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anxiety, health and being hurt

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  • #413656
    Joanna
    Participant

    Anita,

    I am good, still a bit sick but Ok. I am planning to visit a doctor next week. Sorry for not responding earlier. I have not felt that good. Work problems and sickness exhausted me.

    I have been thinking about you today, Anita. How are you?

     It amazes me how similar our mothers are, and this is why we are a great source of understanding to each other.

    I am thankful for that, good you feel that way – I am glad to be and have a source of understanding!

    The good list/ bad list phenomenon as I now call it, is a bpd hallmark, a result of the bpd extreme all-or-nothingblack and white thinking. The borderline anger, or rage is also a bpd hallmark.

    My grandma and mother both have this condition and this exact symptom. Although what I noticed some people never return from bad list. They stay there forever.  I am reading a lot to understand some of my own behaviors like getting angry at people for no reason, just sudden anger. It feels better to understand it, to try to heal from this anger.

    I figure if my mother didn’t want to be this way, she would have said something at some time during the DECADES I was in contact with her, something like: I am so sorry that I hurt your feelings.

    I think so too. Even if they did not have control over the anger they could still see us hurt. My mother heard my crying multiple times, heard me smashing things in my room, crying from anger, helplessness.. heard me coughing because I cried so much. I will never forget thinking: what kind of person is okay with this, how cruel she must be.. She was there, in the other room and knew she did this to me.

    a victim-child should not be ashamed of having been victimized; it’s the victimizer-mother who should be ashamed of victimizing her own, vulnerable child!

    I agree.

    please do not hide and do not pretend.. anything.

    Thank you, your words give me strength, hope and courage.

    I don’t think that I’d dare saying this to my mother.. that would could easily bring another episode of borderline rage against me. I am imagining it now: she would react angrily and if I told her right there and then something like look at yourself, don’t you see that you have an anger issue?! She’d say something to indicate that she was having a bad daughter issue, that she is responding reasonably to a horrible daughter, and how sad for her… She never presented herself as the Actor of real abuse (ex., saying the most hurtful words for the purpose of hurting my feelings), but as the Reactor of alleged abuse (ex., mentioning to her that she had an anger issue for the purpose of helping her, if I dared to mention this).

    This was the one time I dared to say this to my mother, to text this actually, over a text message. I wouldn’t have dared to say this to her face, she would have given me the look that could kill.. –  I learnt to avoid this at all costs. The context of this was the fact that she first texted me that she was sorry I was treated badly or something.. Not sure what exactly she meant, she may have meant her partner’s behavior because I talked to her about him at the time, how he abused me (she mostly did not accept the truth). But I felt brave enough to ask about her anger issues, I thought maybe she was apologizing for her own behavior. But she responded she was having menopause, as in: it’s not actually her fault. Interesting what was my reaction: I recommended her a doctor, a gynecologist, to help her! I even did an appointment for her, I was so caring and really wanted to help. She went there (she had to pretend to be a victim here, I tried to help her so she had to go) and was mad at me later about how much money she had to spend and.. stopped speaking to me that day even before she went! As in: I forced her to go there.

    Anita, I am thinking about your advice to process a traumatic memory. I thought about other memories I have, the ones that are very strong but on the other hand, I am not that afraid to think about them – actually I recall and relive them quite often. I learnt after some time, instead of being past memories they become..less past, so to speak, in a way that I sometimes no longer think of that moment in the past – I think of other moments later when I recalled this memory. I feel stuck with it though.  I am trying to “bring this memory to the present time, … make the connection between the past and the part of the past that is still here” like you suggested. It is hard!

    #413660
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna:

    You didn’t yet see a doctor, next week will be your first visit to a doctor since you got sick? (I am not to  judge in this regard, I avoid doctors myself). I want to read and reply when I am focused, which may be tomorrow morning. It rains and it’s very windy here, but I still hope (a hope that may not be realistic) to be out and about soon. I hope that you have a restful night Joanna!

    anita

    #413663
    Joanna
    Participant

    Anita, I had a phone consultation with a doctor last week. I got some medicines and felt better still having bad cough. I am planning to take some days off perhaps.

