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33F No career, friends, SO, hobbies, no life

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This topic contains 16 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 weeks, 1 day ago.

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  • #292419

    lostcatlady
    Participant

    I’m feeling terribly lost and depressed. I’m a 33 year old woman living in a small high-pressure Asian country. I grew up without career aspirations and not knowing what I wanted in life. This may be due to my upbringing. My dad is apathetic and distant. My mum loves me, but she has a lot of emotional baggage. I suffered a setback in my studies in my teenage years and had an episode of depression then (although I did not know what it was back then). I managed to graduate with a degree eventually though not in a very good university.

    I got an internship at the company I work at, and I’ve been there since. They salary is little, but it did increase over the years and its a liveable wage. It’s comfortable, my bosses are nice and understanding to me. I have no other colleagues, and that suited me well. I enjoyed the solitude. The job is mostly news monitoring and writing (for a niche industry). It’s not something I’m passionate about, but it was something I could do. I honestly thought I wouldn’t mind staying there all my life. But business is not good and by the end of the year, my boss will close the office and I’ll be working from home on a much smaller income. This is a huge blow for me as I’m being forced to move on and find another job. I don’t know what I can do. I feel like my skills have stagnated because I’ve been doing the same thing all the time. I never learnt social skills, leadership skills, management skills. I have been browsing for jobs on recruitment websites and freaking out because I feel under-qualified for all those jobs. My boss has promised he’ll help me find a job, but I’m still worried. I’m also freaking out over having to adapt to a completely different environment, working style and new colleagues if I do get a new job.

    While going through this mental crisis, I realised I have literally no one I can confide in, and the more I evaluate my life, the more I feel like a failure. I have friends, but they are more accurately termed acquaintances. I have known some of them for years, but I could never connect meaningfully with them. And it pains me to see that they can easily connect with someone they knew for a much shorter time, while I’m always left out. I have never been good at maintaining friendships, most of my school friends have come and gone. As an introvert, I always preferred staying at home doing my own thing, so I never hung out with my friends or bothered to find out what’s going on in their lives. I guess that’s why I could not connect with them. I’m also socially anxious and a very private person, I unintentionally created a barrier around myself. I used to have a best friend, but we no longer talk, and although she had her faults, I mostly blame my personality for it. It’s very strange because before this, I didn’t really mind not having friends, and I’ve even gone overseas for a short vacation all by myself and rather enjoyed it.

    One of the major reasons behind my inability to connect with people, I believe, is my lack of hobbies. I had interests, but I don’t go in-depth with them. For example, I like J-pop culture and anime and that’s how I get to know my current circle of friends, but it’s been very long since I watched a new anime, and I don’t even miss it. I wanted to learn Japanese, but I tried to self-study instead of going to a school (due to costs and lack of interest in meeting people) and somehow I’ve lost interest. I used to collect all sorts of things from dolls to fashion items to anime merch. Now I’m busy de-cluttering and selling them. On the bright side, I think it’s healthier for my wallet and living space to lead a minimalist lifestyle. I’m not good at music, drawing, creative writing, making stuff. Not good at sports either. I know people generally suggest meet-up for getting to know people, but I don’t even know what kind of meet-up I’d want to attend. I wish there was one for lonely under-achieving women like myself.

    I still live with my parents (most people here don’t move out unless they are married). I work, come back home and watch tv, play with my cat, go to sleep. My mum and I look after the stray cats in the neighbourhood, pretty much all I talk to her about is cats. I like cats and have a keen interest in animal welfare but not enough to motivate me to volunteer in a shelter or organisation. I watch whatever tv she watches. There’s a whole bunch of popular tv series that people around me like, and I feel like I should watch them, but I don’t feel like doing it. I read, but mostly about social issues and stuff in the news, because of my job. I feel obliged to know it. I’m tired almost everyday. I do exercise, I take part in Zumba in my neighbourhood. I dance to kpop fitness videos at home. It does make me feel better, but the effect is only temporary. I am friends with my neighbours, but again, only on a superficial level, and they are all older than me. Most people my age are probably out enjoying their lives. I could try to go out and do stuff by myself, but I just can’t see the point.

