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  • in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385392

    Dear Anita,

    I’ve been planning to reread the post I wrote last night (the last one), because I don’t exactly trust myself to write in a way that makes sense while just waking up from 3 hours of sleep… but I’ve been postponing it, expecting embarrassment.

    I finally did it, thankfully it seems the phrases are mostly making sense (except for my inability to write your time at the moment, but I’m not surprised). But I’m indeed embarrassed but my emotions… I really have no filter when I’m slightly sleep deprived, and usually I’m more emotional in such conditions.

    I’m not exactly sure what I’m thinking from my choice to absolutely expose myself by replying in the middle of the night but that’s good it brought you some relief.

    There’s no need to worry about the intensity of the emotions I expressed last night, it was intensified by the tiredness and extra spontaneity that didn’t allow much rationality.

    I had trouble going back to sleep after that but I eventually did.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385383

    Dear Anita,

    It’s around 2 a.m. here, so I guess around 2 p.m. for you.

    I tried to find an answer to your question but I didn’t. I wasn’t able to identify something that was lost. The thought of your answer brought up a lot of fear, it made me really afraid. The thought of losing our connection feels really painful. I’m angry at myself for causing it. I want to fight myself, but the feeling is slowed down by resignation. It was too good to be true, the good things don’t survive around here.

    I still feel pain, I want to destroy parts of me with hope it will stop the spreading of the gangrene. If anything good in me is still alive it should be spared the contamination. Maybe it’ll survive if I destroy the rotten parts. So maybe I should cut and cut until I’ll see what’s left. I am angry and disappointed in myself for losing our connection, which is one of the few thing that made me feel joy recently. So maybe if I use this anger… But I’m afraid there won’t be anything left of me once I start the process. And is it really gentle? Is it really healing?

    I don’t really want to hurt the part of me that is still alive because I’m in distress. Because I am undeserving of anything good until I managed to leave. I won’t destroy anything tonight. I’m soothing my anger. No matter what happens I don’t regret talking with Anita. The connection was good for as long it lasted. I’m sad, I’m crying. Wondering if I should delete what I wrote. But I won’t. Because I won’t be able to answer more honestly than that tomorrow. It is why I started typing during the night, because tomorrow maybe I’ll be numb again.

    I’m sorry. If I did anything wrong please let me know.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385380

    Oh, I can just add that I feel a bit sad tonight after writing last post, since I said I would try to pay more attention to my emotions. I am unable to elaborate further though, I’m just sad. Not intensely so, but it’s there.

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385379

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for your detailed input again. I won’t reply to everything, I’ll just tell the things that are coming to my mind, and I’ll see if I have more to add tomorrow.

    “Is it appropriate to feel empathy or sympathy for a person who is hurting you? What would happen to a deer who feels empathy for the mountain lion approaching the deer for food? … it is not appropriate for a victim to feel empathy and be influenced by empathy for her/ his victimizer.”

    At least this is clear. I’ll keep it in mind for next time. Thankfully my self-questioning is less painful than it used to be when I was younger and felt her accusation like a vivid truth. Now the self-questioning is lighter, and more out of curiosity of reaching a true understanding than out of distress.

    “Clearly, you are having a difficult childhood. Your difficult childhood is not in the past. It is still happening. Three children (2 girls and a boy) are still living with their mother, living the lives she allows them to live.”

    We have a bit more power than when we were kids though. But yeah this is a just slight upgrade from our childhood.

    “Question is, why isn’t there a lock on the inside of your bedroom door so that she cannot enter your room whenever she wishes, and why is there no lock on the inside of the bathroom door, so that she cannot enter the bathroom while you are showering.”

    Actually, there is a lock. I just didn’t think about it because it isn’t on my door, but my sister’s. We live in a separate building from the main house and the entrance of this building leads to my sister room. We have a key we mostly use when we leave or when my sister really feel like keeping my mother out when she’s crazy and had trespassed her room a little too much. But that’s about it… Mostly because it easily gets annoying to lock-unlock every time we need to access the house.

    The bathroom also has a sort of primitive lock but it is only used by my brother when he’s showering, I believe. All the girls of this house don’t use in case anyone needs to use the sink or retrieve something, because there are too many cases of bad timing. Patience isn’t always a quality everyone has in this family anyway. Mostly it isn’t a problem because we don’t care much about looking at each other.

    I guess it gets more uncomfortable when my mother uses this tacit rule that allows people to enter when they have something necessary to do just to… have a talk. This is especially unnecessary since she’s already used to talk to me when I’m showering since her bedroom is directly connected to the bathroom. But whatever intimacy isn’t a thing I’ve been taught, just respecting others people’s intimacy, mine really have to have purposeful and ill-meaning invasion to feel violated. Thankfully she never touches me when I bathe, and when she entered to talk to me she was only focused on herself.

    It probably doesn’t change anything, I felt like giving precisions about those points because there are subtleties, but you can ignore that if it doesn’t bring new input.

    “My summary today: The danger for you has been and still is inside, not outside. Your adaptation to the inside of your home has been so effective that the danger for you feels like it is outside. The empty shell is not completely empty, but it/you need help to fill that shell with more of you.”

    This summary makes sense to me.

    ““Healing and becoming functional” is not possible when living in these abusive circumstances.”

    I understand your point. Unfortunately, I don’t know how to change those circumstances. Leave sure, but I don’t feel up to it without a plan and at least a bit of motivation, and coping mechanisms/support that would work under the new circumstances.

    I’m still too much of a ‘nothing’ to be able to get away. I need to gather energy and courage, and well those things are rare in this context. And the few time I go out it isn’t exactly giving more energy. Sometimes it even depresses me more.

    I guess we’re reaching a point where we’re going round in circles. I’ve been on this loop for quite a while, I cannot predict what will break it. I am patient though. It could be a flaw, if I was impatient I would be more courageous/reckless, there would be more probability of change. But my adaptation made me patient. And I’m just stuck in a vicious circle for now.

    Now I wrote my answer, I don’t think I will have anything to add tomorrow. There’s only so much to tell about all of that.

    Have a good afternoon,


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385364

    Dear Anita,

    I am sorry to read about this change of room, as it seems it will cause more troublesome insomnia until you get used to it.

