One triumph , many challenges

Hi all,

I'm working this days on speaking my mind even in situations when I feel scared and anxious . The goal is to feel more in control and succeed in drowning my limits and not let anyone speak to me disrespectfully or aggressively . This is a real challenge to me.

last week when I met my new psychaietrist I succeeded in doing that . I thaught about what I wanted to get from the meeting and said it even though I felt very tensed .

This week I had 2 more situations when I should have acted according to that principle but unfortunately I couldn't . The first one was a call from my mom wich is a very judgmental person telling me again that I'm acting like I'm not a part of the family, actually she had a very aggressive judgmental monologue about how I don't care , and generally how every thing I do is wrong. I admite every conversation like that with her makes me feel like I was ran over by a bus. It paralyze me and I can't say anything wich encoruge my mother to feel that she's right. This time I've asked her to calm down and asked her if she called me to start a fight. It was a lame way to try to stop her. what I felt was a brutal attack . It didn't work it just made her angrier.

I talked about it with my therapist wich suggested the next time this would happened I can say something like " I can't talk to you when you speak to me like that we can talk again when you'll calm down". I guess it's a good advice but I'm worried that when it will happened again and knowing my mom it will happened I will feel paralyzed and wouldn't do that.

I think I wrote here how much I appreciate my therapist. But when I talked with her yesterday she really made me feel anxious . It wasn't what she said, I agree with every thing she said it was how she said it. She sometimes has a very assertive way of saying thing and she raises her voice a little . Because of my experience this assertiveness scares me I'm very sensitive and it makes me feel under attack . We have an agreement that I will try to tell her if I feel my anxiety is rising during the meeting and that she will stop the meeting from time to time to check if I'm ok. I told her that I feel anxiouse but couldn't tell her why. I'm afraid that if I'll tell her that the way she speak is making me uncomfortable she will not want to help me and I really don't want her to leave me.

I had a really strong emotional reaction to what happened in the meeting when I came home. At first I felt frozen and all my muscles were contracted, I was overwhelmed. After 3 hours I cried a lot and avantually I took a sedative and managed to go to sleep.

I hate feeling like that, like everything is too overwhelming . It feels like I could never take charge and feel safe in my relationships.

This work I took on challenges my deepest fears.

Does any of it makes sense to you or am I completely loosing it?

11 Replies

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  • Hi Michal,

    It sounds like there's a lot going on in your world, and I think you're doing some outstanding work!

    Great that you could tell the new psychiatrist your truth, even while you were nervous.

    Michal, phone calls from my Mom can really set me off, and it has taken a lot of years to figure out the dynamic. Sounds like your Mom isn't at all subtle about how she judges you and puts you down. Good for you to ask her to calm down, and that it sounded like she was trying to pick a fight. That sounds true, and I think is a pretty good answer. Give yourself props for speaking up!

    With your therapist, I can imagine how her style could cause you anxiety - after dealing with your Mom, someone speaking loudly and aggressively would really make me nervous. It sounds like you and she have an agreement that will work well to address your nervousness with her. I bet you'll be surprised, and she might readily accept what's going on with you, and agree to work with you on it.

    Yes, you are challenging your deepest fears - and that is a big deal. Authority, parent figure, being put down and not taking it - you've done something to address each of those.

    This all makes complete sense - I don't hear that you are losing it - I hear that you are growing! :)

  • Hi and this sounds exactly like what I am going through. I feel like I am trying to re-shape my personality from being reactive, ( a pushover in many senses )to being pro-active and equal to others. It is a massive mind shift I know.

    I challenged my mother ( I am 56; she is 87 ) for one of the very few times ever about two and a half weeks ago. I was absolutely petrified. I told her I did not like being "piggy in the middle" over her and my father and also that she made me feel like I needed to walk on eggshells. I had a terrible reaction to this internally (even though she was fairly calm and nice at the actual time which was a surprise but I had picked a calm moment) and lived in complete dread and fear and desperate depression for days after. She did in the end react quite badly apparently ranting off to my sister because I did not return a phone call straightaway the next day which was to say that she could not rest until she knew I was ok. Whilst she was waiting to hear from me she apparently slagged me off big time in a succession of calls to my sister saying she had never been insulted in all her life by what I said and accusing me of only being concerned about money. It is true I am concerned about money at the moment as that was the one thing she promised I would always have when they died and yet she has wielded it as a weapon over me in the most cruel way as she does other things too; I should not have to comply and agree to everything for her to consider me; she should want to consider me anyway.

    My rant over.

    At the moment there has been no contact and I am happy with that.

    Regarding your therapist yes I would say to you that this is a place where you can experiment with if you like "doing the unthinkable". I have already started doing this in my everyday life; actually telling people when I am upset with them even though I am aware of why I hold back on this. The reason is I am not sure of the extent of my own "craziness" or overexaggeration of response to things but as long as you are not physically or verbally violent or aggressive then I think it is ok to express these things and see where it takes you. I have felt a lot of anger and a huge amount of insecurity with people already so far. I would say you need to be careful the arenas in which you try this as if it is a friendship circle and it goes very wrong in that for example you are too chronically insecure ( which I think i may be) then you could get a reputation for being like this; so do modulate it if you feel it is unwanted in outside situations.

