We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez

11-06-2022 Its Complicated and Complex
In this episode of “We Need To Talk With Kris Godinez” Kris talks about grief and PTSD. Why one is complicated and the other is complex!

Hello and welcome to We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez podcast. I’m your host Kris Godinez, licensed professional counselor. I help people get out of, and stay out of, toxic relationships. This podcast is for informational and educational purposes only the views and opinions stated herein are mine and mine alone. They do not represent the ACA, the APA or any other therapist for that matter.

I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

So, today’s topic is it’s complicated and complex, which is about grief and PTSD, and since we are coming into the holiday season, and time has changed, oh my god, I’m so glad in Arizona, we don’t change the time because I’m….. anyway. Um, I want to talk about that. But first, I want to do a little, you know, current events thing.

So, Gabby Petito her family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit with the Moab police. And here’s what I think is interesting. It’s a $50 million suit. Claims the officers should have recognized basic warning signs of intimate partner violence, which could have saved Petito’s life. About a month before Laundrie killed her at a, at a Wyoming campsite. The lawsuit also unearthed a bombshell allegation that one of the officers, Eric Pratt was fundamentally biased against Petito because while he was police chief in a different small town in Utah, a woman alleges he threatened to kill her while they were in a relationship in 2017. Per the body cam footage of Petito’s encounter with Pratt. Despite how the officers were called by a witness who claimed to have seen Laundrie slap Petito. Pratt and his partner Daniel Robinson deemed Petito the predominant aggressor and threatened to put her in jail. Pratt told her and Laundrie at the time that victims like Laundrie end up getting worse and worse treatment, and then they end up getting killed. Instead of jailing Petito, the cops issue the to a warning and separated the couple by paying to put Laundrie up in a hotel by Petito slept alone in the couple’s van in the midst of a visible mental crisis. At no point did Pratt or Robbins interview or check in the witnesses in with the witnesses who saw Laundrie hit Petito were other witnesses who saw the couple fighting. A month later Petito was found dead and shortly thereafter, Laundrie wrote a note confessing to killing her and died by his own hand. This came off of CNN and Yahoo News.

So, here’s the issue, and I’ve said this 100,000 million times. Abusers are comorbid. They are usually dark triads meaning narcissistic, psychopath, Machiavellian, meaning they’re narcissistic, it’s all about them. Psychopath, the rules don’t apply to them. And Machiavellian, control freaks. Okay, if this call had been handled properly, and they recognized how a target of abuse responds during a domestic and domestic violence call or an intimate partner violence call, they would have recognized Pettito behaving in the way a target of abuse does. Okay, so the abuser, whether it’s male or female, guys, let’s just be clear, this is not about big, bad men. This is about any abuser, whether they’re male or female. The abuser will be calm and cool as a cucumber if it suits their purposes, or they’ll be the ones, you know, crying and upset, but you can tell the difference because they usually lay it on way too thick. So, if this call had it, first of all, this guy had a previous intimate partner violence allegation against him.

Kris Godinez  04:37

Officers are not trained in what to look for. Petito was visibly upset. She was crying she had blood on her face. She was, you know, scratches. There’s no way you could have missed that if you knew what you were looking for. Okay, um, would she still be alive? Possibly. And here’s the reason why, since the cops sided with the abuser Landrie, he got the idea. “I’m invincible. See, I’m right. I’m above the law, I can do whatever I want.” And he did. So, do I agree with them filing this lawsuit? Absofreakinglutely! Do we need a radical change in the way that law enforcement is trained? Absolutely! Absolutely! If there had been a social worker on this call or somebody that understood intimate partner violence, this call would have gone down very differently. And if this guy, this, Eric, whatever his name was, you know, didn’t make the call that, oh, she’s obviously the aggressor. He’s siding with the abuser. Oh my god. So yeah, she’s dead. And she’s dead. Because Laundrie clearly got the message. He wasn’t going to be held accountable. He could literally get away with murder. And he did until he didn’t, and then he killed himself. Coward. So um, there is that!

Also, you know, here’s the thing, officers do not get the training in psychology that they should. Here’s the other problem. Abusers, narcissists, psychopaths are often drawn to professions that have a power differential; that is why you find them in judges, lawyers, police officers, therapists, you name it; if there is a power differential, the narcissist will be drawn to that profession, and they need to be weeded the bleep out. Absolutely! The end result is an innocent girl is dead.

Now on the other hand of this, talking about Irene Gakwa, her assailant in Wyoming where Gabby Petito was killed. Her assailant has yet to be charged with murder. He’s being charged with all of the fraud against using her accounts. They suspect he did it, but they don’t have enough proof. There is no body, they can’t find the burn barrel that they think he disposed her body in. So, and her family is just devastated because he keeps asking for continuance after continuance after continuance after continuance after continuance. And now they’re saying he won’t go on trial for any of the fraud stuff until sometime next year. So, this family is feeling very, what’s the word I’m looking for? Unsettled. Upset, they know she’s dead; there’s no way she would go this long without contacting them. So, they need help. If anybody in Gillette, Wyoming, knows anything about our Irene Gawka’s disappearance, please contact the Gillette, Wyoming police department or go to your media. You know, I’m tired of these jackasses getting away with murder, literally.

