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Linarra

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  • #383845
    Linarra
    Participant

    Sarah,

    I agree, it is really important to figure out what is hiding behind emotions like anger. Anger is a strong overwhelming emotion, it blurry the source of the issue, and the access to the inner wound needing to be soothed. No wonder you found the idea of going to the root helpful. Understanding how emotions work is very important to find a way to appease ourselves.

    Honestly, all the movie is really well done and helpful. It goes through a lot of good points. The thing that has touched my heart was to see so much compassion. One of my fear that makes me avoidant of people is the lack of compassion and understanding of differences that I may receive. I had bad experiences with people in positions of authority when I was young. Teachers, doctors… And not because I was problematic, but their reactions towards my difficulties were harsher and judgemental than compassionate. It hurt my trust in people. So, witnessing caring, compassionate, and helpful people is very heartwarming for me. It shows other experiences, and I really appreciate it.

    Ocean sounds are really nice for journaling indeed, I also like coffee shops/tea rooms sounds, rain sounds, fireplaces, and all these atmospheric videos. Meditations can be a hit or a miss for me, it’s very aleatory, depending on the meditation and my mood. There’s a lot of timing and compatibility factors I guess. But it is helpful sometimes so I keep trying them out and exploring. I searched the reiki asmr video. It was hard to stay serious at first, but the gestures are interesting, I can see how it can give a feeling of relief. Or some kind of an experience. It felt like tickles for me. It was a bit awkward, but interesting anyway.

    I’ve got a question. What is the meaning/idea behind the “I surrender” mantra?

    I equally think self-compassion is a way to become stronger and build a better armor/resilience. I’m slowly getting there. I am a bit shy in these practices still. I am going slowly. A part of me feels like a wild animal who is still wary and cautious. There’s a bit of an unknown/doubtful feeling about receiving love and compassion. Like suddenly it could be taken back, or used against me as if it could be a way to let my guard down before attacking me. Which makes sense, as my parents switched between awkward affection and abuse. Sometimes without a warning. And I’m coming back from a long time of being too harsh with myself to cope/prepare for the harshness of others, so it makes sense the progress will come in small steps. I need to experience healthy affection for a longer time before I am able to really believe it and trust it.

    I think getting used to oxytocin again will be part of this process. I never thought of self-massaging before, it seems like a good idea to get used to touching without requiring the intervention of someone else. Thank you for the idea. I am feeling shy and vulnerable when touching myself in a comforting way. I know that intimacy with other people, even animals sometimes, can be a bit overwhelming for me. I can do it and appreciate it, but there’s a lot of mixed feelings, insecurities, and worries that can bleed into it. I’ll have to pay attention to that more. At least deep conversation is a form of intimacy I am able to have, and used to have, it’s my comfort zone.

    When it comes to my needs from other people… I guess I would start with stability and safety (the basics that should be achieved through mutual respect and communication), and connection, a sense of belonging or acceptance I guess. I have that with some internet friends, or some friends from college I’m keeping in touch with, but I’d like to have it back into my life physically and in real-time. I can have that with my siblings, when we’re not too preoccupied. I hope someday I will be having that in a better environment. For now, I am not very open to meeting new people where I live. I do not like this place, and I do not want more connections in a place I do not want to be part of. At some point, I’d like to start over. It isn’t going to happen before a few years at least, but I want to see how I would be when I won’t be facing as much external negativity.

    I think the thanks in advance is a good trick, I’ll be sure to keep it in mind while facing problems. It seems like a smart strategy. Mindfulness too, I am trying to get it into my habits.

    I am unsure how you could help further, you are already doing a lot for me, and I am grateful for what you have done already.

    Linarra

    #383721
    Linarra
    Participant

    I just watched it. It is very powerful indeed. It makes me feel better. It is very hopeful and shame-alleviating. Thank you for sharing it with me. I can think of some people to share it too, as they equally struggle with trauma. I’ll look into the Dr. Gabor Maté’s work a bit more, it made me curious.

    I will equally look more into Kristin Neff’s resources. They sound practical and practical is useful.

    Thank you for your compassion. I do know I didn’t deserve her abuse, she’s just lashing out her suffering on us and it’s mostly out of our control. There are things I could do to give her fewer things to criticize/abuse me about but, from my experience, it is not the healthy way to get there. These are things I could use improvement upon, but I want to do it for myself and at the pace my recovery allows me. I can’t push myself under the pressure of abuse and feel like it’s real progress when it’s done under rush and emotional neglect.

    It is tiring how she tries to “fix” me. She’s ashamed of having produced an unfunctional kid (she liked it better when she could use me as a trophy and a personal success).  I know I shouldn’t fix myself for her or anyone to deserve respect, compassion, and love, but it isn’t a great moment when someone is still trying to make me feel bad about myself and coming so strongly at me. She’s not sabotaging my healing entirely but it is a mood ruiner when it’s too recurrent. And the time I am resisting the abuse and protecting myself mentally against her is the time I’m not using to actually becoming more functional (for my own sake of course).

    I am used to her aggressions and I am enough in control of my emotions to not fuel fire automatically (though she doesn’t need me to fuel it, she is paranoid and will hear what she wants to hear, imagine what she wants to imagine).  Yet, even if I try to bring back some calm as much as I can, when she comes at me when I’m especially exhausted or when she’s been at it for too long, I tend to not have the energy to put up with her immaturity and aggressiveness in a way that would appeal to her.

    I do talk and share the pain with some people, mostly internet friends who also had mothers who are difficult to handle. I don’t feel much like seeking therapy. I do not necessarily feel in a hurry. People are in a hurry in my stead and try to push me a lot lately. I don’t feel in a rush, personally.

    I’m handling it fine myself, I don’t wait for the help of a therapist to help myself. The idea of retelling everything again is tiring, and the process of going through that repeatedly until I find a therapist who clicks is unappealing. If I were to chose what to spend my time on when I am going through rough times, I would rather do something that makes me feel alive and happy, which helps, instead of going through that therapy-seeking process that takes me more energy than it makes me gain.

    It’s faster and more efficient to find the resources by myself and be proactive. I do not feel lost without a therapist at the moment. I think I have a good understanding of my situation, and of my possibilities, and the things I can do. It’s a slow process, but I am doubtful it’ll be enhanced that much by a therapist. I feel like by the time I find a therapist who can give me something I can’t already give myself by researching and being proactive, I’ll be healed enough to need a therapist even less. But if someday I feel limited with my resources I’m open to it. It just feels superfluous until then.

    Otherwise, I am having normal reactions (being tired and having less energy) to abnormal situations (being abused). I’m not retraumatized, I am more jaded. Because I know how it works, I know how to be well defended. I may not able to feel joy when a period like this is lasting, but that makes sense. Anyone wouldn’t.  But when it’s over I can resume my healing without being too affected, because nothing is new under the sun and I’m far enough in my healing to not regress that much every time sh*t happens.

    I am sorry for everything you went through, and I’m glad these traumas are in the past so you can work through your recovery in better circumstances. Not being alone definitely helps, talking with you helps, the movie you shared did help me to feel less alone too.

    Linarra

    #383686
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    I understand, everyone is different, and even there we may be at different stages of our healing journey. Or sometimes it’s just not the right time. Do not worry, your positivity didn’t make anything worse, I knew better than not to push when I notice external factors wouldn’t make it successful. And I don’t feel bad for that, I know it’s not a problem. I just already have tendencies to avoid negative emotions so it end up like that sometimes.

    I checked out Kristin Neff, read her website, listened a few interviews she done on the subject, and tried a meditation on her website yesterday. Her content is interesting and might be helpful. Thank you.

    Unfortunately, I’m not going to hope for too many improvements in the few next days. My mother have been acting up, verbally abusing me actively again. She went as far as actually hitting me yesterday. Nothing too worrying, I was able to protect myself well enough and she stopped after my siblings tried to film her violence for evidences.

    She is threatening to report us to social workers for ‘destroying her mental health’, which is quite ironical since she’s been the one starting fights. She said she got her back covered about the abuse when we pointed out the irony (probably lied/manipulated someone by twisting the reality again). I don’t think she’ll really do anything though, as it isn’t a fight she can attempt without going down too. She’s just afraid of us reporting her for her behaviour so she’s trying to have the advantage by turning the tables, but I won’t be afraid. I’m tired though.

    My siblings aren’t coping very well, I’m worried about them. I’m doing well enough all things considered but I’m looking forward to the moment she’ll move on from her crisis and stop jumping me everytime our path cross.

    I hope I’ll have better news next time we talk,

    Linarra

    #383598
    Linarra
    Participant

    Sarah,

    I think so too. Mental health issues are a powerful enemy when not having the right tools or the right support, and usually it’s by looking to those who overcome it you can find some tools and hope, enough to try and see for yourself.

    I think it is true sometimes, autosuggestion/permission can do the trick. I tried and it didn’t work. Or it almost worked, it almost got me in a positive vibe but reality came back. And I couldn’t exactly overlook it. I could cope with it, which I did, but giving myself the permission of being happy didn’t apply there. I will keep the advice for my better days though. I am glad this realization was life-changing for you.

