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Jennifer

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Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)
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  • #219023
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Thank you all so much! Your words have been so helpful!!

     

    I’ve been fortunate enough with my mom that we’ve been able to talk at length about her death. I’m incredibly uncomfortable with burials and she’s fine with cremation. She loves the idea of a necklace that carries ash so I can always have her with me. She also knows that I want to be there at the end. But….that’s not right now; we also know our time is short. It’s the anticipatory grieving, the fear I’m not doing this right, the sense I’m being self centered and the unreasonable expectation of self that I devote myself to increasing her happiness that is absolutely driving me crazy!

    #177333
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for answering my question and for your suggestion. I am feeling the emptiness now; trying not to attach to the thoughts or attempt to escape them. Despite the emptiness I feel more grounded now than I’ve ever before experienced, and I am trying to look at the progress rather than how far I have yet to go. I’m sure I’ll utilize this forum again in the future; what a great asset!

    #176971
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita and Peter, thank you both for your replies! I appreciate that they are both so sincere as I tend to feel like my posts are petty.

     

    Anita-

    Growing up, my brother was violent and 5 years older. By the time I essentially started living with my friend at 12 (as my parents didn’t object due to my brothers behavior) he had escalated to regular destruction of their home and choking, typically because he was high. In retrospect I can see that they did the best they could and loved us indescriminantly, but at the time I felt disposable and as though he was more important. After my friend seemed to abandon me I did not form close relationships again, but preferred disposable ones. As a child I never expressed to my parents that I felt unhappy, not until I began doing it by acting out by about 15, which is when my brother went to jail.

    The whole family dynamic has changed tremendously, starting when my brother stopped using about 5 or 6 years ago (without a 12 step program and as the result of a divorce). It has continued to improve and I’ve begun to recall some really happy times and as such feel guilty that I’m tracing my adulthood shortcomings to their parenting. One of my loudest defects now is my tendency to bounce back to an ex only to withdraw, typically with a feeling of disgust. Someone told me about emotional anorexia and after looking it up (much like a horoscope, it’s so broad and roomy I’m sure most people could more or less fit the bill) I feel less unique and have a little better understanding. I selfishly use a man when I feel empty to effect a change in how I feel, then withdraw. I can make it a month or two, but then that deep emptiness returns and I begin the cycle again. I cause a lot of damage to myself and others doing this. How does not feeling safe as a child translate into using men to escape the emptiness; how do I let that behavior go?

     

    Peter-

    I had to look up cognitive dissonance; not surprising…I have always called myself a dichotomy and this seems to be a similar concept! The example I read was of the fox and the grapes. Because he could not reach the grapes he dismissed them as being sour. Yet, subconsciously he did want them. So he now has two opposing beliefs about the same bunch of grapes.Would you mind elaborating with an example so I can better understand? I’d like to better see the areas in which I might be doing this so I can challenge the behavior that stems from that feeling!

    #176589
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    I’m not sure when it started, but I first became aware of it in my teens; my best friend had been put in catholic school in 11th grade as we had been getting in trouble. On my 17th birthday she went snowboarding and hadn’t invited me….at that time we both had driver’s licenses and she had been like a sister. I went on vacations with her and her family and (felt I) was basically a part of their family. At that time I didn’t have many other friends. I began using distraction (in a very obvious, self destructive way) to fill it that void; men, vacations, extreme sports, etc. Since then I had not developed close relationships until the last 2-3 years while in AA.

    #150692
    Jennifer
    Participant

    I had an interview today for a per diem home care position, it went very well! Should know for sure tomorrow but regardless I will be ok and I made the right choice in leaving. Finishing the last 3 days of my notice and won’t make the same mistake again! On top of that I bought a cheap little motorcycle for fun this summer and while I realize I’ll always be financially responsible I also am trying to move beyond my financial fears by allowing myself to SPEND some money and let go a little! I can always tighten up funds dramatically down the road if desperate measures called for it. I’m done letting fear rule my life….once I identify I will take actions to move through instead of standing still, staring.

    #148739
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    I haven’t been there long enough to qualify for FMLA. I got a written warning for attendance today, but my boss was very nice about it. She’s been unbelievably understanding and kind. She knows I’m looking for something per diem but that I can’t quit until I find something. It’d be far more uncomfortable to not have a job than it is to crumble at this one. New grads are applying now which is flooding the positions I’m applying to but the HR reps at several hospitals have been really accommodating in resenting my resume to unit managers. Let’s hope!

     

    My brother had a lot of issues in school at a young age and I was pretty self sufficient and didnt require a lot of assistance in general.

