lol

I am grateful you are here faux. I'm not grateful that you have endured much of the same abusive, controlling, gas-lighting and humiliation type stuff as I have, but at least we each have strong points of reference to respect and support one another in healthy ways. I truely am grateful you're here. You're a warrior, just like me.

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It sounds from what you say that your mum counteracted some of the damage being done. If you have one "good parent" they say you are a lot safer. So I'm sure you are thankful of that. I was dreading my narcissistic mum outliving my dad (he's been an enabler and isn't a strong person, but isn't downright dangerous like she was). Thank God she went first. I went through a terrible complex grief process after she died; basically living through all the things that hadn't happened to me because of her (marriage, children, career; I had none of these). But now thankfully I am out the other end. I am approaching sixty soon and have only just started to live my life free of terrible desperation, self loathing and such like. I am starting to like myself. It is three years since she died.

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I'm glad you came out the other end of it, my mother is on her last few years, she is going down hill according to my sister. I often wonder how I will feel when she does pass. I never knew my father or who he was, always wondered how different my life would have been with at least one loving parent.

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I am very grateful for the counterforce my mom provided, though the way you describe your dad is very similar to my mom too. The real reason I stayed in close proximity is because my mom and I had a real good relationship most of the time. I helped her in any way I could, and she did the same for me. It was as healthy as could be expected. There were times she would pry into my personal biz a bit too much, but when she pushed too far, she responded to me putting my foot down and establishing a boundary. She'd sometime be really hurt, because she really wanted to be the perfect mom at all times, which is impossible, and I would feel really bad because her feeling were obvloudly really hurt, but we worked through it.

I can't say 100% for sure, but to all appearances, with 49 years of 1st hand experience, I think my father felt jealous to the point of feeling THREATENED by that. It was only recently that this piece (maybe) clicked in when a woman I've known for a short time SAID, "It sounds like he's jealous." Now, granted, this is a can of worms because I can't answer to his feelings, nor it it my responsibility to figure out his stuff, but at the dame time, I think there is theriputic value in it, because nothing in my make-up WANTS TO HATE MY OWN FATHER.

My mom died a little over 3 years ago. The last two months of her life, he would not even let me anywhere near her, and I lost my home of 10 years. I had no legal representation, and the night she died, he called me just before 1 o'clock in the morning, screamed into the phone that she was dead, and slammed the phone down to hang up on me before I could even say a word.

All of the promises about how the things she wanted were "Just too difficult to write into a last will and testiment, but your father knows how I want things done, and he would never do these things youbgear so much, That's why the three of ou are having this discussion together" went right out the window. The only "concessions" offered and received after her death were a $15 coffee maker, and . . . her make-up? Really? None of the eyeshadow or lipstick colors compliments the color of my beard. (I definately interested here very screwed up sense of humor anyway!) Thanks mom.

God I miss her.

I miss having a home too. After the eviction I was forced into a drug house with a shared kitchen, bath area and toilets. My food was poisoned 4 times when my back was turned, among other things. Hence, I left there choosing the relative safety of homelessness, which I still technicly am. I am in THE cheapest motel room available right now, but next week I will be out of money for the month, because the room costs $150 mote than my total monthly income, so unless I can find the help I have been in need of for 3 yeats plus, I will be back to living in the elements with no electricity, water or insulated shelter, which is where I've been for the last 3 years, and That's only of that location has not been compromised.

If it has, then I've also lost the remainder of all of my worldly possessions, which are FAR from being junk.

I really hate this mess, and it was not by poor choices on my part that this stuff has occurred, though it is most common for people to assume that to be the case. :( More shaming and shunning. This is NOT an un-common story according to the folks at The United Way, Catholic Charities, a local mental health association, Ministry of Concern, an independent living advocacy group, Psychology Today, The American Psychological Association, homelessness advocacy groups, and on and on ad nausium. That's little consolation when there are no appropriate resources to help me, and potential landlords look at me like most common folks do. It's always the same assumption. "Well, you must have made poor choices, else you'd not be in this position.

{sigh} If you read this all, you deserve a medal! Thank ALL of you for the amazing support you all have given me. Those "likes," the risks so many of you have taken to share hour own experiences here, a d thus validate the fact that I'm not just imagining this crap, that gas-lighting is very real, all of it, has done SO MUCH to improve my mental state.

