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Does it fit? Does it matter?

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Does it fit? Does it matter?

Postby ChristinaDismas » Thu Nov 29, 2018 2:03 pm

So, it's taken me some time to write and I've probably still missed things out but below is a fairly long read, so I apologise. The start is history, and there is now at the end. I've separated the two parts by "*****" if anyone doesn't want to read the full whack and just wants to read the now.

Here goes:

I went from being an extroverted infant/small child, to a painfully, embarrassingly “shy” child, to a teen who was on the verge of falling apart, to this “well rounded and functional” adult, in a private rented home, engaged to another human being, holding down a full-time job.

Outwardly, I’m a normal individual – a bit “quirky”, with some social oddities. I’ve got, for the most part, putting up with people down. I had to learn.

When I was born, my mother couldn’t cope too well. She has suffered, I believe, from BPD or emotional instability disorder for a lot of her life and I think that when I turned up, it was a bit much. Her and my dad were still married, still together, but his job was demanding (we moved around a lot at the start of my life) so he couldn’t be about. She had help from social services in looking after me. From what I’ve heard, I could be a right little bugger. I was a confident kid. Not that I remember it.

I don’t remember the incident of watching my dad kick open the bathroom door after my mum locked herself in their after taking an overdose when I was 3 or 4. I don’t remember the broken noses she gave him in that time or the many arguments they had. From that period of my life, I barely remember anything, mostly just still images in my head that may or may not have been, and of mundane things like the park near our house at the time.

What I do remember is starting year 1 of school when I was 5 or 6. I started later into the year as we’d just moved into the town. I remember being nervous, as any kid would be. I was already quite a reserved child at this point. I didn’t make friends easily. I think my shyness saw to that – other kids honed in on that and that was that, don’t make friends with the weird, quite child. I don’t think I had a proper friend until my second year. I was, really, quite content just to potter around on my own, in school and outside school.

Then, my mum fell asleep, drunk, on the sofa with a lit cigarette in her hand and goodbye went the house. This will have been the first, consequential experience of my mum drinking. It had never really occurred to me before that she drank. After that, my dad, having had enough, left her. He tried to file for custody of me and my brother (who was 2 at the time), but the courts were having none of it despite my mum’s problems and, instead, took him for nearly every penny he had in child maintenance, to the point where he moved away just so he could survive. My mum hated him from that point. He was devil spawn, he abandoned us, he was worse than the stuff that grows in the bottom of your wheelie bin. It wasn’t a secret. I felt that saying anything about him was a no-no, tried not to even think about him. Me and my dad were very close before he left so the whole thing was very strange for me.

Very quickly, I became the painfully shy child. I was already starting to bear the brunt of bullying at school, home life was tense, and I didn’t have any skills to handle anything I was feeling. I used to inwardly panic if I was around strangers, especially if they were kids or teenagers (then, in my head, also lumped in the kid category). I remember times when my mum would drop me off at school late and nearly having a melt down at the thought of walking into the assembly hall to take a seat. What would people think? People would notice me. They’ll all laugh at me. Not that anyone did just because I walked into the assembly hall and took a seat, but my sheer terror at the thought often reduced me to tears and sometimes it took 5 or ten minutes before I could walk in.

Despite being less popular than a marmite and sprout milkshake, I was very good at my subjects, except maths. Maths was one of those super strict subjects where there was only one right answer. My confidence and brain completely failed me at those subjects. I only started to understand telling the time in my third year, didn’t fully get it until my 4th. I excelled in English and Science and did well in everything else. Teachers loved me, and, now I think about it, the way a couple of them spoke to me, I’m sure they felt sorry for the stupidly quite but extremely polite little girl.

By the time I landed in high school, I had one best friend (we started hanging out in the second year – she was as unpopular as I was probably because her mum was a teacher in the school and was an untidy child, but I was not in slightest bit judgmental and we were inseparable in school) and a couple of friends who I sometimes spoke to. We all ended up going to the same high school. The bullying and the shyness continued, only now there were new people who’d come from other schools and I started making other friends, people who occasionally stuck up for me.

It was in year 8 that my mum’s protests about remaining best friends with the girl I’d known since second year, and ability to rationalise and think about things took a step, that I lost my temper with her on day, seeing her as just using me and my compliance to make her look smarter than me and I cut off the friendship. An overreaction in normal world terms, but to me, that was it, no more, goodbye. I ended up becoming friends with a different group of people. The group who occasionally stuck up for me. It was easy, because there were more, in a way it was easier to hide, there was less pressure to contribute, because people already were, I wasn’t anyone’s best friend, I wasn’t in demand, I was about, and it offered enough social time to be getting on with. Unlike having one friend and being half the contribution and making up for any deficit. I was liked. I smiled and was nice to be around and brought no problems to the table, despite having plenty going on at home.