    The people my age, they have good / meaningful careers, know what they want, have healthy social lives, have significant others, are married, have children, have hobbies and interests they’re good at. I know comparison is a bad thing, but I cannot help it. I feel that I skipped a very important part of growing up.

    My mood has been going up and down. Some days I am hopeful for change. I’m planning to focus on my work, decluttering my house, and when my contract is over, I’ll do volunteer work to pick up skills and widen my social network. But I don’t have a cause I am passionate about. I’m worried it won’t work out. On the days when I’m down, I ruminate, cry and sleep poorly. I have been to the doctor and for counseling last year, but I don’t find them helpful.

    I’m not sure what I wanted to achieve by posting here. I guess I just wanted to get this off my chest because I have no one to talk to. Thanks for reading.

    #292469

    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcatlady:

    I would like to attentively read your post and reply to you when I am back to the computer in abut 18 hours from now. I hope other members will reply to you as well.

    anita

    #292497

    nextsteps
    Participant

    Hello Lostcatlady,

    You have laid out your current situation very well here. I can appreciate it is scary having to find another job and worry about skills-job adverts can be particularly intimidating by fhe way they are written. I also understood from your post that you are not sure what your current passion is so you are not sure what job you would like to do in the future.

    I have been in a similar situation in terms of not feeling a “passion” driving me one way or another and every road at that point seems unclear/pointless and you feel under pressure to “do something quickly!!”.

    I dont have a proper answer to that from my own experience, maybe others here will have rhough. In my own life I didnt look for “passion” as that seemed like a too big thing eg how did i know if i felt “passionate” enough about something or if it was just fleeting?! I looked for little things that made me feel marginally happier or slightly more okay. At first these were very small things that I did for myself eg listening to a podcast I found myself enjoying, making a new recipe for tea .. small things that gave bits of joy. Then over time of repeatedly asking yourself “what would I like next?”, little thoughts come out of blue like “I wonder what it would be like if I… ” etc. This lead me to try new hobbies such as pottery, yoga and watersports. This does not mean all those hobbies stuck but by getting yourself to try 3-= (or more) you could find one hobby you can commit to over time. From your post it sounded like you had found some of your hobbies i in the past- Why did you stop watching anime? It sounded like you enjoyed it.

    It sounds like cats are a big part of your life/heart suggesting you enjoy caring for other beings, maybe you could extend that to say a day try out at an animal shelter (just so you can tick it off your list as either you defo dont want to volunteer there or you liked it more than you thought), volunteer in a care home or with children perhaps?

    I appreciate it is hard to know what to do when you dont feel motivated and low in energy. It sounds like you are doing the best you can to take care of yourself e.g exercise.

    Your skills are most likely transferable so maybe finding a new job with the security and friendly boss that you have currently- could you work for another company doing the same thing as you do now? Or find a small family run firm that you could work for locally to you as they tend to be more relaxed than big corporates?

    #292539

    Carolin
    Participant

    Hi Lostcatlady!

    Being an introvert myself, I can’t help but feel very familiar with the things you’re going through.

    I’m 23F, I feel like there’s a lot to be explored, and yet at the same time I feel like I lack the will/power/persistence/hustle/what-you-may-call-it, to pursue what I desire. I crave the winnings, but I lack what I need to get there – or at least I felt like it.

    Passing days with this sort of feeling is uncomfortable and damaging in so many subtle ways. Unfortunately, this also comes with an added pressure of comparing self to others.  On the surface, we may pass as an okay person but under the surface we’re beating ourselves, our ego and self-esteem constantly on the line.
    I’m not at all resourceful enough to determine whether this is slipping into more of a clinical problem or “still in our heads” type of thing, thus I know no absolute fix. However I can put this here for you to determine whether it’s right or wrong: it’s not our life that is bad, but the way we think of it, is.

    I know of a colleague who, according to her, “has had her life practically destroyed within days.” It involved crimes, lack of skills, lack of money, lack of judgement. She claimed she had nothing left; no one to talk to, no family to return to, no money and no skills to earn it. At some point in her life, she was in jail for things she didn’t do. But over time, she learned to let it go, accept how life had bailed out on her, and finally start a brand new page because it had worn her out for too long. She forced herself into rehab, into communities, trying desperately to fit in and be accepted. She may have flaws and unpleasant past, but she accepted herself and tried to live it out. Not so surprisingly, years afterwards, she earned her happiness. Previously she had no family to live with – now she can go day by day knowing she had found a new family in her friends. She had no partner but that’s okay. She had very little money but that’s okay. She may not have everything in her grasp just like everyone else, but that’s okay. She’s still trying to fix herself because she has something to aim for.

