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    • #136664

      Ive just seem my counsellor not the best session I dont think but I wanted to share something I think may help others. We were talking about trama and cognitive behaviour and how people with trama like me i guess process their feelings and whats happened to them now Im not very good at explaining whats in my head so I am hoping one of the more clever ones among us can also help with this. The main points are fight flight freeze and i think she said faun but also hide. My goodness i do love to hide.
      I feel numb stuck sad fed up now i see now i sort of believe and accept what my husband does i thought id start fighting but I seem to have completly frozen almost like im depressed given up. My councellor says this is the frozen part of cognitive behaviour she says i tend to go from frozen to hiding and i need to get back to my fight. I was doing so well b4 covid got me and hes starting being so nice im back to self doubt self hate and i feel stuck here in a life i really dont like. But what she tells me about the frozen part really did seem like me, you freeze literally you cant see a way out a way through its almost like you really cant be bothered whats the point? Nothing will change he wont I cant and I wont ever leave so why bother?? Its like Im back to the start all over again but this time im just gonna close my eyes and not see pretend all is ok all is just normal just me being silly. Deep down way down I know its not ffs I know this is no life to live but I just cant find the strength the passion the want to keep fighting him on absolitly everything its all so exhausting.
      That is where I am and I need to get out of it.
      Anyone else heard of this? Anyone know a way through? Can anyone explain it better than me?
      Thank you xxxxxxx

    • #136679
      Wants To Help

      Hi nbumblebee,

      You have explained this perfectly well yourself, you don’t need anyone else to explain it to you, trust yourself with your own interpretation.

      I have not heard of the ‘hiding’ part of this before, I continue to learn from this forum and the experiences shared. Let’s explore this meaning.

      From your posts you acknowledge that your self confidence and self esteem is low, and this affects our self worth. When we feel like this it is hard for us to accept that we have anything of any good, or use to offer to anyone and however they treat us must be how we deserve to be treated.

      From your posts I am seeing a lady who is kind, caring, sensitive, considerate, hurting, lonely, scared and unhappy. Even though you are struggling yourself you are on here regularly encouraging and supporting other people through their struggles. You have taken up a job working with vulnerable people. I bet they don’t treat you like your husband does? Do these people enjoy your company, thrive with your care and look forward to you going in? Your employers are happy with you. You are a capable woman and you are valued by others, but sadly, not by your husband.

      In order to stop hiding you need to be seen. Not by others, but by your husband. I am not suggesting you stand up to him and tell him you are leaving him, but start by asserting yourself and your rights to have a life of your own as well as a life as his wife. How he will react to this we can all guess, but unless you start asserting yourself nothing will ever change for you.

      Asserting yourself starts with doing little things at a time that you want to do. You do not have to ask for his permission to go out, you do not need his permission to see friends. An advanced warning is courteous when in a relationship, such as “I see we have nothing planned for next weekend, I’ve been invited out with some friends on Saturday and I’m going to go.”

      If his reaction is to forbid you, or you fear violence if you go against him, then this is the criminal element of controlling and coercive behaviour. If you are living with this level of control, even though there is no physical violence whatsoever, this is a crime. If you are too worried about planning a day out with friends, how about starting with a family member, maybe your Mum? Use the same tactic that you see there are no plans for the weekend so you are going to have a day out with your Mum. It doesn’t have to be a whole day, it could be for a couple of hours for a coffee, or a bit of lunch, just start with asserting yourself to do something that you would like to do.


      • #136701

        Thank you for such kind words I most certainly dont deserve them but I will take them on board Thank you.
        I do try and get out if I can but he makes things so hard he gets so nasty I just dont bother I have an overwelming feeling of guilt all the time and it spoils everything.
        I know i need to overcome this I just dont know how.
        Lots to think about isnt there? Its just so hard I just want a normal life a normal husband i want to feel loved but free, feel like hes proud of me that he wants me to shine, supported as i do him I want to be looked after as i do him I just wanna be normal. Stupid right?!!!!

