Bethany blogs at http://www.onlinelifecoaching.info , where she helps others to break from the script and find the courage to face their fears, realize their dreams, and reach their true potential. She offers e-courses as well as individual e-mail, chat, and Skype sessions on a sliding scale designed to fit any budget.
Forum Replies Created
December 22, 2016 at 7:49 am #123296
Yes, repeating patterns are usually a sign that something needs to be looked at. I used to be really drawn to people (as friends) who completely gushed over me at first. In my case, I was seeking validation from them, since I was unable to extend it to myself. But people gush because they want us to be a certain way, and when they see that we are human, that can lead to problems.
I second Anita’s suggestion to be curious. Ask open-ended questions. In fact, look back at the questions that Anita used with you, and ask similar ones in your conversations. She asked, “What do you mean when you say ___________?,” which is a question that I teach my coaching clients to use, actually. When you use it, using the other person’s exact words, it helps them to clarify and reflect on their reasons for saying what they do, and it helps you to better understand what they are saying and why. Our minds love to try and read between the lines, but this is simply making assumptions.
So be curious, and keep us posted!December 22, 2016 at 7:39 am #123294
First, please find some help for your suicidal thoughts. If mental health services are not available where you live, you can write to the Samaritans http://samaritan.org or use the Lifeline Online Chat http://chat.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx.
It sounds like the other posters can help you create a plan and find some direction. So don’t be afraid to do that. I changed direction completely when I was 35, and it was the best choice I ever made. Here is an article I wrote for Tiny Buddha about it: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/forget-should-and-live-the-life-you-want-to-live/
Hang in there, and keep us posted!
BethanyJune 24, 2016 at 6:18 pm #108158
What really got me was how much you attacked yourself in your original post. When you judge your actions like that, you lose out on the opportunity to really discover what is going on. You did what you did for a REASON. You were trying to get a need met. So ask yourself why you did and said those things. You are a good person. Let me repeat that: You are a good person. So your actions are not because you are inherently “bad.” Your mind needed something.
Whatever you decide to do with your relationship, you need to look inwardly first. Give your mind a chance to be heard–by you!–without judgment. Discover your reasons and patterns, and it might help your path to become more clear. This article that I wrote might actually help: http://www.onlinelifecoaching.info/blog/2015/7/8/overcome-your-fear-by-redefining-your-assumptions .
If you stay together, you need to open up communication. I could write a novel on strategies here, but the bottom line is that you need to have a frank discussion on WHY he cheated. I second Anita’s recommendation that you get some professional help to improve your communication styles and to break away from destructive patterns.
And, okay, his self-harm and suicidal tendencies need to be addressed. This is something that he NEEDS to get help with if you stay together, and you need to set some boundaries. For example, absolutely NO threats of suicide or self-harming during a fight. I know I’ve already put a link in here, but this might help as well (and rewriting it would be a novel!): http://archive.aweber.com/awlist3899232/M1Ra1/h/World_Suicide_Prevention_Day.htm
Well, hope that helps, and keep us posted! Most importantly, take care of yourself!
BethanyFebruary 28, 2016 at 10:39 am #97496
What really stood out for me was the lack of communication throughout the relationship. “he was going through some stuff so I just let it happen, figured he needed time.” Be careful about “figuring.” Ask questions, and keep the lines of communication open. It sounds like there were a lot of assumptions being made.
That being said, is it possible that you didn’t ask questions because you were afraid of the answers? Did you see yourself as an equal in the relationship? That is, did you think that you had a “right” to ask the questions?
However you feel now is fine. You are going through a grieving process, so be kind to yourself during it. Then, look at the relationship and see what you can learn. Our relationships tend to follow patterns and repeat common themes. Uncovering them and working through them is the way that we can rewrite the story.
Article that you might find helpful (I wish I had something on communication, but…alas….): http://www.onlinelifecoaching.info/blog/2015/8/19/6-reasons-why-loving-yourself-is-the-best-gift-you-can-give-your-partnerFebruary 28, 2016 at 6:43 am #97456
I have just read the entire thread here, and your post really resonated with my for a number of reasons. I went through the process of completely reinventing myself a few years ago, so I understand the fear, confusion, and challenges that can come with it. In my case, I left my teaching job of 10 years, signed my house over to the bank, and moved 1300 miles away to live on a sailboat!
A couple thoughts on your situation:
1. It’s okay to just work a job that pays the bills, while you take some time to recover and find your passion. Be patient, and even have fun with this process!
2. Don’t think of your next job as being “forever.” You don’t need to have one passion or one dream, and it can actually be more fun and rewarding to change, as your interests change. I thought I would love teaching forever, but it’s been exciting and rewarding to work on my coaching business, focus on sailing, and just go where the (metaphorical) wind takes me.
