The fear of messing up..CPTSD

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Those of us who experienced abuse as children are absolutely terrified of messing up. Although making mistakes is a huge part of learning and of life, in an abusive home we got punished for things we didn’t deserve to be punished for and the punishment was directed at our core as a person. It wasn’t the usual discipline that healthy families use.

We were called names such as stupid, slow, dumb, sensitive, bad, unworthy etc. We were emotionally abused over and over again which led us to develop CPTSD. Now as adults we suffer with emotional flashbacks. Every time someone is disappointed in us, we are flashed back into the emotional state of our childhood. We feel small, defenseless, vulnerable, helpless and devastated.

The reason I am writing about this, is because I had a bad day at my morning job on Tuesday. My friend hadn’t told me she wasn’t working with me (usually she always lets me know), so this distracted me a little from my usual routine. I went into hypervigilance mode, checking the charts & dates of rooms I had to set up for the workshops. When we work together, I always start from the ground floor and work my way up through the kitchens and check the rooms on all 4 floors. We usually share the rooms that need setting up when we work together but on that day I had to prioritise and do things slightly differently.

After checking the chart over and over again, I got on with setting up 4 different rooms on various floors and when I was eventually finished, I was very pleased with how I had completed everything.

5 mins before the end of my shift, one of the ladies that was doing one of the workshops, turned up and said that the rooms weren’t set up. I was puzzled and told her that I had just set up 4 rooms. Luckily this lady, was genuinely lovely and had made me feel very comfortable since starting work there. She pointed at the chart and said it’s the 23rd today not the 22nd. What happened unfortunately, was that I had set up Monday’s rooms instead of Tuesday’s. I didn’t need to go in on Monday morning, so I completely misread the chart, thinking that it was Monday.

I was absolutely horrified and apologised immediately. Luckily she was very understanding and had a giggle saying ‘you are getting old’. Her room was only for 4 people, so it wasn’t really a big deal. Unfortunately on the ground floor however, there was a room that needed a 12 person set up and the workshop had already started!

I ran downstairs, dreading the confrontation with the German speaking lady and when I got there she obviously wasn’t pleased at all. She had already set up a trolley with drinks, cups, coffees and biscuits. I once again genuinely apologised and asked her what I could do to make up for my mistake. She just said help me put everything on the table, which meant I had to walk into a room full of people and the workshop presenter and start placing all the cups and drinks on the tables. One of the gentlemen started mumbling to me in German and I was completely lost in my frazzled state. I didn’t undertstand a word he said. Eventually the lady told me, to not worry about finishing it and I left to make a few more fresh coffees.

It took me another 30minutes to undo all the rooms I had set up in vain and return the drinks, freshly made coffees and cups to the kitchen.

Needles to say, I felt absolutely awful and I could hear that voice in my head saying you messed up, you are a failure, you are hopeless, you are slow..I was in a deep emotional flashback, even though nobody was actually that angry. All it took was the disappointed look on the lady’s face, to send me into a devastating flashback.

When I got home, I had a good cry and comforted myself saying ‘you had a flashback, you are not a failure, you just made a mistake’.

My past unfortunately will keep following me around, no matter how simple a mistake I make or how unimportant the actual situation is to an outsider.

As long as I continue to remind myself that I am only human and it is ok to make mistakes, then my flashbacks should hopefully lessen in intensity. They will always remain a challenge but it is one that I have to keep working at overcoming.

Thank for reading

Love Athina ♥

 

Why you must stop obsessing over the narcissist

When your relationship with the narcissist in your life comes to an end, you will go through a very tumultuous recovery period. You will feel like your world has been turned upside down and your mind and body will be going through withdrawal.

Being in a relationship with a narcissist is like being addicted to a drug. They take over your life completely and when the relationship ends, the recovery process becomes an endless battle of fighting the obsessive thoughts and questions you are left with. The trauma bond created is excruciatingly hard to break.

In most cases there is no real closure, as you aren’t ending a relationship with a healthy person. When you are not understood and validated and your feelings are dismissed with guilt-tripping, controlling and manipulating behaviour, it is extremely diffucult for your mind and heart to feel peace.

Eventually however, and after you have spent a long time recovering from this toxic sort of ‘break-up’, there comes a point where the obsessing must come to an end. The introspection and deep inner work must begin. The grieving must take a different direction.

This video is about the importance of reaching that point in your healing.

