Forum Replies Created
May 8, 2021 at 5:04 pm #379537
I think she didn’t do confrontation. She would shut down… it’s where I learned the behavior, I think.
She did relapse. Told me about it, then called her sponsor (after an absence of over two months), and started showing back up at Zoom meetings, once or twice a week. She never said much before, and that behavior still holds. She won’t ‘open up’ as I learned to do, very reticent and not forthcoming with much. I think she’ll stay there until she feels safe in opening up some. She isn’t ready to “drop the rock” yet.
She’s attended at least one in-person meeting locally, and is planning more. We’ll see. She did share these details at our meetings. Her abrupt relocation has elements of the so-called “geographical cure,” where you leave the mess behind and start fresh elsewhere. Only issue being, wherever you go, ‘there you are.’ Same person, same problems, new location. Just quit her job, threw some things in the car, and started driving West. She was still in contact with me along the way, and for awhile after she got there… then sent me a “dear John” email in early December. Didn’t hear from her for months, then she started with the Zoom meetings again. Makes it a point to greet our old ‘regulars’… everyone but me. So I’m definitely a problem of some kind for her. Not my problem now. I got the message, and am moving on. If she wants to get in contact, she knows how. I’m not holding my breath anymore.
I actually don’t really blame myself, not this time. I don’t see how I could have acted any differently, and stayed honest to myself and what I was feeling. Feels like a case of , ‘hey gave it my best, but it just didn’t work.’ I can live with that. it’s an honest failure, and a valuable lesson.May 8, 2021 at 9:32 am #379500
AND… I can’t tell you how much your support has meant to me, carrying me through one of the darker periods of my life.May 8, 2021 at 9:29 am #379499
Okay, this is bizarre. My browser started ‘refusing’ to post. I’ve typed several long-ish replies (don’t know any other kind 🙂 ) to your last two posts, and none of them “took.” Seems to be working now, though. We’ll try it again.
Thank you both for your thoughts and suggestions. TeaK, your take on things is pretty close. It *is* AA that cracked my shell and started drawing me out, and maybe that left me ‘vulnerable’ in a way to opening further… but too much , too soon, and in an inappropriate direction.
Time and distance are working their magic. I feel bad for ruining a friendship that was of mutual support, by trying to make it into something it was not. I regret depriving her of what was a source of support and encouragement (for a while, at least). She’s on the other side of the country, lonely (said as much while we were still talking), and I *could* have been there for her still, had I not shifted my thinking from supporting her to what I wanted instead.
I like your suggestion to examine exactly what I was feeling, and why I was so eager to reach out and make a connection. I do my best thinking this way, putting things “on paper” and going over it… helps keep me focused, and enables me go come back to where I was if I get off on a tangent. WHEN I get off on a tangent. 🙂
My mom was supportive… but silent in the face of stepfather’s words. If she had anything to say about it, she did so in private; I never saw it. I took her silence as agreement with what he was saying.
Wife is not really hostile, but the support is ‘selective,’ and control is an issue (lot of the criticism comes from that, not doing things the way she thinks I should, or going “overboard”); she has her issues, as I have mine. I’m coming to realize that it’s that ‘control’ that’s getting to me, along with the gunnysacking (bringing up the past to make a point in the present).
I think I *am* doing what you said: seeing myself with new, different eyes. They don’t see deeply or very far yet, but in time. Getting a much better sense of boundaries, of what’s acceptable and what isn’t, instead of just taking it all.
Anita, I couldn’t agree more with your take. With the perspective that a little distance is providing, I can see that it would almost certainly have been a bad outcome all around.
Too much, too soon. Need to crawl before walking, walk before running, run before sprinting. Maybe in time we can see about flying. Baby steps first. I’ll take this whole thing as a “fore-warned is fore-armed,” and be more on top of things if and as they develop.May 8, 2021 at 9:08 am #379498
Another test post, using FireFox after a re-start.May 8, 2021 at 9:02 am #379497
This is a test post. Replies have stopped “taking” using FireFox. Trying this with Chrome.May 6, 2021 at 9:48 am #379271
That seems an accurate picture, though the time scale is a bit skewed, which it would be without my providing a lot more detail.
