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Cptsd and where it all started

Community Member

Cptsd can be a life changer and nothing ever prepares you for when or where your next trigger will hit.


My life is a classic example of this horror day after day and there are some days where I wish that there could be assisted dying to rid me of this pain


My trauma story starts way back... Childhood in a narcissistic enmeshed abusive a psychotic family... My mother and her parents the primary abusers especially my mother... She would stop at nothing to ruin my life, even if it meant contacting people and partners and turning them against me so she could hopefully in her mind gain sick control over my life. She is an enmeshed undiagnosed BPD personality and has constantly tried to derail my life by either trying to bring me down with her constant negative chatter about her work or other aspects of her life in order to gain sympathy from me. When I moved away from home many years ago her end of the day phone calls were relentless. All negative. This didn't even stop when I was going through chemotherapy for lymphoma. She would call me at the hospital to dump on me. When eventually I told the nurses to field all calls. 


You get the picture, she is the root of my cptsd. But there are other factors that followed after she and her toxic family laid down the foundations for my trauma. They say we mirror or attract what our environment was and this was true for me until my late thirties. I am 39 now. 

I had three very abusive partnerships with men who cheated, lied, were physically abusive and financially abusive. After the third I saw a pattern emerging and my realisation was that I was attracting the very personality types that were imprinted on me from my upbringing.


I left the third relationship and haven't had another one since.


Life after covid... Well it was turned upside down and due to this factor I was forced to live with my abusive mother once again. The triggers are relentless.


Anyway that is my story... Thank you for listening.


With love,


7 Replies 7

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi and welcome Dani_85,


Thank you for sharing your story. I relate to it somewhat. My mother had a pattern of parentifying me to get me to take care of her needs, listen to her troubles etc from a very young age. She also had sudden, unpredictable rages as did my father. But both of them had significant early life trauma themselves, which doesn't excuse the behaviour, but it has helped me at least partially make sense of it.


I'm wondering if you are getting some therapeutic counselling support at the moment? It may particularly help to have support if you are currently living back with your mother, though I realise it can be challenging to afford. I moved back in with my mother for the last year of her life when I was 45. I'm now 49. So I had that experience too of going back into some distressing dynamics. At the same time our relationship had healed a lot in recent years but she was deteriorating badly in her mental and physical health in that last year.


I do understand what you mean about the patterns of childhood repeating in later relationships. I've had a great fear of even going into relationships because I think I knew at some level I was going to be at risk of inevitably repeating patterns. I found people frightening too. I seemed to have friends for a long time too where I was their support person and they were very one-sided, actually quite exploitive relationships in many cases and I can see that it was the imprinted pattern that was drilled into me from childhood.


So I really feel for you and I get how it feels all too much at times. I'm so sorry you've been through the lymphoma too and the very person you would hope to be there for you was expecting you to take care of her. I can very much relate to this scenario in terms of my own health issues. If you are not familiar already, Pete Walker has some good stuff on cptsd in his book Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving and I listened to a podcast recently too that I now can't find but there are a few out there with him and others. I am on a journey myself with it and currently seeing a psychologist. I've processed some specific trauma incidents quite well with her but it's the underlying total impact of it, especially the severe fear I had from the very beginning of life, that is especially challenging to shift. It feels like slowly pushing a boulder up a mountain at a snail's pace.


I guess you may be looking at a way to move out from being with your mother again if it is especially toxic, but I realise that may be very hard depending on your financial situation and the current housing and rental crisis. Are you able to find ways of creating your own time and space away from her?


Also, if you are not aware of them already, I have found the Blue Knot Foundation very helpful: blue knot.org.au They specialise in assisting people with complex trauma and they have a counselling service which I have used several times. They focus on safety and stabilisation which has been very helpful for me when I have been in trauma activated states. They will talk to you for up to 40 minutes, sometimes 30 when they are busy. You can call them once a week on the service and their phone line is available 9am to 5pm everyday (eastern states time).

Their number is 1300 657 380 if you ever want to call it.


Sorry, that was a long reply! I just wanted you to know you are not alone and to feel welcome here. Take care and feel free to keep posting if and when it helps.


Very best wishes,

Eagle Ray

Hello and thank you for your kind words Eagle Ray.


My apologies for your situation and trauma also.


I also want to thank you for the helpful information and the links that you have provided in your reply. I will look into the services that you had mentioned.


It sounds like you have been through and are still going through a tough journey yourself. And I want to say that I am proud of you for making it this far with all that you have been and are going through.


My situation is a particularly volatile one as this woman (my mother) is constantly trying to step over my boundaries and denies that what she has done to me in the past and what she is doing to me now is wrong. She throws it back on to me in classic narcissistic and gaslighting fashion. She also a pathological liar which does not help. 


My family dynamic is pretty toxic and when I am able to leave here I will go no contact with her. 


