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Anxiety & depression in a relationship?

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  • #364980
    Lea
    Participant

    Thank you again Anita. What I meant by mental breakdown is that, I found myself being over-emotional/thinking, I started to “suffocate” in my own head, literally. I reached a pic of negative energy on friday where I was extremely edgy and the second after down. And finally I ran out of juice on satursday where I was totally unable to do anything. It was totally impossible to properly organize my thoughts.

     

    When I realized I reached that state, I decided it was time for me to do something. So I made a list of all the intrusive thoughts which came in my mind during that breakdown and I’m still currently trying to fix them once for all. This is why on sunday I prepared and sent to him that long message. Just like you stated, I think also I wrote to him to primarily improve my mental health. I had too many questions, too many thoughts about his attitude towards me, I was at this point where I wondered why he didn’t reply to me one week after I sent the last message (which didn’t require a formal response to start off and I know he was extremely busy during the last week). I started to think “ok so he doesn’t even bother to open nor read what I sent, it means he doesn’t care anymore, he moved on definitely, he talked to me during the whole summer because he didn’t have anything else to do and now that he finally started his classes he won’t never reply again because I was just a sort of hobby but now he meets many people and many girls so he got rid of me”. When I found myself blocked within this spiral, I realized I had to do something, I couldn’t let myself stuck into these thoughts and I knew I started to become dangerous for me.

     

    I haven’t been diagnosed with OCD but I wouldn’t be surprised to have it. I realized I was getting into the same kind of spiral he went through about him and me. I don’t think I’m obsessed about him, because if so, I think I would have tried harder to talk to him more often, stalking him everywhere I could on a daily basis or so (we were only friends on facebook, not even on instagram nor twitter). And to be honest it didn’t bother me the fact that he took sometimes a few days to respond as I’m exactly the same. I totally understand that we can have busy schedules or we simply run out of juice, it doesn’t mean we don’t like the person. In my opinion it’s better to take more time to properly respond than quickly respond something which doesn’t make sens.

    “I can’t stop having this constant thought about what is in his mind concerning me. Does he think about me? Did he move on? I try to find clues everywhere, over analyzing.. How come I’m unable to move on.. I know I’m being irrational but I can’t fight those thoughts” I said 5 days ago and that was when my mental breakdown started. I remember I was getting a serious panic-attack when I wrote that message and I started to find clues about his attitude on his social medias (which I normally don’t do honestly, I’m not a big fan of social medias and he’s not active on them anyway).

    Just like him found himself into a spiral due to intrusive thoughts which made him spit out everything which were in his minds and stopping everything because he sensed a danger, I did the same I think. It wasn’t an obsession about him but more about a thought, the thought of him being suddenly uninterested not only as potential/past-love-interest but also as friend. And that pushed me to spit out all I had in my minds about him and after blocking him. I blocked him because I withdrew myself from a situation I considered as dangerous (having a potential response about his own feelings about me, the fear he would reject me) while I told him I knew he wasn’t ready and neither I was a for serious relationship and it was just about expressing what I felt for him and nothing more and that I still wanted to talk to him for real without any expectations hidden behind my speech. I think I even rejected myself in my message (I told him “without any doubts you moved on a longtime ago”, “you won’t never feel the same way for me as I do for you”). I thought I was being 100% rational when I wrote what I sent to him but I don’t think I was, otherwise I wouldn’t have blocked him and I would have simply assumed my words. And I also think I really went through the same scheme of thoughts as he did, I found myself being more peaceful, not because we had a chat where we clarified the situation but because I spited out my thoughts. I don’t know if I’m being clear here, this is a bit complicated for me to express it correctly not only in English but even in my native language.

    I’m glad I wrote and sent that message, but blocking him when I think about it, looked more like a form of pure form of withdrawing. I also know I’ll have issues to let him blocked, I’ll try to keep him blocked until thursday at least (in order to not look too much like someone playing hot and cold with what she says). To be honest when it comes to my emotions and feelings, I know I’m extremely messy, I’m so uncomfortable when it comes to expressing them properly. And I also realize he never really knew how I felt towards him all along the story. When I talked about our past situations with him, I was extremely academic and I don’t think he was comfortable with that because being academic when it comes to emotions/feelings don’t show the way we truly feel, actually it’s more the contrary. Indeed, being academic = being neutral over a situation so.. Well, i’m working on that point as well. I stated in my message for him that for the very first time I was trying to let myself expressing more how I felt and being less scholar. (Maybe that was why I also freaked out and decided to block him, as for me showing emotions/feelings is a kind of sign of weakness..)

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Lea.
    #364982
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    “It wasn’t an obsession about him but more about a thought, the thought of him being suddenly interested”-

    – an obsession is always about a thought. When obsessing about a person, it is about obsessively thinking about the person. To obsess about someone doesn’t necessarily mean to try to contact him often, or to stalk him. It means to think a lot about him, same thoughts over and  over again to the point of becoming mentally unwell (“I started to ‘suffocate’ in my own head, literally.. It was totally impossible to properly organize my thoughts”).

    “I started my message for him that for the very first time I was trying to let myself express more how I felt and being less scholar”-

    – so now, your obsession is: will he respond to me positively now that I expressed myself in a different way? And you are planning to unblock him on Thursday and check to see if he responded to your message  positively. Am I correct?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by anita.
    #365007
    Lea
    Participant

    “will he respond to me positively now that I expressed myself in a different way? And you are planning to unblock him on Thursday and check to see if he responded to your message  positively. Am I correct?” => I won’t lie, there is a part of me which would wish this. But to start off, once we are blocked on facebook, it’s impossible to respond to the person who blocked us so just this fact erase the point of me getting an answer from him as long as he’s blocked.

    Second, actually today I feel pretty well regarding him and the past situation. I feel kind of relieved now that I spitted out all my thoughts. I think I was pretty clear in my message concerning the aim of my speech, I clearly wrote “This is not a romantic letter, neither a desperate attempt to influence you in any way. Simply how feelings have evolved since the beginning until now. There are no expectations hidden behind.”, “I needed to spit out these thoughts in order to get the final peace of minds regardless for how long we haven’t talked and I needed you to know them. Also because I don’t want to have regrets, because I think it’s important to say to people what we feel for them.”, “(…)So please, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that if I write this it’s to convince you that I want to be in relationship with you.”. And I meant at 100% what I wrote.

