What I’ve Wished Someone Would Tell My Mother

Well, I’m dissociated, or am emotionally frozen, to be specific.  If someone saying this would help me un-dissociate, I’d be much obliged.  I need to un-freeze, and if you know of  no better strategy to do so, so if you’re gonna criticize, please know my motives–and provide an alternative.

Sally, your son is right. No, his attitude isn’t perfect, but his intent is correct. *He believes you to be, well, a liar, hypocrite, and a white-washed wall. If so, then he has reason to distrust–not just be angry. *He wants you to respect him, as opposed to love him–as he sees it, “love” means unending condescension–and rudeness. *Right or wrong, he believes he has the prerogative–and duty–to hold you accountable–both now, and in the future, and you’ve wrongly refused to acknowledge this. You claim he’s vengefully emotional, yet he says every time he’s tried to reduce this into a syllogism of logic, you’ve balked. *He once went to a husband-and-wife team, laid out his frustrations, was direct, and sought their support, but they balked, too; he offered that they resolve their differences via a theologian’s ruling, but they balked at that, also. He’s gone to pastors, who have acknowledged his logical claims, and complimented his intelligence–but utterly failed to acknowledge his visceral claim to authority which works fine for them on paper. *He demands your respect, on this, because he can, and because he also wants to you to show him the respect he’s due, just as he’s given you, yours. *You were head of household, and *parent, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t due any respect. *When the Scripture says we should submit to each other, it means it–no exceptions, no special*privileges. *He knows *that you admire Stonewall Jackson’s orders that his men shoot first and ask questions later; well, as you measure, so shall it be measured unto you–he’s simply holding you to the standard you created for yourself. Sally, at the present time, for him to “forgive” you is to validate your sin, because sans recognition or respect for the things he’s fought for, it would be wrong–wrong towards you, and himself. You may never acknowledge the reasons he’s mad at you are right, but he cares about his integrity and honor, and seeks respect for that, if nothing else; as such, I bestow that on him. Sally, to make orders you do not enforce, is wrong; as as much as he sought to hold you accountable, as much as he genuinely did so out of conviction, power to that. *As much as you were an unGodly hypocrite, power to him for caring–and shame on you–for resisting. No he’s in no way perfect, Sally, but all the same in spite of how he expresses it, you still have a very loving son, even he’s a bit angry with you, right now. 


Explaining Myself…So I Need Not Do It Over & Over (Shrink Spiel)

This Blog will Be a repository of all my knowledge, and understanding, to which I can refer to folks, so that I need not repeatedly explain myself, to shrinks and others.  I’m currently trying to unthaw my emotions, a key symptom of trauma, and dissociation.

The following, is my current  shrink  spiel:

Hello; my name is Philip Carpenter, unemployed, thirty-eight years young, possessor of only Medicare/Medicaid for insurance, and I have Adult Developmental/Attachment Trauma symptoms, in the Connection Survival Style or, alternatively, Preoccupied Attachment.   I want to do things, but in the past, I’ve been kicked off three college campuses, two job centers, and just floated through life in fear of panic attacks, and chronic fatigue.

Ideally, I want a NARM-esque, or “somatic-experiencing practitioner” of psychotherapy within the Puget Sound Region, but I’ve not found much, so far, and believe me, I’ve been looking–in the future, I really need to document all the deadends, just to make it easier on the folks like you I call on.  I’ve been in therapy for eleven years, but it was only in the last four, five months I even learned I was coping with trauma.  NARM’s model explains me best, though.

Dealing With Preoccupied (or Anxious) Attachment Trauma

As it says, here:

While many, trapped in anxiety, function excessively in the presence of others (which can be perceived by others as demanding), when alone they may find tasks difficult to complete. Sometimes, in the absence of constant reassurance, they find their motivation dissolved. They may recognize an absence of perceived selfhood when not in the presence of another.

