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Living in a Parrallel Universe

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Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby Terry E. » Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:41 am

How I feel. Discussed it with others as well. By 10 I realised I was all alone.Parents separated and left with someone who was extremely cruel for no reason. It changed me much more than I thought. Yep by high school (12 1/2) I felt older than all the other kids, as my problems were very different than theirs. Their issues seemed so childish. It was becoming the eat and sleep priorities. I was bullied because I was different and marginalized and I felt it did not worry me as I looked on them as ignorant of the world, my world.

After leaving school (never happy there) and scraping into Uni, I was happier. That independent attitude made Uni (part time) easy for me, but I struggled with other issues without realising I was actually struggling. First inkling was when one of the partners wives died at work. I made an inappropriate joke and everyone stared (the partner was not there that day and most in that room barely knew him).

I sort of went OK. That's weird. As the years went by I found myself isolated when faced with issues of family grief. I would see that grief and wonder how weak they were to display such emotion. To have such emotion. I actually said to someone once after seeing how upset someone was to loose a mother .. "it's not like she lost a pet or something". I felt contemptuous of them and proud that no matter what, I would never cry for anyone. I think that was one of my coping mechanisms that stopped me crashing and burning. Despite all the trauma, and disadvantages in some weird strange way I knew I was different, but felt my different was better. I could feel no pain. I took pride in that, and confidence that I could damm well overcome nearly anything, short of it killing me (yes I loved that Nietzsche quote). Corny but true. In reflection I wonder if that is narcissism but think it comes from repeatedly being told I cannot do things, "you are no good in sports", being humiliated and laughed at when I tried, "you cannot pass that course, you will not pass your PY", and me working out ways to do them all. I think it may have been partly because I wanted to also participate, to share, to feel part of a community, to be accepted, but by around 12 I was just willing to work harder to prove them wrong. The prove them wrong became a fire in me that drove me way harder than was good for me.

Oh yeah back on topic. My alternative Universe. Gradually I realised I was the one out of sync. It never worried me and I learned not to make inappropriate remarks.

When my mother goes I will feel nothing. Maybe dress up as Heatwave at the crematorium and put it on youtube.

I was just wondering today how that lack of understanding about how people feel about relationships has effected me through my life. You think something is wrong with you because you are different. Then you try and fake it as you go along. You don't get close to people because they may find out, and finally you work it out and don't care (although I still fake it).

I keep having the conversation with survivors about whether we can actually love someone. I care about my family very much. If they died would I cry? No. I was close to my poor father in his final years and we cleared out his room at the retirement home the night he died and I was back at work next morning as if nothing had happened. So I care for my wife and children and have worked very hard for them to make their lives good, but without them, I don't think I would miss then that much at all. I know I should. I do all the things that I think someone should do in my position but they are conscious choices. I keep looking for a template for this stuff.

After a long time I think I am happy with that. Like I said I feel like I have come from a parallel universe where society looks the same but isn't. Yeah, happy with that.


NOTE: "Flash of Two Worlds" published in 1961written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Carmine Infantino, predates "Man in High Castle" by Phillip K Dick. Both deal with Parallel Universes
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Re: Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby NeverHadAChance » Thu Jan 16, 2020 6:41 pm

To be "happy with something" is a figure of speech. Are you really "happy" (a positive peak of emotion) or merely "OK" and at peace facing something that would devastate most people? I am guessing the latter, but the "heatwave" comment is a bit disturbing and makes me wonder if it isn't the former.

Maybe the latter can be considered "happy" on balance, if you consider the difference between the negative effect and your indifference as something "gained" so to speak.

If the former, then it's kind of peculiar that you would go out of your way to belittle what should be devastating events. You chalked it up to narcissism, but you also mentioned defense mechanisms. The "narcissism" itself is probably a defense mechanism, and I would guess you weren't a "true" narcissist.

In either case it sounds like you "jettisoned" a part of your personality in order to save yourself from the otherwise overwhelming weight of abuse. It seems there are different strategies here for helpless and overwhelmed children. Mine was to seek distractions and forget real life.

I also have an alternative thought about your supposed lack of feelings. I noticed people, even family in most western nations can be very distant nowadays. I think if I'd grown up in such a society, there's a relatively high chance I wouldn't feel so strongly about the end of a parent's life. Come to think of it, that same aspect of society is what damaged you in the first place, you could argue.

