January 19, 2020 at 11:32 am #334219
“While it is helpful to reflect on my relationships with my parents, I’m at a point where I just don’t care to much to talk about it anymore, I know I didn’t get what I needed.. Now my challenge is how to feel lovable no matter what my life circumstances may be… I desperately ant to feel loveable internally, no matter what… It frustrates me to no end that I keep trying to accomplish and achieve and gain love just as I did my whole childhood”-
It is not helpful to talk more about how your parents didn’t love you. It will be helpful to no longer be physically present for their non-love.
You wrote regarding your mother: “last time I saw her she was too busy being depressed to greet me with affection, not that I expect it anyway”. Last time was this month, Jan 2020, wasn’t it?
So you see, it is still happening, now. She is depressed not only then, but now, and she is not affectionate toward you now, not only then. Your childhood is still happening even though you are in your third decade, a psychotherapist and even though you don’t live with your parents.
And just like you tried to not care before, you still try to not care- trying to feel lovable internally regardless of the external circumstances of your parents still being in your life and still not loving you. And just like before, you are still “trying to accomplish and achieve and gain love”, still trying to earn their love.
You excuse why you must have them in your life: having to fix your car in your father’s garage, having to visit your mother because your sister lives there; thing is, you are still a boy in that very childhood. You need not talk, you need to physically remove yourself from the presence of your parents, you have to change your external circumstances this way so to open the way for you to eventually be loved and feel lovable.
anitaJanuary 19, 2020 at 2:21 pm #334233
I understand why you continually reiterate that I need not to contact my parents whatsoever. I have no contact with my father, and I see my mom every now and then. I have drastically changed the way I interact with my mom over the past couple years. It would be nice not to have contact with either one of them, unfortunately I refuse to give up seeing my sister just because my mom will be around.
I know you are trying your best to help me gain some clarity. I also understand my lingering depression and attempted coping strategy of achievement is my inner child still serving my parents. However I disagree that just through having no contact will my thoughts and feelings about my lovability drastically change. I do appreciate everything you have offered me over the past few years and I’m so grateful for the insight I’ve gained because of your help. I just don’t know if what little contact I have with my parents is really what’s keeping me from feeling lovable. I realize it’s where the problem started, no doubt, but I no longer see it as what is maintaining it.January 19, 2020 at 2:39 pm #334235
I didn’t say that your thoughts and feelings about our lovability will drastically change once you have no contact with your parents, I said NC will “open the way for you to eventually be loved and feel lovable”, eventually, not immediate and not drastically.
But no contact will do nothing for you whatsoever if you don’t desire it, if it is of no great value to you, in your own mind and heart.
Underneath the boy in you who doesn’t expect love from his mother anymore, who understand the why-s and doesn’t want or need to talk about it anymore, this depressed boy who is very repressed, there is a younger boy who craves his mother as any real life young boy craves his mother, very intensely, as always. It is that younger boy who needs you to remove him from his home of origin, to take him out of that place of no love.
Look at the title of your thread: “Being better at accepting depression”- I don’t think that you can being better at accepting depression, I don’t think anyone can get good at it. No one can be okay being depressed.
Get in touch with that younger boy in you, the one who craves his mother still. He is underneath the depression.
January 19, 2020 at 4:36 pm #334251
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
I don’t like the thought that what I posted to you earlier distressed you. I didn’t intend to cause you to feel pressured to do anything, such as to to cut contact with any of your parents. I want to give our recent exchange more thought and post to you when I am fresh tomorrow morning, Martin Luther King Day, in about 14 hours from now.
anitaJanuary 20, 2020 at 8:15 am #334307
The title of your thread is “being better at accepting depression”. You started it June 20, 2018, exactly a year and seven months ago. This was your opening sentence: “I’ve reached a point with myself where no matter how much work I put in, no matter how mindful I am, no matter how motivated I am, I still get chronically depressed”. Twenty four pages into your thread and you are still chronically depressed.
Martin Luther King said something like this (you can look it up): you can’t drive darkness with darkness; only light can drive away darkness.
Your darkness is your depression and you can’t drive it away while being depressed, being in the dark. You need Light. Where is your source of light? It is within the very young boy that you were before he got repressed and depressed, when he woke up in the morning excited about the day to come, looking forward to experience wonderful things to come, love and adventure.
