November 29, 2019 at 11:27 am #325151
Right, that relationship was overwhelming proof that idea of finding “the one” is not a solution to my or anyone’s problems. My issue is that I can be lazy and stubborn by placing my well being in someone else’s hands. It’s easier than facing up and doing it myself.November 29, 2019 at 12:58 pm #325177
I think that it may be a Rush that you are after. What I mean by it is that when you meet a woman, your sexual energy gets activated, your emotional energy gets activated, and you find yourself on an exciting rollercoaster of emotions and sex- that’s the rush.
There was no rush in that five year relationship after a while, because the relationship lasted too long. Her love was not enough because there was no rush in it for you from one point on.
So imagine.. that all this time that you thought you were looking for love, you were actually looking for a rush, for an emotional rollercoaster ride.
I don’t know if you see my point.
anitaDecember 6, 2019 at 6:31 am #326301
I’ve thought about your response this week and I do see your point and seeking a rush has definitely been a theme in my life. I fit the definition of a thrill seeker in most ways though I never considered myself to be an emotional thrill seeker but I do see how that has applied to my romantic relationships especially after my first relationship. Since my first relationship none have lasted more than a few months at most, and i’ve rushed into sex way too fast usually after the first or second contact. Most notably when reflecting on the thrill seeking is the type of woman I end up being most attracted to is the type that plays emotional games, is unsure of what she wants, and is probably traumatized and hasn’t processed through it, basically the roller coaster ride you describe.
Outside of relationships my thrill seeking is mostly physically challenging and risky activities like skateboarding, mountain biking, running, and racing cars. What attracts me to those activities is that I feel fully alive when i’m doing them, I love the feeling of facing fear and challenging my senses. I’m beginning to see the parallels between those activities and my relationships with women which since my first girlfriend have been filled with ambivalent attachments, emotional games, and sex too soon.
There is a part of me who is aware of these thrill seeking behaviors in others relationships but they are more difficult for me to see in myself. With this most recent woman I figured out after i set the boundary with her of being exclusive the first time and she kept texting me but wouldn’t give me straightforward answers to my questions about how she felt that she was seeking drama and liked to play games because it probably gave her the thrill she was looking for. I recognized that easily in her but could not recognize my own self-sabotaging behaviors that serve to pull on the heart strings of the other person and try to draw them into co-dependence. I’m quite disappointed in myself for this.
It has been a very difficult week for me, I’ve missed two days of work this week, and i feel terribly unmotivated. I wouldn’t say i’m depressed really because i feel the sadness and despair fully, i’m not numb to it. Rather I believe i’m overwhelmed by hopelessness and loneliness. This feeling of hopelessness leads to a lot of thoughts of death. Not saying i want to die, i know this is isn’t the place for that kind of talk but i think it’s important to note that i have these thoughts on a daily basis though i’m not attached to them as i used to be when i would physically self harm. When i have thoughts of death now i see them as an indication that i’m in pain and don’t want to be. The truth is i don’t want to die, i want to live, just not how i’m living right now. Not staring into this lonely void.December 6, 2019 at 8:02 am #326317
You wrote that you are quite disappointed in yourself for not seeing before what you see today more clearly. But there is always more to see, it is a never ending process. I didn’t see this myself, what I wrote to you in my Nov 29 post, even though I read through your threads time after time again, in the past. And today I will see something new about you. There is always more to see, more to understand. (Except when we get stuck in the wrong seeing, the wrong understanding).
You wrote today: “seeing a rush has definitely been a theme in my life. I fit the definition of a thrill seeker in most ways though I never considered myself to be an emotional thrill seeker.. my thrill seeking is mostly physically challenging and risky activities like skateboarding, mountain climbing.. I feel fully alive when I’m doing them… I feel terribly unmotivated.. I feel the sadness and despair fully.. This feeling of hopelessness leads to a lot of thoughts of death…staring into this lonely void”.
This is what I see today: the feeling of full (that is, intense, deeply felt) despair, hopelessness, and sadness, these lead some animals, like dogs, to find an isolated spot to die there. So you thinking about death while experiencing these emotions fully is natural.
Your solution to this full emotional experience of despair is to experience the opposite, fully alive, a 180 degrees switch. This solution has not worked for you because following feeling fully alive for very short period of times, you feel fully hopeless a whole lot of the time. You are stuck in a roller coaster ride of long-lasting terrible lows and short thrilling highs.
A solution that will work for you is the 90 degree change, and it must involve giving up those highs, that fully alive emotional experience. It will be very difficult for you to do, because you will be giving up the only times you feel alive. .