Seems to fit together. I’ll have to work on assimilating that picture into my own and see where it takes me.
Funny you should bring up “… cut off from your emotions and gut feeling. Without it, we cannot know what we want, what’s good for us, or even what’s right or wrong. We can’t decide with our emotions being cut off.” I recently ran across this idea. Don’t remember what I was reading specifically (one of a pile of self-help books, dealing with emotions), and he cited case studies where specific areas of the brain had been damaged (pre-frontal cortex area, I think), and it left people almost emotionless. They found these people incapable of making almost any kind of decision, having no feeling about any of the options.
That’s a pretty good fit for how things ‘feel’ for me much of the time. I see something, a situation, say… and I think about it, and come up with a number of possible scenarios or reasons for it happening, or choices I could make… and there’s just no one that feels any more or less likely than any other. There’s no ‘gut hunch’… though I DO get that when troubleshooting electro-mechanical machinery – – never had a step-by-step procedure for diagnosing. Took in the ‘gestalt’ of what it was doing or not doing, and when it was occurring, and almost immediately, I’d know where to start looking, and it was always either dead-on, or very close to it. I’d “intuit” my diagnosis, or follow a ‘feeling’ or ‘hunch.’ Very rarely did I have to start at the beginning, and plod my way point by point until I found something wrong. It s the only area of my life where that happens.
Wonder if maybe this thing with my lady friend was a “jump-start” on getting back in touch with my feelings… Certainly feels like a dam bursting, or maybe like opening all the prison doors at once, with everything just rushing out and running wild.
I will think about what you’ve said, as it seems very close to my own subjective experience. Not sure how to go about that ‘getting in touch,’ but I’m sure there are plenty of places where I can find some direction with that.
Thank you again for your insights and direction. I do appreciate it a great deal.May 6, 2021 at 9:27 am #379269
Hi Anita… that seems an accurate enough summation. The old saw, “Marry in haste, repent at leisure” often comes to mind. It was an “impulse marriage;” just seemed like ‘the right thing to do’ at the moment. We were both out “in the world,” on our own, for the first time, and maybe the attraction was that of familiarity in new and at times stressful environments.
I just look back at who, what, and how I was at that time (which was a very confusing time as well), and I truly had no business being either in the Military OR getting married, to anyone. I don’t think I was truly qualified to make either decision informedly, in the way that a child cannot sign a legally binding contract.
We’ve been together for over fifty years. Met in the seventh grade; drifted apart and back together a bit… then clinched things with marriage. I can’t imagine what she saw in me… maybe a tractable “fixer-upper?”
I’m sad at the way my friendship with my AA ‘girlfriend’ ended. I’m also relieved that I didn’t have to look into my wife’s eyes, the woman I’ve shared almost all of my life with, ‘for richer or for poorer, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health’… and tell her that I was in love (or so I thought) with somebody else. I don’t think I could live with myself for doing that, assuming I worked up the resolve and courage to do so. I can’t knowingly inflict that kind of pain/harm on someone, just to buy my own (anticipated-but-not-assured) happiness. I also don’t think said ‘girlfriend’ would be happy with what was left afterwards, even had she been so inclined. Being wired the way I seem to be, I’d obsess over it, and I’m sure it would have overshadowed pretty much everything, ‘poisoning the waters.’ I’m told that nothing happens by mistake, and that things happen for a reason. Not sure I believe in that (willing to admit the possibility, given I don’t know everything), but it seems that it worked out for the best for the ‘girlfriend,’ for my wife, and most likely for me as well.
Had my wife not pursued me initially, I’d most likely be living alone now (assuming I was still alive at all, which I think is a generous assumption). I don’t think I’m “cut out” to mesh well with others. STILL far too self-absorbed, bouncing around in my own little world, which I have to be yanked out of if she wants my attention, for the most part. It’s just how I am, not a deliberate choice. It’s my “default state,” to use a programming term (not a programmer, just familiar with what goes into it). I can haul myself out of it, but it’s an effort of will, and requires steady attention. It’s “work,” not something that comes naturally. Also still far too apprehensive, and overly concerned with others’ opinion of me. People = anxiety, worry, stress, and masks. No people = me being content, puttering with some project, or sketching plans for some idea for another project, just doing whatever. No real worries, other than a generalized sense of uneasiness at interfacing with ‘the world.’