    Thank you and have a good day! I hope too that weather will be better soon where you live.

    #413664
    anita
    Participant

    You are welcome, Joanna and thank you for… being you! I hope you will be a healthier you very soon!!

    anita

    #413723
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna:

    I have been thinking about you (yesterday), Anita. How are you?“- today, I am fine, raining out, a bit, not too much. About to have my lunch, then go for my walk and later, socialize with people in-person. I wonder how you are doing tonight (your time)…

    I am reading a lot to understand some of my own behaviors like getting angry at people for no reason, just sudden anger. It feels better to understand it, to try to heal from this anger“- I feel less of that, way less random anger than I used to feel. And significantly less intense, when I do feel anger. What a relief!

    My mother heard my crying multiple times, heard me smashing things in my room, crying from anger, helplessness.. heard me coughing because I cried so much. I will never forget thinking: what kind of person is okay with this, how cruel she must be.. She was there, in the other room and knew she did this to me“- and enjoyed it, I’m afraid, sorry to say. Why else would she listen in her room and not interfere… ? It is very difficult for children (and adult children) to imagine their mother enjoyed causing them pain, so many would say things like: she did her best, she didn’t know any better… this is convenient thinking. It is easy to imagine strangers feeling joy hurting others; it is difficult to imagine your own mother being … that kind of a stranger.

    The context of this was the fact that she first texted me that she was sorry I was treated bad.. she may have meant her partner’s behavior… I felt brave enough to ask about her anger issues, I thought maybe she was apologizing for her own behavior“- apologize for her own behavior (and sincerely)..  wishful thinking.

    But she responded she was having menopause.. I recommended her a doctor, a gynecologist, to help her! I even made an appointment for her, I was so caring and really wanted to help. She went there (she had to pretend to be a victim here, I tried to help her so she had to go) and was mad at me later about how much money she had to spend and.. stopped speaking to me that day even before she went! As in: I forced her to go there“- she knew it wasn’t her menopause, that’s why she didn’t want to keep the appointment. She lied. It is another thing that children (and adult children) find very difficult to believe: that their mother lies.  We know strangers lie.. but not our mothers!

    Anita, I am thinking about your advice to process a traumatic memory…  I feel stuck with it though.  I am trying to ‘bring this memory to the present time … make the connection between the past and the part of the past that is still here’ like you suggested. It is hard!“- I don’t remember if we talked about the concept of the inner child. Did we? There are books and workbooks on inner child work. This kind of work is what bringing the memories of our childhoods into the present-time is about: emotionally reconnecting with these memories, no longer being dissociated from them. It’s about feeling that it was really you back then and there, not ..  some stranger (to oneself).

    anita

    #413730
    Joanna
    Participant

    Anita, Good morning, It’s 11:40 in the morning where I live, the sun is shining so I am preparing to go out to nearest park for a walk and do some shopping later in the city. I will be responding in the evening.

    I am fine, raining out, a bit, not too much. About to have my lunch, then go for my walk and later, socialize with people in-person. I wonder how you are doing tonight (your time)…

    I hope socializing went well, not too stressful (It would be for me ) Have a good day Anita 🙂

    #413734
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna:

    Thank you, and good afternoon to you; good morning to me (7:37 am here). I hope that you had a good, mindful walk and shopping, and that your health is much improved!

    anita

     

    #413743
    Joanna
    Participant

    Anita,

    My walk in the park was great, thank you. Especially after weeks of not going out too much. I listened to music and enjoyed the sun. Felt like spring already, although I know winter will be back, probably soon.

    I feel less of that, way less random anger than I used to feel. And significantly less intense, when I do feel anger. What a relief!

    That’s very good to know, thank you for sharing this. I am always happy to read about your experiences. Good that your anger, the one you have felt, is less intense now.

