Forum Replies Created
Im sorry to hear about your situation, it sounds miserable to want to be in a relationship but feel stressed out the closer you get with someone. You said its not a fear of commitment or loss- Im curious, do you have any ideas about what it might be that you’re afraid of? Another way of thinking of it is, if you DIDN’T stop a relationship from continuing even though you were stressed out, what are you afraid would happen? That she would be disappointed, or reject you if she really got to know you? That she would end up hurting you if you get too close? A feeling that you have to perform or be perfect to please her?
Or maybe something entirely different? What do you think?
Thank you so much for the replies. It feels nice to be supported and understood somewhat. Nina- I think you hit it right on! Yes! I never thought of it that way, but I do feel guilty about struggling with this constant defensiveness. I just want to live my life without the constant fearful worry that someone is going to hurt me. My rational mind understands that I dont need to fear everyone, and that I also dont need unconditional trust from everyone. (I should clarify, thats not really what im looking for anyway. I do understand that there are varying degrees and types of trust in different relationships.) Its the obsessive worry and physical anxiety I feel even when I know Im rationally safe that are driving me nuts!
No! No it is not wrong at all to ask your partner for equal treatment and for your needs to be met. To me it seems like you clearly just want the same patience, thoughtfulness, and emotional support that you provide to her. No matter how strong you are, at the end of the day, we all need someone to lean on and depend on sometimes. I find myself wondering about these things reading through your thread… its a lot so dont feel like you have to respond if you dont want to, just take whats useful and throw the rest out… 🙂
1. She hears, but does she understand? When you talk, do you take time to be vulnerable and let her know this is something you need, and that it isnt about not loving her, its about feeling unloved? Have you taken the time to let her know how much it would mean to you to know that you are both comfortable with the outside world knowing about this part of your lives? Does SHE take the time to listen openly, or does she immediately brace herself, assuming that you are just criticizing her and putting her down (even if youre not)?
2. How much change are you hoping for? Timidness often comes from low self-esteem, and people outgrow it when they are given lots of positive encouragement to experiment with self expression. This might not be something she can change quickly. Can you be okay with a slow change process? Can you be okay with letting her know you accept her timid feelings, and you still want to see her cared about by friends who accept her for exactly who she is?
3. I dont blame you at all for feeling sick and tired of coaching her. Its exhausting to constantly build a partner up. At some point you just run out of fs to give. If you are usually communicating clearly, letting her know when you need some support from her, letting her know how she can help or take care of you, and she STILL isnt interested in it and always wants to be taken care of or punishes you for showing vulnerability and wont see a couples therapist with you- I think thats a good time to sit down and consider the future of a relationship.
Thanks for replying 🙂 Im pretty sure these feelings are connected to experiences with my abusive ex, and also losing my daughter. I separated from my ex about 6yrs ago; i know everyone likes to think their ex was narcissistic or borderline but mine actually was at least one of those if not both. He took most of his joy in life from controlling and recieving praise from others and had no qualms about punishing people when they didnt want to play mind games, especially me. I did so much work for years to heal from that relationship, then my daughter died when I finally felt like I was moving on with my life.
Outside my hubby & close friends Im really just talking about trusting that people wont take advantage of me or leave me without help. But I get that so mixed up with peeople liking me or showing positive feelings. As soon as someone is displeased I feel like I have to watch my back and protect from them. Or I just feel no motivation to invest in having healthy work relationships. Whats the point if i cant trust anyone.
Hi Pikachumew2 – I’m relieved and proud to hear you say you are seeking counseling at your school. I’m an abuse survivor too and I know how terrifying it can be to get help when you’ve been coerced into secrets and silence for so long. I’d strongly recommend asking your counselor to give you referrals to legal resources too. I’m sure that in the process of helping yourself, the welfare of your brother and father weighs heavily on your mind. You may be able to meet with someone to just talk about your legal rights and hypothetically how your brother could be removed from her care, without having to make an immediate decision. For example, CASA workers (court appointed special advocate) are often appointed to minors as legal advocates to help them through the legal process of revealing abuse and neglect. http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.mtJSJ7MPIsE/b.5301295/k.BE9A/Home.htm
Older siblings are often terrified that their siblings will end up in foster care. A CASA worker is supposed to be assigned to a case until it is closed, meaning that even if a child is put in foster care, the same CASA worker will remain assigned to them throughout their stay.
