Hi. I'm a 40 something widow and mother of 2 young women. I've been diagnosed with PTSD (which I used to balk at due to the feeling of inadequacy in sharing a diagnosis with heros who risk their lives daily). For me, PTSD was caused by early childhood mental, physical, AND sexual abuse (all caused by immediate family with the worst offenders being my father and grandfather).
Because showing any type of weakness was used as a weapon my abusers used against me, I learned from a very early age to not ask for help, show emotions, or voice my feelings/opinions/concerns. This caused me to not have or really trust any meaningful relationships, but, I'm a great actor, so I've always been extremely well liked and appear to be a very compassionate extrovert and great friend/mentor. However, oftentimes I felt/feel like I could care less for those relationships which leads to extreme guilt causing me to overcompensate by needing to "fix" everyone and everything. Because of those issues, I was diagnosed with being a Codependent that I was knowingly failing at because I obviously can't fix EVERYTHING. This, then, leads to my other diagnosises of anxiety and depression.
I didn't seek help until I had a child on the autism spectrum who needed lifestyle counseling. It was actually her counselor that saw right through my fortress I unknowingly erected, and talked me in to coming in to talk to her under the guise of giving me tips to help my chaotic household in dealing with a hyperactive ASD child and dying husband/father of my children. She, somehow, had me telling her things I had never told anyone and got me to cry for the first time since I was a young child...I was 38 years old at that time. She got me in to Codependent anonymous, had me read Boundaries (a book that literally changed my life), and start to realize that oftentimes family is not always blood and its ok to sever even those toxic relationships. She helped alleviate all the pent up, unreasonable guilt that caused me to not feel or care. When she moved to another state and could no longer be my therapist, I felt she had given me enough confidence that I could continue healing on my own without a counselor, so didn't seek out a new one. I was wrong and now have found myself in another codependent relationship...not only with my fiance but also his children. I feel run over and unappreciated by them to the point Ive lost my cool and not sure if I'll ever see my grandbabies, who, even though they're not blood related, I love deeply (especially the one I helped birth and have had daily for most of her life). My boundaries were not well communicated and, just like that, I'm back to step 1, which has brought me here. Time to bring back my joy. So, I will be seeking out all of the tools available to me as well as begin my 12 step process once again.