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    Dear Anita,

    thank you so much for answering my question and relieving my confusion.  I am glad to learn that you have a satisfied feeling, that is a wonderful state of being.  I would also hate for you to feel I didn’t honour your efforts for me, not to mention the time it takes you.  I know I must also learn to accept your gifts without feeling guilty.

    We are on the same wavelength about not rushing, I will explain when I respond to your post in detail.  What I am now realising is that I am pretty lousy at explaining my inner world, as I think I’ve explained or expressed something to you, but I later realise that I haven’t.  So this is also showing me the necessity of going slower.  I would just ask you to please be patient with me and definitely ask me if you are not sure of what I mean.

    Thank you so much, Anita.



    Dear Anita,

    thank you so much for your efforts for me.  I have a question though, because you emphasised both the time you have taken, but also that I shouldn’t rush to respond.  Somewhere in here I am confused to know quite how to understand you because I don’t know if I feel an undercurrent of annoyance you haven’t expressed, or just my own embarrassment and some guilt at your investment of so much of your free time for me.  I am not sure if you are feeling that I generally/often do not read your posts carefully enough, so that you perhaps spend many hours with the feeling that I may only “fly over” your text?  Or am I just imagining all this?  Sorry if I’m just confused but I would appreciate feeling free of this confusion, thank you.



    Dear Anita,

    I am so glad you like what I said about looking in the mirror, please do print it out!  I sincerely mean it because I believe that your actions demonstrate the qualities we associate with angels, especially your patience, understanding, and above all being there.

    I have actually been taking a rest, thank you.  I have been physically resting all day and not engaging with those subjects.  I did a lot of gardening the past two days which was also tiring, but having read Cat’s thread, I suppose it is like having eaten too much at one meal and the digestion is troublesome.  I am hoping that I will feel better again in the morning.  I should be at least physically rested.  I also made myself my favourite comfort food today, “aloo paratha”, that is Indian pan bread, stuffed with a spicy potato mixture.  (I may have eaten a little too much of this too!!)

    I felt so much sadness this evening and normally I don’t tell anyone how I am feeling but it did me good to tell you.  I think that my last post is also representative of the issue I feel I need help with; I know I have still a lot to work through and become aware of, also make changes, but at the same time I need to tend to my garden because it does me so much good, also my other creative things, also my housework, also finally begin a new business … and then comes the question of how to manage all these different things.  I see that Cat managed despite some very difficult personal issues, so it must be possible, but the answer to this question seems like something just out of my reach.

    Could we talk about it in the next days perhaps?  I hope you know what I mean.  I read where Cat wrote that the thought of filling out a calendar with all the things she had to do made her feel powerless (to this effect, I can’t search for the precise quote now).  I have this feeling.  I used to be amazingly well organised, all my life really, super self-discipline even as a small child.  This problem arose with the depression.  I am a lot better already, consciously and consistently continuing to conquer all the stray areas of my life, and my garden, but I feel that I would benefit from some support in assessing priorities, and also receiving some confirmation that I am going the right way and will reach my goal of feeling peaceful and being financially independent again.  I guess I lost a lot of self-confidence because of my husband’s behaviour and my subsequent depression.  I haven’t ever had another problem with feeling foggy around him by the way.  Isn’t that wonderful?!  I so just needed to get clear on how to understand his character, and the therapist confused me a lot here too, but now it is actually quite easy for me to deal with him.  How things can change!

    I am too tired to take in any new information now anyway, but I would really appreciate being able to talk these things through with you in the next days because I know that precisely a plan of how to integrate change and yet build on stability in my everyday life responsibilities is what I have been seeking for some years now.  I don’t need instant results, I just need to know how to find that balance.  If you google “Linda Garland Mystical Sapphire greeting card” you will see the picture I have here which represents maintaining balance in my life to me (a lady in a blue dress with peacock feathers around her head).





    Dear Anita,

    I hope you are well?   I still haven’t posted what I was intending to because I think I bit off a bit more than I can chew.

