The Conundrum

Recently and from talking to other survivors of C-PTSD, I arrive at the realization that I’ve navigated the bulk of my adult life by coming from a place of denial about the damage inflicted on me very early in my life and the outcomes thereof. At some point I sort of “flipped a switch” inside of me – or in the perception of myself – and started to act as if nothing had happend. I “declared” myself worthy, equal, healthy – and took it from there. What behaviour I saw in others that lead to them being successful and – apparently – happy, I picked up, emulated, mimicked as best as I could. You could say that my role models were random strangers I met along the way. I had become an expert in pattern recognition all along early – for mere survival -, so it was almost a no-brainer to use that experience on “blending in”. And I thought I had. Maybe, I seriously have – at least for certain stretches of episodes throughout my adult life. The main thing, though: Not coming across as a victim. Or needy. None of it. Ever. Like – never, ever! Because it didn’t take a huge learning effort to figure out that any signs of – perceived – weakness aren’t exactly met with loving kindness in this world, no Ma’am!

However … by approaching life in this way, I – and I’ve only figured this out now – “circumvented” my own needs. Denied me them. We won’t even begin to talk about needs not being met earlier. That ship has sailed anyways. But I mean – basic human needs….touch, smell, feel, kiss, being intimate – what about them? If you come across as strong, the downside is that people will assume you just are. (In retrospect: They don’t assume that much, either – they’ll just take it from what they think they see… pretty bland, to be honest). And they’ll hold you up to those perceived standards and will expect you to deliver according to their expectations.

I did all that. For fucking 42 years. Put “them” first, myself last. Until I was thoroughly spent. Now what?

I’m going to skip this part and fast forward to today: Can I muster up the strength to returning to that approach? Maybe at somewhat more modest levels? Will I still be able to push it all aside, “suck it up”, bottle it up, “man up”?

No. I can’t. Even, if I did: Something shines through. The residual damage always betrays me one way or another. There can be no other way but to keep trying to find help with removing the residual aspects of multiple childhood and adolescent trauma, some physical, some emotional, lots of it verbal, all three together being a recipé for desaster.

I must find help in order to escape the conundrum. I’ve exhausted all other options of (self-) help.

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2 thoughts on “The Conundrum

  1. I too wonder about my basic human needs….The things I touch the most are my cat, things I hold like food, books, my pillow all the physical things I use in my day to day life. Interpersonal intimacy I fear has left the building. Unlike Arnold S. in the Terminator, it WON’T BE BACK! It’s okay, I had my time as it were. It is nice to lay with someone and hold them or have them hold you. I am going to miss that. As a gay man, coming across “strong” has never been something I gave much thought to. I focused on “putting on the butch”. I did this because back in the late 60’s all the way to now, effeminate men are getting what for from street thugs and those who just decide they want to show someone their disapproval. I stay under the radar so to speak. It’s a sad world where we can’t be who we are because of other’s judgements. I’m kinda doubting if I’ll ever escape the connundrum I face but I do know this. No one on the outside is going to influence in any way what I do in the privacy of my own home = I’m so vanilla in my behavior there’d be nothing to be worried about.
    God this is complicated shit! Where will my decisions lead me? Will I use my intellect effectively and for the greatest benefit to myself and those around me? I guess I’ll continue to meditate and pray on this stuff. Why I’m not sure but I’ll do it anyway.

    • Yeah, meditation, prayer, being outdoors often, taking in nature – and focussing on taking it one step at a time. That has become my lifeline. But most of it happens in seclusion. For different reasons than with you, but similar outcomes. The mainstream gets quite brutal with anything and anyone not exactly fitting in. Oh well… my life seems to be defined by non-stop fighting and struggling. It’d so be ready for some calmer waters again and for a change… (one can dream and wish, can’t we? 🙂 )

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