3. Focus on basic needs and stress management. You will weather this storm, and there really is no such thing as “failure.” Just choices, results, and learning by trial and error. Trust me, it is always possible to stand back up after falling down!
I’ve had so many readers and clients ask me about reinventing themselves, that I actually wrote a 6-part series about it on my blog, if you are interested. The posts are in order, so if you click on the link to the left at the bottom of the post (for this one, it will be “5 Thoughts that Stand Between You and Your Dreams” you will get to the next one. Here is the first in the series: http://www.onlinelifecoaching.info/blog/2015/10/11/re-inventing-yourself-101February 3, 2016 at 4:45 pm #94866
Mods: I tried to post this once and it didn’t show up. Please delete if it gets double-posted!
Hi Would Rain Drop,
I know that this post is old, but I feel compelled to respond anyway. I have been a special education teacher (as my “day job,” LOL) for 13 years, and I also have a daughter with autism. I have seen MANY former students go on to live happy lives, finding their niche and their talents.
My first question is, what do you know about your disability? Do you have a learning disability, cognitive/intellectual impairment, autism, emotional impairment/disturbance, etc? Those are all scary labels, but none of them are a big deal. But knowing what your challenges are can help you to find your place and your strengths.
My advice is for you to get to know YOUR mind. Know what you ARE good at, and know what you need in order to meet your goals. It sounds like you like music. Is it really a problem if it takes you longer to learn to play, if it is something you love? Would you do better with color-coded sheet music, or if someone could teach you to play by ear?
Having a disability does not have to be a road block. Things may look different for you, but if you do not judge them as being “bad,” then there is no problem.
Keep us posted!
http://onlinelifecoaching.infoSeptember 1, 2015 at 4:20 am #82654
I am 36 years old, and two years ago, I completely hit the “reset button” on my life. I had been living in a 4-bedroom house in the woods in northern Michigan, and I had been in the same teaching job for 10 years. I lived with my husband and daughter, who has autism.
We fell in love with sailing and began cruising in the summer. Then, after living aboard and sailing on the Great Lakes for 93 days, things completely fell apart at work. My husband and I realized that we were done with that situation, so we signed our house over to the bank, and moved 1300 miles away, to Houston. We took everything that would fit into our Volvo station wagon!
I found a teaching job down here, and we lived in an apartment for a year. Then we moved onto a 35 foot sailboat and moved into a marina. We are working toward cruising full-time, and I have started an online business (although I am still teaching right now).
A few things I learned:
1. Wherever you go, there you are. I had to do the most work on myself AFTER the move, because the same situation that happened up north, was happening in my new job. And there was only one common variable–me. Once I redefined all the limiting beliefs that were keeping me from setting boundaries and advocating for myself, my situation greatly improved.
2. There is never a “right time.” You’ll always find reasons to stay in your situation! But when you’re ready, just go for it.
3. “Failure” isn’t so bad. We learn by trial and error, and you will make mistakes. We ended up in a situation so tight that we needed help getting food, once. And we survived, and learned from it. Am I still glad we moved? Of course.
Good luck, and keep us posted!
BethanyAugust 4, 2015 at 7:39 am #81200
You’ve got some excellent advice from Anita, and I’m just going to add a bit to it. Accepting the emotion, calming yourself, and sitting with it are some great first steps. Nothing good will come from pushing an emotion away.
The next step is to realize that emotions come from thoughts. So what do you think is causing you the emotions? WHY do your ex’s words and actions upset you? His words can only show his thoughts and misunderstanding. They have no inherent meaning about you.
When you talk to your ex, make sure that you are asking open-ended questions. If he says something, ask him why he said it. Ask him what he means. If you can do this from a place of being calm, rather than defensive, you will be guiding him toward examining his own misunderstandings and his own reasons for doing and saying what he does. When you tell someone what you think in a situation like this, all they hear is that you are right and they are wrong, which causes the situation to escalate. When you are curious with him, you are guiding him to focus inwardly, which can cause him to reflect on his words–and can help you to see his misunderstandings and learn to depersonalize his words and actions.August 4, 2015 at 7:14 am #81195
Fear is your subconscious mind’s way of keeping you safe. Your mind’s job is to scan for possible threats and sound an alert if one is detected. You’ve probably heard this “alert” referred to as the fight-or-flight response. This response prepares a person to face the perceived threat, by increasing heart rate and breathing, and causing their thinking and awareness to become very focused (but also very limited, as finding and dealing with the perceived threat is all they are able to do).
The issue is that this response spirals. When a person is in fight-or-flight, their mind goes into overdrive, scanning for more threats. Soon the person experiences what you have described–a life that is nothing but fear.