You shared about the boy that you were here on your thread, but the boy you shared about was already repressed and depressed. Your source of Light is the boy that you were before the depression.
When I made contact with that part of me, she wouldn’t come out of that dark prison cell where she lived for so many years unless I promised her that I will never have her be in the presence of my mother. She had to be convinced of it. It is not that I had an agenda to end contact with my mother and forced it on her; she came up with it, she wanted it.
And she felt guilty about it at the same time. The guilt was dark, her desire to be safe and free was my Light. That hope, that optimism, that positive anticipation, all that was dependent on me promising her that she will not once again see her mother.
It will be nice if you connect to your source of Light when you are still in your twenties, and not as I did, three decades later. It feels a bit.. weird to connect to that youthful energy, that Light, when the body is aging.
Will your individual very young self, your source of Light, agree to come out and up from under while his mother is still present in his life? It is for you to find out. But you have to put him first, before your mother and before your sister, and listen to him, to what he wants, what he needs, what he desires in the context of the people who placed him in that dark cell.
Listen to him, have his best interest in mind as your first priority- not your mother’s, not your father’s and not your sister’s. He has to be your Number One priority.
anitaJanuary 21, 2020 at 9:40 am #334422
Thank you for reply, your concern, and thoughtfulness about my life it really helps me begin to feel as i’m worthy of love because of the effort you put forth in these posts. Thank you.
The more i practice mindfulness and daily meditation, the more dreams i have at night. I have been noticing heavy themes in my dreams, the most prevalent being myself trying to earn love in one way or another, whether it be through protecting others, helping, or some kind of achievement.
To your point of making contact with who i was before depression i have been so hungry for that lately, especially as I’ve reduced my substance usage. It has made me aware that it is difficult for me to be playful or lighthearted without substances. I’ve also noticed wanting to feel various emotions but having difficulty accessing them. I’m not nearly as depressed as i once was because through the work i’ve done on myself i was able to access some of those buried emotions, though I have a sense as if there’s some serious grief that needs to be accessed and my ego keeps trying to do it’s best to protect me from seeing whats there. It has been frustrating to say the least, i have an intuitive feeling that is where my relief lies, in accessing and feeling that pain.
My hope is that through continued mindfulness practice, I might be able to shine some light on what’s been repressed and grieve. Through my own discovery last year I fell in love with skateboarding again, something that has been near to my heart since i was a child. I remember being 4 years old and getting my first board, one of my earliest memories. I cherished that board so much it felt like freedom. I’m so glad i found my lost obsession for skateboarding again last year, it is pure joy, and brings out the childlike playfulness and creativity i greatly miss. I’ve left the skatepark a few times with tears in my eyes the past couple months happy that i found something i love enough in this world to get me excited to get out of bed, all while connecting with that boy who couldn’t wait to get out of school to go skate. I want nothing more than to be close to that boy again. I agree with everything you said, he is the portal to my joy. My strong inner critic doesn’t want him to be seen, I hope i can figure out how to find him?January 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm #334434
I will read and reply to your recent post in a few hours.
anitaJanuary 21, 2020 at 6:09 pm #334470
You are very welcome and thank you for expressing your appreciation.
You wrote that in your dreams, the most prevalent theme is “trying to earn love in one way or another”. Very recently, I am thinking about what love of a parent for a child means, and I figure it means that the parent values the child in practice- not as an object, or a toy, or as company so the parent is not alone, or someone to show off or brag about and so forth- but as a three dimensional human being with thoughts and emotions and needs, as worthy as any human of any age, anywhere.
To value a child in practice would mean to never mistreat the child, to always be respectful to the child, to ask him questions and listen attentively and with curiosity, wanting to know more.
When the child is not valued, the child tries to earn being valued in all kinds of ways. I think that after trying so many times to earn it, over a long, long time, and failing to earn it, the child gets depressed.
When a parent doesn’t value a young child, before he is able to accomplish anything, it is because the parent does not value children. Maybe the parent values rich people or powerful business people and their children are neither one of these things. The achievements of a child in little league or grammar school may not be enough for a parent. Or a parent may use these achievements so to brag to her peers, which is using the child, not valuing the child.