    I have more difficulty letting myself live my unhappiness than my happiness anyway. When I feel bad, I have difficulty releasing my feeling in a way that makes me feel better. I don’t let myself cry or grief properly. I bury it and sometimes it’s ok, sometimes it isn’t. Yesterday was one of those days, and it led to insomnia. But thankfully I was able to cry since I was too tired to control myself. I don’t know if it made me feel better, but it couldn’t hurt.

    I think I have still a lot to figure out and heal before I can have more regular joy and happiness. Not that joy is entirely inaccessible, but it’s quite harder when dealing with issues or not knowing what you need to feel better. But that’s alright, I’ll get through this eventually. It’s just a long journey, and I’m still figuring out my needs.

    I’m not feeling my needs concretely. Emotions (when I’m not burying them) do not always translate well into thoughts for me, and the only way I’m going somewhere through journaling is because I have intellectual knowledge and an analytical understanding of what is happening to me. Of want a normal human would need, and how it corresponds to my feelings. But it’s not very connected, even if it makes sense. And it is still very vague anyway, not practical.

    My unsolved needs are probably what deprives me of joy so often. Because I can’t provide to myself what I don’t know I’m missing. But about vital things for my mental health. It doesn’t always hurt, but it is numbing.

    Thank you for believing I have what it takes to keep going.

    Linarra

    #383475
    Linarra
    Participant

    Sarah

    The beginning of Man’s Search for Meaning definitely holds so much suffering. Survivors have so much to teach us.

    I am not sure the meaning I find in writing stories has a single big aim. It has a lot of small different purposes. Overall, I just like the process of creating stories.

    There’s just so much beauty in exploring human lives and their journey through fiction. Each character and their stories have their own essence. Through them, we’re sharing bits of our findings, of our exploration of life and our understanding of it. Just like you want to show people how important it is to be selfish through your novel.

    I find stories to be a powerful means of communication. There are feelings and experiences I wouldn’t be able to communicate as clearly otherwise, not the way I can through storytelling.

    I like writing about very flawed characters, I find them beautiful in their uniqueness. I like figuring out how they try to cope with their difficulties, and where they find their strength. I especially enjoy writing on the dynamics of human relationships, and how characters find their place in the world and build their identity.

    My current project is about two characters and how they encounter each other in their healing journey (in a challenging and loving way, but with some hurtful phases too). It happens in the fairy tale world, between an old witch with poorly healed trauma who thinks she shouldn’t be loved, and a child who’s neglected and acting recklessly, desperately trying to prove she’s lovable despite the disapproval she receives from people around. And it’s basically the journey of these two stubborn girls who need to heal from both the rejection and the equally traumatizing bad choices they make due to these rejections.

    In your instances of life struggles, your self has been put last by abusers and even by yourself. You must forge an identity out of the struggles you are facing. Get to know yourself, your thoughts, your needs as you are doing now in this forum.

    This is very true. It is definitely a good thing to acknowledge and change. I am looking forward to getting to know myself more, it should be very helpful to become stronger, and to nurture more self-love and self-esteem.

    I agree with what you said about the negativity bias and challenging it. It’s just too easy at times to see the glass half empty, and it really doesn’t help with the mood. I definitely will try to put more praise positive reinforcement as I do efforts. And see all the encouraging signs.

    I agree with self-compassion too. Love and compassion shouldn’t be conditional. We can do our best without menacing ourselves with self-abuse/self-neglect, and we don’t have to lure ourselves into the idea we will be worthy only once we achieved something. That’s not how it works. We need our self-love and self-compassion at every stage of our lives, and every step of our journey. We aren’t as strong or as resilient when we’re deprived of those, nor when we nurture the worries and negativity. We are worthy of love, we have always been, since the beginning, entirely, including our imperfections.

    It is relaxing to think we are lovable as we are, and the rest of the journey and the solving isn’t something that changes our self-worth. It is a nice message to tell ourselves.

    I definitely agree with your idea of selfishness. It is important. For long, I thought selfishness was bad, that I had to dedicate myself to my family, be the person they needed me to be, and it brought me pain and inability to build my “self” properly.

    When I let myself be a bit more selfish after I hit the rock bottom and couldn’t care less if it would make me a bad person, I surprisingly didn’t become worse. I started to heal. And I learned later selfishness wasn’t bad at all. Being selfless hurt me and made me powerless, even unable to accomplish what I thought I had to do at the time. Being selfish made me regain control, it gave me more strength and positivity. I still had a lot to face but at least I was stronger because I could have my own back a bit more.

    Despite the uncertainty of the future, I will not give up on myself anymore. And, as you said, I still have to get to know myself better, and build my “self”, because there’s no way I can know my needs and love myself in the right way without that.

    Linarra

    #383422
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah 🙂

    I understand, it is very difficult to recover from not being in control. Mental illness is traumatizing in itself, for both the causes and the consequences. I send you a virtual hug. What happened to you when you weren’t in control doesn’t impact your worth as a person. You are a beautiful person, kind, intelligent and compassionate. What happens when we aren’t in control isn’t our true self (cringing over the past definitely shows it wasn’t you, it’s not what you were meant to be).

    Our traumas and our disabilities aren’t our faults. We couldn’t prevent it. It is our responsibility to recover though. We might have been powerless when things happened to us, but now we can regain this power, and not let these events and conditions define our future. These obstacles are ours to overcome, but they aren’t making us less worthy.

    When we look back at our difficulties and some of our past, and when we forgive ourselves for our imperfections, it allows us to become more understanding and compassionate towards others in similar situations. It is always good for people to see that, despite the hurting and the difficulties, one doesn’t have to go down and pursue the hurtful path their present/past came from. One can recover and try to be kind instead of repeating the hurting toward themselves and others. And by going for this recovery ourselves we might show a hopeful path exists and can be found. It is never easy, but it is worth it. And you can be proud of yourself for pursuing this. It makes me feel better to know people like you are out there.

    I wish you good luck with your exposure therapy. I’m proud of you for all the effort you’ve been putting into your recovery.  I’m sure it will work out well for you eventually. I am sorry your living situation isn’t ideal. Yet you seem to do your best to keep fighting for yourself and your future, so I believe all your good choices and efforts will lead you to a better place.

    I started challenging my negative and fear-inducing thoughts through journaling. I find it helpful to reassure myself and try to convince myself that I can make it through despite my circumstances. Allowing hope while staying realistic is helping me to believe it.

    I can believe there is a possibility of a better future for me. It is possible I learn to become more resilient and recover. I can’t picture it in detail as it is very far from my current reality, but I can see the seeds of it. And I can try watering it and be active in the process of healing.

    After all, I was never able to imagine before where I would be now, and I used to be very pessimistic. And I was able to survive, find answers, find possible ways to become stronger, gain back a little bit of control and self-esteem compared to where I was years before. The wounds and consequences are still there and influencing my life, but they are other influences, more positive, that support me and help me progress a bit.  So it is likely in a few years I will be further in my recovery. I don’t know how much. But I still have time. As long I keep trying to get better it’ll be alright.

    It’s perfectly fine to live how you want to live. But if it’s FEAR holding you back rather than simple disinterest then that is something to be worked with.” 

    I do think so too. Even if it can be hard to distinguish if the disinterest is caused by anxiety or depression from real disinterest. I mean, what is “me not enjoying something” and “me not being in the right mood to properly enjoy anything too challenging”? I can only tell from my limited knowledge and experience, and it is of course biased. I know things like that can and will probably change during the process of healing. I am bound to try things out of my comfort zone anyway, for exposure.

    I don’t want to overwhelm myself by trying too much too early though. It could be counterproductive if forcing too much creates a negative experience and reinforces my discouraging beliefs only because I didn’t do it the right way. But I am trying to not be entirely resistant to the idea of change.

    It’s quite confusing though, to not know what part of me is ‘me’ and what part of me is the consequence of wrong beliefs and unadapted coping mechanisms.

    Anyway. To go back to Man’s Search for Meaning, I can see why you reference it so much. It is very interesting. I’m not far from finishing my reading of it. I can see how logotherapy can be effective as a way to become more resilient and face life’s difficulties. I do believe in the principle behind it, even if it seems like quite a challenging exercise to find meaning and keep it (or let it evolve/change/twist itself when necessary) during the turmoils of life. It is worth exploring.

    What is your first language?” I am french.

    I wish you a good day,

    Linarra

     

    #383292
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi sarah,

    Thank you for the facebook group.

    “I’m sorry you have experienced such pain and turmoil. I have had generalized anxiety disorder then found it was related to trauma.”

    Does the past tense mean you were able to recover? I can see how it can be related to trauma.

    “What sort of catastrophizing thoughts are you having during your anxious moments? Maybe start by recording your thoughts. Let me know how I can help.”

