Forum Replies Created
Thank you Anita. Currently I’m a little disregulated, but not hugely so. Earlier tonight, in the Purpose section, I wrote about a revelation I had involving the Ferris Bueller character Cameron Frye (not kidding). That revelation is key to why for a couple hours tonight I was doing better than I have in a month.
However, a little less than an hour ago, the guy downstairs came back home to his apartment. So there’s been some noises, and I tensed up and had trouble breathing freely. That makes sense, given I’ve been going through this for as long as I have. I haven’t of course gone to bed yet, so I’ll see what the experience is in a little bit.
I don’t have a big stuffed animal, but I do have a small plush kitty. I think I may have another pillow too–that could help.
I have issues crying in front of others as well. But sometimes I just can’t help it.
I play guitar also. It’s great that you feel that power in the music. Why do you have to stop? You’ll cry or become tremendously uncomfortable? I watched Fury Road recently for the first time, and I was in tears for over half the movie.
I’m so glad your parents taught you about real love. I’m rather envious actually :).
One of my longtime friends (he’s 39 now) was brought up strict Catholic, and his parents dictated to him that he couldn’t hang out with certain people or listen to certain music, etc. He was very much squelched emotionally. I don’t know if he was taught that certain thoughts were evil, but they aren’t evil–they’re merely thoughts. Or so I think.
It’s worth noting that I’m having to change nearly my whole lifestyle too–I would abuse alcohol a lot, and wake up with hangovers that would last the whole day, go to bed that night, and then get drunk again the following night. So I wasn’t really “living” beyond looking forward to getting drunk. Sure, I have some friends and would hang out with them occasionally, but I’d always find myself relieved that I’d get to get drunk that night.
But no longer. Alcohol is making me much more vulnerable to emotions, and the hangovers are disastrous when combined with panic. So I’m not drinking at all. I’m not an addict, which means I didn’t go through any withdrawal symptoms; however, not drinking and having such anxiety means I’m lonely and want to be comforted very very badly.
Granted, I’m seeing your post through my own lens, but it seems to me that he may want that close connection with you but is afraid of it. Has he ever mentioned anything about his life experiences that might give you a sense of what kind of emotions he deals with consistently?
Have you asked him why he doesn’t want to commit?
I like this post. I do think a balance can be achieved between rational (or “reason”) mind and emotion mind. DBT refers to the convergence of the two as “wise mind”.
I think it is very important to be aware of one’s feelings as well as one’s rational mind. Growing up I was told “don’t get all emotional”, and my dad modeled that instruction, so I was ashamed of my feelings as well. It’s worth noting here that my dad has no friends and isn’t happy. He’s so emotionally unavailable that he’s uncomfortable with just about anything except the joys of playing cards with his family.
You felt out of control because your Christian upbringing told you or modeled for you what? That you weren’t supposed to feel sexual attraction? I consider feelings as feelings–they simply “are”. Trying to deny a feeling generally leads to suffering, at least in me. Does that contribute to your low self-esteem do you think?
I can also relate to some of your other points: I too have gained weight (though I’ve lost a little recently due to emotional distress), and have no job. I’m 39 and have always had low self esteem.
This might be a personal question, but do you cry? I do, often (even when I’m not emotionally distressed). I didn’t use to, though. It wasn’t ok to cry growing up, and so I cried only after things got so pent up that it had to come out in an explosion. When I started becoming more open and sharing, in my early 30s, I noticed that I’d cry out of empathy.
Thanks for the post.
Sorry it’s taken so long to respond. I’ve had some crises going on. You may not even still check this. But I wanted to acknowledge that I read your reply, and respond. I myself don’t know about letters. I mean, I’ve been misinterpreted so many times via the written word that often I just want to give up and speak in person only. But I can’t really do that because it’s not feasible to do that in a very timely fashion when someone lives a ways away from me and/or doesn’t have time to meet.
I think a letter can be good if it’s simply impossible to hang out with him (due to his roadblocks, yours, or whomever’s). But so much is conveyed via body language, eye contact, posture etc that I think in-person is the way to go…if he’ll do it.
Hmm…when I was younger I can remember being liked by a girl I didn’t like. It was very uncomfortable, but I had to tell her so as not to unintentionally lead her on. But that seems not the case here, since he kept contacting you. I know I said this before, but it seems like he really wants connection with you, but is scared of it.
How are things going now with him?
Yeah I agree on the idea on experimenting if my soothing parent doesn’t work at times. After all, doing the exact same coping mechanism over and over again might be helpful but it might also get quite boring and less effective. I took a nap and I imagined my soothing dad guarding the apartment for me 🙂
I created a soothing parent last night–a version of my dad where he’s open and loving (my real dad’s not comfortable being open or loving, but he’s not stupid: he realizes how detrimental childhood was for me, and he’s certainly mellowed over the years). I imagined him sitting next to me outside in front of a green lawn, giving me a hug. I started bawling. I guess that means I picked a good soothing parent image, huh? 🙂
I also did have a polite and effective (from an interpersonal point of view) conversation with the downstairs neighbors. I told them I’m a light sleeper and haven’t been sleeping primarily because of doors opening and shutting (I wish the landlord would install felt or something on the doors to keep them from being loud, but *shrug*). They seemed amenable and friendly. They also have a nice cat.