Not sure what this says about me, or what to do with it. AA says when I’m not sure, the best thing to do is nothing. Which is where I’m at. Finally fully realizing the degree of how discontented I am, and have been, but caught between the rock and hard place of loyalty -vs- personal happiness. I don’t hate her; I bear her no ill will for anything (we’re all trying to get through, and we all do what we think we have to do to do it – – you operate with what you know and what you have at the time), I wouldn’t want to see her hurt in any way, I’d help or support her in anything… but it still feels like two separate individuals, who happen to live in the same house… with a lot of shared history. Some good, some not so good. We function well enough as a couple; she’s strong where I’m not, and vice versa. Two partial people making up one effective whole one? Don’t know about such things; my area of native expertise runs more to things and systems than to people.
It’s far from an intolerable situation… I just know that much better is possible. I don’t know if a “start over” is possible at this late date… too much water under the bridge that would always be the 600 lb gorilla in the room. I could continue as is and it would be okay… just not great. Didn’t even know what ‘great’ was until I met “her,” and even that turns out to be more me projecting my desires *onto* her than anything else. Still… it did wake something up in me that I’m still looking at, trying to understand what is is… and what to do with it, if anything.
As ever, thank you for your time and your thoughtful replies!May 5, 2021 at 5:46 pm #379249
Okay… just wrote “The History of Western Civilization” in reply (I’m constitutionally incapable of just dashing off a quick, brief reply). Too much probably irrelevant detail… and also, upon skimming it, a whole lot of things that could pretty positively identify exactly who I am and who I’m talking about. Probably too much of that in here already.
In brief: Drinking was “weekend binge” variety. She joined in smoking pot, but only for a while, being basically a non-drinker. Alcoholism in her family, and she wanted no part of it. Were together like any civilian couple, as I worked on a Naval base and she locally. No at-sea or overseas duty.
It was she that pressed me to stop drinking in my 30’s, and I did so, but for ‘external’ reasons, not for me, because I thought I needed to.
The affairs started at less than one year married, and continued off and on for the first half of our approaching fifty year marriage. She did leave me once, for almost a year, but when it didn’t work out with him (he got violent, tore up the apartment in a fit of rage), I ‘rescued’ her from the situation. No affairs for years after that, but two more followed, one of them a long-term “friends with benefits” arrangement. I think she loved him, but he never asked her to be with him, so she settled for me. There’s a wonderful feeling for you: being settled for. Just like being the last one picked (technically not picked at all, just all that was left) for basketball in gym. Same feeling.
I think security, plus I am loyal to a fault to people/places/things, and unswervingly dedicated to those I’m loyal to. Something she does acknowledge and appreciate. I’m *very* good with my hands, and can fix or build anything, so having a live-in handyman is a real perk, too. I know she considers herself to be far more spiritually advanced than I am. And she’s probably right, for all I know.
I have trouble trusting my own judgement, because when I consider a situation, I see multiple possibilities for why it might be happening, and no one seems any more likely than any other to me. I seem to see possibilities that many don’t, and my perfectionist fear of being wrong prevents me from coming down on any one (legacy of dear ol’ stepdad). No trust in any choice, since I can’t decide which one to go with – – feels like flipping a coin.
That’s the nutshell version. Interested to see what *you* see!May 5, 2021 at 7:44 am #379229
It’s the “paste” function that doesn’t work here; the source of that ‘paste’ is not relevant. “Copy” simply places the highlighted text or image into temporary memory storage (“Clipboard”), and “Paste” dumps the content of the ‘clipboard’ into the active input field of a document or web page (such as this ‘reply to’ text entry box).
Hate to spin off on a technical tangent; it’s a little like my Zoom meetings, where the technology can interfere with the flow of a meeting sometimes: problems logging in, people forgetting to mute or unmute their microphones, frozen or choppy video, stuttering or slow audio (which ironically enough can sound like the speaker is pretty well sloshed 🙂 ), and other minor things that pop up.