    I think the conclusion of this message was “Hey, I do have feelings for you but just like you I’m not totally ready for a serious relationship and we’re both lost”. To be fair I don’t know what I expect from him after this message. I just hope I didn’t sound like if I was doing a sort of self-martyrism by saying this “Without any doubts you moved on a long time ago and I must accept it. After sending you this message, I will delete you. Not only because there are obvious facts I must accept by myself but mostly because I don’t want to see you rejecting me another time (and obviously because I freak out, I’m not used to talk about my emotions and feelings that openly, I’m very sorry, honestly).”. I hope he won’t get me wrong, I wasn’t praying him to tell me the contrary.

    #365043
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You wrote to him: “I needed to spit out these thoughts in order to get the final peace of mind”- there is no such a thing as a “final peace of mind” for anyone, and especially not for a woman as anxious and obsessive as you are. The message you sent him made you feel a temporary peace of mind, that is all.

    I was wondering, in your original post July 22, you wrote: “Usually people qualify me as the ‘perfect little daughter, wifey material”- can you elaborate on this sentence?

    anita

    #365894
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

     

    Many things happened since the last time I wrote here. The first and certainly most important one is that summer holidays are officially over, which means that I left my mother’s house to go back to my place where I live alone one week ago.

    I didn’t realize that she was consuming that much energy from me until now. She is ALL the time angry/stressed/negative about something, someone, me. The slightest thing which doesn’t fit into her criterias makes her in that state (e.g: me not wiping the water in the shower, like, I cleaned the shower but I didn’t wipe the water which is CLEAN because I let it dry. For her it’s not clean, it’s dirty because of the presence of the water. Or when I wake up after 9:00am, it’s too late. Or if for once I let her cooking, she will get angry because for her I don’t participate enough at home while I do the laundry, I cook and we share the vacuuming task.).

    I told her many times I wasn’t in a good mood during the whole summer, that my mental issues were kicking me extremely hard lately and therefore I wasn’t going to be good at anything as I needed to REST a LOT. Still, she succeed to blame me about me being apathetic towards everything and everyone. She even went through a small depression for two weeks because of my step-father who didn’t fit into her high expectations. And she basically expected me to help her to get better because I started to be myself a bit better. But I told her that wasn’t my role and that I started to feel alive again so that wasn’t the moment for her to mess with me and that she had to deal with her “issues” alone.

    Honestly, I suspect her to be a sort of energetic vampire. She ALWAYS drains all my energy, many times since I’m a kid, she kind of transfers all her negativity/doubts on me, I’m not sure if I express this point correctly. I know I have a highly sensitive personality and with her kind, it’s really easy for me to feel stressed and anxious because even when she doesn’t express properly her negativity i can sens from miles away that something is wrong.

    You asked me to develop “Usually people qualify me as the ‘perfect little daughter, wifey material”- can you elaborate on this sentence?”. Well, this is not complicated to explain, I was raised to be perfect, not to be myself. Having the best grades, playing music (piano, violin), being in special sections (since I was 11 and until my 17 I was in a class where I had 8h of language in addition in my schedule, it’s considered as the most elitist thing in my country for a child because our classes in mathematic/lit-terature/history/geography were in a foreign language), playing golf, being extremely well mannered, wearing fancy brands (Burberry, DKNY, Escada etc..). I’ve NEVER EVER been comfortable in this role. The only thing I got from all of that was a durable anxiety.

    Anyway, since I’m back to my place, I feel so much more relaxed. I feel I can finally recover for real. Being myself again.

     

    Secondly and that was clearly unexpected, I saw him today. Like, I was going to a café, I got lost and he appeared all of sudden, out of nowhere. Well, not really because apparently we were near to his new university and he had started his classes one week ago. But still, out of how many chances I could meet him today at this place?

    It has been three weeks we haven’t talked since I blocked him after messaging him. I missed him a lot and I didn’t understand why. It was normally part of my process when I want to move on, sending one last message to sum up my thought and the situation and after erasing the presence of the person from everywhere. Not because I force myself to forget someone but simply because I think once I’m ready to move on, the person/memories/gifts take too much places and I like having my minds and my physical space cleaned, like keeping only what’s really necessary. I don’t know if I’m totally clear here.

    Point is, I thought I was going to process in a similar way with him and that what I missed was simply the memories and the thought of someone therefore it would be easily forgettable. Mostly because we spent only a few weeks giving a try. Well, that wasn’t the case. Three weeks after blocking him and almost four months after he decided to stop, I really thought if I had to see him again I would feel neutral, indifferent and that would have proved my point that I wasn’t really attached to him. How wrong I was.

    That will sound stupid what I write now but when I saw him today, I felt again it was like a love at first sight. I thought we would spend 5min together and nothing more. We spent 1h30 talking together and I felt that he made the conversation lasting as much as he could (he asked me if I would fancy a visit of his university while we were just talking about his new classmates).

    I don’t know what will happen or not, what I’m sure is that I missed the person not the thought of someone. I somehow feel “reassured” in the sens that I know now I really value him and not the reflection of me I can see in someone else.

    Those past few months with him have been extremely messy for me and I think I know why. You once wrote that for him “he is living with his mother, who is quite dangerous to him. He can be taking breaks from her (being physically close to her) by talking with you (being physically father away from him and overall less dangerous than his mother).”. This statement is totally true for me. I think everything got mixed, my feelings for him which are actually reals, my mental issues and my issues with my mother. I didn’t only overreacted towards him but towards everything. I was a vulcano erupting. Now it’s time for to get better, it’s going to be a long road but I will do it.

    Again, thank you Anita, for your words, your patience and your wisdom.

    #365897
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You are welcome. I need to be more focused to read your recent post and will do in 16 hours from now, but maybe sooner than that.

    anita

    #365925
    Lea
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

     

    I got my mother on the phone this morning (it’s currently 11:30am when I write this), she blamed me again about something and I would like your opinion. I will try be as neutral as possible when I will explain the situation, I don’t want you to be biased.

     

    So, a few months ago her and me were supposed to go to the USA. To start off, I told here I was going to plan the trip and so I did the reservations for our plane tickets and I managed to do the ESTA for both of us as I’m the most comfortable in English. Until there everything worked properly. She got her ESTA and she was supposed to receive all the informations about the flight on her mail address.