That’s me. I’m currently devoting all my energies to get clinical help, but little on my other goals, given my motivation just tends to wither whenever I focus on fining a job, or something mundane, like that. I actually fear going to a job center, given I fear I’ll just meltdown under stress, and make a scene. I don’t need someone looking over my shoulder, but I do need to know someone is actively helping me, and that moves me to action. As is, most of the time, I think of taking action, and I just get weary.


In moments of interpersonal conflict, many of us switch to younger states. We disconnect from present-day resources, reacting not to partners but to parents. Even with adult partners, we return to perceptions, expectations, and strategies learned at an early age. We become the child in the empty room, feeling ourselves empty until it fills once again. Or we become the child playing in our room, safe, away from the needs or threats of others throughout the house, hoping no one comes to the door.

That’s me.

Yes. I know that my type is liable to strangle those helping me from drowning, but how to get enough help, for one on welfare, and from where? Most of all, I can’t find, or maintain–a routine, and the biggest reason for that lies in the following section:

Curing Emotional Numbness

Still more to the point, and the biggest problem I face, is a trauma symptom of various names, of which I wish had a book focusing on it, especially.  It’s been dubbed apathy, anhehonia, alexithymia, being emotionally numb, emotionally frozen, “flatlining”–dissociated, learned helplessness, and, I’m sure, more.   I just feel zero drive, or passion, but whatever you call it, I’ve never found a whole book on it; mostly, though, I feel unable to express any boundaries, or have them respected.

Look.  I’m trying to find a counselor helping me with this in line with this bookHealing Developmental Trauma by Laurence Heller, progenito of the NARM style of therapy; of particular importance is Chapter 8, on page 125:  Understanding the Connection Survival Style.  In it, it discusses my trauma tendencies, and also their antidotes, but in particular, it brings up dissociation.  I got so back in 2006-2007, in the cycle described, on pg 131–I sensed threat, had a “high arousal,” a “thwarted fight response,” dissociation, emotional numbing, a lot of acting in-out of aggression, and finally, “diminished aliveness.”

My exact experience is a little atypical, given the shutdown was in my twenties, not as a child, but adult experience of the Connection Survival Style is explained well on page 140.  I want to get better, and here I’m showing my research, as well as a roadmap; shutdown’s not fun, but as this video shows, there is method to dealing with repressed anger, as it starts discussing, around the fifty-minute mark.

All my anger, and frustration, is bound up, basically, in relational difficulties, and that needs to be sorted out, which the book points out, in pages 150-151.  In page 151, there’s a box entitled The Distortions of Healthy Aggression.  Unmet core needs lead to frustration, leading to protest, followed by anger, which in turn becomes “overwhelming,”  leading it to be either acted in or out.

Unlike most adults with the Connection Style, I know I’m angry, and not just a little but very.  Healing for this comes in the form of channeling this anger into “healthy aggression,” which I’m trying to work on, though with little moral or therapeutic help, doing so.

Forgiveness, in context, is rude, because it isn’t an expression of aggression; it will only augment dissociation, do you see?   Any therapist of mine must be prepared to focus primarily on unblocking my feelings, especially my anger, and on that, I won’t swerve.

So, how to go forward?
I am willing to pay outta my own pocket, but a reduced rate is the best I can currently manage. Especially, given I’ve no NARMer near me, I’d like to correspond with one of them, be it via phone, email, or Skype. I need an expert that knows how to help reassociate me with my own emotions, and can particularly honor, and respect–aggression.
Notes on Healing Developmental Trauma by Laurence Heller
Page3 :  Core capacities (5)
Page 6:  Emotional dysregulation.
Page 11:  Survivor style und. authority.
Page 12 :  Integrating aggression.
Page 23-24:  Effect. coping with strong emotions.
Page 108:  Depr. & opioids.
Page 118,  par. 4:  Not one event–misattunement.
Page 120-121:  Effects of chr. thr.
Page 128, 130:  Forgotten traumas.
Page 131:  Stages of dissociation.
Page 140 par. 3, final sent.:  Narrow lives.
Page 141 par. 1: Theme relief.
Page 150:  Split-off aggression.
Page 151:  Dist. aggression; healthy aggression.
Page 157: Signs
Page 192:  Int. & ext. resources.
Page 118: Completing fight-flight.
Page 224: Last sentence…?
Page 333:  Feral.
Page 284:  Integrating rage.
List of Reading Articles

