C-PTSD and Friendships
A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
July 11, 2021
I recently have been in email contact with a dear old friend. A friend who also happens to have been my friend since 1984 when I was working at the Sacramento Children’s Home. He was a group home social worker at the time, and I was preparing to get into graduate school. We hit it off right away and were fast friends until, over 30 years later, he too became the victim of one of my emotional flashbacks. There is no need to go into the details here but suffice it to say it was a tsunami for both us and it buried my heart for many years.
Six years after our estrangement, this man had the courage to reach out to me. I’ve always been a sucker sincerity and courage. What follows in this episode is a series of emails we have exchanged over the last 72 days. I hope the connection between he and I resonates with you and compels you to consider reaching out to a long-lost friend of yours. Break the silence. I plan to, that’s for sure.
As usual, I am sharing some websites that I think will enhance this email exchange between two old friends who have been on the outs for some time. Enjoy the podcast and please tell your friends you love them.
Here’s a nice article by Jay Polish on how C-PTSD can impact relationships.
How Complex PTSD Can Affect Relationships, According To An Expert (bustle.com)
One of my favorite people out there helping people with Complex PTSD is Anna Runkle. She’s the Crappy Childhood Fairy and there is more information about her and her programs at the link below.
CPTSD: How to Have Better FRIENDSHIPS - The Crappy Childhood Fairy
I find a lot of good information on this website. I highly recommend you cruise around and check it out.
C-PTSD and Interpersonal Relationships (psychcentral.com)
Heidi Fischer writes this nice article on being in relationship with someone with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress.
Struggling With Friendship With Complex PTSD | The Mighty
C-PTSD and Friendships
A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed
July 11, 2021
Hello and welcome to Out of My Mind in Costa Rica-Living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress. I’m your host, Ray Erickson. If you have been a regular listener, you already know my story and you have hung in there with me as I try to give you content that not just engages you but inspires you. I am profoundly grateful to all of you who regularly take a chance and listen to my podcast. If my fucked-up life, in some weird, but wonderful way, motivates you to take the next step in your healing, then I have done my job.
I need to tell you, my friends. This has been an exceedingly difficult two weeks for me. The depression has been peaking at about an 8 out of 10 with 10 being the most depressed and suicidal. I’m not suicidal, but I am depleted. I’m drained of energy and interest. I am barely taking care of my ADL’s, (activities of daily living). I am not boo-hooing here, I’m just telling you like it is. Otherwise, I would have completed at least two episodes during this time.
The set up for this week’s episode is this; my old friend since 1984 reached out to me after 6 years of estrangement that followed one of my more epic emotional dysregulations. It was huge and I was vibrating for weeks afterwards. It was so bad, I had to hide all the songs he wrote and recorded because it was too painful for me to listen to them. This represents probably the biggest loss of my entire life. Bigger than my family, because my family was toxic, and it did me good to be excommunicated. But this was different. This loss was the loss of the best friend I had ever had in my entire life. It was a nuclear explosion bigger than Hiroshima. And it broke my heart to have sabotaged the one true friendship I had ever really known.
He demonstrated courage when he contacted me by email and to be honest, I am a bit anxious about reentering a relationship with this man. Not that I believe another triggering will occur, no, I am clear that I will not go there another time. I am, however, terrified of being abandoned again by someone I have loved and still do love.
The reason for our traumatic ending is way more involved than I want to go into and I don’t feel a need to go into that. It is done, Dead and Gone, although I would be lying if I told you, I do feel not the twinge of the dismissal that ultimately sent me over the edge. It could have been anyone, but it wasn’t. It was my best friend with whom we had confided in each other for over 30 years. Nah. Let sleeping bears lie.
The point is my friend reached out and I am hopeful we can rebuild our friendship upon the ashes of our old relationship. There have been many changes for me int the last 6 years and there have been many changes for him. We are both significantly different from the people we were 6 years ago. Of course, I am still Ray, and he is still who he is, but maybe now, I can listen to his music again. That would be great.