     

    Then, because of the COVID the trip had to be cancelled. I got a refund quickly because I was supposed to go with US Airlines. She haven’t gotten her refund yet because she was with the Lufthansa and apparently there were many issues with them to get something.

     

    So she asked me if I could deal with that. I said no sorry I can’t yet because I have my finals soon, I have a lot of works, I’m stressed and anxious but you can try to call them. “Ok, do it when you have time then”, she basically said.

    Me: “Can you not do it? I mean, you’re in France, you are retired, you can call them anytimes, I really don’t have time now”

    Her: “No but can you do it because you are the one who made the reservations and you can do it right? When you have time”

    For the reminder, she had all the informations required, the dates, the payments etc. At this time she didn’t even try to see if she had the mails from the company about the flights because “you did the reservations so you have already all the informations”.

     

    I tried to call Lufthansa but I didn’t get any responses and I told her that. So she started to get angry but again I told her that if she wanted to move faster then she had to do something because I thought that was extremely unfair to let me do everything because I was the one who made the reservations. So she finally decided to look for the mails and she found out that she didn’t have them. We went into a fight because she blamed me for that and I told her that wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t have control on her mail address and that everything was supposed to land into her mail address and noting in mine. So I gave to her all the phone numbers I already tried and I told her to call them. Before even trying to call them she told me by message “………… (yes with all those points)ok….. can you give me the dates?”. I lost all my patience when I saw that 1h later she was still struggling for some mysterious reasons, to find the most basics informations about the trips and I told her that WE were going to deal with them once I’ll get back at home for holidays.

     

    So, I went home. And she told me “yeah well maybe now that you’re in holidays YOU could try to fix the issue with the company no?”. I was literally “WHAT THE F, did you even try to call them when I gave to you their phone numbers after our conversation?”, “ehh no because you said you were going to deal with them”.

    In my head I really thought “ok, so you are the retired one, you are the one who got plenty of time but you are just too lazy to take care of your OWN issues, RIGHT”.

    She said that she didn’t call them because they would probably speak in English and she wasn’t as fluent as I am. => Excuse invalidated because I gave to her the number for our country.

     

    So I tried many times to call them through summer but I didn’t get any responses. She tried once and after she gave up and told me “now I tried, keep trying please”.

     

    I got her this morning on the phone and before I said goodbye she said “pff there is the issue with the Lufthansa to deal with, we’re far to be done with them..”. Did she really try to guilt-trip me? I have this feeling she really tried it and I can’t stop myself being so mad at her for that. She never did something to fix by herself that issue, I was extremely busy until july and she couldn’t afford moving her little finger to deal with it. Now she’s blaming me because for her it’s my fault if she haven’t received a refund yet. I just can’t believe she really dares doing it. Is that too complicated for a grown-up adult without any mental or physical disabilities to take care of herself and not counting like that on her child for a reason which is actually pretty superficial? I mean, I’m ok to help her as much as I can, but please, in this case she can do as much if no more as I can..

    #365954
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    It took me some time to go over the 4 pages of your thread. In your two most recent two posts you shared that a week ago, you returned to your own apartment after spending the holidays with your mother in another country. When you arrived at her home, you told her that you needed to rest a lot, but.. she did not allow you that rest, and instead, she she was “a sort of energetic vampire”, the same vampire that she has been since you were a child (“She ALWAYS drains all my energy, many times since I’m a kid”). You shared that growing up with her, you were able to sense her negativity “from miles away, that something is wrong”.

    When spending time with her most recently, these are 4 examples of her being an energetic vampire: (1) You left the shower clean but did not wipe off the water from the shower walls, she was stressed out about it, complaining that you didn’t leave the shower clean. (2) You told her that you needed to rest (you had your finals not long ago, for one), but she blamed you for not spending the energy to interact more with people, accusing you of “being apathetic towards everything and everyone”. (3) During your visit with her, she was depressed about her husband (your step father) not fitting her high expectations of him,  and she expected you to  help her with that. (4) During the same visit, she wanted you to call an airline and get a refund of her ticket after a trip to the US (which she was to take with you) was cancelled because of Covid months ago,  a task that she should have taken care of herself long ago, because as a retired woman she had the time, while you, a student, did not have the time.

    Back in your place for a week now, you feel “much more relaxed”, feeling that you can “finally recover for real. Being myself again”.

    You then shared about seeing Him today, after so long of not seeing him. “it was like a love at first sight.. We spent 1h 30 talking together.. I know now I really value him and not the reflection of me I can see in someone else”.

    You wrote that what I suggested to you a while ago about him (“he is living with his mother, who  is quite dangerous to him”, and that he is taking breaks from her by talking with you, that it is safer for him to be with you, then it is for him to be with his mother)- is true to you: “This statement is totally true to me”.

    And now, my input today, Sept 1 (with more quotes):

    You wrote this about the way you were raised by your mother: “raised to be perfect, not to be myself. Having the best grades, playing music.. being extremely well mannered, wearing fancy brands”, and having elite education-

    – she also raised you to be… perfectly anxious, anxiety that led to your ADHD diagnosis and OCD-like symptoms. The extreme anxiety/ stress of the mother passes on to the child. What a child needs is a calm mother who can take adequate care of herself and of the child. When a child experiences a mother who is not self sufficient, who worries a lot and complains a lot, the child doesn’t feel safe. The need of the child for a calm mother (and the feeling of safety, being in the hands of a capable, confident, calm mother) far, far… far surpasses any and all needs for brand name clothes and elite education.

    * You need to no longer stay in your mother’s home for days or weeks, because any recovery and progress you make away from her (as far as getting to a calmer, more confident state of mind), will be undone when you live with her again.

    * Reads to me that your visit with your mother was like being inside a hot and humid house, feeling suffocated; when you went back to your apartment far away from her, and then saw Him, it was like being outdoors in a cool, breezy evening, able to breathe again.

    Something about him feels like an especially cool, refreshing breeze, maybe simply because he is not your mother’s choice, nothing that fits her strict expectations of a boyfriend for you. Instead he is your choice. You wrote earlier in July: “I never realized I dated men according to what they could correspond to the perfect potential son-in-law for her… that younger guy was an exception but still, he was the one I chose”.

    anita

    #365985
    Lea
    Participant

    I can’t agree more on everything you wrote in this post Anita.

