A life stolen – What’s love?

Started by Regret, March 22, 2019, 10:26:27 PM

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Had a very interesting dream last night, first one of this type, ever.

The dream had me and my ex in a room and I was trying to figure out something, paying all my attention to a problem and not my ex. My ex said to me, we are both here now and you are giving all your attention to that problem. I got up and held my ex tightly and said "I'm sorry, I love you and would not be able to live my life without you" and I woke up. I felt true love in that dream when I said those words.

I remembered what that dream moment felt like for about an hour after waking. It's the first time in my life that I've had that feeling and having those words flow naturally, honestly and with sincerity. Now, a few hours later, the intense emotion I had in the dream is gone but I still have a deep down but faint feeling of what I felt in that dream.

Hopefully, my mind, in its 6 decade long neuroplastic regeneration, has managed to create a new pathway to that emotion and over time it will grow. In my dream, it really felt good to say those words in a tight embrace and mean it, deeply. Being my NC ex of nearly 30 years now didn't matter. We parted on relatively good terms and the feeling in the dream was more important that the person I was with.

The downside of this dream event is the sadness and regret I now have over not being able to have experienced that feeling at anytime prior to this dream.


It is hard to reawaken feelings when you have numbed them for most of your life.  I to closed off my emotions when they were not safe to have or show.  To such an extent that I fractured at 6.  I disappeared :disappear: leaving "perfect" version  a "yes ma'am" version of myself in my place. No emotions no disobedience or defiance. Even that want good enough for my NM to love me. 

I get the struggle when emotions come back too.  As I've been in therapy my T has helped because they come back in drowning waves.  And just you get your head above the water another hits you and pulls you down.  When you haven't learned to deal with emotions your whole life is overwhelming both good and bad emotions are suffocating. They all feel too much. Take it moment by moment and reach out to your T or here.  You are not alone.

Understanding hug. :hug:


What a devastating disorder this is. I am fortunate all of the reasons or causes of my living a life under cPTSD are now gone except, of course, for myself. Within the past few months, I have learned to know when I am triggered and that has helped me stop or shorten the pain associated with being triggered.

Over the past year or so, I have progressed in my thinking from being a 3 year old, the age at which the trauma affected me, to somewhere in my teens. But I am growing up alone in uncharted waters and I find myself fully capable of quickly making the same mistakes I made, throughout my entire life, before I discovered why my life was never right, I was suffering from cPTSD, a few years ago.

I recently went through, got myself into a situation spanning several months that slowly ate me up. I knew something was wrong but didn't know what it was and it kept getting worse. I was digging myself into a deep hole daily while looking for responses from others but hearing only crickets. My efforts were based on good intentions but wrong headed - never let a child do an adults work without supervision and at my age, there is no supervision available.

Yesterday I gave up, quit the situation and within an hour or two of removing all interaction with the others involved in that situation, I began to feel better about myself. Didn't know why but I felt relief from something. It was then, while scrolling back through some saved stuff on my phone, that I came across something I had received from Roland Bal months ago, began to read it and discovered what I had gotten myself into and why. I also realize that elimination of the traumatic effects of living with cPTSD does not mean one is free and clear of that disorder's deleterious impact on ones life. He wrote (these 3 paragraphs taken from a longer message from him):

"A pleasing response isn't just used to minimize or avoid further abuse. It is also a way of getting approval, feeling adequate and useful, being seen, and feeling loved and appreciated; so the pleasing response, through being directed continuously outward, serves as a dissociation. It serves as a dissociation for you, so you don't feel constantly overwhelmed by the residual pain of neglect and experienced lack of love in your early formative years.

As with all emotions and feelings, there can be a healthy aspect to receiving appreciation and feeling good about yourself and your accomplishments, though when you are continuously looking outside of yourself for acknowledgment, and you have a lost a sense of containment, it becomes destructive. You are actively devaluing yourself by continually seeking validation from others, and this will make you emotionally unstable and dependent.

On top of that, it becomes harder and harder to interpret other people's intentions and responses due to your lack of containment and self-reference; this, in turn, will create a lot of self-doubt and overthinking. Guilt and the fear of having done something wrong can easily take over."

He nailed it and when I first read this months ago, I didn't "get" it but I sure do now. The points he made that perfectly describe the situation I created for myself are in bold above - he said it so much better that I ever could but what he said is a 100% fit to what happened to me over a few months time. I took a giant step backward, fell victim to the disorder once again.

So even after having realized the source of my cPTSD, had all of the parental tapes removed from my head, understood where I came from and why I was the way I was for close to 70 years, I now realize that while the cPSTD affects and pain from my first few years of life set me on a life's course that can now, with active mindfulness, be to some degree minimized, the pattern of living as a fawn that I learned in my first 6 years of life is still there, will always be there and is ready to let me quickly fall into the same predicaments I experienced, I unknowingly got myself into, during my whole life living with the fawn, the "please" typology.

