Forum Replies Created
just a short post to let you know that I am not yet able to reply to your last post with the concentration and ability to express myself (especially my happiness regarding your decision to accept small gestures of empathy from me), because the last two days were utterly exhausting, both from the heat, the worries about my poor old dog, and the endless hours spent with my husband. There are also some very sad anniversaries around now, so that I’m just having to give myself time whilst I work my way through boxes of tissue and listening to sad songs to help get it all out.
I will post as soon as I am able. In the meantime I wish you a lovely weekend. It is a light in my present darkness to know you are there.
It is true, many people all over the world are “living” in terrible suffering, which I believe has become continually worse ever since the industrial revolution in the so-called “advanced” Western countries.
I would personally definitely not describe my childhood as having been a holocaust. I know I am suppressing a lot of feelings, yet despite it all, optimism and positive expectations still lived within me until relatively recently, and I hope to find my way back to that way of being.
I am not sure if I made you feel uncomfortable in some way when I expressed my sadness and heartfelt empathy about this description of your childhood? Or if I perhaps accidentally ventured into an area which is part of the things you do not wish for me to mention and which you don’t want to discuss with me? You can always say so, I would not take any offence at all, even if it is “just” regarding a single word or very specific topic.
For me, expressing my sadness and incomprehension is because although there is indeed much suffering all around us, you are now for me like the rose who the Little Prince befriended on his planet. He saw on his journey that countless other roses seemed identical, but it was the shared time and companionship which made “his” rose nevertheless unique and infinitely meaningful to him.
Thank you for telling me about “Beginner’s Mind”. I read up a little more about it. It seems that I am onto a good thing then!
I teared up when reading about the difference between reacting and being a creator. That was a very helpful explanation, thank you. I feel this is the way to go. I am beginning to feel ever more strongly that I am not so much merely re-discovering who I am, as also deciding who I choose to be now – the “creating” you mention.
I think I have a balanced idea of how I can expect to be able to trust you, very much as you yourself described. I think this is because you have been consistent in your communications with me though. I know you are sometimes tired or emotionally involved in your own processes, which is natural, but your overall constancy remains the same. I am very aware of not feeling so relaxed about trusting other people.
You know, what you write about your unusually realistic dream of flying made me think of something I have read about called “Lucid Dreaming”. It is not something I ever fancied to experience as I feel the very lucidity of it unsettling to me personally. Maybe you can read up on it and see if you feel that it matches your experience?
When I first read your post of 28<sup>th</sup> July, 9.58 am, I was disappointed when I got to the last two paragraphs. But I gave myself some time, as I always do when reading something from you which I don’t understand, because I know that you care and are giving me valuable advice. Then suddenly a light went on in my head and I realised I was doing the same thing again – looking for an instant saviour and a quick exit from my pain via a therapist (those “God-like” people my Inner Child sought) Wrong! Wrong!
I was then so deeply grateful yet again for your support, feeling again so lucky and blessed to have chanced upon this forum and be able to benefit from our communication. I can see a pattern emerging, as I hoped for the same thing when we communicated about the caged wild animal, and I am sure this has been at the base of many of my interactions in life so far.
I also felt very uncomfortable for some time, wondering what I am going to do with all this pain and anger, all these emotions I would like to be free of? The very thought of having to drag my way through years of therapy, all the well-buried horrors being dragged up to the surface again … not a nice prospect. But at the same time it is just a plain fact that my joie de vivre is still not fully there. Maybe I don’t need it to function, but I believe that I do, because I know from past experience that it is much easier to plan and execute when you feel full of enthusiasm and confidence, and there is also a much better success rate, and more resilience towards problems and failures. It feels to me that living without it is like being just a life-sized cardboard cut-out figure of myself, a one-dimensional me.
I also considered that one of the problems I experienced with my last therapist was a lack of understanding of my position as a foreigner. I wondered if I might find an English speaking therapist locally, so I looked and to my surprise I found a lady who is also an English speaking foreigner and who specialises in Mindfulness. I am thinking that it would be good to try and learn the emotional regulation skills from her which you have recommended to me. I have made an initial contact.
I reflected that I have spent a lot of my life trying to escape, always on the run, moving on, hoping for absolution in a new start. But from today I am trying to revision my life as being with these painful feelings, at least for some time to come, but also daring to nevertheless take some active measures to start living my life again. I am sad not to feel as enthusiastic and passionate as I used to, but who’s to say that won’t come back again.