    You know, it’s been a few days I’m analyzing how I felt along this summer and every time I went back to my mother’s place for the last 7 years.

    I’m realizing how wrong were a lot of her behaviors towards me. For instance, I have a cousin who is 2 years younger than me, she’s a jurist working in Asia now. Since we are kids, my mother always compared us “look at her, she’s beautiful, she successes her studies, she has never failed” and such. I’m not jealous of my cousin, actually I’m extremely proud of her because I know through what she went to be where she’s now and I did everything I could to help her and she did the same for me, honestly she has always been the sister I never had.

     

    What’s really hurtful is the fact that my OWN mother NEVER acknowledges what I did/do, how I feel or even worst, who I am.

    => I feel stressed/anxious/sad? “then rest”, “oh c’mon, shake yourself and go, you have everything to success, you can’t fail”, “you feel that way towards someone? Move on”. Never she tried to understand WHAT brought me into that state of minds.

     

    => I got a grade below B or C? “.. oh.. ok.. I thought you were going to do better.. is this not what you said? That you were going to get a good grade?”. I failed an exam? “ah.. ok.. I thought you worked enough/I thought you had the capacities for/does that mean you waisted money?”, “ah.. ok.. so now.. what are your plans?”

     

    => Since I’m a child, when something isn’t going well in my life, instead of helping me to find a solution, she points out WHAT’s wrong. “What if?”, “Yes, but..”, “Have you considered that this could happen instead of that?”. Also, she tends to see me as emotional support, she talks about his issues with an aunt, my grand-mother and because I never reacted she once told me “yes but I told you that because you seemed not to care”. After that I became extremely angry and I told her “YES, I say NOTHING, because you OVERWHELM me with your issues and all your negativity so just STOP it”. And instead of saying sorry she spent the next week walking around the house like she was the victim here (eg: her voice changed, it became extremely acute and I could barely hear her).

     

    => I’m 5″1 for 114,9 lbs (I’m not sure about this, I’m not used to that system, otherwise I’m 158cm for 52kg). Technically I’m FAR to be fat. However due to my studies, I can’t do sport as much as I would like to. So yes, I’m not really muscular. Thing is, until my 18/19 I was extremely skinny naturally, I ate a lot, I did sport and I didn’t thicken at all. When I was a kid I was also enrolled into an extremely famous global modeling agency (not for a long time hopefully but still). Well, we all know that our bodies change when we old up so after my 20 I started to get some shapes. I was very happy because being skinny and shapeless has always been a sort of complex for me. But this is when my dear mother started to criticize my weight. “You become fatter, you should do sport”, “look at you, you’re fat”, “I say this for you, for your health, I don’t want you to become obese” etc.. And that reached a pic a few years ago.

    A few years ago I was in a prep class in a different town, at the same time I was pursuing my first bachelor and I worked 10h per week. I was in a terrible state. I was under a pressure and I really don’t know how I managed to stay alive. I slept 2/3h per night, I ate what I could find (so basically a lot of junk food). I didn’t have a social life outsides of my classmates. I remember calling my mother because that was too much for me, I told her I felt extremely bad, I couldn’t afford more efforts. What she said? “Ok but.. you took weight” and nothing more. I didn’t know what to say but I stopped talking to her for weeks after that.

    When she asked me why I did that to her I exploded and told her that she acted like a “old frustrated bitch” and while I needed the most an emotional support she talked about my weight, my apparence. “Yeah but this is important because if you don’t eat correctly you won’t be able to focus and shapes aren’t pretties on you”. So basically after that I told her that unlike her and her shitty worldly society, I had more to offer than my ass. What her shitty friends thought about me I didn’t care at all, that their competition between their children was as mature as their IQs were low. And I ended up telling her that the fact that she was complexed by her apparence didn’t mean that I was supposed to have the same complex so thank you very much but no, she better had to stop doing that to me because again, she looked like a skeleton and if it suited to her to look like that it wasn’t my case. Also I was extremely upset so I added that if she thought that being pretty was the only way to please to someone then she should rethink about her achievements because if she was someone good and worthy then she would have known that we have more to offer than a pretty ass.

    After that we didn’t talk for a few weeks. Then she came back and didn’t even apologize but like usual, she did like nothing happened. So for my own sake I decided to move on. She also knew I never bow down when I’m personally attacked so that was better for everyone to never talk about that again. On a positive note she became more “encouraging” about my studies.

     

    I tried so many times to explain why her attitude was so negative to me, she always refused to listen to me. After a suicide attempt when I was 16, we had to go to a therapy together. The therapists were by my side, they tried to explain to my mother the same things I tried to explain but still, she refused to admit that something was wrong with her.

    On a positive note, overall I had a nice childhood, I never missed of anything, I had plenty of friends, a loving family and my relation with my mother hasn’t always been like that. I think everything started to be extremely complicated the day I realized I was able to take my own decisions and that her decisions weren’t those which were better for me. So basically, everything has changed when she lost “control”, because I think she refused to accept that I’m a grow-up person, capable and living my life by my own. Technically, I don’t “need” her, in the sens that I can do everything myself, I think I’m smart and wise enough to distinguish what’s good or bad for me. She is the kind of person who needs people to need her. She admires people for what they represent (perfection reached according to her criterias and she seeks that for herself and for her closest ones). She wants me to be perfect but she also wants me to need her. But if I become perfect, then I won’t need her anymore.

     

    => “* You need to no longer stay in your mother’s home for days or weeks, because any recovery and progress you make away from her (as far as getting to a calmer, more confident state of mind), will be undone when you live with her again.” => For a longtime I wondered why I felt so.. out of energy every times I went back to my hometown, why I never had the energy to realize all my plans. I understood that SHE drained everything from me, she needs my energy for herself, because she felt extremely low, stressed about her life which doesn’t correspond to what she wants, because my step-father isn’t as perfect as she would like. She can’t recharge her batteries by herself, she needs to find the energy into someone else.. My mental profil is also defined as highly sensitive/empathetic. I don’t only feel when someone doesn’t feel well, I feel what someone feels. The closest I’m with the person, the more sensitive I’m with her/his emotions. This is extremely exhausting when I have to deal with the kind of my mother. She doesn’t understand why I often need to stay away from her of from people in general. Feeling what other feel isn’t a gift.