    I am still not feeling very well because of the heat, but also because I am trying to process all that I have become aware of recently, in addition to the realisations due to our recent communications.  I will try to explain …

    A few days ago I happened to notice your conversations with another participant, Cat, for the first time.  I noticed some familiar themes and ended up reading through all of your posts.  I was very saddened to read of the pain that both of you have gone through in your lives, I am very sorry you have been through such terrible times, yet I would also like to say that despite all the darkness you have experienced and survived, a radiant beauty emanates from the writings of each of you.  I was also very glad to read that Cat has been able to make such progress during your exchange.

    Obviously reading a lot of information has left me with a lot of information to digest, which isn’t usually a problem for me if it is just information, but there were many things which resonated with me, and also explained a lot for me.  In a lot of ways it was like being able to be more of an observer at a distance of what my own childhood and youth must have looked like to an observer.

    I think that is why I have been so sad in the last days and am having to cry now and let it all out.  I keep telling myself that I am making progress and have to see how far I have come, how much I have survived, but at the same time it is just so damn painful and sad to have already used up so many years of my life already, and to be still stuck at figuring out the basics!

    I want to read again through all the posts between you and Cat so that I can make notes and try to deepen my understanding.  I can see many similarities and it has also left me feeling quite stunned to have this experience of looking in on my own life, I think I’m needing a lot of energy just to process this.  I’m so exhausted, I’m literally dragging myself around to fulfil my duties.

    I am at once overcome with a sadness of such proportions, it feels as if I could never get to the end of all the tears I would have to cry.  And at the same time following Cat’s progress has given me such hope, because I have been looking for a long time for a help to find a way to combine continuing to heal with living an independent life.  So far I was too overwhelmed to be able to figure out the steps.  As ridiculous as that sounds, it has felt to me for a long time now just as you described in one post, a feeling of such confusion that you can’t even see/figure out what you need to do.  Sometimes I feel as if my brain is too foggy to figure out things, things that any normal adult does without thinking.  Things I used to do without thinking.

    One thing which is particularly noticeable for me is that Cat is able to describe her feelings and the emotional/mental situations very well.  I have had the feeling for a long time that many things which live within me are without words.  Reading Cat’s descriptions proved this to me, but also gives me words for my own similar experiences.  I have tried to explain this to various people of the years, including therapists, but no-one understood at all because they see me as expressing myself.  But I couldn’t express some things which were within me and needed to be expressed.

    I think you will probably be wondering, so I would just like to say that I don’t have symptoms of Borderline or manic depression.  I had the only depression of my adult life in the last 2 years but it was clearly linked to my marriage problems.  I am not sure if I’m explaining myself clearly, but the common issues I see reflected are to do with beginning to understand both the structure which I grew up in, and the way it affected my behaviour and choices.  I find both your posts so helpful, Cat’s because she gives that silently suffering part of me words – I don’t know if you can imagine how that feels after 50+ years to finally be able to verbalise your own feelings?  It is immense.  And your posts are so helpful because I begin to see a pattern, and I also hope I can thus make changes.

    I hope you are able to follow me.  I am a bit emotional right now.  The thing I was meaning to write about before is that I realised when I read your post of 7th July (11.06 am), I was a bit confused for a minute.  I wondered why you would say I should be discerning and self-disciplined, as I would normally have said I am both.  But I said to myself that you obviously intend to explain me something, so I reconsidered my situation, asking myself what you could mean.  Then I realised that I did not act in a discerning manner and was indeed impulsive.  I know that my basic character is usually not impulsive enough, so I wondered about this and then realised the following:

    I was very sad and depressed at the beginning of the year.  I knew I needed help so I looked for a therapist.  I think she helped me in some ways, but I also think she misunderstood some things about me.  It probably didn’t help that we had to do some sessions online and the connection was really bad.  However, before lockdown she had told me I had social anxiety and I believed her.  It wasn’t until I decided to get myself a book on CBT for social anxiety that I realised I definitely do not have it.  I think one of the reasons is because I described how I felt after the first visit I had to my neighbours, (of the weeds and witches issue) some time in the new year.  I came home feeling ill.  I do not feel well with people who are totally drunk in daytime (night time neither, but daytime is extreme to my mind).  I also do not feel well where the men and women are segregated and the only thing the women do is to gossip about every single person they know.  I am not this kind of person.  I also felt the woman I was sitting next to, to be very bitchy and unfriendly.  Altogether, I did not want to go back.