So, the point I wanted to make is, is that when an abuser is abusing, and they call the police, they usually pretend to be the calm, cool. I’m the victim, I’m the victim, but they’re calm, and they’re cool. And the police respond to that because they don’t understand how psychology how targets of abuse really respond when they’re being victimized. Okay. So, and of course, she Gabby Petito in in the camera, took the responsibility. It was my fault. I provoked him, it was my fault. It was my fault. Well, that’s what targets of abuse do, and frickin officers should know that. This is like common sense. This is like common basic psychology. This is like, How stupid do you have to be done not understand this seriously. But then again, this guy was accused of, you know, domestic violence himself. So, there you go a little biased there. So that makes me very angry. So, um, yeah.

So basically, again, I firmly am calling for reform in the police departments. Now, Gilbert just instituted a crisis response where they’re actually instituting social workers, which I’m like, Finally, Jesus Criminy. So, and that’s what needs to happen in every municipality, there needs to be a crisis response team that handles the intimate partner violence, that has social workers that go on the call with them that are trained in law. That’s really what needs to happen, or the officers need to be trained in psychology. But anyway, it’s a step forward in the right direction. Go figure. I never would have thought Gilbert would have done that, but they did. So um, you need to start pushing for your local your local it’s got to be it’s got to be on a local level, guys. I mean, we can ask the states and the federal forever in a day; it’s got to start local; you’ve got to start demanding change at the local level. And then, hopefully, incidents like Gabby Petito and Irene Gakwa won’t happen or if they do happen. There’s more. What’s the word I’m looking for? It? It’s almost like Irene Gakwa has been forgotten, and that makes me very angry. And it It’s the same thing that happened when women on the reservation started disappearing. It’s like, all the media was just like, oh, no, no, no, no, we’re not listening. And I’m just like, look, guys, everyone of every every color, every denomination, every ethnicity, has missing people, they should all be given the same amount of attention, because they’ve got families that are missing them, and we’re coming into the holiday season. Can you tell I’m just a little bit passionate about this?

So anyway, I just wanted to make you aware that I support their wrongful death suit 110%, will they win? I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. But if it was up to me, they would. So anyway, there that is nice to start the local level, you need to demand that crisis teams are formed that either they are they are in a trauma informed and don’t have any domestic violence calls against them, or they have social workers going on the calls with them.

Kris Godinez  10:58

There endth the rant. Okay, so today, I wanted to talk about complicated grief and complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because I had the question from several people. Why, why is it so hard to grieve the loss of an abuser? And why does the PTSD just the hits, just keep on coming? You know what I’m saying?

So, um, okay, so let’s start with complicated grief. So, a couple of things to think about, we are heading into the holiday season, we just did the time change. Now, Arizona does not change time, thank God. But when we start getting that, waking up in the dark, coming home in the dark, it’s called seasonal affective disorder, and it messes with us; I am not kidding you; we need sunshine like nobody’s business. So, we start feeling depressed. Now, if we’ve come out of an abusive relationship, whether that’s with a family of origin, or whether that’s with a romantic partner, or, you know, a corporation that we work for, that turned out to be extremely dysfunctional, or whatever the sunlight or lack thereof is going to affect your mood. Let’s be clear, I strongly recommend if you live in one of those states, where you’re waking up in the dark, and you’re going to home in the dark, get one of the full spectrum bulbs, talk to your doc, sit in front of it in the morning, sit in front of it in the evening, whatever they recommend. It really does help, you know. Yeah. So, and we’re coming up on the holidays. Now, what a trigger for grief, are the holidays. Seriously. So, grief, normal, healthy grief, lasts about two years. I mean, honestly, it lasts a lifetime, because you’re never going to not miss that person. If you love them, you will miss them. You know, it’s like, my grandmother died in 1973. I still miss her. There are times when I just am like, damn, I wish that woman was still around because boy howdy, I’d love to ever see this or, you know, do this with me or teach me how to cook or whatever. She was a great cook. Anyway. So, you know, if it’s a normal, healthy grief, it lasts a lifetime. And it’s not that intense grieving when we are grieving. The loss of an abuser. It is this intense, bizarre to us. Grief that goes from like, first thing in the morning, we think of them last thing at night, we’re thinking of them, and that’s what they want. And we’re grieving the loss of somebody who was still walking this planet. That’s why it’s complex because there was abuse involved. It wasn’t just you love them. And it was a normal relationship, and oh, gosh, they died. It was you love them. It was an abnormal relationship. They were abusive. They did the intermittent positive rewards. I love you, I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you. I hate you. I love you, I hate you. And then they did the discard, and you’re clawing to get back to the love bombing. And they’re, you know, shoving you off to the side, replacing you with a new supply, etc., etc., etc. They’re still walking the planet, and you are still grieving the loss of that illusion. So, it blows your mind. It’s not a normal grief. A normal grief is okay you break up with the person. It’s sad, but you eventually start getting over it. The first year is always the hardest, regardless of what kind of grief it is. So, the first year is, you know, the first Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years anniversary birthday, you know, etc., etc., etc. And then the date of the breakup so that first year for everyone is a bear. Totally second year in healthy grief is you’re moving the person into a different part of your heart. You’re not thinking about them all the time. Okay? In complicated grief, that person keeps popping up and popping up and popping up because they’re not dead. They’re still walking around. And if you’re dealing with flying monkeys, if you’re dealing with a new supply, who’s decided that they want to become the new dad or the new mom, or you’re the bad guy, and they keep dragging you back into court, it’s ongoing. It’s not like there’s an end. Does that make sense? So, this is why complicated grief is so hard, and it can last up to three to four years, because it’s complicated, because you keep getting that wound re-aggravated.