I don’t know enough to help more than that, but I do know that there are people out there who want to help. If you have fears about what would happen to your family members if you reported your brother’s abuse or tried to gain custody of him, speak those fears to a social worker, therapist, or lawyer. Ask for explanations. Most people will respect your worries and work through it with you.
CHeers! (do they say that in Australia?)
Pamplemous, (wow that is hard to spell 🙂 ) please read this carefully and go to the end because it may not sound reassuring at first but I promise it gets there:
I had a feeling you were drunk-posting when I read this the other day- the comment about the wine might have given you away :). Drunkness and drinking are topics that bring up some tough feelings for me, because I grew up with an alcoholic parent. Reading the way your sentences were put together was even a little emotionally triggering for me. But here’s the thing. Watching my parent heal from this, and be humbled, and humiliated, and face her shame over and over again as she finally got treatment for her addiction, has made me a softer person. I used to hate her flaws because we all pretended things were perfect in my family, when we all knew they weren’t. A parent above all is someone we look up to as ‘perfect’ as a kid. She wasn’t- but it was that admission of imperfection that finally carried her into a new, healed, sober life.
Now when I see someone who admits their flaws, I feel warmth. Relaxation. Safety, because the people brave enough to admit their shortcomings are usually more sane and compassionate than those who live in denial. I know you didn’t ask for this big backstory, but I just want you to know, from a very real place in my heart, that you don’t have to be perfect to be here.
I only ask Sally Ann to leave or quiet down if something else is at stake- like when I’m at work, for example. But I’m okay with that. When I’m at work or out doing something, it’s not always the most appropriate place to feel & express my emotions for the fullest. You can’t exactly sit down for a cry in the middle of your grocery shopping. Anyway, I’m getting carried away with musings now.
It helps me too. And in the end, what matters more than that? People without anxiety or depression may not get it, but who cares. And maybe it would be odd to extroverts, but to be frank there are a lot of things extroverts do that I just don’t fully get either.
Thanks for your replies Jack. It’s really nice to know I’m not the only one out there with a gang of pals in my head that require wrangling from time to time. 😉
It’s okay to just be, here. We’re not all the same but there’s an understanding that we’re all imperfect here, and that’s just fine. It’s okay to have self-doubt. You titled this post “approval” but what I think you really need is acceptance. Self-doubt is a flaw; we’ll care for you anyway. We’re all struggling through something.
Maybe you would have to live very close to the beach to have a porpoise… you could have pool with a tunnel that ran between it and the sea, so the porpoise could let itself out, like a doggie door. But, then you might run the risk of getting other sea creatures in your pool like a jellyfish or something… And there goes my imagination… running away again… far far away… 🙂
Hahaha 🙂 yeah I could do without those too. They definitely take it too far sometimes. Maybe Sally Ann takes on both roles (analyzer & ruminator) for me because I tend to be more of a feeler than a thinker. Honestly, Sally Ann doesn’t usually relax until I can sit down and just have a good old fashioned cry with her. I have to feel what she’s feeling, instead of rolling my eyes in exasperation, otherwise she’ll never quiet down. Even then it can take several times over before she’s comforted into silence. And if I’m not getting good sleep, you can forget about it. That will be a multi-day process to soothe her (just finished a round of that recently, actually). And eventually she will come back to it, because that’s simply how she is. Metaphorically I guess she’s sort of a special-needs child (to be clear, I’m not trying to diminish that experience, for any parents out there that might be reading).
Is it like that for you at all? Will Ruminator Ron put down the remote if you sit and have a big old sob-fest with him?