“I have a sense as if there’s some serious grief that needs to be accessed”- maybe it is the grief of not having been valued by your parents. To be valued by one’s parents is a fundamental need of a child. It hurts so deeply to not be valued by the people the child values most highly, his/ her parents. The child needs his parents to value him. When this need is dissatisfied, it doesn’t go away and it cannot be satisfied by professional and material achievements or be experienced for long, if at all, with romantic partners, not without enough emotional healing.
“I want nothing more than to be close to that boy again.. he is the portal to my joy.. I hope I can figure out how to find him?”
You said it so well, the portal to your joy. To find him, we can start with what brought you joy, and still does, skateboarding. You wrote that you were four when you got your first board, that you cherished that board so much, and “couldn’t wait to get out of school to go skate”- do you remember who bought you that board and if one of your parents taught you to skateboard or encouraged you to skateboard.. in other words, did any of your parents (or any adult) value you skateboarding?
January 23, 2020 at 8:21 pm #334720
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by anita.
I have been thinking about your post for the past couple of days, and clearly I wasn’t valued by my parents in the ways i needed them most, which was emotionally. My emotions were always secondary to theirs. I remember a birthday when I was about 11 or 12 and unwrapping my gift. I wanted to get through with unwrapping my gift as quickly as possible and get to my room in the basement so I wouldn’t have to sit through my parents dysfunctional relationship any longer that day, i can’t remember where we were before i got home to unwrap my gift i just remember i couldn’t wait to be away from them and the hair trigger attitudes that filled the air with tension. What I do remember is already being hyper aware of my parents emotional states by that age, or else i would face the consequences of not taking care of them. As i typed out that last sentence my stomach turned a bit and reminded me of that feeling of walking on eggshells never being able to relax in their presence, my favorite part of the day in my adolescence was being home alone or just me and my sister, because it meant peace.
I have been excited lately to find out what can happen in my life if i’m able to heal from my childhood, and truly love myself the way i need to. I can’t believe how far i’ve come already and I can only imagine how great life can be if I keep working at healing and take care of those wounded parts of myself. I’m thirsty to know who I am, my soul, and purpose in this life and universe. I feel closer to the answer than ever before i just need some guidance to find myself. It also excites me because i’ve noticed the more im able to understand my self the better i have become at doing therapy with others. I have been receiving unsolicited positive feedback lately and I know it’s because I am able to recognize patterns in others that have been brought into light for myself through therapy and through your guidance on this forum.
I’m getting a little off track here from the original purpose of getting in contact with the boy i was before depression. I want to say my parents bought me the skateboard when i was about 4 years old because i picked it out at toys-r-us. I have a vivid image of it in my mind and have been thinking of recreating it through a drawing. No one really encouraged me to skate, i remember watching the first x-games on TV at my grandmothers house in 1996 and trying to do what i saw on tv. As i grew older they opened a skatepark right next to my elementary school so i would go after school, i skated off and on and got back into it around 16 and 17 and then stopped cold turkey when i met my first girlfriend which i now regret. Skating was everything to me at one point, when i was fed up at home i would skate about 2-3 miles to the park and hangout all day and come back when it was dark. It was like all the misfit children knew exactly where to go. Nowadays I cant get enough and i feel pure joy when im riding, i feel free, extroverted, playful, creative, and as if i belong in the presence of other skaters. I think we all know there is something deeply painful were running from and skating is the escape.
Thinking of what else brought me joy as a young child, I keep thinking of living at my grandmothers house at age 4-5, it was more peaceful there than the apartments we lived in before, and the house we moved into after when my parents had no one monitoring their antics. I would play outside for hours, digging in dirt, chasing animals, and my favorite thing to do was climb the tree in her backyard. Me and my cousins about 8 of us would climb into this tree and we all had a spot to sit. We would play games and talk, or just sit and admire the small changes in the tree every month. I still love being outside in nature and feel belonging when i’m in the woods. I haven’t been hiking in a while but a friend offered recently so i will take them up on that and get back to myself hopefully.January 24, 2020 at 9:04 am #334870
“My emotions were always secondary to theirs”- healing is about making your emotions primary, and theirs- secondary; in theirs I mean everyone. Not a single person’s emotions should be primary to yours.