So what is the way out of this spiral? I will share with you some of the steps that I help my clients to go through:
1. Calm your physiological reaction. When you notice the spiral, the first thing you need to do is calm down. Do a breathing exercise, yoga, meditation, prayer, or even take a walk. I strongly recommend (and use) a specific breathing technique and yoga nidra.
2. Make sure your basic needs are met. Hunger, thirst, and lack of sleep are all direct threats to survival, and they will worsen the fight-or-flight response, putting your mind on high alert. Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, and even research diets to help with anxiety. Drink lots of water, and get at least 8 hours of sleep. These things need to become non-negotiable.
3. Understand what is causing the alert. The threats your mind is detecting are based on PERCEIVED threats. It is a matter of perception. Figure out what it is that your mind thinks is the problem. Choose one fear and really look at it. For example, why are you afraid of letting anyone into your life? What are you afraid will happen? Why are you afraid of this? What is your answer based on? What evidence do you have that it should be true? And why?
4. Find and redefine the underlying assumption. Look at your answers to the questions above. What is it that your mind is assuming? Are there other possibilities? For example, if I were assuming that people will stab me in the back, and my “evidence” was that every friend I have had talked behind my back, shunned me from the group, etc…then I could look at other explanations. It is possible that I am drawn to people who are in fear, and my inability to establish boundaries led to them having these behaviors.
5. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Overcoming fear takes time. Redefining can take years, but you will notice that you are experiencing less fear each time you do it.August 4, 2015 at 6:58 am #81192
Have you considered that, when she was alive, she had a great deal of power over you? Look at all the things you did in your life in reaction to things she said and did. Look at all you did to try and gain her approval. And have you considered that doing these things was YOUR choice. YOU gave her this power over you.
So the question is WHY. What did her approval or disapproval mean to you? You would not have cared if you did not have self-doubts already. It is likely that you were seeking her approval as a way to validate yourself. Other people’s words and actions have no inherent meaning. All they can show is their own thought process–their own understanding (or misunderstanding!). It is our own minds that give the words meaning. If someone says something that feeds into a doubt that we already have about ourself, then our mind uses it as “evidence” for its own doubt.
Can you see now that it was never about her? Your only conflict was within yourself. And the way to “win” is for you to learn to see your own inherent value, so that you do not need to seek it from those around you. You do not need to forgive her, you need to love (and possibly forgive) yourself.July 30, 2015 at 8:24 am #80860
Medication can take the edge off, but the causes of anxiety and depression run a little bit deeper.
Let me explain a bit about the subconscious mind. Your mind’s job is to keep you safe. And in order to do this, it looks at what is going on to determine if there is a connection to a past perceived threat. If it sees even the smallest connection, it sounds an alert. This “alert” is the fight-or-flight response. It causes all kinds of stress hormones to be released, causing elevated heart rate and breathing, as well as limited problem-solving ability. It causes you to focus on detecting threats, and really nothing else.
Can you see how this relates to anxiety and paranoid thoughts? Depression also occurs as a result of this response. The stress hormones decrease your brain’s production of serotonin, and your body and mind just plain become tired from being on “high alert” all the time. The result can be depression.
Medication can help balance your brain chemistry, but the ultimate solution is to stop the mind from perceiving so many threats in the first place. It is important to note that your own thoughts can trigger the fight-or-flight response. Let me give you an example.
I had an emotionally abusive “friendship” when I was a teenager. I thought that my “friend” acted the way she did, because I was a bad person. Eventually, I did stick up for myself, but I found that my other relationships followed the same pattern. When my husband said anything that my mind perceived to be similar to what my “friend” had said, my mind went on high alert, because it detected a threat. Then I acted out of fear, and this actually led to the situation repeating itself, to a lesser degree.
The good news is that these misunderstandings, which the mind uses to perceive threats, can be redefined. I ended up redefining my assumption that my friend acted the way she did, because I was a bad person. I saw how she was trying to use her treatment of me as a way to feel better about herself, because she had doubts. It really had nothing to do with me. Then I redefined my assumption that my husband was trying to hurt me. I saw his insecurities, and I saw how my lack of establishing boundaries was allowing him (and my other friends) to walk all over me. By changing my internal thought patterns, I was able to change my external circumstances.
You mentioned counseling. I would STRONGLY recommend that you look into skill-based therapy, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy or Dialectic-Behavioral Therapy. I use a variant on these with my clients, and they have a great deal of success. This type of therapy will help you to identify and redefine assumptions and misunderstandings. It is very empowering. Redefining can take years, but you should notice some changes in your mood rather quickly.July 30, 2015 at 8:10 am #80856
Moving can be challenging, because you are alone with yourself. You are alone with your thoughts and emotions–including your fears and doubts. And relationships do evolve and change over time; sometimes this change can be difficult to experience and accept.