So, what can you do? Get with a good therapist, and I’m going to break this up into two sections. So, I’m talking about the grief now, and then I’m going to talk about complex PTSD. I’m good with a good therapist work on grieving the loss of the illusion, move them into a different space in your heart, recognize they were not real, they are never going to change. And you’ve got to stop rising to the bait. I cannot tell you how many clients I’ve got going through lawsuits, divorces, custody issues, etc., etc., etc. And the abuser just keeps filing motion after motion after motion after motion after motion after motion after motion. Well, your attorney should be hitting them with attorney’s fees. If everything was settled, and they keep dragging you back into court, they are now using the court to do abuse by proxy, your attorney should recognize that your attorney should be figuring out a way to stop the constant motion after motion. But remember, abusers would rather have a messed up, dysfunctional connection to somebody than no connection at all. And you’re just feeding the bear, if you get upset every single time, they do something stupid, because they’re going to, okay, like you can count on it sun comes up in the east, they’re going to do something stupid to try to upset you. And especially with kids involved, you have got to get to the point where you just gird your loins and go, Okay, they’re going to be stupid; they are never going to behave the way I wish they would. Or they could, if they were normal, etc., etc., etc., I’ve just got to expect them to be dumb, really, because otherwise, they’ll keep hitting you from out of left field, left field in that you keep expecting them to behave normally, they’re not going to behave. Normally guys ever, not on this or any other planet, they’re not going to behave normally. If they can keep poking you and getting you upset, and dragging you back into court, they will. So, get with a good therapist to help you deal with the complex grief. And part of the complex grief is it’s hard for us to acknowledge and to admit that we did not even fall in love with them. We fell in love with the illusion they mirrored us perfectly, we essentially fell in love with the best qualities of ourselves.

Kris Godinez  18:06

And then of course, they went about to tell us that all of those qualities they hated and were terrible, and awful, and blah, blah, blah, which is why they mess with your mind. It’s basically they put an eggbeater in the middle of your head and just start spinning. So, get with a good therapist, allow yourself to grieve, but remind yourself this person was not real. They never were, they never will be, and no, they’re not doing any better with their new supply; they may do that temporarily. But as soon as you take yourself out of the equation, and they can’t keep using you as the whipping post, they’ll turn on each other, which is why I’m saying stop engaging. Stop answering emails and texts that have nothing to do with the kid stop engaging when they accuse you of being difficult, stop engaging when they do all this other stuff. It does not directly have to deal with your child do not respond. Because if you give them nothing, they got nothing that’s gray rocking, right? And with your emotions, you know, people get very upset. They’re like, why are they doing this and done that? And will they understand you’re right, in a healthy normal world, these types of people would not be allowed to do what they’re doing. This is not a healthy normal world people, hate to break it to you obviously look at the police.

So, the point being is that you are the one that is in charge of your emotions; they cannot make you feel anything unless you give them permission. My best advice is finding the humor in the dysfunction. Wow, really filing a motion about whatever Hmm, interesting how cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs this person is and not take it personally it’s not personal. They would do this to anybody that was their supply. So, let’s be clear about that. You’re not unique to this. They’ll do this to anybody they think can feed their supply, and you got to cut them off and that’s why I’m saying, again, this needs to be addressed on a local state level. And we need to get some laws passed about using the court system as abuse by proxy, especially in custody cases. So that is why grief with an abusive situation, whether it’s a family, a romantic partner, a boss, whatever, is complicated, because there’s all these different feelings, and there’s these different things going on. And it’s not like a death. It’s not like they’re gone. They’re still walking around. They’re sir, still harming other people. They may be harming your child. You know, they’re still there. So that’s why it’s complicated, complicated grief. Best way to start working on that journal, get it out of your head, get it onto paper, get with a good therapist, start working it through.

Okay. Now let’s switch gears and talk about complex post-traumatic stress disorder. So, the reason why it is called complex is because it happens in different ways. Over and over, and over and over. So, with PTSD, it’s almost like a… in the DSM anyways, and I totally agree with Kim Saeed. So, you just went off on the DSM four, and I’m just like, Yeah, girl, I’m right there with you. So, I’m in the in the DSM five, and I say DSM for DSM five, good lord. Anyway, in the DSM five, it’s like a one-time event, PTSD is considered like a life-threatening one-time event, like a car accident or witnessing a murder or being involved in a bank robbery, or you know, something that could be life-threatening. And it’s considered a one-time event that does not cover what survivors of abuse go through survivors of abuse go through daily abuse in different ways. If one way of abusing doesn’t work, the abuser will try something else, you know, one time there’ll be physically abusive, then there’ll be emotionally abusive, or they’ll be, you know, do things like harm your animals, or they’ll, you know, hide stuff that’s important to you, or whatever. Do you see where I’m going with that? So, it’s not it. It’s not one of the DSM five, it’s not, and it needs to be, and there needs to be more education and research into intimate partner violence. There is, it’s happening, it’s happening on a daily basis, and it’s not okay.

So, okay, post-traumatic stress disorder, and this is in the DSM five. The following criteria applies to adults, adolescents and children older than six, exposure to an actual or threatened death, serious injury, sexual violence, in one or more of the following ways directly experiencing the traumatic events, witnessing and personally events as they occurred to others. So, seeing somebody else being abused that would totally match that, learning that the traumatic event occurred to a close family member or close friend. In the case of actual or threatened death of a family member or friend, the events must have been violent or accidental, experiencing repeated or extreme exposure to adverse details of the traumatic event, i.e., first responders. Okay, and then presence of one or more of the following intrusive symptoms, and how many of us would have nightmares how many of us would have intrusive thoughts how many of us would have…do you see where I’m going?

