I feel this relates to all types of abuse and neglect..
“The aftereffects of Post-Incest Syndrome are not ‘problems’ to be ‘overcome’, but coping mechanisms that have negative side-effects. By attaching the concept of ‘disorder’ to these consequences, we damn the incest survivor to weakness instead of attributing to her the strength of spirit, creativity, and endurance that she deserves–that she has earned.”
It is hard to find people in this world who will try to understand just what PTSD is, let alone how it impacts your life. Even people who love you are apt to know more about the president’s dog than PTSD. Even if they read up on it, they may not understand it in an empathetic way since it is not something they experience. There are days that I feel more understood by the cat than a dear friend. (Of course, this is anthropomorphism — but heh, whatever gets me through the day… 😉 ) But, here at WordPress, I can find others who walk my path — who “get it” — because they are walking it too. It may not be PTSD, but instead depression, anxiety, OCD, DID, bi-polar disorder, or any number of mental and emotional health challenges. But, we can understand each other because we have shared experiences. Some days, we write a post and feel heard when we see a “like” on it. We press “like” when we find a post we can relate to. Sometimes we even comment on each others blogs and share a thought or two. We see others on the path sharing our journey. The loneliness abates. Other people’s ignorance is easier to bear. There are others who understand and whom we understand and this is a very good thing.
If you are looking for some honest feedback from me you will have to request it passionately. As someone who has had enough criticism to last a lifetime from my mother and first husband, I don’t like to dole it out to others. I understand that healthy criticism can be helpful; but, its been rare that I have been on the receiving end of this type. I think healthy criticism should include comments about what someone did right, along with remarks about what could have been better. A spirit of humility should also be present. After all, it is just one fallible human’s opinion.
But how do you withstand criticism from those that are hyper-critical? Those that consistently tear others down rather than build them up? Some you can kick to the curb and get on with your life. But others are a permanent fixture in your life. I think it helps to recognize that the criticism says more about them than you. They have issues. Probably, they do not feel very good about themselves or were subject to a lot of criticism growing up.
But, how do you handle it? Can a certain response decrease the amount of negative feedback you get from the critical ones? I am looking for ideas on how to cope and respond to this dilemma. Please share your ideas if you have any.
A friend of mine just brought it to my attention that I more often than not call my sister “Sister” rather than using her name. Perhaps it is because I cherish our sisterhood and the return to being close again. My mother was not a mother; nor my father a father. But my sister was very much a sister — a confidant, a companion, a friend. We were estranged for a number of years. We were mad at each other for good reasons. But the anger finally dissipated, leaving in it’s wake only the feelings of loss. We were ready to reconcile. Love won out. How often does that happen? Not often enough. Now, I can have all the memories of she and I together without the sadness. Oh, things aren’t perfect. She rarely lets me get a word in edgewise during our phone conversations. But, now I am just glad to hear her voice after missing it during our years of estrangement. And so, I write her letters about me and my life so I can feel heard and known. I am sure she is accepting some foible of mine too. There has been much loss in my life in recent years: my husband’s passing , the loss of our home and some of my sanity. But, this Christmas, I can celebrate getting back something that was lost to me — my sister. Maybe, there is a god, and maybe this was a miracle. I don’t know. But it is definitely a blessing. And I am grateful.
“Faith is not a belief. Faith is what is left when your beliefs have all been blown to hell.”
~ Ram Dass
All who have survived trauma know well the feeling of the broken spirit. The loss of faith that comes with having your belief system ripped out from under you.
How can trauma survivors come to a place of restoring our faith? Our faith has been built over time as we live and construct in our minds the things we believe in. Trauma can shatter those beliefs in an instant.
In her amazing book, Trauma and Recovery, Judith Herman, M.D. addresses the issue of faith. She states “(Traumatic events…) violate the victim’s faith in a natural or divine order and cast the victim into a state of existential crisis. “
In other words, we begin to question everything we have come to know.