It is of course, far more complicated if you were unlucky enough to also have a narcissistic family but in general the process is the same.

Realisation →Grief→Obsessing→Trying to make sense of their behaviour→Understanding & Acceptance→Grief→Introspection→Grief→Moving on

Love Athina ♥

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 © All blog posts and images are owned by ‘My Child within-Healing from trauma’ and ‘Courage Coaching’. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Beauty in music

In one of my old posts, I wrote about how much music kept me sane when I was neglected as a teenager..Lyrics have always been very important to me in combination with piano or acoustic guitar..They touch me deep inside and I get chills when I can relate to the song completely-cognitively, emotionally and acoustically..

I also wrote so many poems as a coping mechanism..A lot of them expressed the anger I had to swallow in those difficult years, when I wasn’t allowed to have a voice..They expressed escaping from the pain I was in and being free of the constant invalidation..

I love this song..It is beautiful in so many ways…

Love Athina ♥

The calm before the storm

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As I predicted, my father’s reply letter arrived today, even though I said I no longer wanted contact.

Last night I went to bed full of anxiety and today I asked my husband to check the mailbox, as I wanted nothing to do with it.

I knew that if I had his letter in my hand, it would be too difficult to not open the envelope and read it.

Luckily, we folded the letter and put it into another envelope and my husband posted it back. I asked him to write the address as well.

I feel sick to my stomach again from all the fluctuating emotions and utterly exhausted from the tension.

I worry that things are going to get worse from now on and that the next letter will be from his lawyer.

I need to find out what my rights are, for taking my dad’s money from our shared account. After his suicide attempt, he scared the shit out of me. I immediately envisioned a future with even more stress from his gold-digging wife. My therapist also warned me that financially things wouldn’t be good, as narcissists and particularly my father are controlling and irresponsible with their money. She said that I have to be prepared for chaos. This is why I took a portion of this money from our account. I also took this money cos I could see how careless he was being towards himself and his health. I wanted to have some money aside to help him in the future, when he had nothing left.

This of course, will no longer be necessary. Now, I am just protecting myself.

Due to the fact that I live with CPTSD, I have never been able to work full time for very long. My chronic exhaustion, bad memory and general bad mental health has made it very hard to even start considering saving money for the future. Most people in their mid 30’s have already started saving for their retirement. I haven’t been able to do this and this scares me.I also know that it isn’t my husband’s responsibility to pay for me, or to pay for any future expenses that I have because of my irresponsible father.

Now that I didn’t read my father’s reply letter and successfuly sent it back, I will crawl into bed and sleep. I will sleep so I don’t have to think about it anymore and I will sleep cos I feel exhausted.

His words will no longer poison my mind..

His desperation will no longer affect me..

His shaming will no longer hurt me..

I have already suffered enough..

Now is my time to focus solely on myself..♥♥

Return to sender

It will be a week tomorrow since I posted my last letter to my father. Although I have no idea when and if my letter to him arrived, his secretary who is also a friend, told me he has already sent me a reply.

I promised myself last week that if I received another letter from him, I would send it back unopened.

In all honesty I am contemplating reading it..

Just to see what crazy stuff he has come up with this time..

Or to see his reaction to my farewell letter…

or to see if he is making any threats about lawyers (which I am worried about).

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I am fully aware that by reading his letter again, I will be affected mentally and physically..

That it won’t give me closure and that I can’t trust anything he says as the truth..

That he won’t say anything remotely empathetic or loving and that I will once again be crushed..

So why do it to myself? Why cause myself more pain? Haven’t I had enough already?

It’s going to take a lot of strength to not open it, as I keep wondering whether I will regret it if I don’t read it..

The reality however is that I can’t unread a letter..Once I read it, the words get stuck in my head..

So returning it unopened and unread sends a powerful message..Even more so than asking him not to contact me again..

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Family photos don’t show the truth

Trigger alert *****

Last night I had a gruesome nightmare..I felt incredibly guilty because I took part in covering up a murder of a young woman and knowing that her body was dismembered.I have no idea how she died and why. My father was also in the dream although I don’t remember the details of why he was in it either. All I remember vividly is that I was on the run and was trying to stay hidden and safe..I felt scared and I felt guilty..

It was a very dark and unsettling dream..I am pretty sure it is symbolic of what I am going through right now, with the projected guilt I am feeling of cutting ties with him..

I hope I can stay strong and protect myself..

