Why is it uncomfortable for some trauma survivors to receive help or attention?

When my father was emotionally abusive, my mother didn’t come to my aide. Because I was alone in this, I eventually learned the best way to get through the mess was to put up walls and power through it. This became my way of dealing with conflict for several years.

Then my step-mom got in the picture. Unlike my mother, she would actually step-in and try to validate my experiences, feelings and let my father know he was out of line. Now, because I had spent years not feeling comfortable with validation and feeling like I had the right to feel how I felt, my step-moms healthy behavior felt VERY uncomfortable to me. It would also break whatever“tough facade” I had and make me feel weaker than I tried to come off. On top of that, because of my long history with singled out attention being negative, my body started to preemptively react to ANY singled out attention as though it was negative, undeserving or a threat, even when it wasn’t. Then there is the added belief that if you need help, you’re weak or a failure that usually comes with abuse. Mix all that together and your body just goes on autopilot.

You may be in a different environment and not wear same armor, but the emotional responses and tactics you learned during that time kind of become your default settings to whatever conflict your brain experiences. It’s like muscle memory.

/r/CPTSD Thread