     

    => “when you went back to your apartment far away from her, and then saw Him, it was like being outdoors in a cool, breezy evening, able to breathe again.” => I realized something recently. I knew since day 1 he was special for me, he was different and that was why I felt/feel strongly for him. He doesn’t take. He gives. This is the main difference between him and the others guys from my past and from many people I used to know actually. They took from me but they never gave. It’s not the case with him and this is why he’s my choice, because he gives as much as I do. He never takes advantages of me, he never tried to fool me, to use me as diary or so.

     

    #366002
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    Unless your mother talked highly about you too, she should not have talked highly about your cousin. It was wrong of her to do so, naturally a child would think: why doesn’t she think highly of me?? Also, when she told you about your cousin that “she has never failed”- it can’t be a true statement, no one.. never fails. When she states a falsehood like this, she is communicating to you an unrealistic expectation that indeed it is possible for you too, to never fail. What happens next is that when you fail, you get anxious and wonder: what’s wrong with me…

    You wrote that when you feel “stressed/ anxious/ sad”, she tells you “then rest”, or “c’mon, shake yourself and go.. you can’t fail”- here it is again, that falsehood, that it is possible to never fail. Plus, your mother herself is very anxious and stressed and at times depressed- you shared that in your previous post. And yet, she has no empathy for you when you experience the same feelings as she does.

    “she tends to see me as emotional support”- she told you about her issues with an aunt, and accused you of not caring about her problems. And yet.. she doesn’t care about your problems, one of which is that she is burdening you with her problems. A child is not supposed to emotionally support the parent; the parent is supposed to emotionally support the child.

    “I told her ‘you OVERWHELM me with your issues and all your negativity, so just STOP it'”- she should have been aware that she should not share with you about her issues and negativity, let alone share a lot of it. When you told her that she has done so, she had no excuse to not be aware of how she has been overwhelming you. And yet, she responded by.. sending more negativity your way, in a passive-aggressive way, overwhelming you.. more (“she spent the next week walking around the house like she was the victim.. her voice changed, it became extremely acute and I could barely hear her)”.

    You shared that when you were a kid you were enrolled into a very famous global modeling agency (I am guessing it was your mother’s idea and that she enrolled you?), that you were not overweight, but your mother criticized your weight anyway: “You become fatter, you should do sport”, “Look at you, you’re fat”, etc. When you were pursuing your first bachelor degree, working 10 hours per week, sleeping poorly and eating a lot of junk food, you called your mother to share your distress with her: “I told her I felt extremely bad.. What she said? ‘OK but.. you took weight’ and nothing more”- again, no empathy from your mother + criticism.

    You shared that in your earlier years, as a child, because you obediently accepted your mother’s choices for you- she “hasn’t.. been like that”, but as you grew older and started making your own choices.. she has been like that.

    “She admires people for what they represent (perfection.. She wants me to be perfect but also wants me to need her”- she has the distressing feeling that she is inferior, but she is too anxious to look within herself and look at why she is feeling this way.  Instead of looking into herself (which would make her anxious), she is distracting herself by looking at you, looking for your imperfections, pointing them to you.

    * Her greatest imperfection, by the way,  is her lack of empathy for her own daughter.

    “For a long time I wondered why I felt so.. out of energy every time I went back to my hometown.. SHE drained everything from me…. My mental profile is .. highly sensitive/ empathetic.. This is extremely exhausting”-

    – Every young child is very sensitive to her own mother, every young child feels a lot of empathy for her mother.  It is very common for mothers to take advantage of the very sensitive, very empathetic audience available to them: their own children. (Nowhere else can a mother find a more sensitive and more empathetic and attentive listener than her child).

    Feeling empathy for too long is exhausting. There is a term used to describe this kind of exhaustion in health care professionals, such as therapists, nurses and social workers. It is called “empathy fatigue”. What is true to a professional, is truer to a child who feels intense empathy for her mother.

    You wrote about the guy, “he doesn’t take. He gives. This is the main difference between him and the other guys.. They took from me but they never gave… he gives as much as I do. He never takes advantage of me, he never tried to fool me, to use me”-

    – it is also a main difference between him and your mother: she takes, she doesn’t give (what she gives you is not for you, it is for herself), she takes advantage of you and uses you (ex. taking advantage/using your empathy), and she tries to fool you (ex. pretending like nothing happened, and not telling you the truth otherwise).

    “I tried so many times to explain why her attitude was so negative to me, she always refused to listen to me. After a suicide attempt when I was 16, we had to go to a therapy together. The therapists were by my side, they tried to explain to my mother the same things I tried to explain but still, she refused to admit that something was wrong with her”-

    – she did not look into herself after her own daughter attempted suicide. It is extremely unlikely that she ever will.

    anita

    #366015
    Lea
    Participant

    Anita,

     

    I would like to take a few lines to thank you, for the amazing understanding, patience and kindness you have. Reading you, analyzing with me without judgment,  being understood, I haven’t realized how much I needed this in my life currently.

     

    You know, I’m an adopted child. And just like every adopted children I have this inner and extremely strong fear of abandonment.

    If I don’t fit into my mother’s expectations, she will stop loving me and I will be abandoned, again. I failed at something? Then I’m not worth to be loved. I want to be loved? I have to be strong, the like of me isn’t allowed to have flaws.

    For a very longtime it was my inner pattern of thoughts which led to my anxiety/ADHD/and so. I’ve started to fight this many years ago, because I met people who made me feel like “home”. They are my friends and I understood that often we must stand against our closest ones, because when it comes to ourselves, there isn’t a better or worst way but simply our way. And nobody has the right to decide for us what form this way will take.

     

    I’m fundamentally independent and this is a side of me I’m more and more assuming. The more I assume it, the less I let my mother overwhelming me with her issues. I’m not scared anymore to tell her to stop when she goes off limits with me. As you could have seen in my two previous posts, I’m not afraid to speak my minds when she decides to literally attack me. And somehow this is what protected and stopped me to turn into a vegetable or a pawn I think.

    Fun fact, since I’ve decided to change in that way, she now considers me as a “capricious, stubborn and egoist” person who “talks to her only when she needs something”. But whatever, I’m over that now. Recently I told her that the day where she’s ready to talk for real, I will listen to her again but until there a lot of things will be considered as off limits and that was useless to try to talk about those topics as I wouldn’t listen to her.