    #148453
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    My parents were always there for me, I believe, but during that time I was the low maintenance child and allowed to stay over my friends house on school nights to avoid the majority of his behavior so I think they just weren’t aware, thus I didn’t talk about it. When that final explosive attack happened I became very resentful for the remainder of my teens and blamed them for all of my emotional pain. Over those years I think they were on the defensive because they just didn’t realize or were in denial, but we’ve talked at length in recent years and it has even included my brother to a small extent.

    #148199
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thats interesting about ‘it’ being safety. That makes a lot of sense! May be why no amount of money in savings or income or job creates that feeling of safety.

    I have one sibling and my brother is 5 years older. By the time I was 10 he became pretty aggressive, pushing my parents around physically and breaking cabinets/phones. The police came a lot and a couple years later he got his first dwi. When I was 15 he went to jail after getting his third in NJ, but before he did he broke his hand assaulting me. (My mom also lost her job that year managing a printing press because it went out of business. It took her 4 months to get another comparable but lower paying position elsewhere.) He got divorced a couple years ago and during that time got sober for a year and since then he’s been completely different. He still drinks here and there but he has calmed down completely. He was a total stranger to me until the divorce. Now we talk on occasion and he just got remarried and I was in the wedding. I doubt I’ll ever feel close with him but when he went to jail I started acting out and that’s when I went from a straight A student to getting expelled within a three year period of time.

    He now has a son and has worked at the same job even after going to jail. He was so well liked there they saved his job and he’s worked his way up to the top over the last 13 years. He’s still friends with kids he went to elementary school with and doesn’t seem to have issues anymore at all. He seems content and has become a lot of fun to be around.

    Ive struggled to maintain relationships but over the last couple years I’ve had some consistency and that has been a major change. I reunited with one high school friend after his mom saw me working in an urgent care and got my number to give him. I don’t delete numbers anymore and I just got Facebook last Septmeber and like seeing posts from friends I’ve had living and working in different areas.

    Im going to start meditating about this feeling of safety I seem to seek. That made a lot of sense. My childhood wasn’t perfect but it also wasn’t so detrimental I thought it could produce these behavioral problems I seem to have. I’d like to really identify what the fear is, how it’s triggered, and what action I can take to make my choices based on intuition and not fear. One of my favorite quotes is from Nelson Mandela, “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears”. I also just watched a documentary about Maya Angelou and her capacity to shape her world despite serious childhood scars is incredible. I hope to have a backbone like that.

    #148145
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    When I think about it it wasn’t my mom who was financially afraid, it was my dad. He would make the limiting or fearful comments, the most memorable of which was when I was around 7 or 8 I asked for a toothbrush when we were in the grocery store; he told me we were going to lose the house. My mom took out equity from their house to loan a friend in trouble a large sum of money who never repaid it…years later (I was maybe 12) my dad found out. That was another epic fight I was privy to. I felt like a burden and couldn’t imagine why they wanted kids when we were just a financial drain. It was my dad who had the financial fear. Neither of them seemed discontented by working, though. They just simply didn’t make enough.

    The vacations came into play because so many of my peers vacationed and as I got older I would go with them and their families, but never with my own. One particular friend became like my family, I spent all my time with them, including school nights as my brother had become violent at that time. I recall thinking of them as family but realizing I was not when they would have me take their family photo at Christmas or other holidays. That was never pointed out to me by my parents, it was a comparison I made myself. Traveling became very important to me and something I wanted to do.

    When I did get to do things, like ski, I knew they couldnt afford it and felt guilty. My dad worked in a highway department for the government and there was a single ski run there for the cadets that employees could use, so I got to learn. I also did sports in school and got to be a part of the ski club.

    Im not sure if my mom or dad felt trapped, but when I was young and there were frequent divorce threats I certainly perceived it that way. Also, I could see their choice was made for them.

    The ‘it’ other people have, I’m not sure what it is. It could be complacency or contentment, laziness or gratitude. My first nursing job was on a surgical unit and I met a nurse who had worked there since the year I was born. At the time I was 21 and I couldn’t imagine walking that same hall for 21 years, 5 days a week with every other weekend off. It completely blew my mind. She seemed content to me, though.

    #148135
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    That sums it up very well and is exactly how I feel. This morning I couldn’t even get out of bed and it has been suggested to me by my boss to look into FMLA through human resources, although she’s not sure I’ve been with the company long enough. I told her I would call today and also give her a finite decision as to whether I’m staying or resigning. If I followed my intuition, I’d leave without another thought and take time to look for another position I feel better suited for without the fear and harsh self criticism that I’m lacking “it”, that thing other people who work the same job until retirement while raising a family and going to the shore a few weekends a year have.

    My mom and dad worked very long hours and overtime my entire life to barely make ends meet. I was never given spending money and we only went on one family vacation but I was far from deprived and got to enjoy many experiences because they invested in me. My mom just went out on disability after having this diagnosis 2 years….she didn’t believe she was entitled or that she should. It got to the point where she couldn’t function properly to actually perform her job so she finally called social services and was immediately told she qualified. Now that she has stopped working, I think she realizes how much she missed over the last 40+ years.

