Forum Replies Created
September 27, 2023 at 2:03 pm #422547
“How could they be so heartless…?“- I asked a similar question in regard to my mother: how could she have no heart for me? And I too was in denial about it, believing that she did love me, she must have…
It was only this morning that I thought: I should contact her just to tell her that I love her too (I’ve been in no contact with her for 10 years, my choice). But then I said to myself: but she doesn’t love me and no amount of love on my part can make up for her lack of love for me; no amount of reaching out to her with love can bridge the chasm between me (my love for her) and her (lack of love for me).
“.. Why were they so selfish, making me feel utterly worthless and devoid of meaning?“- I no longer ask this question in regard to my mother, I am accepting the very sad but true reality that there is no love for me coming from her. It is a very difficult reality to accept, but moving on to a better reality (at least when it comes to my quality of life in between my ears) depends on accepting this. And not trying once again.. and again.. and again to change the unchangeable.
anitaSeptember 27, 2023 at 10:48 am #422542
You are welcome. “I believe I’m still in a state of denial“- can you define the state of denial for me, in one short sentence: what is it exactly that you are denying?
anitaSeptember 27, 2023 at 10:13 am #422540
“Also, thank you“- you are welcome!
“I have the game plan of what will help make me feel like a capable woman, but shorter term goals need to happen and I need to see value in myself right now… I know I have to feel good with myself while I work towards those long term goals and it just feels impossible to go 30-ish years feeling so insignificant and like a burden to suddenly loving myself. It’s the biggest void I’m trying to fill.“-
– a severe lack of self-worth is a huge void, a vacuum, and a very painful one. Like any vacuum, it quickly gets filled with whatever is around it. In this case, it gets filled with self-doubts, self-judgment, guilt and shame, and you find yourself occupied with these painful negative feelings.
Like other animals, our first, instinctual, most urgent need is to survive, and therefore, we instinctually focus on pain for the purpose of confronting what’s causing it (ex., an injury), healing it and stopping the pain. When an animal is experiencing significant or severe pain, it is not motivated to eat or sleep or mate, pain is the singular focus. Similarly, when a person experiences significant to severe emotional pain, the person’s focus is on the pain and what’s causing it; the person is not able to focus on something positive, such as the goal of becoming a capable woman.
You have a game plan to become a capable woman, having long-term goals that depend on short-term goals.. but these painful negative feelings are in the way: how can you feel like, and become a capable woman, if you are filled with self-doubts, judgment, guilt and shame? (I’ll get to it in a moment).
“you mentioned earlier in one of your posts that even after you moved out and met your external goals, that you still struggled with negative feelings“-
– you are probably referring to my sharing that at the age of 24, I flew across the world by myself- far, far away from my torment-filled relationship with my mother- ending up in New York City during Christmas time (talking about Christmas!), feeling HAPPY perhaps for the first time in my life, positive and hopeful. It was a magical time, a thrilling time. But then.. seeing all the magic, I felt sorry for my poor mother who so often complained about having had a miserable life, never traveling, never seeing the world.. I was filled with empathy for her (I cared too much for her) and guilt, so I arranged for her to fly and stay in NYC. Once she arrived- and even before she arrived- gone was the Magic and back was the Torment.
Imagine that you move out of your loud, chaotic home (as you described it), and find yourself living in a quiet, calm and peaceful home. At first, you enjoy the newness so much, it’s magical! But then, you think to yourself: my poor mother, my poor sister: they are living in a loud, chaotic home.. Oh, how they’d love living where I am now. And so, you invite them to live with you, and.. gone is the newness and back is the same old, same old loudness and chaos.
“If you don’t mind me asking, but did your work in therapy help build your self-worth and self-trust?“- (1) It helped having a person listen to me and talk to me respectfully. What a refreshing experience. (2) It helped having a person being curious about what I think and feel, a person caring about what’s happening in my heart and mind. Invisibility is what I was used to before. (It was like war was happening in my mind and heart day in and day out.. and no one noticed, or cared).
