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Confused and in need of a bit of guidance

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  • #361259
    Brooke
    Participant

    Hey,

    I’m 21 and for a while now I’ve felt quite lost and distant from everyone… I’m generally happy with my life but I feel like there’s just something off or missing. I love my family and all my friends, however I feel I’ve been really hard on myself when it comes to affection etc, there’s a voice in my head saying “are you being too clingy?” Or “are you not showing enough emotion?”
    I’ve also been quite lost with my career path and what I want. I know I want to travel and I’ve come to the conclusion in the last week that ultimately the one job that I’d love and that would keep me happy would involve music. So I’m working on my musical skills and hopefully applying to university next year!

    however I find I have this weird deadline in my head of when things need to be completed… like there’s a small voice telling me that I’m now too old for University. It’s also the same for relationships… I’ve never been in a relationship as I always get too scared when someone tries to hit on me, and again I get that same voice in my head telling me that I’m weird and that there’s something wrong with me because all my friends have had millions of boyfriends and I haven’t even had one yet. And it’s not like I’m not interested but it’s almost like I’m too insecure to allow myself to accept that emotion… I find I hid my emotions quite a lot and have been told on many occasions that I bottle a lot up on the inside because I’m afraid of others knowing what I feel (I’m honestly kinda scared just posting this because I feel quite vulnerable)

    I try and do things and help myself but I’m scared of “losing my old self”, which is silly because I’ll always be me and I love who I am but at the same time I honestly don’t know who I am exactly. I think I’m slightly scared to accept that I am now an adult and that I can’t be a child anymore, like I don’t want to let go or grow up!

    are there any tips on finding who I am, growing my confidence and allowing me to show and feel my emotions?

     

    #361265
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    You shared that you are 21, “generally happy” with your life, but there is “something off or missing”. You figured that you want a career that involves music and travel and you hope to start university next year, but you tell yourself that you are “too old for university”.

    You never had a relationship with a boy because you are scared, and you tell yourself in this regard: “I’m weird.. there’s something wrong with me because all my friends have had millions of boyfriends and I haven’t even had one yet”.

    You hide your feelings, afraid that people will know how you feel, and you were told that you bottle up your emotions, that you don’t show your emotions.

    “I think I’m slightly scared to accept that I am now and adult, and that I can’t be a child anymore, like I don’t want to let go and grow up!”.

    You shared that you are afraid posting here, and you asked: “are there any tips on finding who I am, growing my confidence and allowing me to show and feel my emotions”-

    – I am glad you posted here, don’t be afraid of me. I will not hurt you. I would like to suggest something that will help you, and I hope that I am able to do so.

    It is possible that the “old self” that you are afraid of losing is the child that you were in the first 10+ years of your life. It is possible that you are afraid of having a romantic relationship with a young man because that will be proof that you are no longer a child. It is also possible that you are hiding some of your feelings because they are not .. child feelings, and if you show those feelings, that too will be proof that you are no longer the child that you were.

    Is this possibility partly true, and if it is, will you tell me more about how it was to be a child in your home?

    anita

    #361340
    Brooke
    Participant

    Thankyou for replying Anita… it’s kind of nice being able to talk to someone!

     

    My childhood was amazing! I’m the second youngest out of four girls living with both my parents who absolutely love each other. I get along with my sisters really well, always have.
    I was and still am know as being the outgoing and slightly show off type in the family… but I’m also known as the easy going one. I’m used to just following along and doing whatever everyone else wants, never really putting my opinion forward because I don’t mind and honestly don’t want to make a scene.
    I had a really close best friend when I was younger, we would do absolutely everything together! We started having problems around grade 9, when she started ignoring me and hanging out with other people who didn’t like me and then when she got a boyfriend further ignored me…

    I am very very family orientated, so to me I find having a boyfriend will fracture my relationships with my family and friends (probably because when all my friends get boyfriends they stop talking to me…) I like to be independent and do my own thing with out much commitment…

    I have also been told that I can be quite an emotional person, I pick up others emotions very easily and tend to hold onto their emotions long after I meet people.