With his permission I am sharing our correspondence over the past 72 days. Hopefully, it will put into words one of your deepest needs, connection with another. You may want to take a pause break in the middle because this is my longest episode ever.
Thu 4/29/2021 4:56 PM
I just finished listening to your most recent podcast, which was recorded just one day before my birthday. In a way, it felt like a gift because it motivated me to do something I have been wanting to do for a long time. I want to tell you that I forgive you. I also forgive myself and wish our relationship had survived both my grief and your anger.
I also want to let you know that I love you, and that I have many, many, kind, funny, and significant memories of us together, backpacking our way to wisdom.
Of course, I have some mixed feelings about sending you this email. However, you remain an important person in my life, and I want you to know that.
Sun 5/2/2021 9:45 AM
I write him back the 3 days later.
My Dear Friend,
I didn't see your message until today and I would be lying if I said I wasn't shocked. No, just the opposite. I was way beyond surprised. I know what it must have taken for you to send me that email. Thank you for having the courage to reach out.
I know both of us bear responsibility for that ugly mess that tore our hearts apart. I never, ever imagined something like that would happen to our friendship. I am sure we have grown quite a bit since then. I know I have, and your letter suggests you have too.
I am touched and I want you to know, what looked like anger and rage was an overwhelming flooding of shame, remorse, and grief. I didn't know it then, but I know now I have had Complex-PTSD all my life. We both have suffered deeply from the losses we have endured, and we have grieved more than our share. The pain of the grief I felt for you buried my heart for many years. It was not just you my friend, but your youngest son as well. I am grateful that your first born stayed in touch.
So, here we are. Do we walk that burning bridge and rekindle our friendship? Like you, I too, have infinite sweet memories of our times together and it would be a shame to let all that go to waste when we have so much to offer each other in friendship.
With love and affection,
Mon 5/3/2021 4:23 PM
The next day I get his response.
It's great to hear from you Ray. Of course, I am open to rekindling our friendship. I recently moved and, shortly afterwards, traveled to California to visit with Spencer and Tyler. I live in Austin now. Anyway, I've been terribly busy unpacking and settling into our new apartment. The "our" refers to Kim and me. We've been together since Dec. 2018 and decided to get married earlier this year. Long story short, I want to create a thoughtful response to your email, which deserves a bit more time and thought than I have at the moment. I'll get back to you in the next couple of days. Thanks for being open and courageous with me.
Tue 5/4/2021 10:53 AM
A day later, my friend wrote this.
Good morning Ray,
Well, I'm watered and fed and ready to settle down to respond to you. Let me begin by saying that I don't want to open any old wounds. I'm pretty sure that we know where we went wrong. I do know that in your heart, you did not mean to cause me harm, and the same is true for me-I did not mean to cause you any harm. It works for me to simply know that neither of us were coming from the place of kindness and sensitivity that we both possess. You are correct when you say that we've both grown a lot since then.
Like you, I have suffered much and experienced many losses. I've moved around quite a bit, and the majority of my life was dedicated to family and work. Resultantly, I have made friends here and there, some good friends, some transient friends. Since I was a young lad, my friendship with you stands out for longevity and our ability to work through our differences. Even as I write to you now, I feel our friendship in my heart. This is something to nurture and cherish.
I will make this promise to you. As we reconnect and repair the damage, moving forward to rekindle our friendship, I will be careful with my words, thoughts, and deeds. We deserve no more and no less. Thanks for responding in such a kind and careful way to my initial email. I look forward to our budding friendship.
Like the trees in the springtime, after losing leaves in the fall and conserving energy in winter, we have this opportunity to unfold a friendship, like tender buds, and open to welcome the sunshine of summer and a renewed friendship.
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
The next day I replied.
Wed 5/5/2021 11:55 AM
The next day I write him back.
Wow, these emails are beginning to sound like love letters, and I guess they are. We have been through a lot together. My friendship with you is precious and I welcome the opportunity to greet the spring and summer with smiles on our faces and flowers in our hair. We are two old friends who have too much water under the bridge to be anything other than be a bridge for each other.
