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Frustrated with the way people treat/regard abuse victims.

Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
2
#1
I struggle with PTSD and Major Depressive Disorder and it can really show sometimes in my day-to-day life. I have met other victims of abuse who can relate to certain triggers and who know what it's like to have flashbacks. It's easy to talk to them because of how much they relate and the advice and comfort they can give, but naturally, not everyone can relate on such a close level. I have lots of friends and family who don't seem to see or understand things that I think are glaringly obvious, such as me being jumpy at loud noises or unable to listen to certain music, or even me being highly uncomfortable when people come in a room I'm without knocking and letting me know that they're there. What's worse is that when I tell them about these things they react with an almost callous lack of understanding or compassion. I'm just getting tired of people ignoring triggers and saying or doing things that play havoc with my memories. Not to mention that when I disclose what I've been through to people I'm usually met with either an offensive amount of pity and panic or them acting awkward around me or treating my like I have some kind of deathly illness. They also can't seem to fathom why I can't get out of bed sometimes or why I have to leave when rooms get too crowded. All of this seems clear enough to me to understand, so where is the disconnect? Does anyone else struggle with this kind of thing?
 

Manya

here an there
Admin
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
17,831
#2
i hear what youre saying, bella404.

idk, i think its a complicated topic, many aspects to it, hard to cover in one post. but i'll give it try :lol
hope others contribute too. btw - this is a public forum, open to unregistered guests, not all of us are comfy discussing stuff in publilc. youd get better/more responses in Social Skills & Relationships folder. i can move the thread there if you want, but its your choice. anyway.

:thinking
it helps me to separate/untangle three things: our rights, our choices, and our feelings.

say, the issue of people of coming into the room without knocking. first rights: whose room is it? my room that i pay rent for, or their room, or our shared living room, or what? cuz if its my room - i have the right to decide who comes in when how, and i can enforce this right too. e.g. by installing a lock, or getting an order of protection, or whatever. doesnt mean im gonna do it, but i just know that i can, cuz its my space, my rules. on the other hand, if its not my room - i dont get to decide who enters it how, its not my call. i can ask people to do what i want them to, i.e. knock first, but i cant demand that they do it for me. they can refuse. and i can stop spending time in their room and get my own. you know? im not trying to be cold, it just helps me to start from bare basics, who owes whom what, who has what rights exactly, before we talk of compassion, kindness, etc.

then choices. say its not my room, so they dont have to accommodate me, dont have to knock if they dont feel like it, are under no obligation to do that, my wishes are not their problem. fair enough, but this means that i might not want to spend time in their room anymore. i'll just move, and they'll miss out on my company. and i'll miss out on theirs. you know? yeah, they dont have to knock - but i dont have to spend time with them, if push comes to shove, if the knocking issue is a deal breaker for me.

it helps me tremendously to spell these things out, both for me and for the people involved, so that we're all on the same page. i had an argument with someone a while back, and at some point they said "youre not entitled to my compassion" - and they were absolutely right, i wasnt, but i had the choice to walk out and never talk to them again. and i chose to exercise that right. and they were surprised and hurt, cuz they didnt think lack of compassion would mean end of relationship, they thought the two were unrelated, that we'll still stay together, just without compassion, since im not entitled to it, you know. im not entitled to their compassion - but they arent entitled to stay in relationship with me. helps me to communicate these things, to be sure we're all on the same page.


and then there are feelings. i really like to keep feelings separate from rights and choices. cuz feelings are different, there are no obligations, no expectations, and no right or wrong really. theres just honesty and dishonesty, and interest and lack of interest. and either option is ok imho.

once we straightened out our rights and choices - we usually can get along more or less peacefully, without major conflicts. the relationship might be superficial, but not uncomfortable. then, if we want to, we can start talking of feelings. of what things feel like, to me and to them. what it feels like, to me, when someone enters my room without knocking. what it feels like to them, and what it feels like to me, compare our notes, try to see each others perspectives. cuz, i mean, its interesting, its how we get closer to each other, how we bond, by sharing what things feel like to us. clearly they had a different life, unlike mine was, so its understandable that they have no idea what things feel like to me. if they are curious about it, and i feel like sharing - we can talk about it. they can ask questions. i can ask questions.