I guess life was going too well for me and my carefree, thoughtless day to day behavior created that situation, opened the trap door, and let me fall into a very bad event. Mindful is now a word that I understand much more clearly and I must be much more mindful of what I do from now on, mindful of what I get involved with and what I expect out of everything I do going forward. And while it is devastating for me to still not have any feelings other than anger, hate and sadness, it is comforting to know that I do not have any feelings for if I did, today would be so much more worse for me thinking about that disastrous situation I got myself into and hopefully am now out of.

All of this recent event just makes me sick to think about what can still happen, can in very subtle way, creep into my life and if not recognized and stopped, can and will take me back into the throws of everything that was wrong with my life. It seems that can happen quickly without constant mindfulness. Children need guidance and I guess the only guidance I can expect at my age is learning from mistakes. The one feeling that I have today is that of great sadness, sad for what I got myself into, sad at how it went down and sad to know I made mistakes. Hopefully, when the sadness goes away, I will have learned something.

Not Alone

Wow. You have some very big insights.

You said the only guidance you can expect at your age is learning from mistakes. That is part of learning, but even my friends, who are fairly emotionally healthy, seek advice and guidance from others. I rely heavily on my family, friends, therapist, and OOTS to support me.

Want you to know that I hear that you are sad.


Thanks, Regret ... an excellent summary of falling into waters so deep it's sometimes hard to fathom a way out. Mindfulness definitely helps, although everything has its limits, and it takes time to build the internal strength up to a point where we can at least withstand, if not entirely overcome, those innocently derived habitual responses to this confusion called life.

Those habits which were planted so early by the first set of people in our lives, often ironically identified as 'caregivers'; when they were more like naysayers who contradict our own yearnings just to be ourselves; just to be cared for decently and honestly. As you note, we end up spending a lifetime having to become our own 'care' givers.

There's lots of wisdom to digest in your post, but my takeaway seems to zero in on a major part of my own mindfulness these days -- "Guilt and the fear of having done something wrong can easily take over."  :'(

Thanks for reflecting so well on all of this. Sometimes being mindful only piles on the misery of what's best left behind; but on the other hand it takes lots lots out of a person to get a handle on the scope of what has dragged us down.

In the end, balancing it all remains the big challenge. All the difficulties may not be totally overcome, but we can at least smooth out the roughest spots ... and live. It's all any of us want, and fully deserve -- that chance to just live, as ourselves, reflecting what is our heart's deepest and most needed desire.


 :hug: my T says it's our human right to make mistakes.  I'm not sure I believe her but I'm trying to.  It's ok to be sad. I'll sit with you a while if that's ok. :hug:


I've been wondering what's worse lately, living with but unaware of having cPTSD from very early childhood emotional abuse (surviving a constantly somewhat out of whack stolen life) for 60+ years or living a life in recovery filled with remorse, embarrassment and regrets for all that I did in my life and all that I missed out on because of this horrendous disorder.

No matter what I am doing now, I find myself virtually locked up in a 24/7 mental jail of sorrow and sadness knowing my life was stolen and had it not been, it could have been so much better, so, so, so much better.

Before discovering this disorder, its cause and its affect on everything I did for 60+ years, I was "happy" awkwardly muddling through life as it was "taught" to me with each day being a "what's next" adventure, for good or bad or both.

Now that my highly effective inner critic, the one and only that nagged me constantly with parental tapes all my life, is gone, that mind space has become occupied by distressful memories of what was, what happened and why. Each of my reactions to those thousands of spontaneously recalled events turns into a profound sadness as the wistful thoughts of how good each of those events could have been had it not been for living a life stolen by that devastating disorder.

I was awkwardly disconcerted but "happier" for 60+ years (back then). I am closer to my true but remorseful self now being forced to mentally reconcile my past. That's a sad, constant process for me now which after several year of this makes me ask if I'm better off now or if I was ignorantly better off, and much more happy, haphazardly wondering through a stolen life back then.


That's a tough one, there are pros and cons to both sides. I wonder the same sort of thing,  because I'm very aware of my life being stolen, but my sister, who went through similar, seems to be ignorant. She claims to have no memories of childhood, she just sometimes wonders why she feels certain ways, or has such strong reactions. I wonder which of us is better off; I just hope that everything doesn't come crashing in to her reality one day... I think?


Regret, I am so sorry for your losses as a child.  Can truly relate to this.  Myself, well I  - I kind of taught myself what love is. Started to do this in my teens - by being together with animals. To see the joy and love that puppy's or kittens have. I use to think that "I will mimic that until it feels normal. " My contacts with children have also given me insight into my own heart and mind. Giving to myself what my FOO never could. At 54 years of age and having been married for 26, I still have to work on this. I still have to explain to myself that I am loved. I am accepted as I am. Feelings of not being worthy, not understanding how love is when felt freely and with ease. Puppy's and kittens they just are. They don't pretend. And I think that love and joy goes together. Don't you think? And at a beautiful day outside in nature. Enjoying fresh air. Beautiful trees and waters. The skies always changing in colours and cloudy shapes. When you feel light. You can breathe. You are at peace. How do you feel then?

Suddenly the mystery is clear, that love is only letting go of fear" but is it that easy?