You say you are married now. How wonderful to hear that! I am excited to hear more about your new bride. This was not a surprise, as you might well guess. Spencer mentioned it in one of our chats. We are planning to Skype later today.
I like Austin also. It is the only place in Texas I would live. Great music scene as well. Don't get me started on moving. Hopefully, I have moved my last move. I'll tell you more about the little casita later.
My wife and I are not living together. She is living with family in Coronado which is a suburb of San José. The same shit that happened with my last 2 long-term relationships was happening with her. We were both triggering each other, but this time, it was me who said, No Más! I couldn't let it get to the point where she would leave me. That would have been too much. I had to do something to change the dynamics, and this is what I chose. She didn't have much to say about the separation. It has been 6 months and I am beginning feel like who I really am.
I have spent my time on my own taking care of myself and reclaiming myself and she has been doing likewise. We are seeing each other, and we are on good terms with an eye towards reunification if we can get past ourselves. If you have been a regular listener of my podcast, you may already know this.
We recently had a lunch date, and we were both happy with how it went, but slow and steady is the name of the game for me. If it is not my wife, then I don't think there will be another any time soon.
I am acquiescing to living on my own until I feel safe enough with myself to let another human into my life. You are an exception. Our history is too rich not to give it another whirl. No point in going into the past, there is a lot of future that needs to be explored.
Thank you, I could use a friend right now.
With love and affection,
Tue 5/11/2021 10:49 AM
Six days later my friend sends this.
I've been thinking about where this goes next. Personally, I am not invested in the idea of just catching up at this point, although I'm sure there will be a good time for that to occur. I was thinking about some questions that will help me understand you better. I could start with some random questions, or we might ask each other questions that we would want to be able to answer. This is a question I want asked of me that I want to ask you-What event has humbled you the most in the recent past? Another question is-What are the most important values that define your life at this time?
My friend, if you are listening, I want to apologize because I think this email kind of slipped by me and I will take it on at a later date. Sorry about that. Damn ADD.
Wed 5/19/2021 9:56 AM
I am not ignoring or avoiding you. I have been having a bit of a struggle for the past 5-6 days. Ten days after my 2nd COVID shot, I woke up with tooth-chattering shivers and diarrhea, which still continues. I've been dog tired and mostly horizontal for the last 96 hours.
I will reply to your interesting proposal as soon as I have my health is back. Take care, my friend.
Wed 5/19/2021 11:00 AM
Sorry to hear that you're not feeling well. Hope you're feeling better soon.
Tue 6/15/2021 6:20 AM
I hope you're feeling better and are back to cruising altitude these days. I learned about your marital discord and stress from your podcast. I hope you have a support network that will help you navigate the emotional stress you are going through. I'm here for you if you want my support.
We can talk via WhatsApp. My number hasn't changed. It's 707-502-5293.
Tue 6/15/2021 9:08 AM
Later that morning I reply.
Thanks for your support. Yeah, I'm putting it all right out there in the podcast. For what it is worth. I am getting downloads and I've received some real nice responses to the content. Haven't uploaded a new episode in almost 2 weeks. I've been in a really bad funk. Upped the Prozac to 30mg with a corresponding increase in serotonin expected, eventually.
It's been hard trying to work with my wife. She seems to have slipped into the deep end of the pool. We are not able to communicate, primarily due to her stonewalling. It's a drag. Meanwhile, I continue to do the best I can, keep my head on straight, well, you know what I mean, and live one-day-at-a-time. The podcast and the level of self-disclosure has been helping others and it has been helping me. At least it keeps me off the street.
I've been meaning to get back to you, and I apologize for the slight. It is not on purpose. Hell, I haven't even loaded the dishwasher in two weeks. This is really a difficult time, but I have so much more information at my disposal. A lot of light has been shed upon my family, my friends, and my whole fucking existence. It's like going to therapy 5 days a week. A shitload of grief.
I will give you a call one of these days soon and we can connect with our ears. Thanks again for thinking about me.