    • #136691
      Twisted Sister

      Hi nbumblebee

      I totally get you on this, because I do it. Its like brain freeze. I can only say that when I get help to do something, or manage to talk something through with someone, it can free me of it and suddenly I have been released and that gives me energy again to do things, but goodness its hard to break out of, and I can see that its fear/anxiety completely blocking me from even beginning to think, or even notice that I’m frozen and hiding. its not till something breaks it that I realise I was even in that state! Quite mad!

      Its up to you how you find your way through, I’m sure many find journaling helpful for this, at least it can move your thoughts from your head onto paper, or like posting here does, help you process it a bit instead of it going silently on untilyou don’t even notice it anymore. Others may have other ideas, It may be that just coming here a doing a few replies to others can break the stuck cycle. Maybe a small token towards the lifeyou want, like putting some money by, or speaking to someone about having a plan to leave to theirs if anything were to suddenly happen, having that exit plan can help your brain to starting thinking more along those lines.

      I hope the counselling goes well and helpsyou

      warmest wishes


      • #136743

        Thank you, its comforting to hear it isnt just me.I know i need to get back to the me who wanted to fight to learn to want to look after myself I need to find her again. I had gotten so far I really did start to believe but its all gone now and im left feeling numb feeling helpless and stuck. I will take on board your advice and give it a try thank you so much xx

      • #136806

        Not mad at all, it’s how your survival response is meant to work. It’s just that we all get stuck in fight/flight/freeze in situations where it wasn’t meant to be used. xxxx

    • #136776

      I’ve not heard of the ‘hide’ part but my therapist told me about the ‘fawn’ response and said I’m often in freeze mode because I’m traumatised/frightened. It makes sense to me as it explains why every time he starts getting nasty and making threats towards me I start to freeze and just want it all to go away and for things to be back to normal so my anxiety levels can lower. The thing is we then become addicted to always trying to keep the peace don’t we? Yet we need them to show their true colours as proof to ourselves that they really are abusive and to justify leaving. I wish I knew the answer? Always here for you though, I know how hard this sh*tty life is right now xx

    • #136779

      Thank you @gettingtired you are so right when they are nice we doubt ourselves our new found knowledge i think thats where I am now. Maybe I should look back at some of my posts in here and have a re read remind myself how much he hurts me? This is just so hard right?!!
      But Thank you so much for your support we are not alone in this and that really does help 💜

    • #136804

      I can really relate to what you described. I think I see hide as the same as freeze, in that in both cases you’re trying to be invisible to the threat. Faun is definitely a thing for humans (and I’m sure for the more intelligent mammals like chimpanzees too) and I’ve certainly done it a lot.

      I think it’s great that you’ve recognised how you respond. It shows you’re not completely blind by it all the time. I noticed that she told you that you should be in fight, not hide. I don’t think she is referring to the fight of fight/flight/freeze though. My understanding of it from having done CBT and other therapy, is that the survival response is only appropriate for genuine life threatening emergencies e.g. there’s a tiger in the room or you abuser is about to seriously hurt you. Fight/flight/freeze evolve to help us in genuine emergency situations where you need to act quickly and decisively, perhaps with extra speed/strength. Using your brain to weigh up a lot of options is not helpful if you need to act quickly, which is why your thinking brain shuts down (one of the reasons for brain freeze). But you don’t want to be in fight/flight/freeze if there isn’t an emergency, because it isn’t equipped to deal with complex situations (not to mention the health impacts, because you immune system, digestive system and more are shut down).

      You’re in freeze/hide because you feel under threat. Deciding to switch to fight instead of freeze (if that’s even possible, I’m pretty sure it’s not the thinking part of the brain that chooses the response) would mean your brain still thinks there’s an immediate life threatening emergency. That’s why I don’t think you’re counsellor actually means the fight of fight/flight/freeze – you don’t want to switch off your thinking brain and feel like you’re fighting to the death every moment of the day. The way to get out of freeze/hide is to recognise that the threat (while very real in terms of the feelings it triggers) is not actually something you need to hide from to stay safe. You need to know that it’s safe to switch off your survival response. The problem in abusive relationships is that the abuse keeps you in fight/flight/freeze as a way to keep you stuck (you’re so busy surviving that you can’t see a way out and it feels safer to freeze than to take the risk of escaping). I know abusers do and say things that make us feel paralysed with fear (freeze) and we still feel like it when they’re not around. But if we were able to switch off the fight/flight/freeze response, we’d be able to see that we’re in a psychological/emotional prison, not a physical one that is literally inescapable.