As usual, the day was too full, my evening is too short, and I have to be up early and out the house. A long day ahead tomorrow. I am going with my husband to take my old dog to a specialist for spinal injuries. This person should be able to confirm exactly what is wrong with her, and then on Friday we will go to a specialist dog rehab centre. Hopefully the poor sweetie will then finally have less pain. She is such a lovely dog, I always call her my four-legged angel, as she has such a happy personality and sweet disposition. She always loved playing with small children, she was so gentle and seemed to have exactly the same idea of fun as they do.
Sorry if I’ve missed out responding to some points or been a bit of a grasshopper with my subjects. My energy is rather low but I was so looking forward to responding to you. Unfortunately my landlord interrupted me with an unexpected visit too, so my time was shortened and my concentration is even lower.
Thank you for responding to that person crashing this thread, by the way, I very much appreciate that.
thank you so much for your very helpful response, I will reply in depth tomorrow as I’m very tired now.
There is something I would like to say though, because in my head I have a carousel of thoughts going round and round after reading that your childhood was your “private holocaust”. It is so stunning to me to read this (stunned as in being knocked senseless). I am deeply, deeply saddened to read this and it seems to me that there is nothing I can say which could in any way begin to meet you in your childhood experience. In fact it almost feels like anything I could say might be in danger of trivialising what your experience has been.
I just hope that you have since met wonderful people who have warmly and tenderly held you and hugged you, and held your hand, and rocked you gently. And I hope there are people like that in your life now, people who care for you with their actions, who honour you and give you a feeling of safety and home.
I want to say “dearest Anita”, because I am so moved! Your response is so in sync with where I am (internally) now, I find it quite astonishing, and I am especially grateful to be able to feel such companionship on my otherwise lonely inner journey.
I am beginning to understand my own true inner geography as being almost like uncharted territory, some places I have never even visited. Since “meeting” you, I am beginning to realise and accept that some of my dreams (when asleep) are actually more real and informative about my past and my childhood than the superficial, conceptualised person I believed to be my self, this invented self to please others. I am not assuming anything about myself now, I am just observing, trying to be open and learn. I know I used to think I felt safe and self-confident in the world, but I think this was the invented self, at least to some degree. That invented self logically only came into being because of lack of trust due to painful and inconsistent nurturing, so it is good that you speak to me about this. I must learn to become aware of my (so far) unconscious beliefs about people and the world. I don’t want to be a string-puppet playing someone else’s role any more.
When you say that as adults, we need to redefine trust, do you mean that a child (in an optimal situation) feels unlimited trust to its caregivers, whilst as adults we need to consider awarding differing degrees of trust, also on differing levels, depending upon the individuals concerned? That would make sense to me. Is that what you mean?
Regarding mothers and freedom, I actually always imagine that a good mother doesn’t need escaping from, because she should have recognised early on that it is her job to help you trust your own wings and learn to fly and be free to live your life, the way birds do. It brings to mind something from my childhood: I bought myself a poster when I was about 8 or 9, it was of a beautiful sunset with a sole bird in flight, silhouetted against the sunset colours, with the text, “No ladder needs the bird, but skies”. I understood it to mean that you already have the wings and the opportunities, and that freedom is there for the taking.
Actually, I have had a lot of opportunity to observe birds again recently. I had been thinking of how much I miss seeing swifts and swallows, as there seem to be a lot less in recent years, and to my surprise a family of swallows has turned up in my garden! It seems my garden is a perfect “flight practise” area for the young ones. It makes me so happy as I love their gurgling chirps, the sound makes me feel so safe and comforted for some reason. They come and sit on the fence in front of my kitchen window in the morning and then spend a couple of hours doing flight training around the garden, about 7 birds. I can hear the little ones squawking excitedly about doing dives, so cute!
I believe people are wrong to assume that animals do not feel or have any sense, because I think birds are such excellent parents, so dedicated, so consistent and patient, their actions plainly speak volumes. Well, to me anyway. Many humans can’t hold a candle to a parent bird’s qualities for even one day with their own children.
How amazing to read your last paragraph in particular, you are so spot on regarding my inner process right now. I think realising about my mother/parents and achieving more mental separation is beginning to happen and I realise too that it couldn’t take place as long as I was denying a lot of things, suppressing feeling my pain, etc.
Just right now, both with regard to my parents, but also to others (husband, past friends and partners), it is as if a roller blind keeps rising just a little and I get to see a glimpse of the extent of the pain I have put myself through with these supposed “friends/family” during my lifetime. It is precisely as you said, that I failed to resist the “little abuse”, although some things were not little, but the feeling within me was of having to go along with them, that was the motor. It is extremely painful to see these things and quite shocking and exhausting. I feel I have been violated for much of my life. It is a very ugly face of humanity, accompanied by the same kind of incomprehension I feel when I see pictures of Auschwitz or such places.
