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I tried what you suggested above about not judging myself as unworthy for being sad, and my goodness is it difficult. I have to keep reminding myself non judgment of my pain is the only way forward at this point. I’m doing it though, I’m sad right now and just let the tears come as they will, feeling the discomfort in my stomach and trying my best to just be with it, and comfort myself by telling myself it doesn’t mean anything about me. This is really hard to do. My fear is that I may not be willing to keep doing this, to keep being in pain like this. It feels meaningless. Either way it does help not adding to the suffering through judgement, still no real relief in sight it feels like.
“accept, radically accept, as the term goes, thoroughly accept that there is no one else there with you to solve your problem of loneliness, no one to see you cry and help you.” -This is sort of what i tried last night, my roommate was home and claims I can talk to her but is rarely present with me so i’ve given up on that relationship as a source of comfort. Which left me to be sad by myself.
So your saying a possible solution is to just be sad? this makes sense to me because we don’t really control whether or not an emotion is triggered within us, rather controlling how we respond to the emotion. My response to sadness 90% of the time is coupled with negative beliefs about why i deserve to suffer. I tried not to go there last night, knowing that could mean another severe depressive episode which i can’t afford. I tried to comfort myself by reaffirming my worth through self-talk, even though i barely believe it, I don’t feel like I have any other options right now but to fake love for myself until it feels real.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by noname.
Yes I agree with being truthful as a cure to the imposter syndrome, I notice the days i feel most burned out whether in my job or personal life is when i feel i’m being inauthentic. I don’t have all the answers for others and sometimes that stirs up the wounded part of myself (perfectionist & must take care of mom part) which makes my job emotionally taxing for me, especially when I’m having trouble getting in touch with the empathetic parts of myself.
I am really trying hard these past couple of weeks to go easy on myself, im really tired of feeling stuck in my own way. One of the things hardest for me to deal with right now is loneliness and sadness. Last night i was driving home from the park and had another random crying episode on the way home.
It feels like i will never be intimate with anyone ever. I know that’s probably not true because i have been sparingly in the past, but it is still a very real possibility that my life could stay exactly how it is, with good friends but no intimacy, no one to call during my lowest points. I’m not really sure how to solve this one either the sadness seems to kick in harder when i start thinking about solutions, feels hopelessly out of my control. I know you said recently having hope may be an issue for me, at the same time feeling hopeless is extremely scary and destabilizing for me.
I tried to ask myself the question how can i help you now? as you suggested, and i went to my basement put on some headphones and listened to music for a couple hours until i was ready to sleep. Although, the longing for another person doesn’t feel resolved. I guess I’m just curious how to be alone and process sadness? I mean as social animals it doesn’t seem to me that being alone and sad is how were supposed to be doing it to be able to thrive. Sadness is my worst trigger to spiral into some dark places.
thank you for your reply, this part couldn’t have been more accurate “when you felt special, prior to being attacked by the abusive inner critic, you didn’t feel anything that was wrong to feel. It is fine for any person to feel special from time to time. When people feel special they tend to be kind to themselves and to other people (it is when people feel less-than that they tend to be unkind to themselves and to others)”
I wonder how to allow myself to feel special, worthy, or important?
I know we’ve discussed this to no end, and I have been trying very hard lately to be kind to myself. Recognizing I will be 30 next year, I’m really trying to take some pressure off my achievement=self-worth dynamic.
I fear I may turn into a caretaker like my father because of my lack of self-worth. One of my friends runs a non-profit bike repair shop, and was in need of mechanics, so I’m going to be volunteering there and teaching people how to fix bikes a couple days a week. I got excited at the idea of being able to help someone and see tangible results (unlike therapy where positive results may not be so easy to see in the present) I could see my ego getting inflated by feeling needed by others something I watch closely for in my therapeutic relationships. Also this is exactly how my dad is with being a mechanic. I can’t tell you how many people he would stop for on the side of the road growing up even if me and my sister were hungry and tired and just wanted to go home. We would watch him TAKE CARE from people under the guise of being a Good Samaritan and getting an ego boost. I fear that may be what I become as a therapist or through volunteering. Helping out of a selfish need instead of a love for people…
Any tips on how to give care rather than taking it? It’s something I’m not sure if I’m currently doing or not
Also i apologize if i’m taking this thread in circles i recognize this has gone on way too long, its kind of how the inside of my mind feels, like its going in circles. i just dont have too many sources for help these days.
- This reply was modified 1 year, 4 months ago by noname.