Kris Godinez  23:24

Recurrent, involuntary, intrusive, distressing memories of the traumatic event? And then flashbacks? How many of us found that a lot of us recurrent distressing dreams, dissociative reactions, flashbacks in which the individual feels or acts as if the traumatic events were occurring right here, right now. And that’s our amygdala, that is our amygdala Fight, Flight freeze, or faun. It can’t tell the difference between past, present, future intense or prolonged psychological distress, distress, and exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event. So how many of us get triggered when we see somebody or hear something or taste something or smell something, or whatever that is, what a trigger is, it’s something that brings back the memories of the traumatic event. Okay, um, marked psychological reactions. Okay. I think I said that. Yeah.

Persistent avoidance of things associated with the traumatic events beginning after the traumatic events have occurred as evidenced by one or both of the following avoidance of or efforts to avoid distressing memories, thoughts or feelings about or closely associated with the traumatic events. How many clients do I have come in? And the first thing they tell me is, I don’t want to work on this. I don’t want to think about this. I don’t want to feel it. Well. I hate to break it to you. You got to feel it to heal it. You do. There’s the only way out is through Now, that does not mean you need to be triggered and horrible and awful and miserable the entire time you’re doing therapy, stop being afraid of the emotions. And that is what stops a lot of clients, a lot of targets of abuse, from getting help. Because of what they’ve told themselves, remember how we talked about what you tell yourself, how you think it is how our body starts responding. So, if you start thinking about being in a bank, and it’s getting robbed, your heart is going to start pounding, you’re going to start taking puffy little breaths because your amygdala can’t tell the difference between imagining something horrible happening, and something horrible actually happening. So, understanding the whole process, understanding the, the physical cascading series of events, the psychological cascading series of events, get with a good trauma therapist. EMDR amazing. Love it. CBT amazing, love it. DBT amazing, love it get with a good trauma therapist to help you take your power back, you get to own these thoughts, these thoughts do not get to own you. And that’s where I want you to get.

Okay, um, avoidance of or efforts to avoid external reminders, people, places, conversations, activities. So, some people stop going places altogether if they were abused, you know, in a certain area or whatever, some people develop agoraphobia. And that’s not good either. You don’t want to lock yourself in your house. Inability to remember an important aspect of the traumatic event. Yeah. So, when I’m talking to clients, and they’re telling me about abuse that is occurred, family of origin, and then they say something like, I can’t remember anything past age 12. Whoa, okay, that would, to me, indicate some trauma occurred. And we need to probably start kind of taking a look at that. And that’s when they go, I don’t want to remember, I don’t want to know, and that’s when I comfort them and say, look, you’re not going to remember until you’re ready. Seriously, when you feel safe enough. A lot of times, the brain just suddenly goes oh, okay, we can remember it now. And now we can work on it. So yeah, okay, um, persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs, beliefs, or expectations about oneself or others. So, this is the negative thinking I am bad, no one can be trusted, the world is completely dangerous. My whole nervous system is permanently ruined how many of us said that almost all of us absolutely.

Persistent, distorted cognitions about the cause or consequences of traumatic events that lead the individual to blame themselves, Gaby Petito, hello, or others usually themselves, persistent negative emotional state fear, horror, anger, guilt or shame, markedly diminished interest in or participation in significant activities. So, you start it’s almost like depression; you start losing the desire to even do things that used to be fun. Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others, persistent inability to experience positive emotions, and ability to experience happiness, satisfaction, or loving feelings. So, with an abuser, what they do, if we’re happy, if we’re joyful, They’ll ruin it. I can’t tell you the number of times my dad would backhand me if I was singing or happy or joyful, or whatever because he couldn’t stand it because he couldn’t feel it himself. You know, so yeah. And then that very quickly gives us the impression that, oh, I have to be sad all the time. Or I have to be angry all the time in order to be left alone. And that’s simply not true. And with complex, PTSD, these behaviors happen over and over and over. It wasn’t just one time of my dad hitting me!

Kris Godinez  29:06

Yeah, I could count them. If I take both my shoes off and count my toes and my fingers. You know what I’m saying? I mean, he hit me every opportunity he could, because he hated women. Number one, he hated his mother. And number two, he hated me because I was pretty happy usually most of the time, except when I had to deal with him.

Okay, marked alteration in arousal or reactivity associated with the traumatic events beginning or worsening after the traumatic event, as evidenced by two or more of the following, irritable, irritable behavior or angry outbursts with little to no provocation, typically expressed as verbal or physical aggression towards people or objects. So oftentimes, especially with little ones, especially with little kids that have been abused a lot, they will hit, they’ll punch, they’ll kick, they’ll bite, they’ll scratch they’ll, they’re angry, because they’re getting hit and punched and kicked and I scratched and bitten and you see where I’m going with that there’s a reason that PTSD, PTSD creates traumatic trauma abuse repeated, creates irritability in the targets of abuse, absolutely.