    I think I feel similar since I am aware of this: I do not recognize it as my feeling but more like something I was taught to feel. There are moments, behaviors, words that trigger the anger my mother have showed me. Like yesterday at work: I misspelled a word during a call and my colleague started laughing hysterically (at me/the funny word I said) and I immediately felt anger that..he is mocking me, doesn’t respect me, makes me look like a fool! It felt like a humiliation almost.. when the only reason he was laughing was that this word sounded funny, that’s all. I remembered how I laughed in my mother’s presence (not even at her, could be because of the movie I was watching or while talking to someone else) and my mother got angry. She got angry at the very sound of my laugh, it triggered her to hear me laugh. I feel this anger too now, for example when someone is reading a text and is looking at his/her phone and is laughing at something and I do not even participate in this! But I suddenly feel anger at them. It got a lot better though, less intense, like you wrote, Anita. I am glad you feel that way and that my anger is less intense too.

    She was there, in the other room and knew she did this to me“- and enjoyed it, I’m afraid, sorry to say. Why else would she listen in her room and not interfere… ? It is easy to imagine strangers feeling joy hurting others; it is difficult to imagine your own mother being … that kind of a stranger.

    very difficult to imagine, yes. I still can’t believe that but I know it’s true.

    she knew it wasn’t her menopause, that’s why she didn’t want to keep the appointment. She lied. It is another thing that children (and adult children) find very difficult to believe: that their mother lies.  We know strangers lie.. but not our mothers!

    Exactly! She knew she had to play along, pretend it was menopause, but she knew she did not have menopause in her 30s when she first started abusing me! What a ridiculous excuse.

    I don’t remember if we talked about the concept of the inner child. Did we? There are books and workbooks on inner child work. This kind of work is what bringing the memories of our childhoods into the present-time is about: emotionally reconnecting with these memories, no longer being dissociated from them. It’s about feeling that it was really you back then and there, not ..  some stranger (to oneself).

    No, I think we did not talk about inner child here yet. I will read into that this week. I thought about this today, during the day but not sure if I understand it correctly. Seems to me like lessening the emotions we feel as we start to deal with them as adults, with the emotional tools we have now, as adults, not as helpless child we used to be – when those emotions were too much. Sorry, just my understanding, may not be right. I will read about this and be happy if you will share your thoughts on this.

     

    #413837
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna: I am looking forward to read and reply to you Sun morning (your afternoon).

    anita

    #413850
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna:

    Good to read that you went out for a walk again. Here too it feels like spring, and like you, I know that winter will return.

    Yesterday at work: I misspelled a word during a call and my colleague started laughing hysterically (at me/the funny word I said) and I immediately felt anger that.. he is mocking me… when the only reason he was laughing was that this word sounded funny, that’s all“- I very much relate. I felt that people are mocking me all the time, or very often, I should say. After all, my own mother mocked me and expressed plenty to me that I am.. mockable, not to be respected. It was enough for a person to look in my direction, for me to feel mocked, ridiculed, made fun of.

    It triggered her to hear me laugh“- lots about me triggered my mother, so much did. There was no way for me to live and not trigger her. There was no refuge from her being triggered, except in my daydreaming when I was alone in the apartment, when she was not there.

    She got angry at the very sound of my laugh.. I feel this anger too now, for example when someone is reading a text and is looking at his/her phone and is laughing at something and I do not even participate in this! But I suddenly feel anger at them“- the way I understand it is that when she got angry at you for laughing, part of you identified with her and got angry at yourself for laughing, and at others for laughing. Or said in another way: a young child is not mentally separated from her mother, so when the mother gets angry about X, the child gets angry about X. When because of a disturbing childhood, a child doesn’t get the opportunity to mentally separate from her mother, this lack of separation carries through to adulthood.

    It got a lot better though, less intense, like you wrote, Anita. I am glad you feel that way and that my anger is less intense too“- thank you and I am glad that it got a lot better for you too!

    I wrote to you: “She knew it wasn’t her menopause, that’s why she didn’t want to keep the appointment. She lied…“, and you responded: “Exactly! She knew she had to play along, pretend it was menopause, but she knew she did not have menopause in her 30s when she first started abusing me! What a ridiculous excuse“- she didn’t want to admit to her severe anger issues or to address her severe anger issues, so she tried to direct your attention away from the topic; keeping the topic in the dark, by shining the light on another topic (menopause).