Tue 6/29/2021 10:43 AM
Hello my dear friend,
Wow, it's been two weeks since I suggested I might give you a call. Obviously, I have not done that. It has been harder than I thought. Not that I don't want to talk with you, I do. It's just that I don't really want to talk with anyone. All I have to share with them is grief, depression, and unexpressed anger. Not the anger in a trigger. That's the anger of a 6-year-old boy. I'm talking about the anger related to all of the losses I have experience in my life. There have been too many for me to count, including you, my friend. You represent one of the biggest and most painful losses of my life. Bigger than all of the women I have known.
You were supposed to be different. You were my best friend. I thought we should have fought through our differences and come out on the other side, better people for the battle. It simply became too overwhelming for me to continue having contact. I became completely overwhelmed with my projections on you. I couldn't even listen to your music without going into a depression, so I didn't listen. I loved the music you made.
So, at this time of my life, I am looking at how I can release this anger because it is killing me as it has killed many relationships throughout my life. The grief is simply overwhelming, but is a welcome addition to my present life, because, at 70 years of age, I may, just now, be getting it. It has been a long, painful journey. I'm not saying there were not any good times. My life if filled with spectacular good times and you, along with your beautiful children have played a major role in a majority of those beautiful moments.
It has only been a few years since I realized that my life has been dominated by Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. At first, I was treating it like regular PTSD, but something wasn't quite right. I doubted the dx of C-PTSD for a long time until about two years ago. Many of the puzzle pieces came together and I learned that my life was not as simple as I had imagined it to be. Quite the opposite as a matter of fact.
I never realized that I grew up in an incest family. I was in denial of what actually happened in the Erickson clan. Even though I prefer not to access the actual memories of this experience, I have to admit, the denial I was living was extremely effective. Not one single memory of abuse did I poses. Even now there are only what I call "flash" memories. Even after learning of John's brutal sexual abuse of his children, it took me 30+ years to realize that he probably abused my brother and me as well. This was the real reason our bedroom never had a door on it. This was my parents' lame effort to keep Tom and I safe. Yeah, the picture I now have of my family is vastly different that the one I carried for the majority of my life.
It's very surreal to me at times and there are many, many more questions than answers, which, no doubt will never be clear. This impacts me with even more grief. It's like the loss of a life I never had but thought I did. Does that make any sense? The podcast, although raw at times, is well-intended with the hopes that my clinical experiences as well as my own growth over the years will somehow, help others address their own traumatic life experiences. There are many of us walking around on this planet.
My wife is another walking wounded human who does not believe she is wounded. But she is. Her behavior betrays her formidable denial. For the first time in my life, I made the decision to leave the person I had vowed to love into eternity. This time it was not my triggers driving her away. She has both, an amazing tolerance for bad behavior as well as a coat of armor 3 inches thick protecting her from her own feelings of vulnerability. She is not going there, and she is heavily defended if I start to chip away at her armor. My asking her to learn about C-PTSD and educate herself in order to best deal with my C-PTSD must be intimidating for her because she has avoided taking on any understanding of this condition, which we have been living with and acting out more and more over the past few years.
She too, is easily triggered, which she makes me responsible for. Her denial, like mine, is powerful and I did the same thing with those who triggered me. If they would have responded differently, then I would not have been triggered. It took me a long time to learn that I was responsible for how I respond to being triggered. My partner plays a role but is not the responsible party. She is not responsible for my response to being triggered, just as I am not responsible for her response to being triggered. But, as you know, when someone is triggered, all of that good rational shit goes out the window along with the baby and the bathwater. It is just two wounded children rubbing their wounds into the face of the other. Two children, fighting on the playground.
I am conscious of this now, which is why I needed to remove myself from this relationship. Nothing was changing. She continues to stonewall every effort I make to address these unfortunate conditions in our lives. Life was not going to change unless I make the change. So, I told her when the casita is finished, I did not want her to move in with me. She has other places she can go, her son's, other family members. She can live in one of the apartments she owns. She has options. I have no place else to go. I am grateful she was willing to do this. But that's where it stands at this moment. We are not addressing the very topics that would lead to resolutions of our differences and If she is not going the play ball, then the game is over. The fat lady can sing.