    However, when I described this to my therapist, she interpreted this as having social anxiety.  I interpret this as having social standards and I should have said so!  There is this theme of me not being able to speak things out sometimes.  This therapist never spent any time asking questions to get a general background understanding of my situation, so I think this haphazard approach was not helpful in my case.  I have nevertheless felt very guilty to tell her that I don’t want to continue and have delayed informing her of this.

    When I read your posts to Cat, I began to understand more deeply that my behaviour with many people in my life has been marked by this failure to understand that they are not the saviours which my inner child is seeking.  This is SO good to begin to get this clear, but also very exhausting.

    I realise now that my attitude towards my therapist was also that “she must know” and would be my saviour.  Therefore I started to try and force myself to have more contact with my neighbours and to be more open to relations with people more quickly (like the acquaintance re. the plants).  I see that this “order” of hers meant that I went straight ahead instead of having my usual filters in place.  I was confused as to why I should become friends with people who clearly had some very basic opposing values and could never feel really sincere with them, which makes me feel very uncomfortable.

    Before beginning posting on TinyBuddha I had already started to feel better by trying to go back to listening to my own common sense and what felt right, but that fear that I would be failing in human relationships was instilled in me by that therapist and has caused me to be careless.  Though I can also now understand that my childhood was the real prototype for this kind of behaviour anyway.

    I am very sad about my life, looking back.  Our recent sharing about lyrics and poetry felt so healing to me.  I started writing poetry when I was five years old and learned German by translating 18th and 19th century poetry.  I stopped for a long time because I had no-one to talk to.  I did meet a man when I had just turned twelve and we would speak about Sartre and Jung and all the things I was reading and thinking about, he offered me some intellectual exchange which my parents and school couldn’t.  However, it turned out that he was grooming me.  My parents sent me to him on holiday.  He was married but his wife had no idea.  I really liked her and was very conflicted not to be able to tell her.  He only touched me once and never dared do it again as I reacted defensively and told his brother-in-law.  But it ruined the pleasure of being able to share my thoughts and I have never found anyone else since.  Or perhaps not dared to look.  I just find that most people don’t want to look that deep.  Which is okay for them of course.  Just leaves me very lonely.

    Oh Anita, I have rambled on a bit here.  I am so glad that I can write to you, more than words can say, and I will close by saying that you may not believe in angels, but if you want to see one, look in the mirror.




    Hi Brandy,

    thank you for your good wishes, I very much appreciate your kindness.



    Dear Anita,

    I am glad to read that you like the poem by Rilke.  I adore a lot of his work.  I never cease to find it amazing how much wisdom and depth of insight he manages to fit into very few words.  I realise in reading his poetry that he must have been a very accomplished philosophical thinker.  He had a pretty difficult life, certainly a very difficult childhood.

    I feel big tugs at my heart strings when I read of your loneliness in the past.  It makes me very sad that you lived unheard for a long time.  How terrible for you, it must have been a very desolate time for you and I am truly sorry, but therefore also very, very happy to know you have a good life now, which I believe from reading your posts.

    Do you know, I used to do the same thing too, talking to the stars and wishing on them.  I could only see a strip of sky from my bedroom window and I found their twinkling very comforting and always sang “When you wish upon a star” to myself.  The words filled me with hope:

    When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are
    Anything your heart desires will come to you
    If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme
    When you wish upon a star as dreamers do

    Fate is kind
    She brings to those to love
    The sweet fulfilment of their secret longing

    Like a bolt out of the blue, fate steps in and sees you through
    When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true     

    I clung on to the hope that my life would get better one day because of the words “makes no difference who you are”, so I thought, even I can have hope.  Maybe the hosts of angels were listening to both of us after all!

    The Rilke poem you quote about being too small is called “I am too alone in this world”, and he says

    I am too alone in this world, yet not alone enough to honour every passing hour.

    I am too unimportant in this world, yet not small enough to be able to appear to you as a mere object, dark and clever.

    It is of course true that he himself uses words, though in “I have a deep dread of the spoken word”, what he is actually referring to is how he sees the development of humanity (at least where he lived) towards a very mental, superficial nature, not connected to the real world in a sense of what I believe we would call mindfulness today.  So he is saying that people think they are so smart, yet they have no real contact with “life”, the life in all things, which he experiences as hearing a song emitted from all life.  How much further humanity has strayed since then, yet in some ways I feel there is a new awakening on a much wider scale, which gives me hope.