    I am in no way comparing your problem to hers, I simply wanted to show you how she fixed her problems. My feedback may be more towards subtly changing the way we think (abstractly), and not the concrete solution to an immediate fix. But I think we can have several key points from there to note:

    – Comparing yourself to others is no-no. Some proceed in their lives much faster than us, and some much slower. What we need to understand is that we all have our own struggles and pace. As I’ve said, you may appear okay on the surface but not many people know what’s going on inside you. The same applies to others – you see them in their grand stature with their positive outcomes in life but no one knows what they’ve gone through to get to that point, what hardships they’ve put up with and how many people were there for them when they’re at their worst. Seeing them as perfect is a flaw in itself. Every one of us may do better without constantly checking our neighbors’s progress and determining where we’re at based on that.

    – We can all agree on at least one thing: accepting and loving yourself do absolutely no harm (unless you’re over-loving yourself and turn narcissistic~). We may have many flaws that we wish to fix, but constantly beating ourselves because of it is rather cruel, isn’t it? One thing I’ve learned from that fellow friend of mine, was that we can try viewing ourselves in third-person POV: see ourselves as a child in distress. You see every other child able to speak, run, and play on their own. Then you see this particular child, the same age, who’s still unable to walk, let alone run or speak. Would you spank her and tell her she’s not good enough? Would you critic her and let her be, all on her own trying to figure things out while not knowing how to do it? I believe not. We would support and encourage her instead so that she can be as advanced as others, and while we’d be able to do that to some random child, certainly we can do that to ourselves too.

    – Do try and start acting things out without thinking too much. I often find it really helpful to imagine myself already winning something – it motivates me to keep on going, and motivations may work differently with different people. Try and see if something stimulates you unlike any other thing has, and figure out the formula. Then don’t think about the consequences of doing the thing you love – just do it.

    – If we’re feeling unaccomplished in the midst of seemingly ‘successful’ people, either we extract ourselves from the surroundings and try no to think of them anymore, or try and be like them. Anyhow, if we’re literally ‘alone’ as we call it, nobody else would care about what we do, right? We can make a fool of ourselves and everyone would still be too busy perfecting their own lives, so we might as well plan a route and make an escape to a better life. Life doesn’t change on its own – if we change, life changes too. My friend asked this question to herself in front of a mirror too many a times: “Does anyone give a f*ck?” and the answer is almost always no, for the better or for the worse. We’re all out here fending for ourselves in our personal fights.

    – People don’t see you the way you see yourself. Whereas we’re the ones who’re living our lives day by day, we know every little flaws that exist in ourselves in detail. Other people, not as much. So we tend to be over-critical about ourselves and mull over it without actually seeing a way to fix it. Let’s say we start crocheting out of hobby, then we stopped before really becoming a pro at it. We think it’s bad, but it doesn’t mean it’s universally bad – in fact, I think it’s actually a good thing because it’s a sign that we have tried doing something, took out an effort and had a new experience unlike any other. Sure we didn’t pursue further more than that, but it doesn’t mean we’re a failure. Seeking help from others means you’re willing to see from other’s eyes that are trying to analyze you and accept the help in order to fix said flaws. And I, for one, believe you may be a little too over-critical for your own good.

    – Our time may be limited, as in we’ll die at some point. But there’s no limit to learning. Literally. I have elder acquaintances that are in their 70s, 80s even. And they only just started doing things that they want to excel at, such as writing stories, playing saxophone, baking pastries – things that they might have missed in their early days and got jealous that other people are able to do it so well. Things may seem to rush you in order to excel at something and be successful, but really, if you’re forcing yourself out of your pace, it often does more harm than good. It would be better if we start seeing our life from another angle, take things more slowly and pat yourself on the back once in a while. Not many people has the luxury of time, and I believe you’re also one of the lucky ones even though you may see yourself not so.