    I don’t know what my thoughts are, I think I get anxious before I am even able to form a thought. Or my anxiety distracts me from my own thinking, I am not sure. Most of the time, I have no one to talk to about my anxiety who won’t brush it off in an unhelpful way, so I don’t bother putting it into words. I think it’s a general fear that something will go wrong and that I will not be able to control the situation well, though.

    CBT might be helpful but it doesn’t work for everyone. CBT is cognitive behavioral therapy which I’m sure you’ve heard of. Challenge those negative thought patterns by first identifying them and naming your feelings.”

    I heard of it indeed. I have been searching for this type of therapy at first but wasn’t able to find an accessible one, where I live there are more psychoanalysts. So my researches on this one weren’t very successful. Still can try to challenge the negative patterns by myself though.

    “Meaning- I know you are fearful of social situations but what about them is scary to you? Let’s break it down.”

    Sometimes, it’s because I don’t trust myself to know what behavior is expected of me and be able to behave well. Sometimes, it’s because I fear something unpredictable will happen, like having a stranger trying to small talk with me. Or a friend asking a question I am uncomfortable with. Or having to face choices, I hate choices.

    When I don’t know the person enough it is impossible to be comfortable around them, there’s always unpredictability and I dislike and fear unpredictability.

    “Same goes for your depression. What thoughts are you having at this time?”

    It is a bit hard to differentiate the thoughts that trigger my depression from the thoughts that are caused by my depression honestly. But there are thoughts like “It’s never gonna change”, “Whatever efforts I make doesn’t change my situation significantly enough”, “Does it even worth it?”.

    A big one, that I don’t seem able to fight, is my apathy for a lot of things. They are a big reason why I don’t go out to begin with. I am pretty much uninterested in the things happening outside. Anything costing me money is a big no to me. And the things that are free, well. I can live without it, I have my own way to be entertained alone, in my home. Making the efforts to do things outside and taking the risk of making a bad encounter doesn’t seem to be worth it.

    I know it probably prevents me from good encounters, but I don’t believe much in good encounters in the place I live. Neither do I believe I would be able to make the best of it anyway. I am very suspicious of anything that seems good, I am expecting a catch hiding somewhere.

    I only go out when I am forced to. Or when I am forcing myself in an effort of trying to do the ‘normal’ thing. I don’t enjoy myself, I just don’t question it and deal with it until it’s done.

    The only reason I would want to be cured of this is to not feel ashamed from being a shut-in or to not feel anxiety from going out after months of not being out. Or to not feel like ‘not going out ever again’ could be a doable option for me. It’s just about not having to deal with the bad consequences of this, not because I feel like there’s something worthing it for me out there. I have no motivation for all this. I just to the efforts because I’m trying to be rational, but I’m afraid if I don’t cure this at some point I’ll be apathetic to the point rationality will not matter. Faking normality will not matter. Healthiness could not matter. It’s to avoid ending up to this point I make effort. But that’s really the only motivation there is. And it isn’t enough…

    There’s worry journaling where for 20 minutes you just write everything that you are worried about like a brain dump.

    I’ll recall this next time I am worried. Thank you.

    “I have focus issues too due to stress and learning disability. I have ADD but it’s also trauma related. I’m figuring out how to navigate that myself. It sounds like things are just overwhelming to you and you’re having trouble functioning.”

    Yeah they can be sometimes. I hope things will go well for you as you learn to navigate these focus issues. It isn’t easy.

    I think it’s time to ask for help. Professional help. You’re not in complete control. Try to find a therapist who specializes in trauma. That would help. Be upfront about your needs for feedback.

    I will try searching more. I hope I will find it. For sure this time I won’t forget to be upfront about my needs as I don’t have the patience to waste my time by being unclear.

    There’s also exposure therapy. Make small goals for yourself. Instead of jumping to attending parties or talking on the phone, see if you can go to a public place for an hour. Things like that. Come up with some doable goals but also don’t feel bad about yourself if you don’t make them happen. You don’t have to work like a machine.

    Yeah, I am trying that. I don’t say no when my friends want to go out in public places for that reason. I am able to do it. I don’t have panic attacks or anything. I am just numb. Just like I had always been most of the time when being out. I prove myself I can still force myself and do it once in a while. But it doesn’t make me want to do it more. Even the beautiful stuff outside doesn’t worth it that much.

    I guess my issue is more that I don’t want to, rather than “I can’t”.

    If you ever want anyone to read your scripts, I can be a good coach or cheerleader (not an editor though lol).”

    Thank you for your offer, it’s nice of you. English isn’t my native language though, and since my scripts aren’t in English I’m not going to take you on this offer, but thank you anyway. 🙂

    I’ll reread Man’s Search for Meaning and let me know your thoughts as you do too- either here or on email.

    Alright then. I listened to it further. He mentions the notion of ‘provisional existence’, which is a term I never heard before, yet it describes very well how I felt during most of my time while growing up. I had this uncertainty I would still be live until adulthood. Once I became an adult, I understood it would probably be better trying to live a good life until death finally came, as it could happen later than I thought, but imagining the future is still a hard one to get around. Especially since I still can’t assure my own survival yet.

    “Keep thinking about purpose. It’ll help you through the depression. I know it helps me.”

    I’ll be trying. Sorry for the later reply than usual. I got a bit stuck figuring out the thought I had during anxiety and depression.

    I hope you’re doing well,

    Linarra.

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Linarra.
    #383151
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    “So what would you say are your disabilities? What aspects of every day life are hard for you? Are they learning disabilities or trauma based or both? Do you have anxiety or depression?”

    I have anxiety being out in a crowded space, interacting with strangers. Simple things as going to see the doctor, or go to groceries are taking so much energy out of me I tend to avoid them. I am also scared of phone calls, especially when they are formal and administrative. I freeze and my brain has a hard time functioning well in presence of a perceived authority.

    I also feel anxiety when my friends are asking me to hang out. The kind that makes me apprehend before, be on edge when I’m out and need time to recover after I went out. I always felt like refusing/avoiding going out with my friends, but I learnt to say yes anyway since they are not bad people. If I said no every time I had anxiety at the idea of going out, I would probably never be out at all. So I am able to go despite that, it is just very difficult, and the perspective of that being my daily life again, while I know I was able to do it when going to school, doesn’t make me want to go on with life.

    When I am at home, I don’t feel anxiety, unless it is triggered by my mother or a visitor. The latter isn’t a common occurrence, as we have a tacit rule of not inviting people home. I can be a bit jumpy though, at home or outside, sometimes I am just tense and my body reacts like I’m being attacked for no logical reason, even when I know I am safe. I noticed it as something unusual as I was at college, I felt silly to be so jumpy around people and a place I had no reason to be. I don’t remember if I was always like that but never noticed before.

    I don’t think I have specific learning disabilities, as my school grade were mostly correct, but I have focus issues due to my anxiety. I have a hard time listening and gathering information when a stranger is giving them to me, or be able to process/react accordingly. It makes me slow, and more anxious. I had unprecise negative feedback about my efficiency when I tried doing temporary work at a factory, so I probably didn’t fit well because of that. Honestly, I can’t even consider jobs that require actual social interactions with customers AND coworkers. Coworkers are already too much of a worry for me.

    For my seemingly depressive phases, they come in phases, during those my energy jar is lower, I feel like sleeping/resting despite having just woken up in the morning. I have a harder time gathering motivation for my usual chores and work. Though, phase or not, I usually have a hard time taking care of myself and my environment. More often than not it is a struggle to achieve all my daily chores without feeling like giving up halfway. I keep trying, but I feel bad when struggling with those. My low energy/motivation seems like laziness, yet I know I’m putting more effort I was able to years ago and I had made progress. It just doesn’t seem enough.

    “What does a typical day look like for you?”

    I woke up early, usually before the rest of my family (except my mother sometimes), and I eat my breakfast peacefully. It is an important ritual for me, I like a quiet peaceful morning. Sometimes my mother will join me, thankfully she’s usually in a good mood during the morning and wants a positive interaction with me. I give it to her, as I don’t mind her when she’s not awful. Most of the time, though, I’m alone and I like that.

    After that, I try to work, unless I am in a bad mood or end up distracted. I like working in the morning when I have a full day ahead. If I have a successful work session it gives me energy and a good mood for the day. If not, I know I can still try again in the afternoon.  I usually stop working because I have to make lunch. I try to do other chores as I go around lunchtime but I am only able to do so when someone isn’t distracting me around. It is more difficult to work on chores when my family is around being noisy.

    The work of the afternoon is a bit depending on my energy level, if I can’t go at it I well rest before I work, if I can I’ll try working until I’m tired/interrupted. After that, I just relax and see if I feel like working more after.

    That being said, when I am in a depressed phase my work time isn’t that clear, I procrastinate and I can be grateful for managing to get chores done.

    I don’t do weekends and vacations. I struggle with those kinds of schedule. Because when I’m able to be on a motivated/productive phase I feel frustrated to stop and focus on something else. I can be very obsessive when I am in a good work dynamic. And when I don’t manage to be productive I am frustrated with that and want to keep trying until it works.