    I very much enjoy sharing about Rilke with you, but I must now go and fulfil a myriad household duties so I will have to delay writing about my piecing together of my puzzle until tomorrow.  My time is rather short, and exacerbated by the heatwave we are having, which makes me feel so tired (and not like having to do all those things!)



    Dear Brandy,

    I am sorry, I hadn’t seen your post before.  Thank you for your kind words of support.  It seems like a big step to imagine that I can visit that place of perfect peace any time I like, so thank you for making me aware of that.  I didn’t actually realise I was doing a mindfulness practise, to be honest, but I can see that now and it is very comforting to know I can build on that experience.  I just hope my visits to the trauma world decrease ever more and I spend increasing amounts of time in the peace world.

    Thank you for your confirmation of my best attitude towards my neighbour.  If I’d only listened to my intuition in the first place, I wouldn’t have got into that mess, but it’s certainly taught me the value of listening.



    You are welcome, glad you like it.


    Dear Anita,

    thank you for your very down-to-earth advice and I especially thank you for being so patient with me and taking me step by step through this process.  By doing so a lot of small puzzle pieces are suddenly coming together.  I will try to summarise them tomorrow and post them.  Ever more confusion is dissolving and a clear picture is beginning to emerge.

    I have translated you a poem here which I really like (much better in the original but you will get the meaning I think) from Rainer Maria Rilke.  I like a lot of his poems but very few are translated into English unfortunately.  I hope you enjoy it too.

    I wish you a lovely day.


    I have a deep dread of the spoken word

    They pronounce every word so clearly

    So this is “dog” and this is “house”

    And here is the beginning, and the end is over there.

    I fear their real intentions, their games of irony

    They know all that has ever been or ever will be

    To them no mountain is sacred, no,

    Their garden and property border right next to God.

    I always feel the urge to give warning and defend myself: stay away.

    I love hearing the songs that all things sing.

    But then they touch them and render them stiff and silent.

    They kill the life out of everything.



    Dear Anita,

    thank you for complementing my descriptive writing.  I’m beginning to think I should try to practise descriptive writing more often, but it only arises within me when I feel inspired.  That’s how I used to write poetry but the inspiration left me many years ago.

    For me the sense of peace has to do both with living in a peaceful place but also with feeling I can set down roots.  This situation with the neighbours made me feel wobbly again but I know it is best to stay here, both because it is very far away from my family but also simply for the sense of stability and continuity in my life as I have lived here for over 18 months now.  I will keep working in my garden in the mornings, that is always a time when I can feel the peaceful effect nature has upon me.

    I had to cry when I read that you encourage me to practise saying No.  That is so kind and supportive of you, thank you.  I begin to realise that this is a deep inner wound.  The irony is that I am such an advocate of human rights, yet barely believe in my own right to have rights!  Thank you for your generosity and for supporting me to heal.

    Portulac: it tastes delicious, I just love eating it as it is very fresh and crunchy as a salad.  It is also very healthy.  It beats me why that should be witchy, but as I said, I’ve discovered that I am living in a very backward area and everything which is not normal is suspicious.  And apparently eating “weeds” counts as highly suspicious.  I guess because herbs are associated with witches and they don’t know it’s a succulent vegetable and not an herb.

    The dowsing: it’s like this, I used to know people who dowsed regularly but although I once tried using their instruments I just found it very irritating (I’m too impatient) and not concrete and clear enough for me.  Sometimes yes was suddenly no when I asked again, so I just left it.  I wasn’t really interested either.  Then, fast forward several years, I was living for a year on the road, travelling with my pets and husband in a caravan.  My dog became very ill and we were in the middle of nowhere.  I wondered what the hell to do.  I had homeopathic medicines with me as our little first aid kit because I’ve been using them for about 30 years now (they have a much longer tradition in Europe) but I didn’t know what was actually wrong with the dog.  Then it occurred to me that I could try dowsing.  I thought I have nothing to lose.  I didn’t have a pendulum to hand of course, so I dug around in my jewellery box and figured the cross I’d recently bought as a souvenir would do.  It isn’t a crucifix, it’s white with four equal sides and decorated with clover leaves.  So I tried it on some string, gave the dog the tested medicine and was amazed and relieved that she began to quickly recover.  Therefore I’ve used this for my pets ever since.  I never use it for anything else because I think with the pets I’ve got nothing to lose as I can’t talk to them but otherwise dowsing is not for me because I still don’t think it’s that reliable tbh.  Maybe for others but not for me.