Up to this point, my mum had met a new guy, she’s tried to kill herself a further two times, the house we were living in had been repossessed, we’d moved to a council estate, my mum’s drinking became so bad that she no longer worked, and I dreaded coming home to see what state she was going to be in, how many eggshells we’d have to traverse, whether she’d get into another argument with my step dad and try and drag me and my brother into it to stick up for her (you had to, even if she was wrong).

I rarely had anyone round my home, never told anyone what was going on. I did once, to one of those new friends after 2 or 3 years, and that was only about my mum drinking. It never went any further than her.

My mental state was starting to crap out on me at the age of 14. I started to self-harm. I managed to keep myself on a level I could handle for a while, keeping myself in check with my self-harm, fictional writing and video games.

We moved across the country when I was in college. I spent two months back down south for exams, which I did terribly at, then transferred to a nearby college to where we now lived. After this, it seemed my mum completely lost control of herself. Angry, aggressive, raging alcoholic. I spent a good portion of my emotional fortitude trying to help hers, listening to her, learning things about her childhood I really didn’t want to, trying to make her feel better, being pulled into her arguments with my step-dad or trying not to hear them, or being the brunt of an argument for no particular reason. I kept my brother away from it all as much as possible, I often cooked our meals and, when he was upset about something mum had said to him, I’d listen to him and make him feel better. I was very alone, I had no one to hear me, everything I thought was left in my head to fester and scream whilst I stood and smiled and made sure everyone else was OK.

Home life became such that I couldn’t handle college and could barely handle my life and I took an overdose at the age of 18 during college hours. I didn’t want to die, I wanted someone to help me. I’d twisted my thought processes so much to make myself feel better, I was, actually, tearing myself apart. In my head, to cope with how my life was going and had gone, I made myself believe I deserved it. If it was my fault somehow, then dealing with it would be more bearable. Everything I did “wrong” that made someone, especially my mum, angry or upset at me was punishable by fresh self-inflicted wounds; everything that I viewed as doing something wrong even if I had done nothing wrong at all was punishable by the same (self-harm made me feel more at peace with everything, with whatever I’d “done”). I was going to be stuck in this cycle, in that environment, on the same Groundhog Day forever. I didn’t want to do it anymore.

2 counselling sessions and I gave up going again. There was no point, she couldn’t do anything, and my mum wasn’t overly happy about me going – she didn’t say, I could just tell. So, it just continued. My overdose became a bullet to fire once or twice when my mum was angry at me. I quit college. Spent most of my time buried in computer games, I couldn’t find it in myself to write. I looked for an out wherever I could. I ran away with a man I met online. I was 19, he said he was 33. I got on a train. 2 days later the police contact me, my step dad had been onto them to make sure I was OK and gave them the details. Turns out, this 33-year-old man who helped me get away was a 42-year-old man who had been done for domestic abuse against his previous girlfriend. I went back home.

More of the same. Until just before my 21st, I lost my temper. I dared fire back at my mum who was shouting at me for obeying my step dad and ringing the police whilst she was trying to stab him (it wasn’t the first time she’d tried). I had betrayed her, I was scum. I lost it, she tried to punch me. She kicked me out that night. Luckily, I had just started a new job (the start date was the previous day) so I wasn’t completely down river. Some of my new colleagues helped me find sheltered accommodation, being a young and vulnerable woman, and I didn’t go back. I received email after email of hate from my mum. But, even though I was living in a relatively bad set-up, I had a roof over my head, I had myself and a means to provide for myself. I couldn’t immediately untwist my thoughts, I was still falling apart albeit slower, I still self-harmed, it still helped me, until I gave myself a scare one day in the shower and hit somewhere I didn’t mean to hit. It got me thinking, what if I’d hit somewhere important. No one would find me for days. Like I say, I didn’t want to die. I stopped it, as hard as it was.

At around the same time, at work, I met another reason to quit hurting myself. My now fiancé. In all the fallout and everything that was being thrown at me, he was there to support me, and I shared my history with him like I’d done with no else. We had some very honest conversations. After a few months, we ended up together. He was also going through a hard time with his mum dying and, for a fresh relationship, I dealt with things that most people would have thought not worth it. But, dealing with his depression and short temperedness was nothing to what I’d lived with growing up. None of it was aimed at me, nor my fault, and was purely about his dying mum.