    “How often do you interact with your mother and father?”

    I only interact with my mother for practical stuff, except when she wants to talk to me personally, but those talks aren’t a daily thing. My father died when I was 14, I don’t miss him. I interact more with my siblings than my mother.

    “Lastly, what art do you do or are trying to do professionally?”

    At the moment, I am trying myself at scriptwriting. And possibly hoping to get also some money done as a freelance illustrator. I am intending to try myself at making a webcomic after I finished writing my current project. Or, if I find out this medium doesn’t fit I can still go back to more traditional writing as I used to do when I was younger.

    I have several strings to my bow, and I am flexible with my possibilities. I just know that :
    – I need to tell stories (this is where I find the most meaning and entertainment, stories are everything to me)
    – I kind of need drawing/painting (for a relaxing purpose more than something else, it is less fulfilling than writing but it’s part of my meditation and I’m skilled enough to do something out of it)

    “What are things you like to do?”

    I like to read/watch stories, to listen to podcast/interviews/videos as I draw (listening to something helps me to stay focus longer, and I like being educated and listeneing to people). I feel alive when I’m staying stimulated and challenged, like creating and solving problems. So when I need something I enjoy figuring out how to do it myself. Like sewing, web programming…

    Whether it’s for practical sake or just for the curiosity/challenge. Present me a new craft/art form and I’m like a kid in a candy store. Now I know what I want to do though, I’m trying to stay focus on my current project. Trying to keep myself reasonable, disciplined and everything.

    “I’ve become my own best friend. […] I have no one really to turn to as a support system like friends or family for deep stuff. It’s lacking in my life too. But I do things that I like each day. I do stuff I enjoy. I live MINDFULLY. I took myself to Barnes and Nobles the other day, wrote a letter to my inner child then cried in the bathroom. I came out and read some self help books and felt relief. I had no one to share this moment with but I knew that I was developing a sense of self out of the madness. I was becoming more authentic and real with who I am and what I strive for, BECAUSE I know what it’s like to be without love or support. I am alone but not lonely now. Solitude has become my friend.”

    I am glad you found your way to turn solitude and yourself into your friends. It sounds like such a relief. You have come a long way. It is nice. Our own company is enjoyable when we’re treating ourselves as a person, and when we’re taking care of ourselves, doing what we’re meant to be.

    I think the thing that keeps alive the loneliness for me, is that I wish I was able to share my happiness with people. When I am alone, I more likely to be relaxed and happy. When I am with people, I am more likely to be cautious and sad, or anhedonic. It is unfortunate, because I see people enjoying themselves with other people, making them happy, and I wish I was able to make people happy too.

    So something crazy happened to me recently. You know the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? I emailed her team a sad email like “Why is there suffering in this world?” Well I got a personal response from Rhonda herself. […]  I have bipolar and she said her daughter has a mental illness too. She gave some encouraging words and I got to tell her my views on life and God. So…you never know who you’re going to meet! […] I got insights from that moment that I was able to put into an email once I received Rhonda’s when I got home that day. It was in synch in a way- my thoughts from the day at the beach and the opportunity to reply to an email from her personally.

    I didn’t know of this one, I’m adding it up to the pile. I am glad you were able to get a response and encouragement from her! The world is really surprising when we try to reach out. Sometimes, the universe can align so well, but it is also because you have given the universe the opportunity for it to reach you back. You took a step and were rewarded.

    “Here’s what I thought of that day- I am not the only one who feels this way. Everyone is struggling in someone. We are all linked, all connected by our human experience of suffering.”

    It makes sense, suffering is everywhere. We are all challenged one way or another, life is full of hardship we can bond over when we share them. Though, from my experience, it feels sort of alienating when you have suffering experiences that aren’t shared and understood by people around you. Not everyone will have the same wounds, and communication can be difficult.

    But we don’t have to belong with everyone to find people we can be connected to.

    “I do believe it is possible for you to get out of this situation. I do believe that life has more to offer you.”

    I do believe though, as you said, that life has more to offer to me. And that I have also more to offer to life.

    “I know she’s in therapy but narcissists can manipulate therapists pretty easily. But it’s good she’s going at all. If you could write an unsent letter to your mom and dad, what would it say? Maybe make that your project this week. (You can share it here if you want to but don’t have to.)”

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure her constant lying and masking don’t help her therapy. But, well, better than nothing.

    I wouldn’t have much to say to them. I would say I am sorry their life hurt them badly enough that they rathered choosing an escape instead of healing. That I wished they had a better environment, in which they would have had access to better support, and built a better resilience.

    I wish they didn’t have to hurt people to feel better. I would thank them for the moment they were good, for the love they gave us even if they also killed it. I wouldn’t forgive them for the way they hurt us, but I would say I am thankful I was able to learn from their mistakes. It didn’t go to waste. I would promise them I will not walk onto their path, and will try to be happy. I wonder what kind of people they would have been, if they had access to therapy and healing. But we will never know.

    While I keep standing by the fact they hurt us and it shouldn’t be forgotten/brushed off, and I wanted them gone from my life if they stayed like that, I will still try to remember the few good things we shared. It is only fair, as they weren’t entirely bad. I’m not spending time resenting or missing them though, because I am too busy healing from the wounds they left on me for caring more than that.

    “Keep therapy searching. It’s taken five years for me to find someone who gives good feedback. so I guess it’s hard out there. Try it anyway. I got some good meditations from a therapist. […]”

    Thank you for the advice, it seems helpful to be able to ‘cast away’ the worries/negative feelings for later without actually burying them. It seems like a healthy way to not be invaded but without letting them untreated forever.  Thank you also for the meditation, I will search more when I’ll feel in need of them.

    “I love your openness to receiving advice and how responsive you are. I mean you are ON IT. For someone who is feeling held back in life, you have such a strong will. This tells me you are ready to heal. You are ready for life to change. You are ready for life to change you.”

    Thank you. I am still trying, for now. I am still very held back, but I want to try to change. I am still overwhelmed by all that trying though. It seems to be taking a lot of my energy, and I am a bit worried about that. I might be doing it wrong.

    “It’s beautiful that you’re chasing your dreams. We can’t know where that will lead us but it’s a very brave step. I’m proud of you.”

    Thank you. No matter where that will lead us, I want to have tried to go for what feels good and right. If it doesn’t work, at least I will not have to drown under the thought I didn’t try everything that was in my power to not only survive but learn how to live. Surely I’ll be more resilient because of that, even if I fail, my self-esteem should get a bit better. I believe we always come out with a gain when we invest ourselves into something. It might not be what we aimed for, but new experiences shape us. And those we chose are even more meaningful.

    “You deserve love. A love that is warm and enveloping and open and honest. You deserve someone to uplift you and tell you how wonderful you are. You deserve friendships you can share your deepest hopes and dreams and fears without shame. You deserve a mom and dad who save you, not scorn you. You deserve it. We all do”

    Thanks. I am getting a warm feeling when I am reading this forum, I am glad this place exists. It is so strange yet so good. And I’m very grateful for the thoughtful, caring responses you provide. And I agree, we all deserve it. I wish there were more people thinking like this in this world, there would be less suffering and more soothing. But this is why we’re trying to heal, right? To be able to share love and good things with the people instead of repeating the negativity and the hurt we received.

    “Ask yourself, “What am I here for? What is my purpose?” It’s not what you do but who you are that matters. It’s not if you have a conventional life but a life of conviction. Can you live such a life? A life that you choose?”

    Since I came to the conclusion I could not live a life I didn’t choose and stay sane/good, hopefully I will be able to live a life I have chosen. Or will go down trying. We’ll see.

    I will not pretend I know myself enough to be certain of what I am here for or what is my purpose. I am always discovering more as I am discovering life. So I will stay on the general statement I am here to pursue what is calling me and feels right for me, what makes me more resilient, and stronger to the unavoidable suffering life got coming for us. Maybe strong enough to bring some good into this world as I go, or at least to not add more suffering.

    “I’m going to reread Man’s Search for Meaning too. “

    Do not hesitate to share your thought on this book as you reread it then.

    I wish you well,

    Linarra

    #383106
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    “You aren’t just taking steps to healing. You are taking leaps. Pretty soon you’ll be on top of the mountain looking back on the person you are now thanking her for getting you here.”

    This is a journey I already started years ago, so I am meeting less resistance than I was at the beginning. I already debunked a lot of bad beliefs and opened up to possibilities. Your advice couldn’t have reached my teenage self. I used to be very pessimistic, skeptical at any traces of optimism, I would have liked to be proven wrong but my pain and negativity would have put a big fight if told so without solid proof. I was too closed off to have been reached out. I couldn’t believe outside of my own experience and I hadn’t experienced enough good to believe good people existed. Or healthy people, for that matter. And if it existed I wasn’t one of that breed so there was little hope for me.