Reckless or self-destructive behavior. So, a lot, not everybody but a lot of survivors of abuse turned to drugs and alcohol to numb themselves because they don’t want to feel. God! I can totally understand but don’t do that. It’s not going to help. Seriously trust me on that one. Hypervigilance hyperaware Where’s the exit? Where’s the exit? Is everything safe? Is everything good? Oh, look up. There might be a fight going on over there. Okay, I’m going to back off. Do you see where I’m going? That hypervigilance constantly looking for danger? The Periscope is stuck in the up position. Exaggerated startle response. Oh, my God. Yeah. So, you come around a corner, and you bump into somebody instead of just being like a little bit startled. You like jump and scream. So, like, a great example of that is I was sleeping on the couch because we were dog-sitting our next-door neighbor’s dog Doc Holiday cutest little dog ever. Um, and so because he’s a little he was a little he’s a little shitzu or something. And so, he couldn’t jump up on our bed because it was too high. So, I slept on the couch so he could jump up on the couch and snuggle with me. Well, John came out to check up on us. And I woke up and I see this shadow of a man standing there, and I let out a scream. I was like, you know, oh my god. And he’s like, no, no, it’s just me. I’m here. It’s okay. I’m just going to coming out to check on you. But if you’ve had somebody that was male or somebody that was abusive, that was you know, lurking, you know, while you were sleeping, yeah, you’re going to have that startle response. If you were beaten, you’re going to have that startle response. Absolutely. That is normal in people with PTSD. Problems with concentration, sleep disturbance, difficulty falling asleep, or staying asleep or restless sleep. Okay, due to Okay, disturbance causes clinically significant distress and impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.

Kris Godinez  32:19

It’s not attributable to the psychological effects of drug abuse or alcohol or medical condition. You can have dissociative symptoms, depersonalization, detachment as if you’re floating out here watching everything happen. Derealization, persistent or recurrent Express experiences of unreality of surroundings like the world around the individual is experienced as unreal, dreamlike distance or distorted. Now, when I was going through college, and this is when I really started making the break for my family because I left when I was 17. I had that! I had this sense of unreality, you know, am I real? Is this real? You know what’s going on. So, this is totally normal guys. That’s what I’m saying and get with a good therapist, get with a good trauma therapist, I cannot stress that. Enough. It is very important to take good care of yourself while you are healing from Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, because not only you’re dealing with complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and all of that stuff, you’re also grieving. And you’ve got complicated grief, because we’re grieving the loss of somebody who wasn’t real. Oh, yeah, it’s it…..

So, this is why we put the sea in front of it complex because it happened over and over in different ways. You know, my dad wouldn’t hit me for the same thing every time he’d find different reasons to get upset and hit me. Or he would suddenly go down the religious martyr thing and start screaming at me that I was going to hell if I didn’t go to church with him, or do you see where I’m going? It’s like they do different abusive things on different days almost every day to suit their own ego and their own needs. So, it’s really important to take good care of yourself get with a good trauma therapist read CPTSD From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. Self-Esteem Workbook by Glenn Schiraldi. The Disease to Please by Harriet Braiker. The Inner Child Workbook, Lucia Cappacchione or Catherine Taylor. Start working it.

If you have been numbing yourself with drugs and alcohol, be honest with your therapist, tell them because we can’t help you. If you don’t tell us if you pretend everything’s fine, and you’re not telling us the truth. I can’t help you. You’ve got to be honest with your therapist. Are you using drugs? Are you using alcohol? You know, and then that needs to be addressed, that needs to be worked on because you can’t really heal the right Activate if you’re in an altered state of consciousness. So anyway, that is who that is that that is complicated grief and Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Okay, let us jump into the questions. Let me get rid of all these other tabs I have up. Oh, my goodness. Okay.

Do you believe in the idea that victims behave in different ways? Yeah. Yeah, it depends. Yeah, absolutely. I’m seeing a push to say nobody can know if somebody is not a victim because victims behave differently. And that’s where I call BS because if you know what you’re looking for, you’ll know the different ways that victims behave.

Kris Godinez  35:45

Absolutely. They generally follow certain very obvious ways of behaving. So Gabby Pettito in that car. How could you have missed that that was blatantly obvious who the aggressor was and given the fact that the original phone call was saying they saw Laundrie hitting her. And yet, they decided to go with her being the aggressor. When she was tearful and shaking and everything else. It’s like, Oh, please. And of course, this guy, like I said, was accused of intimate partner violence when he was chief and another and another town. So, you know, you they follow different things, depending on their personality, depending on their makeup. But it’s pretty much the same. Do you see where I’m going with that? So, if you know what you’re looking for, you can see it. Absolutely. Which is why I’m saying social workers need to be on these intimate partner domestic violence calls. They do because then they’ll know what to look for. Whereas the police may not because they may not have had training in psychology. So there that is. Alright.

Um, I have been no contact with my mom for 10-plus years. She is now dying. Oh, I have found myself angry that she made it that I have to deal with these feelings. Is that normal? Yes. That is 100% Normal. I am not contacting her still. Okay, good. Don’t contact her once you’ve gone no contact; stay no contact. So, um, yeah, yeah, we do feel angry at the abuser, especially if it was a parent. If they have forced us, you know, to deal with them or deal with their abuse or deal with, you know, where the adult they’re the kid, excuse me kind of thing. So yeah, that’s a totally normal feeling to have been to be angry with them for setting you up, basically.