Besides… it’s over. All I can do is be who I am, and the real sting for me is that this was the first time I tried to be fully and authentically who I am (or who I see myself to be), and to have that first foray end like this is disheartening. What I was surprised to learn from all this was the apparent depth of my desire for a clean start, to shed the baggage of my past. To be seen with fresh eyes that don’t also see all of the not-so-good things that happened in years past, as is the case with my current situation. When my wife looks at me, she sees more her idea of who I am, and a lot of past associations… sort of a composite image-over-time, not who I am right now. It’s tough to get past things when they keep getting brought up on a regular basis. There are things I’m trying to improve about myself and my behaviors, and when I frequently “get my nose rubbed in it,” it’s both irritating and engenders a feeling of “what’s the point, what’s the use?”
Of course, I know that the point, the use, is for me to improve myself *for* myself; improving myself for others is simply a by-product of that. Still… it feels like trying to swim with a scuba-diver’s lead weight belt on. Discouraging.
I don’t know… there were two brief moments with her (AA friend) in which I never felt so very close to another person; mutually understood and shared suffering was one moment (both of us perusing a “Do you think you have a drinking problem?” pamphlet, and “comparing notes” about the behaviors listed there (“I’ve done that…” “You have?? ME TOO!”), and it was a moment that I think lifted a guilty load from us both. The other… harder to describe, but extremely emotional – – for me, anyway. I wanted more of those moments, understandably enough, I think, especially since moments like that have been so lacking for me prior to them.
Enough wallowing. It’s done, and the only way I could have done anything differently would have been to do what I’ve always done: cobble up a new mask to fit this person, so I would be accepted (or at least, not rejected). If I need to be someone other than who I am to keep something going, then it’s not worth doing so, and is wasted effort. I’m slowly finding it easier to expose more of who I really am, the more I practice acceptance and mindfulness and read books geared towards such things (“Radical Acceptance” and similar/related). I don’t think either one of us was anywhere even near ready; in fact, my therapist was of the opinion that I had “dodged a bullet” when things unraveled. He’s probably right. And dwelling on what’s past is another thing I’ve always done… and it hasn’t served me well, so I’ll not dwell on it any further. I’ll “mine” it for lessons, and pack it away with other things I don’t want to forget… but also don’t want to ruminate over. Pointless rumination does nothing but prolong pain, and prevent healing. Thoughtful reflection and looking for lessons is a far more healthy and fruitful way to go, I think.
At any rate, I truly thank you both, Anita and TeaK (by the way… is that “Tee-Kay,” or “Teek,” like the wood? I’m guessing the former), for your perspectives and your thoughts, and just for being willing to help others.May 3, 2021 at 4:22 pm #379146
Well… just discovered that “paste” is not allowed in this forum. At least, *I* am not allowed to do so. Unless there’s some trick here that I’m must not aware of… Tried to paste the “goodbye” email here (a short paragraph), and it wouldn’t. Reloaded the page and tried again… still no. Then “Cut” the entire incomplete post, and tried to paste it back in… still no. Going to make it a bit problematic to enter texts / emails. Tedious at least. I’ll see if I can pick the most relevant ones and enter them manually.May 3, 2021 at 12:38 pm #379133
I’ll go through them and ‘clean them up’ as needed. But… I think she decided to ‘make the break’ shortly after she left the area… and was probably thinking about it even before then. After her relocation, here followed a long ‘silence’ which led me to believe that she was gone for good, and when I “bumped” her name back to the top of the texts list in my phone (where it had spent so much time – – found it depressing to see her name slipping lower and lower on that list) by sending a “miss you and hope you know what you’re doing” text… she answered. A few exchanges, ‘can we talk again?’, “yes, I’d like that…” then nothing again, and I tried to call (she was always telling me to call, and I did – – but not once did she pick up, and this time was no exception), left a brief message — again, nothing of consequence, ‘miss you, call me if you get the chance…’ and it was closely following that that I got the politely-worded C&D request. As I said, I’ll review them and see what getting them up here will entail. Never tried transferring a text from a phone to a PC. I’ve got three years’ worth of stuff… not sure how much of it would be relevant, or where I might start looking for “signs.” I’ll let you know. And I thank you for the offer!
