My Mazamet

Life at № 42

The mood music for this post is Sabor a Mi, late 60’s.

And then one day, suddenly, it makes sense. It all makes sense.
I’m reading Pete Walker’s Complex Trauma (CPTSD) book. It’s the text I hoped I would one day find. I’ve never given up trying to make some sense of how my mind works – I’ve read and read and then read some more and suddenly there it all is; Neatly laid out in a single book. The thinking patterns, the constant flashbacks many times every day, the reactions. The feelings, the fears, the coping mechanisms. None of it attributed to personality quirks or character defects, or even to the lack of beatings as my father liked to suggest. This boy’s problem is he wasn’t beaten. No, I’m fairly confident that would not have made things better.

Like most of the other cases Walker cites, including his own, I spent years being diagnosed with things and trying to find “solutions” only to end up back in the same place. Treatments and medications have all had their limitations. My ability to deal with the outside world has remained restricted. When I’m outside of my safe zone I enter a hyper-vigilant state. Ready for fight or flight. I experience humans as mostly dangerous. There are few exceptions which are entirely dependant on a feeling I get when I meet people. Ever so rarely I sense safety. Mike is obviously safe. Summer Girls are safe. Tina & Maggie are safe (Montagne Noire Holidays). Mike’s family is safe. Some of Mike’s friends are safe. It’s a fairly short list.

It’s fascinating to see how this developed. And even how un-unique my history is. I’m one more case of a child who grew up in a dysfunctional environment where scapegoating and verbal and emotional abuse were all par for the course. To further complicate matters denial was built into the equation. Calling out the emotional abuse would in itself have been a betrayal of the family dynamic, of the hierarchy, of one’s identity. That would in turn mean the end of that flicker of hope of connection we have. The hope we have, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we were mistaken and it’s all a terrible misunderstanding – or bad dream.

But alas, here I am, understanding things. Preparing myself to confront this narrative, the real narrative. Not the stories I told myself to get through, usually heavily edited affairs with a near Proustian focus on the descriptions of where things transpired. Of floors and sofas and curtains. Of the artwork and the temperature and the wind. Well, that will probably all still be there, because I’m still me, but I’ll also talk about the things I ignored.

It’s hot outside and the garden is lovely. There’s the scent of jasmine in the air which mixes beautifully with the honeysuckle and white wisteria.

 

31 comments on “The mood music for this post is Sabor a Mi, late 60’s.

  1. clubschadenfreude
    July 5, 2020

    “The hope we have, despite all evidence to the contrary, that we were mistaken and it’s all a terrible misunderstanding – or bad dream.”

    So very well put.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 5, 2020

      Doubt, even remote doubt, preserves the ego and maintains a certain sense of safety, doesn’t it? Can their disregard have been so utterly and totally complete? Yes, yes it can 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Steve Ruis
    July 5, 2020

    I think this is wonderful and I am happy for you. I would like to add that, like investments “prior performance doesn’t predict future performance” applies to human beings. You are in a good place right now: good partner, good work, good friends (all around the world I might add), and should you decide to be something else, that is an option. The book is telling you one great message: “You are not alone; you are not unique. There are others like you and their experiences may be helpful,” and … you can just decide to be someone or something else.

    The recipe to such a transformation is to know how/what you want to be and then start behaving that way. If it fits with your subconscious ideas of who you are, you will soon become the person for whom that behavior is natural.

    This is exciting (and can be frightening)!

    Bon courage!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 5, 2020

      Thank you, Steve. It is wonderful because without this step moving forward was just not possible. I needed some sort of map, evidence, something to point to and say A-HA, that makes sense now. I don’t know how much one’s mind can transform at this point, but it’s good to have a starting point.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. boyslikeme
    July 5, 2020

    Great post, and struck a chord instantly – I found Pete Walker three years ago, I call him “my friend Pete”! Both the book you mention and his other book “The Tao of Fully Feeling” have changed my life completely.

    A lifetime of misdiagnoses here also, such a relief to find it all put so perfectly by someone who has lived through it and can explain it so clearly. I wish you all the best of luck on your journey with CPTSD, I have seen progress in my own life that I never dreamed possible – I hope the same is true for you, keep us posted please!

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 5, 2020

      It’s been ages, I hope you’re doing well! So I gather you’re suggesting I should get his other book too?

      Like

      • boyslikeme
        July 5, 2020

        It has been a while! Hope you’re well too! I’ve been lurking whilst stitching myself back together and writing my first actual book..slowly but surely!

        I think that the CPTSD book is all you need for now, the other is for when the emotional flashbacks and regressions are more in control I think, when the origins are clear, but I would definitely recommend it once you feel you are ready to move on to relationship work, letting-go etc, to whatever extent possible. I’ll be referring to them both for some years for sure! So pleased you found it, I can’t think of any better book for self-help in all my years of soul/heart/mind searching!

        Liked by 2 people

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 5, 2020

        I see fairy-lights at the end of the tunnel, so that’s something 😀

        Like

  4. inspiredbythedivine1
    July 5, 2020

    Never heard of Pete Walker, but after I write this reply, I’m off to Amazon to look up and order this book. I identify with pretty much all you’ve written about in this post.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Anonymole
    July 5, 2020

    Always lovely in (your) Mazamet in the summer.

    Wishing I was there… (Invited or not 😉

    –While in abuse, to call out the abuser means to risk any connection at all.–
    Quite the bombshell that. To transcend that singular assumption, I would think, might help millions. It’s not that easy, I realize, but the transference of fault to the abuser must certainly be the key.