      I don’t think it’s realistic to feel truly safe with an abuser. But I do think you can take the edge off enough to feel safe enough to leave and/or see that the impact of the abuse is worse than the risk of leaving. I think the most important thing is to shift your attention from him to you. The more you focus on placating him, what he’s going to do, why he’s doing it etc, the more you reinforce the belief that you need to keep him happy in order to be safe. You need to teach your brain that you can rely on yourself to stay safe and that your needs are worth taking care of. You can only do that by taking care of your needs and attending to your emotional wellbeing. I also found that the less compliant I was (especially when it was clearly something relating to my wellbeing), the stronger I felt. So I tried to take every safe opportunity to do that – it did come at a cost of increased abuse, so I was careful about how/when I did it. I’m sure this taught me that giving into him all the time wasn’t actually keeping me safe, it was making me feel weak and powerless. Going back to what your counsellor said, you can fight for your wellbeing without feeling like you’re fighting to the death. That might look different for different people. You don’t have to feel strong to be strong. You don’t have to look/behave like a stereotypical strong woman, who doesn’t take any s**t from anyone, to be strong. And you are incredibly strong to have survived everything you’re been through, however weak you feel. Some inner determination and a willingness to feel some really uncomfortable feelings is enough. Sending lots of love xxxx

    • #136813

      Yes @isopeace yes.
      My counsellor worries about how much I am in this how high my stress levels are because im always on such high alert she says its only a matter of time before physical affects to stress start to show if they havent already. She says you cannot remain this way this fight flight freeze isnt good at all and yes in fight she doesnt mean actual fight i understand that but you out it so much better thank you.
      I know now that i need to try and sort me out and not keep trying to understand him i just dont know how and it makes me feel so selfish when i do something for myself. I go to the gym and i end up feeling so selfish as my husband doesnt know i go as he wouldnt let me but as he is at work he doesnt know that makes me feel like a liar and any benefits i gain by going i quickly lose. Same as my work I love it I enjoy it and feel so good then i come home and im made to feel like a bad mum a bad wife as ive not done “my jobs” ie houseowrk shopping cooking which I still do just a bit later thats all but any good feelings I get by doing my work soon dispear and i often wonder if any of it is worth it.
      I really needed to hear what you had to say today I need to try harder be better be stronger and lose the guilt. Thank you so much for your truely fab reply xxxxxxx

      • #136833

        I’m the same, there are some things I lie about to mine as you know and I do feel like a really bad person quite regularly because of it. But the reality is it does give me a bit of respite from him, like I’m sure you going to the gym does. We aren’t bad people though, the alternative (telling them where we’ve actually gone) would only lead to more abuse and control.
        Also, all of this becomes so normal to us that we forget how a healthy person would never try and control their partner or dictate what they can or cannot do. Xx

      • #136854

        I’m glad it was helpful. I would focus on being kinder to yourself. If you feel guilty, do it for your kids. They deserve the best of you and you can only give that if you look after yourself. I think it really helped me to keep reminding myslef that it feels wrong (guilt) but that feeling is from the years of control. It’s ok to feel guilty but look after yourself anyway. You lie out of survival, not malice. The guilt feels real, but that’s because he has used your empathy to make you take on what he wants you to feel. xxxxx

      • #136870

        Thank you again. I really do need to work on this sel love stuff. I keep telling myself baby steps im in a better place than where i was a few months ago and in a few months time it could be even better right? Just cant see it now but need to keep believing. Thank you again. Xxxxxxx

    • #136853

      Thank you for your support @gettingtired as always. Hard this isnt it x*x

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