    I only have to dowse if my pets are ill, so normally 3 or 4 times per year as they are usually very healthy (read: very fussed over!) and I certainly don’t stand in the garden to do it!  LOL!  The thing with the neighbour happened because the man came with some eggs for me and he said he was ill and getting a bad fever and had tummy ache.  I had just been dowsing for my cat because as you know, she wasn’t well for a long time after her operation, and so I said I could test for him whether it was just a simple bug or a worse infection.  I could kick myself now for having even said it.  I have never dowsed for anyone before; I don’t know what came over me.  I think it was this bloody damn blasted people-pleasing and feeling bloody damn blasted guilty that he came over to bring me eggs when he was feeling ill  (even though I hadn’t asked for them and kept telling him I hardly ever eat eggs.  Aaarrrghhhh!!!!! )

    I do of course know that the local religion is Catholicism but I didn’t think it was such a big deal in the 21st century.  But evidently it was when he saw the cross.  I tried to explain it was just because I didn’t have anything else.  Using it so seldom, it didn’t seem worth buying a proper pendulum, and the cross doesn’t mean anything to me in a religious context.  It’s just the right bloody weight, that’s it.  I only tested for one medicine which I know you need if it is a bad infection and it was positive.  He was taken into hospital the next day with gallbladder inflammation and blood poisoning.

    So that’s the real dowsing story …  the man’s wife, when she told my friend, was making out I’d been using the cross like a religious object and saying incantations.  All total imagined nonsense.   I was all of one minute at the most and didn’t say anything.

    The thing that makes me angry is the woman’s vindictiveness and painting me – literally – black, as in black magic yet I was only trying to help him.  I think she may also be jealous as my friend now told me that when I am not there he jokes that he will try and get me in bed.  He’s about 15 years older than me.  I am not interested and have certainly not shown any interest but you never know what may be going on with their marriage.  Although it should be obvious as I’m easily 30 cm taller than he is.  He also offered me money if I were to be in need and I think his wife got wind of this.  I naturally refused and I don’t often go there either, I just tried to maintain a friendly but not too close contact.  Unsuccessfully.

    As far as this whole situation is concerned, I see that my part is to learn to speak things out, even if it might be uncomfortable.  So I think it would have not become so complicated if I’d said to the man months ago in an irritated tone that it annoys me that he’s always asking if I’m missing anything as a woman living alone, and all the insinuations and told him to bloody stop asking.  I was trying to be polite and friendly and keep the peace.  I am beginning to understand that being forthright and setting uncomfortable boundaries is a lot better in the long run.

    In my search for peace, I think that the issue of peace has a lot to do with my early childhood.  I have very chaotic and disturbing memories.  When my mother wasn’t raging (when we were alone with her) then she was regularly screaming and crying and trying to commit suicide when my father was there.  It was always very dramatic and I felt very sorry for my mother, of course.

    I reflected the other day that in many of the relationships I have been in, there were very dramatic situations and I always felt I had to stay there and help until everything was okay again.  I often got stuck with someone for years although I realised early on that I was not interested in them, but now there was this emergency that I had to stay for and make sure everything turned out well.

    It is always the same with my parents, they mainly only contact me when I am to help them with something, usually health-wise as I know a lot about alternative medicine.  Ironically I have learned a lot because they were such poor parents that I had to begin very early to figure out how to help myself.

    I’m feeling a lot calmer in the meantime and will try to let the situation diffuse whilst actively avoiding contact from now on.  It helps me so much just to know I can speak of this with you and it’s not going round and round in my head only.  I am beginning to realise what my mistakes were and I’m just glad that my friend made me aware, as this is all helping me to stop being a people-pleaser and feeling guilty when people do nice things for me.  I felt so terrible that he was standing there in pain and I felt I had to do something, yet now this is my own crucifixion!   Being so angry with myself for my mistakes is at least a good way of curing my self-destructive programmes.

