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Old 25-07-2018, 07:45 PM   #1
[Luna]'s Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2011
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PTSD and lashing out

I really need some ideas and advice.

Sometimes when I get really upset, especially if I'm having an argument with my wife. It's like something is triggered in my brain where I feel like I need to run or get away. I start trying to get away but if someone stops me, if they are worried about my safety/worried I'm going to hurt myself or put myself in dangerous situation or if I feel trapped/backed into a corner in anyway then I start to lash out. I honestly don't feel in control anymore, it like someone else has taken over my body and I'm just watching. I start pushing them or hitting, biting, scratching them (especially if they are trying to restrain me) because I NEED to get away like it's a matter of life or death. When I calm down I feel so ****ing ashamed and guilty. I hate that I've acted like that and that I've hurt people I care about.

I want to change. I don't want to hurt anyone but I don't know what to do.
Does anyone have any ideas or has anyone felt similar?

Am I just an evil person?
I'll understand if you guys hate me after reading this x

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Old 25-07-2018, 07:56 PM   #2
The Shadow of the Day
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Scotland

I don't think you're an evil person at all. You're reacting to what you perceive to be a threatening situation. Is there a way that you can plan with people what to say to you when they are worried instead of restraining you or making you feel trapped? If people know what triggers you and you can work out some alternative strategies that could be useful. Have you ever worked through this stuff with a therapist?

I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much.

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Old 01-08-2018, 05:50 AM   #3
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Join Date: Sep 2007
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You're definitely not evil.

As a teenager I went through a time when I reacted overly aggressive to the slightest annoyance/upset. I scratched people to the point where their whole back/neck was bleeding. I banged someone's head between the door and door frame.

I never looked into it, but my theory is that it's a sort of flight instinct that is triggered by being in situation that is hard to bear emotionally speaking. I had issues even with the slightest transgression of what I considered my personal boundaries. E.g. entering my room when I wanted to be alone, throwing me into the pool as a joke when I had said I didn't find it funny and didn't want that to happen, anything else that I said or wanted to say no to that was completely ignored. I personally feel like this strong and sometimes violent reaction is a form of overcompensation; for me, it feels like I am unintentionally trying to make up for when my personal boundaries where transgressed in a way that left me broken and I didn't say no. So, my hypothesis is that my brain is feeling guilt for not saying no/fighting back physically because it feels like that situation could have been avoided if I had (which is BS). Like, trying not to let anyone cross boundaries by reacting strongly when they get anywhere near them.

Additionally, you mention feeling trapped. Again, especially as you yourself connect the behavior with your PTSD, I speculate that it is related to having found yourself in a situation before when you felt trapped and couldn't escape. So, if you reach a certain level of distress it triggers emotional reactions similar to those you felt before and your brain isn't able to make a distinction between "I am seriously distressed because I am being actively violated and abused and forced into things and I want to escape the situation" and "I am seriously distressed because this is an emotionally challenging argument that I really would rather not have and I want to escape the situation". So whenever you go over a certain threshold of distress your brain will always react like it's the first in order to attempt to avoid further hurt/trauma.

Hopefully, I am making any sense whatsoever. I can only speak for myself and my experience as well as what I feel is happening for me in such a situation.

Maybe it is possible for you and your wife to identify any early warning signs, if you are aware of when you are likely to feel that way you might be able to prevent it by using counter measures early.
I know you do not feel in control in that situation, but would it be possible at all for you to agree on a place in your flat you could go to when you feel trapped. Just a different room, where you might feel a bit safer/less threatened. Including a rule that means that no one can enter that room without your permission, so that you are more in control.

Another possibility would be to come up with some sort of signal to indicate that you are feeling trapped. Like, when you have even the slightest thought of running away, before it builds up to full panic mode, you could instantly use i.e. a gesture, a key word, anything that you can think of really. That way your wife (or other people) know you are not able to continue and potentially could just leave the room for a few minutes, or give you a hug, or bring you anything that might help like something to drink, medication, your favorite stuffed animal etc.

I think with your history of abuse it is a sort of natural reaction, a defense mechanism that you developed because not being able to defend yourself in a different situation caused you so much permanent pain. Especially as it can be hard/close to impossible to communicate verbally when you feel that degree of stress/threat/panic.

By now, for me, it shifted to verbal aggression and believe me when I say that I caused people close to me an incredible amount of pain that way and sometimes still am. I can relate to the guilt and shame. It doesn't make you a bad person. It doesn't say anything about you other that you've been hurt so badly that you want to avoid being hurt that badly again at all costs.

Humility over, I am amazing.

Fight for your dreams and your dreams will fight for you.

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