i like to describe a feeling and throw in a few non-abuse examples, situations that might feel similarly to how i feel. idk, when someone enters my room without knocking - it feels like an earthquake, instant panic and total helplessness. or it feels like a police patdown, getting robbed of privacy. or it feels like a street shooting, acute danger, i gotta duck and run. or whatever it feels like to you, idk. i mean, the emotions im experiencing - the person im talking to has experienced something similar, or can imagine experiencing it, we all have the same emotions across the board, just for different reasons. my reasons to feel fear are different from their reasons to feel fear, but we both know what fear feels like. i find that people understand me better when we talk like this, tap into something we have in common, see if they ever felt the way im feeling, what the situation was like, etc.

i also find it very important/helpful to keep clear boundaries, specifically on feelings. i.e. make it clear which feelings are mine and which are theirs, and that its ok to feel differently at the same time or about the same thing, and that each of us has to own and manage our own feelings. for example, if im crying because im sad - they dont have to cry with me and be sad too. its not insensitive or anything, its perfectly normal. they might be angry instead, say, at my abuser. or they might be frustrated cuz they dont know how to help me. or they might be bored cuz ive been crying for the past two weeks and they just wanna watch some netflix. i mean, all of these are normal responses. its ok to feel whatever we feel, and be open and honest about it. a lot of people arent comfortable with that, but, i mean, trauma causes such an emotional wreck that we simply cant afford to make-pretend what we imagine would be an appropriate response. its best to just be honest. it helps tremendously if im clear about it with people, that i dont expect them to react to me a certain way, and that i dont expect them to manage my emotions for me either, that me crying doesnt mean i need a darn thing from them. you know? its normal to cry, sometimes. they can go play video games for a while, till i calm down. helps me to be clear on this, so that the person knows where they are standing, what i expect/need from them.


im having a somewhat similar issue in another domain, cuz i recently lost my hearing, and a lot of people are completely lost on how to interact with a deaf person. not that i require omg tiptoeing around me, not at all, its the opposite, they keep imagining that they need to bend over backwards for me 24/7, but arent sure how to do it practically. to me its bizarre, the questions they ask, the confusions they have, idk where this panic they are having is coming from. but it is panic indeed, they are panicking, afraid to screw up i guess. helps me to be super clear about my needs/expectations/limits/etc, spell out things that i feel should be obvious, i could never imagine anyone would be confused on something - but they are, i need to spell it out for them. idk, that im able to read and write, even though im no longer able to hear. to me its obvious - but to other people it apparently isnt. so i voice all these things. idk, does feel somewhat similar to communicating about ptsd and such, things i need and things i dont need.

:rs for you
 
Joined
Mar 1, 2021
Messages
2
#3
Thank you so much for responding! Also thanks for the advice on where best to post:ty
I joined this community to find support and I couldn't have chosen a better one.

I like the way you mention rights and choices. It helps me remember that I have rights through my own choices and that I get to choose what I can do just like everyone else. I can get very upset sometimes, but I think your ability to take a step back and think with wisdom and compassion is very inspiring, I hope to be able to do the same. When I'm feeling overwhelmed and misunderstood I tend to forget that other people's rights and decisions need to be taken into account as well as my own, and when I forget that I risk acting without compassion. Your response really made me take a step back and think, and I enjoyed reading it ^-^

They way you said that emotions are never right or wrong was an awesome way to put it, and I'm definitely going to work on remembering that everyone has different reasons for feeling what they feel, and that what they feel is ok:>
Sometimes emotions can feel wrong, but it's good to remember that emotions are just that; emotions. I also like the idea of using non-trauma/non-abuse examples to relate feelings with peers and family, that's a strategy I definitely plan on using! It's good for me to remember that I have to respect that sometimes it's difficult for others to understand. Tapping into things we have in common can be a big help, especially since we're all in charge of our own feelings.