    You ask what I mean with “big”.  I am not overweight, but I am quite tall for a woman, and as I said, I seem to be just too “big” for some people to deal with in a metaphorical sense.  I shared in another post that I was too intelligent as a child for my parents’ comfort, too intelligent for the comfort of some of my teachers too.  I didn’t actually cause a big fuss or act out, they just noticed I was smart and it made them feel uncomfortable.  Maybe being quietly smart makes people more uncomfortable than being loud with it! Like for these neighbours I am “too strange” because they can’t believe a single woman can live so isolated, too strange for eating weeds, being a vegetarian, using homeopathy.   I learned too fast at school, I was too independent to suit my mother, too confident.  I don’t know what else, that kind of thing.  To me it feels that people always seem to notice where I am different than they are and try to get me to conform, which for me means a reduction in some way of being me.

    I find it stupid too, because everyone is different.  There are billions of people in many extremely different cultural and religious situations.   To my mind, all these people are right because there is no one right way of being human, but I always seem to meet people who find something about me is “too …”

    So they find me too talented and are threatened by it, too tall and … I actually used to get sworn at in the street many years ago when living in a country where the men are all small and my height offended their macho pride!, too lucky – if I was ever doing well then I always had a few people envious and calling me too lucky.  How the hell can you be too lucky??  I was just working hard, not amazing good luck.  Now I am thinking I should have just been a lot more forthright and told a lot of people where to stick it.

    I could go on, but I think you get the picture.  What is this all about?  No wonder I have tried to get away from people as much as possible in the meantime.  I wouldn’t have even had more than polite “hello” contact with the neighbours but they basically obliged me to go there (because they need entertaining) and now this is what has come of it.

    Is there something wrong with me that I am not aware of?  I just want to be me and live in peace and leave others in peace.  I cannot recognise something wrong with that.



    Sorry, I just remembered one more thing: in retrospect I can see that the situation felt familiar because I noticed the woman had become distant and more silent towards me some time ago but I had no idea what to attribute this to.  I realise now that I could have simply asked.  However, unconsciously she reminded me of my mother: silent, brooding, acting friendly but her energy was of rejection/defense, and so I didn’t dare ask because as a child it meant getting into trouble (a beating or verbal attack).


    Dear Anita,

    my friend has asked me not to say anything to her relatives because she doesn’t want them to know that she warned me.  I credit her with having done so, which many people wouldn’t, so I feel I have to respect her wish.  At least this way I am not heading into further disaster with others too.

    I still feel that this is a turning point for me.  Especially regarding no longer shrinking myself to be acceptable to others.  I just cannot do that any more.  Maybe it was good that I felt so angry and have decided to put a stop to this judgement of me being too tall, too educated, too unconventional, too … anything.  Whoever doesn’t like that knows where the door is.  I have tried to be what others demanded all my life and it hasn’t made me happy.  So then I’ll just stick to the company of dogs and horses rather than twist myself any more.

    I am certainly not going to seek my neighbours’ company again, but perhaps at some time a situation will arise where I can then say my piece without compromising my friend.  I also wanted to wait a bit anyway so my anger subsides and I don’t end up in a slanging match.  (Coz at the moment I’d be foaming at the mouth if I saw that woman!!)

    One thing which has become clear to me is that I totally underestimated this aspect of moving to live in a very rural, “time has stood still” kind of place, which is very charming overall, but I didn’t realise that it means the inhabitants are also still stuck in the Middle Ages in their heads.  So it has been a big lesson for me.  My friend told me the whole village is like her relatives, full of fear, superstition, ignorance, having seldom left their village, scarcely educated.  It was a strange moment, as if I could suddenly peer back to the time of Gutenberg and grasp what a huge thing the start of education for the masses really meant.  I don’t think I’ve ever been so conscious before of what it means to have travelled and had an education, and I don’t consider myself very specially travelled or educated by any means.

    So I want to be humble about this too.  Those people cannot help being the way they are through their social situation.  But I really don’t see why you have to bad mouth about people just because you feel afraid or don’t understand something.  I cannot accept that and I am sick of being treated that way.