I just want it to finally be over..

Love Athina ♥

The end of a chapter

After 1 busy holiday in Greece I have finally said farewell to the temporary flat hubby and I used there for the last 5 years.

The story of this little flat was a complex one but it was set up by my father as a neutral base for me because I could no longer live under his roof. When I moved back to Greece in 2011, I did it partly because my father said it would give him the strength to divorce his wife. I also did it as a new start for myself, after spending 11 years living in the UK with many failed relationships, heartache and confusion.I was growing closer with my Dad again and the hope that he would finally leave his dysfunctional marriage was really strong. Greece will always be my home, the place I was born and grew up in.

When I first moved back and stayed in the house he shared with his wife and my half brother, there was constant tension, arguing and toxicity. I had arrived to live in the ground floor of his maisonette, which was a separate flat in itself. It had its’ own shower-room, bedroom and a small kitchenette which was also accessible by the rest of the house. His wife was not happy I was back. She had done her best to isolate my father from me for years, to control him and to not allow him to have a relationship with me. My father had also chosen to marry this woman and had chosen to mistreat her, abuse her and cheat on her. Through guilt (apparently) he had then allowed her to bleed him dry by spending ridiculous amounts of money on antique furniture, 50,000 euro cars and the best of everything.Through guilt, he allowed her to control him in the end. Their lives were full of threats and lies and drama.

Where did I fit into all of this? Where did my older brother fit into all of this? And my younger half brother? He is yet another innocent child caught up in a severely dysfunctional home.

After this first week of me moving back home and battling with all the anxiety of moving countries, trying to sort out my bedroom after all my boxes had arrived and trying to deal with the unpleasantness of having my evil Step-mother living upstairs, I returned to England to pick up my cat. He was being looked after by a friend of mine, until all the boxes had been sent off. I was trying to make things as stress free as possible for him, so decided to fly back to Greece with him, after I had unpacked and set up my flat. The morning of my return, my father announced to me that I couldn’t come home. He told me that he had just announced to his wife that he wanted her out of the house with my half-brother… that he was getting a divorce. She had obviously gone absolutely crazy and reacted very badly to my father’s cruel discard. The way he had presented it, made me look really bad. Like it was my fault that he asked her to leave. She went absolutely crazy and smashed my things..What followed after that was a whole summer of arguing, threats and trauma.

Minutes after landing in Athens with my cat, I had to make alternative arrangements to stay somewhere else! My anxiety was through the roof. I couldn’t go home to my new home. I was already extremely unsettled but now I also had my poor cat to think about, who was extremely nervous and confused. Luckily I called the mother of a friend of mine and she let me stay with her.She had let me stay with her once a year in the summer, when I visited my friends and Dad. It was a safe haven in all the chaos of my father’s life. She let me and my cat stay with her and her husband for 2 whole weeks, until I could actually go home (or so I thought).

What followed after these 2 weeks, was a temporary flat my father had found through a fellow architect friend of his. I still couldn’t go home. My cat and I had to go to this temporary flat which was completely empty and had nothing in it. My dad found some really old, filthy furniture from his office and brought it there for me. I at least had a bed, small uncomfortable sofa and a really old fridge that was filled with mould. He gave me a mini oven & hob and a fan to help me cope with the hot summer temperatures. I was on the top floor of a block of flats and it was like a sauna in that flat. The sofabed, was covered in dust, cat piss and cat hairs. It had collected all of this dirt from years and years of being unused in his office storage cellar. This was the best he could give me..

I remember asking for a hoover and never getting one.I only had a broom and dustpan. I remember asking my father to go to his house, so I could at least collect some of my things. This was very difficult to arrange, as his wife was always there and he didn’t want us to be anywhere near each other. I had to go there very quickly for 5 minutes at a time when she wasn’t there and collect as much stuff as I could to bring to the other flat. I also had to do the same whenever I needed to do my laundry. The whole situation was utterly ridiculous looking back on it. I felt like a criminal, like a bad person, when in actuality it was all my father’s fault.

The rest of the summer got worse and worse for me. He would visit me, unload all of his stress onto me and then my anxiety and ptsd would deteriorate. I was trying so hard to cope with it all. Eventually I was so ill, I had to see a therapist that my friend recommended for me. She looked after me, did a psychological assessment on me and got me into group therapy. She arranged for my Dad to come in so she could explain to him that I don’t need additional stress, as moving countries was already enough stress for me.I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. I learned that I will just have to come to terms with the fact that I will always be overly sensitive to stress.

