CPTSD and Social Awkwardness: Another Source of Isolation


For those of us who grew up with abuse and neglect at home, it can be hard to know how to ACT in social situations. Here's an example....

Have you ever been to a hotel where there is a person who is there to carry your bags, and even though you didn’t ask, they carry your bags to the room and it’s totally awkward, and you think “I’m supposed to give them a tip, right? I’ve, like seen this on TV. But you don’t have cash, and they’re just standing there," and you think, "What do I do? What do I say?" And instead of saying anything -- you just say "OK bye!" and shut the door. And then feel like a real A-hole. 

Or maybe you’re the person who carried the bags, and you you’re not really supposed to ask for the tip, and there’s some right amount of time to stand there... But if you have Childhood PTSD and you’re vulnerable to feeling shame and getting all dysregulated over this, just like the person who is supposed to give the tip, and then you get the door shut in your face. Now We’ve got two people on either side of this door, flooding with shame and not able to say a word!

This kind of awkwardness happens all the time. But for those of us who experienced trauma in childhood, the shame we feel in awkward social situations can make us collapse inside and want to flee AND isolate from all people for all time!

This is my third article and video in the Isolation series, and it’s all about social awkwardness and how to navigate it so we can more gracefully handle awkward situations, and avoid the need to isolate.                                                    

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Heck how about the middle school cafeteria.   Keep to the back of the lunch line..... Never go through the line and never eat..... Let everyone in front of you always and everywhere..... Do all you can to be as invisible as humanly possible (remember you aren’t a human, at least you aren’t in your own mind).... Basically don’t talk just watch for 17 years until Foster Care finally snatches you away from your siblings - another trauma..... Feel like a quasi-ferrel child (and your EEG probably is consistent with a quasi-ferrel child who’s in a state of constant temporal lobe epilepsy).... It’s a nightmare that Community Mental Health and most Child Welfare workers have no idea about.   This is the trauma that a lot of new mothers have to heal in order to avoid passing this to the next generation.  Good luck accomplishing that by just talking about ACEs. 

I’m glad I never had a kid and i never got pregnant.   I would have failed miserably. 

Last edited by Tina Cain
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