    “I wrote to you all of the above not so that you help me with it, but so to help myself, writing it helps me process it. Also, I thought that it may help you to read it, particularly the SHAME part being attached to the fear/ anxiety. The shame part-  feeling like a freak/ inferior to others, deserving their pity- greatly increased my anxiety in the past, but yesterday at the taproom, as I talked to myself out of the shame part (#3, 4 & 5 above)- my heightened anxiety.. disappeared within a short time. Back home, I felt uncomfortable on the other bed, other room- but I did not feel nor do I feel now the heightened anxiety of yesterday afternoon.”

    It is helpful to read about your experience and how you talked yourself out of the heightened anxiety. I am glad you do not feel it anymore. I agree the 4th and the 5th, about not being alone in this distressing experience and not being a freak for it, can be really reassuring sometimes.

    Reading or writing about anxiety makes me think of my mother at the moment, because not later than today she came into my room to speak about the anxiety she was feeling about my brother’s driver’s license exam. This week she also called the cops on him an evening (and disturbed the peacefulness of the house, waking me from my sleep) because he decided to spend some time of his evening with his colleagues and “only” warned us by sending texts so she went crazy to believe he was kidnapped and someone was using his phone to make us believe he was safe, she was screaming all over the place and was telling to my sister and me that she would kill us if anything happened to him.

    Whether she goes crazy or not, I cannot empathize with my mother’s irrational anxiety… while I know I am more understanding of anyone else’s anxiety. I think the main difference is… her anxiety causes her to creates more problems, upsetting my siblings and me, and it removes the safety and control we have over our life. My brother had to go home after 2 hours of hanging out with his colleagues after he discovered she called the cops, and everyone’s evening was wasted while my mother went to bed without an apology for any of her actions.

    My anxiety, even the heightened one, never made me act like she is acting. It can make me freeze and being not very helpful in case of emergency I admit, but make the situation worse or even creating a situation? Not that I remember… except for the times (especially when I was a teen) when I yelled at my mother for creating or worsening the anxiety within me by… pushing through my limits, insulting me, and forcing me to do things I was afraid of, against my will. But I guess it is different, as it was more often than not a reaction to her and I wouldn’t have done it to anyone else because my usual reaction to anxiety is shutting down and isolate myself so I can cope.

    For long, I felt guilty for not being able to empathize, for yelling at her when she was hurting me. Now, I’ve built a wall but I still feel part of the guilt lingering, just not as strong because I know… I remember times I was able to empathize with her (while still hating her and suffering from her actions), the pain was so great, the self-hate… There was no possibility for healing for as long I was putting her feelings before mine… Yesterday, as I was showering, she came in and started talking to me, trying to make me empathize and feel pity for her, trying to win me over. Really, she looked pitiful, anyone would have had sympathy (maybe if you forget the fact she invited herself as I was showering, breaking intimacy… but intimacy doesn’t exist in this house), it always makes me wonder if I am the one with a problem, as I don’t feel empathy, as I say her “I don’t care” when she’s speaking of her death. It makes me wonder if I am really the abuser she tells me I am, as those scenes would make me look as one without the knowledge of everything else.

    Since I wasn’t acting with empathy, she acted even more as a victim. As if I actively wanted her death (I don’t, I just don’t care and don’t feel like lying), or wanting her to leave. As I was in the shower, calm but still wondering if I was an abuser, I wondered what you would think of this. To be safe, I acknowledge the fact the might be mutual abuse going on, that way I keep the door open to learning and becoming a better person. In the end, I told my mother “If I am bad to you, you would agree it would be better for us to not live together, right?” I don’t remember what she answered or if she even answered, because she often doesn’t answer directly to what I say. Our conversations don’t lead anywhere. And I think she doesn’t want us to be apart because her life has no meaning when she has no one to have power over.

    Alright, there were not many clear points with these thoughts and stories. They weren’t very well-structured thoughts like yours about yesterday’s events. But at least it can help me process and see what thoughts it brings up to you.

    “she is a terrible person. Can you imagine you doing to a child what she did to you, and to her other children.. would you have the heart to do it?”

    I don’t think I would. It’s been a long time since I started to think I didn’t want children. Because my mother made me feel like an incapacitated and bad person, I wouldn’t even think of risking being responsible for a child and maybe causing harm. I did have much thought about children’s needs while trying to understand the needs that weren’t met for my siblings and me, and maybe figure out how to make up for them.

    These thoughts lead me to understand parenting was really difficult, and I decided I wouldn’t ever have a child if I wasn’t able to make sure all their needs were met, and they would have a lot of different support other than myself so they aren’t alone and stuck with me as an only model. Diversity of resources and supports seem very important factor to me, if only to diminish the power anyone can have other them (myself included). Being a flawed person, I can make mistakes, but having different models (hopefully good ones) would allow a kid to not suffer too much from modeling on my mistakes and repeating them, or be stuck with me. It would provide choices, opportunity, and an escape if I happened to be bad or not good enough.

    Such a healthy environment though, I cannot even provide for myself. I wouldn’t even have the heart to impose that on a child, so I wouldn’t have the heart to make them go through the extent of abuse and mental destruction I went through.

    “I remember being a huge daydreamer as a teenager, but the daydreaming stopped at one point […] REALITY is too interesting and there is so much of it to occupy my mind that I don’t have the time or desire for fiction/ fantasy/ day-dreaming.”

    It is understandable it could become uninteresting for someone. Daydreaming is sometimes a coping mechanism or a replacement for what reality is lacking (mine has been and is still really lacking), but sometimes it is also my reaction to interesting reality. Daydreaming is part of my creative process, and creativity is my way to have fun and interact with life, from my experience I am more likely to feel emotions this way, so I can’t imagine feeling fulfilled without having it being part of my life. When I get very excited about something, my imagination can’t be helped.

    “let me know if you manage to reconnect, or resume day-dreaming, will you?”

    Sure, I will.