So, when I was going through therapy back in the 90s, with Fabian Smith up in Portland, that’s a lot of what we dealt with is my anger towards my dad. It was like, he frickin ruined my childhood because it’s like, at first, I was going to the Gridley school system, and then he ripped me out of Gridley threw me into a religious school in Richvale ripped me out of there, threw me back to the Gridley school ripped me away from their threw me into Durham. And then finally, at 17 I was like, I’m done. I’m not doing this anymore. Thank you. You know, so yeah, they, you have a right to be angry. It’s called righteous anger. But don’t unpack your luggage and live there. It’s okay to express it. It’s okay to work through it. It’s okay to, you know, write it out journal it, whatever. But don’t live there. Don’t live there. Life is too amazing and too beautiful. And there’s too many dogs to pet to live your life stuck in anger. So, anger is there to let us know where we’ve been hurt. Anger is not a pure emotion. Remember, it’s the bodyguard of the softer emotions. So, get to what’s underneath the anger. For me. It was the betrayal. But, but, but, how old? Do I sound? Maybe four. You’re supposed to be a good daddy. You’re supposed to be somebody who protects me. Not harms me. Betrayal, betrayal. So, get with the softer emotions get with what’s underneath the anger what’s underneath it. It’s usually sadness or betrayal or hurt or fear or something like that. You know, another thing was I lived in constant fear. I knew at some point he was going to sexually assault me if I did not get the hell out of there. So, you know you’re living in constant fear. You’re living in constant uproar. You’re living in constant chaos. And if it wasn’t that it was the religious stuff, you know, banging on my door at six o’clock on a Sunday morning. You know you’re going to hell if you’re not going to church. No, I’m sleeping in. Thank you. I’m pretty sure God is okay with that, you know, so. Yeah, so it’s working with those emotions underneath the anger. The anger shows us where we’ve been hurt. So don’t unpack your luggage in the anger get deep, go underneath work through all of that. And then let it go and write a go-pound sand letter.

Kris Godinez  40:06

Dear Mom, you did this, this, this, this, this, this this. This is why I went no contact with you. You’re a terrible person. Hate to say it, but I’m glad you’re dying. Remember that book I told you about? I’m glad my mom is dad. I can’t remember which actress wrote that. But her mom was like a stereotypical stage mom kind of reminded. Wil Wheaton reminds me of that too, because he had to put up with all of that crap. So don’t feel guilty when your abuser dies. If especially if its parent don’t feel guilty, you’ve got nothing to feel guilty about. If they wanted to be mourned. Really? If they wanted people to be around them. Really? Then perhaps they shouldn’t have been abusive Jack wagons. Just a thought? I don’t know. So yeah, that’s it. That’s totally normal. So don’t even worry about that do not contact.

Now. Here’s the other thing. Abusers love to pull the whole I’m dying. I’m dying. I’m dying, and they’ll be dying for 30 years. So don’t fall for a Hoover because, again, we’re in the holiday season. People abusers are counting on that nostalgia, they’re counting on the guilt. They’re counting on the shame. They’re counting on the fear. They’re counting on all of this stuff to create you contacting them. Don’t do it. If you went no contact, stay no contact. So there that is, and again, I want to make very clear, no contact is not used to force them into behaving. I have some people constantly trying to tell me that it’s like well, I went no contact so that they wouldn’t be…. No, no contact means you’re done. Stick a fork in that and you’re done. You’re done being abused; you’re done dealing with them. Good luck, God bless. Mazel Tov, whatever. Go live your life. I’m over here living my best life. Thank you. So, no contact is no contact. It’s not. It’s not stonewalling. Okay, they use stonewalling. They do the stonewalling to create psychological pain in us so that we toe the line and do what they want to do. No Contact means you don’t ever have contact with them. Again, it’s a done deal. So just to be clear, so no contact is to save your sanity. Stonewalling is a manipulation. So, let’s just be clear about that.

Okay. Um, okay. If someone is really low, contact and their narc family slash Flying Monkeys gives a gift like money for their birthday or holiday, Is it okay to accept it? Or should it be promptly returned to them? I can’t really answer that one for you. It depends on you. Now. Here’s the deal. Gifts do not have strings attached. If this gift has strings attached, send it back. Yep, don’t even because a lot of times what abusers will do, especially again, we’re coming into the holiday season, they’ll do this outrageous gift or lots of money or you know, whatever, but then expect you to kowtow to their… dance to their tune, basically. So, if you suspect that this gift has got strings attached, don’t accept it, you know, or if you accept it, and then they start doing whatever, you’re under no obligation to dance to their tune,so it’s really a matter of strong boundaries. No is a complete sentence. Thank you very much. Do you see where I’m going with that? And you don’t have to dance to their tune. Seriously, like, seriously, you do not have to dance to their tune. Okay, let’s see.

How can you be whole and healed? How do you know when you’re better? Yeah, you can be healed. Absolutely. You can be whole. How do you know when you’re better? But here’s the thing, we will always have the abuse in our past. It’s not like Tabula rasa. It’s not like a blank slate. It’s not like oh my god, this never happened. You know, you’re always probably going to have triggers, you know, you’re probably always going to have panic attacks, if something is triggering enough kind of thing. You know, it’s, we heal. And you know, you’re healed. When you can think of your abuser and not get angry.

