Home→Forums→Emotional Mastery→Being better at accepting depression
- This topic has 532 replies, 16 voices, and was last updated 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Anonymous.
July 15, 2018 at 6:12 am #216735AnonymousGuest
* Dear Kimberly: will you start your own thread? I would like to read more from you, your experience, thoughts and feelings on your own thread.
How are you feeing today?
anitaJuly 15, 2018 at 10:47 am #216767
Anita thanks again for your words, after yesterday I think you are right about me feeling undeserving of empathy because of feeling guilty. This topic has come up with me in the past, and i know some of this has to do with my childhood, as well as internalized societal messages that people of color are guilty. I am overly cautious of every move i make out of fear i might somehow offend someone, therefore im quite and reserved to avoid any mistakes. This makes it near impossible to have fun with people most of the time.
Yesterday morning i was feeling pretty horrible, very depressed and lethargic. One of my friends who recently bought a house and married needed help moving some stuff so i spent most of the day helping move stuff. I discovered he and his wife have been trying to set me up with one of her friends. I expressed gratitude but told them i wouldn’t want to disappoint anybody. They proceeded to compliment me for which i realized today i have blocked out of mind and cant even remember what they complimented me on. This pretty much confirmed it for me that my sense of worthlessness of my self is deeply ingrained and really seeks to keep me safe by keeping me comfortably alone. How do i resolve this im not sure?
Later another friend invited me to a going away party for one of my cycling buddies. I knew about half the people there from working out. I noticed myself behaving in the same way when people try to care for me. My friend and his girlfriend asked how i was doing and i told them the truth that i hadn’t been doing great. They were very encouraging and even made sure to introduce me to some new people. I had a good time, but i still left with a profound sense of disappointment and loneliness. Disappointed that i struggle with letting people help me, and lonely because I don’t feel its realistic for anyone to fully accept my flaws.July 15, 2018 at 11:08 am #216777AnonymousGuest
I need to be away from the computer for the next sixteen hours or so. Will read your recent post and reply when I am back. Please be good to yourself today!
anitaJuly 16, 2018 at 3:08 am #216811AnonymousGuest
The word depression is in the title of your thread. Living in this way, being “overly cautious of every move I make out of fear I might somehow offend someone”, being therefore “quite and reserved to avoid mistakes”, this is a depressing way to live. Just like you wrote, living this way does “make it near impossible to have fun”.
I lived a lifetime having this very core belief, that I am guilty and that I have to be overly cautious of every move I make, fearing that I just said the wrong thing, didn’t say it just the right way, wasn’t complete, must clarify, must add that I didn’t mean it that way, that I meant this and not that, cover all possibilities of interpretation of what I just said. That has been torture and no wonder my relief times was being alone, not interacting with others, daydreaming.
You wrote, “I don’t feel its realistic for anyone to fully accept my flaws”. By flaws you mean being guilty, in other words, being a bad person who is inclined to offend others with every move he makes. I don’t think it is possible for a person who cares about being good, to accept being a bad person.
I think this is exactly the core of the problem: you, noname, are a good person. I have no doubt about it. But you believe that you are a bad person. There is no way for you to accept that you are a bad person, this is why you struggle so much. If you were a bad person being bad, you wouldn’t be struggling. But being the good person that you are, you are tortured by this false core belief that you are a bad person.
Having had this false core belief myself, only recently changed and still changing, I had to go back to my past relationship with my mother (no longer in contact with her). I believe you need to go back there too. I know you don’t like it and of course, I will not push this idea on you, not at all. I will explain here why it is necessary and for what purpose, and I will explain it in a very simple, a very simplified way:
In the beginning you were not mentally separated from your mother. The two of you, in your experience, were one unit. In the reality of your childhood, in the context of the relationship between you and our mother, you were the good person and she was the bad person.
When a separation of sorts happened within that mental unit, as you grew up, a big flaw in the separation process has occurred: you took to yourself the badness that was hers and gave her the goodness that is yours.
Now you must go back for just one purpose: give her back the badness that is hers and take from her the goodness that doesn’t belong with her.
(Again, I use good and bad here in the context of the relationship between you and your mother).
There is no other way to change this core belief that you are bad and guilty, a belief which is not true to reality. No other way to resolve your lifetime distress, depression and loneliness, all based on this powerful and false (not true to reality) core belief.
anitaJuly 16, 2018 at 6:22 pm #217121
I want to thank you again for leading me back to what i truly know to be at the heart of my issues which is feeling im a bad person. For many reasons i feel worthless, and guilty. I don’t want us to ignore the relationship with my father either he had just as much a role in creating this mess as my mother when he told me as an 8 year old it was my job to take care of her.