    I so appreciate your views and ideas on all this, dear Anita, and altogether that you are there and I have the possibility of this exchange and learning process.  It has been very instrumental in me being able to face this situation without going back into my shell, succumbing to depression again and giving up on humanity.

    It’s not been easy being a big woman, but I finally want to embrace this.  There must be some good aspects of being “too” everything.  (I’m laughing and crying at the same time whilst writing that last sentence!)




    Dear Anita,

    the good things began with me having a not so nice experience.  It was all set off by me telling you about that old situation; it caused me some quite bad trauma symptoms, especially the next morning.  I slept badly and then had a bad head, dreadful nausea and felt generally horrendous upon waking, with all the memories like a film going through my head and my body reacting.

    I knew I didn’t want to write about it, that it was going against my own felt boundaries, but I didn’t realise until I was feeling so desperate that I could have just told you there is something really awful happened and this is the reason, leaving you to accept or not.

    It seems I needed to feel so dreadful to finally realise that I just need to accept my boundaries myself.  If something is a no for me, then I don’t need to figure out how to make it a no for other people, I just need to simply communicate my truth.  That’s all.  I became acutely aware that going over my own boundaries is part of this people-pleasing and hypervigilance pattern of behaviour I am becoming aware of, and because of feeling so abysmally ill, it seemed to just flick a switch within me and I vowed I am not going to do anything like that to myself again.  That feels very good, a huge weight off my shoulders.

    This new understanding also helps me to resolve a situation a while back with a therapist I was seeing.  She kept trying to force me to book sessions although I clearly stated that I had to take some time out to deal with some problems and didn’t have the capacity for more.   It was a battle to get her to accept my no and I was still doubting myself a bit.

    But I have now realised that the only thing which has been missing for me to finally “get” how to set boundaries is that I have to completely and naturally believe in my RIGHT to have boundaries and set them.  Period.  (WOW!!!)  This was a total revelation for me.  I could really feel it deep within.

    Even though I theoretically knew I have the right to set boundaries, but a part of me still didn’t believe I can be so bold, can have the right to say, “that is crossing my boundaries and is not acceptable”.

    And now to return to my trauma repeat, as there is something else to tell you.  I had a most amazing experience, even though it was awful to begin with because of feeling so ill and having breathing difficulties, but I am used to bringing myself back to a place of calm, so I stayed with it.  I went outside and sat in my garden, all the while my senses were being overwhelmed by the visual memories and sounds and smells of the past like a film, and my body’s reactions.

    But then slowly my senses also became aware of how beautiful my surroundings are.  It was early and the sky was a beautiful, luminous speedwell blue, not yet faded by the sunlight, which was dappled through the trees, somehow reflecting on their leaves like sprinklings of silver rhinestones.  It was beginning to warm up but the air was still slightly heavy with dew, a lovely freshness bearing the scent of foliage and the earth itself.

    Suddenly I became aware of being almost in two worlds at the same time, the world in my head, a nightmare, and this amazingly beautiful Garden of Eden in which I was sitting.  My dogs were with me and oddly enough, the neighbours’ horses also came right to the fence (normally they pass by in a moment) and all three stayed “with me” for about 20 minutes until my breathing finally normalised.  One horse in particular looked at me the whole time.  They’ve never done that before, but I felt them to be so supportive, just being there.

    And as the nightmare world began to dissipate, I felt as if I were seeing my house and garden for the first time, really seeing, and I realised that I am already where I want to be.  I don’t need to push myself so hard any more, I can just be.  I can stop and smell the roses.  I can feel safe.  I was so unsure about what I am doing, worrying if I am crazy to be investing my time and energy, and money I can ill afford, into making a rented house nicer and making a garden.  But in that moment I knew this is exactly the healing that my soul needs and nothing could be more right.  Such a sense of peace came over me.  I felt a wave of relief, and also the safety that being able to settle gives you.  I felt that I can dare to make a business and dare to make a life here.  It doesn’t have to be always drama and disaster; I can just have a quiet, happy little life.

    All my trauma symptoms gradually receded and I was so happy!  I felt like I was on top of the world.  I also made up my mind to address my hypervigilance, because I found it really distressing to realise that I am more focussed upon others that myself, and being a people-pleaser means not being true to oneself, or even being oneself, for that matter.