All through my adult life she has been reliant on me for all of her emotional needs (enmeshed parenting) as she refuses to make friends and socialise. 


This has resulted in her contacting my own friends and trying to turn some of them against me so that I will have no one and she thinks that then she will have control over my life and she can keep abusing me. She is vicious and poisonous. 


My childhood was horrific as she had divorced my father and I was then left with her as a sole parent and let me tell you the abuse was of a sick and abnormal nature. Her parents would also abuse me and even call the school to start trouble for me. So if my homelife wasn't already troubled my school life was too.


I left home when I was 17 I just couldn't take it anymore. And ended up in my first abusive relationship at 19. That lasted for eight years until I broke it off and moved to the mainland to get away.


Anyway I could go on and on about the horrific stuff along the way but won't.


Now since I have been back under the same roof as her it has resulted in constant horror. 


I may try to go into temporary housing with a shelter but this will be hard as I have a small pet bird that I love dearly and most shelters don't allow pets. So at the moment I am pretty stuck.


Once again thank you so much for reaching out to me I truly appreciate your time and kind / helpful response.


All the best 



Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Dani,


That’s a really tough situation to be in. It sounds like it’s very much in your best interests to find somewhere else to live but I understand the dilemma with your pet bird and going to a shelter.


I am wondering if contacting 1800RESPECT may be of help as they provide advice and support to people in situations where there is coercive control, gaslighting, abuse etc and may be able to direct you to some alternative accommodation options. Their number is 1800 737 732.


They also have a webchat option and their website is 1800RESPECT.org.au


Their site has information about resources and getting out of difficult situations. You may have looked there already.


 I guess in the meantime it may help to find various ways of separating from being around her for periods of time, whether it’s getting out to a park or a nature location where you can decompress or going somewhere like a library where you can research an escape plan without her being around.


Enmeshed situations can be very toxic and it sounds like she has had enmeshment stuff going on with you your whole life. As extremely difficult as it is in the circumstances you’re in, it may help to try to have as much grounded, centred calmness as you can. The Blue Knot Foundation may be helpful with this. Sometimes when we can ground ourselves sufficiently, destabilised others sense to back off from us a bit, almost like they energetically sense our boundary. This would obviously be a challenge with your mother who is used to walking over your boundaries, but I’m just wondering if things may shift even a little if she starts to feel/sense your boundary. I feel for you so much as I have had boundary issues my whole life and haven’t known how to protect myself from people who transgress my boundaries. I often haven’t even been fully conscious it’s happening until it’s too late. But I am getting a sense of protecting my inner child now that lacked protection in my actual childhood, and I’m wondering if that would help you too - sensing that inner child and protecting her.


 I am proud of you for getting through everything you’ve been through. I imagine you have a lot of resourcefulness from everything you’ve been through. I think children of immature parents with dysfunctional behaviours often have to grow up before their time without the guidance and support a healthy functioning parent would have provided. I know that’s really tough.


 I think keep orienting yourself to freedom. You definitely need that independence from toxic behaviours and a place you can feel safe and begin to heal.


Sending you kindness and much support,

Eagle Ray

Thank you once again for your kind and supportive words Eagle Ray, you wouldn't believe just how much it means to me. 


I reached out to 1800Respect when I first found myself in this situation. Unfortunately most services are at capacity and especially since the housing crisis where there are a lot of people like us needing assistance to leave very difficult and volatile situations. Many people like us are either becoming homeless couch surfing or staying in a bad situation until financially secure enough to leave. I have made sure I have been wisely putting away a little bit of money here and there for an uneventful escape if I need to just get up and go. It is not much at the moment but it is getting there.


My biggest concern is my little guy (pet bird) and finding him a safe place also if and when I leave here, I don't really want to be away from him. And this is an unfortunate dilemma for many going through horrific situations where they have pets but have great difficulty finding a place that will take on both the person seeking help and their pet.


Everyday I am trying to plan a careful and safe exit. And as long as I stick to that I will be able to move on.


You have been through a great deal of pain yourself a Eagle Ray yet your kindness and great heart shine through. I am heartbroken to learn of how your "friends" took advantage of your kindness and hurt you. You had already been hurt by family and then by your circle. That just hits me in the heart.


I have always kept my circle small because I learnt early on and through heartbreak just like yours that not everyone that steps across this path called life is a gentle soul. And unfortunately because of what yourself and I have been through we are a magnet for all the predators, problematic and unstable out there who just want to hitch a ride on someone else's care and good will.


You didn't deserve anything that has happened to you... You deserve respect and kindness. 


The way you have been communicating with me is something that I am truly grateful for as you have taken the time to offer me words of support, services that may be helpful and have shared your own experiences with me as painful as it is for you to revisit. You have done all this because you are a beautiful selfless heart and soul. You deserve nothing but the best in life and to live in a happy situation.


