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Wednesday 18 May 2022

How Do You Handle Compliments?

I am reminded of my childhood when I get a compliment. I always thought that don't take compliments well, but it's actually more that I don't know how to respond to them. It takes a lifetime of unlearning what was ingrained at a young age. It's difficult to remember most of my childhood but sometimes I'm reminded. (Is that part of the CPTSD? I think so. More on triggers later.) I remember being called nasty names, sometimes words I didn't even know yet slut, whore, bitch, skank. I was told that I was stupid, useless, good for nothing, a waste of space, and it was implied that nobody cared about me.

I think that if there were any good times in my childhood I've never remembered them because of all the bad things that overshadowed them. Bad things that traumatize a child tend to create problems in the brain. A common term we use is "trauma brain". Think of a traumatized brain as a tree. A tree has a lot of branches that reach far and wide. Sometimes a tree's branch is broken by a strong wind or an object, and everything beyond that break is now gone. So when there are good times, sometimes they've been completely taken away by Trauma Brain. Trauma Brain decides what memories stay and which do not.

Sometimes memories can be remembered by triggers, good and bad.
Good Memory Trigger: passing a place on the highway that you went to with your grandparents after having accomplished something. They bought you ice cream and told you how proud of you they were.

Bad Memory Trigger: Receiving a compliment, I have to remind myself to say "thank you" because my Trauma Brain wants to automatically run away and hide or pretend it didn't happen or even tell the person that they didn't really mean it.

So I guess I'm asking, how does a one respond to compliments? I need to be taught the correct way to act.

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