I sometimes have tried to dare and feel the old pain I mentioned. It feels like a searing pain that threatens my senses, as if my heart had been torn from my chest and I cannot breathe. I know I must move forward now though, for my own survival, so I have taken some concrete steps. I have mixed myself a bottle of Bach Flower Remedies which I had at home, and ordered some that were missing (for letting go of the past). I also had the impulse to seek a therapist locally to be physically with me when I revisit my painful memories. It feels like I could not possibly survive it alone. But I also feel that I need a witness to hear my story (as I’ve never spoken it aloud to anyone) and to witness me choosing to move on. However … I got stuck on exactly the question of “who is a safe person”. I had a spontaneous vision of what I felt I should do, but then I started to fear that I would be judged, rejected, not honoured, etc. I fear opening up and then being disappointed, which feels so threatening when just daring to face the old pain feels like facing certain death. I have decided to take some time out and see how I feel after sleeping on it.
When I touch on the old pain, I feel an anger arising in me – dear God! – it is alarming to say the least. Anger towards those who caused my injuries. Anger at the impotence I have to endure at never being able to change the past, and at my own impotence which lead to becoming a victim. For a person who is a pacifist and usually very seldom angry, this feels like nursing a nuclear bomb. It also makes me a little afraid of how I may react if I seek out a therapist and open the lid on my pain.
What comes to mind when you read this, Anita? I know I have to take this journey. I am trying to keep calm and give myself time, yet I need to get past this because I cannot keep living in limbo with my life on hold, so I have to act.
it is very meaningful to me too, to have found you, to have gained your friendship. I have to think of the sweet Fox in “The Little Prince”, who explains so beautifully to the little Prince how to build trust and friendships. In the past I gave my heart away too easily, I realise now. I had no idea that not everyone would treasure and honour my gift of friendship. I thought that being a loyal and trustworthy person would automatically ensure good friendships, but having lost virtually all my friends along the way, I now know this is not so. You are helping me to dare to trust again, and I am very grateful to you for this encouraging experience. Equally importantly, you are helping me to realise how poorly I cared for myself in the past and that I deserve to be respected and treated well and fairly – and this starts with how I treat myself and what I believe I deserve.
It is interesting that you should mention that precise quote from Khalil Gibran, because I always think of it when I think of you! I wonder what that means – is this more than a coincidence? I like it very much. I do actually believe what he says, that we are not from our parents at all. This was a big argument I always had with my mother even when I was quite small still, long before I found Gibran. But although I had intellectually and perhaps even spiritually understood on a deeper level, that I am a free soul, not a human creation, at the same time I failed to notice the chains which my mother bound me with, or maybe even I bound myself to her, due to my desperate desire to receive love and acknowledgement from her. I didn’t realise until our exchanges now (you and I), just how much I must have suppressed or denied, or I don’t know what, but that I totally lost my awareness of those chains. I see now that the intellectual and spiritual level gave me a belief in my freedom, yet I have remained factually bound and gagged. Or imprisoned in the cage we have spoken of, to take another metaphor.
Regarding my poor old dog, I am not happy with tonight’s results at the vet. They are good people but not qualified to treat this situation, I feel. I am still not sure what is wrong with my dog. It was a different vet this evening (same practise), and he thinks it is a mechanical problem, possibly with a trapped nerve. So maybe my other dog jumped on the old one, or she slipped, or a combination of various things. The vet just gave her some heavy duty medicine again, but this is no real solution as her back legs and spine are clearly out of place, which I initially attributed to being twisted by the vestibular syndrome as it looks very similar. Having spoken with my husband now, we have decided to take her to a clinic where they specialise in physiotherapy for dogs, but also offer acupuncture and other holistic treatments. She is too old for surgery, so maybe this will be a solution.
I am glad that my husband and I are able to deal with situations with our pets so well. I am very sad that my old dog is suffering though and I always feel a bit guilty, as if no-one should ever suffer when I am there, which is of course quite unrealistic and I realise now this is part of my childhood legacy and I am trying to be kinder to myself and recognise how much I have been actively doing for my pets.
The ever closer reality of losing my old dog also brings to awareness that the last vestiges of my old life will then have disappeared, as I chose her in the early years of our relationship. I feel some fear at that thought. I hope my dawning realisations will lead me to discover a new life that I am enthusiastic about.
Thank you for being understanding and leaving me that space open regarding how I am able to communicate about what happened, if at all. It still feels very raw right now and I am just letting it all settle again and hope to then know how I can best deal with it.