It will take a re-training of your brain, training your brain to avoid thrill seeking behaviors, enduring the lack of those fully alive highs, enduring the low for a long time while paying closer attention to the lesser joyful experiences of life and over time, finding contentment and pleasure in them. In regard to relationships, it will be something like this: you meet a woman in a coffee shop and have a conversation. You know that you will not be taking her home or going to her place. You know there will be no sex for at least a month, if you keep seeing her for that month. So there you are in the coffee shop, talking, drinking coffee or whatnot. So… well, no sex in the horizon, what is there to do.. you look at her, listen and notice that she has this very nice smile, you let it warm your heart a bit, and you smile back. You ask her a question and she is glad you asked, glad to be listened to. Then she asks you a question and you answer. You are not worried of saying the wrong thing because there is no prize (sex) at the end of the meeting or any time soon, might never be. So you find yourself comfortable talking, you get some pleasure out of it.
anitaDecember 6, 2019 at 9:02 am #326327
Thank you once again for your reply and the thoughtful work you put in for me and all the others who use this forum.
“Your solution to this full emotional experience of despair is to experience the opposite, fully alive, a 180 degrees switch. This solution has not worked for you because following feeling fully alive for very short period of times, you feel fully hopeless a whole lot of the time. You are stuck in a roller coaster ride of long-lasting terrible lows and short thrilling highs.”
I never considered my behavior in this context, for some reason this brought to mind when i was struggling with cutting. I would cut when i felt dead, i remember telling someone once cutting reminded me i was alive, it was definitely a rush that a lot of people didn’t understand, looking at it through a brain chemistry perspective it also makes sense as it was my way of feeling good (dopamine) before i had access to weed.
“it will take a re-training of your brain, training your brain to avoid thrill seeking behaviors, enduring the lack of those fully alive highs, enduring the low for a long time while paying closer attention to the lesser joyful experiences of life and over time, finding contentment and pleasure in them”
This is the solution i seem to be avoiding yet i know in my heart is way. I told myself and some friends that the next woman i met i would wait at least a month before having sex. Did i do that? No, i waited all of 3 days. It seems the old saying “true love waits” is not complete bullshit. I have got to start being more disciplined and relaxed, such as implementing a mindfulness exercise into my life as you suggested. I already meditated about 15-20min daily but clearly this needs to be increased to help me recognize and resist impulsive behaviors. I tell people all the time in therapy that one cannot truly experience all the joy’s of life if their mind is not at peace, i know this because my mind is not at peace, not even close right now. I know what that peace feels like though, i have been there before not for long, but i have been there where witnessing a sunset is all i needed to be content for the day. I need to get back that peace so i stop chasing cheap thrills.December 6, 2019 at 9:42 am #326335
Retraining the brain is a very difficult task. It is something that of all living things, only humans can do, and few do that. It is an act of intentional creation, vs. the automatic reaction all animals and most humans do much of the time. It takes a dedication and relentless practice over time, throughout good days and bad days, moment by moment, day by day. It is exhausting!
It is taking the moment at hand, this very Now, and slowing down the rush, the rush to run away, the rush to feel better, the rush.. to React. And instead, Create.
I think that when people go to therapy, when they make some progress and Create some, they stop and say to themselves (not in these words): I created enough, it was tough, exhausting. I made enough progress, so it is time to stop this hard work and relax.
Over time, I found out that the relaxing while creating is very different from the relaxing in-between periods of unpleasant reacting. The latter is quick, we bring it about any which way (in your case: the cutting, the weed, the quick sex, mountain biking, etc.) The former is different- way less satisfying, I am sorry to report.
I will try to explain this point: the relaxing in-between periods of unpleasant reacting, in the context of a mostly unpleasant, dysfunctional life- those, I remember, were euphoric. My daydreaming as a teenager, I lived in a movie every day, fascinating. And otherwise, those breaks had a taste of heaven. Fast forward, as I relax now- no euphoria, no heaven (but what a relief it is to not experience hell either).
I thought about you, by the way, about a week ago while I visited a local taproom. The server, I realized then, was exactly your age. I looked at her and realized how young you are! I had a visual, a feeling of how young indeed you are. It is amazing and sad how miserable you have been for so long, being so young. But I was too, miserable with occasional heavenly breaks.
anitaDecember 8, 2019 at 7:07 am #326543
My therapist brought up my age in our session this past week, he said part of the reason i’m receiving positive feedback as a therapist is because i’ve suffered deeply and worked hard with my healing, so i recognize and understand the suffering of others, and it shows with my ability to connect with my clients. Sometimes I look at other people around my age and notice most have not even begun the work of healing themselves, and some never will.