My mother used to conduct those Shaming Sessions against me, sessions she said I deserved: she would corner me and facing me, she would say out loud, very loudly, the most shaming words, humiliating me in any and every possible way she could think of. She’d shame me in one way, then figure that there was a better, more effective way to shame me, so she did, and she’d go about it enthusiastically. She was very creative that way, and very motivated. She wouldn’t stop shaming and guilt-tripping me, and hitting me (telling me that the only thing she liked about me was that I silently looked down at the floor when she hit me) until she ran out of words and breath. “Look what you did to me”, she’d say, looking at her hands, “you made my hands hurt” she’d say, referring to having hit me to the point that she felt pain in her hands.
I believed her and proceeded to lived a life that a bad, shameful, guilty person deserves. I was filled with severe self-worth-void, a vacuum filled with shame and guilt. Dissociated much of the time, wishing to die.. and feeling sorry for her, overwhelmed by empathy for her, and none for me. She was still- throughout all this- “the best mother in the world”, her words=> my words. She did buy me things, toys and clothes and my favorite cake, a chocolate marzipan cake.
Back to your question: “Did your work in therapy help build your self-worth and self-trust?“- it helped but it didn’t build my self-worth and self-trust. What helped me most has been better interactions with people in real-life and my daily participation in the forums of tiny buddha May 2015-Feb/March 2023, resumed recently, including my communication with you and this very post that I am about to submit to you, one I’ve been working on for 3-4 hours so far.
What I shared with you, those Shaming Sessions, I never shared about them the way I did with you this very morning. In the past, when I shared about my Torment with my mother, I was detached, dissociated and didn’t quite believe that it really happened and that it was that bad and I didn’t believe that.. she was the one at fault.
It took figuratively giving my mother the badness that belongs to her, so that I don’t carry it anymore within me. Removing that badness that filled the void, made it possible for a measure of self-worth and self-trust to take the space previously occupied by shame and guilt. I still feel empathy for my mother (with whom I had no contact for ten years), but I also feel empathy for myself. My sister contacted me six months ago, suggesting that I reconnect with my mother, telling me that she’s getting old, that she has “a lot of good in her”, and that she and admits having “made mistakes”. No elaboration on “mistakes”. I refused the suggestion.
The pain is still within me this morning, but it is my pain, not her pain. In other words, I now belong to myself and what is mine- is mine, not hers, not my mother’s. My life is not hers and it is not about her, not anymore.
You wrote in your most recent post: “it’s true that my mom and sister are struggling so much with their own issues that they are just incapable of giving me the energy and patience I need. I kind of feel like I’m not able to be a present daughter either right now, I’m struggling with my own issues“- their issues and your issues are not separate issues for as long as you are living with them and for as long as you care about them more than you care about yourself. Choose you over them, be number 1, own your life, make it your own.
anitaSeptember 26, 2023 at 12:15 pm #422518
I was happy to read your post on the day after you posted the above, more than 3 months ago, happy to read that you resolved the issue in your relationship by applying empathy, patience, persistence and wisdom, and the two of you growing together and becoming closer. Thank you for returning to your thread and sharing this!
anitaSeptember 26, 2023 at 11:17 am #422514
You are welcome. The following are my thoughts, understandings and impressions, correct or not- it is for you to decide. It may distress you to read or to consider what’s to follow, so please, be prepared, and you are welcome, of course, to read or not to read, to address and reply to any part, or not. My motivation is to help just a bit, I hope.