When the temperatures started reaching 37, 38 degrees Celsius, I couldn’t cope anymore. I desperately needed air-con to cope with the heat in that flat.One morning, the anxiety was so bad from the heat when I woke up, that I was vomiting, seeing spots of light and I literally thought I was going crazy. My friend’s mother saved the day once again!

I ended up staying in this flat for 5 months before I could finally return to my Dad’s. In that whole time my Dad was trying to get his wife and my half-brother re-settled into a very expensive apartment. I on the other hand, didn’t even complain for the state I was living in.

After I eventually moved back into my Dad’s house, I enjoyed 7 months of having my Dad to myself, for the first time in 12 years. We even spent Christmas together and when my little brother came home, I try to make it magical for him. The poor kid was so traumatised. He was only 7.

The only silver lining in all of this chaos and unsettlement was the time I spent with my Dad alone, and the fact that I met my now husband. When I met him, I was overwhelmed by his kindness and interest in me. He was so loyal and supportive to me and with the support of my group therapy, it all turned out well. After meeting my husband and realising that we couldn’t stay in Greece anymore due to the financial crisis that was present, I told my father and he was devastated. A week or two later, he told me that he realised that he had made a mistake kicking his wife out and couldn’t afford to pay for her flat anymore. The reality of it was that my Dad couldn’t deal with being on his own. So once again, I had to leave his home before I was ready. I finally moved into my last home in Greece which was this little flat seen in the photos below. This little flat was very well located luckily and my Dad arranged a deal with someone who owed him money, to ‘pretend’ that he was renting it from him for 10 years. He of course wouldn’t pay this guy any rent, but would still have to cover the maintenance costs and bills. I lived there for 3 months before finally leaving Greece when my husband found a job at a university in Cornwall.

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This little flat was a very important one. It was the flat that we always returned to when visiting friends & family. It was the flat that we got ready in for our wedding day and the flat that we slept in for the first time as a married couple.

It was the flat that I stayed in when my father attempted suicide, 7 months after our wedding. The memories were both happy and traumatic. After having no contact with my father for over a year, It didn’t feel the same anymore using this flat. It was in his name, yet he wasn’t paying the maintenance bills or utility bills. Going to Greece was no longer a happy occassion for me.

Last week, we emptied the flat. We sold the washing machine, air-con, cooker, microwave and everything else of sentimental value, we brought home. We left the furniture for my Dad to sort out and tomorrow I will be posting my father a letter to tell him we have vacated the flat and no longer need it, or want to pay for it. A friend of mine will also be dropping off the key at his office and that will be the end of this chapter in our life.

Hubby and I are now free to have holidays on more neutral ground and even though I no longer have a ‘home’ in Greece which has caused me a lot of grief, I have come to the realisation that ever since my parents split up back in 2000, I already didn’t have a ‘home’. This was just the end of another chapter in my life..

Thanks for reading ♥

Ritual abuse survivors are heroes

∗∗Possibly triggering ∗∗

Before starting this blog and my own journey of healing from child abuse, I had never come across Ritual abuse..I never knew there was such evil in this world..I knew about psychopaths and narcissists..I knew about some of the awful things that have happened to children who have suffered abuse.I know there are many paedophiles out there who live out their sick fantasies without any care for the long-lasting, life-altering effects on their victims.

The physical, emotional & sexual suffering that a lot of child abuse survivors have endured are known to many. Unfortunately, amongst those many people that have knowledge of this, nothing has been done..This is sad & unfair..

I actually felt guilty that I never knew about ritual abuse..This is something that people need to know about..It is despicable and incomprehensible to me that there are so many sick people out there that cause so much harm. No matter what someone feels or what perversions they may have, they are ultimately the ones that can stop their impulses to harm.

I have met many incredibly brave & awe inspiring survivors of this sort of abuse, who I have the privilege of calling my friends.I will soon be reading their memoirs and although it is very tough to read details of this sort of abuse, it is important to allow these brave survivors to tell their story. It is healing & it is necessary.

For those of you out there, who have experienced this sort of abuse, you are always welcome here. You an inspiration to me.