Apathy Poster

Enmeshment symptoms


Healing Frozen Feelings


Attachment Trauma:  What Works


Healing Attachment Wounds


Laurence Heller’s Survival Styles


Overcoming Emotional Numbness


Ten Tips For Understanding PTSD


6 Steps to Help Heal Your Inner Child


Is Your Inner Child Angry?


Seven Steps to Heal Your Inner Child


Cannot Walk Away From Bad Relationships

Trauma Impact on Attachment


Understanding Anxious Attachment


Escaping Anxious Attachment


Hiring a Therapist


Understanding Anxious Attachment


John Bradhsaw & Inner Child Work


Understanding Preoccuped Attachment



What Is Your Attachment Style?


Trauma In Attachment Relationships

Jeb Kinnison: Anxious/Preoccupied

Type: Anxious-Preoccupied

Dissociation Isn’t a Life Skill


6 Steps You Can Take To Start Healing From Trauma Right Now


Herman’s Stages of Recovery


Learned Helplessness: You’re Not Trapped


The 10 Essential Emotional Needs


Understanding Child Parts in the Dissociative System


Needs, Wants & Desires:  Taking Responsibility for Our Feelings


Unmet Emotional Needs


Quora: How Do I Overcome My Ineriority Complex?


Shame Tree Poster

Shame:  What to Do About It


On Setting Boundaries


Wikipedia:  Learned Helplessness


How does a person overcome learned helplessness?


How to Help Your Client Beat “Learned Helplessness”


Retaking Control of your Life


How to Regain a Sense of Control of Your Day




The Curse of Apathy: Sources and Solutions



How to Overcome Apathy (If You Can Be Bothered…)


Ten Traits of the Emotionaly Resilient


The Stages of Human Development (Chart)


The Seven Stages of Grief (Chart)

Karla McLaren:  The genius of Apathy


Why a Chip on Your Shoulder Is Mandatory for Your Success


My Family, Explained

Laugh at my frustrations and pain, all you want, but I’m trying to get better, and here is my past history.  Specifically, I’m seeking relief from one trauma symptom–emotional numbness, and will do anything to achieve it, but if you don’t like my current plans for relieving it, you’d best be preprared to give me an alternative, or two.  

My emotional state has improved since I wrote this, but I honestly don’t know how cure myself, and I want symptom relief, not revenge, ultimately, but I just don’t know how to achieve that…

My Family, Explained

I get easily stressed, and to such an extent, I’d call them panic attacks, be they borderline, or otherwise; I now think that stems from trauma, particularly Preoccupied Adult Attachment Trauma, but that doesn’t make dealing with it any easier. It colors my whole life, and prescribes a lifestyle of stressor-avoidance, given a scene, say, at Wal-Mart would not be fun. I’ve been kicked off three college campuses, thrice faced cops, twice handcuffed, and once arrested, all thanks to my condition.

Like a dog strapped in for electroshock, I feel helpless before my impulses. I fear mental pain– completely nonphysical, but all too real—madness, too. I may be numbed now, unable to feel its full anguish, but still it lurks, defining my all-too weary existence.

How did I get this way? I only wish I knew, really; I fit the signs of Preoccupied Attachment, and yet all my earliest memories were happy, and the wheels only came off around fifteen.

To really lay it on the table would involve explaining how me ‘n my siblings were raised, which was fundamentally Christian. I had avery happy childhood, but after our father died, she became leader of the household, but was poor at it.

If you’re always screaming, and acting frustrated, that doesn’t command respect, let alone trust, and as an eldest son, I didn’t simply feel bad, but I felt responsible, if in an ineffective way. I basically tried enforcing for someone that was not just erratic, reactive, and emotional, but simply bad at following through.