“My Dad and I were eating lunch one day and he suddenly said ‘Everything that comes out of your mouth is negative‘“-
– I know that it is not true that everything that comes out of your mouth is negative because you’ve been trying hard throughout your threads to state the positives, and you stated positives even without trying. Examples: first, original post, 4th sentence, Sept 2016: “I am happily married with a 5 year old son; we have our own house in a small town and a dog…“; Nov 2017: “My husband is in turn very loving and sensitive to my feelings“; Aug 2021 (addressed to me): “Thank you so much for your kind and supportive response“; July 2023: “ I actually have a pretty good life – happily married, employed, have a house, a wonderful son“; Sept 25, 2023 (your most recent post): “My parents… are having the time of their lives. For the most part, my Mother’s anxiety is a thing of the past, as is my father’s negativity“.
So, why (I am asking myself) did your father say that everything that comes out of your mouth is negative? The only reason I can think of is that he was angry at you, and therefore, he was- not empathetic- but rude to you.
“When I mentioned to my Mom that that bothered me, she said she agreed“- so both unempathetic toward you. I mean, if your mother was empathetic, she’d ask you (if she didn’t yet know) why you are so negative, or she’d apologize for instilling negativity in you (“they instilled it in me in the first place“, it being negativity).
“I get it, they’re trying to make me aware of how negative I am“- (1) they are not aware that you are already aware? (2) are they not aware that they instilled negativity in you; they think that you were born negative and it has nothing to do with them..?
“but I don’t respond well to ‘tough love’“- like the song says, “what’s love got to do with it?” A child is invested in seeing her parents in the most positive light; often, children (into adulthood) interpret their parents’ expressed anger and even abuse as “tough love”. (I say it’s tough.. but it’s not love).
“There are many reasons for my negativity – not only is it ingrained I’m me, but I’m unhappy at work. Every job I have ends up that way, because I’m easily stressed“- if negativity is ingrained in a person during childhood, it doesn’t disappear in the context of work, or adulthood. Negativity instilled in childhood is far reaching and it contaminates a variety of adult contexts.
“I’ve always had this silly vision of myself as a 50s housewife“- 1950s/ early 60s TV series do depict traditional homes as peaceful homes.
“A few years back I quit my job and took 2 months off. It was the happiest & healthiest I’ve felt since my maternity leave“- I had a happiest and healthiest 2-months off my anxiety and depression when I first left my mother and country and travelled to New York City during Christmas.. Magical. But then I got together with my mother in NYC and the magic turned to anxiety and depression.
“I resent that my parents are so happy & carefree, because I want it so badly for me, too“- happy, carefree, after a lifetime of stress? (I wonder if they are recently retired and are experiencing their own temporary Magic)
Currently, you are 42. In your previous threads you shared: “I.. battled anxiety and depression all my life… I have had severe anxiety and depression since I was a teenager” and in this thread: “I’ve had anxiety and depression all my life“.
Previously: “My Mother-in-law lives in a little cottage by the lake. Visiting her is one of my favorite things to do – she’s very calm and loving and loves to laugh. her sun porch and backyard bring such peace to me, I feel like I’m away from it all. It’s hard to leave. In a way I feel like I’m driving away from heaven, back into hell (the real world)“-
-your life growing up at home, with your parents was very stressful, unloving, no laughter… no peace.. hard to live in.. hell…?
“I don’t blame myself for their anxiety, nor do I blame them” (2023)- but you blame yourself for the anxiety they instilled in you?
“I have good relationships with my parents” (2016)- at what cost?
“Unfortunately, I’m doing the same thing with my son. I’m aware of it and I try to keep it in control, but I fear I’ve instilled it in a him. He has different triggers than I do, and he’s not nearly as anxious as I, but I see it” (July 2023)- is experiencing so much anxiety on your part, for so long, and passing it on to the next generation.. is it the cost/ the price to pay for you having good relationships with your parents, not rocking the boat with them?
“Is it okay to want to be happy?” (the title of this thread): it is okay to blame your parents (“I .. don’t blame them“) for what they are responsible for- for no other reason but so to remove the blame from yourself, to free yourself from guilt that doesn’t belong to you (“I have so much guilt… I feel like a horrible person“, July 10, 2023), .. Free yourself from unearned guilt, and you’ll free yourself from much of the anxiety and depression you’ve suffered from for so long.