    “my idea is that I will call you, so you don’t have to worry about making the call yourself and paying for it, etc. I think that it will be very, very inexpensive for me”

    Oh, I didn’t even think about the prices (since my friends usually call me through internet connection) or the arrangement yet… which, oops, give me more to worry because it’s a bit more concrete. But that’s alright, I’m going to avoid overfocusing on the details. My anxiety was more about the conversation itself. When talking with a new person over the phone I cannot predict how it’ll go or if my brain will no fail me. Speaking isn’t an activity I do regularly enough to be confident about it, doing it in english even less. But it’s alright, there’s anxiety coming with everything new.

    Before ending this message, I’m reminding myself of removing the shame and the guilt of my feelings, just as you wrote in your message, but thankfully I feel no shame or no guilt talking with you at this moment.

    It is 10:11 pm here, and 1:11 pm your time. As it is another long message, a little reminder again you don’t have to read it or reply today if you don’t feel like it. (If I’m not mistaking you tend to read the beginning and ending of posts when you don’t feel like it so hopefully you’ll see it even if it’s at the end?)

    I wish you a good afternoon, and good luck for tonight, I hope the night won’t be as long as the previous one!


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385350

    Dear Anita,

    ” she put shame on almost all of you, having shame stick to everything…”

    Shame on almost everything I am, and fear on almost everything that exists in the outside world. A perfect trap. And she doesn’t expect me to ever get out. She shames me for who I am, but without this shame I wouldn’t be so much of the things she shames me about. Without the abuse and the neglect, I would have been different. And I would have felt free to go, I would have more strength and courage, I believe.

    She is at least partly responsible for what she accuses me of being, and in the end she doesn’t want me to escape her, so her shaming me is like a tool to keep me trapped. Whether she’s doing it intentionally or not (depending on her mental illness) the result is the same. And I cannot afford to let her do that to me, letting her affecting me more.

    “except for your daydreaming/ fantasy life because she didn’t have access to it”

    I really should reconnect with that. I disconnected from my daydreaming and fantasy a while ago, because I feared bad consequences… I started to think, maybe it was escapism preventing me to learn to exist in the real world, and preventing me to heal and evolve.  So I disconnected. It wasn’t a conscious choice, not really, since depression caused the disconnection.

    However, the depression was a consequence of realizing that maybe I wouldn’t be able to save myself with my current goals, no matter how hard I was trying. Maybe I wouldn’t get anywhere following that path. And I’ve been sacrificing/neglecting/trying to kill my other needs while following this path (other needs being, real human connection? Belonging somewhere real? Existing? Being a person? They are really abstract needs, not the kind I could plan actions to get them… They don’t tell much about myself except I still am a living being somehow.)

    Anyway, my daydreaming/fantasy made me feel things, it was telling more precise things about me as a person even it was getting much reflection into the physical world. Casting it out isn’t a great idea… I should reconnect and find a way to balance my life in a way I can get both my inner world and… existence in the outside world.

    ” Clearly, what it would take for you to believe that you are enough of a person is.. emotions, your own emotions coming back to life. But there is no rushing of the emotions, they shut down if you rush them.”

    I agree.

    ” it is important that you remember that your emotions are not completely shut down (it was an emotion brought a smile to your face). Make it a habit perhaps to pay attention and acknowledge the emotions that do come up for you.”

    Maybe I could make it an exercise, write down in my journal every time I pay attention to an emotion (in order to recognize them better). That would change from my analyzing/organizing/mental puzzle-solving kind of journaling which doesn’t make me pay much attention to my emotions.

    ” this made me smile, an emotion of.. what comes to mind is something like feeling proud of you, an appreciation of you, more like it.”

    It feels good to read you felt proud of me/appreciation of me. It makes me smile. Very different from when my mother show appreciation (which felt twisted, when she felt proud of me she was actually proud of herself for owning me, it wasn’t an appreciation of me as a person, she wasn’t glad for me, she was just using me as a trophy). With you it is different, I am able to feel appreciated as a person and not a possession, and it feels good.

    I also feels good, what you said : ” In general, don’t apologize for how you feel about anything: you don’t choose how you feel, therefore there is no wrong doing and nothing to apologize for.” Because it means that maybe I am allowed to not feel guilty about how I feel either? If feelings are not a thing one should apologize for, then they also shouldn’t be a thing to feel guilty about, right?

    “if we talked on the phone, I could hear your voice and the tone of your tone and maybe you can practice feeling your feelings and expressing them verbally to me.”

    Oh.. Yes, it could be something good.. This suggestion makes me both anxious and curious.

    “she sounds quite promising!”

    Yes. We’re doing it next week, I’ll probably tell you about how it goes then. Until then I’ll try to prepare mentally for it.

    I wonder how is your sleep and if your intestine is feeling better?


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385340

    Dear Anita,

    ” I wanted to make her happy, to make her dream come true. And so.. I destroyed my own dream: to be free from her.” ” After that, the pattern was that I made progress living away from her, but every time I traveled to visit her, all that progress was reversed. Eventually, those wings I felt I had- flying in the clear, blue sky- nothing was left of those wings.”

    You still loved her and wanted to make her happy somehow. And her power over you lasted despite being so far away because you were coming back to her.. because the ties weren’t entirely cut.

     ” For a child: if X upsets her mother, X is a bad thing.”

    Everything potentially upsets my mother. So everything is a bad thing to her. I had a fight within me. Because I hated her. But any rebellion/standing up I would do she would put shame on me. Sometimes playing the victim very well, making ma a bad girl. Making me feel like a victimizer for… having any feelings/actions that she doesn’t agree with.

    “Her criticisms of your friends and her other messages are all part of the big picture. To undo a confused picture, you have to simplify it, part by part.”

    Quite a difficult thing to do, but your inputs are helpful.

    ” I believe that you are enough of a person, I believe that.. you are a lot of a person/ human. I understand that my belief isn’t enough: that you need to believe it!”

    Thank you. I do not know what it would take for me to believe it. Not only intellectually but emotionally. It makes sense though, emotions are a big thing that makes a person feel like a person, feel alive. And the shutting down of them has been participating in this difficult to see me as a person.

    “I like you as more than enough of a person. An object could not be having this amazing conversation with me. Do you feel shame for having read what I just wrote?”