    My mom has always believed in me, no matter what bottom I self imposed. Yesterday we had a great conversation and I told her about what was going on. She does not expect me to be ‘normal’ and just wants to be supportive as I find my way. She says she’s proud of me for getting to where I am and while she hopes I can find a job fit she doesn’t seem disappointed, but she does seem worried. I feel guilty that I haven’t been the daughter she deserved and that I’ve had such difficulty as the result of these fears I struggle to let go. They did not intend to cause that damage and I do believe they unconditionally love me. I’m an adult and I cannot blame them for my fears; I deeply want to move beyond them.

    Ive watched others leave jobs without a clue what they’d do next and they just carried on with faith it’d be okay. I can’t even escape when I’m asleep, I wake up throughout the night with this on my mind. The ramifications of that include erratic behavior, distancing myself from others/isolation, and irritability. And STILL I waver to make a choice! The answer is there I’m just resisting, and when I resist the problems begin.

    Thank you for getting back to me, this is so helpful!

    #147899
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

     

    I’m monitored heavily in my current position so I’m not able to step away except during approved and short periods of times that we’re assigned. There is a lot I could change as far as managing my time after work rather than predominantly spending evenings with my family or boyfriend or running errands; seldom have time for myself but I see that’s been my choice. My fear is not in staying in the job (this time), I know I could but it’s not what I want; years past I would leave jobs overwhelmed due to inexperience, which is luckily not the case anymore. My fear is in trusting myself enough to leave. Believing it’s okay, that I will get a job, that it’s not a defect or emotional issue causing my desire to leave but rather a job I dislike and that’s ok.

    I believe my mom and dad are happy together now, but that was not the case during my childhood. They lived on very little and my moms spending created a lot of problems the details of which we were privy. I was often scared they’d lose their house and/or divorce. During this time my mom impressed upon me the importance of taking care of myself and not looking to depend on anyone else. She had no help from her parents and after being told she’d have to pay rent at 17 she moved out. By 21 she and my dad were married and she depended on him. They could not afford to divorce back then, and that was when I knew marriage and kids weren’t for me. Fear of being trapped have been profound Throughout my life and financial fear runs deep. My parents also frequently pointed out how something I was interested in might fail. I know it was from a place of concern but they passed their fears on to me; financial, interpersonal, second guessing self, etc.

    My fear in letting my mom down far preceded her illness. I was a wreck less adolescent and needless to say when I arrived in AA I definitely needed to be there. But over the last 3 years a lot has changed internally and I’m far more capable of setting boundaries, etc, which a lack of ability to do so years ago caused me to burn out quickly in inpatient setting jobs. I had wanted to move away years ago but I felt guilty and stayed. In hindsight that was a good thing but I make so many decisions based on the needs or opinions of others. I feel myself slowly becoming aware of my most deep rooted fears on a more objective plane where I hope I can start changing my behavior around them.

    My thouhts are all over so I hope that wasn’t too flighty!

    #146689
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Stefan,

     

    I couldn’t have explained how I feel about my current job more accurately myself…I work for an insurance company taking calls currently and it’s NOT FOR ME! Except even with savings comparable to yours I continue to work, I just do so full of resentment; too afraid to leave because I also feel boxed in. I’ve convinced myself that I’ll never get back in to a clinical setting because I chose to move in the non-clinical direction. I am living in fear.

     

    It sounds like you know what you don’t want but haven’t pinned down what you do; that’s where I’m at, also. Your post was really inspiring to me because you did something about it, you had the gall to leave with plans to Look for a more suitable position. Each day I grow more angry, mostly at myself, but beyond sending out my resume I’ve made no change at all.

     

    after reading your post I called one of the facilities I applied to and left a message with the manager. I’m going to try to be more proactive in backtracking to a position I once held and enjoyed. Thanks for sharing!

    #146227
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

     

    Not too far, I’m about 80 miles south of Albany, not too far from I87. Never got a call back from the only one I dredged up locally, but this seemed to be a holiday week so perhaps I’ll hear back next week!

    #145893
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita,

    I have heard of CBT in my teens when (I believe) misdiagnosed bipolar and subsequently heavily medicated. So you caught me in your earlier description of psychotherapy. I’ll google that but I’ve already googled psychotherapist, not much came up but I live in upstate NY so that’s not a shocker! Thank you for the suggestion, after viewing one practitioners site I’m going to make a call after work and see what it is this person has to offer. They spoke mainly of learning to live in the present with satisfaction while steering your life in the direction you’d like. We will see!

    #145851
    Jennifer
    Participant

    Anita

    How would I research someone with those qualifications in my area? Would they actually have the title “psychotherapist”?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 23 total)