First, understand that close friendships take time to develop. Be patient with the process. What do you mean when you say that you are not receiving much emotional support from your family? I am also curious to see your answers to Anita’s questions.
You are keeping yourself distracted to avoid the loneliness, but distractions only work in the short term. Why do you think it is that you feel lonely? Are you having difficulty accepting the changes in your friendships? Do you need to allow yourself to grieve for your lost friendships? Are you expecting your new relationships to evolve faster than they are?
Also, look at your thoughts about yourself. Have you considered that you might be afraid that you are no longer YOU without the same connections you had in the past? Is it possible that you are afraid of who you are, underneath it all?
Instead of worrying about being positive, take a good, deep look at the negative. Emotions are caused by thoughts, and emotions that don’t feel good are often based on fear and misunderstandings. Use this time to focus on you, to take a look at your inner world.July 28, 2015 at 4:24 pm #80676
Emotions don’t make us weak, if we understand what they are. Emotions are caused by THOUGHTS, and thoughts are indications of our current understanding and perceptions. So if we experience unpleasant emotions, we should take a look at the thoughts behind them. Nearly all thoughts that don’t feel good are based on fear. And fear-based thoughts can be redefined. Here is an article that explains it a bit better: http://www.onlinetherapyandcoaching.org/blog/2015/7/8/overcome-your-fear-by-redefining-your-assumptions .
BethanyJuly 28, 2015 at 3:42 pm #80674
First off, let’s redefine the notion of “relapse.” To have a relapse would be to be going backwards in your growth, which can’t happen. Instead, think of it this way. Growth is a spiral, rather than a straight line. You’ve made some excellent progress, which you won’t lose. You have been able to stop harming yourself. If you feel the inclination to use your old habits again, it just means that you have even more growing to do. Does that make sense?
An eating disorder is an addiction. And addictions occur when the subconscious mind feels unsafe. Feeling unsafe can happen for a number of reasons–beating up on yourself, misunderstanding the intentions of those around you, etc. But what is basically happening is that a very primal part of your brain is detecting a threat. And when it detects that threat, it triggers the fight-or-flight response. This response is a desperate effort of the mind to find every possible threat, in order to keep you safe. It can be triggered by your mind’s understanding of external events, as well as self-destructive thoughts.
So where does the eating disorder fit into all of this? More than anything, it’s a distraction. It’s an effort to control SOMETHING, since your internal environment feels out of control. You lose weight, you feel good about that. And feeling “good” is a substitute for feeling safe.
Right now, with the changes in your life, your mind is feeling unsafe again. Limiting beliefs, thoughts, and insecurities are likely causing you to push others away and doubt yourself. You have just found a new layer that you need to undo. The inclinations that feel like “relapsing” are just your mind’s efforts to feel “good” since it can’t feel safe. That’s all.
Focus on taking care of yourself and meeting your basic needs. As the other posters have already suggested, find ways to relax and calm that fight-or-flight response. And I would recommend that you consider skill-based therapy, such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy. This would help you to learn new tools to help you redefine the doubts and limiting beliefs that you are experiencing. I use a variant of CBT with my clients, because it is very empowering.
Hang in there! This too shall pass.July 28, 2015 at 2:11 pm #80662
In-law situations are tricky. Without knowing the specifics of what you are going through, I do have a few thoughts that immediately came to mind:
1. It’s important to remember that there is no past–only memories with meaning attached to them. What you remember is not the entire picture of what happened. Nobody knows the entire picture. This may help you to accept that your in-laws had insecurities and misunderstandings. What they did or said was not personal, even if it seems like it was. Even if they THINK it was.
2. This is really just clarifying #1. Another person’s words can ONLY show their misunderstanding. Their words and actions have no inherent meaning about you. If you can understand this, then moving past their words and actions becomes easier.
3. So why were their words and actions triggering? Something is only a trigger if the person who is triggered has a doubt, fear, or insecurity that is being activated. If someone called me a bad parent, for example, it would not accept me if I were confident in my parenting abilities. I would just roll my eyes and think, “That person has issues!” But what if I doubted myself as a mother? Then their words would be “proving” this doubt to be true, so it would be very triggering.
4. Are you still in touch with them? If you are, I have a suggestion for communicating with them. Do more asking than telling. When you tell something to someone who is insecure, all they hear is that you are right and they are wrong. Instead. be curious with them. Ask open-ended questions. If they say something that is hurtful, ask them why they said it. This puts it back on them, to reflect on their words and the reasons they have for saying them. It may also help you see what is going on in their minds, so that you can depersonalize.
I hope that helps!