Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

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johnram
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Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:37 am

Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by johnram » Sat May 18, 2019 5:50 am

Trying to purge more, move forward a bit and not get dragged back - as i have learnt many a time, it rarely works like that.
That being said, i want to share my guilt in a few ways today.

I have 3/4 big items in terms of guilt, one reveals too much and i am not sure i ever will share, but the others i want to touch on.

1 - as tough as it has been for me, and how i still struggle, i feel i have had a "relatively easier time" than my siblings, my problems have been different to theirs and i think being shut down more for longer has helped me a bit better as i was exposed to my parents neglect and anger solo for longer, i didnt have a choice. On a purely presentational basis, i have had it "easier", particularly one sibling who was and remains a suicide risk (I found his letter before he tried to do anything, although later he did try).

2 - When i am on these forums, i feel the pain and challenges of many others, it has actually helped me break down a wall in my heart, and i sometimes sit and cry at how f*cked adults are to their children, how much they use them and abuse them. However as my journey was more about deep emotional neglect, and manipulation (i posted earlier how my dad convinced me to attack my mum and force her out of our home), and i was not sexually or physically abused (was hit sometimes but wasnt a regular thing), although i relate / have the same symptoms of complex/developmental trauma many people here suffer from, i sometimes dont feel i suffered the same and again, dont think mine was so bad

then i look at symptoms that tells me my truth and makes me feel less guilty - 3 big addictions, 2 I have stopped and were very very painful in doing so (one lasting 20 years), one addiction is still active and has been with me for 20+ years (but the last few years i have been fighting it more directly), my hypervigilance, my ever present fight or flight, the deep and long depression i have had (remember times when i have not had the strength to go to the bathroom and have just gone in bed) which is better now but sometimes raises its head again, pushing people away and not knowing why, passive aggresive strategies, my fathers manipulative strategies playing out through me, the body symptoms of long held trauma (gut issues, deep pains in the body, unexplained injuries etc)....

i get confused, and i know everyones story differs, and how we survive differs, but these two items above i think are blocking me a bit, and holding my healing back through a narrative that isnt helpful, even though i see my symptoms as telling the story of my pain (had to stop to cry)

I have gone through a lot, and i dont know why i still cant accept my suffering as real, some aspect of me wants to sugarcoat it

looking for some thoughts,
thank you and wishing you all well, and thank you for being my digital brothers and sisters in these stories

Noname
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Posts: 2009
Joined: Sat Jun 15, 2013 4:58 pm

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by Noname » Sun May 19, 2019 2:06 pm

Hi johnram,

I understand what you are saying, and I understand the urge to compare yourself and your pain to that of others. But, there's really no comparison. One example I like to use:

If you have a broken arm in a cast, then meet someone in a full body cast, that doesn't change the fact that your broken arm hurts. Just because some one else is in "more" pain than you doesn't mean you aren't in pain. I hope that makes sense.

It's hard for lots of us survivors to have compassion for ourselves, no matter how much compassion we have for others. I get it. I'm the same way. The thing is, there's no scale for this stuff. What you went through was wrong. You weren't given basic human needs in your formative years. It doesn't matter how that was manifested. Your experiences, your pain, your struggles are valid. You are valid.

EasyStreet
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Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:36 pm

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by EasyStreet » Mon May 20, 2019 12:40 am

That's the thing, when you read the list of symptoms and they describe you, it's reality time.
That was a real breakthrough moment for me.

Never forget you were just a kid, easily influenced. Someone did this to you.

I understand your guilt feelings, but wish you peace, you were just a kid.
EasyStreet
Thanks for being my tribe.
May I always be a worthy member.

EasyStreet
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Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:36 pm

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by EasyStreet » Mon May 20, 2019 2:21 am

And noname:
Noname wrote:
Sun May 19, 2019 2:06 pm
The thing is, there's no scale for this stuff.
right on.
EasyStreet
Thanks for being my tribe.
May I always be a worthy member.

Kenazandisaz
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Posts: 432
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2019 2:09 am

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by Kenazandisaz » Mon May 20, 2019 4:50 am

'Could be worse' comparisons allow you to minimise (and attack and invalidate yourself). It's a natural and powerful defense. You need to protect yourself from having too much awareness of your pain and of the depth and breadth of the impact trauma has had on you. Protecting yourself from being overwhelmed by it isn't a bad thing. Taking denial to an extreme will stall healing, but so will going too fast and being flooded. It's ok to approach the pain when you are able, do what you can with it, and retreat again when you need to. Pacing, yeah? Be kind to yourself, it's a rough gig.
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

johnram
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Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by johnram » Mon May 20, 2019 5:46 am

thank you all for the kind words and support

i do minimise, or rush, and i need to find balance and better stress management now

need to prioritise healing / recovery

johnram
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Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by johnram » Mon May 20, 2019 6:59 am

EasyStreet wrote:
Mon May 20, 2019 12:40 am
That's the thing, when you read the list of symptoms and they describe you, it's reality time.
That was a real breakthrough moment for me.

Never forget you were just a kid, easily influenced. Someone did this to you.

I understand your guilt feelings, but wish you peace, you were just a kid.
I needed to hear this part, as sometimes i want to plow ahead and be done with the healing, but it keeps pulling me back

EasyStreet
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Posts: 233
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:36 pm

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by EasyStreet » Mon May 27, 2019 9:36 pm

Hi Johnram,

Just occurred to me reading this, I think that learning how to love and be loved in a healthy way, or if alone, how to love yourself without mistreating others is the basis of real healing.

Johnram, all we have is now. I was back in the cold shower again, but have lost ground and need to do it again. I know i'm gonna lose ground before I gain it.

I'm with you my friend and brother.

Better days ahead!
EasyStreet
Thanks for being my tribe.
May I always be a worthy member.

johnram
Member
Posts: 264
Joined: Fri Mar 22, 2019 10:37 am

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by johnram » Tue May 28, 2019 5:29 am

thank you EasyStreet, i keep thinking my number 1 goal needs to be healing

dancingfish
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Posts: 402
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2014 9:39 pm

Re: Survivors guilt, not as bad as others

Post by dancingfish » Tue May 28, 2019 7:49 am

Hey there johnram. :) Good thread! I found that "my thing is not as bad as..." was a real block to healing for me for a long while. (Nigh on 20 years, in truth.)

One phrase from a t that helped clinch it in the end was "If it affected you, it matters." That takes away all the scale, all comparisons, all little whispering disheartening voices. I stopped belittling or trying to diminish what had gone on and what was going on, and accepted it was there and important - certainly enough to be recognised, sat with and gently healed.

I've still returned to this question, mind you - only with more of an enquiring, curious mind now. :D One theory I've heard that was useful for me is that how we're affected is due to a balancing of factors and our own natures. Sometimes the bad is more easily dealt with if there is support and kindness elsewhere. Sometimes a small thing completely overwhelms us, particularly if the rest of our life is somewhat empty of care. We're shored up by love and kindness, and eroded by neglect and spite. Sometimes we're able to be determined and strong, other times we don't have internal resources or the will to withstand what happened. And that's the best we could have done.

It can vary with every person, every day, and every event too. Hope you can find some more peace with what happened (and is happening!) for you, and know that you dealt with it as *absolutely best you could*. You really did do an amazing job of getting here, being you right now. It was the mightiest work you could possibly have achieved given the circumstances. :)

Wishing you a whole bunch o' caring and kindness! Glad you're finding this little corner of the web helpful, too. :)

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