i believe that my c-ptsd was caused by events in my adulthood, beginning with hub#1 telling me he didn't want to be married anymore when i was 7 1/2 mos. pregnant.  the entire marriage was abusive, don't get me wrong - lying, cheating, drugs, porn, disrespect, etc. - but i think i took the downward swing toward c-ptsd with this statement.

the trauma was exacerbated after i married hub#2, where i was in a state of confusion most of the time, not knowing who he was, what were his likes and dislikes in a day-to-day setting (he always looked to me for direction on what to do, where to go, how to deal with the kids, etc.).   he continually set me up to be the 'bad guy' in our family, making the difficult decisions, how/when to discipline, what they should eat, where they should go to school - it was all on my shoulders.  i knew i was in a downhill slide when i got pregnant, asked him to come to childbirth classes w/ me, and he refused, saying, you've been through this before, you know what to do.  we had been friends since high school, and i thought i was going to have a friend/partner/teammate in our marriage.  it never happened.

he adopted elder daughter, always did things like that so he looked like a really great guy to anyone outside our home.  he went into rages at the slightest mistake he made, but never got mad at me.  in fact, he was frightened of me.   (he admitted this later).  he also cheated on me, but with porn videos, nearly every night we were married, until he said something in therapy, and was diagnosed w/ a sex addiction.  he told me about it, telling me that he had been into auto-eroticism.  while he began going to SA meetings, i was terrified that i'd wake up one morning and find him dead in the living room with his junk hanging out.  i've never mentioned this here before, and my chest is tight.

i was also double-teamed in that elder, who had been diagnosed with any number of mental illnesses, was extremely abusive toward me, testing me when she was very young (if my sister and i were drowning and you could only save one of us, who would you save?  it would be her, right? cuz you love her more).  sophie's choice questions, competition w/ her sister to see who was getting preferential treatment from me.  as she got older, the abuse became public, including her friends in humiliating me, ignoring me when i was at a school function, things like that.  eventually, in high school, while she was self-harming, she lied to her friends and the school counselor, telling them all that i was beating her, giving her black eyes.  soc. services was called on me, and hate spewed out of the eyes of her friends if i happened to be around any of them.

when she was 16, the suicidal gestures began, and my hyper-vigilance was thrown into overdrive, never knowing from one day to the next if we'd get 'the call' that she was dead.  in and out of psych wards, she'd been on so many meds from an early age that i was always checking on her every night when she went to bed to make sure she was still breathing.  she was scheming, cunning, extremely intelligent.  and so hateful toward me, i didn't know which way to turn.  of course, hub#2 took no part in this, never stood up to her about her treatment of me, and was told by one couples therapist that the problems between her and me were between her and me.  i had no help, no support, no compassion.  he admitted later that he'd 'checked out' while all this was going on, just going to work, visiting her when she was in the hospital (what a great dad, right?) and becoming involved in stage productions so he was never home at night, either.  of course, when i confronted him on this, elder told me that i'd made him quit the only thing he loved doing, and how horrible i was for that.   his feeble denials did nothing but fuel the double-teaming dynamic.

and there was therapy going on, with a therapist who i now know held men in higher esteem than women, who made me feel worse about myself the longer i was involved with her instead of the other way around.  this was my first venture into therapy, i believed everything she said (i know now i had very little sense of myself, was newly into recovery from alc. and drugs so was extremely vulnerable, and wanted to please.  she took advantage of that.

in those 8 yrs. of being with her, i was her client, trained to lead her therapy groups (tho i was not a therapist at the time) and became her employee at the same time she made me her best friend.  if these 3 levels of involvement weren't enough, she often put me in double-bind situations, expecting me to act 'correctly' on two, sometimes 3 levels at the same time.  for example, i had gone through her group as a client, had had couples and singles sessions with her as my therapist, and, when i showed an interest in doing what she did, she encouraged me to join a training group so that i could become her employee and lead these same groups i had gone thru.  after a few months, she held a training group for other therapists (i still was not one), and invited me to join in as a refresher course kind of thing.  so, i was a student again at the same time she'd ask me to teach these other therapists what it was like to have gone through the groups as a client. 

other times she'd ask me to spy on therapists who were doing her groups, report to her about how they were coming along, snitch on them if they weren't making the grade, so to speak.  at one point on a group getaway, i was not only her roommate, but her confidante as she talked about the issues of other participants, and when it was over, she raked me over the coals in her office for the issues she noticed with me because i didn't participate fully with the others.  too many more examples to list here.

by the time i finally went back to college to actually become a therapist, i started learning what professional ethics and boundaries were all about.   none of what she'd been doing with me fit under ethical practices or professional boundaries, and i began the painful de-tangling of myself from her.  i was involved with her for 8 yrs.  by the time i'd gotten free, i had to get on meds for anxiety and depression.  it took me 8 more yrs. before i could get up the gumption to report her to the state board.

these four people in my adult life, 3 of whom i believe are narcs, and 3 of whom i believe are misogynists are the main people i see as causing my c-ptsd.  i finally was able to go nc w/ my ex and my daughter in jan., 2015, but only after being re-traumatized by them double-teaming me.  i had my 6th breakdown because of it, and almost didn't get up that time.  the anniversary of that nc caused a massive ef that lasted till aug of last year.  the second anniversary is coming up this month.  i believe i'm better prepared for it this time.   

there is so much more of the same that happened in those 20 yrs.  i finally moved away because i knew i was dying, could feel it happening.  they were killing me.  i've lived here for 15 yrs., and more of the same happened w/ ex and elder, only long distance.  so, 35 yrs. of abuse, chronic stress, tension, traumatization - it's no wonder my body has a difficult time functioning anymore.  but, i've survived the madness.  i have the people on this forum to thank for that in large part.  i couldn't be where i am today without you.