Hi Jack- I love that you posted this. I’ve done a similar exercise before and have a few kooky ladies of my own running around in my head (that makes it sound a bit like multiple personalities, but I get that that’s not what this is). I feel a little sad and protective of Ruminator Ron- I have my own ruminator (Sally Ann) who I used to despise with a passion. I mean, HATE. An insightful therapist once asked me how I was getting along with this part of myself, and my sarcastic response was that I alternated between wanting to smother her with a pillow and lock her in a closet. To the parts of us that just want to have fun and be free from pain, Sally Ann and Ron are probably desperately annoying and clingy sometimes. For the love of it, why can’t they just shut up and loosen the F up?
But Sally Ann’s a pragmatic gal, and she sees the cracks and won’t ignore them. She refuses to sweep upsetting things under the rug, and for that quality, she’s a valuable member of my mental team. She’s a little more likeable if I step into her shoes and realize that she’s helped steer me away from a few life catastrophies. Maybe the same is true for Ron?
Hi Leila 🙂
You’ve already received a lot of advice, so mine will be short and sweet:
* At the same time you grind your teeth listening to strangers complain about immigrants and poorer people, you long for someone with views like yours that you could commiserate with about “snobby well-to-do” people. In that sense at least, these folks and yourself aren’t that different. Both of you turn to others with similar life perspectives to complain, which is a very human thing to do.
* Think about your goals with these people. You might be used to making friends at school, but that’s probably not your main reason for going. Consider the idea that you can make friends elsewhere in the city, and maybe find people more similar to you. Or, look for a club on campus that reflects your values. Maybe it’s okay for your peers in class to be just peers, nothing more. That might make things feel less personal for you when you’re around them.
* Some good mental-mantras for dealing with people you dislike, or disagree with:
– “I don’t have to agree with their opinions in order to appreciate other aspects about them, or for them to appreciate me. It’s okay for us to disagree.”
– “Opinions come from life experience, and ours has been different. I wonder we can be willing to learn from each other.”
– “It’s okay for me to ask for an explanation about cultural things I don’t understand, or to explain to them things they don’t understand, as long as I am respectful.”
I am kind of confused by your question. Is this a hypothetical question? Or do you have a real-life example you could share, that would perhaps make it clearer? Without having a good understanding of your question, this is the best advice I can give you:
If you were in a situation where you noticed a problem, but you were unable to do anything to change your situation or the problem, and then the problem faded away as the situation passed, then you no longer have a problem. There’s no need to dwell on it. Continuously thinking about old pains and problems that have faded away take us away from the present, and cause us unneeded pain.
Remember that mindfulness does not require us to have a timely solution to all problems. Mindfulness is nonjudgmental, non-evaluative awareness and acceptance. It is also a continuous practice and way of life- rather than something that you can ‘achieve’ if you try hard enough.
The fact that you noticed a problem, and also noticed there was nothing you could do about it immediately, is awareness. I would now turn your focus to acceptance. You may realize that new emotions, thoughts, or insights arise when you remember past problems. You can mindfully be aware of and accept these, also. Letting go, forgiving yourself for less-mindful moments, and returning your mind to present awareness becomes easier with acceptance. This is a continuous practice that will become easier with time and experience.October 30, 2014 at 8:13 pm in reply to: Does trauma cause problems with building new relationships? #67055
I agree with Tir. I’ve been through my own doses of relationship trauma and trust me, going through your healing process first, before starting anything serious, is good for you in so many ways. It’s a tough balance though, because no one wants to feel alone while they are healing and going through major changes and upheavals in their life. Sometimes when we are hurting, we feel pulled even more strongly towards new relationships, because our need for love/belonging/connection/understanding/support are greater than ever. If you have solid, loving, supportive relationships in other areas of your life (such as friends or family) now is the time to turn back to those. These people already know you well, so talking about deeper issues and emotions won’t be as weird with them as it would be with a date or new friend.
I’d also suggest seeing a therapist. It’s not for everyone, but you’re already asking yourself the questions a counselor would ask and help you find answers for. It might sound ironic, but couple & family therapists (CFTs, MFTs) also specialize in helping individuals heal from divorce and damaging relationships. Individual therapy feels a lot different from couples therapy, but not in a bad way. Especially if you want someone to talk to who can actually give good relationship advice.
Wishing you peace & healing,