All in all a very refreshing way to put things, and it gives me a new perspective. I'm going to work on reminding myself not to expect people to understand immediately but to just be clear about my expectations and feelings, and be understanding of theirs.

I know very well that it can be difficult to deal with lack of understanding. People tend to be wary and disliking of things they don't understand or can't relate to, but you seem to have quite an insightful mind and a compassionate heart, I just know that you're an awesome person. I wish you the best of luck in finding the understanding you need, You 110% deserve it!:yr
 

Aimee

Moderated User
Joined
Mar 9, 2021
Messages
93
#4
i hear what youre saying, bella404.

idk, i think its a complicated topic, many aspects to it, hard to cover in one post. but i'll give it try :lol
hope others contribute too. btw - this is a public forum, open to unregistered guests, not all of us are comfy discussing stuff in publilc. youd get better/more responses in Social Skills & Relationships folder. i can move the thread there if you want, but its your choice. anyway.

:thinking
it helps me to separate/untangle three things: our rights, our choices, and our feelings.

say, the issue of people of coming into the room without knocking. first rights: whose room is it? my room that i pay rent for, or their room, or our shared living room, or what? cuz if its my room - i have the right to decide who comes in when how, and i can enforce this right too. e.g. by installing a lock, or getting an order of protection, or whatever. doesnt mean im gonna do it, but i just know that i can, cuz its my space, my rules. on the other hand, if its not my room - i dont get to decide who enters it how, its not my call. i can ask people to do what i want them to, i.e. knock first, but i cant demand that they do it for me. they can refuse. and i can stop spending time in their room and get my own. you know? im not trying to be cold, it just helps me to start from bare basics, who owes whom what, who has what rights exactly, before we talk of compassion, kindness, etc.

then choices. say its not my room, so they dont have to accommodate me, dont have to knock if they dont feel like it, are under no obligation to do that, my wishes are not their problem. fair enough, but this means that i might not want to spend time in their room anymore. i'll just move, and they'll miss out on my company. and i'll miss out on theirs. you know? yeah, they dont have to knock - but i dont have to spend time with them, if push comes to shove, if the knocking issue is a deal breaker for me.

it helps me tremendously to spell these things out, both for me and for the people involved, so that we're all on the same page. i had an argument with someone a while back, and at some point they said "youre not entitled to my compassion" - and they were absolutely right, i wasnt, but i had the choice to walk out and never talk to them again. and i chose to exercise that right. and they were surprised and hurt, cuz they didnt think lack of compassion would mean end of relationship, they thought the two were unrelated, that we'll still stay together, just without compassion, since im not entitled to it, you know. im not entitled to their compassion - but they arent entitled to stay in relationship with me. helps me to communicate these things, to be sure we're all on the same page.


and then there are feelings. i really like to keep feelings separate from rights and choices. cuz feelings are different, there are no obligations, no expectations, and no right or wrong really. theres just honesty and dishonesty, and interest and lack of interest. and either option is ok imho.

once we straightened out our rights and choices - we usually can get along more or less peacefully, without major conflicts. the relationship might be superficial, but not uncomfortable. then, if we want to, we can start talking of feelings. of what things feel like, to me and to them. what it feels like, to me, when someone enters my room without knocking. what it feels like to them, and what it feels like to me, compare our notes, try to see each others perspectives. cuz, i mean, its interesting, its how we get closer to each other, how we bond, by sharing what things feel like to us. clearly they had a different life, unlike mine was, so its understandable that they have no idea what things feel like to me. if they are curious about it, and i feel like sharing - we can talk about it. they can ask questions. i can ask questions.