    Liked by 2 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 5, 2020

      Family dynamics complicate everything. We’re conditioned to believe the people who know best, who want the best for us, are our family. The very questioning if that is a break with social norms. Respect your elders, honour thy parents and so on and so forth.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. makagutu
    July 5, 2020

    Lovely place, Pink

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Helen Devries
    July 5, 2020

    Very pleased that you have found a key to the construction of the real narrative, though that’s not going to be an easy process….but you have love, life and beauty all around you, so you’ll get there.
    My mother took her disappointment in life out on me, my father did little to protect me but I was lucky enough not to acquiesce in the view that family was there to help as it clearly did not. Did not make me very happy when young, but cut out the complications.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 5, 2020

      In a practical sense, how did you manage? Do you feel scarred from it? I remember you talking about your mother around brexit time, so you’ve maintained the relationship to some degree – why?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Helen Devries
        July 6, 2020

        When young, I put on my armour…practiced apparent indifference so often it became habitual,

        It came in helpful later when starting out in a profession where women were not welcome unless they were backed by more money than I had behind me.

        My father loved music,from leider to music hall and also encouraged me to study…I spent a great deal of time out of the house, in libraries, galleries, concert halls and museums… a refuge and a source of lifelong pleasure.

        I maintained the relationship because I felt it to be my duty…’Duty, stern daughter of the voice of God’. Our prejudices did not coincide, but she had no one else to fight her corner once my father died, whatever that corner might have been.

        And how did I doff the armour? Well,as Chaucer’s Prioress proclaims ‘Amor vincit omnia’ and I met a man from an even more dysfunctional family who had come to the conclusion that the best thing was to think ‘sod the lot of them.’ And did so.

        Liked by 3 people

  8. acflory
    July 6, 2020

    I’m glad you’ve got your safe place and safe people, Pinky. In time, I hope you can let more of the world in, because you’re strong enough to spit in its eye if necessary. After Covid, of course. -hugs-

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 6, 2020

      Most of my life was lived in “unsafe” environments. That exhausted me to the point where a place like Mazamet became a necessity. The move was the moment when I’d had enough of going through the motions of imposed social interactions and allowed myself to stop playing the character who did the whole social thing as a way of life 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • acflory
        July 7, 2020

        In hindsight I can see how Sotogrande would have been a kind of enforced social network. You’ve been so much happier at Mazamet. It was obvious just from your writing. You’re becoming the person you were always meant to be. -hugs-

        Liked by 1 person

      • The Pink Agendist
        July 7, 2020

        Yes, coming to Mazamet was taking control of the narrative. We decided to live as we want to live. Only invite into our lives the people we actually like, not the ones we know by accident of geography. Interestingly, it’s been over 5 years we’re here and we’ve only really kept in contact with a couple of people from those days, two ladies, both dog aficionados like us 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • acflory
        July 8, 2020

        lol – I’m not surprised. I’ve always felt that the word ‘friend’ was greatly over used. To me, friends are those we care about even when the accident of geography or work or play or..or…is no longer part of the equation.
        I don’t have many real life friends but the ones I do have date back for decades. Maybe that’s just me being introverted and anti social but… -shrug-
        Mazamet has been good for you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Clare Flourish
    July 7, 2020

    Congratulations. This may be liberating. I hope you can ease your way into a greater sense of safety from here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 7, 2020

      I’m not sure how it all works going forward but I’m happy I can at least understand where I am and how I got here 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Nice blog

    Like

    • The Pink Agendist
      July 11, 2020

      Are you trying out a form of trackback spam where you pretend to like tons of blogs and posts so people follow you back?

      Like

  11. Judi Castille
    September 11, 2020

    You have a lawn. Envy. Ours is browning nicely in the sun. Vigilant. Me too. Very cautious about socializing. Can be let down. Can be hurt badly. Disappointment a lot also. Childhood contributed to. It was rubbish. It caused a lot of mental issues. But I made changes my parents hated and it solved my problems. I basically took them out of my life.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The Pink Agendist
      September 11, 2020

      And are there no residual issues? I removed my family from my life too, but the damage is ever present.

      Like

      • Judi Castille
        September 12, 2020

        Sadly in my case it was death that finally solved the growing dislike. Dad died in 2009 and I got on ok with him but not my mother. Up to 2018 the relationship was sparse and one of avoidance but the last two years she became a monster. I have no regrets saying that. I dud my duty and nursed her for six months as she had cancer but wrongly or in my case I felt rightly, I did manage to say how hurt I had been and that she wasn’t forgiven. It was an unpleasant time but cathartic for me. As an only child with no other family, the day she died I felt freedom. It took me a year to deal with the anger. Now I just realize both my parents had huge shortcomings, made bad decisions in life and were rather pathetic. Their bigotted views were simply a mirror of who they were actually criticizing…themselves. I agree yes there is residual pain but I feel it less each year as I make positive changes in my life. They are gone and I am doing things they wanted to do but failed to do. It was all talk but no action. And who are they anyway. Just parents who messed up. They shouldn’t have but they did. Their problem. Not mine. I could be really blunt about them but here is not the place but family have a lot to answer for and they should really know better. Plus I can’t change the past. It could have been so wonderful. It could have been precious. But sadly not. I need to make life great from now. It’s an interesting subject. You will resolve it.

        Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on July 5, 2020 by in thinking aloud and tagged , , , , , .
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