     

    Can you imagine that, at the beginning of summer, we were talking about my studies (remember I ended up valedictorian while I studied in my 3rd language..). She asked me for how long they will last. I told her that as she told me it was ok to take one more year to finish them, so if everything goes well, it would take me between 3 and 4 years. What did she say? “Euh? You told me you had only 2 years left??? So basically you lied to me??? I’m extremely disappointed”

    .. ????????????????? Sorry?????????? She was the one who told me to take one more year in order for me to not be too stressed or overwhelmed. When I told her that she told me “euh no, you never mentioned that, you even told me that you could finish one semester in advance and blablablablabla”. So obviously I got extremely mad (which was the last thing I needed looking at my very low mental health) and I told her SHE was the one who OFFER ME to take one more year to finish my studies and that it’s been almost 3 years I explained to her my studies project. And then it wasn’t my fault if either she doesn’t listen to me or if she doesn’t make the effort to understand my life. I ended up telling her that I should be the one to be disappointed because everyone around me understood what I do and want to do (even my grandmother of 87yo) and she was the only one who succeed to fail to understand me, again. Right after I left because I had to go for the week-end to my cousin’s home. Obviously she never apologized and she never tried to understand more.

     

    “Instead of looking into herself (which would make her anxious), she is distracting herself by looking at you, looking for your imperfections, pointing them to you.” => Indeed she feels inferior, she spends so much time comparing her life and mine to her friends “oh but look, they go here and do that while I can’t because of this and that”, “they do that together while with your step-father we don’t do the same” and blablabla. “I’m sure in their family they do the same as I do, I’m not different” etc etc. This is so exhausting, I know when she says this kind of thing she wants me to reassure her. A few months ago, I was fed up and I told her “listen, they make their choices, you make your own, you think your life is meaningless? You’re a grown-up person, I’m not here to pamper you, I have already my own issues, go to see a therapist I don’t know but just leave me alone”.

    This is horrible, sometimes I can see that I’m being extremely rude and brutal. But, I don’t know, I feel like she doesn’t let me the choice to be like that with her. She’s a continuous flow of negativity and I must stop it in order no matter which ways I take to do it or the consequences to protect me right..?

     

    The more I analyze my relation with my mother, the more I understand the relation I have with him. I heard many times that we fall either for the same kind of person that our reference parent or the pure contrary and that in general when we were attracted to the pure contrary it meant that we were kind of rebelling against that reference parent and not in a good way. I thought it was only valid for like if we were attracted to men then the reference had to be the father. I think I was pretty much wrong. My reference has always been my mother. I dated men because they corresponded to what she wanted, they were very similar to her (taking, not giving and such).

    Him, he’s different, he’s the contrary, my own choice. Could it mean that I’m finally and definitely dissociating my own desires from my mother’s ones?

     

     

    Also, I would like to talk about him and when we saw each other last monday. I feel like I’m missing out something. So to sum it up, we spent 1h30 talking together, we did everything to make last the chat as much as possible. After, I sent to him a message, explaining that I simply panicked and I didn’t want to get rid of him when I blocked him. He told me “I understand, it was nice seeing you too” and right after he started to talk about something else completely different.

     

    I don’t get it. I thought he would have said something about that long letter I sent to him, not a big thing but at least I was expecting that he would have marked out how he considered me. I mean, I was clear in my letter, I value him as a person so basically it would have hurt of course if he had told me he considered me as a simple friend but at least things would have been clear once for all. Instead, he didn’t say anything and I don’t understand why. When you don’t feel anything at all for someone:

    1/ it’s not complicated to say to that person that you feel nothing and see her as friend, mostly if you really want to keep in touch with the person, at least you put your own limits and you don’t let the other in a kind of shallow expectations. For me it seemed to be “more fair” from him to tell me how he considered me as well..

    2/ if he truly didn’t care anymore/moved on, why then making last a conversation for that long? At this point we can’t talk about a simple polite chat between two people who met after a longtime right? And when I messaged him, why feeding the conversation again?

     

    I really don’t understand, why didn’t he say anything about the letter? Was he afraid to hurt me? That sounds a bit weird, because since the beginning we have always been honest towards each others about how we felt in the relation, when he decided to stop he told me “yes I’m straightforward because I don’t think it’s good to turn around for too long, better to tear off a bandage all at once” and I couldn’t agree more with that. So if he did that once, why couldn’t he do that now?

    I think I might have a track. I have a friend who told me “but he already told you how he felt”. No, actually he never told me how he felt towards me “you and I giving a try, I would like to stop”, “I don’t feel comfortable being in a relationship”, “I’m not ready for something serious”, doesn’t give a clue about his feelings right? I mean, I could have understood that he felt nothing for me if we stopped talking but the point is, we spent so many hours talking through the whole summer. Added to what happened last monday. He wanted to stop because he’s not ready, “I value our conversations, I value you”, actually he never said I was just a friend for him. Or was this the subjacent idea under the “I value you” ? In my letter I distinguished my feelings for him which are still very strong and the fact that I wasn’t ready for a serious relationship either yet.

    Bur I really don’t understand why he can’t say that I’m just a friend for him if it’s really the case, even now, mostly now. I told him that I clearly love him. He wants to keep in touch (otherwise he wouldn’t have pursued the chat after I sent the message) and he knows how I feel, why doesn’t he stop me and say “yeah sorry, thanks for the letter, i value you but as a friend” or something like this? It’s not that complicated and he knows that we can be straightforward together.

    #366018
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    I am looking forward to read your recent post and reply when I am back to the computer, in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #366060
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    You are welcome and thank you for expressing your appreciation.

    “just like every adopted children I have this inner and extremely strong fear of abandonment”- not like every adopted child. Children who are adopted by good, consistently attentive, calm and comforting adoptive parents as babies are very unlikely to experience a strong fear of abandonment.

    “If I don’t fit into my mother’s expectations, she will stop loving me”- your mother’s love for you is not really love (no empathy= no love). What it is, is a conditional approval of you, that is: she will approve of you at times, disapprove of you at other times, depending on her mood and what she perceives at the moment.

    “As you could have seen in my two previous posts, I’m not afraid to speak my mind when she decides to literally attack me”- I noticed and I was impressed. Problem is that at times expresses her disapproval of you dishonestly/ passive-aggressively, with the tone of her voice, with suggestive, vague comments that are difficult to detect and confront.