I do not know you very well but I've seen a few of your posts elsewhere and got the impression that you were a kind and helpful person. There is probably something left that wasn't jettisoned but it doesn't have ideal growing conditions. Based on your post you probably don't see the need to nurture it, even if you could. But maybe it's like someone who was fully blind from birth, and has no idea what eyesight really is. Maybe you should nurture it after all, because it's definitely a big part of most humans. But I'm no expert, so maybe you could discuss this with one?
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Re: Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby Terry E. » Fri Jan 17, 2020 12:52 am

NeverHadAChance wrote:
Are you really "happy" (a positive peak of emotion) or merely "OK"
well happier now than at anytime in my life - but that comes from someone who has been described many times as "not a happy person" - never called unhappy though, just never happy, no matter what


If the former, then it's kind of peculiar that you would go out of your way to belittle what should be devastating events.

See this is it. When you live with madness as your normal, then how does one cope. My brother is in my opinion quite mad, a genuine psychopath, sociopath and a rather scary person. He was older when it all went to hell. To me it is just like my values in life are different. What scares the hell out of people in a violent robbery was never scary. Is the short person less than the tall person. Is the skinny person less than the stronger mesomorph (tell that to a 10K Olympic gold medalist). See I don't think I need a therapist, I see things others do not. As an accountant it has been a huge advantage. The business world is full of narcissists and cheats. I could spot them way before most people. I could see the evil that others failed to see.



that same aspect of society is what damaged you in the first place, you could argue.
In part I agree, that many times my life could have been changed but people who saw glimpses of it turned away. I had been angry at society since high school, one of my drivers to succeed.


But maybe it's like someone who was fully blind from birth, and has no idea what eyesight really is. Maybe you should nurture it after all, because it's definitely a big part of most humans.
Again that is the part I don't get and therefore I will never miss it. Very little makes me what others describe as happy but almost nothing makes me what others describe as sad. How does one have one without the other.
I am better now as I used to laugh at people who had extreme misfortune on the news. (never abuse though) as I would look at them as weak, thinking I could handle that and not even blink. I felt they were experiencing a glimpse of my life and falling at the first hurdle. Serious issues with empathy and compassion (as I said except for abuse and animals of all things. Hardship for animals could bring me close to tears)




Finally thank you. I think you get it.
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Re: Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby NeverHadAChance » Fri Jan 17, 2020 7:28 pm

Thanks. There is a lot there to think about but I think the empathy thing touches on it all.

[quote]


For what it's worth, I would still like to point out that it's possible to be perceptive in the way you describe while having more empathy. I think everyone gets disturbing thoughts. Many people, myself included, have paradoxical reactions to terrible events. When someone passes away and I am devastated, I may have an intrusive urge to smile. I hate it and do everything in my power to stop it. The difference here is that you allow such thoughts. Maybe they give you some relief and distract from having to experience painful emotions. You presented it as utilitarian but you've said before it was a defense mechanism, so it's clearly not just purely strategic. And I think it's within the repertoire of all humans (as are all intrusive thoughts) but we all suppress it.


[quote]


and I have to apologise as I believe I messed up this post trying to do my reply. Thinking too hard and missed the obvious - I was editing not replying. Sorry.
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Re: Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby Terry E. » Sat Jan 18, 2020 7:52 am

This is what it should be

NeverHadAChance wrote:Thanks. There is a lot there to think about but I think the empathy thing touches on it all.



For what it's worth, I would still like to point out that it's possible to be perceptive in the way you describe while having more empathy. I think everyone gets disturbing thoughts. Many people, myself included, have paradoxical reactions to terrible events. When someone passes away and I am devastated, I may have an intrusive urge to smile. I hate it and do everything in my power to stop it. The difference here is that you allow such thoughts. Maybe they give you some relief and distract from having to experience painful emotions. You presented it as utilitarian but you've said before it was a defense mechanism, so it's clearly not just purely strategic. And I think it's within the repertoire of all humans (as are all intrusive thoughts) but we all suppress it.



As I said I lack the normal range of emotion. I don't know if that is physical as my brain was altered during the abuse. I have inappropriate cortisol response. My Flight or fight does not work and that has been put to a test in an armed robbery. So not just my opinion. I also have child abuse Cushings so that messed up my body in many ways and it had to have done stuff to my brain.
But reading empathy - if you live as a child with a mother who has none, a brother who has none, then that gets laid down as your model.
So maybe I am stoic, never actually thought of that as I always think of stoic as an attitude the user adapts. Mine is not an attitude it is a lack or range of emotion.