It hit home hard with myself as to how dysfunctional my growing up was at Christmas, the first Christmas since meeting my other half. I always liked Christmas, for materialistic reasons, but dreaded later on in the day as there was often an argument started by my mum. We went to his family for Christmas and sitting there, in the nice warm atmosphere, I broke down into tears.

That was about the last time I properly got upset about how I grew up. I was never upset about it all time, but instead was hit by a feeling of missing out on a happy, normal childhood every now and then. It doesn’t bother me now.

There’s been plenty happened in the last 10 years. My other half’s mum died, then his dad not too long ago, we’ve had coming to terms with not being able to have kids due to a health condition on my part (kind of pleased – don’t know what kind of parent I’d be, it all seems to be too much hard work), there’s been debt, injury, the other half’s clinical depression. We’ve weathered a lot, but it’s OK. We’re extremely supportive of each other and very strong together.


*****


Now, where this leads into “well rounded and functional” is that I am outwardly a very polite, welcoming and warm person, responsible and socially functional. Sure, I’ve always been polite from being small. My other half has many friends and can be a very sociable person. I feel that I have actually been learning how to be around people from him. Of course, I am my own “social animal” and don’t copy what he does, but I can put myself out there and not appear to be a total social failure. I don't worry or feel anxious about social situations as such, I feel a sense of "oh God" mostly just because of the mental effort it all takes.

People talk to me about things that will talk to no one else about, and in return they get no judgment, no turning the conversation to what I have dealt with (most people don’t know), no platitudes, no butting in unless it’s relevant, they get a listener who can seem to look at things from an objective point of view whilst being understanding and kind to what’s happening to them. I’m usually helpful and “motherly” and can read the type of person someone is pretty well and can adjust how I interact with them accordingly – although I fall down with people I’m not keen on, I tend to find myself just avoiding anything but the odd sentence to pacify any “don’t you like me?” ideas.

In actual fact, I rarely care about spending time with people. I like to do things by myself for the most part. Being by myself is like all weights being lifted off me. Yes, I’m engaged, but we both like our own space and don’t feel the need to be “on top” of one another all the time, we have things we like to do, even if it is in the same room, we don’t suffocate each other. It’s nice that people want to spend time around me, but I do become impatient and often just shrug off requests of spending time in a social environment. I barely speak with my family, I just don’t feel the desire to spend time on them.

When people talk to me about deep problems, I’m so good with it because I don’t really feel much about it. I don’t feel invested emotionally in the problem, so their problems are more of a thing to overcome intellectually. Sure, I can display a level of sympathy and empathy for people. On a smaller level I can actually feel it, I think, but I don’t know how superficial it is.

I rarely feel much at all about anything. I seem to have an emotional block for the most part. Sometimes I crack and sit and cry for some time, but that’s only really in private. I’ve cried in front of my other half, but increasingly only about superficial stuff that don’t really matter – work problems for example. I can’t seem to share my innermost thoughts about how I feel – or don’t as is the most common state of mind. I either see that I don’t feel certain people need to know, or that they’re having problems of their own and I don’t want to put any of my own on them. I often don’t understand why people get so bothered and so upset about certain things for so long, and I know that’s not right – such as the death of people they know or family members. Surely there’s a point where you stop being all that upset about it? But everyone stays upset about things like that – to a lesser degree but still upset. I’ve been told I don’t react the same way to things as everyone else, and I guess I don’t seem to them to be particularly affected by serious things like death, even if I try to appear to be sad about it.

I don’t know what I would be classed as: emotional flatness, social apathy, inability to express myself properly, no desire to be particularly liked (or hated). My childhood has had a long-term effect on me, one that I don’t think can be fixed. I wonder is it really a problem? I’m high functioning, I appear normal, is lacking in emotion or desire to be around people a big deal? I’ve considered counselling or seeing if there is anything wrong with me but I’m not sure there’s any point.

I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on all this in terms of schizoid? I've studied mental health in various capacities over the years and over anything else, this is what fits the best. I'm also happy to answer any questions in relation to this post.

Thank you in advance.
ChristinaDismas
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Re: Does it fit? Does it matter?

Postby ENFPENTP » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:47 am

I don't know. I mean, I myself have not been dx with SPD, but I have had some relational experience with schizoid people. I get a sense that you are not or just maybe lower scoring on the spectrum. I had some similar experiences growing up, but not to the degree you did. There's definitely enough trauma here to cause some significant PTSD, depression, social anxiety/shyness, etc.

How have your sexual experiences been if you don't mind me asking? That's the one issue you didn't talk about in your hx statement that is a significant indicator of potential schizoid traits or adaptations.

And I may have missed it (your commentary was quite long), but do you have any family hx of any relations having SPD or schizophrenia? Autism?
ENFPENTP
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