At the moment I am a little dazed still to realise that I have been living like in a time machine where time has stood still for 18 years. That realisation is still sinking in. I can feel that it is true. I am also becoming ever clearer about the kind of treatment that I deserve and should expect from other people. You have helped me to see the unacceptable cruelty of my parents, but also of my husband.
This new awareness leaves me equally shocked at the awful behaviour I have tolerated from supposed friends, family and lovers over my lifetime. The recent situation with my neighbours (the witches and weeds folks) brought to my attention how “naturally” I accepted a man being a pest and harassing me, totally overstepping my boundaries by always trying to turn the conversation to sex when we were alone, and being generally importunate. And I thought I had to tolerate this for the sake of friendship and peace with my neighbours!
The irony was not lost on me that I bent over backwards, let myself be pushed around and used for “entertainment”, yet in the end I was made to blame. So, recognising I have nothing to lose, I have decided to speak my mind from now on, to not oblige myself to accept or tolerate any kind of behaviour which is not acceptable to me in truth, for the sake of “peace” – because it wasn’t giving me any peace anyway and just lead to another fiasco.
I believe that the new understanding which is blossoming within me of my rights in connection with other people will lead me to meet other kinds of people than so far. In looking back, I realise how much suffering I would have avoided, had I just followed what was right for me. I see that the needy child within believed in other strategies, but they clearly do not work any longer.
It is very late now and I have to go to sleep. I often think of you when I see the big constellation above my front gate each evening, it is called “The Plough” or “Big Dipper”. I marvel then that somewhere far away you are seeing these same stars. When you see them twinkle at you, they are waving hello from me.
I have often been thinking of you although I haven’t posted and I am glad to hear that you are well recovered. Thank you for crossing your fingers for me, I’m sure it helped. But what definitely has made a big difference is to read the word “friend”. Thank you so much for that, Anita. It is a long time since I really dared to believe and trust that someone would genuinely be my friend. I trust you and I thank you for naming me as your friend, it is a very comforting feeling for me, and I hope to be of comfort to you too, if I am able.
I have been making progress with combating the humid heat, thank goodness. It has taken a lot of time and energy to research and learn a lot of new things, but I have started to see positive results by using specific foods and herbs as “medicine”. The approach I have taken is to build on the knowledge I already had of Traditional Chinese Medicine, because I also have had good results before with this. The strange thing is that whilst researching to resolve physical symptoms, I found some very key information regarding my mental/emotional problems. I hadn’t expected that. I found some very old texts which include the mental/spirit aspect of a person, not just the physical body, and I recognised in an instant where my problems lie. Those old Masters certainly knew their stuff.
I am a little shocked, because although it is good to realise where you are going wrong, it is a lot to swallow. I have felt very lost the last day or so after this realisation. In a way it is also a further step towards getting clearer within myself which began through our communication, especially your help in aiding me to see my parents and husband more realistically. That is good but painful. Though as Khalil Gibran says, “your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding”. I should get back to reading him daily again, he was such a wise man and his words nourish my soul. Do you know his works?
My pain now is that I have understood how much I have suppressed painful feelings and experiences. I have touched on the edge of that pain and drawn back again in fear. Like standing with the edge of your toes already hanging over an abyss. It feels to me like that pain would kill me if I allow myself to really feel it. But at the same time I realise that my life stopped 18 years ago. The clock has stood still since then.
I am shocked to realise how much of my life I have lost and I understand that I must somehow break through this suppression in order for my life to still grow and develop. In a way I am relieved because I wondered for some time now what ever could be wrong with me, why I have no real passion and enthusiasm for living my life the way I used to. Sometimes a little flame temporarily appears, but I realise now that I have actually spent the past 18 years in a functional depression.
I know I’m not telling you what occurred back then. I am not sure if I can bring myself to write about it. I am also expecting my husband at any moment as he took the dog to the vet alone today, but I needed to reach out to you, dear Anita. What a blessing that you are there. Because of you I am learning to be more confident again, but also realising how lost I have been to my own self.
I hope you have recovered well from revisiting your trauma? I am glad that you know yoga and feel the benefit from it. Writing to you reminded me that it is time I took up my own practise again!
I want you to know that writing to you and receiving your posts isn’t a disturbance to me at all, but rather one of the most enriching experiences I have ever had with another human being! I too am learning very much from our communications and am immensely grateful for this.