    – Define what you truly want in your life. What do you define with happiness? What do you identify with an ideal life? Do you really want a partner, like your friends? Do you really want to have a stable job, a circle of close friends, a pursued hobby that turns fruitful? If so, why do you want it? Then, once we’ve defined what we truly want, we can focus on what needs to be done in order for it to be achieved. If what you wanted was something else, start deciding whether you need to just settle with what you have currently, or move forward and start doing things to achieve it.

    While going through this mental crisis, I realised I have literally no one I can confide in.” I’m really sorry you have to undergo all this without anyone to help you. It’s good now that you’ve finally reached out to Tinybuddha and boldly write out some of your troubles –  in fact, this is one of the ways you can fix your problems!

    I hope you feel the relief I’m having now because you’ve finally decided to open up and let people (like me and you) know that we’re not totally alone in this world. Please do know that you’re not alone – thousands, countless people are also feeling insecure, facing the same dilemma we’re having right about now.. and it’s certainly not fun trying to find a leeway through it.

    Oh and, if you ever needed someone to talk to, you can always reach out to people here, as I’ve known Tinybuddha to be a very friendly and open community to engage in.

    Let me know what you think. I hope you’re able to see a positive way out of this soon!

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 4 days ago by  Carolin.
    #292545

    XYZ
    Participant

    Hello lostcatlady,

    I am too a 25 year old Asian who lives with her parents. I’ll like to share few insights over your situations:

     

    • First of all regarding your job, make a list of your current skill set and upload your profile on LinkedIn. There are also many job search sites where you can upload your profiles and get job-related notifications. Remember, you don’t need a huge skill set to get a job. Be confident and presentable during job interview.  There are plenty of jobs for you. Just be vigilant and don’t hesitate in taking entry-level jobs. You’ll get opportunities to switch or get promoted various times if you work on improving your skill set.
    • wao have no one to confide in and basically friendless and sometimes talking to your mother is simply not enough. I would advise you to not underestimate the power of small talk. A little chit chat about weather and food with your colleagues, your co-travellers(if you travel by public transport) will help you in various subtle ways.
    • Now, this advice may sound weird but stay away from anime, J-pop and K-pop. I am a diehard fan of anime and kdramas and I get that they are deep and beautiful and speak to our soul but they are not real. I repeat, they are not real. It is alluring to get pulled in the life of these amazing and intelligent characters when everything in our life is so…lukewarm. I get it and it’s nothing wrong to escape for sometime but this just hides the symptoms of loneliness. This does not cure anything. We can’t escape from our life how much we try.
    • Understand that not everyone has a passion burning inside her heart and It’s okay. It’s Okay to be clueless. You don’t have to love your work always but always understand and appreciate the practical benefits it brings in your life. Take work like work and keep the rest time purely for fun. You’ve written you are not good at sports, making stuff or creative writing. I am also awful at sports and making stuff. Just don’t think what you are good at- just think what you feel like. You can write micropoetry on instagram or write fanfiction or you can meditate. There’s no one who is not good at meditation. It will help you to accept your life and give clarity.
    • <li style=”text-align: left;”>Go for a walk.

    • I know it’s frustrating. We are not happy but we are not sad either. It seems that everyone is on board the bus of life and we are left out on the road. But stay there. All this emptiness, all this restlessness will one day make sense.

     

    #292567

    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcatlady:

    I think that this is what happened to you: throughout your childhood, your father has been “apathetic and distant” and your mother, well, if she loves you, somehow her love was not delivered to you. And so, you grew up with very little love, similar to a young tree growing up with very little water and nutrients. It minimally grows, fitting the minimal water and nutrients available to it.

    “I feel that I skipped a very important part of growing up”- love is what you missed, that water-and-nutrients that we desperately need.

    And so, minimally there is passion, joy, desire to connect with others, to learn, to advance, to make good things happen for yourself. Depression is the result, that condition of being minimally alive.

    Am I correct?

    anita

     

    #292635

    lostcatlady
    Participant

    Thank you everyone for your kind responses and encouragement. I forgot to subscribe to the topic so I was not aware that I was getting responses. I am reading through everything and I will try to respond when I can.

