how do I Redefine things that are triggers?

Postby ced316 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:15 pm

I saw my therapist yesterday and we had a long talk about my angry outbursts and violent responses.

When I was a small kid, i was verbally / mentally abused by my parent (as well as physically beat up by her boyfriends which was allowed) , constantly called terms such as 'sissy, punk, 'p*ssy and told im 'acting like a bitch' when I would become upset. She would tell me she wanted me beat up by family members and encouraged the neighborhood kids to attack me. when I expressed how upset that made me, i was punished for 'talking back' and that I deserved it for my attitude.

so through the years growing up if anyone threatened me, or called me any version of the names listed above it would trigger me to blow up and a fight would happen. Overreacting was and is common.

So talking with my therapist she asked me if its a positive that I am able to beat someone up if they call me out of my name, threaten them or best them in some way after the fact. I said yes. It feels safe.

She said I have to redefine the definition of what is a positive response and redefine what is negative. I told her that I didnt really know how to do that, since i had no positive role models growing up - i only had the television and pro wrestlers teaching me that violence solves all problems, with a mom who didnt show any compassion or empathy.

This frame of mind has prevented me from enjoying aspects of my life, because i have associated 'winning' and being 'in a good light' with deserving of love and appreciation. If i fail at something, then i feel it validates all the terrible things my mom would tell me as a kid.

How do i work on this?
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Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:55 pm

Start by not letting your past define you.

There is a BIG difference between acknowledging the past and using the past to justify current behaviors.

Acknowledging the past as the past means that in the past you were called names.

Using the past to say that because you were called names as a child, therefore it causes you to be an angry p@#ck today is hogwash.

Don’t misunderstand. I realize that it is very popular to blame past events for today’s behaviors. But it is BS. It is selective memories and selective causes.

When a child you used to wear diapers, or maybe you didn’t like to eat vegetables, or maybe you were afraid of the dark. But you don’t create BS stories that explain your current ability to use a toilet, eat vegetables, or sleep in the dark. Why? Because you don’t struggle with those behaviors today.

It is only when we struggle with a current behavior that we selectively paint some horrible story to try and justify why it happened. The BS is something like, “I lashed out today, because mom didn’t buy me a toy when I was six years old.”

Again, it is a very common thought process, but not a helpful thought process.

Given the correct current environment people can modify their behaviors fairly quickly if they focus on the present instead of constantly blaming their past. The proof is in all the situations that arise in life that demand modified behaviors, e.g. individuals transformed by military service, or by parenthood, etc.
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Postby ced316 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:37 am

you are correct on a number of levels.

1) interestingly enough you mention military service. I am a veteran with a rating at the va based on trauma. I've also been involved in combat sports and in both areas the behavior and attitudes that I'm looking to work on were not only encouraged but rewarded. It was reinforced to behave a certain way in those environments and I feel now, that it normalized it for a time while I should have had some self control over myself and how I carried myself.

2) there is no excuse for currently acting like a monster. For the first time, someone told me i was a loose cannon and now in this thread you've reestablished that its not a good thing.

I pointed out the child hood stuff because that was what came up when my therapist asked me when was the time i felt defenseless and that was the root of it - but none the less i need to get a grip and behave. I know i can be a hand full when provoked, but i should have alot more self control and patience
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Postby Candid » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:11 am

I'm glad you have a therapist, ced.

The psychologist who diagnosed Complex PTSD in me was a trauma specialist, and I was the only one of her clients who was not ex-military. She told me every one of them had had cruel parenting, as you and I did, and that was the reason they signed up for active duty. It's called repetition compulsion. ... ercome-it/

I don't think you "need to get a grip and behave". That's adding another harsh judgment to all the insults you had to swallow as a boy. Instead I think you need to be kinder and gentler with yourself. You have to be on your own team. ... -yourself/

Happy New Year, my friend.
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Postby ced316 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 9:35 pm

THANK YOU for this ! I love the articles you share and all of the advice provided in this thread will definitely help me overcome some of my rougher edges

I feel like the more information I have the better off I can be - there is no knowledge that is not power!

Thank you again and happy new year my friend
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Postby Mikhail_Drave » Sat Jan 25, 2020 10:04 pm

Richard@DecisionSkills wrote:Start by not letting your past define you.