Easier said than done, isn’t it?
anitaSeptember 26, 2023 at 9:01 am #422504
(1) I am all for (in most life circumstances) thinking before acting; planning and executing a plan instead of impulsively reacting. And I am all for thinking accurately and productively. So, never will I suggest to anyone (again, in most life circumstances) to abandon thinking and let emotion take over.
(2) I know that you are educated and very intelligent, therefore I am guessing that a lot of what I may write at any time, if you agree with it, it’s something you .. already know. But there are all kinds of knowing (1+1 is not always 2.. which is something you already know.. right?)
(3) The following are my thoughts, my impressions, not written in stone, and I am fine with you disagreeing and rejecting any or all of them:
“I feel like I wanna… feel the emotion instead of thinking it“-
– Feeling (being aware of) our emotions gives us valuable information for the purpose of accurate, productive thinking and/ or action. Behind every physical sensation and emotion, or a mix of emotions, there is a message: hunger=> I need to eat, I’ll pick up an apple from this tree and eat it, cold=> I need to get warm, I’ll find a sweater in the closet and put it on, anger=> I am facing danger, I need to protect myself, maybe fight, I’ll grab the bear spray, lonely=> I need to socialize, I’ll call a friend, Frustrated (title of your thread)=> I need to find clarity, I’ll start a thread on tiny buddha.
Let’s look at a sentence from your original post: “I find myself thinking a lot that a romantic companionship will be very beneficial to me in terms of my personal growth right now“- you are thinking that you might need a romantic companionship, you are not.. feeling the need for one? It is as if you are an object to yourself, as in thinking: romantic companionship will be beneficial for that person over there (Luna).
“Overall, I think it is a good way to try to understand people on a mental level in parallel with the emotional experience“- parallel lines never meet. Thinking and feeling need to meet. (I have a thing with words, sometimes- and this might be one of these times- I take them too literally).
“First relationships… can be constructive in terms of gaining social experience and a better understanding of people“- first relationships can be constructive to people, including to Luna, the person over there. Not.. I am lonely, or I am longing for love..
“First relationships often end up being a test before one really settles… I think of the first relationships as being a set of errors and trials typically (although there are success stories of those who settle in their first relationship!)“- (1) Many who settle in their first relationship are settled in misery too much of the time, (2) all relationships (first and last) are sets of errors and trials, there’s never a happily-ever-after, trouble-free relationship. (3) learning outside and within relationships is key to thoughtfully and wisely choosing the most compatible partner for a life together. A high level of compatibility is crucial for a relationship that is as free as possible from unnecessary problems and troubles.
I have more thoughts but I’ll wait to find out, if I will, what you are thinking about what I wrote so far, and if you’re interested in more of my thoughts.
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 7:07 pm #422498
Dear Luna: I will read and reply in about 11 hours from now.
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 7:04 pm #422497
Dear Kodi: I will read and reply to you in the morning (in about 11 hours from nw).
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 7:00 pm #422496
Having read your recent post, I am back to feeling optimistic. I know that you are a good person, and I think/ feel that he is too, and that being with you will be good for him, that he will mature in the context of a committed relationship with you. I am rooting for the two of you! I am curious to know what’s next…
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 12:44 pm #422480
I’ll add to the above: I tend to be suspicious of people, quick to look at/ see negatives, real or imagined, so be aware of this tendency of mine, as I am aware of it and trying to not let it cloud my view of the objective reality..
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 12:33 pm #422479
“He (love interest) said… ‘I don’t want him (his boyfriend) to do something crazy’…. he (love interest) said ‘I know him (his boyfriend), he wasn’t just making drama’.. He (love interest) said before he had had a girlfriend who threatened suicide after they broke up“-
– what if.. it is your love-interest who is into drama…?
