Listening Device Planted in my home by ea…..
The C stands for Complex – trigger warning – just in case…
My baby boy was sleeping on his pillow. A car slammed its door…he startled and started to sit up. The sound was so similar that I, too, perked up just to be sure. You see, ea used to come and go for several months after he finally “moved out”. He’d slam the car door, come in the house, slam and throw whatever he wanted in his fit of anger.
Before that, before “moving out” he would hurt the cats, but I wasn’t able to keep them safe as I would have liked. We lived in constant anxiety for four months while he bugged the house, hurt my babies, sabotaged the house, spread malice wherever possible – the covert narcissist/dark triad jerk took out his vengeance in as many ways as possible – but always in ways that could not be proven or linked back to him.
So, during those months where he came and went, I gathered up my babies and locked us all in my room. Imprisoned in order to be safe, we huddled together on the bed, listening to the sounds of his temper tantrums; me hoping he wouldn’t try to burn down the house again and they feeling my anxiety and knowing just as well as I did that he was dangerous. Not once did any of them try to open the door while he was here – that says quite a bit if you ask me. Cats who are used to having the run of the house were very willing to stay confined with me when he was here.
Now, add a childhood full of fear and abuse. Most was revisited via the ea. There’s so much. I still discover new memories coming forth. But, since this post is about complex post traumatic stress disorder, I’ll try to stay on track.
I do have the classic moments of sensory flashbacks. I cannot see where I am or what’s happening at that very moment. Fortunately, they’re short lived. Maybe a few seconds? I think. Not like I can get a stopwatch going when they happen. 😀 But, they are just the occasional visitor. The biggest, which, btw, is not accepted by the manual for mental health as a real thing, is the complex part of the puzzle.
Emotional flashbacks are when you feel something – fear, anxiety, it could be nearly any emotion – but there seems to be no cause for it. So, you stand there reacting to unseen stimuli. And, until you figure out that it’s happening, you are quite likely to go in the wrong direction.
Get “From Surviving to Thriving” by Pete Walker – it does an amazing job of explaining what I can’t. And it also teaches you how to move forward in it.
Once you start to catch what’s happening, then you get to pause and think it thru. Before that, you’re likely doing a fight or flight dance that’s taking you further down the rabbit hole. The only way to start to heal in this arena is self awareness. Otherwise it’s a knee jerk reaction that tends to make matters worse.
It’s not an easy thing. I’ve been living alone without the invasions now for just over a year…just barely over a year. I moved out the remainder of his crap into a storage unit so he’d have no reason to come back in. But, that didn’t stop him from sneaking in. I’ll leave that to some other time, but the realization that he’d been coming in when I wasn’t here caused a pretty severe regression for me. All the attempts to feel safe got thwarted in that one moment of realization. The biggest difference was I had a couple of tools in my belt upon which to draw.
And, now that I’m trying to push my limits a little bit, it’s happening again. I’m trying to make friends (something denied me by the ea). I’m venturing away from the house from time to time (something I dared not do for a good long time lest he get in and do something nasty). I don’t hide what he did any more. I’m not putting it in the newspaper or anything – but if I’m asked, I sure as hell won’t deny what was done.
So, in the process of healing I’m creating more flashbacks. Fortunately, I know it’s part of the process. It’s actually an indication of some healing taking place….sort of like when a wound itches…it’s irritating but it’s a good sign.
So, on this raining day we’re all having our little moments of stress and anxiety; my feline family and I. But I’d rather suffer a thousand flashbacks, emotional and sensory than spend one more second having to deal with the ea. That’s how awful that life was. There’s still plenty of struggles to come. Still lots of wounds unbound. But I am so damned proud of myself for getting to where I am.