Hey The Ruminant (great name btw),
A friend of mine teaches tapping techniques like that to at-risk youth as part of his job. I never gave it much thought, but I will now. I’ll take anything that works.
I think it’s ultimately the thought that precedes the arousal, but my thoughts are so automatic that the arousal happens before I’m able to cope. That said, my brain chemistry has been altered by the extremely detrimental childhood (I don’t remember ANY love whatsoever in the house, or soothing), so I certainly am very prone to arousal and disproportionate fear, and have been my entire life. I definitely think that the arousal, the fear, the fear of panic becomes the “prompting event” (in DBT-speak) rather than the noise itself. I haven’t tried cultivating a positive inner parent, but I need a soothing figure, so that sounds like an idea.
If only I could do the wall-to-wall carpeting. I really can’t because I live in an apartment building and can’t modify the apartment. I could do the drapes and the pillows though. I also just got a sleep mask (since I’ve been falling asleep late, the sun has been coming in through the blinds and hitting me in the face at 7:30am).
I think you may need to read my posts again. It’s far less about the noise and much more about my fear/panic about it and my being hypervigilant with my thoughts. I mean, I’m sitting here right now, hearing them talk downstairs (it’s 4pm EST), and I’m getting mildly triggered. They aren’t being excessively loud. I however am going to call my therapist and ask him if he thinks it’s appropriate to ask them to try shutting drawers and doors a bit more quietly–when I’m deep in fear thoughts/arousal, it can be difficult for me to know what a reasonable action is.
If it helps, my childhood trauma had to do with my dad and my sister clomping around the linoleum in the kitchen outside my room. My family would fight so often that I became scared of those footfalls and door-shuttings–I wished everyone would just leave me alone. So now I’m interpreting the noise as not merely noise but as a threat to me. Only there *is* no threat. In fact, there’s barely been a sound all evening. But they’ve made enough sounds late, at reasonable volumes (like shutting the bathroom and/or bedroom door), that I, in my hypervigilance, have worked myself into a tremendous amount of anxiety over it. I anticipate sounds, which produces far more suffering in me than the actual sounds (though the actual sounds serve as a sort of “confirmation” that my anticipation was right, even if the anticipation does not help me).
As an apartment-dweller, I really shouldn’t expect absolute quiet. I mean, *I* am not absolutely quiet. The people below me are simply living. So it’s my own hypervigilance, my own irrational fears, that are overtaking me. I practice things like breathing exercises and telling myself that there is no danger, I’m not at home when I was a kid…and it’s not my fault. I’m emotionally reacting to things based on old ways of thinking that were survival mechanisms growing up, but that no longer work and that now in fact cause me massive suffering.
I just spent about an hour making a list of things that I automatically think when hearing (or anticipating hearing) sounds from below. Then I make a list of reframing thoughts, thoughts I can replace the automatic thoughts with that are positive and accurate. The DBT book I have says to practice thought replacement coupled with relaxation techniques as often as I can. I’ve been doing it quite often, but I’ve also been mired in automatic thoughts, sometimes without even realizing I’m thinking them.
The automatic thoughts are easy, because I experienced so much hell, so much emotional abuse through the first 16 years of my life that the thoughts simply came as defense mechanisms. Was there fighting going on the vast majority of that time? Yes. Did my sister emotionally abuse me almost constantly for 16 years, while my parents didn’t know how to soothe me? Yes. So the thoughts and fears back then were justified.
They aren’t justified now. And yet I still think them. I’ve been countering as I said with positive thoughts and techniques, but I feel like I’m at the very bottom of an impossibly sheer and tall hill–I have no idea how I’m going to get through this.
And, if I moved somewhere else, who’s to say that I won’t run into a similar or worse issue?
As someone who is afraid of connection myself, I find myself empathizing with the guy you’re interested in being friends with. I of course don’t know you or him or what his motivations are. I think it’s good that he admitted to you that he’s afraid of you liking him–it seems to be an honest admission. Given he’s finding excuses to talk to you, it sounds like he is indeed interested in you at least as a friend. On the other hand, there could be something he doesn’t want to admit, as you say.
What do you think would happen if you simply asked him, “Is there something you’re afraid of?”? Do you think he’d run away and not speak to you again? I don’t know what his hangup is.
I don’t know how old you are, or how old he is. Perhaps it doesn’t matter. But when I was in my teens I couldn’t admit anything to anyone. Now that I’m a good deal older I find that I’m more forthcoming with how I am and/or what I feel.