Im not understanding what is the “badness” i need to give back. by badness do you mean the things making me feel guilty? Because i’m struggling to pinpoint why exactly i feel guilty within me. I mean i do at times feel some guilt over not being able to help my mom and dad as a child even though i’ve been aware for a number of years now it wasn’t my job. But when i feel guilty now its more a feeling of worthlessness more than anything, like i couldn’t matter to another human being therefore i’m useless and lonely. That is the best description i have of how i feel when im having suicidal thoughts.
I know it may be there but im struggling to see the connection between my feeling of worthlessness and my mothers (& fathers) “badness”(guilt?) if you could simplify this for me i think i might be able to get at whats really been weighing me down. Also what to do about changing that belief?July 17, 2018 at 2:59 am #217177AnonymousGuest
When the core belief that you were bad was formed in your brain, that was when your vocabulary was much smaller than it is now and much simpler. It was before you read all the books you have read, before you attended higher education. The core belief was formed in the brain of a young boy.
For example, you used the word “gratitude” recently, wrote that you have gratitude for your mother. No way the young boy that you were felt gratitude. This is a word you learned later on, read about gratitude and even felt some of it. But not the young boy.
The young boy that you were witnessed an unhappy mother, was very distressed by it and believed he was the reason she was unhappy, a bad boy. This is why the boy tried to make her happy, so to be good, a good boy. As simple as that.
Let me know what you think and if you want, we can discuss the “what to do about changing that belief” question.
anitaJuly 17, 2018 at 4:43 am #217203
Thanks for that explanation that makes perfect sense what you mean by “bad” And understanding how simply my child’s mind worked. I would very much like to hear your experience with changing this belief. It is my biggest hurdle I believe. People are always telling me to go easy on myself or giving me compliments but this core belief of worthlessness deflects people’s care in a very efficient way. Essentially it’s hard for me to like myself, that’s why I work so hard and try to help everyone I meet so I can feel useful.July 17, 2018 at 5:45 am #217209AnonymousGuest
I will share with you my experience then and I will do it as simply and shortly as I can so to not complicate my explanation with unnecessary details. I can elaborate on any one part if you ask me to.
My mother expressed her misery to me very vividly, generously and repeatedly. I felt and believed that her misery was a reaction to me being bad, that I cause her misery, that I brought it about. I felt and believed that she was an innocent child, a victim of my badness.
Throughout my life, her voice, the sight of her, was enough to trigger this core belief. This core belief ruled my life and brought about great misery and dysfunction into my life.
My first quality therapy took place in 2011-2013. In 2013 I cut contact with my mother. I struggled with guilt for a long time after cutting contact with her, feeling guilty for abandoning the innocent child I believed she was, causing her more misery, and being a bad person for having done so. Yet, I persisted.
Eventually my thinking and believing settled, after a few years of going back and forth from the old belief to the new belief. This is what settled:
1. When I came into my mother’s life she was not the child. I was the child.
2. In the context of my relationship with her, she was guilty (bad) and I was innocent (good).
3. Her misery was a reaction of having been victimized, but not by me. She was victimized in her own childhood, but that happened before I came into her life.
4. My misery has been a reaction to having been victimized by her. It was her in my life the moment I was born.
anitaJuly 18, 2018 at 7:02 am #217463
Thank you for sharing that with me. Again I think on an intellectual level I understand all 4 of the conclusions you wrote for myself. I don’t think It’s possible or necessary in my situation to cut contact with my mother as we barely see each other as is, and she lives with my sister. But i can’t imagine if I expressed that I didn’t and don’t feel cared for that would go over well without her having a meltdown, as I’ve touched on this in the past and it turns into a pity party for her. I know this is a problem for me to figure out though. I don’t really need to talk to my parents about it anymore nor would it do any good because it has become evident to me they are not as emotionally intelligent as I am in the current moment. Maybe they will get there eventually but that’s irrelevant right now.
Back to changing this core belief…i am I interested in the how or the process it took you to change it. I recognize it and just don’t know what to do about it.
On another note…currently this morning and since last night after class I’m feeling quite hopeless. I’m doing a class on groups right now which requires students to lead a group and then be members and observers on the nights we arent leading. I lead the first night on Monday, and I did very well. Many people came up afterwards and the next day and complimented me on my abilities to lead groups. I can agree the group went very well and although it was a class exercise many of my classmates reported feeling more connected because of it. Since I’ve noticed other group leaders taking my approach to leading which is flattering. My role last night was to be a group member and the icebreaker question was what was something we are looking forward to…and this question has been haunting me ever since last night. I revealed that I actually didn’t have anything to look forward to later in the group. I noticed the look on the girls face next to me looked so sad when I said it. And this is part of the reason I don’t share with people because I dont want to disappoint them which kind of goes back to that core belief that I’m a bad person. But what I took away from yesterday is that I don’t have anything to look forward to right now, and I need hope to keep me going. Right now I look forward to your responses and attention because it’s the only thing that feels like love right now. But even that worries me that I might be using you, or my therapist just for the attention.July 18, 2018 at 8:38 am #217479AnonymousGuest
You wrote, “I’ve touched on this in the past and it turns into a pity party for her”, meaning in the context of your relationship with her, she owns empathy, it is all hers and none for you to have.