Much Love Athina ♥♥

 

The orphans of abuse

It took me such a long time through my journey of healing, to realise that I was always an orphan growing up..Yes, I had parents..Yes I was fed and clothed and had a roof over my head..Yes I went on holidays from the age of 3 until I was 16 with my family..Yes I had an education..It is more than most ‘genuine orphans’ had..Those who didn’t have their own home and were abandoned by their parents or lost their parents to death..who didn’t have their basic needs met due to poverty & illness..who were neglected severely..who changed foster homes time and time again..

I don’t claim to compare myself to those children and adult children..

When I talk about orphans of abuse, I mean the orphans who never felt loved by their parents..Who never felt supported or safe in their home..Who were never able to be true to themselves..Who were never able to grow up with confidence and inner stability..Who were never able to express their thoughts or feelings, due to fear of punishment or being ignored..

I talk about the emotional orphan..I am an emotional orphan..

This blog post is dedicated to all you emotional orphans out there, who never felt loved, who still feel that you can’t trust others or be loved..who still struggle with mental health problems..who never got the chance to choose your parents..who never had the opportunity to live without trauma..

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With the appropriate healing & support, you can find that love within yourself..Self-compassion is key to filling that emptiness..Grieving the lack of emotional comfort & love, is also crucial to healing..

Intolerance to vulnerability shows you that there are so many emotionally insensitive or incapable people out there, that refuse to talk about difficult emotions..

This isn’t healthy..It is dysfunctional..

Prevent emotional orphanhood…

Love Athina ♥♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by My child within-Healing from trauma and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Home sweet home

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Hello dear followers,

I made it back safely to Germany last night and although London was a lovely break away, home is my favourite place in the world..When I say home, I mean my actual flat where all my comforts are..The little bubble of a love nest hubby and I have created, that keeps us safe and loved. I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere!

The reason I am so grateful for our home is because the minute I arrived in London, I was flooded with a wave of anxiety. I felt awful with bad stomach cramps, frequent trips to the toilet, sweating, clammy hands, rapid heart beat, etc.You get the picture!

As much as I was looking forward to seeing my cousin after so many years and finally getting to see their new London flat, I was out of my comfort zone and my body & mind kept reminding me of this.

The fact that it was very humid and warm made matters worst. Heat always exacerbates my anxiety symptoms, as I am sure a lot of you anxiety sufferers can relate to.

In addition to this, the fact that I was staying with someone who I know wouldn’t have compassion for my mental illness, made me feel even more on edge. My aunt is the sort of person who lives by the quotes ‘I live life to the full’ and ‘I never dwell on sad things’. She is also the type of person who doesn’t like being dragged down by other people’s troubles and who loves showing off all the time..Lets just say, we are worlds apart!She is living a lifestyle of luxury, constantly jetting off around the world and doesn’t seem to understand that others around her, don’t have it as good.

Despite this, I managed to enjoy parts of my trip, even though my body was tense 80% of the time..I was annoyed at my inability to relax but then again reminded myself that this is what life is like living with CPTSD.

On my first day there I went to visit my mum and brother. It was lovely to see my brother face to face and see him in his home town. Unfortunately our time together was cut short, as my mother decided to show up an hour early, even though SHE had arranged the time that suited her and somehow seemed to have conveniently forgotten (as narcs do). This was completely unexpected for my brother, so he got up and left immediately when my mother arrived. He hates spending time with her, as he is now also aware of all the abuse he has endured. I  ended up spending 3 hours with my mother which was bearable but I would have much preferred to spend longer with my brother.

In the evening when I returned back to London I went to dinner with my aunt & cousins which was in a lovely part of London I had never been to before, called St Katharine Docks.

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It had many restaurants and pubs scattered around the mini marina and it was very romantic at night when all lit up. We had dinner in a rather posh restaurant and I must admit, this was the biggest challenge of my day, as my anxiety was through the roof and I was exhausted from the heat & travelling of the morning. I don’t particularly like posh restaurants as I was brought up eating at tavernas in Greece, where everyone shares tapas and things are very laid back.The good thing is, I survived without any escalating anxiety and eventually made it home by 11pm.

My last day of my trip was spent doing what I wanted, which was lovely. No stress, no early starts, less travelling round London and a tiny bit of shopping. My anxiety levels were much more bearable and I also went out for dinner with some close friends, so the day ended perfectly.

How do you feel when leaving your comfort zone? Do you get anxious? Or are you someone who loves adventure and never feels stressed?

I’d love to hear your thoughts

Love Athina ♥♥