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Hmmmm. I think I would characterize what I experienced as a child as "emotional chaos". I pretty much never knew what to expect from my parents. They weren't what you'd call terrible or (overtly) abusive or anything. They just created an unstable environment where I always felt like I was walking on eggshells and never wanted to "rock the boat" when things weren't bad.

My dad was not bad but my mother was always unstable and highly unpredictable. The only thing you could predict was that if you did anything she didn't like, she'd go crazy and make you wish you hadn't for days. My dad dealt with such things much more calmly and was never unpredictable or scary when he was upset. He's not "normal" and never has been but he's fortunately never been like her.

TBH, I don't know how they ended up together. They don't really have anything in common personality-wize
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
@WillYouStopDave; That sounds like the third category of parents in this article. I'm well familiar with that "eggshells" feeling, although for most of my life I was in denial about it I think. I was very emotionally attached to/dependent on my parents, but at the same time most interactions with them left me feeling unheard and dissatisfied.

I'm curious about what you mean by your dad not being "normal", only if you're comfortable sharing, that is. In dysfunctional marriages/relationships, usually one partner is more overtly dysfunctional, while the other one enables them (by not calling out their bad behaviours, not shielding their kids or other people from their bad behaviours, and so on). The enabler seem "better" by comparison, but they are just as problematic in that they missed all the red flags and willingly chooses to stay in a dysfunctional environment.

I added a link in the OP on the Karpman drama triangle, which explains the different roles in a dysfunctional dynamic.
 

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@WillYouStopDave; That sounds like the third category of parents in this article. I'm well familiar with that "eggshells" feeling, although for most of my life I was in denial about it I think. I was very emotionally attached to/dependent on my parents, but at the same time most interactions with them left me feeling unheard and dissatisfied.

I'm curious about what you mean by your dad not being "normal", only if you're comfortable sharing, that is. In dysfunctional marriages/relationships, usually one partner is more overtly dysfunctional, while the other one enables them (by not calling out their bad behaviours, not shielding their kids or other people from their bad behaviours, and so on). The enabler seem "better" by comparison, but they are just as problematic in that they missed all the red flags and willingly chooses to stay in a dysfunctional environment.

I added a link in the OP on the Karpman drama triangle, which explains the different roles in a dysfunctional dynamic.
Well, I don't think I have the energy or the clarity ATM to dig into it too much. But I've written quite a bit about it over the years on here.
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@WillYouStopDave ; No worries at all, hope I didn't put you on the spot there. Was just hoping to share some of this info and help folks recognise/put words to their experiences, since neglect is invisible by definition and for many of us it took a lot even just to be aware of it.
 

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Mad Scientist
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Yes. Although maybe emotional abuse is more accurate, if the two are distinguishable. The result is a flat affect, general anxiety and emotionally distant relationships. I can pretty confidently trace it all back to my relationship with my mother, and also some parts of my elementary school experience. I have, as a result, developed this ability to turn off my emotions when they get too intense. It's like a switch in my head. I'd say most of the time, my emotions are turned off. Only when I get very close to someone do I feel confident in turning my emotions on.
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes. Although maybe emotional abuse is more accurate, if the two are distinguishable. The result is a flat affect, general anxiety and emotionally distant relationships. I can pretty confidently trace it all back to my relationship with my mother, and also some parts of my elementary school experience. I have, as a result, developed this ability to turn off my emotions when they get too intense. It's like a switch in my head. I'd say most of the time, my emotions are turned off. Only when I get very close to someone do I feel confident in turning my emotions on.
That's really interesting. How do you get close enough to someone to turn your emotions on in the first place? I can't turn my emotions off, but I'm good at hiding them, and I can appear normal - even sociable - for a while. But I'm keeping people at arm's length, and over time I think they start to pick up on it. It's mystifying to me how people spend time together and just grow closer.
 

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Yes pretty much. I would say as a young child to my early teens were mostly emotional neglect. Parents normally I figured are there for the child to turn to whenever they need assurance, advice or addressing insecurities. Not sure how my siblings had it. But I never got it from my parents when I tried going to them for it when needed. My dad rare times he's around, he mostly would tune me out or just shrug me off. My mom, instead of giving me advice or assuring me, she instead will attack me and victim blame me for my problems. It was probably before I even turn 10, I learned to not go to them and simply try hard hide my problems to myself and let them brew internally to whatever. To the point I got pretty use to it and thought it was normal with all parents. I learned to appreciate the neglect, as it gave me a sense of privacy. I started approaching everyone else like that, friends and such. Despite knowing I want to let out stuff, but it's not normal to.