I wanted your thoughts on something i’ve been thinking about with myself and the way my mind works. My birthday passed in the past couple weeks since i posted. Normally i’m pretty bummed out on my birthday because of “self reflection” and looking at my number of years on this planet and my perceived lack of growth.
This year i was intent on trying to accept where i’m at with life and lay off the criticism. The problem i run into with being compassionate or non-critical with myself is humility. I don’t like to think of myself as better than anyone else, but i notice my mind oscillates between feeling cocky, and more frequently feeling worthless. I’m looking at this as the problem of EGO and who i think i am (for better or worse).
When i mentally review some of the interactions with my parents i could see how their EGO’s rubbed off on me. One of the downsides to being a high performing person in pretty much anything I’ve tried (except self love) is that I was constantly being compared to others growing up and i still struggle with it.
This came to me yesterday when i went on a group bike ride with about 40people yesterday, of which i had some friends who know me personally or from when i used to race bikes. What i noticed is
1. Other people will brag on me and my accomplishments to other people and i dont really have to.
2.When i receive those compliments my mind filters it one of two ways; either i tell myself “i’m really not as great as you think i am” or i think something cocky like “maybe i am actually special” or something self inflated like that.
This inner criticism vs. inner flattery is really an interesting dichotomy that i’m trying to solve within myself. I want to feel good about self, but i also dont want to be an ass either. I’ve always valued humility in success or failure. I’m very much afraid of seeing myself as “special” because i don’t believe anyone is more valuable than another. This also contributes to my imposter syndrome as a therapist. Obviously i lean more towards the inner criticism side of things because of my conditioning and highly competitive parents that used me as their golden child to hide their own insecurities.
Having not been social in a long time, i kept talking to myself when someone would say something nice about me saying “stay out of your ego you are not special” because i can feel the cockiness being triggered. In summary i feel like the issue of my ego and who i think i am is what aile’s me on a daily basis more than anything. I also think this is the role substances have played in my life, they have allowed me to artificially relax my ego, and just not worry about how i’m coming off to other people. I got about 4 hours of sleep last night because i was having trouble ruminating on whether or not i rubbed anyone the wrong way.
Any words of wisdom on seeing oneself clearly and without distortion would be helpful. Thanks in advance!
Thank you Anita, you have been very helpful to me for a long time
I’m not explicitly told it’s my fault but it is implied. When I attempt to vent to my roommate she frequently cuts me off and offers suggestions which I hear as “your wounds are invalid and is your fault, if you just thought these thoughts or did this self care thing you wouldn’t feel that way” this is the response I get often from friends, and my supervisor. My therapist is probably the only person who actually hears me (validates) then offers suggestions after making sure I feel understood. Most people don’t listen very well they want to fix. I used to get caught in this trap being from a math/science/mechanics kind of mindstate where all problems can be fixed and have concrete solutions. Not saying they’re aren’t concrete solutions to people problems, just that the process is not as simple as replacing a component or adjusting a chemical in my brain, been there done that. People need compassion, especially highly self critical people like myself. It’s so rare for someone to listen without offering up their egotistical self-help style advice. That’s all my heart wants is to be validated again not told it’s my fault for being wounded. I’m also not trying to absolve myself of responsibility if anything I probably place too much of the blame of myself already
i hear you I do have a therapist and I am a therapist. I coach people down the exact path you and Anita are both laying out here I.e. cultivating the nurturing adult to care for the wounded child. I have seen it work on my clients and myself…
I’m facing a complicated situation with my problems as I see it. I’ll try to explain as clear as I can.
Being a black therapist in a city where there are less than 5 (male) total means that I am easily identifiable. Why is this a problem for me? I want the same protection of anonymity that people get from their AA or NA groups, but in reality there’s a high likelihood I could see a client which could lead to me being reported for using cannabis or whatever else I do that doesn’t fit the mold of how a therapist “should” act. I’m sure you might be thinking that is an unlikely scenario but my whole life has been unlikely. All that to say I have limited options for support groups if any at all I’m looking for something right now…my emotional health was probably at its peak before I went to grad school and was in a men’s group for about 6 months. The reason being I knew I had support at least once a week I could count on and I didn’t have the pressure of worrying about my livelihood being threatened by by being vulnerable. This is really a huge issue for me, the answers to my problems are really simple: get support+be vulnerable=a stronger inner compassionate adult to care for my woundedness. Execution In reality it’s way more complicated than that for me because of my profession and my race. I’m not trying to be like oh poor me blah blah blah, but seriously I’m not sure people understand how perfect I have had to be to fucking survive in America. (Pardon the language but I’m tired of being told my worries are invalid)
Thank you for your responses. I’m not religious. I gravitate towards the Buddhist philosophy if anything…
I’m pretty sure I’m just reaching a breaking point with my lifestyle. I feel the need for another, not necessarily a partner just another person or people to hold space for my grief. The isolation is my biggest enemy. And I’m tired of being told it’s my fault I feel this way, i just need to change my perspective or do this or that. There is nothing more I can do.