    Thankfully,  I ended up in psychology major and was taught very interesting scientifically proven things that changed my beliefs had a great influence on my reality, and I also was exposed to kinder people. I was still in great denial of my trauma though, didn’t want to open that can of worms when I was finally experiencing positive things. When I quit college and was alone again, and back home, the real healing journey had to start though. It’s been 4 years since the beginning. I’ll be 25 soon. I am already thankful for some of my past choices.

    But I’ve still a lot to do and to uncover as I have been alone on this healing journey, with my biases and fears. And without enough positive input from outside. This led me to another depressive phase with suicidal ideation, which I couldn’t let pass with how far I’ve come already. That’s when I decided to seek some hope and help on this forum. I didn’t expect it would help that much, I needed this more than I would have thought. Even when I opened up to my friends, nobody was able to help me reaffirming that what happened to me wasn’t in my head, that it was wrong, and that I didn’t deserve it. Then again, I didn’t go into the details of the abuse too much with most of my friends. I was too afraid every time I tried to put my reality into words.

    My mother had made me lie and hide about the family situation for so long, I had to lie because if people knew she wouldn’t be the one to fall for failing as a mother, I would be the one to fall for being a bad kid. Or rather we would fall together, as I knew she censored me because she was also afraid for her reputation. I guess a part of me is still afraid that if I was sharing my reality people will think bad of me for what I went through, or wouldn’t believe me. It sometimes doesn’t feel real for me too, as I had to convince myself everything was normal and alright for so long.

    That’s why it feels good to be able to tell things here and not be shamed for it.

    “Sounds like your mom is a narcissist. There are support groups for that such as this facebook one”

    Yeah, she does have those traits, and the link works thank you.

    “Intentional or not that is abuse. She seems like a very sick person. She is the one who has serious boundary issues- both physical and emotional. You deserve better. And it’s okay to forgive yourself for not knowing she was using and manipulating you as a child. You had to be the adult, the emotional support. Reminds of that Kelly Clarkson song “Because Of You.” I hope you know that you deserved love and attention and emotional support too.”

    She is very sick indeed. She has started therapy years ago, but the follow-up is irregular. She’s not at her worse at the moment so there are some improvements. She’s still very difficult to deal with, but I’m grateful for the lesser amount of drama.

    I know this song by Kelly Clarkson. I related to it a lot. I didn’t know I deserved love, attention, and emotional support. Now I do, intellectually at least. Emotionally I am still unsure. I will try to not feel guilty or weak for needing that.

    The childhood messages you received as being a burden well you are just started to uncover and deconstruct them  but it will take time. I would revisit this issue with a professional if you can afford one. If not, note this is a major healing milestone- just to acknowledge one’s own suffering in life is important. You know the causes. You just need to go through the actual awakening of the person you were  born to be.”

    It will take time for sure. I’ll still have to face some fears to manage to find a therapist. I started searching. I have tried seeing psychologists years ago but it didn’t work out well. They were listening but didn’t give much feedback. There was too much silence, too little reassurance, it stroke right into my wounds, letting my fears filling the absence of feedback. I just stopped, as they weren’t of any help to me.

    Now I am searching for a psychiatrist. I didn’t start searching because I felt ready, I did it under the pressure of my brother and my mother who both wanted my disabilities to be diagnosed, so I could receive financial help until I manage to make a living of my own. I am worried, I am unsure how to approach it in a way that would work out well for me.

    Until now I was able to progress better alone than with the psychologists I saw. I know therapy can be useful when finding the right one, but I know I can move forward on my own too, at least.

    “So if they are triggering to you, remember that she will never change no matter what you say or do. It is not your responsibility to change her. You are her daughter but you are not hers. You belong to you. You do not belong to her.”

    Thank you, this fact is clear to me. I had to assert it and repeat it to her enough to not doubt it. I would never give up myself to her.

    “Forgive yourself for not being perfect or where you want to be at. Don’t associate it with your worth. The two have nothing to do with each other. You’ve lived through a lot and it’s still hard. But you’re not alone in this mess.”

    Self-worth has been way more difficult to reaffirm. I was able to fight my mother about the abuse and possessivity. I was less able to argue when she attacked me on my difficulties. I mean, I argued, but my insecurities show I was still influenced.

    She wasn’t the only one though. My father was also verbally abusive and the fact both my parents questioned my worth made me question myself. I considered they could be wrong, but adding the bullying and some insulting observations from some teachers definitely made me think there was some truth there.

    Now, well… I guess there are a lot of judgmental people out there who have no idea of how destructive their behavior is. But repairing the idea of my self-worth is quite a lot of work. I’m trying, though.

    I am glad I am not alone in this mess though, even if it’s unfortunate so many people went through such difficulties. At least not being alone gives some hope.

    “I understand what it’s like being stuck. Networking is a really great tool to finding answers though. For example, I’m a writer so I network with #writingcommunity on twitter. Or I join support groups like The Soulsisterhood I mentioned posts ago. I tell others about my struggles and they offer solutions.”

    Thank you for the tips, networking definitely is on my plan. I very much dislike being stuck so I’m always seeking solutions. the putting into action is still the hardest part, it is slow and there’s a lot of obstacles, but I’m not giving up. I believe at some point I will get there.

    “I want you to try a visualization practice everyday. Focus on what you really want your life to look like. How would it feel like to be there? What would you need to get there? It doesn’t have to be a conventional life. Maybe you start a business or you partner with a person who has a following already or you build a brand rather than have a job. Fyi- I’m on disability living at home with my mom and I’ve used this time to build a brand image of speaker, writer and activist. I volunteer and am very involved. Volunteering is another way to get yourself in somewhere. It will also give you meaning and purpose to find things to do like this. You never know where it could lead. Maybe back to yourself.”

    Thank you for saying it doesn’t have to be a conventional life (being forced into a conventional life is one of my fears, as I am unsure I would fit it and if I can find my meaning there). I am glad you were able to use this time to find a meaningful path and turn your life around. You deserve it. And it is nice to talk with someone who is allowing herself to become what she’s meant to be and follow her purpose.

    I stay open with my options, as I know I have to be flexible in case I fail, but after my exploring my needs I chose to go for an artistic path, as it was a calling I was always aware of, yet that I always denied myself (while I followed a more conventional path because it was the ‘responsible’ thing and with hope I could escape my mother faster.) I’ve been learning and exploring for the last years, and my path is becoming clearer as I keep following my instinct and giving it my best shot, even if sometimes I am being hard on myself for not being able to make a living yet. It is a constant game of figuring out the next step, and fighting against my fear and low self-esteem. My mental health has improved as I followed this path, and my self-esteem too. It’s just not enough as I have been pursuing my calling in shame and fear of the judgment of others.

    I will try to do more visualization practices, even if I do struggle to have clear visualizations. I want to be able to bring able to live my passions fully and shamelessly. I want to be proud of what I’m dedicating myself to, instead of feeling ashamed. My strength and abilities are expressing at their best when I’m dedicating myself to what I love, they are florishing and if I keep at it I will get farther than what I could have hope for myself. I already am way farther.

    Stories saved me so many times, and I want to write stories that can move people and soothe their hearts. I want to figure out a way to be myself, find a place in this world, and be helpful. I want to reach some peace and stability while not denying who I am anymore. What I need to do to get there isn’t exactly clear, I am open to possibilities for as long they feel right. I think if I learn to listen to myself and my needs well enough, learn to stop working against myself with unhealthy self-talk, and if keep learning and figure out each step as I go… Well, I should get there, probably? That’s what I am hoping for at least.

    I’m here for you. I’m not going anywhere! So message here as much as you need. If you want to read Man’s Search for Meaning, let me know if you like it. The other two books are on Amazon just search the titles.

    Thank you :). I started listening to the audiobook of “Man’s Search for Meaning”. It is very interesting. I especially relate to the retreat in our inner world to survive the traumatic experiences. My inner world has been everything during most of my life, I relied on it a lot. I had the conversations I couldn’t have outside, I asked the questions that wouldn’t be heard, I found joy inside my own head when I didn’t find it elsewhere. And same when he mentioned finding joy in the beauty of the world, or art. These are important things that keep us alive. I am curious to listen further.

    “Lastly, I know this is hard but see yourself. See your true self. See your beauty. See your worth. See that you’re a survivor. See that you mean something. See that you can make a difference. See that your story isn’t over yet. Because life has so much more to offer you. Everything could change tomorrow so why stop now?”

    Thank you, I can see bits of it. And I believe it will become clearer as I try to keep healing and create a healthy path that respects who I am.

    Linarra

    #383051
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    I found the Breath meditation, thank you. I also found an audiobook of Man’s Search for Meaning so I’ll be listening to it. The two others seem more difficult to find for me but I’ll keep their references for later.

    “It seems like your trauma response is feeling like you’re a burden, desiring any attention even if negative because of neglect, guilt for boundaries etc. The next thing you need to do is connect these with childhood beliefs. Where do these stem from?”