    No, I think we did not talk about inner child here yet…  Seems to me like lessening the emotions we feel as we start to deal with them as adults, with the emotional tools we have now, as adults; not as helpless child we used to be – when those emotions were too much. Sorry, just my understanding, may not be right“-  your understanding is right and stated perfectly. The way psychotherapy works (in my experience as a patient) is that first, the therapist teaches the patient emotion regulation skills/ distress tolerance skills which are about lessening the intensity of painful or disturbing emotions, and secondly, gradually reconnect with these (less intense) emotions in a way that works in the context of healing.

    I will read about this and be happy if you will share your thoughts on this“- you can’t reconnect, or re-associate with emotional experiences that overwhelmed you in the past unless you have the skills mentioned above. Only when you are not afraid of being overwhelmed yet again, you are able to get this feeling, that surprising feeling (in my experience) that it was really me who was there. Before this surprising feeling, I had some memories (very few) but it was only a visual image of me in those memories, not me, the actual person. Can you relate to what I am saying? I am asking because if you don’t relate, I would like to try explain it in a different way.

    anita

    #413866
    Joanna
    Participant

    Anita,

    I immediately felt anger that.. he is mocking me… “- I very much relate. I felt that people are mocking me all the time, or very often, I should say. After all, my own mother mocked me and expressed plenty to me that I am.. mockable, not to be respected. It was enough for a person to look in my direction, for me to feel mocked, ridiculed, made fun of.

    And I can relate to this so much: “It was enough for a person to look in my direction, for me to feel mocked, ridiculed, made fun of.” One time I met a neighbor when taking out the trash and she said “Hi” and I immediately thought: “is she mad at me? Do I look funny?” and then I thought “oh my god, am I crazy?… she just said ‘Hi’! for god’s sake..”.. It’s really ridiculous what thoughts come to my mind sometimes but at least I know that those thoughts are ridiculous and just my imagination, not real.

    lots about me triggered my mother, so much did. There was no way for me to live and not trigger her.

    So real for me too. I remember eating a carrot and my mother asking me to leave the room. (Not only one time, almost every time I ate loudly. I still trigger myself when I eat loudly)
    <p class=”p1″>My mother used to tell me: „when someone is a young mother and has a baby and this gets overwhelming and there’s this anger, this..urge that you want to almost throw your baby out of the window”. She used to tell me this over and over through the years, those exact words.</p>
    <p class=”p1″>I never thought about this until recently that this is how she felt towards me – this anger, she hated me so much that she wanted to throw me out of the window, literally.. and she even repeatedly told me about this! Isn’t this amazing..how I never actually understood this is how she feels about me, even though she specifically told me this.<span class=”Apple-converted-space”> </span></p>

    the way I understand it is that when she got angry at you for laughing, part of you identified with her and got angry at yourself … Or said in another way: a young child is not mentally separated from her mother, so when the mother gets angry about X, the child gets angry about X. When because of a disturbing childhood, a child doesn’t get the opportunity to mentally separate from her mother, this lack of separation carries through to adulthood.

    True.

     The way psychotherapy works (in my experience as a patient) is that first, the therapist teaches the patient emotion regulation skills/ distress tolerance skills which are about lessening the intensity of painful or disturbing emotions, and secondly, gradually reconnect with these (less intense) emotions in a way that works in the context of healing.

    I am googling and reading about emotion regulation skills, coping skills, healthy ones.. I try to incorporate some of them in stressful situations, like the smell, seeing, hearing. But not sure if I do it right and use the full potential of those exercises.

    you can’t reconnect, or re-associate with emotional experiences that overwhelmed you in the past unless you have the skills mentioned above. Only when you are not afraid of being overwhelmed yet again, you are able to get this feeling, that surprising feeling (in my experience) that it was really me who was there. Before this surprising feeling, I had some memories (very few) but it was only a visual image of me in those memories, not me, the actual person. Can you relate to what I am saying? I am asking because if you don’t relate, I would like to try explain it in a different way.