    I have found over the last 2-3 years I have really reverted back into my “shell” and my once bubbly and very outgoing/easy going personality only comes out when I’m in a comfortable social setting (eg. With my friends or family) and it has had a toll on my relationships at work, I just find it hard to start up a normal conversation because my brain is telling me that “I never used to be like this”, “what if you say something weird”, “You used to be so outgoing now look at you…”, and a lot of back and forward like that which then leads to me not really starting conversations or talking, which is silly. Because I love to talk and make friends and there’s part of my brain telling me to stop being silly and that I haven’t changed and if I come off as a little weird or unusual to them then who cares, because at the end of the day it’s who I am so they can like me or not….

    I really appreciate what you said because I honestly feel like that’s probably true, I think I’m in slight denial and not allowing myself to move on because I’m honestly scared of adulthood. And I’m return it’s now having negative affects on my life and social life, I believe it’s the cause for my sudden low self esteem as well!

    Again Anita, I really appreciate your help! It’s nice to be able to “off-load” for once and have someone caring listen and try to help me.

    #361345
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    You are very welcome. Thank you for expressing your appreciation. I want to re-read your recent post (and anything you may add to it) tomorrow morning (in about 13 hours from now). For now, it is my feeling that the way you adjusted to your family, so to have that amazing childhood you had, is not serving you well in adulthood. It is often the case, with many people who fit their families of origin very well, but that fitting does not serve them well in the greater society.

    Does this sound true to you in one way or another?

    anita

     

    #361347
    Brooke
    Participant

    I think I get what you’re trying to say… I would say that it’s probably true!
    I would say that yes I’ve adjusted to my family in one way and now that I’m older I try to act that way outside of my family, in society, and being like that has caused some hiccups?

    #361348
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    Maybe. I will be able to think more clearly Saturday morning, my time. If you want to add anything that comes to your mind regarding trying “to act that way outside of (your) family, in society”, and anything else that might be relevant to what you need, please do, and I will be back to your thread in about 13 hours from now.

    anita

    #361361
    Brooke
    Participant

    See you in 13 hours time Anita!

     

    To add to it a little… I find that I don’t “fit in” with people where I live, so when I say “try to act that way in society”, I find that I can’t really be myself in society… like I feel like myself when I’m with my family but I try to change myself to suit what I think others want me to be…

    I just want to be able to be my usual bubbly outgoing self again without worrying what others will think and just honestly be carefree… I find I’m always worried what others are thinking of me (hence why getting a boyfriend is also daunting to me because I’m scared people are going to talk about me and “make fun of me”? It’s weird I know but I just seem really unsure in that way) I try my hardest to not think about what others will think about me but I can’t help it… I believe that’s what stops me from starting conversations with others that I don’t know as well. Ive become quite socially awkward and I’ve become very aware of it so I have two sides fighting with one another, one side of my brain saying that everyone is judging me and I’m embarrassing myself and another side saying that I shouldn’t care what others say and that I’m doing my best… it’s weird and very confusing haha

    I really appreciate your help 🙂

    #361399
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    “I’m scared of ‘losing my old self’, which is silly because I’ll always be me and I love who I am but at the same time I honestly don’t know who I am exactly. I think I’m slightly scared to accept that I am now an adult and that I can’t be a child anymore, like I don’t want to let go or grow up!”-

    Your “old self” is who you became as a child in the context of your family. In other words, your old self is the family role that you took on as a child so to fit with your family. Think of your family like a jigsaw puzzle. If your family is made of two parents and four sisters, then there are 6 pieces to the jigsaw puzzle, and the pieces have to fit into a picture.

    When you were born, being the second youngest sister, there were (I don’t know if you have brothers or if grandparents/ other people lived at home with you when you were a child) 4 pieces of the jigsaw puzzle: 2 parents and 2 sisters. You were the 5th piece that had to fit into the picture. At first, the new jigsaw puzzle piece (you) – was formless. It started forming so to fit into the picture. You weren’t born with your personality; your personality was formed so to fit into the jigsaw puzzle picture aka your family.

    Let’s say, as an example of such forming: let’s say that your parents demanded obedience, and one of your older sisters was rebellious. You observed that your parents disapproved of her being rebellious, so you decided (instinctively, without thinking about it) to be the obedient child, so that your parents approve of you, and so, an obedient personality was formed.