    @anita  Yes perhaps that may be it. I know my mum loves me in her way. But perhaps because of my upbringing, I didn’t understand how to love and care for other people. My parents did not have friends, did not value friendships, and I don’t have extended family. I could make friends, but I’m unable or unmotivated to make the effort to love and care for them and nurture the friendship. Like for example, I know from theory that to be a good friend, you should care about their lives, spend time with them, celebrate their special days, learn to know what they like and give them thoughtful gifts etc. But I’m self-centred, and have low self-esteem. I  could not bring myself to make the effort to do all that, i feel that they do not need me. I could not feel genuinely happy for people whom I think have it better than me. So sometimes I shy away from meeting them. I definitely avoid looking at social media for that reason too, so I’ve missed out on some important events happening to some friends. The people I still keep in touch with (i.e. see a few times a year or less) have formed their own friendship groups, have partners, children and their own lives so it’s hard for me to connect meaningfully with them. I feel ill at ease going to events where I will feel left out (and I have consistently experienced that when previously out with groups) so I just don’t go at all.

    I think I do still like myself and want good things to happen to me. Before I started getting depressed over my job, I was able to do some things that made me content even when I was alone. But it is so difficult with my emotions weighing down on me now. I’ve managed to reach out to a friend to share what has been going on with me and ask her to invite me to stuff when she can. But I’m afraid she finds me too negative, or that in the event she invites me, I’ll end up turning her down.

    #292637

    lostcatlady
    Participant

    @nextsteps

    Thank you for your reply. I’m honestly not sure why I gave up those hobbies, I think they just kind of became less interesting to me over time. Another issue is lack of time and energy I suppose. I work on weekdays, and then on weekends, I’m trying to declutter my things, organising my files (photos and stuff), which i think is another problem, because I’ve been working on that for quite a long time over several weekends. It felt like something I had to do, and I’d do so even at the expense of sacrificing time with other people. I have become less obsessive about it now though, but I’m still spending time on weekends uploading photos of stuff online, finding people to give them away or to sell them away.

    I think I like being in nature and exploring new places, but right now I just don’t have the desire or motivation to do anything. I like evenings best, when I can just chill in front of the TV with my mum, watch my cat being cute. But that’s probably more like a distraction than a hobby. I did ask my neighbours about the badminton group they have. They are happy to have me but the timing coincides with tv time on Sunday which I find is a bit of a bummer. My mind is also telling me stupid things like what if I’m bad at it and don’t have fun. Nevertheless, I somehow managed to pick up a cheap badminton racket so I’m ready to play with them when I do feel like it.

    I don’t know about caring for other beings, personally I really don’t feel that I’m the nurturing sort but I admire people who are good with children. I guess it’ll be something to consider when I decide to take up volunteering although I have no experiences with children or caring for elderly. As long as training is provided or I can learn on the job, I wouldn’t mind at all. I would consider trying out animal shelter for a day too.

    Yes I’m trying to do the best with self-care. I try to exercise regularly, drink sufficient water, sleep at regular time, eat healthily. I don’t indulge in vices like alcohol, smoking etc. I believe in a higher being, I’m Buddhist and I try to seek comfort in praying to the Goddess of Mercy. I do wish I could do something about my mental health and make myself stop ruminating or overthinking. There are times when I can really focus on my work at hand and stop those distracting thoughts. Other times i fail miserably.

    I’d like to work for social service organisations, public sectors or the healthcare sector. i know corporate life is not for me. And I don’t think i could find another company doing the same thing as its quite niche. Besides I think I’m quite tired of the work itself as I don’t find it meaningful and I’m not growing at all.

     

    I’m at work now and will reply to the rest when I have time!

    #292657

    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcatlady:

    Take all the time you need posting. Often members who reply to the original poster don’t return to the thread and do not continue the communication. Some members do return and continue. I am one of the second group. And so, whenever you have the time and the inclination to respond to me here on your thread, do so, no rush and no time limits. You can return to your thread anytime and re-read parts that you want to read again, see if something new comes up for you and post again.

    You wrote: My parents did not have friends, did not value friendships”. Earlier you wrote about your relationship with your mother: “My mum and I look after the stray cats in the neighbourhood, pretty much all I talk to her about is cats… I watch whatever tv she watches”-

    – so your relationship with your mother is a sort of.. superficial friendship, more like an acquaintance, and you have less than that with your father, correct?