    It sounds right… I think I felt like a burden because my parents were never meant to be together and used their children as an excuse to stay together and make each other miserable. Because of that, my mother made me felt like we had to be indebted for the basic care they provided. When we were expressing disapproval when we weren’t respected, when we stood up against verbal abuse, or when we were expressing any displeasure with our environment/education, she would argue she has sacrificed her life for us. We were a mistakes and we should be grateful for the care she provided. She also constantly wanted me to take her place as the mother when I was a teen, and I constantly refused despite knowing she was struggling, so I felt guilty and like a burden. Like, I owed her to be a more responsible functional adult than she was despite being too young so I could relieve her from her duties, and I was failing her and my family for refusing.

    Of course I know such expectations weren’t right, and I didn’t do anything wrong, it was normal to not be able to be something she wasn’t even able to teach me. Especially with the regular traumatic events going on. I shouldn’t have been left alone with the responsibility to fix my family.

    The only attention I got, and the only acknowledgement was when I was a successful emotional support for her. She used me a lot, to do the communication she couldn’t/didn’t dare to do. Among other things: facing my father, trying to convince him to stop alcohol, be the third neutral party in arguments… She confided in me too much. She got me involved in family wars at times I wasn’t able to think through everything. I had to translate the emotions of adults to try and make them understand each other instead of fighting. It left no time to figure out my own unimportant emotions.

    But my emotions were important. I was trying to do the good thing by helping my family, I was trying to fix my environment with hope it’ll be peaceful again. It’s alright, I couldn’t know it wouldn’t work, I didn’t know better and I tried my best. I wasn’t in control of what was happening, but I tried very hard to do what I thought was the right thing. It wasn’t enough but it wasn’t my fault. It shouldn’t have be my job. And now I deserve to focus on myself, it isn’t selfish.

    “It seems like you are really traumatized though because of how long you fought him off without just breaking it off. It shows me you have trouble saying no and goodbye.”

    I do have a lot of trouble saying “no” for sure. I have not been taught putting much boundaries with outsiders, once they get close I mean. After all I’ve been pretty isolated when I was young, so I have lacked experimentation. At school, most of the time I would be alone or bullied. Then I started hanging out with people (because you’re less likely to be bullied than alone) and I had a hard time saying no because making enemies could make me bullied more.

    As for “saying goodbye”, I don’t think that was the issue there. I didn’t care much about this guy, he just happened to be there and were insisting that he wanted to hang out. I said ‘no’ to him a lot, but I chose to make effort because I didn’t go out of my home nearly enough (a few time a years) and it seemed wise to use these occasions as a sort of exposure therapy for what seems to be some kind of agoraphobia I am having. I was troubled because cutting him off could be confused by me avoiding my fear of seeing people and going outside, and I try to cure myself from my avoidance. It was problematic my friend ended up behaving badly, I felt extra betrayal because I needed a friend at that time, I was clear about my issues, and he still pushed me in a corner where I would have to both be the ‘bad girl’ and give up of the only chance of safe exposure I had.

    “Make a list of things you do NOT accept anymore. Inappropriate touching is one of them. How will you respond if someone does this to you? Plan ahead of time. Will you tell them once and then see what happens? Or will you cut them off?”

    Making a list of things I don’t accept should help me to be clear with myself. And well, depending if I like the person on other circumstances enough to have patience, I’ll give them a warning and see how they react, if they don’t respect it I’ll cut them off. If I don’t like the person enough I should just cut them off.

    The empathy is playing hard on me though, it is difficult for me to ignore people when they are trying to reach out and I feel/know it’s out of loneliness. It shouldn’t be a reason to sacrifice my bondaries though. It’s hard to keep self-advocating when my empathy for others is blurring my own feelings.

    “I think you need to cut your mom off and anyone else who traumatized you as a child.”

    My mother is the only one who is still in my life, from those who traumatized me as a child, and it isn’t because I want to. If it was possible, my siblings and I would be far away from her and she would never hear from us. Don’t care what happens to her at this point.

    It can’t happen yet though. Neither or us is financially independant, the circumstances, abuse and neglect made it quite difficult to be functional enough for regular jobs. So we’re just avoiding interaction with our mother as much as we can.

    “When you say she touches you…what does that mean? Like sexually or just lack of boundaries in general? Neither is okay.”

    Her touches don’t have sexual intents, she just doesn’t want to understand I don’t want her anywhere my ass, pubis or any sexual organs for that matter, playfully or not, affectionate or not. She thinks because she’s my mother and raised me I shouldn’t be weirded out by that. But, no? I gave up on her understanding as she doesn’t have boundaries for herself as well. I’ll just keep yelling at her when she’ll do it, no matter what she thinks. Thankfully it isn’t happening often, only during weird manic phases. And has not even her worse behavior to deal with. Like, it’s not a traumatic event, just a casual lack of respect among all the others.

    “Self-advocacy and self-esteem are the struggles I am seeing you have due to trauma responses. What are some kind things you can say about yourself? What do you deserve?”

    I do struggle with positive affirmation but I will try. I am a good person, having boundaries and wanting them respected doesn’t make me bad. I have the right to take actions to protect myself and my boundaries even if it means possibly hurting someone’s feelings, as they are responsible for themselves. I am trying my best to be respectful, but if I am not respected in return it is right to make it known and expect changes, or cutting off. I won’t stand for emotional blackmail, I don’t have to be the caretaker of anyone, especially not to my own detriment. I deserve to have healthy relationships, with mutual respect, and boundaries, not relationships that make me feel like my emotions aren’t respected. My well-being shouldn’t be sacrificed to make any relationship work, this ISN’T a good thing, or a good message to send to others for that matter.

    “I’m proud of you. I’ve been reading your responses here and am so amazed at how intentional you are to heal and how you take in everyone’s advice. Don’t exhaust yourself though in the process.  Give yourself breaks too from this. It’s a lot to work through. People will understand if you don’t answer right away.”

    Thank you for giving me this option. Since I don’t have the habit the hear my emotions very well yet, I don’t always notice when I overdo things and exhaust myself. I think it’s necessary to be intentional and proactive to heal, but it is important that I remind myself to have breaks or it won’t be as efficient.

    Linarra

    #383005
    Linarra
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “Following this post I will stay away from your thread for some time and let you communicate with other members. My reason: I believe that it is ineffective and distracting to have 2 or more parallel ongoing and elaborate conversations (on emotional, personal topics) between the original poster and replying members. If and when I notice that your communication with other members has slowed down and leaves space for me- I would like to return to your thread.”

    I understand your reason. It is indeed overwhelming to have different elaborate conversations. I am trying to reply to everyone with as much investment as I can give, because I am very grateful for anyone who spent time replying to me, they deserve thoughtful answers. There were more constructive responsive than I was expecting, which is great, but I can’t deny it is distracting and my focus is splintered.

    let me know if it is okay with you that I return to your thread at a later time

    Of course, you are always welcome to return when you’ll deem it right.

    Thank you for suggesting that I do the exercise myself only if it benefits me. You are very kind. I would like to do the exercise later, when I return to your thread.

    If it’s something you would like to, feel free to do it anytime that will feel right for you once you are back.

    Problem is that the function of emotions (before they become messy) is to give us needed information, information to which we have no access if emotions are shut down.

    Good reminder, I tend to forget that quite a lot since I observed for so long my mother expressing her emotions very loudly yet somehow never listen to them, nor gathering information.

    “The histrionic, loud, confident-sounding mother who talks too much is the Actor in her daughter’s life, and the daughter is the Reactor. Often the reaction to her is to become the Opposite of what she is: She is loud- You are quiet, She talks too much, randomly, nonsensically, haphazardly, impulsively indiscriminately- Your talk is purposeful, logical, selective, disciplined, She plays the victim- You overtake responsibility, and so forth.”

    I can’t think of a more accurate depiction of this phenomenon. It is so true, and makes so much sense. I tried, in my teens, to be loud when communicating with her, with hope by speaking her “language” I would reach out to her. She hated me when I was doing that, she didn’t listen much more.

    At another time perhaps, until then I thank you for this nice conversation. It is always good to be understood and seen as clearly. I wish you well.

    Linarra.

    #383000
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Erica,

    I am glad sharing my experience was able to provide you some hope, and helped you feel less alone in your fight.

    ” Now i am about to start recovery and therapy. I have a lifelong pattern of quitting therapy as soon as it gets painful and difficult, but at this point it has become life or death. I know I must face, finally, all the broken, unlovable, and darkest parts of me now. I am entering the “long dark night of the soul” and I have to also, like you, learn how to reparent myself.”

    I am proud of you for being willing to face your wounds, and go to recovery and therapy again despite the real difficulties there are to face such pain and darkness. A lot of people chose to never face it, it’s a sad truth, but you are willing to and it means something. It means a lot, for you, and for others. It means you are strong, you are not giving yourself up despite knowing the difficulties you’ll meet ahead, and it’s a great gift your are giving yourself and anyone in a similar situation. You are not alone. We are trying, we are struggling, we may be quiet, but we are many. Seeking for this strength inside use, seeking for this strength within others so we can have the hope it can be done. And I firmly believe it can, it’s not easy but it worth every little bit of efforts. The courage you are gathering when facing this recovery, is flourishing everywhere around you and within you. You are planting seeds of hope for your future, and for the future of other people like you. It is priceless and beautiful.