Once my parents divorced, my dad left, my mom started turning her daily tantrums towards us (normally would be at my dad). The emotional neglect then turned into emotional abuse. She will go out of her way to emotionally abuse and attack us (my brother and I, as my sister was the golden child). Like it was a daily objective. Mirroring what Dave described of his mom above. By then, I was longing for the emotional neglect to return in place of the emotional abuse. The neglect=solitude, to me.

It wasn't until I was on my own for college, I noticed more at how much people vent and rant about their problems to others. I noticed that too with friends in middle to high school, but not as much. That's when I learned this is normal. And how many years of myself bottling up everything inside me might've twisted me up for the worse emotionally. But by then, I was past my teens, this was well ingrained in me. Still working on in reversing this to this day, but... it's a long journey. But now I am just aware I need to avoid letting up emotions bottled up, but also I need to pick and choose who to do so with, and who to be on guard with. Unfortunately, just about everyone I come across are in the latter category. I have had many friends come and go I trusted, but even then I seldom show them my personal and emotional side. While they will do so to me though.

Some enablers actually are aware of the red flags too, but they choose to turn a blind eye to it as long as these red flags don't affect them and only others. Turning a blind eye gets these red flags to not apply to me. The enabler mentality is strictly for self-preservation. The "better them than me" attitude.

Although often times I will debate, without the abuser, the enabler will not even exist as they will just be a normal person. Everything and roles in the whole dynamic is manifested by the fear towards the abuser.
 
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I haven't looked at the links yet but it's possible there was some. My father was British (stiff upper lip) and of a certain age that he tended to think men just deal with things - and don't show their emotions. My mother was very supportive in her own way - but there was sometimes a distance there, and physical affection wasn't encouraged, which is a bit sad.

I had a few very close friends when I was younger - people I'd talk about everything with. Whatever was worrying us at the time etc. It always amazes me when I hear - to this day - how men are supposedly terrible at expressing their emotions. I heard someone say it on the radio the other day. I have very little trouble talking about my emotions - but of course it depends on the person and what my relationship is like with them.
 
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Hm there's a lot I could say, in fact I wrote a lot out, but I don't feel safe posting on this forum for reasons I won't go into here. I usually get very uncomfortable and end up deleting stuff if I go into detail later anyway. Let's just say my family are dysfunctional in various ways.
 

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Karmically Cryptic
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Without going into too much detail. My mom was a persecutor/victim, my moms mom was a persecutors, and my dad was a rescuer...left me growing up acting like a victim until I was older and overcame that mental attitude.
 

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thanks for the links, I will have a look. I do know that I experienced childhood emotional neglect. my parents were very careful to provide enough material resources so there wasn't any signs of physical neglect and we were never physically abused where we were being bruised or marked so no one outside the family would pick up on how dysfunctional the family was. we were also a nuclear family and deliberately very isolated from extended family.
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Some enablers actually are aware of the red flags too, but they choose to turn a blind eye to it as long as these red flags don't affect them and only others. Turning a blind eye gets these red flags to not apply to me. The enabler mentality is strictly for self-preservation. The "better them than me" attitude.

Although often times I will debate, without the abuser, the enabler will not even exist as they will just be a normal person. Everything and roles in the whole dynamic is manifested by the fear towards the abuser.
Maybe, although I think some enablers are just as ****ed up as the abuser if not more so. It's almost like Munchausen by proxy syndrome, where they need their partner to be toxic and dysfunctional so that they can fulfil a martyr/caretaker role.

In my family, my dad is so far on the end of the spectrum that it never even crosses his mind that his behaviour could be bad. My mum notices the red flags, but she reacts by doubling down to defend, justify, and tell his sob story to others, kind of like his mouthpiece/publicist.

Sometimes I feel like my mum is more problematic, even though she appears to be more "normal", she's "only" the enabler. My dad is this way because he's not self-aware, so if you point it out to him (in a way that doesn't trigger him), then there's the possibility of change, no matter how remote. Whereas my mum is already aware, but she's applying crazymaking interpretations to what's she's seeing, so there's nothing other people can do to wake her up.