I have gotten more support and love in this one thread than I have received in the past several years, and truth be told, have been more validated, JUST IN THIS ONE THREAD than I have ever been in my life by REAL PEOPLE talking TO ME.

All of the Psych documents, articles, research papers and stuff have validated my experiences some, but that stuff does not have an actual pulse.

Thank you

Thank you

Thank God, who I believe works though PEOPLE.

Thank ALL of you for caring for me, just like I care for you and others.

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I'm wearing my medal ! (he, he !) Seriously, Wow!

Clicking "Like" goes someway, but does not fully explain how I feel about what you have written. It is truly inspiring.

I am so sorry to hear of your present financial circumstances. Maybe you can work something out ; I'm hoping so.

Please keep posting and keep in touch anytime. Gx

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My goodness i will be praying for you. I don't want you to be homeless. I'm afraid that's what will happen if i ran away from my parents.

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((((((((Oldsoul)))))))))

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After my father calling me a b#!$@ at 12 years old and saying i make him want to kill himself, i don't believe him when he says he loves me. He says i make him talk to me the way he does. I used to believe it but now i refuse to see and think that way. He is an abusive jerk. He has put my mom through hell and i still look at my mom and just think "why? why? why? why? why?" She stayed married to him despite everything he has done. She never understood how much he has abused me. She makes excuses for staying with him and justifies his behavior.

I just want to break free from it all. My dad still gives me the dirty looks and cut his eyes at me. He did it a few nights ago and i wanted to throw up. I want to say i hate him. But i don't say it. I hate this. I hate it.

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old-soul....back at ya buddy....friends should help each other heal...and that we do. :)

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I agree. My mother was emotionally abusive and my father was touchy-feely. I remember having anxiety from a very early age. I stuffed all my emotions for 52 years, until 7 months ago my alcohol abuse and mental state exploded like a volcano. I never wanted to blame my parents for my stupid actions etc. I took responsibility. Learned a lot in intensive outpatient program therapy. I hope others get help at an earlier age. Thanks for the post.

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I am so glad you posted, User1964. Boundary issues can be tough for me, and lots of other people I know too. I try to be very cogniscent of the boundaries of others, and do pretty well with that, but I often have a hard time realizing when I really need to enforce my own boundaries.

I HATE to 'give advice,' but instead prefer to offer only suggestions. That is because it's honestly not my place to tell other what to do. I have strong reasons to suspect that you have been you since birth, and that I have been you exactly, well, NEVER! lol

All that said, I am glad things are turning around for you, and I am REALLY glad you feel safe enough to speak openly and honestly about yourself here.

I'd very much like to suggest a small adjustment that you probably really don't even care about, and that may help you in building a really string base for yourself as you grow stronger, happier and healthier, and it is this:

Perhaps changing your perspective ever so slightly in such a way as to view the situation as, "It's not my fault, but it is my responsibility as to how to adjust so I can avoid further injury," might be a good approach.

I say this because it seems when I try to figure out the whole "who's to blame - blame game dynamic," everyone, including me, has to be ever vigilant and defensive, because it turns into a fault-finding mission where the looser takes all. All of the blame, that is.

In truth, that IS in fact, the narcissists game, and while I play by certain "rules of fair play," a narcissistic sociopath or psychopath is un-fetered by such rules, and further, makes, changes, and breaks all the rules at will. It's a stacked deck, so I don't try to 'win' THST game EVER anymore.

I don't sit down at that dealer's table. - I don't go into that casino. - I don't even go into that neighborhood, because I never even wanted to play that game in the first place. It was my u upbringing that caused men to believe it was necessary to play that game. I don't live under that roof anymore, and have learned that it is NOT a requirement to have those sort of rules dominating MY home, or MY LIFE.

I have made truckloads of mistakes that were pretty darned understandable under the conditions I was in, but I am also learning from each and every one of them as I fix those mistakes as best as I am able, and learning some new ways to deal with similar situations as a result too.

People do whatever they do because that's the best they can figure to do at that moment. They may be entirely wrong, but, whatever. I can SAY they know better, or should know better, or a whole lot of other things, but at day's end, that does not change the fact that people believe their choices make sense. If their choices are awful, I can just be thankful that I KNOW BETTER.