I should have instead tried providing leadership in her wake, but given my lack of understanding and confidence, I didn’t.

I tried being the good son, the loyal son; I focused on schoolwork to the point of burnout, and just became a wreck by degrees. As my mother sank into menopausal depression, I was sinking into anxiety disorder, which would, over time, morph into something along the line of panic attacks. 

Basically, I was trying to form some sort of working relationship with my mother, but it was dysfunctional, from the word “go.” No it doesn’t help that I’ve got Aspergers, but in the end, I think my relationship with my family was taking a distinctly downward turn. I was learning to distrust my mother, my siblings, and in particular my brother Chris. I would, in time, ultimately come to distrust myself after a fashion. 

Oh–and did I mention that we had a veryintense sibling rivalry with lots of physical violence? 

Add to that, values; like I said, we were taught to be devout, and I at that time, had chosen to be well, The Devoutest of the Devout, and yes, it was in part out of a kind solidarity with my mother, even if she didn’t reciprocate.

Okay, here I am, nearly fifteen, siitin’ in the back seat of my car, playing the the “shut up” game with Chris: “You shut up, no you shut up, no you…”

Now my mother had broken us up before, but this time, she had done so in an angry commanding way, that she had never done, before. She was feeling stressed, even as I was feeling stressed; I chose to key off of her, instead of just going back to dealing with Chris on “shut up” like I usually did, and instead chose to make it a Hill to Die On.

Was it wise? Hindsight wouldn’t suggest it, but I was trying to take a stand. In time it became basically more isolating, and more infuriating that he didn’t listen, and I just became obsessive on the topic. 

Controlling? Can I see myself as controlling, given how I acted? I think so, but keep in mind—that and the anger largely stem from a sense of powerlessness to communicate; Hellen Keller was plenty smart, but being deaf and blind, she sure didn’t show it, and wound up throwing perpetual tantrums.

My mother may be wrong, but she wasn’t–and isn’t–that awful—still, she’s just my enemy that I must vanquish. She couldn’t even get us boys to bring in wood, and always blamed us.

I don’t trust her, and don’t love, because that doesn’t breed trust—only pain and betrayal. As Head of Household, she was nothing I want to be like, and all the talk of her being “admirable” by shrinks who’ve refused to admit she’s earned my trust is simply reprehensible.

To Shrinks

And as for you, Shrinks, can I say of you, my misguided guides? I don’t trust the motives of you that disagree with me, AND YOU DON’T TRUST MINE.

You despise me, and and I despise you; you despise me for doing my duty, and I despise you for not doing the same, and if you doubt my integrity in that claim, simply strap me to a lie detector, and I’ll show you. Oh, you may despise passively, but still, you despise me, and I resent it. I’m doing things, as I see them, for the right reason, and you never have the guts to explain why you disagree with my logic. I keep asking you why you dispute my logic, and you never clarify, and never try to convince, and that’s suspicious. You’re all a bunch of passive-aggressive bullies, and that’s what galls; I refuse to apologize for my motives, and that’s final.

Distrust my motives all you want, but I distrust yours, too. You seem to think I’m confronting my mother out of vengeance, or at least selfishness, but what of it? I have prerogative, and authority, in any event, to hold my family accountable, and refuse to be disrespected, because I exercise it; the logic others effectively guts God, Biblically speaking, as well as me, and thus I distrust it. Respect is trusting the intentions of the other person is good, and I believe I deserve that, at least.

You don’t seem to empathize with my anger, and that’s what’s angering. You try to make me take responsibility for the sins of others, and I refuse, flat-out. Every time you praise me, it strikes like an insult, given it seems so insincere. I think:

They despise me, I can’t trust them, they don’t respect me, and conditionally accept me. I’m alone, so alone…

Your expressions of “love” read like slaps to my face, and I sometimes do that to myself, in frustration. I have genuinely sought to do my duty, and though we disagree, just what can we agree on, of any value?