This grieves me greatly, but I am energized knowing that I now know what the fuck has been going on in my life. I also realize that my life has not been the way I imagined it to have been. It could not have been. I retreated into a fantasy world that looked and felt like the Cleaver family and once I moved in with them, the real events of my life were no longer a threat to me. they were safely hidden under the cover of dissociation. It is the only explanation I can come up with that makes sense of what may have truly happened to me as a child. I have no memories of any abuse or neglect, but that is common for people with Complex PTSD.
This perspective feels right to me. I have that ego-syntonic sensation in the pit of my stomach and as horrible as it is to imagine the abuse that John, more than likely perpetrated on my brother and me, I can't not feel the ramifications of that abuse and the impact of the abandonment and neglect by my parents. In fact, the abuse is almost a non-factor here, but what has been most powerfully played out in my psyche has been the abandonment by my mother when I told her of the abuse. Her reaction is stuck in my brain as the traumatizing event. My mother outright and completely rejected any possibility of abuse and my gut feeling on that moment was that she rejected my disclosure in a histrionic rage directed at me, her six-year-old son.
This is my new story. This is how I see it being played out in my family. It's a hell of a lot different than the bucolic lifestyle of the Cleaver family. I am still working on wrapping my head around all of this shit. Unfortunately, mental health services, albeit available, are not as sophisticated as what I could obtain in the states. If I were to return to the US, it would for the mental health and support systems that are there. I would really rather not do that. I have a real good situation here. I can afford it and save money. That's as about as good as it gets for me. Oh, yeah and the pot supply has been top shelf, pricey and eerily like a flashback to the 1970's black market. You know, I know a guy who knows a guy, blah, blah, blah. I miss legal weed.
Well, this is it. This is my new life. Initially I thought about returning to the US, but after some research, I think I have ruled that out unless, I go viral with the podcast, and I am flooded with unlimited love and money. We shall see. I'm not going to completely rule that possibility out. The key is to keep doing it. Don't stop now. The process is helping me, and it appears to be helping others as well. What the fuck else am I going to do?
Well, there you have it, in a nutshell. This is my life, for better or worse, but I tend to be optimistic and see the cup as half-full. There are opportunities in those dark times. You just have to strike a match.
With love and affection,
Tue 6/29/2021 1:46 PM
Later that day my friend responds.
Thanks for taking the time to respond. I have a good sense now about what you are going through. It sounds like you are experiencing a rebirth. Any new beginning starts with a moment of death. You are grieving that death, the death of many aspects of your life. Letting go of who you were may seem difficult now, but it sounds like you are well along in your process and are slowly and painfully emerging into your new self.
I am reluctant to offer any advice at this point in time since you aren't seeking advice from me. However, I do want to offer that studying dharma and meditation has been immensely helpful for me as a survivor of abuse and trauma. I have read When Things Fall Apart by Pema Chodron many times. I am always giving it away to someone. I just gave it away again to Kim's daughter. In Love with the World by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche is also excellent. I have found both of these books to be helpful and reassuring. I think you might appreciate them as well.
So go ahead and die and be reborn. Let go of the toxic stuff, the shadow you. Little by little, day by day, you'll find your way. Take a new breath every day. Be new to the world every day. I know you aren't the toxic shit that plagues you. Otherwise, I wouldn't have reached out to you again. Despite our frailties, I recognize your love and kind presence throughout my life.
My fantasy is that I could be there for you. Like when we would backpack and have deep heart to heart talks that were healing for both of us. Although I can't be there with you physically, I am with you spiritually.
I have WhatsApp installed on my phone. You are welcome to call me at 707-502-5293. It would be great to hear your voice.
Sat 7/3/2021 11:15 AM
Four days later I write back.
Your assessment is spot on. It feels like I am dying. Not physically, amazingly so, I feel relatively well as far as my health is concerned. I could use a shitload more activity, which there is no end to when you own a slice of a hillside in Costa Rica. The jungle is creeping in and taking over and before too long, the house will be covered with 20 varieties of vines and wildflowers that are 5 feet tall. It is the rainy season, and all things grow this time of year. It's a strange time of year to feel so dead.