Kris Godinez  44:26

Just not care. So, remember, the opposite of love is not hate. It isn’t. The opposite of love is absolute indifference. Like, be there, don’t be there. I don’t care. You are absolutely irrelevant. To my life. That’s when you know, you’re okay. That’s when you know you’re doing good. So, when we are working on ourselves, the problem of it is that the abuser sets up the abuse in such a way that we live for those intermittent positive rewards. And then the first thing on our Mind in the morning and the last thing on our mind at night, and that’s what they want. So, when those thoughts about the abuser pop up, you’re going to have to do thought-stopping and thank you, abuser, for showing up in my mind first thing in the morning. Well, you know what? You are irrelevant. You were an illusion; you do not get to live rent-free in my head. One more bleep, bleep second, go pound sand vibe by now but by right when you get a soul, buh bye, I do see where I’m going with that. And that’s what you do every single time they pop up, and you start training yourself. They’re not real. They’re not real. I mean, they say all the pretty words and especially this being Hoover season. Oh, hey, you know, baby, I was just thinking about you. Or, you know, that’s a romantic Hoover family. Well, you know, Aunt Bertha is really old and really wants to see Oh, please. Fear, obligation, guilt. No, do not. Listen to me now believe me later. Do not fall for that. You’re under no obligation? Absolutely not. Go do something else for the holidays. And you know, well, I’m glad Bertha wants to see me let her know. I’ll call her after Christmas. You, unless you don’t like Aunt Bertha, in which case you don’t have to call her after Christmas. You don’t have to have anything to do with her. So yeah, absolutely. Okay, um, I hope that answers your question. So yeah, we can’t be whole and healed. 100% Well, you know, the scars are always going to be there they are, and you will get triggered on occasion. I mean, things happen that trigger me. So, you know, it’s like, if I see something violent, I just don’t handle it well, which is why I try to avoid a lot of movies. All right.

I live with a nurse who gets giddy over putting others in harm’s way. She’s withheld that she had COVID After I met after I met with others, Saturday; I said, I’m glad she’s asymptomatic. But why not tell me ASAP? She got upset. Tips for living with her until I can move, please. Gray rock, gray rock, gray rock doesn’t believe a word she says, lock your door hide your valuables. Yeah, it’s lying is like lying by omission is still lying. Lying by omission is still lying. And if it could possibly hurt somebody, that’s psychopathic. So, for example, my sister got together with friends of hers that came to visit her this one in Santa Barbara. And they then tested positive a few days after seeing her, they immediately called her because they’re all elderly. They’re older, you know. So, you know, they did the right thing. And that’s the right thing is to let people know, hey, you may have been exposed, I just wanted to let you know. And that’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do, no matter what illness is going on, whether it’s the flu, or COVID, or a cold or, you know, whatever. So, you know, it’s just, it’s respect RESPECT. Practice it seriously. Because it’s like, it’s just respectful. You know, hey, this is going on. I’m really sorry. I need to let you know. And so, if somebody is withholding information like that, that’s lying by omission. And that makes me question their morals. So, there it is, be careful, gray rock, lock all your stuff up. Because if they’re lying about that, what else are they lying about?

What sort of exercises can we do to go through complex grief, write and burn, write and burn I kid you not! Journaling it out, allowing yourself to feel, allowing yourself to have those emotions, getting it all out the anger, the sadness, the fear, the guilt, the shame, the betrayal, the bargaining, you know, whatever. And we all do that. It’s the stages of grief, right? You know, the five stages of grief, and we’ve all done that at some point. Well, if I just twist myself into an f of a pretzel, they’ll love me. That’s bargaining. That’s kind of bargaining, you know. So, it’s allowing yourself to work through all of that stuff, and not be afraid of it. Because one of the things I often hear from survivors of abuse is, but I’ll start crying and I won’t ever stop. Okay, it feels like you won’t ever stop. You will. Your body eventually just goes, screw it. I’m tired. I’m dehydrated. We’re stopping.

Kris Godinez  49:16

Is it fun? No, it’s not one star can’t recommend it. But it’s necessary to do we have to do it. We have to allow ourselves to process it through. Bessel van der Kolk the body keeps score. If we hold on to it and don’t process it and don’t allow ourselves to feel it, guess what? It shows up in our body. You don’t want that. Trust me on that one. You don’t want that. So, write it out. Write it out, get with a good therapist. There’s a lot of different ways to do it. There’s also rage rooms. I don’t know if we’ve talked about this before, but I think Phoenix has got a rage room where you go into the rage room, and you just break stuff, you know, and it’s wonderful because it allows you to get your anger out and it allows it in a safe way. So, you know, look into things like that. Or the other thing that you can do too like I said, get with a good therapist, read Bessel Vander Kolk, the body keeps score, journal, write and burn, write and burn. Or if you need that sensation of having mailed it, mail it back to yourself, when you get it back, burn it, let it go. But allow yourself to process that’s a good way to deal with complex or complicated grief. And it’s also good to call it out for what it is. Wow, you said, you know, you loved me, and I was great. And these were the qualities you loved. But then, when you did the discard you said I was horrible and awful and terrible for all these qualities that you supposedly loved. Wow, psycho kitty Qu’est-ce que c’est, you’re insane. And this is all you, not me! Have a nice life. Buh bye. You see where I’m going with that? Call it out? Call it out. Because how many of us have got that nonpermission to really be honest about our abuser? wasn’t okay. You know, my whole family was like, oh, to air, our dirty laundry, we don’t tell anybody. Well, that’s a great way to have kids being abused sexually, mentally, emotionally, religiously, and otherwise. So no, you talk it out, you talk to your therapist, you write it out, you process it, you own it, and you call it for what it is. Call them out in the letter calling them out to their face is not going to do any good. They will never acknowledge or admit that they’re wrong. One of my father’s most favorite sayings was I’m never wrong, I’m only temporarily confused. Or I’m never lost and only temporarily confused. You know, and that is arrogance beyond belief. So, you do this for you, you write it out, you burn it, you write it out, you burn it, and it’s not going to be a one-and-done. This is going to be like a layer thing. You know, you realize you work through this layer. Oh, there’s another layer. Oh, okay. Well, now we’ve got this layer. So, you just keep doing it until you’re done. You know, and you give yourself some grace. This is not easy to process. It’s not easy to cope with, and clearly, a lot of our society doesn’t it. They should. They don’t. And this is why education is needed. This is why more people need to speak up. This is why this needs to be common knowledge amongst police officers, judges, lawyers, other therapists, don’t get me started, etc. Yeah, absolutely.