    No, I smiled when reading this. And no, I do not feel shame right now. Though it is unlikely such phrases would be a shame trigger. After all, how you feel and what you chose to say is up to you. You considering me as a person isn’t something that would make me shameful.

    Me hoping for it though, is a bit shameful. It isn’t rational… It is a needs, the need to be considered as a person, the need to be respected, or wishing for appreciation to be mutual. It is normal, and kind of a pre-requisite for healthy interactions/relationships. Yet something messed up has been put into my mind, making me feel ashamed for normal things. And well, thankfully I’m not messed up enough to feel shameful when a person does respect me or consider me as a person. I do still feel shameful for growing attached though. Or afraid. Or both. Probably because attachment is another level of intensity. More troublesome than basic respect… less rational, more emotional.

    I mentioned before being gentle and patient with yourself, but I didn’t mention being respectful toward yourself: when you talk to your friend, don’t apologize for how you feel about staying with her. In general, don’t apologize for how you feel about anything: you don’t choose how you feel, therefore there is no wrong doing and nothing to apologize for.

    Well that’s at least one thing I’ve been doing right. I don’t have the habit of apologizing for how I feel (maybe because I rarely even talk about how I feel, I rarely even know how I feel). Be ashamed, sure, but apologizing is another thing.

    “When you speak about your feelings, including shame, to your friend or to anyone, speak with an air of respect toward your feelings. Instead of saying something like I-feel-shame with a weak, shaky voice, or with a numb, “dead” voice, say it with a strong, confident voice: that’s respect for how you feel/ for you!”

    Hmm, this one is a bit harder. I don’t pay much attention to how I speak of my feelings, but I think most of the time it’s more neutral/monotone (I guess is could seem numb, I don’t know). It’s is more of an analysis and hypothesis about how I feel than… an actual feeling of my feelings. If it makes sense. Because I don’t feel a lot lately. I do feel some things during my communication with you but otherwise, it is mostly numb. So it is hard to speak with confidence.

    For the update: I spoke to my friend today. She was very understanding, she said she didn’t take it the wrong way and I didn’t have to feel obliged to do anything. She said I could take the time to think about it and she would follow my pace. She did offer, though, if it could help me evaluate, that we could try over a for only weekend. I think she would be understanding even if it didn’t work out. I trust her on that.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385311

    Dear Anita,

    ” (I feel like saying thank you for asking, and I didn’t yet read what you are asking)”

    You’re welcome. I do ask because I want to understand better, but of course if there is anything you aren’t comfortable to answer you don’t have to.

    “no, I wasn’t able to leave her or anyone.”

    What about when you did leave at 24? What made it happen? Did you still felt the ongoing trap despite leaving the country? How did this escape feel?

    “when you expressed intense emotions and your mother notices.. how did she react (you probably shared but I forgot at the moment)?”

    Well, that depends on how she feels and which emotions she notices. I will try to explore those that don’t make the most sense. Like… why I feel shame and anxiety when I feel intense affection? If I have to connect it to my mother, I don’t have much memories related to her noticed my affection for someone. Maybe, with my roommate at college (who was also one of my high school friends so my mother knew her). I was very fond of her and at some point, my mother started to get jealous and criticize her. Of course, I defended my friend and got angry at my mother, and over time she dropped it (usually she’s aiming more at my sister’s relationships so maybe she just went back to that.)

    I am not sure why it would result in shame and humiliation though. Unless… The main reason my mother criticized the few friends I had was: they were better than me… Or rather, have better context than me. I wasn’t jealous of them, mostly intrigued about different lifestyles and families, especially when they seemed healthier. My mother was getting angry over nothing, as usual. But there still were this messages I was feeling after she was making some scene “You are lesser than your friends”, “You aren’t in the same category”… Which leads to “You should be ashamed”, “If you friends were aware about your life and your family they would dislike you” or at best “They tolerate you but they would like you better if you were someone else”.  A general “you are lesser” feeling and “you may appreciate someone but you don’t deserve reciprocation“…

    I guess this last one is getting closer to the issue since I’m getting a bit emotional over that. I probably shouldn’t worry that much, because I’m not lying about who I am or my life to people and I have not been rejected for that by my friend. But I still have this feeling I can’t have close connections because of that. Only superficial ones, or for the few that get deeper they would still be unbalanced because I am not enough of a person and I don’t have enough of a life to be considered as such. And therefore if I can appreciate someone as a human, I am doubtful they would appreciate me back as a human too. And I feel ashamed for even considering I could be liked as something else than an object.

    “as I read your dilemma I arrived at my answer quickly, way before I got to the ending of my reading: it was (and is) a clear and confident no. Reason: “we aren’t close enough“. To stay with a person you are not close enough to, in her house, for an extended amount of time, given how you feel around other people- is far from being congruent with the gentle and patient nature of emotional healing: it is rough and extreme.”

    It kind of feels extreme for me too. Honestly, if I was only listening to my feelings I would say “no”. It is too much, too sudden. I am unprepared… So if I accepted it would be under the pressure of not wanting to harm our friendship.

    ” I think that it can work IF (1) you are given your own room the house, and (2) she knows ahead of time that you will be spending as much time as you need in that one room, maybe ALL of the time, and (3) she is perfectly okay with that, and you trust her to be okay with it (so while there you feel no pressure to socialize with her).”

    Those terms make sense. I don’t know how it’ll go, but I’ll have to talk with her and make my feelings clear. And I guess depending on how the conversation will go I’ll either go in more adapted terms and peaceful mindset or not go at all.

    ” I didn’t sleep well, so I am tired, still fine with replying, it’s just that when I feel so tired and uncomfortable (intestinal discomfort) I tend to be matter-of factly, not emotional, not affectionate, etc. So I wanted to let you know that if you are feeling the lack of emotion in my reply- the only reason is my physical tiredness and discomfort”

    I understand. I didn’t mind but thank you for letting me know, it is good to know. I am sorry you didn’t sleep well and went through intestinal discomfort. I hope you’ll feel better soon, and will have a better rest tonight.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385287

    Dear Anita,

    “it amazes me how confident I feel at this point (compared to past zero/very, very low confidence) about my ability to figure out who is trustworthy and who is not, and how to not fall into power games. It looks easy to me, in comparison to how difficult it used to be.”