i like to describe a feeling and throw in a few non-abuse examples, situations that might feel similarly to how i feel. idk, when someone enters my room without knocking - it feels like an earthquake, instant panic and total helplessness. or it feels like a police patdown, getting robbed of privacy. or it feels like a street shooting, acute danger, i gotta duck and run. or whatever it feels like to you, idk. i mean, the emotions im experiencing - the person im talking to has experienced something similar, or can imagine experiencing it, we all have the same emotions across the board, just for different reasons. my reasons to feel fear are different from their reasons to feel fear, but we both know what fear feels like. i find that people understand me better when we talk like this, tap into something we have in common, see if they ever felt the way im feeling, what the situation was like, etc.

i also find it very important/helpful to keep clear boundaries, specifically on feelings. i.e. make it clear which feelings are mine and which are theirs, and that its ok to feel differently at the same time or about the same thing, and that each of us has to own and manage our own feelings. for example, if im crying because im sad - they dont have to cry with me and be sad too. its not insensitive or anything, its perfectly normal. they might be angry instead, say, at my abuser. or they might be frustrated cuz they dont know how to help me. or they might be bored cuz ive been crying for the past two weeks and they just wanna watch some netflix. i mean, all of these are normal responses. its ok to feel whatever we feel, and be open and honest about it. a lot of people arent comfortable with that, but, i mean, trauma causes such an emotional wreck that we simply cant afford to make-pretend what we imagine would be an appropriate response. its best to just be honest. it helps tremendously if im clear about it with people, that i dont expect them to react to me a certain way, and that i dont expect them to manage my emotions for me either, that me crying doesnt mean i need a darn thing from them. you know? its normal to cry, sometimes. they can go play video games for a while, till i calm down. helps me to be clear on this, so that the person knows where they are standing, what i expect/need from them.


im having a somewhat similar issue in another domain, cuz i recently lost my hearing, and a lot of people are completely lost on how to interact with a deaf person. not that i require omg tiptoeing around me, not at all, its the opposite, they keep imagining that they need to bend over backwards for me 24/7, but arent sure how to do it practically. to me its bizarre, the questions they ask, the confusions they have, idk where this panic they are having is coming from. but it is panic indeed, they are panicking, afraid to screw up i guess. helps me to be super clear about my needs/expectations/limits/etc, spell out things that i feel should be obvious, i could never imagine anyone would be confused on something - but they are, i need to spell it out for them. idk, that im able to read and write, even though im no longer able to hear. to me its obvious - but to other people it apparently isnt. so i voice all these things. idk, does feel somewhat similar to communicating about ptsd and such, things i need and things i dont need.

:rs for you
Manya, you share lots of great, helpful posts and they always help others so much. Thank you kindly for all your time in sharing and helping. It goes a long way with all of us, whether or not you know about it. I hope it does matter some to you.

You have a very unique way of writing all the time. It is yours and that is nice. You end up making a lot of reasonable, necessary sense, that in almost every post, who ever or what ever you are responding to, is good for who needs to know these things. You also have a unique gift to reach into the very essence of things, and pull out and explain the real objective, no matter if the original post was a long run-on, or whatever. That is wonderful.

Thank you Manya.
 

Sincerely

Known To All
Got Keys
Joined
Jan 7, 2020
Messages
625
#5
Hi and welcome. I cant add much to what manya said. First thing that came to my mind when I read your post is from Manyas example of deafness.
I think in general, people just fall short in understanding. Some is lack of knowledge and some is just being human. We can all be a little "duh" some or q lot of times. We just don't know what we dont know. Ive done it.. I'm guilty.I think its why its best to just give grace to everyone.
 

Manya

here an there
Admin
Joined
Jul 30, 2009
Messages
17,831
#6
We just don't know what we dont know. Ive done it..
:agree
yesterday i was watching some youtube channel by a trans guy, talking of his trans issues, and it clarified a few things for me. i interact with trans people daily, and of course i was aware of the basic do's and dont's, but what this guy was saying made a few things click for me, things i didnt really understand. i accepted them, but didnt understand them. now they make more sense.
 
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