Okay, let’s see. I minimize the abuse. Recently, I had a breakthrough with a memory, but I still feel I’m minimizing my emotions. How do you know when you’ve really faced it? So minimizing is where we go Oh, wasn’t that bad? Oh, other people have it worse. Oh, you know, I, I don’t need to worry about that. I, you know, other people have it worse than I do know. You are having emotions. And it is okay. No qualifiers. Does that make sense? No, minimizing it is what it is. And so, you just allow, and you just acknowledge and accept. Yes, I have been abused. Yes. These people were crazy. Yes, I feel, I feel crazy because that’s what they do. They make us feel crazy for having emotions, because they don’t so that when the police show up, and they are using police as abuse by proxy, we’re all heightened emotions, and they’re cool as a cucumber, and you see where I’m going with that. So, you allow yourself to have your emotions, you allow yourself to feel, you allow yourself to call out the behavior and put it back onto the abuser CPTSD from surviving to thriving by Pete Walker. Chapter Three, do it! It is going to help a lot. Okay. And you know, you’ve really faced it when you can acknowledge the emotion, accept the emotion, work through the emotion, play with the emotion and not minimize it, not make yourself wrong for having it. You just allow, you just allow.

Okay, I got in touch with my anger with my therapist during a session. But then, after with toxic husband, I lost that angry feeling. I need to leave them what to do. Okay, Hoo, boy. Okay.

Kris Godinez  54:13

So, here’s the deal. We often get told, don’t you get mad at me. Don’t you dare be angry at me. I’ll give you something to be angry about, etc., etc., etc. So, we make excuses for the abuser. That’s just what we’ve been trained to do. And so, what you need to do is get with a good therapist. Obviously, if you’re with one you need to start an escape plan. You need a safety plan. What’s your plan? You know, where do you have money? You can access that they have no clue about. Is your phone and your computer safe? Are they doing keystroke loggers? Do they have anything on your computer? Are they doing that air tag thing? That’s been a problem? You know, what’s your safety plan? Who can you go to when you leave? Where can you go to when you leave? You know, talk about this with your therapist; if they’re worth their salt, they’ll help you develop a safety plan. So, for example, with a lot of clients, the abuser will do things like drive them to their work and then sit in the car. They don’t work. But they sit in the car, watching the building, making sure that you don’t go anywhere. So, if it’s a big enough building, what you can do is talk to your HR and have somebody escort you out back to a Lyft or an Uber or to a friend, and you get out, and you go to a shelter, or you go to a family member’s house. Do you see where I’m going with that? So yeah, I mean, you got to think about all possibilities. There are all types of different types of abusers, some of them will put location stuff on the phone. So, one other client opened a bank account at a different bank. And the next day, the guy was like, well, why were you at such and such bank? You know, and I went, oh, there’s no way he would know that. So, you need to leave your phone at home when you do that. You know, so you just got to make contingencies for everything that could possibly happen. And, you know, where can you go? Do you have a go bag? The energy, keep one at work? Keep one at work, keep money somewhere where you can access it? Do you have friends that you can trust that can help you? And when you leave? If this person is like the one, I was telling you about sitting in the car waiting file in order protection? Absolutely. There’s nothing wrong with that. So anyway, um, let’s see. Is that it? Yeah. So that’s what you want to do. You want to get a plan; you want to get a safety plan together. So that is your biggest thing that you need to do with your therapist. As far as losing that feeling of anger, that’s normal, because it’s not okay for us to be angry at our abuser especially our parental abusers. So, you don’t have to be angry at them to leave, you just need to know you’ve had enough. So, write it out someplace safe at work. You know, what, what have they done to you? Why are you wanting to leave pro/con list What are the pros of leaving? What are the cons of leaving and nine times out of 10, the pros will be more. So, you know, work with your therapist, get a safety plan together, and then execute it and let your therapist know about it. So yep, absolutely. All right, kids. That is all we have time for you guys. Have a great week. I will answer questions on Wednesday. And then I will talk to you next week. Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to this podcast. You can always listen live on YouTube every week Sunday at noon, Arizona Mountain Standard Time. And if you want to find out more or listen to other episodes, you can go to Krisgodinez.com and if you have a chance, subscribe to this show on whatever podcast app you use and let other people know about. I want to thank my sponsor betterhelp.com. They are an online therapy company. Whether you are in the US or international. They will set you up with a qualified licensed therapist. PhD level or Master’s level. If you are interested in more information, go to betterhelp.com/krisgodinez.

You’ve been listening to the podcast version of We Need To Talk with Kris Godinez.

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