Heaven knows, I have definately done things that I thought were a good idea at the moment, even though I knew they were in fact wrong, because I deceived myself into thinking it was somehow justified, so it should come as no surprise to me that sometimes others do exactly the same thing.

I am grateful I am capable of waking up and smelling the coffee, so to speak. Many never do. Many can never face up to their mistakes, maybe because of fear, or guilt, or whatever. The why of it is really none of my business, because even if I "Figure out where THEY are going wrong," it's still a waste of my time, because the only one I can change is me, not "them."

The simplest change I can make is to realize that, a parent that is insanely jealous of me, raised me with the false belief that THEY can make, change, bend or break any rule they wish at will, while I must follow ALL of the rules and all that malarkey, is not someone I need to have the approval of, because I never will.

I suspect it is much the same for you.

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So true :) It could be me speaking !!! Also I can see that being the offspring of a narcissist, like myself you have the quality of perception towards other people's feelings. I thought everyone had it but now I don't think so. I think I developed it partly by caring about her and partly because I have had to work everything out as to how people function in order to survive.

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Jealousy Is a BIG ISSUE with narcissists. My mother was jealous of me having friends. If I was one minute late to see her she would say "Don't bother; you obviously prefer your friend to me" etc. Also they have to instigate everything and be "in charge " of everything. Once when we attended a funeral I dared to stay and speak to someone at the funeral. Mum flounced out without saying a word. I was then left thinking "Do I follow her or stay here and continue my conversation? " I stayed there but of course "paid the price, as there is always a big price to pay for not doing what they want you to do as I'm sure you know. She couldn't stand me taking the intitiative and not doing what I would normally do, which would be to follow her around just be her servant at her beck and call. This is "normal" behaviour for them.

I wasn't allowed to see my dad without her getting incredibly angry as basically if I was seeing him then I couldn't be seeing her and she was jealous of anything anyone else had apart from her. Once my sister had to attend a funeral of a child she had basically brought up and forgot to phone mum when she said she would. Mum was livid and actually said "She's putting the death of that child above actually talking to her own mother! ". Well yes? She was upset? Mum didn't understand ; she went into a rage. I could go on ; i'm sure you have various similar instances yourself.

Anyway, how are you today?

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yeah, I hear ya about hitting that wall at light speed....did that a while ago too. It takes what it takes sometimes to finally wake the heck up and realize you need to change direction or your gonna keep hitting that same wall.

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Thanks for the post , although I have not been the victim of abuse I recognise many of the triggers for feelings for shame and how this has shaped my adult life and anxieties, thanks again

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Sure. You know, I think maybe it's sort of like having emotional problems. The emotions are the same as any one else's emotions, just amplified.

The way you explained to what degree the shame thing fit and didn't fit for you is exactly the same principle. I really appriciate your comment a lot. One of the mkre recent papers or articles I read actually started out by making the very same distinction, but your commemy really gives it actual depth and weight.

Awesome good stuff. THANK YOU!

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I wanted to add a post to poi t out something I learned early on about this shame stuff that was super-important for me to understand. It's a basic definition, or distinction I suppose.

Guilt says, "I did something wrong or bad." Shame says, " I AM something wrong and bad."

Guilt is healthy. If I do something that hurts others, I feel awful about it, AND I SHOULD because it serves me well to feel that way. It is a strong motivator to change a poor behavior or decision.

Shame is NOT healthy. It destroys silently from the inside out like a parasite, and offers no benifit to the sufferer, nor to society.

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Wow, I love this thread. You are putting into words much of the stuff I have been through myself and putting it all out here in print. I am sure it will be a massive help to others in a similar situation and could even prevent things getting worse for some. (If there had been an internet and a forum like this available to me when I was younger then maybe I could have got understanding and help sooner and needn't have had to go through all I went through) No, I am not bitter as I am better now ! But just saying ......... X

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But, you ARE younger! You're younger than you will be at this time tomorrow! :P

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I have ptsd too and shame from ACE problems with authoritaion churches after surviving bacterial meningitis of my brain due to chronic sinusitis. I am a former rn who had to reeducate herself in the medical / mental fields and cooperate with all health care providers to best of my ability - otherwise i would be dead.Shame is taught and learned and re- enforced - to me- by some people- as a means to control others. It is dysfunctional and unhealthy but can be unlearned.There are safe and unsafe people int this world. Take care of yourself first. Always

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