    Here is an example that I am coming up with: let’s say you successfully asserted yourself with her about her telling you that you are fat. As a result, she no longer uses the word “fat”, but the two of you watch a movie with a lean, attractive actress in it, and she says: how beautiful and lean this actress is!.. as she says it, you hear the message “you are fat!”, but you are not sure and if you bring it up to her, she will easily deny it and accuse you of nit picking on what she says. (It is exhausting to deal with a dishonest, indirect person, not being able to know for sure when you are attacked, not being able to trust that person to tell you the truth).

    “Obviously she never apologized and she never tried to understand more”- since this has been her pattern, expect it to continue: don’t expect her to apologize or try to understand you, and let go of hopes that she will.

    You told her: “Listen, they make their choices, you make your own.. You’re a grown-up person, I’m not here to pamper you, I have already my own issues, go see a therapist”- excellent assertion. But remember what you wrote a little before this sentence: “she never tried to understand more”- so she is unlikely to understand what you told her, or see a therapist to understand more about herself.

    “Sometimes I can see that I’m being extremely rude and brutal. But.. I feel like she doesn’t let me the choice”- correct, if you are in her company for too long, you are going to react to her ongoing assault on your sanity.

    Solution: don’t spend much time with her. Best would be (if you are to have contact with her) is to see her once a month or so, in the presence of other people (never alone!)  In the presence of other people (extended family, friends, strangers), she is likely to stop her “continuous flow of negativity” because she cares what the other people think of her. Here is another idea: bring someone with you when you visit her, so that she is not comfortable to be her negative, critical self in the presence of your companion.

    I agree with you that as a woman in relationships with men, your reference/ influence can be your mother- the reference is not gender specific.

    “Him, he’s different, he’s the contrary, my own choices. Could it mean that I’m finally and definitely disassociating my own desires from my mother’s”?- yes, you are doing just that. To do it even more, see to it that you don’t spend alone time with your mother (so to protect yourself, so to not exhaust yourself, so to not regress), and continue to make your own choices, from small choices to bigger choices.

    Regarding the guy, you wrote him a very long letter and he didn’t mention it to you during the 1.5 hour chat you had with him the other day- a very long letter is way more difficult to respond to than a short letter. Keep that in mind.

    “if he truly didn’t care anymore/ moved on, why then making last a conversation for that long?”- could be because you met by accident, vs. purposefully, as in having a date, therefore, he was relaxed and in the flow of the conversation. The long conversation does not indicate, to me,  that he is interested in you romantically. I figure he enjoyed talking to you in the casual setting of the meeting (his anxiety was not pronounced at that casual, unplanned setting).

    He told you that he didn’t feel comfortable being in a relationship, the he is not ready for something serious and yet he spent 1.5 hours talking to you recently, and he “spent so many hours talking through the whole summer”. You are wondering what this means regarding his feelings- or lack of- for you.

    My guess is that he enjoys talking to you in casual settings, such as meeting you randomly, most recently), and in the casual setting of talking to you on the phone (where he is not with you in-person). In these settings, he is not anxious and therefore,. able to be in the flow of the conversation.

    “I told him that I clearly love him… why doesn’t he stop me and say ‘yeah sorry, thank you for the letter, I value you but as a friend’ or something like this? It’s not that complicated and he knows that we can be straightforward together”-

    – I am guessing this: the two of you are anxious people but your individual anxieties express themselves in different ways: you get into a topic directly and at great length, and he avoids it altogether.

    anita

    #366088
    Lea
    Participant

    Until today I had the hope she had changed a bit, that she would be more comprehensive regarding my mental health, how the incoming online semester is already affecting my moral. You were right. She won’t never, ever change.

    I called her a few hours ago. She asked me if I had started my courses. Yes I did since last monday. “Oh well, it’s going to be easy right”. No it won’t be easy, because online studies mean no on-campus classes and it means 80% of my social life gone. It also means that my ADHD will kick harder and I don’t even talk about my anxiety. “Oh c’mon, it’s your choice, you know why you do that so don’t even start like that”. Yeah, ok, thanks again for your empathy and your kind words, “mother”, I guess.

    It’s hard to realize that your own mother refuses to see and understand that she’s the main reason of your sufferings. I’m glad that at 25 I’ve already matured enough to step back and stop taking everything she says too much at heart. Still, I can find comfort along other people as much as I want but all those words, I would need to hear them from her and not from someone else in order to stop being anxious. Well, I thought for a longtime it was the only solution. However now it’s a bit different from before, I can stand for my own opinions and the more I realize I’m detaching myself from her ideas the less she actually affects me. And I also I understand she won’t never change and I’ve decided to stop trying to make her see how I see life. I don’t have the time for that.

     

    “Solution: don’t spend much time with her. Best would be (if you are to have contact with her) is to see her once a month or so, in the presence of other people (never alone!)  In the presence of other people (extended family, friends, strangers), she is likely to stop her “continuous flow of negativity” because she cares what the other people think of her. Here is another idea: bring someone with you when you visit her, so that she is not comfortable to be her negative, critical self in the presence of your companion.” => This is extremely tricky here. To start off since I’m 18 I try to avoid as much as possible the long stays at her place (in average 2/3 weeks during summer, 1 week for Christmas, autumn and spring break). It’s been 3 years now I go back only for summer and for Christmas (and it’s not even for her, it’s mostly for my grandmother who has to constantly fight against her as well..). Can you imagine, Anita, she sees her daughter TWICE per year for a very short period and STILL, she successes to be extremely conflictual/negative and so? It’s unbelievable, I live abroad, we can’t talk on the phone that much due to my schedule and she always find a way to ignite conflicts about so many superficial things?

    Now, most part of the time when I’m at her place, my step-father is here (they aren’t married and he spends a lot of times in another house taking care of a garden and so). If at the beginning of their relationship (8 years ago) she didn’t really dare being too much negative, back in the days he was a kind of emotional wall between her and me, now she doesn’t even care. She spends a lot of time being negative towards him as well. I mean, he has his flaws, they are extremely different but she chooses to be with him. It’s even worst now, because well, he’s a very big coward. When she starts to get mad at some pointless stuffs, he doesn’t even try to argue with her, it’s always “yes darling you’re right” and obviously she stops being mad at him because he bows down. What he does is the perfect proof of his cowardliness, many times him and me we agreed about something which was wrong with her and ALWAYS he told me “yes you’re right, but, you tell her, I don’t want to get involved”.. ?????????????? are you her equal or a kind of mental slave??????? For this reason, he has never gained my total respect. Standing for what’s right for us is certainly the quality I respect the most and I expect from people who are closes to me to get this quality. I can’t deal with people who hide behind someone else when they can stand by themselves.