I wish I could say I have been having a good rest in the meantime, in fact I am just writing to let you know that I am really having a hard time to keep my head above water at present. I am still ill from the heat, and this has now progressed to problems with my stomach and nausea, added to which I have now got my old dog (17) very ill. I think it is vestibular syndrome, which she had two years ago and I cured with homeopathy and supplements, but I think she has it again. She can hardly get up, stand or walk, and is too heavy for me to be picking her up for eating and toilet, so now I have back and kidney pains from the strain …
Ever since my cat became ill in early June I feel I am no longer making the progress that I need to be doing physically towards my independence, I feel I’m just constantly fixing illnesses and trying to survive each day until I can get into bed again. I will be so glad when it gets cooler and hopefully we are all well again then. My little cat is also still not really well, her fur has barely grown back since she was operated on and they had sadly shorn her very badly, so it looks quite awful. At least she is finally back to eating normally again and beginning to put on weight, but she weighs barely 5 pounds even so.
Every day I hope to be able to sit down and write about my thoughts and feelings, but I’m so physically challenged at the moment, I just haven’t managed so far. Cross your fingers that I’ll be in a better place soon.
I very much appreciate your virtual hug and especially reminding me to go slow and take it easy. That advice has been a great help and feels like having a friend around who is taking care of me. Thank you!
I wish I weren’t so tired. I’m afraid I’m only going to respond to a part of your post again. I would love to write some more but I think a half response is better than none.
I am so sorry that you were triggered. I can understand that happening. I know how difficult it is to be with such emotional and physical states. I had the sense this might have been the case.
I do believe that “The Body Keeps the Score” so I can also understand you thinking about Somatic Experiencing. I have tried it and a ton of different body treatments over about 25 years and had good and bad experiences. It can bring faster results than talk therapy but I found it to be very dependent upon the person giving it – their skill and your rapport/sense of safety with them. And of course, it stirs up old feelings, so for me it was often 1 or 2 hours for the therapy and days to weeks for the “calming down” period. I got fed up of that drama cycle it in the end. This was just my experience though.
I personally find simply facials or foot massages to be really relaxing and calming without stirring up any issues anywhere, but what also came to mind is something which helped me to regain a sense of trust within and how to find peace in my body, which is called “Yin Yoga”. It is a very, very gentle way of saying “hello” and building trust to your body. It is very beneficial generally too, science is beginning to realise that this kind of exercise gives lasting health, so you wouldn’t be wasting your time, and it isn’t very dynamic, so you don’t have to be super fit. You can do it at home once you’ve learned the basics. It’s not like normal yoga, it’s a deep inner strength which you build in a most gentle manner. It also helps regulate emotional states without actually having to deal with them. It’s due to holding the poses for a longer time, which clears the mind.
I used to arrive at class with all my fears and dramas and my teacher always used to say, “Juanita, just get down on the floor!” I started with only one exercise, the Butterfly. You close your pelvis with fear and stress, and this exercise allows you to open as much as you are willing.
I hope this may be of interest to you, dear Anita. You deserve to live in a relaxed body free of fear and pain.
thank you for sharing a part of your story with me, a very big part, as I understand.
I haven’t posted again because I’m just so exhausted all the time, it takes all my energy just to do the basics at present. The problem is that we are having humid weather, I can cope very well with dry heat, but humid heat just leaves me like a wilted lettuce!! (the kind that are so far gone, you can’t revive them!)
I have naturally nevertheless been thinking and observing concerning your post of 11 July, but I cannot go into detail at present because I am just taking a little break now for my second breakfast before a man comes to fix the watering system in the garden. That should at least ease my workload somewhat. So far I had no irrigation system at all and it’s been taking me a couple of hours daily just to keep my plants alive due to the continuous heatwave. Needless to say, I am not looking forward to August.
I just wanted to at least respond briefly, as I have no idea when I will be up to producing a comprehensive post again. I am usually best in the morning but these days I’m not having a “best” time at any time of the day!
What I would like to know is if it would be okay for me to include some of my thoughts regarding your own situation in my reply? I feel it is a little difficult not to, given the details you have shared, however I don’t want you to feel I am expressing my views or thoughts uninvited. Especially as I have some perhaps alternative perspectives and tbh I am a little hesitant as I don’t want to upset the delicate balance you have to find in your life, due to the myriad issues you are suffering from. I really respect and admire how you have nevertheless managed in your life and I would not wish to adversely affect you in any way.
Regarding speaking my truth, as much as I am consciously aware of my truth, I try to say it as it is. So please believe me when I say that there is no need for you to feel sad and believe you cannot help me. I am very happy about our communications, truly. I will go into detail as soon as I am able.
Sending you a virtual hug for being such an amazing survivor!
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.
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.
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).
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.
thank you for your good wishes, I very much appreciate your kindness.
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!)