    A human personalities is formed as multiple reactions, in early years,  to the family situation and dynamics into which a person is born to.

    The instinctive objective of the child is to fit into her family, to get along, to experience minimal friction/ minimal trouble. And the child will do whatever it takes to reach this objective.

    “My childhood was amazing!.. I get along with my sisters really well, always have”- the personality you formed as a child/ the jigsaw puzzle piece that you became,  worked very well for yo, so you had an amazing childhood.

    Here is the personality that you formed as a child: “I get along with my sisters really well, always have.. outgoing and slightly show off type in the family.. the easy going one. I’m used to just following along and doing whatever everyone else wants, never really putting my opinion forward because I don’t mind and honestly don’t want to make a scene”-

    – you must have made a scene at one point and decided it was a bad thing, or you watched someone else in the family making a scene and it was a bad thing, having been disapproved. So you decided that you will not make a scene, that you will minimize friction/ problems in your family by getting along, doing “whatever everyone else wants”.

    As you grew up, going to school, you had experiences with people  outside your family. In the 9th grade a close friend of yours started to ignore you and spend time with other people, and then with her boyfriend, ignoring you even more. After high school, “over the last 2-3 years”, meaning since you were 18 or 19, you had even more experiences with people outside your family, and the result: “I have really reverted back into my ‘shell’ and my once bubbly and very outgoing/ easy going personality only comes out when I’m in a comfortable social setting (eg. With my friends or family)”-

    – the jigsaw puzzle piece/ your personality, that fit so well into the context of your family (and a few friends), doesn’t fit well in the  context of the outside world. (Imagine a jigsaw puzzle piece that fits perfectly in one picture; you take it out of that picture and put it in another jigsaw puzzle box.. and it doesn’t fit in the new picture).

    Within your family, your behaviors were approved of (that’s why you developed those behaviors, so to be approved of!) But out in the world, people did not approve of the same behaviors. In your family setting, your behaviors, including facial expressions, tone of voice, words used, topics of discussion, etc., were approved of, but in the world some of these same behaviors were disapproved of and labeled weird and unusual. This is why you started worrying about being weird, saying to yourself: “what if you say something weird“, and “if I come off as a little weird or unusual.. “.

    As a result, you are in a sort of crisis, confused, saying to yourself: “You used to be so outgoing now look at you”,  your self esteem suffers: you were good enough in your family setting, but you are .. not good enough in the world setting.

    “I find that I can’t really be myself in society.. like I feel like myself when I’m with my family, but I try to change myself to suit what I think others want me to be”-

    – this is what you did as a child instinctively, without thinking about it: you formed yourself to suit what your parents and older sisters wanted you to be. Now, as a young adult, you are trying to reform yourself to suit what society wants you to be.

    “I’ve adjusted to my family in one way and now that I’m older, I try to act that way outside my family, in society, and being like that has caused some hiccups?”- yes, the hiccups are society disapproving and rejecting the parts of you that your family approved of and accepted.

    “I  just want to be able to be my usual bubbly outgoing self again without worrying what others will think and just honestly be carefree”-

    – you can no longer be the same that you were before because you are no  longer a child, and even if you live with your parents and four sisters, it will not be the same because everyone is older and .. things will never be the way they were. So yes, you need to reform parts of yourself, to change- but not in an instinctive/ automatic way of a young child forming to fit it. This time, you need to thoughtfully choose behaviors that fit the outside world as well as your values. It is a different kind of forming (or reforming/ changing).

    If you would like, take your time and let me know what you think of my input so far.

    anita

     

    #361439
    Brooke
    Participant

    Hey Anita!

    Thankyou for your analysis, it’s actually made the once blurry picture slightly less blurry. I get what you’re saying and I’ll have to do some reflection of my own to figure out how to reform myself and personality… I’m someone who doesn’t like making decisions and usually leaves it up to someone else. Do you have any tips or tricks that could help me recognise and find this “new personality/self”?

    #361442
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    You are welcome. I will need to answer you when I am back to the computer. To be able to better answer your question, can you describe to me the ways that your personality is a good fit at home, with your family, but not a good fit outside your home?

