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Linarra

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  • in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #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

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #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.

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #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.

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #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

     

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #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

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #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.

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #382932
    Linarra
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Patience won’t be a problem for me. The conversations here are meaningful, and I have a lot of patience for those kinds of talks.

    I’m glad you have people in your life who care about you and your thoughts, and that you are able to answer the concrete questions when they’re asked in a positive way.

    It is interesting because I also struggle with abstract questions such as those you quoted. I do know they are not supposed to be an attack (depending on the level of trust with the person who asks of course), but I react as if they were since I don’t know what to answer to those abstract questions, and I’m never prepared despite them being a tradition of small talking… I understand why they would make you feel on the edge to fall. Concrete questions are way easier to deal with.

    Personally, since my friends don’t ask me questions other than the abstracts ones, I’ve been trying to make effort on my own to answer those more thoroughly (in an attempt to be known better, so they would feel comfortable asking me more concrete questions later) but often I fail miserably. I hardly manage to finish my phrases on those occasions, despite my efforts. Thankfully, the quick answer option is still available.

    “My mother was histrionic, loud and wild and into drama, particularly tragedy with a touch of violence. If I said the wrong (in her interpretation)  word or words (equally problematic, if I failed to say the right word or words), or if I said the right word in the wrong tone of voice, and she was in the mood to react- all hell break loose as she went on to perform a tragic/ aggressive scene on a figurative stage: a performance that I (the audience) was not able to escape, had to stand there watching the whole thing. Sometimes, the performer came down from the stage so to let me know in-person how upset she is, getting the audience involved.”

    It seems like your mother was a lot like mine. “Histrionic” is also a term we use to qualify our mother’s behavior, among my siblings. Very wildly performative and dramatic, tragic and aggressive… forcing us to watch and listen to her even if we didn’t care about her disturbing act. And the audience involvement too, at times… So humiliating, especially when she’s onto you. Your (and your sanity too, to some extent) privacy only exists if you do not exist, or do not let her know about your existence. No wonder such an environment while growing up leads to withdrawal…

    “I read and re-read what you posted in your three posts regarding your ongoing emotional experience in childhood and onward, so to lay out a foundation for questions to ask you. Here is what I see as the themes of your emotional experience: 1) Shame and humiliation 2) Fear 3) Partial death of self/ minimization of awareness 4) Lack of trust in people and social isolation 5) Feeling alive and aware”

    I agree with the themes you defined for my emotional experience. It feels good to have that acknowledged and understood, as a foundation, it is quite rare to discuss with someone who will have that in mind and still dare to talk with me.

    “do you think that it will be possible for you- some time in the future-  to trust me, this person behind your computer screen (on record are my thousands of replies to members in the last six years)- to not hurt you, to not deny you in your journey here, on your thread?”

    It is definitely possible. From what I read of your replies on this forum, your way of communication seems to be one I can understand, and it is respectful. I do not think it is likely I’ll encounter a lot of hurting here, from you or other members. It seems like a rare safe space. I also intend to respect you and your boundaries, so I believe if any discomfort comes into this talk we’ll be able to discuss it in a well-intentioned and respectful way.

    Linarra

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #382877
    Linarra
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I absolutely understand the metaphor of the withering plant. It is definitely rare and refreshing when someone asks about you and actually cares for the answer. I am sorry your mother made you feel unsafe, and that you weren’t able to reply to your uncle because of her.

    My mother also participated in my quietness. She would talk over me, didn’t give me time to answer, wouldn’t listen to what I say (even when she’s been the one asking). She made me feel like no matter what I would say it wouldn’t matter, so I ceased to try at some point. It happened with some other people, so I inferred it was usual to not be heard, and I shouldn’t make a big deal out of it.  I was disappointed with the lack of connection I felt with other human beings though, even if I accepted it, there were worse things than being ignored.

    And the worse things were more like your experience with your mother. When someone hears you and it gets you into trouble. I experienced that with my mother too. When she wasn’t ignoring or preventing me to express myself, she was out for war and drama. Spared no one, so we had to be careful not to fuel her. Which was difficult because she could start over the most little things, so the safe way was to share as little as possible.

    I would gladly answer your questions if you have any, Anita.

    I got some for you if you don’t mind.  Do you have people in your life now who ask you questions and care for the answer? And are you in a place where you can answer them safely now?

    I wish you well,

    Linarra

    in reply to: Healing and becoming functional #382875
    Linarra
    Participant

    Hi Sarah,

    Thank you so much for your reply, I am very grateful to read about your experience. I am pleased you were able to turn your life around despite facing similar issues. I hope I will be able to get there someday.

    You are right, my brain has been trying to escape the pain. I guess I had difficulty processing how people could be so destructive to themselves and others, especially their family. And even if I understood some people just ended up like that due to their own suffering, it wasn’t enough to process it well. So many behavior I witnessed made no sense and were scary and hurtful. I didn’t want to be a part of it so I chose to escape and not suffer from it by zoning out and focus on the little things that helped me. But it wasn’t healing, it was surviving. And I am now afraid to face the pain as I am afraid it will never go away.

    But you are right, there’s no healing or soothing if I don’t face the pain. Do you think it can be done alone? Or do I have to have trusted people to help me with this? I do confide my pain to some friends, sometimes, but it doesn’t make me feel better. Probably because I wasn’t able to have a kind/reassuring look on my pain, so I should learn to practice that.

    Thank you for your virtual hug and your kindness.

    I am grateful for the access I had to education, through school and internet. I am grateful for the people out there who try their best to make a difference and bring good into this world as their existence makes me hopeful. I am grateful for all the little things that help me relieve the pain and cope.

    I guess I will need a lot of journaling to find the negative beliefs that are doing me wrong and reframing them. Would it be okay to ask for help if I get stuck in some reframing?

    I will write this letter to my inner child. I think it’s an exercise that will take a while but I believe it could be really helpful. Maybe my inner child would need to write a letter to me equally, maybe it could help me figure out how I feel and what I need. I struggle reaching to myself and my feelings so I will need to reconnect with my inner child somehow.

    Self-care is something I’m struggling a lot with, I run on automatic mode a lot, do things because they have to be done. But there are some things that help me hopefully. What saved me during my darkest times, and the only reason why I decided to keep on living despite my life being a mess, is creativity. I love writing and drawing, it makes me happy, stimulated, and my love for it always gave my life meaning when nothing else could. It’s my support system, but I try to thrive for more, as it is not enough. It doesn’t replace healthy relationships and meaningful human interactions (even if it can emulate them). I also want to find and nurture activities that could ground me into reality, creativity is amazing but I also use it as an escape from my own existence sometimes.

    I am definitely looking for some kind of psych evaluation and maybe therapy if I find a good one. That way, I would have an official acknowledgment of my difficulties/disabilities, which I kind of need to convince me I am not the problem, that my struggles are real and not just something I’m making up. And they deserve to be treated. Since my issues have been overlooked for so long, it’s necessary they get the proper care.

    Somehow, I’m still worried someone will jump at me, telling me I am a burden and not deserving the help I’m seeking. It’s silly, and I’m not sure what it’s coming from, so I shall face this fear. I just hope I won’t meet too many people denying me during this journey.

    Thank you for acknowledging my struggles, and for your hopeful words, they mean a lot to me. Also thank you for sharing the facebook group and the meditation video, I’ll be sure to check them out, meditate and your words, and put your advice into practice.

    Have a good day,

    Linarra

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