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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / Acknowledging trauma & trying to find community support (Trigger Warning: Emotional Abuse & Anxiety)

Topic: Acknowledging trauma & trying to find community support (Trigger Warning: Emotional Abuse & Anxiety)

5 posts, 0 answered
  1. noella99
    noella99 avatar
    8 posts
    8 September 2020

    Hi everyone,

    It feels like it's been ages since the last time I posted anything on the forum.

    I still find myself fall into a hole of constant fear, guilt, and anxiety. I've left a shared flat where I had a very hard time with an emotionally abusive friend/housemate. I still find it hard to refer to them as an abusive person. I can't wrap my head around it. I even feel bad when referring to them as emotionally abusive whenever I talk to my doctor or my counselor about them, trying to rationalize what they did because I equally made mistakes back then too. It makes it hard for me to find peace in myself.

    I've recently had a really bad anxiety attack that led to days of me being on edge, physically in pain, and under high stress. It was triggered by something that I've watched that really reminded me of that person. I remembered crying to the point that I had a hard time breathing, my whole body numb, and I was unable to sleep because my muscle was all tense.

    I genuinely thought I've finally able to move on from that traumatic point of my life yet I still doubt myself. I still feel this way, hurt, and afraid. Most of all, guilty. I feel guilty thinking of all the mistakes I did. Maybe I could've done things better. I don't know. Even when I think about the things they've done to me (gaslighting me, putting me down, twisting my words), I still think back to moments of kindness that they've done to me. I feel conflicted and fear of facing other people too.

    I don't know where to find community support for this kind of stuff. I'd like to find healthier ways to cope through, find people to talk to who can relate to my situation. Thank you for reading my post this far. I'd love to hear any suggestions or any replies really. Grateful for any form of support.

  2. White Rose
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    White Rose avatar
    6325 posts
    8 September 2020 in reply to noella99

    Hello Noella

    Welcome back. One of the characteristics of being abused emotionally and verbally is to feel guilty. That's what the abuser wants you to feel. It's your fault that they abuse you so you feel bad and look for ways you could have behaved differently. This is so wrong. Being abused is not acceptable no matter if someone also offers you kindness. In fact it is this 'kindness' that is the worst part in many ways because it makes you so unsure about your actions.

    You have a right to feel safe and I am pleased you were able to leave the abusive 'friend'. There is no need to make excuses for their behaviour because it is inexcusable. What do your doctor and counselor say about this person? I hope they understand how badly this abuse has affected you. May I ask if you are seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist.

    We all make mistakes, it's part of being human. But when someone abuses another they are not making a mistake, they are being quite simply deliberately abusive. It took me 30 years of marriage to realise this before I finally left. I also found it difficult to object to the comments because he was 'kind' at times and apparently supportive. I think our children blamed me for leaving as they conveniently forgot the times he was unkind to them.

    These days I feel guilty for not being a good parent or friend and yet I also know I was not horrible. This feeling of being unsure about right and wrong takes a long time to stop. So often we get triggered by a word from someone else which sounds so much like abuse because of the association that we find ourselves agreeing with anything said so we do not do something wrong. Most people are interested in the comments of others and do not expect immediate acceptance and agreement on a topic. That person may well wondering about your views on a topic and would like an honest answer rather than agreement because you are too scared to speak your truth. It takes a lot of practice but don't give up. It does get better and you will learn the difference between a mistake and abuse.

    Please continue to post in here. We can offer you support and chat about your concerns.


    2 people found this helpful
  3. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    3183 posts
    10 September 2020 in reply to noella99

    Hi noella99,

    Welcome back as well.

    I'm sorry to hear that you're struggling so much and glad that you decided to post about it.

    This is definitely something I can relate to, and in the midst of going through now with my therapist too. Like you, the person that I know was gaslighting (and abusive to me), and yet there were also times where they were kind as well. It's super conflicting and kind of hard to wrap your head around.

    I agree with Mary in that the abuse is not acceptable. One of the things that my therapist is helping me understand is that being nice doesn't take away the abuse - they can be emotionally abusive and kind as well. She also told me that the guilt is normal and understandable, so I'm working really hard to know that this isn't my fault and the two can co-exist.

    I hope this helps a little


    1 person found this helpful
  4. noella99
    noella99 avatar
    8 posts
    10 September 2020 in reply to White Rose

    Hi Mary

    Thank you for replying.

    The support means a lot really. A lot of things happened on top of having to try my best to take care of my mental health after that traumatic event. I guess in times like this it frustrates me for not being able to recover as quickly as I can because there's just so many things I have to deal with. I understand every person responds and deals with trauma differently and at a different pace. I just somewhat feel like that recovery time feels like a luxury, which is quite sad now that I think about it.

    My counsellor had told me that it's valid for me to feel confused, to feel guilty when all these abusive actions come from someone who I see as a friend. They've mainly been quite neutral, but have pointed out certain aspects of his behaviour and actions that I told them to be quite alarming and this was prior to me moving out. I haven't gone to see a psychologist specifically, but I'm considering it.

    It's very comforting and relieving to hear that I don't feel alone in this. Thank you for sharing your journey coping through and still having to, from time to time, doubt yourself yet you managed to follow through. I agree that it'll probably take time for me to be able to learn the difference and grow. The process of doing that can be very isolating as well. So it's nice to know and have other people's support.


  5. noella99
    noella99 avatar
    8 posts
    10 September 2020 in reply to romantic_thi3f

    Hi rt

    Thank you for replying.

    I never thought about how kindness and abuse can co-exist. It's true, I guess that's what makes it very hard to leave an abusive relationship. I guess I try so hard to separate and justify the bad moments with the good ones as if to dilute however hurt I was feeling. That's a helpful way of looking at it, thank you.

    I'm glad to hear that you've made the move and going through it with a therapist! Accepting and knowing it wasn't your fault can be a tough process. Hope the best for us to be able to reach that point, even if it'll take a long process.


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