    It is reassuring to read about your progress on this matter. It’s always nice to know it is possible to improve and gain confidence in such matters.

    “I want to compare the traps, the trap with my mother vs the trap with men: with my mother the trap was never ending, with men it was temporary.”

    Was it because with men you were more free to leave and cut ties? Because they just couldn’t have more power over you than she used to have? (which makes sense) Or because if you were able to leave her you knew you could leave anybody?

    ““So your empathy for others is helping you the most for this, it is interesting“, you wrote this regarding my shame. Yes, and this happened as a result of communicating with you, because of you.”

    I’m glad, yet it wouldn’t have happened if you weren’t able to be kind and empathetic with others. It seems like this healing happens because you are good with others, and therefore it makes you able to be good with yourself.

    “the brain/ body automatically numb feelings that are too intense for it to handle, so if and when you happen to feel a more intense emotion: your brain/ body will automatically numb it. This is what happened to me, again and again. It never happened that an emotion became so intense that.. it killed me (obviously) or pushed me into psychosis or whatnot.”

    Oh for sure it is unlikely to kill or drive into madness (or it already have happened when the worse happened, I guess). I guess what is bothering when I feel intense emotions (the level of intensity when you’re being aware of them) is shame and some kind of loneliness. They aren’t landing anywhere and I live in the fear if they were noticed I would be humiliated.

    I mean, it’s not like I’ve been going through terrible humiliation every times I have been teased for feeling something. But I tend to withdraw easily when someone notice an emotion. Because it gives informations about me and it feels a bit threatening.

    I guess I still running on the same brain program that is meant to protect me against bad people.

    do you have a specific idea in regard to trying something soon, in regard to healing?

    I have no specific idea. Not exactly. But there’s something that is bothering me, a decision I should make soon and I don’t manage to make it…

    There’s a friend who invited me to stay 2 weeks with her (she’s keeping a house and don’t want to be alone and I’m the only one of the group who technically have no engagement). She took my maybe for a yes but I can still say no or just do a shorter period.

    Anyway, the thing is… I don’t know how to feel about it. She’s a good person but we aren’t close enough for me to be entirely comfortable at the idea. Especially since I don’t know her lifestyle and I tend to need space from people regularly enough.

    My brother thinks I should go because any change/novelty is better than none for my brain. And well I would be curious of having more one-to-one talk with this girl but that might be too much. Just the last 3 days of hanging with my friends were enough for me to want to shut down from socializing for weeks or months. And it’s not because they’re bad people. I am afraid I am not a people person… Unless there’s a special connection it is very difficult to be around anyone. I do not feel threatened by them, I feel tired. Like my life is suspended for as long as I am out. Not that there’s much happening in my life home, but at least when I’m alone in my room I can chose what I want to do, I can think myself. Outside with people my brain cannot think, cannot want, cannot chose. Because as a person, I’m still not shaped enough and strong enough to not fade in the background when someone else is around.

    From there I don’t know what I want or should do when it comes to this friend’s proposal. Or other things I should do in order to heal. I’m curious to see if you have any input or thoughts that could be helpful to clear my mind about that.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385278

    Dear Anita,

    “I was awake last night, maybe at about 1 am, and your words crossed my mind: “I am glad that insomnia didn’t win” (quote from my memory, not sure these are the exact words), and I thought: maybe I can make it so that insomnia doesn’t win again, and.. I fell asleep again. I woke up at 5 am. Not too bad. How is your sleep these days?”

    Insomnia is a though fight, I’m glad you were able to get a few hours of sleep last night, and I hope your sleep will be longer tonight.

    My sleep is alright lately, no insomnia. There’s just a bit of an interruption of my routine with my friends’ plans this week. We went to sleep at 2:00 am last night but I slept enough I think.

    ” I want to reciprocate this: your comfort is important too!” 

    Thank you!

    “I imagine the pressure you’d feel to reach the outcome by a certain date.. and to show that you are making progress on your way to the outcome (so to make the Exchange worthy for me). Emotional healing is a Process that needs to be taken with no consideration of the Outcome. For a long time, I fell in love with the process itself, curious and interested, engaged.. with no consideration of any outcome, none at all.”

    Ah, mental health is a bit like learning a craft then. Even if the attempts have wonky outcomes you can only keep motivation alive if you love the process enough to be alright despite repetitive fails.

    “I feel that there is something more to develop from what I quoted right above: first, true; “for some, the world does work that way”. I would say that for many, it does. There are many people who “aren’t good people”.”

    Too many, way too many… It makes the world very difficult to navigate. Learning to figure out who is trustworthy, how to stop falling into power games… And how to deal with interactions with dangerous people when they can’t be helped.

    “My mother did not perceive me as a person of value, but as a Thing that belongs to her. No wonder I continued, outside her physical presence, to perceive myself to be a Thing that.. does not belong to me… My body did not belong to me, I didn’t like it, just carried it around, like it was really a thing that does not belong to me, a thing I was uncomfortable with. I was almost trying to get rid of it because it was trouble, shameful.”

    There’s so much hurt there, I can feel it. She hurt you so much… She deprived you of the comfort you should have felt in your body and the love you should have feel for it, for yourself. It was so wrong of her.

    The shame should have been hers. She was so mean to put this feeling inside you, and she did it when you have no mean to fight it. The one who was supposed to love you and protect you. And you had nobody to protect you from her… So it is no wonder you fell into her trap, then traps similar to hers. It takes a lot to undo the beliefs, the thinking patterns. It takes a lot to heal from the negative and hurtful feelings that were put inside us.

    “I thought yesterday: I can’t un-feel the shame if I only think about myself, but I can un-feel it when I think of how you wouldn’t deserve to feel that shame if you experienced what I did, and how so many women who did experience what I did, or similar to it- they don’t deserve to feel that shame. Therefore, I don’t.”

    So your empathy for others is helping you the most for this, it is interesting.

    “It will take getting used to what is now unusual. With time, and with the right attitude (gentleness, patience) you will become comfortable with what now is unusual and uncomfortable.”

    I am curious to experience how it feels, to be comfortable with… Feelings.