I just read the part about you rushing to unwrap your gifts (often, I read a part of a post, respond to it, then proceed to the next) and thought that you rushed because you were excited to find out what the gift is.. and then I read that you rushed because you wanted to get away from your parents and go to your basement: “I couldn’t wait to be away from them and the hair trigger attitudes that filled the air with tension”.
And now what I am thinking is: you shouldn’t visit your mother anymore, where the air has the same tension, I believe. I remember you visiting there Dec/ Jan 2020 and you were feeling badly there. Don’t put your sister’s emotions before yours by sacrificing yourself and visiting her in your mother’s home.
Next, I read that your “stomach turned a bit and reminded me of that feeling of walking on eggshells never being able to relax in their presence”- I am thinking: their presence was bad for you then, it is bad for you now.
(No pressure there, by the way, that you cut contact and so forth, no pressure of any kind, I am giving you my thoughts as I read your post piece by piece, that is all).
“my favorite part of the day in my adolescence was being home alone or just me and my sister. because it meant peace”- I can relate to time alone, my time of peace when I was a teenager, listening to music and fantasizing about a different kind of life.
“I have been excited lately to find out what can happen in my life if I’m able to heal from my childhood.. I can’t believe how far I’ve come already and I can only imagine how great life can be if I keep working on healing.. I’m thirsty to know who I am”- yes, you did come far. I don’t remember reading such positive excitement and optimism from you before.
“I’m getting a little off track here from the original purpose of getting in contact with the boy I was before depression”- no, you are right on track: the excitement and thirst and optimism you expressed right above do belong to the boy you were before the depression.
Your love of skating, I think it is at least partly about what you wrote in the beginning of your post: “couldn’t wait to be away from them”.. “as quickly as possible”.
“No one really encouraged me to skate”- you certainly didn’t need to be encouraged to get away from that “hair trigger attitudes that filled the air with tension” aka your childhood home/s.
And next I read: “when I was fed up at home I would skate about 2-3 miles to the park and hangout all day and come back when it was dark”- yes. If you put your inner child’s emotions first, primary, you would promise him that you will never go back to that home when it was dark.
Again, I am not pressuring you, I am okay if you continue to go back to your mother’s home, or your father’s. It’s just that the boy in you- the boy from before the depression- doesn’t want to. And someone has to speak for him. So I do, I speak for him here: he doesn’t want to go back there, not for anyone. Listen to him, respect him, don’t push him back as secondary to anyone.
I have no doubt about what I wrote just above. Can you imagine.. do you think it is arrogant of me to think that I know better than you do, what the boy in you wants and needs?
You mentioned belonging with other skaters, and later, that you “feel belonging when I’m in the woods”- you didn’t belong in that home, so you escaped to the basement. The skating park, the outdoors, nature, woods.. that’s not just an escape, it is moving toward belonging, feeling excited, moving toward living life.
January 24, 2020 at 1:25 pm #334916
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by anita.
Thank you for your reply.
I do believe you have my best interest in mind, the reflections you’ve provided have always been helpful for me to further my insight into myself. I realize the boy in me wants nothing to do with my mother or father, and that I make excuses why I have to continue to interact with them. I realize by spending time with them I am robbing myself of time that could be spent living the life I want and finding ways to get my needs met. Thank you for being patient with me. The most difficult part is missing my sister, sometimes there is a part of me who wished she would’ve refused to take my mom in after her divorce. If there’s one thing i’ve learned about people through my work in social services, it’s that people will figure out how to survive, my sister was sucked into my moms victimhood believing she was incapable of taking care of herself. I look at myself and I have been selfish since leaving home at 18, i’ve been selfish because I gave up so much of myself taking care of my parents for so long. My mom wouldn’t even think twice about ever asking to live with me, but she knew she could manipulate my sisters guilt (empathy abuse as you called it) and live with her. I digress. You’re right though it will eventually take zero contact between my parents for me to feel better. Hopefully this happens sooner than later. Everytime i think my parents are changing they do something to let me down once again. In this way I am insane, doing the same thing expecting a different result.
