July 26, 2021 at 4:04 pm #383487
I took last week off work…to catch up on work, but also to relax some. I have been busy being social and it feels good, like I have my life back in a way.
To your question “what is it about being loved that scares you so much, what is the danger?” the first thing that I feel when looking at it is “I will eventually disappoint you, and you won’t love me anymore”.
I have continued to try to date and met an amazing woman. She is open, compassionate, doing meaningful work in the world, and beautiful to top it off…and it terrifies me. For a long time I think i have been making the excuse to myself that what i need and want in a partner just doesn’t exist, and now with it being right there in front of me i got lots of scared little boy feelings start popping up when i realized it. I’ve been very honest with her about my life, and my struggles, even the recent ones, and she didn’t run away or get angry with me (unlike my last girlfriend, a therapist, who said “i thought you were over being depressed?”). In fact she was also very upfront and vulnerable with me as well. We also discovered we have mutual friends.
I’ve been seeing her about 2 weeks now and we haven’t had sex, and i want it to stay that way for a while until i feel we have a safe and secure connection. It’s very strange to me because i haven’t watched porn in about 3 weeks and i’m not overly eager to have sex with her right now even though im sure it would be great. The connection feels real and genuine and its very scary to me because i think she’s too good for me, and im going to mess it up. At the same time i’m also starting to see my worth and attractiveness because of how I choose to live my life and part of me feels like someone like her also recognizes it.
I’m making sure to maintain my routine meditations, socializing, and exercise to keep me in good spirits and so far it has been working last week was the best i’ve rated my moods in over a year.July 26, 2021 at 4:27 pm #383489
What crossed my mind as I read your recent post is this: maybe she is special enough, wonderful enough (although imperfectly) to see through your fears, through your low self esteem, through your depression, through your past- and like what she sees, and then, grows to love what she sees. Not because of how successfully you present yourself to her, but because she can see through you, into the core of you.
I like what I see in the core of you. She may too!
anitaJuly 27, 2021 at 4:40 pm #383548
Thank you for the well wishes Anita.
I’m trying my best to be more mindful this time around. The more I pay attention to what i’m feeling the deeper i’m realizing my wounds are. I experienced an intense anxiety last night when thinking about the possibility that she may not like me back and it made me want to delete her number and cut all contact. Thankfully I didn’t do that instead i reached out to her and said I’m excited to see her again, which is the truth, and she responded well to it.
That anxious feeling though was so intense for me. It started right in the middle of my abdomen just below my heart (solar plexus), and radiated outward through all my limbs and eventually came out through my eyes as tears. It wasn’t sadness, I believe it was fear of losing an attachment. It felt familiar, the same debilitating sensation that lasted for hours when i broke up with my first girlfriend. I’ve never been able to really take a step back and just watch how that sensation moves through my body until last night. I think if i can be slightly detached from that discomfort i can better control my response to it. So many times i have self-sabotaged relationships because of my response to that discomfort.
When I realized that sensation is not new, i began to wonder how far that feeling goes back, and tried to approach it like my inner child and was asking myself “what does he need?” and I the answer was safety. I cried alot after that realizing i have never felt safe in my life. I’ve worked very hard to build my skills so that I will likely be financially safe, but it was heartbreaking realizing i’ve had no relationships where i’ve felt safe.
I’m hoping i can find safety in relationships one day if I’m able to take care of myself well enough to keep trying, and taking risks.July 27, 2021 at 5:55 pm #383566
You described beautifully your fear, how it travelled from your solar plexus (a complex network of nerves located in the abdomen, below the heart, behind the stomach, called “solar” because of its radiating nerve fibers) through your arms and legs, coming out through your eyes as tears.
You wrote about that experience: “It felt familiar, the same debilitating sensation that lasted for hours when I broke up with my first girlfriend“- and you survived that hours long sensation, it wasn’t deadly. Remember this when you feel it next, maybe at night, say to yourself: this will not kill me. There will be a tomorrow for me, and imagine the morning to come, visualize it, see you in it.
“I have never felt safe in my life… I’ve had no relationships where I’ve felt safe“- it is heartbreaking.
“I’m hoping I can find safety in relationships one day if I’m able to take care of myself well enough to keep trying, and taking risks“- key is to detect the first, minute bit of safety and let it in. I don’t think that safety (the feeling/ perception of it) is going to appear to you like a big, heavenly experience. You will have to pay attention and notice a small bit of safety here and there, and absorb those bits, one by one. Over time, you will be able to endure bigger portions of safety (similar to a starving person unable to ingest a large portion of food, and has to ingest small portions of food, a bit at a time, then wait for a few hours before taking another portion.
anitaJuly 31, 2021 at 11:25 pm #383860skyParticipant
Hi. I used to feel what you do, but not any more. I don’t expect you to be curious enough to reply and ask me about my success, but if you do, that would be fine with me. I’ll help you get to where you want to be, I promise. No charge. What will I show you? I’ll share what it takes to erase past trauma or “overwrite” it. If you don’t think that’s a big deal, then you obviously don’t get the essential point. All the best.August 3, 2021 at 11:26 am #384033
i would be glad to hear about method for overwriting your trauma! I will always consider any suggestions.