    “(1) you have a wiggle room with me, some room for “making mistakes, not ill-intentioned, but due to ignorance and lack of awareness” without being judged or punished for those, no punishment, no withdrawal”

    Thank you. And, same for you with me.

    “(2) it is very important that you grow to understand that if you bring me discomfort- it is not going to be a devastating discomfort that I can’t handle, but a small discomfort that will help me learn something new as a result. In this Process of emotional healing, it is moments of discomfort that move us toward more learning= healing.”

    I like this view on mistakes and moments of discomfort. It feels better, safer. Unlike my painful past experiences. And since it is mutual, it feels right.

    “So you see, your “mistakes” are opportunities for me to learn= heal. Same with my mistakes: they are opportunities for you to learn= heal. We should both relax further: give ourselves the right to be spontaneous, trusting ourselves and each other to not make devastating mistakes.. because we are good people, so devastating mistakes are really not possible for us to make.”

    I want to try it. I’ll try to think of this when I worry. I really want to discover and experience healing with you, at least as much as it can happen during our communication.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385229

    Dear Anita,

    I read your post as I was falling asleep, it made me smile. Since I got some spare time this morning I wanted to tell you about it. Also, I don’t know if it’s tacky but I didn’t mind it, I liked that you felt like wishing me a good night in such a way, it felt warm!

    I hope you’re sleeping well tonight.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385217

    Dear Anita,

    It’s  8:39 pm, I’m back from going out with my friends for today. My legs are my body are tired (but I think it’s a good thing), but hopefully not my mind as I still want to reply to you! (not because I feel like I have to rush, but because it’s something I enjoy to do)

    ” you cared that I will not feel troubled about you not replying to me, and then you cared that I will feel pressure to respond to you in a rushed manner. I don’t think I received quite such caring on tiny buddha, this is a unique/ exceptional experience for me.”

    Well, it was easy for me to imagine these two possibilities, and clear communication is the only way I can see to prevent bringing such discomfort to you. Your comfort is important. I can’t be able to think of everything ahead of course, but for what I can think about, I want to make an effort so our discussion can be a good experience for you, as it is for me.

    ” I see hope for you but I wouldn’t say: you can do it, Linarra! You can do it, I know you have it in you.. etc. This cheerleading is not good for you or for anyone in your position, I believe, because it is likely to create pressure in you, you thinking something like: well, if I can do it.. why don’t I? What’s wrong with me?”

    You understand this really well. It is nice. Often, well-intended words come with pressure and unfortunately, I don’t do well under pressure. I am grateful you are willing to talk with me no matter the outcome, it is a relief from my usual worries.

    “It is regarding the reason I thought that you will choose to no longer communicate with me, and that was that I mentioned to you my experience with exchanges with men. I thought that you will be disgusted by me.”

    I wouldn’t. I am far from feeling like from feeling disgusts for those who fall into that, it is a very understandable behavior when we came into this world being exposed to such exchange practice. To be honest, while being exposed to this way too much, it twists our perception, it makes it hard to believe people who do anything for you if you’re not paying the price… I used to think it was just how the world worked (and still struggling with that belief because, for some, the world does work that way…) But in the end, the only disgust there should be is the one aimed toward those who take advantage. They aren’t good people.

    “what if Linarra had this shame that I have, in regard to such exchanges, will I tell her: shame on you! And I answered myself: no, I wouldn’t, while feeling empathy for you, and extra empathy at the idea of you experiencing what I did, that humiliation with men. Next, I thought to myself: maybe I don’t have to live with this shame anymore. If Linarra does not deserve this (or any other) shame, why do I? And for the first time in my life, I considered that maybe I do not have to keep living with that shame.”

    I see! I am really glad! This is good. Shame is a very difficult feeling to live with, and it makes me happy if our exchanges help you to alleviate some of it.

    ” I wrote to you: “I think that you having an emotional attachment to me will be good for you, not bad for you”, and you answered: “I think so too, even if I am anxious about it“ I cannot tell you how crucial it is for me to not betray your trust in me. If I did so, I will be betraying my trust in me and in everything I value most highly.”

    I am not sure I fear your betrayal the most. I fear making mistakes, not ill-intentioned, but due to ignorance and lack of awareness. I also fear the intensity of my feelings. Usually it isn’t a problem because I am taming them, over time it became a second nature to temperate myself. But… how to put it, I feel like our connection is challenging me and will keep challenging me emotionally.

    It makes me self-aware of my usual emotional regulation when it comes to attachment. I mean, I’ve always been aware of it but I thought of it as a good thing, as a protection. From what I gathered from our conversations though, I guess this protection isn’t always the best thing (or good at all if it has anything to do with my difficulty to feel my own emotions and acknowledge them). Therefore, it makes sense our exchanges might lead to… me learning to be more open with (healthy) emotional attachment, and maybe letting myself feel my emotions. But it makes me anxious because compared to my usual state of regulation, my untempered feelings are quite… intense. And it is both embarrassing and intimidating. And it makes me feel vulnerable. And it also worries because I have to be able to deal with these emotions in a responsible way, one that wouldn’t possibly bring you discomfort.

    “I am interested in continuing our communication here because it may be helpful to other members reading it, silent members that are following our communication. So, I am not interested at this time to transfer our communication to private email. It is a good idea to exchange emails in case this website is no longer available for us, and of course, for the purpose of talking on the phone. There is a way to exchange emails without the email remaining on records here and I have done it already. But no rush in doing so.”

    It makes sense, alright then.

    “The way to do it is: we agree to do it at a particular time, then one of us submits a post with the email address, the other copies it to paper, and the other clicks “Edit”, and deletes the email address. It needs to be done within the 5 minutes or so that the Edit feature is available after each post is submitted. I have never given my email address, it was always the other member that has done so, but I am willing to make an exception for you and post my email for you to copy. “

    Understood. And that’s alright, I can do it. 5 minutes? No big deal, it can be done (when you’ll deem the time right.)

     “I will so enjoy hearing your French accent. But like I wrote above, there is absolutely no rush, it is an idea to get used to- or not, a possibility, something you may grow to like later.”