Why do you isolate, why do you turn away? Why am I such a worm, in your eyes? Here is just such an example of your ilk, being rude:

My insight is that your idea of forgiveness is different than mine. For me, forgiveness stems from an understanding that all people, 100% of all people are doing the best they can to function within the grid they superimpose on reality and GOD. Releasing them from my judgment and desire to control, and releasing them from my expectations, frees me from theirs. This is based on Jesus saying “Why callest thou Me good? If any man saith he is good, he is a liar.” If I am not good, then my judgment of others is not good, and my expectations of their behaviors is founded on my limited and by definition tainted perspective, and therefore equally invalid. There is a reason that it is written; “Judgment is MINE saith the LORD.” and “Vengeance is MINE saith the LORD.” It seems to me that we can only apply scripture as a guide to our own behavior and not the behavior of others. You want respect for your intentions, yet you use scripture to disrespect the intention of your mother. She labored under so many burdens that you have no knowledge of in a real sense. That sense of frustration and the panic attacks that ensue are common to us all including you me and your family, when we are over burdened. Accepting that leads to empathy rather than judgment. Empathy tells us that continued judgment over past wrongs only increases frustration and panic in those we judge, creating more panic and wrong doing. It is somewhat like trying to strike an injury repeatedly and then wondering why it doesn’t heal. Forgiveness allows all concerned to regroup, review mistakes, and move forward. Your mom will, and no doubt will in the future, review her life and ask GOD for forgiveness. The beauty in this is allowing GOD to bear our burdens of judgment and expectation. The word selfish comes to mind when I read your total commitment to approaching others to meet your needs, you are not giving others what you seek for yourself. You know I love and respect you and I offer this as only my own limited and tainted perspective. I think a lot of the problem is that you communicate from a selfish perspective and limit GOD and scripture to the boundaries of logic. In the mind of GOD, the logic of man is a small time bit player that still labors to comprehend the majesty of creation and fails to understand the CREATOR completely. Submission seems to be an issue. Neither of us gets to be GOD.

Reading between the lines, I see judgment on my motives, which per Matthew 5:37-39 is a moot point. Furthermore, the shrink here empathizes, if not sympathizes—with my mother, as opposed to me. It does not convince me I am wrong, as much as tell me—and I resent it.

My mother rejected me, and basically, this is another rejection, too—I find no empathy from this response, let alone acceptance, and validation. Isolated, and misunderstood, is how this reply leaves me; wanting to express and hurt in some way, shape, or form-be it to myself, or to others.

If you can’t even respect—or trust–me when I state my reasons, where are we? Well, when you state you just disagree with me, I simply don’t believe it! I cannot—I just think you’re in denial, and it’s a vicious cycle of suspicion, each thinking the other is disingenuous. Convince me you’re right or at least try to—you seem awfully apathetic about truth, for all your protestations I’m wrong. I demand what I, at a minimum, should—i.e. respect—and I’m stickin’ to it.

I can’t trust my family, and I can’t trust you—who can I trust? Who can understand? From thus my loneliness comes—oh, how I crave understanding! You want me to forgive, but I want to trust you, and all I keep hearing from your lips is how big a lot of cowards, you are.

Take my word, and read my lips: I Don’t. Trust. You. You cover your own rears, when really, all I seek, is at least, moral support. I have no shoulder to cry on, be it from my family, or otherwise. I’m prepared to go to the wall, be rejected by my family on the issue of authority, and if you aren’t too, well, there’s no getting around it.

What are you risking, anyways? I’m prepared to burn my total familial support network, get disinvited to family gatherings, and more. I’m prepared to sacrifice everything, and you can’t even acknowledge I’m right in doing so for the personal inconvenience it may cause.

Well, see if I care! I’m willing to risk never speaking to loved ones again over this, and you dare to call me selfish? You’re the ones with little to lose, and not me. Who’s the brave one, really? Why in consideration, have you any reason to call me petty, cruel, or whatever? I confront for my good, my mother’s good, and my family’s good—full stop. I repeat—why do you refuse to help?

In the end, you fear my mother’s rejection more than I do.