I got triggered...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Acacia, Feb 4, 2020.

  1. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    My daughter, 39, has not spoken to me in 2 1/2 years and has kept me from my grandkids. Today I was walking down Main St. and there she was sitting on some steps. I quickly ducked down another street. I got triggered.

    I have PTSD from both my childhood and being verbally abused by my daughter and DS and physically threatened by my DS. Freezing is my most typical response, and I feel unsafe. Later, I become upset with myself for not being angry at how badly they have treated me over the years. During one of his rages my son said that I become so timid.
    I don't call them names, take advantage of them, or be hurtful. Family and friends without hesitation say I have gone above and beyond to be supportive of them, and I should just detach.

    Does anyone else on this forum have this problem of going to sadness and fear instead of to justifiable anger?
    As much as I love my children, the less I have to do with them, the healthier I feel. I can't even imagine a time when things will be healed.
  2. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    Yes. Me. I don't like to feel anger and rarely do and I don't consider that a bad thing. I have been afraid of my daughter because she can get violent. I have seen it. I consider fear a warning to me to keep away.

    I think your reaction is fine. Nothing positive happens from being angry or namecalling. Your son probably physically and verbally threatens you...anyone would be afraid of an adult attacking that way.

    Many prayers and stay well. You deserve it.
  3. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    I’m sorry, Acacia. I think I know how you feel.

    It’s odd you should post this today because a young man was shopping at my place of employment whom I thought at first glance was my son. In the second I thought it was him, my heart instantly leaped into my throat, I felt a blind panic to get away, and my eyes filled with tears. I had to step outside and pull myself together.

    Given how many times a day I give him an angry telling-off IN MY HEAD, it made me see that I still very much have a fear response about him, and my feelings are still very raw. I have been reading about complex PTSD, and my feelings are very similar. Though I mourn for the relationship I wish we would have had,
    I too feel so much more grounded and stable with time and distance.
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  4. ChickPea

    ChickPea Active Member

    I'm sorry.
    I have both. Mostly anger, but it's sadness reflected differently.

    However, the PTSD you are talking about... it's mostly sadness when I have that. Fear and sadness maybe? This morning I had a rumbling of a panic attack. Came out of nowhere. I felt a sadness in the pit of my stomach.
  5. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    I get the panic and PTSD. Seeing Kay's name on my phone used to make me shake and even cry.
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  6. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    I dunno about fear. Our boys are not abusive, But I do feel sad at the wasted potential they seem to embody.

    Getting angry scares the hell out of me. I am not a control freak, I like to ride the chaos in life, but I think I fear the loss of control that anger entails. Very scary.
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  7. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Thanks much for your replies Chickpea, Busy, and Albatross. It confirms for me that the physical and emotional reactions I have to the thoughts of interacting with my difficult children are normal. There's a book called The Gift of Fear whose premise is that fear in many situations is necessary to keep us safer.

    I tend to think I should be tougher or be more understanding - always making myself wrong instead of my out of control adult children attacking me.

    Yes, as you all said, I fear, panic, sadness, PTSD, tears, a pit in my stomach (gut wrenching) - all physiological responses to danger and loss. Thanks for helping me see that these responses are understandable and should not be another stick to beat myself with.

    I talked to a friend in Naranon last night, and she said it was a wise choice not to interact and to put my emotional safety foremost.

    You are all a gift in moving me along the path of healing.
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  8. BusynMember

    BusynMember Well-Known Member

    200Meters, anger scares me too. I am very good at curtailing it. Anger is a strong emotion that to me is a loss of control and causes much hurt to ourselves and the one we let it out on. It never helps in my opinion.

    I am working on fear, which I believe is the opposite of love and trying to see God's light and beauty in all people, including my daughter. God has kept me sane all my life.
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  9. Blindsided

    Blindsided Face the Sun

    Yes, yes, and yes.

    I also have nightmares about my Difficult Child.

    I have never been a depressed person, but I am now when it comes to my situation with my Difficult Child.

    I havent seen my 41 year old daughter since 2016. We stay in text and a phone conversation about once a year. I bristle when I see her name because history tells me, it is not going to be a pleasant experience.

    I don't know if you have read it, but the book Radical Acceptance has helped me a lot. I am accepting that my feelings are reasonable, but it's not reasonable to accept the lies and abuse from my often delusional Difficult Child as my truth.

    Healing wishes for you. We cant cure them, but we can heal ourselves.
  10. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    Blindsided, thanks for the book tip. I've heard of it and do a lot of reading, so I'll put it on my list.

    All the best to you also on your difficult journey. Hugs.