Im stressed and dont feel like i cant handle all the responsibilities in my life by myself. Im screaming because i know i need to get up and show up for people but my whole body is telling me i need to rest and regroup and i feel an intense sadness of having no one to support me in my loneliness. Its hard to put into words but the feeling tells me i need love and to be told im doing a good job. I guess i feel like im unlovable, unworthy, and just failing to wake up everyday and do the 9-5 thing right
Thank you Anita,
Believe me I’ve given up hope, the suffering is the frustration i feel at attempting to get my needs met and failing over and over. Maybe that is me hoping for a life where i dont cry myself to sleep, and wake up screaming at myself to get out of bed. I canceled my day today and just feel overwhelmed with work, and the fact that it feels hopeless for me to have any outlet for my grief.
I’m always shocked at how much work you put into your posts. I am shocked that anyone would take that much time out of their day to focus on me in such detail. I truly appreciate it. To be honest I don’t post here as often anymore because i feel like you work harder than i do on my own problems and that makes me feel guilty that i have made such little progress with myself in the years i have posted here. However i am very grateful you give me and others who post here that level of attention.
It’s hard for me to read through these post’s sometimes knowing i come back here with the same problems time after time and seem to go nowhere with it. My lack of progress is making me feel hopeless.
I understand my mom did a poor job of loving me. Believe me when i say im not waiting up for it either. I don’t know if it’s really doing me any good giving my attention to that relationship anymore. Not saying she and my father didn’t have a profoundly negative impact on my self worth, i just don’t know what to do with the information that my parents loved me conditionally anymore.
I really would just like to get my needs met at this point and it feels hopeless after putting so much effort year after year. i mean maybe im not trying my best i dont know.
Hey Anita, I hope you are doing well
I haven’t been great since i last posted. Still giving in to my addictive behaviors, I’m very stressed with survival worries related to my finances. I’m going to be able to pay my taxes thankfully since they extended the deadline by a month. But it doesn’t feel great knowing ill be 29 this month and ill have nothing to show for it. I’m pretty close to my breaking point. its hard to even type this out. I was seeing a woman last month and it only lasted a couple dates because at one point when she asked if i was doing okay i unexpectedly broke down in tears. The question caught me off guard but really was just another indication of how i’m doing and how stressed and hopeless i feel. Im just not sure how to move forward anymore. All i think about is money and when im not thinking about how i can make it out of paycheck to paycheck lifestyle the weight of loneliness sets in and…i dont know im not great. thank you for checking on me.
I’ve come up with a plan to take back power over my life. I would be interested in your feedback.
- I need discernment with my pain-This means being able to determine if i’m just triggered and feeling hopeless or if what I am experiencing is truly a powerless situation. I’m confident that the vast majority of the angst i experience is being triggered or re experiencing past truama. This insight came about through our communication over the past week.
- I need to improve my self soothing-This means furthering my abilities to soothe the wounded child in me from the nurturing adult/parent within me.
- I need power over my monkey mind-This means better coping and impulse control. Im thinking meditation can help with this sitting in discomfort while creating a grounded mind. The times when i’ve felt like i had control over my automatic thinking and habits were easily the times in my life i’ve felt most confident.
- I need a girlfriend-I need to be brave and learn to tolerate the discomfort of building attachments. I need to stop pretending i can do everything alone. I need to drop the individualistic conditioning of my culture and acknowledge i am human with human needs. I have proven to myself I am a desirable partner, believing nobody is capable of loving me is no longer the issue, its now the fear of someone loving me
- I need to own my job– I’m getting robbed working for other people. I have been on the fence about doing therapy long term. However as i get more comfortable and confident in my skills i know i have something people need and i have been doing this long enough to see good results with people. The practice i work at now has tripled in size and this has only made things more complicated for keeping my caseload organized. i’m not getting my money’s worth. Office space is cheap where i live, im the only black male therapist in what feels like a million miles, this is a no brainier. My goal is to have this going by the beginning of 2021 when i’m fully licensed which also opens me up to even more earning potential.
Let me know what you think. I have to get my life together, sooner than later preferably.