Well, by “not anyone,” I meant ‘anyone special’ to her, not so much that I’m a nobody. Though you aren’t wrong about my very low self-esteem. Comes hand-in-hand with a lack of self-confidence, except in areas where I *know* I have expertise and knowledge acquired the hard way, then I’ll stand my ground – – but if I got into an argument with someone about what’s black and what’s white, if my ‘opponent’ were vehement enough, I’d actually start doubting myself; back up and review, to see if maybe I *am* mistaken somewhere. That self-assurance of “knowing what I know” is mostly absent.
I was a normal, happy kid until 8, when my mom grabbed us and split. The stepfather showed up not too much longer after that, and he was okay for maybe a couple of years, but gradually it became obvious that he didn’t think much of me at all (especially in comparison to *his* son). I don’t think he knew how to relate to a shy, quite, retreating, bookworm, sports-hating, not-very-active kid with little drive or ambition. *His* son, of course, was my polar opposite… a “proper” boy. He had a list of derogatory pet nicknames for me, and often expressed his opinion that I was never going anywhere in life, that I’d never amount to anything.
Eight years of that, coupled with the same amount of time as a social outsider in school and with few friends, and bingo: low self-esteem. Adding drugs and alcohol to the mix *did* make me feel better, but only for as long as the ‘high’ lasted, then I was back with a crash, looking forward to the next high… the only relief I knew. The only place I felt accepted. Never fit in in social situations (too apprehensive about appearing foolish or committing some gaffe or being rejected altogether). I was hyper-competent at work, but worked alone based in a van, driving all around New England. Did interface with my customers well enough (*they* loved me, anyway, as I put their needs before anything else, including my bosses desire to maximize profit by any means available, including theft and deception, which I flatly refused to go along with – – and suffered for it.) Also, those interactions were pretty superficial, centered around the equipment I worked on. Easy-peasy, provided it stayed there. So a lot of continued failure at “fitting in” or feeling comfortable anywhere also eroded my self-esteem, gradually convincing me that there was just something really wrong with *me.* And the longer it went on, and the more I remained distressed by social settings, the more cemented-in-place that conviction became.
No, we didn’t do any self-esteem work; anger came first, and there was a breakthrough in that area just before he had to leave. I think I can continue forward and make progress with that. Once I have a reasonably solid grip on that, that low self-opinion is next on the hit list.May 2, 2021 at 12:17 pm #379072
Thank you, both.
As far as signals that might have been missed… nothing I could directly see or hear. More in the nature if things being really one-sided. I feel most comfortable in emails and texts, where I can take the time I need to be sure I’m saying what I want to say, and she was a F2F or phone kind of girl. Any response I did get seemed straightforward enough, nothing that would cause me to wonder if there was more there than was being said. She’d ‘drop out’ for weeks at a time, with no replies to anything, then suddenly be ‘back’ and we’d be sending things back and forth, then it’d get quiet for a long time again. I’d always wonder if I had said something to offend her, or crossed some line – – frequently asked her to let me know if anything was making her uncomfortable so I could knock it off… no, no problems, she said. What contact there was was good… in-person at meetings was good… but she was always a little late in the door, and very quick to leave afterwards – – no “meeting before the meeting” or “meeting after the meeting,” except rarely. No spending time with me. I guess maybe her actual behavior was at odds with what she was saying… “mixed signals” I believe it’s called… so I kept trying, and eventually she just left the area altogether. Long stretch of no contact, and I was already mourning the loss, and one evening I sent a text just to bump her name back up to the top of the list in my phone, where it had been for so long. Absolutely was not expecting an answer… but I got one anyway! Back and forth a few more times, and then her sponsor texted me with the “cease and desist” request, which I have honored. I may be slow, and not be able to make sense of what I’m seeing all the time, but *that* came through loud and clear.
I feel really bad about all of it now. I started out just wanting to offer support and friendship, as she was getting none at home (he was being a real SOB about it), and I got the distinct impression that she didn’t have many friends. It was about her, and wanting to help her. Somewhere along the way, it shifted and became about me, and my feelings, and what I wanted. And then it went bad. Funny… even entering into things, I had this ‘small still voice’ that seemed to be saying that she’d be gone at some point, that this wouldn’t last… so I saved all her emails and texts, feeling that one day they’d be all I’d have left of her. I brood over whether to preserve them, or just delete them all and ‘move on.’ I just hate closing a door that there’s the chance might open again… goes against my nature. I’m not a bridge-burner, never have been. I’m loyal to a fault to people, places, and things; sheesh, I got teary over getting rid of an electric hand-mixer for a newer one, because it had fed our family for so many years, and it actually still worked… like throwing away a friend.
