PTSD Awareness Month 2017 Pt 2: “Through The Looking Glass”

A guest writer series about the ways we heal-on bettysbattleground.com

June is PTSD awareness month and this is the second half of a two part special about the complex truth of life after trauma. If you missed part one, please take a moment to read it first. This guest post by writer Genelle Chaconas examines the vast complexity of life after trauma, including the facts that not everyone with PTSD symptoms necessarily gets a PTSD diagnosis or clinical treatment, that those with PTSD can sometimes be abusive, that blame is a nebulous and overwhelming component of traumatic experience, and that healing can found in unique and unconventional formats. Part 1, “Down The Rabbit Holes,” was under the “Tales From The Other Side” header, because it focused on the effects of one man’s mental illness on his child. Part 2 is under “Healing Words,” and you will have to read it to see why.

I don’t want to take over Genelle’s post or introduction. I think this half is perhaps even more beautiful that the first with its candor and lyricism; however, I want to address one thing from my own life. A sneak peak into Wednesday’s upcoming post, I suppose. I am going through an emotionally trying time for a variety of reasons. I asked for support via inclusion in week 4 of my blog-share, “TRIGGERED.” Some people have joined now (and it’s still open if you would like to), a couple did notably respond, but for several days my request for support was widely ignored.

I’m not talking about the people who just didn’t see it. I’m not talking about anyone who said no. The people who hurt me are the ones who saw my request for support, or at least an invitation to join, and maybe “liked” it on social media, or re-shared it, but didn’t add anything and didn’t say anything. The people who hurt me are the ones who let me know they saw my request, but didn’t actually address it. Being ignored is one of my triggers. When people ignore me, I instantly revert to the “I’m worthless” line of thinking. I get hurt by rejection; I get hurt by being told no. But I get triggered by being ignored. Maybe the people who ignored me didn’t want to hurt me. Maybe they just have problems saying no, or something. But they did; I got immensely triggered, which was of course compounded by the fact that I was asking for a self esteem boost because I needed it. So I just wanted to say that. I get triggered by being ignored. If you need to decline an invitation or a request from me, please do so directly. I would far rather face the reasonable hurt of rejection than the unreasonable and unanswerable hurt of being ignored. I can control many of my trigger reactions now, but this one, this one I cannot. If I ask you or invite you do to something, and you just totally ignore me, I will flip out and turn that anger inward in a really harmful way. So if you care about me on even the most basic level, please just have the basic respect to respond.

Okay! Glad to get that off my chest. Now, let’s continue with Genelle’s incredible story of abuse and recovery.

Genelle Chaconas guest writes about life after trauma on bettysbattleground.comGenelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, over 30, underemployed, an abuse survivor, and proud of it. They earned their BA in Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento (2009), and their MFA in Writing and Poetics, graduate of Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), and they are currently at work on a new chapbook. Their work has been accepted in over 50 publications. They are currently at work on their first full length work. They are a volunteer submission reader at Tule review, and they hosted Red Night Poetry. They plan to run their own literary publication in the future.

Part 2 of the Genelle Chaconas' guest post about PTSD on bettysbattleground.com

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PTSD Awareness Month 2017: “Down The Rabbit Holes”

Tales from the Other Side: A guest post series on www.bettysbattleground.com

June is PTSD Awareness Month

I have been sharing a lot of stories about PTSD this month on my blog. I shared a couple posts about my abusive relationship; one on forgiveness, and the other on what it was like to date a sociopath. This month’s Parenting with Mental Illness interviewee is a mother living with PTSD from years of complex abuse. And the current “Book of the Weeks” is a memoir written by Rebecca Lombardo, who lives with PTSD and BPAD. If you haven’t read that post yet, it includes an exclusive author interview, so check it out!

Today, I will be sharing a very special piece for PTSD Awareness Month. This is the two part story of one person’s struggle to escape, cope. and come to terms with childhood emotional abuse. In this piece, they clearly state that their diagnosis is depression; they’ve never been diagnosed with PTSD. I think it’s important to highlight the fact that all of our statistics and various numerations and labels can never fully encompass all of the people who live in the aftermath of trauma, or who deal with PTSD symptoms.

Emotional abuse doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. It can come in the form of emotional neglect, verbal abuse, gaslighting, manipulation, cloaked insults, outright insults, financial or other control, and aggressive unfounded accusations. Basically, there are a lot of ways to emotionally abuse someone without ever laying a hand on them. Because emotional abuse is often intangible, it can be hard to recognize. Many times, people relegate it as “less important” than outright physical abuse. As we will see in this account, however, emotional abuse often escalates into physical abuse. Even if it doesn’t, the damage is still enormous. Sometimes moreso than physical abuse because survivors are less likely to get the attention and support they deserve

Genelle’s essay also grapples with the phenomenon of abused abusers, and the ways that certain types of people can manipulate their own victimization into an excuse. This is how the piece fits into the “Tales From the Other Side” narrative; it’s the true story about how one father’s mental illness affects his child. It is easy to say trauma survivors deserve uniform compassion; it would be simpler to only talk about sympathetic victims. But we need to honestly address the complexity of trauma, and the various ways it factors into our world. Genelle’s essay does just that, and that is why I have chosen to present it as part of a PTSD Awareness special. This is a two part series, so hang on for the ride; it’s well worth it.

 

Genelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, over 30, underemployed, an abuse survivor, and proud of it. They earned their BA in Creative Writing from California State University Sacramento (2009), and their MFA in Writing and Poetics, graduate of Naropa University (2015). Their first chapbook is Fallout, Saints and Dirty Pictures (little m Press, 2011), and they are currently at work on a new chapbook. Their work has been accepted in over 50 publications. They are currently at work on their first full length work. They are a volunteer submission reader at Tule review, and they hosted Red Night Poetry. They plan to run their own literary publication in the future.

Read about Genelle's experience with paternal abuse on bettysbattleground.com

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The S/O Challenge: Ten Things I LOVE About You

Strengthen your relationship by joining the S/O Challenge on www.bettysbattleground.com

I don’t usually post on Sundays.

But I’m making a special exception today.

My husband has been feeling down lately. Overworked, exhausted, and missing his family because he works evenings now and doesn’t get to see us much.

I have been feeling down too. Upset by the loss of a friend who callously mismanaged (yet another) creative project of mine. Triggered by a detailed interview with Family Court Services….if you don’t have PTSD you don’t understand how bad that is…but…it’s bad.

And as anyone who is married knows, when both partners are suffering emotionally, the relationships suffers too.

We have been bouncing between bickering, giving each other the silent treatment, and kissing half-heartedly just try try to keep things going. On top of everything, my mother in law is visiting. She’s been helping us…a LOT…with cleaning our apartment. I’m super grateful, BUT it does mean we haven’t had much time alone to talk or rekindle our relationship or anything.

But we’re married. We live together. We have kids together. We really can’t afford to be super dysfunctional. So I have decided to challenge myself, and I invite you to join along with me. It’s simple, here’s how you do it: Save this page. Pin it, bookmark it; whatever your favorite method of saving pages is, do it. Now go about your life. Next time you and your S/O get in a fight, or even the next time you just get annoyed with him (or her, or them), open up this page! Re-read my ten for inspiration, then grab my badge and create your own post. Seriously. You’re in this for the long haul, right? What better to help get over an annoyance with your significant other than to remind yourself ten whole reasons WHY you started on this crazy journey with them in the first place. *deep breath* Here goes.

Ten Things I Love About My Husband…

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