    And now … I can hardly believe it, a REALLY weird situation has arisen that I don’t know how to deal with.  I know what I feel, which is sad and angry and rebellious.  But I would like to share what it is about with you and hear your wisdom.

    My friend, the one I was thinking to start a business with, called me and told me that my neighbours (her close relatives) had told her some stories about me.  It turns out that the woman has got me down as a witch and Satanist because I picked some wild portulac, and because I use dowsing to test which homeopathy to give my pets.  The worst sin being that I use a cross as a pendulum (because it’s the right weight for the job!)  My friend said I just have to accept they are ignorant people who’ve never seen anything of the world and just don’t talk about anything “unusual” with them, etc. and keep acting “normal”.

    I was very grateful that she told me, but frankly pretty shocked.  First I was afraid that I will now be rejected and made an outcast locally (already happened to me for the same reasons), that I cannot settle here after all.  But then I began to feel VERY angry and I thought I am so done with being a people-pleaser and being polite.  And no way am I going to keep acting like I have to keep my truth hidden and act like we are friends.  Coz I don’t consider people friends if they talk like that about me behind my back and smile in my face.  I know there are cultural differences, but I am feeling pretty rebellious right now.

    Am I responsible for other people’s ignorance?  Do I have to distort myself and my truth so that they can feel comfortable?  I feel like confronting the woman to be honest, because these are the ignorant people who in times past caused innocent people to die, due to their malicious gossip.  Or shall I just stop going there, just keep my distance and leave them to it?

    I will certainly not keep up a pretence and go visit with them, that is totally sure, even if they are my friends’ relatives.   I am not sure which variation I should go with.  I would really like to hear what ideas you have.

    Just as I was thinking that I have finally overcome the dramas and misery in my life.  I have had so many other awful things happen throughout my life and I so just need peace.  But I haven’t been too successful at gaining much peace so far, so I am worried, do I get peace by just quietly withdrawing, or do I get peace by standing my ground, or even challenging them?

    My God, just as I thought I was finally getting to a place of peace.



    Dear Anita,

    I am having a bit of a stressful time right now and may need a day or two until I can write properly, but I just wanted to tell you that I had a huge breakthrough this morning, and I am so happy about this.  I know I still have a long way to go, but I our communication is so fruitful for me and motivates me very much to believe I can make it.



    Hello Tony,

    yes, I would consider it as a very lucky plus if I happened to meet someone but it is much more relaxing (and realistic) to assume that I will now be alone for the rest of my life and just be happy with all the positives this brings.

    I am also very much into eating healthily, it is something which just appealed to me since childhood and I have been eating organic and vegetarian most of my life.

    You know, I find it pretty sad to read the things you associate with ageing and I would love to hear that you change your mind!  We are in the same age group, so maybe it is just my personality and maybe most people in their 50’s feel as you do, I cannot say.  But don’t you think that every single human has limited long term plans at all times, as people die just after being born, and at any time after that?  I see it as a kind of permanent schizophrenia that people live in, so busy and important in their lives, all the while acting as if death did not exist.  It hangs over us in every moment, yet at the same time there is every possibility that you would live the same length of time again.  With all that extra wisdom and knowledge – wow!  A lot of fun to be had!  (that’s my plan)

    At the same time you say you don’t have enough time, but also too much time.  Hhhmm … I tend to interpret these comments in the context of the first point on your list, which is that it is perhaps not the excess or lack of time which is really the issue, but the loss of your joy and / or meaning?

    I still have a huge capacity for feeling excitement and a very childlike joy about many things.  I would also still have a lot of fun and joy in a relationship, had I only met a good man.  I can’t say that any of this has permanently left me.  I still am crazy about going dancing, I still love going for walks in the moonlight, watching the sunrise.  My awe has not left me and I wonder if we even need continual newness when we still have joy and meaning?

    I certainly had a time of losing both, and I felt very disorientated.  Nothing could interest me, nothing seemed to be worth bothering about any more, including me. I had picked up a lot of pieces already, but the exchanges I am having on this forum are helping me to find my way back to my true joie de vivre.

    Here’s to you finding yours!




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