No, no anger at her loss – – I blame myself entirely for it. Nothing there but sadness and regret. Not her fault if I wasn’t ‘the one,’ or even anyone. I will certainly take your suggestion that I be more open and direct in my feelings, should I develop any. I’m not really looking… it found me, not the reverse. But should lightning strike twice… And that IS a good way to put it: I was ‘projecting’ my hopes and desires ‘onto’ her… entirely one-sided. Seeing what I wanted to see, and sweeping under the rug anything that was uncomfortable or just didn’t fit my little fantasy.
Can’t really work up much anger at the VA, either; I can understand why they want local patients to stay local – – imagine the nightmare logistics trying to keep track of who’s seeing who, across States and time zones and all. Plus, it would make billing a nightmare, I imagine (probably the main reason…) Again, just a huge feeling of loss. I hope I can continue to build on the foundation we created. He seemed to think I’d be fine if I continued on as I have been, and he was right far more often than he was wrong, so I’ll just keep going.
I know, I do know that; nobody can save anybody else (something else I was trying to do for her… and trying to love her into loving herself…) Only I can do what needs doing. Others can only point the way, offer viewpoints from an outside view, not emotionally involved, and suggestions as to what might help… but putting it into practice is entirely up to me. The old, “You can lead a horse to water…” I have to do the searching and examining and questioning – – nobody else can.
For the first time… I have chosen to sit with these difficult emotions, and let them run their course. Sometimes I feel like I can see why I worked to hard to choke off all emotions… but emotions have something to say. Killing the messenger and ignoring the message is not a very productive way to go through life, is it? I worked through much of this with my therapist before he left, and what’s left is basically ‘cleaning up’ from the initial mess, and focusing on inner child work. I didn’t link the feeling of being stalled with these consecutive losses (and the association with childhood losses). I’m glad you showed me that… it will help going forward.
Again, my sincere thanks to you both!April 30, 2021 at 12:31 pm #378991
Longest, hardest journey being the 18 inches from the head to the heart, or so I’m told.
I see how you connected the dots and filled in some areas, and it makes sense to me. I’m at a loss as to how to ‘connect to other people.’ It’s never been a deliberate act; it’s been more something that happens than it is any act of mine. Look how long it took for me to encounter my first real sense of connection…
And it’s worse than dropped off the radar. She surfaced, briefly… long enough to ensure that I got the message to back off and cease contact. “Cease and desist.” From her sponsor, not even from her directly. So it’s worse than simply disappearing. There’s always hope of a re-appearance when there’s a disappearance like that… now it seems unlikely in the extreme that there will be. Plus she’s on the other side of the country now. Seems the attraction was mostly if not entirely one-sided. Looking back, *now* I see signs that point to this… but I didn’t then (and still don’t now) trust my own ability to see such things and come up with an accurate picture of what the real situation is. So I just tried harder and continued to hope I managed to say the right thing in the right way at the right time… or something.
Makes sense to me – – that losing the two people I felt most connected to (whether that was an accurate assessment or not is immaterial) is leaving me feeling ‘lost and adrift.’ When I’ve been almost entirely focused on one thing for that long, and then that thing is suddenly gone, it leaves quite a void. One that I’m at a loss to fill immediately. That might be another reason I’m feeling stalled and disenchanted with AA: we met at our both of our first meetings — both ‘came in’ to the same meeting on the same night (thought I saw some meaning there… and maybe I did, but I also think maybe we’ve both done for one another all we were ‘meant’ to do.) My entire history with AA has also been my entire history with her… they’re inextricably entwined in my mind. Just feels like a completely different critter now.