There is a BIG difference between acknowledging the past and using the past to justify current behaviors.

Don’t misunderstand. I realize that it is very popular to blame past events for today’s behaviors. But it is BS. It is selective memories and selective causes.

Now I am not a clinical psychologist either, but my wife is. Whilst myself I have some fairly unique/rare training and have insights into the human mind,(my own and others) which are uncommon to say the least .... My talents lay in how to damage the human mind. Indeed, I am not an overly playful kitten.

Do you maybe think 'gayness' can be cured by the Bible? Because reading that from you, I am reminded of a quote ....

" When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things: one part of me wants to take her home, be real nice and treat her right; the other part wonders what her head would look like on a stick. " — Edmund Emil "Ed" Kemper III

As for the OP.

One does not redefine them, one cannot say "That no longer annoys/upsets me, because that is not how we work.

If one imagines you are the onion Shrek mentions to Donkey, that is useful. When you were a small onion, a child, you were basically spherical. Rounded. Smooth.

Then things were said and you were attacked .... You rightly took that to heart and you allowed those attacks to start sticking little stones to your surface ... then the next layer went on as you grew. But you were no longer spherical, you had become misshapen The more you grew the more misshapen you have become. So now instead of an onion, you look like a space rock covered in Duct tape.

Here's the thing .... Whatever was done to you physically and/or mentally was not about you, it was not actually personal ..... Rather it was all about them, the aggressors .. They were afraid and scared and when humans are that - They attack to deflect the attention from themselves.

Your mother's life had been, was and if she is alive, still is, I 100% guarantee .... Miserable, horrible, abusive, hopeless and just dehumanising ..... because she reflected that onto you. That is where it came from... not out of the blue. It does not excuse her 1%, but that is 100% why it happened.

So rather than redefining what was actioned against you - Redefine WHY it was actioned against you.

See the weakness of those people. See how miserable their own lives were, how miserable their own childhoods will have been ..... They called you names and that is a fact ... But you took it in a way that made it your fault which it 100% is not ... It was not even 1% about you. It was all about them.

Then look at yourself and be honest .... Are you what they said you were? If not then remove that little stone, if you are then see the positive in it because there always is one.

For example many years ago a very powerful man who I had somewhat upset called me a name which is a vulgar term for a females genital region. It was meant to be abusive but I didn't see it as such ... I was instantly proud, because in my mind I knew he was afraid of me because I was not afraid of him ... which is why he was shouting and waving a tyre iron about.

Realise the weakness in the people who attacked you and the strength in yourself. You can make yourself better, whilst they will always be life's losers.

PM me if you want to.
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Postby mute » Fri May 22, 2020 7:36 am

have you ever encountered a cat that was at any point abused by humans?
even though they are now in a great loving home they still attack humans randomly when you try to pet them and then feel guilty about it right away when they realise there was no danger.
also since you were in the military, im assuming you eat really fast( like most ex military)
consider that bootcamp is only 90 days or so. which was enough time to rewire your brain to eat as fast as you can regardless of how fast you ate before.and It stays with most people for the rest of their life.

I have a question for you.
do you feel confident about your verbal and mental ability to fight back right now?
like if someone to instigate a situation where you would respond physically, could you instead de escalate the situation and win verbal battle?

if you remember yourself as a child in those situations how did you feel about your verbal and mental abilities back then?

the reason I ask is because I had two friends in high school, one was a fighter and responded to provocations by beating someone's donkey, another one was not a talker but was excellent at verbal warfare and could not just deescalate the situation but make his opponent lose interest in trying to fight him for any reason
so when two of them got into it, usually the verbal warfare won .

I forgot the names of the books about negotiations and verbal warfare there were some good ones. maybe someone else can recommend them.
but try to use verbal response instead of physical, keeping in mind of course that you can back it up anytime. which should give you confidence at first to learn less violent response in time
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Postby Prycejosh1987 » Sat Dec 12, 2020 3:37 pm

I think you should let your past go. You have to forgive the people that have called you these names. Do not take them to heart, although i must admit rudeness shouldnt be tolerated. Talk to your parents about how you feel towards them. It will help with closure.
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