    Ahah, if it was only the accent! Well, hopefully you’d be patient with my real-time mistakes.

    ” if I thought that I was capable enough and saintly enough to help anyone through an extended communication over time- without being helped at the same time- that would make me either too altruistic or too arrogant for my own good (and in so being, not helpful at all).”

    It makes sense. I like to help too when I can but it is extended… I wouldn’t be able to do it either if it isn’t Win-Win, it wouldn’t feel good or right.

    “yesterday I referred to myself in my post as a good person. I don’t think I ever did that. Later on the treadmill I perceived not feeling ashamed anymore.. now I see the connection.”

    It seems to me like a great step, congratulations!!

    ” you are welcome to check regularly, but I think that I will let you know every time I  become aware that you are helping me, just as I did in this post.”

    I guess I won’t need to check too often if you let me know. I am less worried when I am aware of what the other person is getting out of this.

    “Last night I was up for a long while but I went back to sleep and was up shortly before 7, good thing!”

    It’s good insomnia didn’t win this night indeed!

    “Similarly and independently of your warning, I thought only yesterday about letting you know that sometimes I lose the internet, if happens quiet often and it can last for a long time when I lose electricity.”

    Thank you for letting me know.

    “I … hope that you experience more calm and meaning, and hopefully some joy being out with your high school friends!”

    Thank you, the calm was achieved today. The meaning, maybe during a few minutes. Joy, not much that I can tell about but it’s alright. I did feel joy reading your post today and replying to it. That’s enough for me. It’s now 10:38 pm for me and I should get to bed. I hope you’ll have a good afternoon, sweet Anita!


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385175

    Dear Anita,

    Usually I leave it to 2 messages a day, but I am unsure whether I would be able to answer to you tomorrow, so I prefer to answer ahead than to risk replying with a delay that could make you wonder if I was bothered with anything you said. I’m warning you so you know you don’t have to rush your reply.

    ” I wasn’t interested in such exchanges either, but I didn’t know there was any kind of a different exchange. I only knew the one kind: the one my mother trapped me in, “that kind of trap” I was born into.”

    Very understandable, we rarely get a say whether or not we fall into traps we’re born into. For men I am twice as wary because my mother has been very insistent with that trope. She has been insulting any of her daughters for leaving with a man and relying on a man,  even those who didn’t leave yet! I always wanted to make her shut up on that because she was the one making the environment so terrible anyone could be tempted to fall into another trap for as long it isn’t hers.

    “without healing.. your life would be.. just like it is now, I am guessing, no?”

    Yes, I worry about the absence of change/progress. Because I am not happy with this life, of course. The idea I will stay in this time loop isn’t very good for my mental health. I can only be patient if there’s hope of evolution for me.

    ” it didn’t cross my mind,  for me to suggest an end to our communication, not at all!” “you are not trouble to me, or for me, no trouble, truly. You are helping me understand me and my mind/ heart/ life better, so thank you!”

    That’s good, I’m happy.

    “I think that you having an emotional attachment to me will be good for you, not bad for you.”

    I think so too, even if I am anxious about it.

    “1) I desire your presence in my life, and I would like sometime to exchange emails and talk on the phone, if you wanted that too. For now I am fine with the current communication here”

    I am comfortable at the idea of exchanging email with you, though I am unsure how to do it on this forum without keeping the information public (since we cannot delete messages later). I feel safe with you but with the amount of information that has been shared on this thread I’m a bit uncomfortable letting also my mail there.

    For the phone calls, I’m more nervous about that. Both because it takes a while for me to get used to them with a new person and because I am insecure about my ability to have a clear english pronunciation, but we’ll see. If I can overcome my anxiety, why not.

    ” 2) Your presence is good for me because like I wrote above, you are helping me significantly”

    I’m really glad because I wouldn’t be able to be comfortable if it weren’t a Win-Win connection.

    “3) The connection you feel to a good person (and I am glad that I think of myself as a good person!!!), like I said, I think that it is and will be good for you.”

    It was already implied, but I think you are a good person too. And I agree it could be good for me. Though, sincer I’m always worried, I might be checking regularly if things are still Win-Win for you.

    “I told you a few days ago that you will be the first to know when I have a good night sleep: well I forgot to tell you earlier that this Sunday morning, I woke up not at 3am or 4am… or 5am, or 6am, but at 7am. I don’t remember when it happened last, I feel lazy and it’s pretty nice. But I kept my word to you: you are still the first person I told about this!”

    I received the mail notification for this message as I was finishing replying there. It was curious/excited, and now I read it I am having a big smile. I’m so glad you slept so well last night!! And it’s sweet you kept your word.

    Now it is 11:41 pm for me, so I’ll better get to bed soon. But I wanted to warn you the three following days (maybe more?) my schedule and internet connection will be unpredictable so I am unsure about my ability to reply. It is because my high school friends are back in the area for this week and they planned for us to go out a lot. I’m pretty sure I will have some spare time to think of you, but unsure about the possibility to reply. Just so you don’t worry!

    I hope your afternoon will be good!


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385133

    Dear Anita,

    ” The Exchange Principle was formed. I think that a girl giving her mother hugs and kisses in exchange for food and transportation .. is more likely to become a woman giving men the use of her body in exchange for … food and transportation (being driven to a restaurant and fed there, aka a date).”

    I do not intend to pursue that, though. I am uninterested in having such exchanges with men, and in the outside world I would prefer to be struggling alone than in bad company (it is safer)… In my home, that’s another story because I have a lot to lose if I leave unprepared. But I am not tempted to trade my current situation with another of the same kind.

    The male friend I felt betrayed by did try to buy me, of sort (I don’t know how intentional he was). I was frozen because I trusted him and didn’t know how to react, but in the end, I told him off. After months he came back, wanting to save our friendship. I did accept, but eventually, I realized it couldn’t be repaired so recently I told him we should cut ties and he agreed.

    I really don’t want to fall into that kind of trap, really, if I can help it.

    ” I was thinking about our communication yesterday, before reading your recent post, I thought to myself: As I continue to communicate with Linarra, she will see her mother more and more as she is, and as that happens, Linarra will feel more and more uncomfortable living with her mother, seeing her everyday. Being so uncomfortable, Linarra is likely to end our communication so to regain her previous comfort in her home.”