It doesn’t take emotional intelligent to let another have his hurt, to feel empathy for another. It takes a heart. We deny this about our parents, that they don’t have a heart, when they don’t. We will think of them as anything but a heartless person: they loved me best she knew how, is one saying. They don’t know how, never taught, don’t have the tools, and so on and on.. all may be true, but the end result is a heartless person.
See your mother as heartless (having no empathy for you), and you will be able to see that it wasn’t that you didn’t deserve empathy, but that she didn’t have it.
Maybe the girl in the group looked sad not because she was disappointed in you but because she felt empathy for you. You are just not used to it so you don’t see it. I suppose your mother was disappointed in you if you took anything away from her pity party.
You need empathy, everyone does, but you feel like a bad person for needing it, and worse, if you ask for it, if you communicate your need for it in any way. This must have been your childhood experience, being made to feel bad for taking any empathy she believed belonged to her, and only to her.
You worry about using me for attention, or using your therapists. I think I have more clarity this very moment about what ails you so: you need empathy, you can’t help but reach out for it, but then you immediately, automatically feel bad about having done so.
I feel empathy for you, not for your mother, but for you. How does it feel, for you?
anitaJuly 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm #217715
Thank you for your response and empathy. I feel undeserving of your empathy still. I saw my therapist today and discussed the feelings of worthlessness, and not feeling like i have a purpose for my life. I’m not sure i left with any new information because of course he cant tell me what my why or purpose is. He did advise me to keep talking back to and caring for the voices in my head telling me i’m worthless, suggesting that over time this loving voice will become easier to tap into. This is all about i can hope for right now. I’m realizing because i am a natural leader(not by choice) and don’t conform nor have the desire to do so that i may be more be lonely because of this. I don’t know how i feel about that. I shared with him how i don’t feel comfortable talking in class because alot of what i have to say is completely contrary to how the vast majority of my classmates and teachers think. I love that i think for myself and am critical however this same trait is what keeps me alone and makes me feel like i dont belong. I don’t really want to belong either because that would mean i would be conforming to this sick bullshit society, which is more painful. Therefore i will remain safely alone and sad. At the end of the day i just dont want to be alone anymore, and i want to have a reason to get up in the morning besides my innate motivation to survive.July 20, 2018 at 5:34 am #217815AnonymousGuest
You are welcome.
Can you tell me more about you being a natural leader and elaborate on “a lot of what I have to say is completely contrary to how the vast majority of my classmates and teachers think”?
anitaJuly 21, 2018 at 5:31 am #217981
I am a leader and have been out of necessity. I am an anomolie within my extended family, and American culture in general. I have never met another black male therapist. I grew up a leader in my household because my parents lacked guidance. I am a leader in classes and at work because I have the confidence to be authentic all the time, where I see others conforming and not questioning the system were working in or what’s being taught in our classes (diagnosing is a great example where I constantly challenge my professors and sulervisors, and others just blindly accept the fact that we are labeling people using an irrelevant political tool that is the DSM5)
I’m hitting a wall right now, I don’t see the point in living a lonely life anymore. Sure I have things to be grateful for like housing and food, but I’m not a dog I need more to be fulfilled. I don’t know what to do to get love from someone else. I’m feeling in desperate need of touch. I just want something to be hopeful about, something to motivate me to get out of bed this morning.July 21, 2018 at 6:25 am #217985AnonymousGuest
There is the periphery of what makes your experience of life what it is: family history, the neighborhood in which you grew up, your race, nationality, financial situation, politics, gender.
In the center of what makes your experience of life what it is – is that mental unit you started as, your-mother-you. For as long as this mental unit is not examined and for as long as you don’t separate yourself successfully from this .. unhappy unit, examining the other things makes no difference. These other things are significant in other contexts, but not in this context of your mental un-wellness.
You are focusing and have been focusing on the periphery.
The mental unit needs to be examined for not other reason but one: for you to separate from it as the loving and lovable person you were born as and born to be.
Loving and lovable, loved, you will be motivated to get out of bed every morning.
anitaJuly 21, 2018 at 7:13 am #217989
I’m not sure I know how to go about this seperation. I think I understand what you’re talking about. You’re saying to separate myself from the mental connection I have with my mom. I get that and yes a large part of my depression is feeling like I’m a bad person which came from that relationship. But how do I do this? And what difference would it make if I think I’m a good person yet still isolated and alone? Are you saying by doing that I might be more willing to accept empathy from others thereby connecting and feeling less lonely? Also what importance do you feel my father had in all of this? My relationship with my dad was worse.