Thank you once again for your time and support






Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

You are welcome Dani.


As I was reading your post I was remembering a recent podcast interview I listened to on Dr Ramani’s Navigating Narcissism channel with the singer Jewel. Jewel grew up with a narcissist mother who left when she was 8 and then her father became abusive. Her and her mother later reconnected and it was after that she discovered her mother was a narcissist who was taking advantage of her (embezzled money). Jewel had left home at 15 and was homeless by 18. She eventually became a successful singer/songwriter but had a tough journey getting there and has had to navigate the impacts of the complex trauma from her childhood. I just thought you may find it interesting and helpful in terms of another who had abusive childhood experiences and a narcissistic mother. The podcast is called How Jewel Survived Abuse and Betrayal. She talks about how she left home at 15 to try to learn a new emotional language because she could see what she’d been brought up in was unhealthy. In recent times she’s established an online support service called Innerworld that provides free, anonymous virtual group sessions in things like meditation, healing from narcissistic abuse, CBT, support for anxiety, depression etc. She wanted to help people who could not afford or access therapy. I haven’t tried it but it looks very interesting. I have always loved her song Hands and the line in it, “In the end, only kindness matters”.


I really hope you can soon find somewhere you can take your little guy with you. Birds and animals are just amazingly healing aren’t they. I’m so glad you’ve got him. I really connect with nature a lot. As a child nature was my place of safety and because I could not feel safe and co-regulate with my parents I co-regulated instead with animals, plants, trees etc, so those things remain my family today and my safety net. I feel nature always holds you and therefore you are never alone.


Thank you for your kind words and I hope you can soon find that safe exit and a path to healing.





Unfortunately it has started up again. Especially when I confronted her in a quiet manner about what she did to me when I was younger and asked for an apology. In typical narcissistic fashion she tried to take the fight out into the backyard and make it sound like I was the problem in front of the neighbours. She even lied and said I was being violent just because I wanted an apology. When all I was trying to do was trying to get closure on what has been triggering me. 


I wanted to know why she told my friends that I was "Dead" when I was in my twenties. This was when I was living with my then partner and she started telling everyone that I was dead. In my mind this is a very sick thing to do. 


I am really suffering with my triggers today and want some peace. The sooner I can leave this place the better. I can't heal when everyday I am confronted with a narcissist that won't own up for what they did.


My apologies for my current state of unease.



Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Dani,


I'm so sorry you just went through that. It is good to debrief here and it may also help to call one of the helplines too. I have found that can help ground me after a disturbing interaction/experience. It can counterbalance the disturbed, irrational energy of someone like your mother.


From what I have read and listened to on narcissism, it generally doesn't go too well confronting them, however quietly and gently you try to do it. I think what is so extremely hard with a parent is you desperately want a genuine connection with them which includes honesty and them showing you some care (what you would expect from a balanced parent).


In late 2018 I was visiting my mother when she went into a rage similar to what you've just described. She had already gone into one of her collapses where she was blaming me for her bad mental state. As she ranted at me I attempted to explain how her behaviour had impacted me in the past, such as holding me responsible for the arthritis in her knees (yes, apparently I'm responsible for that). Despite being calm and non-confrontational towards her in how I expressed this she screamed "What rubbish!" at the top of her lungs. I felt my nervous system just short-circuit at that point and shut down. However, a few days later she actually rang me and said, "Mother's sometime say things that are not that helpful". That's as close as I got to her sort of taking some kind of responsibility for her behaviour.


But I think you can't live in hope, as painful as it is with a parent in particular, that they are going to necessarily grow and become the supportive, understanding person you hope for. Narcissists rarely acknowledge and take responsibility for behaviour they have done that is dishonest, abusive etc. It may actually be more self-protective for you to not confront her to avoid the triggering and distress.


With my mother she would split-off into a whole other person which was a form of dissociation linked to past trauma that seemed to enable her to act out in cruel and disturbed ways, while at other times she was not narcissistic which was extremely confusing. I don't know if you are getting those mixed messages from your mother or if she is just always "on" so to speak with the narcissism, but either way I get that it's very destabilising and difficult to be around.


The unease you feel right now is so understandable. I would say have contact with balanced people wherever possible as that can help co-regulate your nervous system in a healthy way. That's where I've found the Blue Knot Foundation really helpful with their focus on safety and stabilisation. They will very much get how your mother's behaviour would be affecting you and can help bring back some balance and groundedness.


It would definitely obviously help you so much to find an alternative place to live. I guess for now just try to hold your own space and get space away from your mum as much as you can. See if you can hold an inner sense of calm within the storm, knowing that you are a balanced person in all of this. And post here whenever you need to, if you need to debrief, say how you feel etc. We are here for you.


Sending you as much psychic support as I can across cyberspace.

Take care,