    “You mentioned you are young, but you seem incredibly self-aware, thoughtful, and empathetic. What I need to tell you is to be gentle with yourself, but learn now, whatever it takes, to be your own best advocate and fiercest best friend. That ‘s what I would actually write to myself if I were writing to my teenage or 20-something self. I didn’t. I ran away from everything and lived on crumbs from others and never learned how to take care of myself financially or emotionally. Now I am here. I’m not complaining. I know there’s always hope, but I would like to see others not have to suffer so long before they can find true help.”

    Thank you for your kind words. I am still learning about all of this, and it feels good to have people encouraging me towards this path. Some others who didn’t learn to take care about themselves, especially emotionally, encourages people to follow their path, they think neglect is the way. You know better than to pass this on like your mother unintentionally did to you. We know better, and there’s plenty of hope to share here.

    It is very difficult to learn to take care of ourselves financially and emotionally when had nobody to teach us these things. But thankfully, we are not alone, and help can be found. Life is waiting for us to make this recovery, we can find our way back into existence, overcome this, create meaning out of our experience.

    “I want to help take the stigma away from experiences like ours.” “I also have always felt like I had a big calling in my life to write and heal. The world needs people like you, with experiences that can also heal. Never forget that. Your pain can become your gift. Energy can only be changed, right? So we have to find ways to transform what hurts into what heals.” It is really important, a lot of people need this. We need this, we needed it before and we still need it. I am glad you are finding a calling and a purpose in transforming the pain and difficulties into something meaningful. Life shaped you, was rough, and yet you’re thriving to build strength from there. It is beautiful and hopeful, and so many people need to know healing can happen, and what helps.

    I’m going to research on these “Somatic Experiencing” meditation, I am willing to try anything that could be helpful. And the relation between the mind and the psyche is interesting, I didn’t explore it enough.

    I agree if your quote, I have been interested by Carl Jung’s ideas and psychology for a while, especially the “shadow”.

    Thank you for sharing your affirmations. I think the safety components are those for which I am struggling the most, even all of them will need a lot of work on my part.

    I wish you well on your recovery and therapy, you can do it. You are strong, intelligent, and aware of what you need, you are already on the journey, and you will get there. This calling your pursuing and these good habits you’re nurturing are building your strength and resilience. Keep taking good care of yourself, struggling isn’t failing. You are doing great.

    Linarra.

    #382997
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you for the meditations you recommended. The second link (Breathe meditation) doesn’t seem to work but I will definitely do the first one.

    “If you’re unsure of your purpose in this life, look to your wounds. Where we are called to serve is where we ourselves have been impoverished.” ~Mira Hadlow” It is an interesting quote. I do think we are more likely to be invested and find purpose in the field we have been wounded on, once we started to recover. And finding purpose in those wounds give them a good reason to exist, if we don’t make good use of them they are just tragedy. If we learn from them and do something good out of them, it balances the pain a bit.

    I will see if I can find the book of  somewhere, this subject is always interesting and more thoughts and explorations are always welcomed.

    It seems my inner child feels pressured by me a bit. I have been trying to grow stronger and faster to protect us both, trying to meet the standards I felt were necessary to avoid further attack on us. And she understands what I have been trying to do, despite being motivated by fear I tried to hear her needs and do what was necessary to have both safety and her need met. But since it is a complex thing to achieve I have been very hard and strict on ourselves.

    She wants to have a meaningful worthwhile life, and she finds that only when she’s able to focus most of her time on creativity, but it is difficult to make a living in creative fields, it requires to face a lot of fear and unknown and even the people without my extreme anxiety and avoidance struggle to make a living out of it. So this need comes with great risks for our safety, and I’m trying to avoid a bad ending. So I’ve been asking a lot of us, and when it isn’t enough to reach the goal fastly enough, I let the fear and negativity win. Which isn’t helpful. She’s cooperating well with strictness, when things are going well for us, she’s happy we’re able to do exciting achievements by disciplining ourselves. But I was so focused on trying to save our future and meet that one need that is keeping us alive, I ended up neglecting to heal my wounds, neglecting to allow myself to live outside of this safe space. And she feels like she would be less anxious and sad if I were able to achieve that too.

    The question about the beliefs around my traumas and the triggers is more complicated for me to answer. I will need further explorations. Partly because I have a hard time identifying trauma responses. So I can’t about the ‘last’ time for sure, but I can say about the last big upsettings time I denied myself to avoid conflict (and avoid hurting people feelings).

    There was this friend who touched me in places that felt inappropriate, while talking about casual friendly things, there were no hints on his thoughts or intents. I stated years before with this friend I wasn’t interested in pursuing a relationship with him, after he asked me, because I didn’t see him that way. I also mentioned casually, multiples times after that, that romantic relationships weren’t something I was interested in at the moment. He never flirted with me with words, he just was very touchy, to a point that was uncomfortable. And I wasn’t able to confront him directly so I just find my way to give a clear general statement, not directed at him, but that should have made him understand gently it was still a ‘no’. He didn’t understand, so I went out of my way to send him a message and tell him I wasn’t ok with what was going on. He said he was just touching me out of habit, because he was used to cuddling with his teddy bear, that it was just an innocent thing that would be difficult to stop for him. I suspected the lie since he wasn’t touching any of our mutual friends that way, men or women. I didn’t dare to call him out on this and just asked him to stop eventually, even if it was difficult. He did, until he started again months later, again so casually and with no flirt, so it made me too uncomfortable and I couldn’t dare call him out. Until I finally refused to hang out with him anymore after it became clear for me no matter what he pretended before, it wasn’t innocent and he would only push further. I explained to him how disrespected I felt, and I got angry with him.  He understood and acknowledged what he did wrong, but I can’t trust him anymore. For now, he didn’t harass me again.

    It is not the first time my boundaries aren’t respected. My mother too, touches me into places I am not comfortable with sometimes. Her intentions are different, but still, if I don’t like being groped in an intimate place, just because we are family and it’s innocent on her part shouldn’t give her the right. I always scream from surprise and get angry when she does that. She stops the action but brushes it off, says that there’s nothing wrong with her behavior and tells me something is wrong with me for not allowing that. Even if stop when I tell her off, she keeps doing it again as she doesn’t respect any boundaries. Thankfully, it doesn’t happen too often. And people aren’t usually acting like her. But I am scared and triggered how some trusted friends can become close and use this closeness to innocently step over my boundaries.

    I have difficulties making my boundaries be respected without feeling like I am a bad person who’s hurting friends who are just craving intimacy. I like intimacy too, but I only like it when I am sure both people are consenting to this. And where there are no manipulation/hidden motives, and disrespect.

    Funny enough, my mother compared me to a teddy bear too once. I’ve got nothing against teddy bears personally, but it’s starting to be a red flag. I don’t like being used as an object of comfort, not at my own expense, not without my choice or my consent. And too many people looking for love, comfort, and who feel lonely seemed to use me as an object without sincerely caring about my feelings. No wonder I am very wary of intimacy and closeness. And have a hard time trusting people in general.

    I guess one of my hurtful beliefs is I feel like my own boundaries could possibly hurt someone else feelings and I’d be guilty for their wound. I also feel lonely and would appreciate some genuine intimacy, with someone who I can trust, but since the only intimacy I am given feels wrong to me, I feel like I might be too picky, too demanding. Maybe unable to love people. And that it would be hypocritical to wish for someone to like me when I have been rejecting people myself. I am afraid by rejecting people so much I am wounding my ability to love others.

     What if you tried to put together these thoughts you share here and express it to a close friend or family member you trust? What if you tried to be a little vulnerable and let someone in?

    I do that, to some extent, sometimes. There are few people I let in before, because I trusted them enough (they aren’t much available now though, life is busy). I only was able to confide in because they were there at the right time, right place, because they were part of my routine and seemed like good people, and opened themselves first. They were open with their emotions, in a reasonable way, one that didn’t make me feel responsible for them but still allowed me to comfort them, not at my own cost. So eventually I was able to open up a bit too. College was the time I was able to live the most, to exist the most. Even if I was still quiet. Because I was away from my family and was surrounded with healthier people, who weren’t emotionally abusive, and who would sometimes care and listen. But now those times are quite gone, I see my other friends, those I am no open with, only a few times a year. When we see each other there is no time for deep bonding. We are a whole group, and spend too little time together. I’m just catching up on their life, watching them live, unable to be part of this. I feel alone with them because they are living and I am not, at this moment. I’ve been too busy with surviving.

    It is normal, I shall take my time to build myself better circumstances, until I manage to open up.

    “You deserve to know how wonderful you are. I can already see by your writing you’re thoughtful, intelligent, resilient, empathetic and kind. You are self advocating in a great way already.”

    Thank you. I’m trying, it isn’t easy, but I’ll keep trying. And I’ll try to nurture more self-compassion, especially when facing traumatic events or difficult emotions. I will try to be as compassionate with my inner child as I’ve been trying to be towards others.