    No wonder you wrote regarding making friends, you are  “unable or unmotivated to make the effort to love and care for them and nurture the friendship… care about their lives, spend time with them.. I could not bring myself to make the effort to do all that”-

    – your parents didn’t bother to “do all that” with you, to nurture a friendship, or a relationship with you, to care about your life, really, to ask you questions about how you feel, what you value, what you want, and then, listen to you, really wanting to know your thoughts and feelings.

    Because you don’t have the experience of a close relationship, you grew accustomed to being alone, you didn’t experience the benefits of a close relationship, so you don’t seek it. It is similar to this: you are familiar with the sight, flavor and texture of a delicious cake, so when you see it somewhere, you are motivated to eat it. But if you have no experience with such a thing as a cake, if you see it, you are not motivated to approach it and have a slice or two.

    You mentioned something else that keeps you unmotivated to make friends: “I could not feel genuinely happy for people whom I think have it better than me. So sometimes I shy away from meeting them”- I used to envy people who had it better than me, and it seemed at the time that everyone did have it better than me. I was quite angry, why is life good for them… and not for me.

    It is interesting how you “seek comfort in praying to the Goddess of Mercy”- we look for the gods to give us what our parents don’t, is my experience and understanding.

    anita

     

     

    #292669

    nextsteps
    Participant

    Hello Lostcatlady,

    You have explained your situation with more detail and I feel I understand a little better. It sounds like you are doing everything right in terms of self care, looking for other hobbies like badminton and sleeping well etc. I think tthat is a hard thing I have found in my own life too sometimes eg if I am doing everything I should and people say to do eg like exercise, eating well etc how do I still feel a bit “meh” or underwhelmed at times. Is that how you feel?

    Organising your photos sounds a task you can easily get lost in and I bet you will feel proud at the end that it is done. Do you have alot more left to do with this?

    Maybe your way forward could be to research jobs in the healthcare or social sector as by changing jobs you will automatically be in a new environment with the opportunity to make new friends. Alot easier said than done though I do appreciate.

    In terms of making friends I have found it best to try and find friends linked to my hobbies or classes I am doing. I do not have any “friends” at such from work. In terms of hobbies and classes I have taken a few over the years  but probably only gained aqauintences from them eg people i could go out for a drink with once in a while but that is it. I find it hard to make friends too..

    In terms of rumination and worry. I do this alot. I try to do it less now, but it is still more than I would like. Ways I have found to help me are to get up and do fast paced movement when i am ruminating eg squats, star jumps or sit ups-anything to break the mind pattern. Or go for a fast jog. Yoga also works for me as you have to be very present to figure out which is left and right! Other things include things like colouring or watching tv or reading a book – basically distractions or to try and turn it into small steps eg what one thing could I do right now to feel better and then go and do it. I wish there were a simple fix!

    #292671

    nextsteps
    Participant

    In terms of liking evenings best..I used to like evenings best in that it felt like there was less pressure and the demands of the day were done so I was ‘allowed’ to relax and chill. In the evening, particularly dark, winter evenings, it feels like noone else could be doing great things either eg they were just chilling out too, which made it easier for me to switch off and relax. I also felt hope that tomorrow could be a better day. Is this anything like why you like evenings best? Or am I far from the mark?

    #292777

    Ron
    Participant

    You obviously grew up with little or no love from your parents. However, don’t allow this determine your success in life. I’ll advice you do things you are passionate about to earn a living.

    #292801

    lostcatlady
    Participant

    @anita

    “your parents didn’t bother to “do all that” with you, to nurture a friendship, or a relationship with you, to care about your life, really, to ask you questions about how you feel, what you value, what you want, and then, listen to you, really wanting to know your thoughts and feelings.”

    You’re absolutely right, and I started crying when I read it because it really hits home (not trying to make you feel bad for it though!).

    “so your relationship with your mother is a sort of.. superficial friendship, more like an acquaintance, and you have less than that with your father, correct?”