    It’s a scenario that makes sense, but I’m alright for now. Despite all the changes in my vision and interpretation, I am not a lot more uncomfortable with my mother’s presence. It is not exactly as there were brand new feelings, it is more… like putting words on feelings I cast away because I couldn’t explore this with anybody. I spend my whole life living with her (minus a few years), a new perspective won’t change my adaptation so quickly. It just makes me more aware for now.

    The discomfort and distress I am feeling is… worry, for myself and the future. I worry about what my life is going to be if I am unable to find a solution and to heal… worse if I am unable while being aware of everything. It is not exactly comfortable to question everything I am, for sure… but I was already not feeling very well before starting this forum thread so I don’t hold it against you or this conversation.

    I have been unable to do much escapism lately, so I wouldn’t be able to choose to forget this conversation. And I don’t exctly want to forget either. So for the moment, I’m stuck with this. I still do not intend to end our communication. Unless you want me to end it, of course.

    In the short term, the possibility of being troublesome for you is still more worrying (my usual kind of worry though). And the fear of developing an emotional attachment if the conversation goes on is another thing I’m dealing with. There would be more chances for me to take distance due to emotional investment and fear to burden than there would be chances for me to back off because you’re making me see my mother as the bad person she is. I do know I’ve been raised by bad people and that I have a rotten family, what I don’t know is… how to deal with the anxiety that comes with feeling some kind of connection with good people, while being who am I right now and being tight to such a rotten place. In doubt, I tend to consider backing off, but I only do so if I notice my presence is undesired or bad for the other person.

    “* Regarding her “abusive husbands”-unless you have evidence that any of her husbands abused her (other than what she tells you, which I wouldn’t count as evidence), there is no reason for me to believe that indeed she was abused, and/ or that abuse was not mutual.”

    I have some evidence but it doesn’t tell how regular it was, or if it was mutual. I’m not sure if it matters anyway because being abused doesn’t justify becoming an abuser. It is an explanation, but it doesn’t mean it should be okay.

    “Now, I am thinking: Linarra may not like me comparing her mother to a Nazi guard”

    Well, I won’t protect her from that comparison. She can be quite racist and once, when we were fighting her over one of her racist comments by comparing her to nazis, she answered with a provoking “Hail Hitler!” Of course she was contextually rebelling against our disapproval of her racism, but that’s enough for me to not be put off with such a comparison.

    “she enjoyed seeing your discomfort because it meant that she had power over you (power to make you feel badly with no consequence to her, she gets away with it).. “

    I can believe that because it would explain a lot of harmful things she did to me while being aware of what she was doing to me.

    ” the child’s brain is not developed enough and capable enough to question it.”

    Which explains why the questioning happened much later.

    My oldest half-sister, the one who cut ties with my mother from her own will, she talked to me to warn me she will be cutting ties. She told me that I would understand later. Back then, I already understood why she would cut ties, it was no secret my mother was a bad mother for her, but I asked her to explain, I wanted to have more of her side of the story. I’m not sure how it went on, my memory of this is blurry, I think I was uncomfortable with the idea my mother was a bad mother for my half-siblings while being an alright mother for her new children. But I was wrong… The perceived difference was because I wanted to believe my mother was good for my siblings and I, because we were young and needed her. My brain couldn’t deal with the possibility she was bad and couldn’t change.


    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #385108

    Dear Anita,

    “very  big steps, I say, and thank you for taking them, it makes me happy that you did.”

    Thank you, the thought that you care is the closest thing that I have to motivation. I don’t know what I’m getting into, but if someone I trust thinks it might be better for me, it’s worth a shot.

    “I hope you do, the more gentle and patient, the greater the chance that you will make it a habit.”

    I’ll keep it in mind.

    ” IF you are able to learn to live untamed, then this old taming is hurting you.”

    I hope I’ll be able to learn.

    ” Editing this sentence according to my best understanding: The one she had never owned is understandably the only one who left her, cutting ties on her own.”

    I agree with this editing.

    ” Now imagine a mother doing the same, then slapping her daughter hard across the face, then kissing her on the cheek with affection.. then slapping her across the face, etc. Soon enough, the pain from the slapping is going to take away all the nice feeling of being kissed, isn’t it.”

    It illustrates well how I wasn’t able to appreciate the affection of my mother anymore.

    When I’m thinking about it though, physical affection wasn’t much present. Maybe when I was a kid and still have some kind of trust in her. But after, she was asking me to kiss her on the cheek or taking the hugs from me and I was doing it/accepting it but I took no pleasure. I let her because she was the one feeding me and driving me to school so I owed her.

    “Now, let’s say that for the mother, when she kisses her daughter after slapping her face hard, she feels nice and warm inside, feeling affection for her daughter. My question for you, if you want to ponder it: where is the love in this dynamic?”

    Right, there’s no love… When my mother stole hugs from me or asked me to kiss her on the cheek, she wanted the affection and probably appreciated it. But it wasn’t out of love. It could have been anyone. I was an object or a pet to her. Damn, when we were kids and teens she was calling us using the same orders dogs are called to make them come back to their owner, “Au pied!”, we managed to make her stop when we noticed how insulting it was and it started to be uncomfortable, but before that, we didn’t question it… When we made her stop, we were aware she was treating us like dogs when she ordered us like that, but I never thought far enough to think it would make her our owner. It’s… disgusting.

    My mother wasn’t in power with her mother, she wasn’t much in power with her abusive husbands too… Her children, most of them she didn’t want to have them when she got pregnant with them (she had them because the father wanted to keep them and she didn’t dare to refuse), but in the end she liked her role as the mother because of the power it gave her, I guess. She couldn’t manipulate her mother and her husbands, she couldn’t force affection out of them either, but her children… She could have power and use them because they needed her to survive.

    I guess I’m starting to visualize a bit more the difference between affection and love.

    “yes, do think lesser of people who hurt people.  Don’t give them the opportunities to hurt you further.”

    I will try to keep this one in mind next time someone is trying to hurt me. Maybe it’ll make me stronger to survive to the outside world.


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