You are a wise man, my friend, and perhaps it was that deep wisdom that first attracted me to you as a bourgeoning young social worker. I just know that we stuck together through thick and thin and survived everything except my CPTSD. And that was because I had no clue what was going on. I'm in a much better place as far as my hx of acting out on my triggers. I've almost forgiven myself and I don't point fingers at anybody. I simply hold them accountable for their parts in our mutual dysfunction.
Your words are so true. I am grieving the death of many aspects of my life and letting go is difficult, but not impossible. You are right to heed the fact that I did not ask for advice. This is another thing about you that made you safe. You have always maintained strong boundaries, sometimes a wee bit too strong, but I admire that. I thought I had good boundaries, but that theory came crashing down in an avalanche of codependency. You are right also when you say I am well along the process of my own rebirthing. Is this what people mistake for their come to Jesus' meeting? I don't know if I will run into Jesus, but I know I'm not sticking around in this pain and grief any longer than I absolutely need to. The sooner, the better as far as I'm concerned.
I've been completely immobilized for the past several weeks to a month. I mean, zero to zero in like, all day. The cat hair and the dust is gathering itself everywhere it can get a hold of something. Then the spiders come in and tie it all up together into 7-story casitas in the corners of the rooms. Their architecture is absolutely fascinating. I pulled the vacuum cleaner out of its cubby and set it in the middle of the room, where it has remained for the last 7 days.
My diet has regressed to coffee, granola, cheese, and crackers with the occasional binge on some Doritos and ice cream. Other than that, I'm doing fine. It's amazing how many hours can be idled away simply by slowly scrolling down Facebook or
Google News for the 10th time that day. Meanwhile, the cat hair, dust and cobwebs continue to grow, much like the outside where a dozen viney plants are slowly taking over the landscape. This is how the Mayan temples were lost to the jungles of the Yucatan.
You say your fantasy is to be here physically and reconnect like we did so many times in the highlands of the Sierra Nevada. That is a beautiful fantasy, and I don't see any reason you cannot take a week and visit. We can have a boy's trip in the wilds of Costa Rica. I could really use a week like that. I welcome you with open arms and an open heart. Let me know what you think.
BTW I just ordered the book, When Things Fall Apart and should receive it in a few weeks. Hopefully this depression will be on the way out by then as well. I am hopeful and optimistic about life, I am just going through a real difficult time, and I am mostly on my own dealing with it.
I am feeling the need to work on my podcast as well. It has taken a serious hit as far as investment time is concerned. I would like to share these letters on the next episode if you don't mind. I will keep you anonymous.
With love and affection,
Sat 7/3/2021 4:31 PM
Dear Ray-Feel free to share our conversation. Half of it won't do. Coming to see you sounds good. We do have current travel plans for quite a while at this time, beginning with Kauai later this week. Then onto CA for 3-4 weeks. Fall is Pittsburgh. In 3/22, we pick up our new camper. We just got an SUV to be able to pull a camper. All in all, there's not much give in the budget for another trip this year.
I scrupulously avoid debt, but here it is again. I still enjoy camping, but need some creature comforts now. That facilitates less stress.
If I may make one comment in response to your thoughts and feelings about death and rebirth: You have been here before, and now you're perceiving your thoughts and feelings in new ways. This sounds like growth. Nurture your heart and mind and allow your consciousness to be open to what you have become ready to learn. Greet this teacher with an open mind and heart. I have found, unfortunately repeatedly, that suppressing and ignoring the wisdom of my teachers leads to pain and suffering. How we perceive, accept or reject our teachers has a powerful influence on this relationship. I know you will choose wisely.
Buddhism has a saying for people caught in their own trap, "Wake up swaha." Which roughly translates to, "Wake up, so be it." This too is impermanent, but it is what is happening now. Be present with it.
On my end, I'm doing pretty well. I'm blessed with a partner who knows how important it is to communicate openly and honestly. It's already too hot here. I've been dealing with minor medical stuff this past year and getting my gout under control. Gout's a bitch. It's all good now.