I do want to point out your comment does come off condescending “if you don’t think that’s a big deal then you obviously don’t get the essential point” not sure if you meant it to come off that way. That statement suggests if I don’t value overwriting my trauma using your strategy then I’m missing some kind of “obvious” competence.
Also, promising you can get people where they want to be seems like a dangerous game, what if you can’t? Then someone must be at fault who would take the blame? because you promised you would fulfill my wishes for a better life. A promise is a certainty. There is no certainty you or I can change anyone else’s lifeSeptember 18, 2021 at 9:43 am #386393MarkParticipant
I was there, and it is really hard, but the key is you just have to think about it less. Surround yourself with people, find something you like to do. You have to accept that you’re the one to blame, and only you can find your way out of this. That is my personal experience.October 13, 2021 at 8:23 pm #387336
How are you, noname.. It’s been so long!
anitaNovember 2, 2021 at 9:42 am #388094
I am doing well, how are you?
I have been prioritizing my mental health over the past few months. I am about 2 months away from earning my full therapy license which will mean i will finally have a consistent income, so that is a relief. Other than that I have been putting more time and effort into the relationship with myself, mainly through regular meditation, and compassionate self-reflection when journaling. I have been trying shift my attention to things that make me happy, i’m grateful for, and things i’m doing well. I had been away from journaling consistently for a couple years and now recognize why it was so helpful in maintaining a healthy relationship to myself.
I did end up breaking up with the girl i was seeing, but i was proud that i was able to date without having sex immediately for the first time. I was also proud i honored my authenticity by ending a relationship that wasn’t a good fit. She was very critical of my career decisions, and just decisions in general and had alot of “should’s and shouldnt’s” for me every time we talked so i realized we were not a match in our development.
My current focus has been on living effortlessly meaning maintaining a state of not trying too hard, acceptance of what my current life circumstances are, and remaining present. When my wounded inner child is activated i am living in the past, so i’ve been working on responding to him compassionately while also keeping him at healthy distance, not too far away where i cant hear his cries (weed & alcohol), and not so close that he takes over my functioning (powerlessness, hopelessness).November 2, 2021 at 11:43 am #388100
So good to read from you, almost 3 months since you posted last. I am doing better, recovering from over-straining my neck and shoulder a few days ago.. it’s tough to be in physical pain, although any kind of pain is.. well, painful.
Good to read the following: (1) that you are about 2 months away from earning your FULL therapy license, excellent! (2) that you are prioritizing your mental health through regular meditation, compassionate and positive self-reflection, acceptance of your current life circumstances, remaining present, and keeping a healthy distance from your inner child so that he doesn’t take over your functioning, (3) that you were able to postpone sex when dating a woman.. for the first time in your life, congratulations! (4) that you ended a relationship with a critical/you-should-you-shouldn’t woman.
I am encouraged and excited, reading your update, thank you for posting it!
anitaNovember 4, 2021 at 9:56 am #388161RobParticipant
The past is simply a memory, sometimes happy sometimes painful, the future never happens, be present in the moment, be grateful for everything around you I that moment, the thought of your past are simply karma, let go, be present, give no energy or further investigating to past tramas, let go be present, be a witness to your thoughts , they are not you, you are simply witnessing your ego playing games, lift the veil and lookNovember 22, 2021 at 11:56 am #388942
Thank you for this reminder to stay presentNovember 22, 2021 at 12:40 pm #388943
I have a somewhat personal question for you. I rarely have the opportunity to openly talk to anyone who has done work on themselves and is older than me. I am doing alright lately, but i’ve been struggling with thoughts about approaching my 30th birthday in April. There are many expectations younger versions of myself had that are probably not going to happen by April. The big ones are…
1. Financial stability-not going to happen I am barely making more money than my expenses. I have no savings, and plenty of student loans. I’m mostly at peace with this one seeing as the American economy is cruel joke on people who work for a living, and I have been working/planning on financial stability and just getting started with a career. I feel like this will be solved in a year or two and I will no longer be cutting corners to live.
2. A job/career i feel good about-This one is also getting worked on I’m going to be cutting back to working as a therapist only 2 days a week because of the stress, and i want to make room in my life for more creative pursuits working with my hands. But, growing up as a “gifted” child put alot of unrealistic expectations on me about how i “should” perform out in the world. I’m learning to accept having an average career as a therapist is okay with me.
I know people don’t mean it this way but even people who love me and care about me frequently talk about my “potential” as if coming from poverty, living with PTSD, and getting a graduate degree with no help wasn’t enough realization of my potential. Don’t get me wrong i see myself as an intelligent multi-talented person but i no longer give a shit about proving this, I feel like my gifts may take longer to manifest into material reality than others, again which is fine. I still struggle with comparison to others in my life which i’m working on.