I used to feel really bad for my mum because she would always complain to me about my dad treating her poorly. But the whole Karpman triangle thing really opened my eyes to the picture. It's never just one person's fault. I mean, when I say that people might think I'm victim-blaming, but even if someone is not to blame for a situation, there are still things they're doing that are keeping them stuck.
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
thanks for the links, I will have a look. I do know that I experienced childhood emotional neglect. my parents were very careful to provide enough material resources so there wasn't any signs of physical neglect and we were never physically abused where we were being bruised or marked so no one outside the family would pick up on how dysfunctional the family was. we were also a nuclear family and deliberately very isolated from extended family.
Same, man. My family moved continents away and I have no contact with extended family - never even met some of them. I'll add another resource here - and I forget if this is the correct video, but Tim Fletcher talks about five different types of loneliness here. Iirc one of them was cultural or community loneliness/alienation.:

I think social anxiety is like the gift that keeps on giving, because the problem itself is not that severe or hard to treat. It's the coping mechanism we develop where we isolate ourselves, that makes recovery twice as difficult. But anyway, that's neither here nor there.
 

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Perhaps...I don't know if its an emotional thing... it definitely attacked my emotions and I hate being yelled at. I have yet to find anyone who have similar experiences.
When I was a kid about 7 to 16, I'd be conflicted and be staying awake at night. Then from no where I feel like someone is screaming in my ears. You know that physical feeling when you hear something so LOUD that your eardrum goes numb and you brain rattles? But when I heard this "noise", no one was screaming, no noise, just that feeling of my ears going numb. I still felt like I was being screamed at but no one was there. It'd start off very low whispers, becomes barely audible, then almost to when I can hear mumbling, then gets louder and louder to full blown screaming. I always felt like crap afterwards because its the worse "sound" I could hear. I told doctors about it as a kid, but they had no idea what I was talking about and just said there was nothing wrong with my eardrum... well duh i just told you it was like a sound, but NOT a sound. I haven't heard it since, and don't want to ever again.
 

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Song and action man
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I mean no. But it's interesting a social worker came to our home a few times as a kid due to my selective mutism. She thought I was being abused at home/or had a bad home life. You know because I didn't talk.
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Informative article on trauma bonding: Traumatic bonding - Wikipedia

Not sure if other people in this community experience their flight-or-flight system being constant "on". For me its like a constant feeling of "waiting for the other shoe to drop" - like, constantly feeling like I'm on the cusp of some bad **** about to go down, afraid to enjoy myself. And sometimes I have a momentary lapse and have fun, and then later I snap back into my default mind space and think like, "Oh ****, I really let myself go there". It's like every waking moment is the calm before a storm that never comes.

I often have that feeling of "I need a break", even while I'm taking a break. Kind of reached the conclusion that the only "escape" is sleep or death. Sleep is just postponing the impending dread for a few hours at a time. I'm in no way encouraging suicide or anything, but like I can totally see why people do it. Like that kind of headspace feels understandable and logical to me.
 

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Dogra Magra
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Actually I don't really understand the headspace if people on here who recognize that they were emotionally neglected to some extent, but can't really put this knowledge into action/recovery from social anxiety, so to speak. Is it because you believe your "personality" has become too entrenched at this point? Really curious if people have read the "Hollower" link in the OP and have any thoughts on it.
 

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Karmically Cryptic
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I find it more helpful to know how to turn off the fight or flight response rather than finding reasons why it seems to be perpetually turned on. Digging into all the trauma and reasons why only brings it all up again, it's like re-traumatizing yourself. It's our thoughts that trigger the sympathetic nervous system repeatedly...literally nothing but a thought in most cases.

When we think of past trauma the thought alone brings up the pain as if we are experiencing it all over again. It's the same with worry (thought) about the future and the anxiety or fear we experience as a result.

If you can learn to slow down the thoughts, to "step out" of the thoughts and stop identifying yourself with them because you are not your thoughts, and calm the body you can begin to train your mind and body to be in a more consistent state of rest, triggering flight or fight response when there is a danger in your actual reality rather than in your imagination.

I'm not suggesting to stop thinking completely...just create some space between you and your thoughts, you and your emotions...
 
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