    However with your therapist as well I really understand. It is the dependency factor that makes it so hard. This is what made is so hard when we were younger too. It is terrifying to think of losing someone by "being yourself" and expressing how you feel. You need to make sure that you do have a safe therapist to do this with so you may want to discuss the fears you have over expressing yourself and how you were after the session with your therapist to see how she reacts to this.

    I personally feel that if she is a good therapist and it is the right kind of therapy for you then she will want to hear this and it will be part of your progress. Take note of how she responds and how you feel about her response to telling her of your upset after the session. I have to say there are a lot of therapists in my opinion who are not skilled enough to handle this ; so this is why it is important for you to express your fears and test out the water as to how ok it is going to be for you to be you warts and all in the therapy.

    I personally long for a place where I could do that and still be accepted so I have the same fears as you.

    Best of luck and let us know how you get on next week.

    Gemma X

  • hi..

  • Hi Michal,

    PTSD makes us supersensitive in every way. I promise this part of the illness, and you are not losing your mind- even though it does feel like it. PTSD makes me feel like a snail with it's shell forcibly ripped off, and being made to crawl through a salt field! I feel raw, vulnerable, inadequate, stupid. overwhelmed, terrified and the smallest thing can make me froth and bubble with anxiety, leaving me bedbound and feeling worthless.

    Congratulations on being strong enough to attend the new therapist. Her demonstration of "being assertive" - her authoritarian words and tone were harsh enough to retrigger you. Hence you naturally decompensated as we do... I would be unable to assert myself to her either. She has asked for feedback. You feel frozen, retriggered at the time, and can't possibly tell her!!

    How about if you email her with your response after every session? Or you could take a letter in each time, telling her in writing what you can not say at the time, or out loud.... She DOES need this valuable feedback because she can not know how extremely vulnerable you feel if you can't tell her.

    Also I would ask in the email/letter for Emergency Mental Trauma First Aid lessons on self soothing. She needs to know how much retrigger fallout you feel post sessions. Once you have got these skills mastered, you will feel more in control.

    Keep up the good work! Don't give up! I am sure you will get some great support here. Know you are not alone,and that we all have the same symptoms. xxxxx

  • why accepting a rude voice of a therapist or what ever ?because there is a DR. for the Name?Und why do you call it for yourself ;she is assertive, has the right to do so because ist a therapeutic Intervention or what ever..Why not saying to yourself she is making me anxious with her behaviour. dont want that.. maybe you are much more communicativ as she is. maybe you have more convenances as she has... some are more sensitiv for language as others... and thats not wrong.. if you dont like it say it..some of those therapist dont have a clue what they are doing...

  • Hi obelisk ,

    Thank you for your supporting comment. I have to say that what happened with my therapist was not a case of rudeness . I trust her and I know she has good intentions and she's very attentive to my needs. I think she said things with an assertive way because she cares and she wanted to explaine to me that I don't have to take an aggressive behavior. It was a combination of my sensitivity to the nuances of even a very low amount of assertiveness wich I entreate as aggressive and her way of talking.

  • "I hate always feeling like everything is too overwhelming"....really spoke to me. I've always felt this way and have especially lately. Feeling like everything is too overwhelming really effects my self esteem in a very negative way. So thank you for sharing and articulating exactly how it feels for people with PTSD. It is so difficult and challenging but you've made some very brave steps and that will feel overwhelming but you're still doing it in small steps which is all any of us can do. A small step is really a big one for us. Kudos to you and I hope you are able to keep the momentum going. God bless.

  • Everything you have said makes complete sense. Only by challenging our deepest fears will we heal. By challenging ourselves, even when it is the very last thing we want or feel we need to do, is what will aid us on the mountain of ptsd recovery.

    Your therapist can only help you if she knows what she is dealing with, she needs to know what you are dealing with, so try to be honest with her. If it turns out she cannot help you, she may not have the skills or experience to do so, then she maybe able to point you to where you need to be. You've lost enough time already and deserve to be getting the assistance you need in your own recovery towards freedom of ptsd symptoms.

    Remember, we here are all experiencing the same or similar symptoms. You are not alonein this!

    Best wishes

    Martine xo

  • Michal-

    If your therapist is worth having, you should be able to say what you need to say to her about how you feel without fear that she will give up or abandon you. I rather think that she would appreciate you being open, rather than being offended by it.

    I thought about the thing with your mom for a while. Perhaps it would be far less intimidating for you if you could write what you feel for now instead of trying to say it and becoming frozen. That way, you can do it without being interrupted, say everything that you need to, and write it at your own pace without feeling on the spot.

    i offer my support and a warm hug.

  • Thank you all so much for your kind words and advices.

    I will talk to my therapist two weeks from now because she's on vecation next week. Really bad timing but..

    I agree that she has to know what's going on with me during and after our sessions. And when I think about it anxiety aside I remember that she told me that befor. She's attentive to my needs and really wants to help me. She told me before that she's not going anywhere and she's not giving up on me. It was when I talked about with her for the second time about taking a break from therapy.

    I think my fears rely on the past and not on bad experience with my therapist. I really want to make the effort and be open with her.

    So glad I can share my feeling here . Bless you all

  • ..hi..glad you can say you trust her...and thanks for commenting back..take care and have a wonderful time..see you on page again :)

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