3.I’d have my life figured out-I thought by thirty my mental health would be alot better. I remember when i was 23 and broke up with my GF and was suicidal i told myself “just give yourself to 30 and see what happens then you can end it if life still sucks” Well 30 is near and my mental health has no doubt improved, I don’t cut anymore, i don’t act on suicidal urges, i haven’t been hospitalized since 23, i am capable of tolerating more pain, I know what to do in crisis situations with myself and others. However, in other ways my mental/emotional health is still not where i want it to be. I still frequently feel worthless and unlovable, i still struggle with depression, I still struggle with impulsive behaviors, and the hardest one i still struggle in relationships….
4.Relationships– This has been on my mind alot, one time you said something to me like if i didn’t have the type of relationship i had with my parents i probably would have been in a secure relationship by now. This stuck with me and the older i get i think your right. I have a disorganized anxious-avoidant attachment style which you are familiar with by now, the thing i want the most i fear most. Every time i have any romantic interest i am painfully reminded of my childhood pain. I get it, don’t live in the past etc. but these patterns have stuck with me and are starting to feel impossible to break. I’m at a point where i feel as if a meaningful relationship with a woman hasn’t happened by now it probably isn’t going to.
The other issue im having around this is being self-compassionate towards the pain i experience with this. Many people in our culture are highly critical of anyone seeking connection with others spewing off some version of “love yourself first…you don’t need anyone else to be happy” and sure i get it, but all ive been doing for the past 7 years is working on myself and without support from others it really hasn’t stuck that well.
It’s hard to feel lovable when the people responsible for teaching you love didn’t do it. Im wondering what the solution to this problem of feeling lovable is going to be? recently i have felt lovable and worthy at times, however when i’m triggered for whatever reason the grief and anger towards my parents return. I thought I had taken care of the grief associated with being neglected, but the more i learn about mental health and myself i realize my wounds are barely healed. I find myself crying for the childhood version of myself that was left alone as a baby while mother was passed out trying to kill herself. Recently i learned this happened multiple times throughout my childhood. I think the depth of the neglect is really starting to sink in with me. And as i work with children i see how delicate these young people are and how well they respond to the smallest amount of my validation and the difference it makes in their mood, it makes me wonder just how much of an impact never having a safe space in my life has had on me.
I know that was alot but what i’d like to know about your experience is
1. do you still grieve over your childhood? is it helpful to empathize with the wounded child in me?
I want to be clear i dont feel sorry for myself i am painfully aware people had it worse than me, but i am wondering if pain associated with my childhood should be ignored or felt
November 22, 2021 at 2:09 pm #388945
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by noname.
I know that I want to answer you more thoroughly Tuesday morning when I feel refreshed, but for now, I read your amazing post and I will answer you with whatever comes to my Monday afternoon tired brain:
“do you still grieve over your childhood? is it helpful to empathize with the wounded child in me?.. I am wondering if pain associated with my childhood should be ignored or felt”-
-yes, only yesterday I showed someone at the taproom I frequent in later afternoons one of the few photos I have (on my phone) as a young child, a few years old. I looked at that young girl and felt sorry for her, wanting to tell her: I am sorry, you had no idea what was coming to you. Poor little girl.. she had no idea! Imagine.. you can imagine, I know, the imagination of a child, imagining the life to come to be Magical, Magnificent.. and when times are tough, then LATER, so it seems, later it will be Magnificent. She had no idea what was to come to her, what was already in the making. It’s heart breaking to think of a young child’s hopes and dreams being shattered, spending as I have .. eternity in loneliness and misery, before that loneliness and misery extended into adulthood.
I think that it is not only helpful to empathize with the wounded inner child in you, but it is necessary, of course it is necessary.. thing is, who is doing the empathizing: it is a part of you that is more mature than the child that needs to do the empathizing. I remember my mother going on and on, histrionically, about her misery- lots of empathy for herself, but.. she did that from the position of mentally still being a young child. She sort of threw temper tantrums full of self-pity. Obviously, those tantrums didn’t get her to any better place, no healing.
Somehow, you have to empathize with your wounded child from a position that is stronger and wiser that the young child in you. The pain of your childhood needs to be felt, not ignored, but again: felt by a stronger part of you, one that can take the inner child in your arms. So, your arms have to be bigger than the child, so that the child can feel comforted in those arms. You have to be really strong, so that your inner child finds comfort in your empathy.
If you want to, let me know what you think about what I wrote here before I return to you Tues morning.
anitaNovember 22, 2021 at 8:09 pm #388954
A bit of nostalgia: your first post here was on March 15, 2017. You were 24 at the time, going on 25 in a month from then: April 2018. Fast forward, today, you are 29, going on 30 in five months, April 2021. It’s been four years and eight months since your first post. How much has happened since your last post: a whole pandemic, a heavy duty escalation of Climate Change, and here we are. Be back to you tomorrow morning.