    A few times, I brought some friends at home and believe me, she didn’t care to bother them with her attitude. I remember once, a former friend was here and she talked about her summer job. I never work during summer for the simple reason that it’s been 5 years I’m working along the year and I just need my two months holidays because I don’t take holidays otherwise. Again, she succeed to say “hm, that’s great, at least you do something useful during summer, you”. It was like she wanted to humiliate me in front of that friend. Obviously once my friend left, I started to reply back and again she started to play the victim. That was just an example. In general, when people are here and when she starts to act off limits, I can’t stop myself replying and of course she has to play the victim. Many times after she thought I was gone, I heard her saying to people “yes, sometimes it’s hard, she has a strong temper” and blablablabla. Once, I remember, I was extremely mad so I went in front of her and some people and I said “yeah well next time maybe think twice before and I won’t talk back”.

    Overall, yes, she is worried about what people think about her and me as she wants me to be the perfect representation of her success so she doesn’t really “dare” being too negative. Although, many times I felt like when she was in a really bad mood, that she was just willing to “humiliate” me in front of people.

     

    Also, she reproached me to talk to her only because she helps me to pay my rent. No of course I don’t want to talk only when I need to pay my rent. But does she let me the choice when she tells me things such as “yes I’m a bit infuriated, because you’ve been talking about this for a very longtime now and maybe it’s time to change of topics”, “euh.. if i talk about this maybe it’s because I NEED to talk about this and maybe it’s because it’s what currently make me feel sad and anxious..?”, “oh c’mon, shake yourself, ok, but you need to change your minds”. And after that she wonders why I’m closed to her? How comes after all I had already said, she still doesn’t understand that I need more emotional support rather than a financial one? I mean, it’s harsh what I’m going to write but I will stop considering her at 70% a wallet 30% a mother the day she will provide more emotional support, I don’t know..

    She even successes to reproach me to ask sometimes for money while she told me “you can ask me money if you really need some, of course I will help you”. 1/I ask her once per year maybe for an extra-money in order to buy.. textbooks which are extremely expensive (equivalency of 80 USD in average) for a student. 2/ it’s not even her who gives me the money but my grandmother..

    —-

    Regarding the guy, you wrote him a very long letter and he didn’t mention it to you during the 1.5 hour chat you had with him the other day- a very long letter is way more difficult to respond to than a short letter. Keep that in mind.” => Maybe I should have been more explicit here. I didn’t mention the letter either during our 1h30 chat and that wasn’t the main purpose to the chat anyway. I agree with you, it’s more difficult to respond to a long letter to than a shorter one. I didn’t mind because, I didn’t expect to see him and I just enjoyed the moment spent together. But, after, I sent to him a message and in that message, I told him that I panicked when I blocked him after sending him the letter, I didn’t want to get rid of him. I valued him and after our chat I realized again how it was easy and comfortable to talk with him. So after this message, I kind of expected from him, not a big message, but at least a hint. He didn’t say anything about my letter and I don’t get why.  => “ I am guessing this: the two of you are anxious people but your individual anxieties express themselves in different ways: you get into a topic directly and at great length, and he avoids it altogether.” => Isn’t he a bit the same tho? When he decided to stop or even before when he got his first panic-attack about him and I, he didn’t seem to mind to dig down with me the situation, actually he was the one who told me “if you have questions, please, don’t hesitate, I don’t want you to be left in a shallow situation”. And even after he decided to stop, I sent him a message where I explained my view about the situation, he replied. So why now avoiding this topic? For my male best friend, this is what he’s doing, avoiding the chat deliberately. I really don’t think that’s complicated to say to someone we don’t feel anything for her when we don’t, it cut off all hopes and in that case, saying something wouldn’t have been going out of blue because I was the one who raised the letter in my message.

    “My guess is that he enjoys talking to you in casual settings, such as meeting you randomly, most recently), and in the casual setting of talking to you on the phone (where he is not with you in-person). In these settings, he is not anxious and therefore,. able to be in the flow of the conversation.” => And now I fully realize why after our first and last date he told me “yes I’d like to see you again but as friends if you don’t mind”. Because meeting me as “friend” and not official “love-interest” means a casual setting and therefore not an anxious situation. This is also why we talked that much during summer by messages, because as long as we don’t see each other IRL or at least set up a meeting, I can’t trigger his anxiety, right? Running into each other randomly didn’t give him time to awake his anxiety because he didn’t have time before to overthink about how it will go between us. I think I understand better now when he said “I’m not ready for a serious relationship” but “I value you”. Ehhhh..

    Wait, so being interested in a romantic way to someone is a trigger to anxiety? And therefore withdrawing himself from a “relation”/”love-interest evolving into something serious” is a way to “stop” that trigger and so the anxiety? Can you stop yourself to feel something for someone if nothing negative has been done, even though you and this person keep talking and so? Is there a real distinction between stopping with someone because you’re just not ready for a relationship and stopping because you don’t feel the person? I mean, like I told him in the letter, despite the fact that I feel strongly for him, I’m not ready for a serious relationship and regarding all his issues since january and mine, like I told him, it wasn’t the best moment in our lives either..

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Lea.
    #366091
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lea:

    It is that time of the day when I am not that focused, so I  will respond to part of your recent post, and to the rest- I will reply tomorrow. As to your last paragraph, “so being interested in a romantic way to someone is a trigger to anxiety? And therefore withdrawing himself from a ‘relation’/love interest…”?

    Clearly, from what you shared, he is scared of being close to a woman, in his mind he jumps straight to: she wants to marry me! (if I remember correctly). I imagine, with the intensity of his fear- his emotional withdrawal is probably immediate, similar to withdrawing your hand from a hot stove!

    Fear wins over feelings of love every time. Animals in nature always stop any and all affectionate activities when they sense danger, immediately, and either run away, or play dead of fight the danger.  He senses that you want romance, and immediately any and all loving feelings run away, gone!

    anita

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