Speaking of avoiding insanity, I met a woman who took interest in me, and she seems emotionally healthy. As difficult as it may be i’m committed to building emotional intimacy with her slowly before getting physical. It will take self control and thinking ahead to what i really want to accomplish, but i’m so over my self-destruction at this point. I want something different for a change.January 24, 2020 at 2:23 pm #334922
I am so excited to read that you met a woman who is interested in you, and who seems emotionally healthy and that you are “committed to building emotional intimacy with her slowly before getting physical”!
I suggest that you commit to a certain length of time of not getting physical, let’s say two weeks, a non-negotiable two weeks. At the end of these two weeks evaluate and decide. If within these two weeks you met her many times and had wonderful conversations, if it seems very promising, then.. maybe decide that it is okay to kiss the week after, after that week, evaluate further. This is better than not having a timeline at all, or having a timeline that is difficult to keep and that doesn’t permit evaluation, for example: a month of no physical contact, and that month happens to include many good dates.
Regarding your sister, you can meet her outside the apartment where she lives with her mother. But like I wrote earlier, I really don’t want to appear like I am pressuring you, not at all. I am okay with dropping the issue, you already know my position and most importantly by far- you know that it is the position of the boy in you.
And you are welcome. And it is true, I do have your best interest in mind.
anitaFebruary 13, 2020 at 12:44 pm #338026
Good afternoon Anita,
I have been doing well over the past couple weeks, i hope you’re doing well too.
I have been somewhat apathetic towards life and unmotivated. I’m still sticking to my routine of meditation, journaling, and exercise regardless. I’m sure the weather isn’t helping as i haven’t spent as much time outdoors as i’d like. Something I’ve noticed since meeting this girl a few weeks ago is that i am generally uncomfortable being emotionally & physically intimate with people. Unfortunately I had sex with her last weekend despite telling myself I wasn’t going to. I took her home and she asked for a kiss at the end of the night, after i gave her a hug and was getting ready to leave, and things escalated from there. Afterward I didn’t regret it but i felt i let myself down again for not having more self control. We both had the day off yesterday and got lunch and went and checked out an art exhibit then went to my apartment to hangout for the rest of the day. We talked alot. She told me alot about her past and how she’s grown and i did the same. After she left and today I couldn’t help but feel as if I want out immediately. She want’s a relationship and I’m afraid to move that direction, because i feel like there is going to be something i am blind to which will eventually make me miserable. I really feel more comfortable being completely alone, i have noticed myself feeling distant from my clients, my roommate, and friends. It’s almost like i feel as if all relationships must be problematic. I don’t know what’s going on with me but it seems as if i’m more comfortable keeping distance from everyone and interacting sporadically, but i know that makes me miserable. I was hoping you might be able to help me navigate myself to discover what is causing my alarm to go off when getting close to people and how to work with it. Thanks!February 13, 2020 at 1:19 pm #338038
I was just reading about emotional dysregulation on Wikipedia, and I’d say that emotional dysregulation, or inadequate emotional regulation is in the core of your current emotional experience. You feel too intensely, get scared of the intensity aka getting overwhelmed and as a result you are withdrawing.
Let me quote for you from what I read just a few moments ago with my comments on how it fits your current predicament: “Emotional dysregulation is a term used in the mental health community that refers to emotional responses that are poorly modulated.. exhibiting emotions too intense for a situation, difficulty calming down when upset, difficulty decreasing negative emotions, becoming avoidant or aggressive when dealing with negative emotions”-
– from your post, your extreme negative emotions in regard to an intimate relationship with this woman: “generally uncomfortable emotionally & physically intimate with people.. I let myself down again.. I’m afraid to move that direction”.
– you becoming avoidant: “apathetic towards life.. I want out immediately… I really feel more comfortable being completely alone.. feeling distant from my clients, my roommate, and friends.. I’m more comfortable keeping distance from everyone”.
The way to proceed is: do not reject this woman. If you do, it will give you the relief you seek, the relief from the intense negative emotions you are experiencing, but you will regret it later. After all, you’ve been desiring an intimate healthy relationship with a woman for so long!