    I’d say it’s difficult for me to talk to her about my problems because she doesn’t know how to console me and will sometimes start talking about her own problems. I heard from her that her mother (my grandmother) didn’t show her love too, so I think it’s a vicious cycle. However, I do believe she loves me from her actions, she does things for me, tries to cheer me up with food, she’s aware of my current situation and although she tells me she doesn’t know how she can help, she says she’d support me to go and seek professional help and that I should not worry about my job because she has savings. But of course I can’t take that for granted as my parents are elderly and not working. I consider her as my rock and I’d be quite devastated if anything happened to her.

    With my father, I literally have nothing to say to him, and neither does she. I know I should be grateful that he’s not an alcoholic, abuser, gambler etc and he brought home the bread… but, he is really cold. My mum and I have both told him how he is lacking (he has no kind words for us, he never appreciates her for anything, and he doesn’t trust us) but he is unhappy with criticism and he never tried to change himself. He does things for us on instruction, like he’d help my mum go and buy groceries because she instructs him to. He helps to feed the cats. He watches whatever tv we watch. I think he’s trying to make effort to conform in some way, but really, I think we might all be happier if he’d just be kinder and show some love with his attitude and words. I think love doesn’t exist in his dictionary, We tried to go for family counseling, but let’s just say that it didn’t work out because he is so resistant. My parents would probably be divorced if not for the fact that it is expensive and too much trouble.

    I also feel guilty about disappointing my mum. I have an elder brother who is married. He is a corporate high-flier, and he doesn’t have a good relationship with us (very long story for another day perhaps). If I was as accomplished career-wise as he is, I would have been able to give my parents a much more comfortable life.

    I believe I do love my mother as she loves me. I wish I could hug her and tell her I love her. It’d sound weird, but I don’t know how to initiate it. She’s never hugged me or told me she loves me in person. I used to think it’s an Asian/cultural thing.

    “Because you don’t have the experience of a close relationship, you grew accustomed to being alone, you didn’t experience the benefits of a close relationship, so you don’t seek it. It is similar to this: you are familiar with the sight, flavor and texture of a delicious cake, so when you see it somewhere, you are motivated to eat it. But if you have no experience with such a thing as a cake, if you see it, you are not motivated to approach it and have a slice or two.”

    I suppose this is right. I never used to see this as a bad thing though. In fact I contented myself with reading all those articles about how it’s ok to be alone etc. I was happy planning trips by myself as solo-traveling became more popular. Now I’m starting to wonder if I’m broken and if I will always be lonely and empty.

    I don’t get angry at friends who are more high-achieving than me. it’s more like I feel inferior, and I get angry at myself for not working harder and allowing myself to stagnate. I do have savings too, and I’m prepared to get back into further education for a mid-career change for an in-demand industry. But because I am so lost and lacking in energy and confidence in my skills, it’s hard for me to decide right now what I want to do.

    “we look for the gods to give us what our parents don’t, is my experience and understanding.”
    Yes my mum prays a lot too. She says that’s how she seeks comfort in hard times. So it’s what I do too.

    I’m just done crying and I’d better get back to work. Thank you for your response, i really appreciate it.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  lostcatlady.
    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  lostcatlady.
    #292839

    anita
    Participant

    Dear lostcatlady:

    “I believe I do love my mother as she loves me. I wish I could hug her and tell her I love her… I don’t know how to initiate it. She’s never hugged me or told me she loves me in person”…”her mother (my grandmother) didn’t show her love too”-

    – children are born soft, loving. They don’t.. think about initiating a hug, they simply hug.

    When your mother was born she was soft too and loving. Her mother was hard and rejected her own daughter’s loving nature, and so, your mother became hard.

    Then you were born soft and loving, and your mother rejected you. As a young child you hugged your mother, held on to her tightly, but she felt uncomfortable with your hug, so she moved you away from her body.

    “I don’t know how to initiate it”, more likely, you don’t know how to hug her without her moving away from you, like she already did repeatedly before, when you were very young.

    From what you shared, reads to me that your mother loves you, doing things for you, trying to cheer you up, encouraging you to seek professional help and suggesting that you can use her savings. Thing is, your love for her is soft and limitless and her love for you is hard and limited.

    Because her love for you is limited, the relationship with her is limited.