    Thank you for your response,

    Linarra

     

    #382988
    Linarra
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    ” I think that a lot of the people, most of the time, do not selflessly and genuinely care about the thoughts and feelings of others: too many people are too busy and/ or too troubled to have the mental space to genuinely and attentively attend to others.”

    I have come to the same conclusion in regard to that. It is good though, to hear that few relationships of quality can be enough. I think it could be for me too.

    ” You therefore did not have the thoughts you have today. Back then, the child-person that you were, was way more emotional than intellectual […] When you share about your childhood using words, thoughts, ideas, analyses- all which did not exist when you were a child- it is not really the child you were that is confiding. No wonder confiding with others as an adult did not make you feel better.”

    It is an interesting hypothesis, I believe there may be truth in it. From quite early in my youth, I valued analyses (though there were probably very clumsy), I was very intrigued and craved an understanding of people and complex situations. I was trying very hard at that because I saw my family falling apart before my eyes, and being analytical was my way to cope. I sought help in gathering knowledge when I had the opportunity when I became older, and it did help to some extent,  but I neglected the emotional aspect of the whole mess. Emotions were especially messy things in my eyes, probably because of how little control my mother had over her own emotions. From my observation of her, being emotional brought bad consequences, so as I grew up shutting my emotions down. Now I see this ‘solution’ have its own kind of bad consequences.

    “Here is what I suggest, consider in your next post doing the following exercise: share about your childhood experience with your histrionic mother using very simple, child-like vocabulary, avoiding any wordings, ideas and analyses that you read about and thought about as an older teenager and adult. If you are not willing and/ or able to do this exercise- that’s fine with me. If you think that it might help you if I will do this exercise (regarding my own experience with my histrionic mother), on your thread- let me know. It will be difficult for me, and I have never done it before online, but I am willing to try.”

    I am going to try right there, though I don’t know how successful it will be (how far  I can go back with the childish thing) but I will try.  You do not have to do it, as I am not here to force anyone either, but if it is something that can bring you something good then feel free do to so. I would be interested in reading it, but only if you sincerely do want to share it.

    Here goes nothing : (These thoughts feelings are coming from different situations, which hopefully will speak for themselve)

    – My mother talk too much. She is angry. She is upset. She is sad. She’s worried for me. She’s angry at the people outside, because the people outside are being bad with me. Are they really? I don’t know, but she feels very strongly about it. It is stressful. If she’s reacting like that, she must have good reasons to worry. And people wouldn’t just be bad towards me for no reason. I probably did something wrong, for people not being able to be good with me. Is there something wrong with me? I made my mother upset towards the strangers, she is gonna be angry at the strangers and the strangers will be upset too, and sad. And I can’t do anything about it. Why couldn’t I have the right behavior, so nobody would be upset and hurt.

    – This person was mean to me at school. I didn’t understand why. I am crying. I shouldn’t cry, not in front of my mother. She will ask, and she won’t let me off until I explain. And I can’t lie. So I tell her. And, oh no, just as I thought, she gets angry. She warns me she is going to take action. I don’t like how she takes action. What if the student tries to get back at me after that? Will I be humiliated as she talks to protect me? I hate how she plays me the victim, even putting words into my mouth that I never said. I just wanted comfort, and maybe advice on how to face this myself. This is not her fight. Now I have no control over the situation, she’s taking action without caring how I feel. I would rather disappear than keep hearing her talking and taking over my businesses.

    – Why does she have to compare me with this girl? She’s my friend, she did nothing bad. It’s not her fault if she has better grades than be, and that her parents have a “better situation”. Why does she have to be angry and jealous for my sake when I am not? Am I not good enough? I understand she feels rivalry toward my friend’s mother, but it’s her fight, not mine. Why should I dislike my friend for that? It’s not like we are very close, but it’s unfair. She’s kind enough to hang out with me, so she isn’t bad. But now I can’t enjoy hanging out with her anymore. Does my friend also think I am lesser? Does she secretly mock me? Does she stay around me because it makes her look better compared to me? Does her mother also behave the same as mine, trying to make my friend hate me in secret? Or is she a good mother, not pressuring her child? Either way, my mother makes me losing a fight I never wanted to be part of.

    – Again with the comparison. I don’t care if it’s supposed to be a praise, mom, if you’re putting someone else down to make me look good, then I must not be any good to begin with. I don’t feel praised like this. But how can I explain it to her? She’s so loud, so confident. I’m so quiet. When I try to explain, she doesn’t listen. I am frustrated, I get angry. And even then the message doesn’t get across her mind. She is just upset with me, hating me for my bad behavior. Once again, I can’t do anything. I feel bad when I am angry, but it feels right. Am I a bad child for screaming at my mother? When she’s also screaming at me and carelessly hurting my feelings? I don’t think so. But she’s also the person caring for me, she’s the adult, she might know more than she lets on. What if she’s right? What if I am a bad ungrateful ignorant child? Should I let her me and say nothing? I am wrong for feeling hurt? Am I too being too sensitive, am I overthinking? Feeling too much?

    I guess it’ll be enough for tonight. I hope I didn’t do the exercise wrong.

    Linarra

    #382980
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    I listened to the meditation yesterday, it was really soothing. I should really do it again, and meditate more often. I only used meditation when facing anxiety during specific situations before, but not as an help for my healing process. I should see what I can get from a more regular practice.

    You’re right, I definitely made it father than I thought I would when I was young. And I still got things to be grateful for. Healing could be possible. Since you invited me to share my insights, I will.

    I wrote my first letter to my inner child. As I had difficulty visualizing her, I chose to expose old childhood pictures as I wrote. It made the process easier. I managed to dissociate those pictures from the shameful feelings they brought to me the few times I looked back at them. The wounds used to make me unable to look at any picture of myself without being attacked by some harsh inner dialogues and feelings. But this time I was able to as they are, without judgment and guilt.

    It helped me remember the hope and happiness. I’m not gonna lie, I had depressive phase even during childhood, because of the difficulties. But phases were phases, so that wasn’t entirely without hope and hapiness.  It was easier back then for me to openly express joy and love. Sure, I was introverted and had a lot of struggles, but I was feeling alive more often. I had a bit more confidence in myself despite the external factors that made me doubts. Until it became too much.

    As I wrote the letter, I was able to focus on the parts I was proud of and liked about myself when I wasn’t in doubt. It was nice. My inner child had her wounds, but she has also her strengths. And as I wrote to her I was able to see how she could be lovable no matter the circonstances or the path she would have taken in life. She wasn’t the ‘bad’ or ‘not enough’ person as these wounds made her think sometime. She was trying her best with her circonstances, and she had the right to not please everyone. To not be the solution to everyone’s problem. To exist for herself, and not for others.

    Wanting to be happy (and not being hurt) and thinking good thing about herself wasn’t selfish or wrong. She didn’t have to be perfect or didn’t have to put other’s people feeling before her own. She tried anyway because she thought it was the good thing to do, and a requirement for her to be lovable to others. Now I’ll have to reassure her about the fact she shoudn’t neglect herself to meet other people’s expectation/need. It’s not good for her, and it doesn’t even worth it. It brings nothing good and nothing real. People who would shame her for her boundaries, needs, or would expect of her to neglect her feelings or betray herself for them aren’t people who would truly loves her anyway.

    I think, maybe, she fears that genuine unconditional love doesn’t exist, or is so rare she won’t encounter it. After all, she’s been raised on conditional love. And I’m not sure I can entirely reassure her on that. But I can at least tell her good people exist, and can appreciate her. I don’t know if this can be called love. Love from people isn’t a notion I entirely feel safe with, as the people who claimed to love me also had expectations from me that hurt me. And I believe a lot of people ‘love’ the same way the people who hurt me did.

    These people who are willing to respect me and are appreciative of what I can provide to them without hurting myself, is it some kind of love ? I wonder. I like this though. Even, if it’s not love, it is quite good. Probably it is enough, I just wish I wasn’t such a rare occurence.

    I think I can at least promise my inner child to try my best to love her unconditionally. After all, we’ve spent our entire life together, and we’re going to be with each other until the end. It doesn’t worth it, to play the game of life with the rules/conditions others taught us to believe. We learnt to love ourselves conditionnally because we’re imitating others. It is a painful game, and there’s no peace or happiness to achieve with those rules of conditional love. It is unwise to keep at it, if it only brings more suffering.  Life is already tough enough, resilience is hard to achieve when having no support. And if I can’t rely on anyone but myself to support my inner child. It’s not like anyone’s love and care could efficiently compensate for lack of self love and self care.

    All of this makes sense, but I have yet to figure out what actions I should take to reinforce these thoughts, to implement self-care and self-love, and to pursue my healing. Journaling and meditation should be good tools for this. And keep talking with people who shares similar experiences on this forum is very helpful too. There’s more clarity when I’m talking with people who understand.

    Thank you for your encouragement Sarah, it means a lot.

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