The Interpersonal C-PTSD Panic-Button-Pressing-Poison
The Interpersonal C-PTSD Panic-Button-Pressing-Poison

The Interpersonal C-PTSD Panic-Button-Pressing-Poison

I don’t know if from the title what I’ll be writing about is made clear. Let me explain, there’s a method to my madness. I wanted to write about the difference between when a person who’s had positive interpersonal experiences overall, and has been taught to respect themselves, comes across interpersonal conflict with a toxic or otherwise troublesome individual, and how that may be experienced differently for someone who has been a victim of trauma by the hands of another. Man, that’s a run on sentence. Bear with me. 

So notice how in the title I didn’t mention straight out that a toxic person may be a harder situation for someone with C-PTSD to deal with and establish healthy boundaries with. The reason why is because whether or not the alleged individual is objectively toxic and hurtful is not my point. A toxic person is always going to make any social situation, and any interpersonal relationships, at best, a little troublesome in some way. There will be an accumulation of instances throughout their life that prove them as being such. They are objectively just that sort of person, and they don’t ‘turn it off’ ever. But there will be times when yes, someone is doing something that is not as tactful as it could be and, yes maybe they could be kinder/ more considerate/ less pushy/ more assertive/ less deceitful and two faced/ less full of themselves/ less dismissive of what you feel/ add your own here, but they are not always a bad, toxic person in all respects. But at the same time they are bothering you in some way, and you do feel disrespected or breached, and you feel they are a burden. Even if it’ not full-on toxicity, but it can be hard and annoying, and maybe hurtful in the same way.

It’s the sort of situation that is hard to understand unless you are experiencing it. In part because there is no one way for someone to break boundaries. There are so many different kinds of these individuals out there, each with their own flavor of poison. But you know how one sort of allergies some may be more sensitive to than others, and some may not be affected at all? There are some people who everyone seems to know that they are annoying (for lack of a better word) in some way, but everyone else seems to know how to take their behavior in stride. But you just don’t know how to handle them. Well meaning people will be like, why don’t you just set boundaries? Of course you have to do whatever you can to protect yourself, but you should keep in mind that you may just not have the innate ability to handle them. These things can be learnet with time, but for now, it’s possible that you just don’t know how. So that’s why I didn’t write ‘toxic’, I wrote poison, because they are poisonous to you.

Just a quick idea. Another reason why the word poison could be applicable, is because such a situation may cause the imposed upon individual to feel poisonous. Especially people with C-PTSD. It could be its own article; why people with C-PTSD may feel poisonous, toxic, or unworthy. Having such a person in your life could trigger you to feel petty, silly, hateful, defensive, self destructive, and poisonous, if you didn’t have creeping feelings of doubt before. Imagine that everyone else seems to be happy-go-lucky. It’s not like they don’t have problems from time to time, but their problems just seem so…farren compared to yours. Your’s seems more complicated in a way. Inexplicable and unexplainable. Where do you even start? You tend to notice small details, and get bothered by things others don’t even notice! You’re always having thoughts about what could go wrong, and what each potential person’s faults might be. You may feel that it’s only a matter of time before they figure you out and realize just what an awful, deceitful, flawed, con-man you are. Witch leaves you feeling like a bizarre, sinister creature compared to others and maybe even guilty. Because of what you’ve experienced your whole way of thinking is reset making you feel alienated. (More on that in a future article, I have a lot to say on that topic!) That’s why you may experience yourself as being poisonous.

What I would like to make perfectly clear is that being affected by the situation I discussed above, or feeling any of the many things I mentioned could happen to anyone. However these feelings can be more prevalent in people with C-PTSD, and harder to navigate. Why is that? Your panic response in relation to such individuals is overactive, but also deficient in some ways. Let me explain. Because you’ve been done wrong before, in such a severe way, you processed your experiences differently, as a trauma, such that your whole nervous system and response to potential threats has been altered. That is an extreme oversimplification, but It’ll do for now. Needless to say, there was a need for that at the time, but now it’s… an emotional inconvenience. 

Because of that you may be hypersensitive to such things. Do you ever find that you get too easily annoyed or off put by the behaviors and habits of others in such a severe way that others, even if they too are miffed, just don’t seem to relate to? Or maybe, while they do relate, it’s just not in the same way, with the same intensity that you do. You’ve been witness to an extreme facet of what humans are capable of. Because of what was done to you you are now way more sensitive to other bad habits of people. Witch, by the way, may make you harder on yourself, and your own undesirable traits. After all, where is the distinction between a one time thing, and a complete lack of respect for boundaries. Where can this behavior lead? What is this person capable of? Others probably do not see things the way you do. They see others differently; their bad habits or personality traits are just that, a normal human slip up. The product of just simply being an imperfect human. They are not sensitive to it the way you are. You may not be consciously thinking these things, but it’s on your radar, and your trauma makes you sensitive to it. Infact, maybe you haven’t made the connection between being sensitive towards these things, and your trauma. At times it may be hard for you to distinguish between what is happening now, and what did happen. The lines are blurred. However, at times, because you have this instinct, you might be the only one taking a stand when it is needed, because of your sensitivities. You follow your gut, and you may just end up being right.

However there are two sides to the same coin. On one hand, you’ve adjusted by becoming hypersensitive, so that you avoid ever being in that situation again as much as possible, and that means anything that could lead to it as well. But on the other hand, you may be desensitized to it. If you don’t mind, and you’ve developed a thicker skin, and you’ve learned to move on, that’s one thing. But that’s not what I’m referring to when I say desensitized. I mean that you might not be able to recognize when someone is respecting your boundaries or not, because you’ve learned to block out, or mentally and emotionally ‘adjust’ to whatever was going on. That part of your emotional experience was compartmentalized and locked away, in a sense, so that you could continue functioning.  Not that it’s not there, it’s just been processed and stored differently than other memories. So when faced with something that relates to that experience, however minor, you’re just not sure what to make of it. Your mind is trying to protect you, so anything that reminds you of the trauma, you may just be confused about. You’re not sure how to respond because of the dissociation surrounding it, so your response may be to instinctually ignore your upsetting situation as best as possible, which is not healthy. Another thing that can result as a product of compartmentalizing your feelings and experiences, is that you may have a harder time trusting your own perceptions and feelings. Because your memories and your feelings aren’t working together properly, you aren’t able to process and understand your experiences the way others do. This may even result in you questioning what actually happened. You may be silent when really you should speak out. Maybe you feel crazy, so you block out what’s happening.

You need to be patient with yourself. You haven’t been given the space you need to care about and be there for you. It may take a while to sort through everything that happened, everything you felt, everything you couldn’t feel, everything you wish you didn’t feel, and everything you wish you did. It could take years. You’re always climbing that mountain because that’s what life is all about. It’s a journey, and patience is your greatest tool. By that I mean you should be patient with yourself through all the hard times, even when you mess up. Even when you take a stand, you may end up overreacting and getting it wrong. Even when you take a stand and just aren’t sure if you did the right thing. Even during those times when you feel you should have acted, but you didn’t. It’s all part of the process. You are not fundamentally flawed, or beyond help. Just like everyone else, you are capable of learning, and changing.Thanks for reading! If there is a point that you’d like me to elaborate on, or something you relate to, or disagree with, please let me know. I definitely want to revisit this subject at a later time and give real life examples of things that have happened to me and people I know. Please feel free to leave a comment or a question. If you’d like to tell me something privately, please email me at Bye for now, and I’ll see you next week!

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