So then, if he’s hiding from you or everyone, I would ask him about it. He does seem interested, but afraid. Ultimately, he is going to need to be the one to open up to you, if you’re trying and he’s afraid of trying.
I think it’s just fine to date in order to decide whether you like him or not. To me, that’s the point of dating–getting a feel for someone. Maybe it progresses past dating, maybe it doesn’t. But if you do want to put yourself out there, do it. Easier said than done of course, when you’ve got social anxiety issues and worry about being hurt or not being good enough for someone else.
I myself have avoided dating for longer than 5 years. Haven’t had a serious relationship in 12 years. I avoid doing things due to my feelings that I’m inadequate and will disappoint others or will be disappointed so what’s the point etc etc. I bring this up because facing the fear of being hurt or disappointing someone is the only way to master it. I know this intellectually myself; I just have a hard time getting my emotional self to believe me. I’m scared of dating. Which means I’m replying to your post to offer you some insights, but also to help myself 🙂
Is it possible for you to learn to tolerate the feelings of inadequacy and social anxiety, and be social as best you can anyway? You could practice being in social situations, take small steps like going to a coffee shop and just being around people–people who don’t have any expectation of you. Maybe you do this already?
As far as “going public” goes, that is something that comes after dating. If possible, try to focus on one aspect at a time. However, to address what your/his friends/family might think: there will very likely be intermixing. But what they think is ultimately not the point, even though it’s natural to have concerns about it. What *you* think of a relationship you’re in is the most important. Perhaps friends and family will support you and like him; perhaps they won’t. But the wise, supportive people in your life (if you have them) likely will not judge you for your choice of guy. I have a friend who has been through so many relationships where her boyfriend was destructive and traumatizing her–she’s in one such now. I do not judge her. I help her see how things are from my perspective, and work with her so that she might do what she needs to do. Long story short: good friends won’t throw you to the wolves based on your boyfriend choice.
I don’t think admitting you want a relationship is admitting weakness at all. Admitting that is, to me, strength. People are inherently social. Wanting to be love and be loved is natural. Why do you consider this a weakness, if you want to share?
How did you meet the guy who asked you on a date? I ask myself because I have a terrible time meeting people 😛
Hope this helps.
“you have flaws and as you become more accepting of others mistakes you will be more accepting of your own. For a normal non-narcissistic their self is the hardest person to love.”
Certainly agree with this. If I had a nickel for every time someone gave sage advice in an emotionally difficult situation yet was unable to take their own advice…This makes me think of the idea that doing nice things for people helps not only them but you. Sometimes I genuinely find this outpouring of wanting to do SOMEthing to help someone else or brighten their day. So it’s within me, this ability to care about others. Which I think, in turn, means I have the ability to love myself in the same way. It may just take practice. Lots of practice.
I am not going to have kids. So that part doesn’t apply to me. When I see a baby I might think of how cute they are, but I want nothing to do with their care because of my own stuff. Totally agree on the co-dependent part though. I’m aware of it, and it could very well be a mess. If I let it.
Yeah, I think that’s what I mean about loving myself and loving another. I guess I do love myself a bit; if I didn’t, I’d probably have ended my life. And your comments about parenthood are spot on–I don’t have my stuff together enough to have kids, and I really don’t want the responsibility (I also think of overpopulation and what kind of world kids are being raised in, but that’s a different discussion). The empathy thing is also spot on. The empathy shift is a good suggestion.
I confess I have not read anything but the original post on this thread. However, I’d like to offer my own take. I’ve listened to metal for over 25 years. First Metallica, Megadeth…then onto more extreme bands like Suffocation, Cannibal Corpse, Mayhem, Emperor, etc. I too have struggled with the lyrics–I love bands that are extreme in sound but aren’t about satanism or promote violence or things like that. I used to like bands that were violent lyrically. In fact, I’ve written and recorded songs myself that have violent lyrics…but to me, they don’t seem as violent as others because they are an expression of what I feel. It’s a release for me.
Or it least it has been. I say this because I went though a very hard time earlier this month, where I had a difficult time listening to anything that wasn’t positive. Dream Theater has helped me with that part–a progressive metal band that has lyrics like “To really feel the joy in life / You must suffer through the pain / When you surrender to the light / You can face the darkest days”. That portion really speaks to my inner soul. I love those lyrics. And yet in my lifetime I certainly have hearkened to lyrics about killing and death. Morbid Angel basically got me through high school, because I could express fantasies when listening to them instead of actually doing what was on my mind.
Anyway, the trials of this month have made me feel not so gung-ho about the lyrics I wrote before this month. I sometimes feel that extreme metal is me wallowing in pain. On the other hand, sometimes I feel as though it’s freedom.
I guess all I can say is that it varies with me. Perhaps the “healthy” parts of me want to hearken to the Dream Theater lyrics; but also perhaps, when I’m depressed or angry, the Suffocation/Morbid Angel lyrics are what speak to me most, though I don’t know if they help me.
Am I making any sense?