As I said earlier I now know what other find appropriate and don't upset people any more. Maybe I have never lost anyone who meant anything to me. That is possible.

I think the average person does not think how they act. My best friend is a mini version of his dad in many ways. My wife's best friend has three children all smaller versions of their parents. How they behave has been laid down by what they saw.

In my case I have tried to invent myself. Not only did I live with a lunatic and a psychopath, but as you may guess we only had two visitors in 15 years apart from police (not social)I have adopted role models from my lifting coaches, several bosses, my best friend, basically anyone who I could find that was better than me who I could learn off. Think now that model is finished but still trying to probe around and look for things to improve.

Thanks for this. Everything you have given me is good but some will require more thought. Without talking about stuff I often wonder if I am actually that different. Is it just me, in my head, and then you have a moment of clarity.

A friend another survivor and I were talking and I told her of when my brother smashed my mothers nose when I was probably 20. I was dressed for work about to leave. He was in the middle of doing his final year of school for maybe the 5th time (repeated that year 6 times). She always knew how to press his buttons to send him off in high stress. She wanted to prove he was a failure so as to crucify his father with it. My friend asked me "what did you do" I replied, "I grabbed a towel, wrapped her face, (Lots of blood), called a taxi loaded her in got a clean shirt and then went o work, made an excuse for being late, worked that day then went to Uni at night as usual. "
and then the way she looked at me made me wonder - hmmm maybe that was not a normal day. Maybe I should have called the hospital, come home early, had a day off, even gone with her. But to me it was just another day. A bit worse than some but not as bad as many (I prefer seeing other people injured than experiencing it myself) . So maybe the lack of empathy was a protective mechanism or maybe it just allowed me to function in an insane world ....( and we come back to me living in my parallel universe).

Thanks again
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Re: Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby NeverHadAChance » Sat Jan 18, 2020 6:04 pm

I would say you've succeeded in "inventing yourself." It could've gone far worse. Ultimately you seem fairly well adjusted all things considered.

> Think now that model is finished but still trying to probe around and look for things to improve.

I find I do my best work when I don't have to do it. I could complete a 5 day task in 2 days if I had unlimited time to deliver it; but if I had 6 days, I'd struggle to do a good job. If you're anything like me, then you're in very good shape for developing yourself, as you've already got a decent model to fall back on.

> I think the average person does not think how they act. My best friend is a mini version of his dad in many ways. My wife's best friend has three children all smaller versions of their parents. How they behave has been laid down by what they saw.

I feel like I notice these things too. It is tempting to be narcissistic about it. I think I was for a while, but ultimately I made it a point not to view them as inferior. The breakthrough was realizing that I could've easily been like them if my circumstances were different, and conversely they could've like me. My advantage in being able to see how "ignorant" they are (I know how arrogant that sounds) is luck, not merit. That was humbling. This wasn't nihilism or postmodern thinking, like "nothing matters because everything is random." It's not necessary (or even correct) to go that far.

>So maybe I am stoic, never actually thought of that as I always think of stoic as an attitude the user adapts. Mine is not an attitude it is a lack or range of emotion.

You're right, stoicism is an attitude, and also a philosophical position or belief rather than someone's nature. I was just thinking it might be a good match for your mental model, particularly because stoics value morality despite their de-emphasis of emotions. At least I found it interesting to read.

>As I said earlier I now know what other find appropriate and don't upset people any more. Maybe I have never lost anyone who meant anything to me. That is possible.

It seems likely that you're just depleted on empathy, and what little you might have is obviously prioritized depending on the person. Although maybe this is orthogonal from someone meaning nothing to you. Maybe other factors, like the amount of baggage your relationship with that person carries, might also affect your reaction. For example, there are people I do care about, that I am burned out on and feel an overwhelming need to escape from. I am just throwing ideas out there for your consideration. If these hypotheses are incorrect, I hope they at least help you to reason about your situation.

I'm sorry for not having very good advice or insights here. I think you will have to play it by ear. But it looks like you're headed in the right direction.
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Re: Living in a Parrallel Universe

Postby Terry E. » Mon Jan 20, 2020 2:11 am

Thank you for all of your insight. I have found it very helpful to have an objective sounding board. Very helpful.
Thanks again.
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