This morning i’m struggling with hope for the future. I consider myself to be pretty good at accomplishing goals when i know what they are, i’ve always figured out how to get things done. The problem i’m running into right now is i don’t have any goals except to somehow feel better, which is vague. I don’t know what to do right now. I think a big part of the problem is not knowing what i want either, I don’t know where to go in my life because i don’t know where i want to go. It feels like all my passion and love for life is gone that usually informs my life direction and desires. Right now i have no direction, i feel like even if i did get the things i think i desire (girlfriend & close friends, community) that i would still be lost in where i’m going with them. I feel like my life is meaningless and i’m just waiting to die.
I’m also having an incredibly difficult time relaxing and have nearly lost all my creativity. I had nothing to do this weekend, and no responsibilities to take care of, no one to see, in the past i would work on art or music, but i haven’t been able to relax my mind enough to even get started on anything, then i wondered what’s the point of creating anything if no one will ever see it but me? I’m experiencing no enjoyment whatsoever right now, i read over jounral entries from the past year, and 95% of my entries say the same damn thing, that i’m hopeless, tired, and lonely. looking back over the past 10 years it’s all really been the same story. 10 years ago i was getting ready to graduated high school, had just attempted suicide, started cutting, and smoking weed regularly, and had met my first girlfriend. Here i am 10 years later and i feel like a complete failure, ive failed to quit harming myself, and ive failed at relationships. I may be a successful person by societal standards for living independently, being educated, and having a career, but none of my achievements do anything for my soul.December 8, 2019 at 7:36 am #326549
This bad feeling-state (“the same damn thing… hopeless, tired and lonely”) started early in your life, got established as a series of neurological- chemical processes in your brain, and it keeps going.
“The problem I’m running into right now is I don’t have any goals except to somehow feel better, which is vague”- it is always about feeling better, this is every animal’s motivation every day, all day long. You took on a very long term project motivated to feel better, and that was to graduate and be certified to practice psychotherapy. You also took on very short term “projects” to feel better: smoking weed, cutting, fast-paced sex/short pseudo-relationships.
Now you look back and you are out of projects, because you still feel bad, still experiencing the established physical- emotional experience maintained by existing neural- chemical activity.
It takes a whole lot to change that neural-chemical activity.
December 8, 2019 at 8:28 am #326557
- This reply was modified 6 days, 14 hours ago by anita.
Thank you for the reply.
The way you explained that really makes a lot of sense to me, because I’ve always thought of myself as a “project” type of person. Someone who finds (or creates) a problem and solves it, then moves on to the next problem. Looking at where that pattern started was certainly my childhood, subconsciously trying to solve my household dysfunction over and over again, To feel better.
it feels strange to not be in survival mode, I have grown accustomed to being in crisis and I’m sure my traumatized brain is always in fight or flight mode. I thought of this when I was struggling to relax and be creative the other night, cognitively I knew I had every right to relax and have some fun, but it was if my body was saying no telling me that I might be missing something if i relax too much.December 8, 2019 at 9:33 am #326575
“Looking at where that pattern started was certainly my childhood… I have grown accustomed to being in crisis.. my traumatized brain is always in fight or flight mode”- makes me think of the Complex PTSD diagnosis (is it still a suggested diagnosis, or has it been accepted and now an official diagnosis?)-
– did you ever consider basing your healing process on this CPTSD diagnosis, (which I am sure fits you, me and so many, many other people)?
(When I attended my first quality psychotherapy in 2011, my therapist came up with a diagnosis for me and used it as a starting point, having planned at least the beginning of therapy with me based on this diagnosis).
anitaDecember 8, 2019 at 10:14 am #326583
I have not heard of CPTSD but there’s no doubt I would have met the diagnosis for PTSD at one point or another in my life. In my opinion most “mental illnesses” are trauma responses and attempts for the human to achieve homeostasis in the midst of chaos.
Much of the therapy I have done has been centered around trauma, lots of CBT, and IFS (internal family systems) type work. Paying attention to my thoughts, identity trauma responses, labeling and working with wounded parts of my psyche (inner child, inner critic, wounded child, etc). I have been contemplating EMDR lately but don’t feel it will actually do me any good since I’m not experiencing severe trauma responses, and I have worked on a lot of my negative cognitions and core beliefs to the point where I can be rational with them.
i feel I am in most need of something for my soul , I don’t even have the words for it or can describe what I mean by that. I guess the closest thing I can think of is to feel connected with the universe and not so alienated.December 8, 2019 at 11:00 am #326589
“I feel I am in most need of something for my soul”- form the intent to experience life differently, to let go of the attachment to the old experience of life. Every time you find yourself sinking in the same-old-same-old, form the intent to experience something new.
Instead of analyzing once again, recognize simply the possibility available to you, to live a different kind of life, one where you are not held hostage forevermore to that unfortunate experience of childhood. Determine to do whatever is needed to be done so to make this happen, moment by moment, every day.
Don’t sink in and drown in the same thoughts, same emotions of long ago. Imagine different thoughts, and more importantly, imagine different feelings.