    Not sure. I imagine myself in my bedroom, my parents yelling, I was shaking and having tics. I am trying to imagine it is me, there, but now-me, me as an adult and them at that time. But.. not sure what I should do next with this and whether I understand it. Maybe I need more time to read or perhaps you would like to explain it in a different way, maybe it would help. Thank you for bringing it up Anita, it’s very new and interesting to me.

    #413870
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna:

    Reading your recent post is very meaningful to me and this is why I want to re-read and reply to it Mon morning. When I read your last paragraph, like in times past, I was not sure if you were quoting me (if those were my words or yours)!

    anita

    #413872
    Joanna
    Participant

    Anita, of course, please take as much time as you need. I will be returning here tomorrow after work (about 6 pm)

    When I read your last paragraph, like in times past, I was not sure if you were quoting me (if those were my words or yours)!

    I think I may have mentioned this memory (of me being in the room with my parents) once before on this thread but very briefly and did not elaborate on this. Interesting yours is similar! (But not surprising unfortunately..)

    Take care

    #413875
    anita
    Participant

    Thank you, Joanna, you are always so kind! Take care of yourself and good night.

    anita

    #413923
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Joanna:

    “One time I met a neighbor when taking out the trash and she said ‘Hi’ and I immediately thought: ‘is she mad at me? Do I look funny?’“- when you heard her Hi, you immediately heard your mother saying a big, scary Hi. The projection of your mother into the neighbor was immediate. Living with your mother, you had to be hyper vigilant, so to detect her anger and mocking (in her voice, in her facial expressions, in her behavior) before it got worse, so that you could emotionally prepare for it, and so that you can figure out how to respond so to lessen the damage to yourself.

    When the neighbor said Hi (in your anxious, still hypervigilant brain), it was your mother’s voice, and you reacted as usual when you heard your mother: is she mad at me.. what should I do now…? (detect her anger, prepare for it).

    and then I thought ‘oh my god, am I crazy?… she just said ‘Hi’! for god’s sake..’“- you were not crazy. When we are spaced out (not focused on the here-and-now), we drift to a time of no-time: no separated past, present and future.

    “My mother used to tell me: ‘when someone is a young mother and has a baby and this gets overwhelming and there’s this anger, this.. urge that you want to almost throw your baby out of the window’. She used to tell me this over and over through the years, those exact words. I never thought about this until recently that this is how she felt towards me… Isn’t this amazing.. how I never actually understood this is how she feels about me, even though she specifically told me this“-

    – When she told you these scary, disturbing words the first time, you were very scared and disturbed.. but then, over time, you got so used to these words, that you .. forgot about them. This is what dissociation is about: either forgetting words and events altogether, or forgetting what you felt when the words and evens took place. Personally, I have very few memories of my childhood (I forgot a ton of scary words and events), and of what I do remember of the scary words and events, only recently did I start to remember a bit of what I felt back then.

    I wrote to you yesterday: “I had some memories (very few) but it was only a visual image of me in those memories, not me, the actual person“- the feeling gives memories a 3rd dimension. Without feeling, memories are 2-dimensional. (A visual image  is 2-dimensional, an actual person is 3-dimensional).

    I imagine myself in my bedroom, my parents yelling, I was shaking and having tics. I am trying to imagine it is me… But.. not sure what I should do next with this and whether I understand it. Maybe I need more time to read or perhaps you would like to explain it in a different way, maybe it would help“- you felt lots of fear when that event took place, an overwhelming amount of fear. The anxiety you feel now on a daily basis is .. what it takes to keep that amount of overwhelming fear below your awareness. There is no way to intentionally make yourself re-experience that overwhelming fear, nor would it be a good idea if you were able (it’d be too much). It takes a very gradual process to feel it in small increments, small amounts that you can endure.

    What I wrote right above is true to me: I feel anxiety on a daily basis, I am still pushing down fear that threatens to overwhelm me. It’s instinctive.

    anita

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