I continue to go to meetings (via Zoom… I host three weekly meetings), and still see a number of the ‘old crowd’ from meetings, but there’s a lot I don’t see, and one in particular who I was very much looking forward to seeing again isn’t coming back at all; he died in December unexpectedly in his early forties, just like my Dad did. Jeez, I’m getting gun-shy at this point: seems every time there’s some degree of attachment – – they go away, one way or another. I know… nothing’s permanent, or even lasts very long, other than relatively. Still… to go most of my life without connection, and then in the space of 3 1/2 years to form three attachments, and lose them in that same length of time…. Maybe there’s a message there. How many times must one get burned before learning to not grasp that hot object?
Okay, I’m just bellyaching now. I guess all I can really do is put one foot in front of the other, continue with what AA has become for me, seek more secular alternatives to AA (either as a replacement for or in parallel with), and wait and see if another connection forms. For me, interactions with people are just that: interactions. Continued interactions just pile up; it’s rare that any sense of closeness or connection happens, and when it does, it’s never because of anything I consciously or deliberately do… it just happens, and then I really focus in on it. Hopefully I’ll get better at it, and not keep scaring people away. (Okay, that’s not fair; I scared only one away; another was transferred, and the other one died). Just seems like a lot of loss, all of the same kind, all at once. Strange and unhappy.
Thanks for your detailed and thoughtful reply… you always give me much to think about, and you also enable me to get a better overall view of things. I’m mostly too close to see a bigger picture, and you always manage to show that to me. It’s very much appreciated… thank you for taking the time.April 30, 2021 at 6:39 am #378967
Funny (or maybe not) that you mention the inner child. It’s precisely there that my life went from something I have wonderful memories of, to something dark and afraid, starting at about 10 years old or so… which has perpetuated to the present.
I just got a copy of “Home Coming” by John Bradshaw, which is inner child work. I intuited (which is how I do most of my serious ‘thinking’) that if childhood is where things went sideways, then that’s where I should at least *start* looking.
With my departed therapist, I’ve learned a few things about myself. My issues with hair trigger anger/outrage are a learned defensive response to anything which feels threatening, anything which is diminishing of me. When I was a little kid, I was powerless over pretty much everything; anger *feels* powerful, even if it isn’t. Better to feel angry and powerful than to feel afraid and powerless. Or so my childish unreason went. Worked well enough to get me through that I never “saw” any reason to change it (never got into the habit of self examination or questioning… just hanging on to get through the day).
It’s been a minor revelation thus far. I’m barely into it, and it feels like it was written specifically for me. I hope it keeps on like this!
I’ll certainly look up what you suggested; I like to cast a wide net when searching for help, and the more sources the better.
Thanks for your quick reply, it’s appreciated… and nice to hear from you again, as well.March 17, 2021 at 2:26 pm #376225
I think you can… but I also think it’s a long-term “trend” in thinking that brings it about.
The old “glass half empty or half full” thing: in actuality, it’s both, and neither. It can’t be half-empty without also being half-full. It’s which half you choose to focus on that makes the difference. I think that long-term, you can develop the tendency to go straight to the more positive outlook, rather than zooming right in on the negative one (which is what I do… then have to drag myself back out of it.) It’s a process, more than a destination, and it’s not an ‘overnight’ deal. Progress always seems to come slowly. Old AA aphorism: “If you walked ten miles into the woods, you’re going to have to walk ten miles to get out of the woods.” No quick fixes, but it is possible. I’ve met people who have done it, quite a few of them. Be persistent, and be patient with yourself.
Too… I think there’s “emotional happy,” and “outlook happy.” One is strictly emotional, and therefore entirely beyond our control, the other is mental, and is therefore controllable… to a degree. Influence might be a better word to use than control. You can’t control what you feel, only what action you take or do not take based on those feelings. You can’t really control what you think, either, beyond a certain degree. Try meditating – – you’ll soon find out that thoughts arise whether you want them to or not; the trick is to not “attach” to those thoughts and follow them wherever they go. No way to just turn them off. I like the analogy of surfing: it’s a choice to either paddle like mad and “catch” that wave and let it carry you away, or to just sit quietly and let the wave roll on by. So, emotionally happy? Maybe, maybe not. It’s a matter of chance and circumstances. You *do* have some ability to choose how you will perceive any given situation, though. Again, it’s a matter of perspective, on which half you choose to focus on.
Hope this was of some help… or at least made some sense. 🙂