Let go of any and all loyalty to the people of your past who encourage somehow the same-old-same-old life experience in you, and place all your loyalty to this new you, that is, you experiencing a new kind of life.
anitaDecember 9, 2019 at 9:05 am #326699
I looked up the IFS you mentioned (Internal Family Systems Model) on Wikipedia. It reads: “IFS sees consciousness as composed of a central self with three types of subpersonalities or parts: managers, exiles, and firefighters.. A core tenet of IFS is that every part has a positive intent for the person, even if its actions or effects are counterproductive or cause dysfunction. This means that there is never any reason to fight with, coerce, or try to eliminate a part; the IFS method promotes internal connection and harmony… Managers are parts with preemptive protective roles. They handle the way a person interacts with the external world to protect them from being hurt by others and try to prevent painful or traumatic feelings and experiences from flooding a person’s awareness. Exiles are parts that are in pain, shame, fear, or trauma, usually from childhood. Managers and firefighters try to exile these parts from consciousness, to prevent this pain from coming to the surface… Firefighters.. work to distract a person’s attention from the hurt or shame experienced by the exiles by leading them to engage in impulsive behaviors like overeating, drug use, violence, or having inappropriate sex.. overworking or over-medicating… Everyone has a true self. known as Self to distinguish it from the parts… (and) have access to this Self and its healing qualities of curiosity, connectedness, compassion, and calmness. IFS sees the therapist’s job as helping the client to disentangle themselves from their parts and access the Self… The goal of IFS is to have a cooperative and trusting relationship between the Self and each part”.
My thoughts this Monday morning: The Firefighters part of you, you (and I) are well aware of that part. The Manager part, that is quite clear to me. Last you mentioned this part is yesterday, (not using the term): “I’ve always thought of myself as a ‘project’ type of person. Someone who finds (or creates) a problem and solves it, then moves on to the next problem… To feel better”.
The Exiles part, there is more understanding to be made about this part. Throughout your posts and threads, you expressed a lot of awareness of the “pain, shame, fear.. trauma” that you experienced since childhood, at times crying whole heartedly, feeling the pain intensely, the pain of feeling unloved and unlovable. But there is something missing in your awareness of Exiles, and this is why Firefighters have been working overtime, and why Manager, however hard it works has been overall unsuccessful in making you feel better. I mentioned this lack of awareness from the beginning of our communication, but your manager chose to dismiss my input.
Here it is again (and for simplicity, I will mention only your mother here, not your father): you may not think about your mother much, you may not be in contact with her much, and you may think that you understand everything there is to understand about her role in your life, and that you are over it. But you are not.
I will explain further: for as long as you did not successfully confront the following core belief (and your attachment to this belief) that she was a loving mother to you, you are still holding on to this belief (even if you don’t think about it).
For as long as you are holding on to this belief, you are also holding on to the belief that there is something very wrong with you. You can’t change the latter belief unless you change the former because the two are tightly connected.
The positive intent of Exiles, holding on to the former belief is to ease the pain, to feel loved. But it backfires because Exiles also believe being terribly faulty, unlovable and that hurts, followed by Firefighters hijacking your life and you end up on mental/emotional rollercoasters of impulse and drama that give you a rush, but no love.
Like I wrote to you ages ago- if your mother loved you as a child, you wouldn’t have felt so unloved, a core feeling that lasted through and is dominant still, in your third decade of life. (It is not possible for a child to be loved and yet… to somehow miss that love!)
You wrote yesterday: “the other night, cognitively I knew I had every right to relax and have some fun, but it was (as) if my body was saying no, telling me that I might be missing something if I relax too much”-
– how can Manager relax its tight grip on Exiles- leaving a part that is so faulty and incapable to relax and create.. that is a recipe for disaster.
anitaDecember 9, 2019 at 4:26 pm #326787
thank you for your reply. I may respond more in depth to what you wrote at a later time. I’m glad you responded. I quit one of my jobs today, I couldn’t work while I was there it didn’t feel right, I couldn’t focus, it’s bad for the people who need treatment. I don’t know what I’m going todo. I still have one job though but I’ll have to get another for stable income. I talked with my roommate today and she thinks I hate myself which is true, I can’t receive love because of it even when love is present. I feel defective, I’m losing hope more and more every dayDecember 9, 2019 at 5:11 pm #326791
I am sad to read this, that you are losing hope, so very sad. My input earlier today is the best I have for you, and it is a repetition of earlier input, long ago. I don’t know if you will be more receptive to it now than you have been months ago, it being you are losing more hope every day. I do have hope for you though. Like I wrote earlier, you are so very young, in your twenties, you do have time to heal, and youth still. I will be back in about 13 hours. I am hoping extra for you, (to make up for today’ loss of hope)!