In a way  - I think that it is necessary to let go of fears. But it takes time for the mind to change accordingly...

My husband is a trustworthy person and I trust him when he says and shows me that he loves me. And I love him too.
But I don't think that I love him as freely as he loves me. That was stolen from me.
But practice makes perfect right?

Thank you so much for sharing. Hope you find some release in being heard. I heard you.



Thank you for that great insight. I never thought of it that way but when I read what you wrote, it rang true and parts touched on what I have been experiencing lately.

You wrote "And I think that love and joy goes together." and I think I may be warming up to that in that, oh, if I could only put it into good words, I am having new feelings of happiness and joy but don't know why that is happening. Maybe it is "the mystery is clear, that love is only letting go of fear" and on some level I am more accepting of myself and trusting of a few others close to me.

I have a lot to work on or a lot much change to get out of my hardened shell that's been protecting me for a very long time. But maybe, without my direct knowledge, something is happening inside that is eating away at that shell from the inside out. My dreams continue to in some way cleanse me of bad relationships and events and maybe it's my sleeping mind/self that is helping me to recover from this horrendous disorder. Until than, I seem to be a happier basket case.

Thanks again for a lot to think about and hopefully help my dreaming self work to quicker to that end.

Regret . . .   


 :grouphug:Regrets I had a few...as old blue eyes sang... I thought of another thing that I have learned from my own pets. And as well rescued animals. What I have found is that they have a wonderful way of letting go. When having a unhealthy trate, you can help a animal to change it very quickly. Humans have a tendency to keep holding on to "bad habits " - which often means what we believe to be true. It doesn't matter if it is accurate. We keep going on the same road (=thought/belief). So I mimic my darling pets when I realise that noone is going to come to my rescue or apologise or show a sense of respect for me as a fellow human. I tell myself to let it go. Because they are feelings/dealings/actions- not belonging to me. I didn't choose.  I was in a "train wreck " - of someone else's life. Trying to find out when feelings are truly mine or given to me by a narc. To put it plain : when someone handed over a piece of **** to me. And I figured out what it was.  Why hold on to it? It stinks.  Emotionally it brakes me to the core. I would not have done the same to no one. How is it for you?  The big 3 and other events in your life?  I want to heal by analysing not only myself but also  - in a distance see them FOO, who throughout my life choose their own behaviour. Their...behaviour.  Not mine. Do I make any sense?
Your reasoning upon your own life is so helpful to take a closer look at parts of my life.  Many times the shared looks  - is such a great way to make sense of cptsd...

Take care of you.


As life moves on these days, sometimes forward, sometimes backward, more is always learned. The moving backward part is mostly what I call mini-triggers, memories that instantly arise from a past event triggered by something someone says to me or I see on TV or that just surfaces on its own.

I call them mini-triggers in that they don't result in a major crisis, just a sad feeling of deep regret for having done something or missed out on something due to this nasty disorder. Memories of my past life.

One recently came to be when someone I work with told me she's been married for 30 some years and she loves her husband more today than she did when they got married. I thought how nice for her as it immediately reminded me that I never had a chance to experience love like that even once, much less over time, and to see it grow.

Love for me is a an absent feeling, one of many I guess having it and all the others driven out of my life almost 70 years ago. Stolen from me by parents who didn't know better, did the best they could but raised a child that was not ready from prime time life when coming of age.

There is no hate in me, just deep regret and sad feeling of loss until they dissipate setting me up for the next mini-trigger minutes to hours to days later. My biggest challenge is dealing with mini-triggers brought on by others in conversation is to keep mindful of it being their life, wishing them well for their having that "normal" experience and changing the subject quickly.

So much was missed for so long, so much of my life was wasted living as I thought others wanted me to live and so much was not learned, put into my toolbox for life to help me live my life as an adult.

I am finding more moments of happiness that seems to arise for no reason other than being in a nice state of mind. I guess it's me beginning to live my own life, a life devoid me trying to do what others would want me to do, and that leaves time to relax, to let my mind unwind and become happy. And then comes another mini-trigger along with its sadness and regrets. Just the way it's been lately.


I haven't forgotten about this topic for it still holds true. I have so much I would like to say but can't seem to put it into the right words each time I try. I just wanted to say I still have no real feelings. Love is unknown but regrets are everywhere. I may have crawled out of that 60 year long tunnel of depression and dumped the parental tapes a few years ago but the shadows of this horrendous disorder are long and persistent. There is little that I can do without having a memory of old of a similar event come forward to remind me of the things I did, or had done to me, so many years ago and to regret having had to undergo those now embarrassing, regretful times thanks to the emotional trauma I experienced in my pre-teen years. It presents as a sinking feeling, a sad feeling, a realization of opportunity lost. The only things I can do that are free of regret are things that I did for the first time since discovering and understanding cPTSD. While I no longer suffer the day by day debilitating affects of this disorder, as so many on this forum do, I anguish in the shadows of regret given to me forever by my parents so many years ago. I hope that makes sense and will leave it at that, for now.