You will have to emotionally regulate yourself then. I bet you studied the topic of emotional regulation. Use the skills you learned about in practice today, this evening and onward. Aim at recognizing a negative feeling and decrease its intensity. Don’t get alarmed and overwhelmed. Take it one moment, one hour at a time. This is the only way you can make it, one hour at a time, proceed even though you are scared, but regulate that fear. And post back to me anytime.
anitaFebruary 17, 2020 at 9:39 am #338702
Thank you for your reply I paid close attention to what you said about emotional regulation. It is exactly what i needed to do, tolerate the discomfort and resist the urge to engage in my childlike coping strategies. Thank you for your reflection. I find it difficult to see myself sometimes, had someone come to me with this same issue it would have been easy for me to identify. This does scare me sometimes as well, the fact that I am an adult yet my inner child is so noisy and still requires very much attention.
I would like your input on another topic as well, accepting other peoples past. I’m very into this woman i’m seeing and she is kind, thoughtful, intelligent, independent, and empathetic. She told me about her past though and that’s when I became afraid and wanted to run. When she was a teenager she became pregnant and didn’t know who the father was. She regretfully got an abortion and never told anyone. after that she said she didn’t have sex or any relationship of any kind for 3 years. Then she was in a relationship for a 1 year and ended it. I run into this problem often with myself, I find myself judging her for her mistakes. I hate that i do this. I don’t do this with my clients either, i try to keep an unconditional positive regard towards them, but women i want to be intimate with i find myself judging them for their past even if they are more self-aware and a completely different person now. It makes me feel hypocritical
Also, I wanted your input on another topic as well. I went to my sisters yesterday to some work on my car. While i was talking to my sister my mom continually interrupts so i just ignore her and keep talking to my sister. I was talking with my brother in law and my mom comes out of nowhere and interrupts yet again, i sighed and rolled my eyes. My mom went off and screamed “you’re always so F***ing disrespectful!” i asked if she wanted to talk about it and she just went upstairs to her room and stayed there the rest of the day.
This morning she texts me this “I’m not sure why you continue to have an issue with me, but i think we are old enough to have a conversation about it. I will not continue to be made to feel as if I have to walk on eggshells around you. You act as if i inconvenience you by being emotional about the last 2 1/2 years, trust that you know a snippet of what has gone on. If it’s not about you then we all know it’s not your concern. So please stop being so disrespectful towards me, i don’t deserve that from my child. I have decided not to take treatment from anyone that i do not deserve and i know deserve the type of treatment you constantly give me”….
I replied “Good for you”
she replies “I dont have time to convince you that i’m worthy of your respect. so I have my non answer”
I replied “if you actually care you wouldn’t be passive aggressive in the message you sent me telling me ‘if its not about you we all know you don’t care’ continuing to try to make me feel sorry for you ‘trust you know a snippet of what has gone on’ Good! i don’t want to know everything that goes on with you it drains me, take care of yourself please”
She replies “if you have such disdain for me then why would you accept anything from me?” (referring to the money she gave me when she divorced)
I replied “let’s just not talk to eachother anymore please” and then i blocked her on my phone.
Sorry for the length of this post i cannot express my gratitude enough for all the help you continue to provide me. I feel I’m at that point with her that you have encouraged many many times. No contact whatsoever. I was offended many times in this communication 1. she says we should be old enough to have a conversation but she declined my request to talk in the moment. Childish. 2. She says i don’t care about anyone but myself but i helped her with SO much since she’s been divorced moving shit, working on her car, consoling her. Childish. 3. It’s still about her because i don’t know everything that goes on with her. That’s my greatest wish honestly i was tired of her shit so i set a boundary and i felt much better but to her this means i’m letting her down. Childish. 4. She says she doesn’t deserve disrespect from her own child, implying she deserves uncondtional respect no matter how disrespectful she has been to me because i am HER child. Childish. 5. when she asks why do i continue to accept anything from her, well because she stole my tax return money when i was in college and didn’t tell me until years later. Not to mention the emotional damages. a few thousand dollars barely made up for the money she took.
Overall i’m disgusted i was working out in the gym this morning when i got these messages and it just pissed me off even more because it saps my energy. I guess i’d like an outside perspective (validation) on this matter but i refuse to believe what i’m feeling is somehow invalid. She acts as if i’m somehow at a loss for not communicating with her, but i’m the one who loses every time by engaging with her, so i’m done. This does make things even more difficult for me to see my sister, but i guess she will just have to come and see me now.