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Relying on Pain

Community Member

Just to be clear I don't intend to leave the planet any time soon and I'm confident that I will stay that way.


I am what happens when someone completely and utterly gives up, but stays. I was pushed past the limit nearly a decade ago. I've never attempted to shuffle off this mortal coil, but it's not because I wanted to stay. I don't believe in an afterlife. I know that the time here is all I have, and I'll have it all, but everything hurts. Plus, when I feel like the world wants me gone, staying is how I spite the world.


I had depression for 8 years. I'm 24. My mum, brother and sister physically attacked me, constantly, until my early teenage years. I was the youngest sibling. The violence only stopped when I grew big enough that attacking me was now dangerous if I chose to retaliate. And I could write a novel on the psychological damage they inflicted on me.


I've been alone for most of my life. Fun fact, no matter how strong the friendship, EVERYONE you know is capable of flipping a switch in their head and immediately seeing you as the lowest form of scum. Even when they ADMIT the other person is the problem, their actions treat you as the problem. Unless you've seen someone make a VERY difficult choice, then I promise you, you don't know them. Not even slightly. They are a complete stranger to you. Don't believe me? That's fine. You'll learn the same way I did. Give it time.


Due to the above and more, I am dead inside. The only way to stop the agony is to force myself to feel nothing (mostly works). It made the depression stop, but it killed almost everything I am emotionally. And the effort of holding down whatever's left just makes me extremely stressed all the time. Through sheer will I have enough control these days to usually prevent panic attacks, but dizzy spells are becoming more common at work. And when I can't hold it down, I self harm. Punishing myself makes things make sense. Surely I wouldn't have been hurt so many times by so many different people unless I deserved it... right? Rationally I know that's not true. But that lie dulls the pain inside when it's too much.


Hope is a poison and I will never trust anyone. Never again. So what do I have when my love and hope are dead? Pain. The only thing strong enough to give me the will to live (and not just stop eating) and the will to understand this world, is pain. I hate it, but it's true.


Surely someone else who knows what this feels like? Or am I truly alone?

2 Replies 2

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Bubble44,


I do relate to some of what you describe. I was physically and verbally attacked by parents from my earliest memories and felt continuously unsafe. I understand that imprinting where it feels impossible to trust anyone, and I have felt that. I think growing up as you did it is really understandable to feel that way. 


I am somewhat older than you at 49 and over the years I have found a person, here and there, that I have some level of trust with. Even with the seemingly safest people though I can fear they will suddenly and unpredictably turn as I experienced in childhood. That is the Complex PTSD I am diagnosed with.


However, while it can be hard to find those people who feel safe, I have learned that they do exist (even though I may second guess myself because of my trauma issues). What I have also learned is that early developmental trauma, or complex trauma as it's often called, is relational trauma. Therefore, healing has to occur relationally.


Trying to find a path to relational healing has been challenging for me and I've hit many roadblocks along the way. However, I did finally get to see a good psychologist when I was at uni through the uni counselling service from 2018. She was the first counsellor who was actually attuned and present with me, and I was so close to permanently giving up ever trying to get support again before I saw her. I could no longer see that psych once no longer enrolled, but in 2022 I found another psychologist who is kind, present and compassionate. So I have managed to make some progress with her also. I am finally making some headway with the CPTSD being formally diagnosed and although I have a significant way to go, several positive things are at least starting to happen. The part of me that is cruel to myself (because it was what I understood by the way I was treated in the past) is getting quieter and a kinder, self-caring inner voice is emerging. I have also undertaken some courses related to complex trauma with some incredibly kind people who could actually see me and meet me where I'm at.


So little by little, even though my past fears definitely still rear up, there is some kind of hope there. When you say hope is a poison, I get that. I've got to points where I think I have tried my guts out so many times and encountered so many abusers, bullies etc, that it really starts to feel like there's no way out and I too have felt like I'm internally dying and my system is giving up. But I've also learned that internal giving up is actually how my body is trying to protect me at some level. That has kind of reframed it for me, and gradually now I am at least some of the time finding ways to nurture myself. But we need to experience some level of compassionate witnessing of our experiences by others and have some kind of relational connectivity to begin to heal. That healing is possible, but I understand how incredibly difficult the journey is.


One thing to your advantage is that you are still young and there is much better understanding now about complex trauma and how it affects us in adulthood. I can recommend The Blue Knot Foundation for info and their support line 1300 657 380 (9am-5pm daily eastern states time) as possibly a starting point for assistance. Even just telling them your story and how you currently feel may help. Pete Walker's book Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving and his website have some practical help too. He lived through verbal and physical violence as a child so he gets it.


So basically I want to say you are not alone and knowing that is important. Take care and happy to chat if you want to,


Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Bubble44


While most of us tend to be raised to automatically 'trust' and 'respect' adults or people in general, I believe trust and respect are earned over time. Even then it's a matter of how much to trust and/or respect someone, at what level we put someone on, based on our experience and based upon their nature. In some cases, it can be decades before we can finally meet with someone we can fully trust and respect or almost fully.


When put to the test, people can either fail us or they can choose to raise their consciousness and raise us in a number of ways. As a 53yo gal, I've learned what certain tests can look and feel like for myself and others. I've questioned often why people can't or won't rise to a challenge, why they feel the need to step away or react in such emotionally challenging ways. I've found a lot of the time it can come down to human nature and a lack of skill development. How can I or someone else exercise patience if no skills in patience have been developed? How can compassion, an open minded search for greater consciousness, an unselfish form of love, the desire to raise someone out of anxiety or depression etc etc be experienced or expressed if no skills in such things have been seriously developed over time? Then you can meet people who have worked so hard for years on developing such skills. They may be the only people who have worked as hard as you. And it's almost like you never knew such people existed and it comes as an enormous relief and even with some degree of excitement. Meeting with the kinds of people you've always needed in your life can feel so strange or foreign, bringing about a whole new set of feelings. On the other hand, 'fair weather friends' are only there for the non stormy times in our life, the moments where they prefer the feel of our sunny nature. Once the clouds come, such friends leave in search of the sun.


I can understand how feeling pain at times can seem better than feeling nothing at all (aka a soul destroying sense of numbness). I can understand how truly dark inner dialogue can get, with some harsh and brutal depressing inner critic (aka 'inner demon') dictating through lies 'You are worthless and you deserve to feel the pain you're feeling'. And I can relate to how it feels when there is no one around to stop or interrupt the kind of dialogue that can at times take us to that place known as 'rock bottom' in depression. It can feel so dark down there and so lonely. And with that light at the top of the tunnel, at times hope can only be felt through the people who raise us to have that light appear expansive to the point where we know we're just about out. While that light remains a pinprick, if that, hope cannot be felt.


Life would be so much easier if the kinds of people who'd raise us in mind blowing ways just showed up at our door when we needed them (people who'd blow our mind wide open in order for us to take in what we don't yet know about our self and life). Unfortunately, we can be left with the challenge of searching for them. The reason I know such people exist is because I've met with some of them. Before I met them, I had no idea there were people like that in the world. They can be so hard to find. As I say, it can take years. In the meantime, we can meet with the kinds of people who can close our mind and heart off to possibility. And that is something that can be deeply felt in a number of ways. We can be feeling all the wrong people in our life.