When I read (yesterday) that your plan to support him financially while he studies medicine in Argentina, and then to move to Argentina, has been revived by your love interest (“He seemed to readily revive this plan“), I became concerned. I will try to explain: through your descriptions of your love-interest, I kind-of, sort-of.. fell in love with him a bit myself, but I don’t know him well. On the other hand, I know you way better from direct communication with you. So, I am taking a step back asking myself about his motivations and relationship history and what these could mean to you, if you invested so much in him. What do you think?
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 12:11 pm #422478
We communicated a bit back in Sept 2016, SEVEN years ago, in Nov-Dec 2017, and a bit in Aug 2021. In your four threads (the current dating July 2023), you shared that you have suffered from “severe anxiety and depression“, since you were a teenager, panic attacks, OCD, and your “biggest trigger has ALWAYS been the fear of severe illness”.
You “have tried everything through the years – many, many, medications (most of which I cannot tolerate) counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, supplements“, but no long-lasting improvement has occurred.
(the boldface in the following is my addition): “I’m utterly exhausted from all the fear, frustration, anger, depression, irritability, guilt – basically every negative emotion you can have. I don’t like my son to see me like this. I try so hard to turn the negatives into positives, but it seems that whenever I do, something goes wrong… There’s no reason for me to be so unhappy except that it runs in my family and I’m an introverted empath. I feel like a horrible person…. You are spot on about learning to worry about health issues from a parent. I don’t blame myself for their anxiety, nor do I blame them. Unfortunately, I’m doing the same thing with my son. I’m aware of it and I try to keep it in control, but I fear I’ve instilled it in a him. He has different triggers than I do, and he’s not nearly as anxious as I, but I see it“-
-seems to me that what happened was that as a child and teenager, you sort of drowned in your parents’ anxiety and you’ve been floundering ever since, struggling to come up to the surface of the water for air. Whenever you do get to the surface, something goes wrong and you go down under yet again.
I imagine that you cared for your parents a whole lot, being a very empathetic child, and it distressed you so much to see them anxious. Maybe you were afraid to lose them to what scared them so much, afraid to be left alone.
I wonder if any one of your parents still expresses their anxiety to you.. that would keep you under water, so to speak.
Do you relate to my drowning analogy? I would like to communicate with you about this more in depth, if you are reading this and willing.
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 11:54 am #422476
“He said before he had had a girlfriend who threatened suicide after they broke up“- in this sentence, He refers to your love-interest (not to his boyfriend).. I am not sure..?
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 11:28 am #422474
“I saw the change in her behavior for the past two months“- since July then. Back in April, she apologized to you for not coming to your home for dinner following her long flight back from India, and you understood and forgave her. Three months later, you twice invited her and her kid to your home, but she didn’t visit you. You suggested to bring your kid to her house and she said “either she was busy or her kid was sleeping“, and when you asked her directly why she was not visiting you in your home, she said “she is busy nowadays as her kid started kindergarten“, but “she has time to invite other friends and spend time with them“.
(1) I admire you for asking her directly why she didn’t visit your home. (2) I know how much it hurts you to be ignored and for others to be preferred over you. No one likes to be ignored etc., but it is particularly hurtful to you, and it so happens to be particularly hurtful when it happens to me, every time! For example, if an original member on the forums ignores my reply while answering another member who also replied, I feel hurt! But I try to talk sense to myself when it happens, trying to not take it to mean that.. I am less than the other replier/ less than other people. (3) Maybe she knows how sensitive you are to rejection.. and she feels uncomfortable around you, afraid that she will say or do something that will make you feel badly again, so she prefers to not spend time with you. Is this explanation possible, and if so, what do you feel about it?
anitaSeptember 25, 2023 at 10:45 am #422471
Anything particular happened to lead to this change in her behavior toward you (how long ago did she start ignoring you?).. Is this the friend you shared about recently, the one who returned from India and didn’t eat at your place?