    The vicious cycle you mentioned is about a soft loving child being rejected by a hardened mother, and then that child proceeding to be hard with her own child.  Our mothers are our first loves. When that love is not returned, we grow up with a broken heart, always having a soft spot for our mothers.

    You want more than anything to make your mother happy, and you were always willing to do all that it takes. But like a plant in a pot with too  little water and nutrients that doesn’t grow tall and strong, you too, with too little love, you can’t grow into the confident, successful outgoing woman you wish you were, the kind that would be able to provide a more comfortable life for your mother-

    – not because you don’t want to, not because you don’t love her enough, but because… she doesn’t love you enough, not enough to ask you what you think, what you feel, what you need.. if she asked you, you would  have told her you want to hug her but are afraid she will reject you again. Maybe then, if she asked and if she listened to you, she would have opened her arms for that hug.

    Regarding your father, he is limited too, hard as well. Reads to me that within your family, your empathy has been with your mother, siding with her against the unloving-element in the family, your father, while in reality, both your parents are significantly limited that way (maybe your father even more limited than your mother).

    Notice what you wrote to me in the beginning of your recent post: “I started crying when I read it because it really hit home (not trying to make you feel bad for it though!)”- your crying doesn’t make me feel bad, but your concern indicates to me that you don’t want to burden others with your pain, and I suppose you didn’t and don’t want to burden your mother with your pain, this is an indication of how alone you are in the context of your relationship with your mother and with your father.

    It will help you to express your pain to someone who will not be inconvenienced by it, but instead, will be motivated to listen to you, to really hear your words and your emotions, in the words you say or type away. I am willing to do that, and so, if you want, please post again and again and express to me what you need to express, I want to read from you.

    I hope that you will learn what I learned in my own life, the concept of soft love vs hard love, the difference between the two.

    You feel guilty for not doing better career wise and therefore not being able to provide a better life for your mother, materially- once you understand the difference I mentioned above, that guilt will lessen and lessen and then be gone. Without that guilt, you will have more of that energy that you are now lacking.

    anita

     

    #292975

    lostcatlady
    Participant

    @anita

    “your crying doesn’t make me feel bad, but your concern indicates to me that you don’t want to burden others with your pain, and I suppose you didn’t and don’t want to burden your mother with your pain, this is an indication of how alone you are in the context of your relationship with your mother and with your father.”

    Yes I don’t feel comfortable completely sharing my burden or even crying in front of them because instead of just embracing me and telling me everything will be ok, they get upset. My father would just… walk away. My mother would try to console me in her own ways but it doesn’t make me feel good.

    “once you understand the difference I mentioned above, that guilt will lessen and lessen and then be gone. Without that guilt, you will have more of that energy that you are now lacking.”

    I’m guessing that you’re saying I shouldn’t feel guilty for not being able to provide a better life for my mother, because she didn’t provide me with the “nutrients” to do so. I think you’re right, and with that perspective in mind, I can try to stop feeling bad about it.

    I recall that when my parents used to quarrel, she’d sometimes blame me for not mediating. We used to have heated arguments about that as I found it extremely unfair to be blamed. I certainly did not ask them to quarrel (although I was sometimes the reason that they did) and hated it when they did. I did sometimes feel bad for my mum because I know she is very unhappy.When my grandmother passed away and she was informed about it, it seemed that she wanted to go to the funeral, but in the end she didn’t, and later she blamed my dad for not encouraging her. I regretted not offering to go with her back then and recently I told her that if she wanted to reconnect with my youngest aunt who was her favourite sister growing up, I would help her. But my mum declined and said she didn’t see the point in it anymore.

    I guess I really need to learn to stop taking her unhappiness upon myself.

    Nevertheless I get so envious when I see other people, friends, dramas with such loving and supportive families.

    “It will help you to express your pain to someone who will not be inconvenienced by it, but instead, will be motivated to listen to you, to really hear your words and your emotions, in the words you say or type away. I am willing to do that, and so, if you want, please post again and again and express to me what you need to express, I want to read from you.”

    Thank you so much, I’m grateful. I tried to share my feelings with a friend whom I felt I was able to connect somewhat better with. But I was so worried that she’d be put off by my negative energy so I tried to limit it.

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