Of course, I'm still working out my kinks, it's my life's work, along with loving kindness towards myself and others. It sure sucks to have a traumatic childhood. We owe it to ourselves to learn how to love ourselves unconditionally. Sometimes that cup overflows and we get to share that love. Sometimes we forget how to love. I've found that being present helps me accept anger and sadness, even regret. Most feelings, in fact. If I am mindful and pay attention without judging, and acknowledge the temporal qualities of the experience, I experience a shift that opens a door to a different and more compassionate state of being. I'm still learning how to pay attention.
Mon 7/5/2021 12:41 PM
A couple of days later I reply to his email.
Thank you for your thoughtful words. They represent what I miss most about our friendship. I know it takes me a few days to reply but believe me your words are with me until I am ready to respond. First of all, thanks for giving me permission to use this correspondence in my podcast. It has really been helpful for me to dialogue with you and perhaps it will be helpful for some of my listeners as well.
I say go in style. Flaunt it if you got it. Good for you. Be grateful for every payment you make on that beast. Send me some pics. It will be ready next March? I heard these things were selling like hotcakes. You deserve the creature comforts. We both deserve the creature comforts. That is all part of my live one-day-at-a-time perspective along with a Taoist perspective on life. I think I will be alright.
I am reading Pete Walker. His work is spectacular. He talks about a process called angering. It intrigues me because I believe anger is where I am stuck in my grief over my childhood. I will be looking into more of what Pete Walker has to say on the subject of CPTSD. So far, I'm impressed.
Buddhism has a saying for people caught in their own trap, "Wake up swaha." Which roughly translates to, "Wake up, so be it." This too is impermanent, but it is what is happening now. Be present with it. This is what I am working on doing with this depression. Riding it out, so to speak. It's a lot more entrenched that I thought it was. Looking for the tools I need to pry it loose and let it go. Is this what they mean by "Being Woke?"
I am not troubled by the process. It is what it is, and I have a long history of moving through sticky places like this. You are right, I have been here before and each time I fell back into the same pattern of dealing with my wounds by using the salve of love, but the salve lacked the love I needed for myself, and I burned out my partners. Bless their hearts for hanging in there for so long. But in reality, it was me who was hanging on for dear life, clinging to the fading hope of permanence. They too, like everything else, were impermanent.
I am currently seeking ways to facilitate my own "angering" in a way that will jettison me out of the clutches of my lifelong grief. It was only a few days ago that I recognized I was stuck in the Anger phase of a massive amount of grief. It's a little scary for me to go there because I have been there before, in the form of the emotional triggers and these angry outbursts were directed at the people I most loved. I am not quite sure how I am going to trigger this level of intensity and be able to direct it at the failings of my family.
This is the heart of my grief. The abandonment of my family, which may have begun as early as when I was 2 years old. There is a good chance given what I know to be true about my family. Let me tell you, this is not a walk in the park, maybe Jurassic Park, but certainly not McKinley Park. It scares the shit out of me just thinking about deliberately triggering myself, if that is even possible. Maybe I need a stuntman double to trigger me. You know someone who is trained to take the punches. Not throw it upon someone I love deeply. Where there's a will, there's a way.
It does look like your travel itinerary is full for a while. That's alright. I will strive to live the Pura Vida life and I will wish you a Pura Vida life as well, whatever that looks like in Texas. Meanwhile, I have a podcast to put together.
This is where we stand now. As of this recording, I have not received his response to my last email, but I will let you know if and when he does. Meanwhile, thanks for listening to Out of My Mind in Costa Rica – Living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress. Anything you can do to spread the word would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks to my sponsor, Out of My Mind Art, the Etsy shop where you can shop until you drop. Check out my Magic Wands and other Twisted Wire Novelties. It would be a pleasure to service you.
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There, you have done it again. You have wasted a perfectly good 45 minutes listening to Out of My Mind in Costa Rica – Living with Complex Post-Traumatic Stress. Until the next time Be Courageous. Be Strong and Be Kind. I’ll catch you later. Bye.