    Also, can you elaborate on your occasional concern that you may “come off as a little weird or unusual”, give me an example or two?

    I will be back to your thread in about 13 hours from now. Take good care of yourself.

    anita

    #361444
    Brooke
    Participant

    My personality fits well within my family because I’ve become the loud and out there one. My sisters are very quite but also very opinionated and usually get what they want. I found for myself, to be heard I needed to be slightly different, therefore, I became outgoing and loud (opposite of my sisters) so I could be heard/noticed. I also became “easy going” and didn’t form much of opinion again to form around my sisters and not really “make a scene”.
    there whole make a scene situation came about when I was younger, I used to be petrified of the dark, so every night I would cry when going to bed because I didn’t like the dark. My parents would get tired of it (honestly don’t blame them now), they would close the door on me (making it darker) and I would end up screaming because I’m scared. I never expressed to them when I was younger that I cried/screamed because I was scared of the dark, they just thought I was being naughty. Anyway so my father would come in and tell me that he is taking me to boarding school if I don’t stop. I grew out of this at the age of 5, just after I started school.
    So that’s where I think the “easy nature” don’t want to make a “scene” feelings come from. And honestly I like that, I don’t want to change that. I like being stress less and going with the flow. I also find I probably had a bit of a problem when my younger sister was born (I also have no brothers so just females and my dad in my household) I was 5 years old. So I was getting all the attention when I was younger, and then suddenly my younger sister came along and I was “pushed off” to the side and had to entertain myself, as my older sisters paired off and wouldn’t usually let me hang with them. So I grew up with a really big imagination , which I still believe I have to this day (I create really big dreams for myself that I’d love to achieve but some seem pretty impossible).

     

    In the “outside” world I find that I don’t fit because everyone these days are very opinionated (especially in my workplace). Everyone seems to be a bit negative and rude to be honest and I find that I don’t have much of a negative opinion on things if at all.

    I believe I’m unusual due to the way I think and act. I always  have a positive spin to things (again , something I don’t want to change), but I don’t like usual things other do. I believe I’m more a creative mind, so when finding solutions I find I can be a bit “odd” and all over the place and usually do something that no one else would think of? I’m quite mature for my age in some aspects but others I find I’m not? I believe I quite open to everyone’s opinions and outlooks and I choose my own beliefs and values but try to see every side to a story.
    Ive found that I’ve become quite confused on what to say to “new” people when starting conversations, my brain is usually racing of things I can say and things I shouldn’t say and then the worrying thought of “what if they think I’m odd”… I then become overwhelmed and “shut off”.
    I believe the negative thought of “what if I’m weird” comes from my old best friend telling me I’m weird/different all the time and she would usually say it in a negative tone (I’ve now discovered that she was a very toxic person but she’s already done some damage…). My new best friend is just like me with the way I think and accepts my strange ways and is usually really open to everything I say. The area in which I live and grew up in have a certain mindset and mentality that everyone tries to fit (a mindset and personality that I myself do not like)… so maybe I feel weird and different because I don’t conform to that (and honestly I don’t ever want to…). I’ll wear things (like a mike wazowski purse I got in Disneyland) and while I don’t believe that’s different and I should be able to wear what I like, certain people would comment and say I must be “brave” to wear that out or I must have a “strong” personality to wear it…

    I still want to be different from others, it makes life more exciting and different. Maybe I myself am not the full problem… maybe the area I live in is?

    I’ll see you in 13 hours Anita 🙂

     

     

     

    #361480
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    “Do you have any tips or tricks that could help me recognise and find this ‘new personality/ self?”

    Unfortunately, I am not yet ready to answer this question. I have more questions for you. If you choose to answer them, please answer them attentively and as clearly as possible:

    1. “I became outgoing and loud (opposite of my sisters) so I could  be heard/ noticed. I also became ‘easy going’ and didnt form much of opinion.. and not really ‘make a scene'”, “I am used to just following along and doing whatever everyone else wants, never really putting my opinion forward”-

    – if you are didn’t form opinions, or didnt put your opinions forward, then you didn’t express your opinions loudly. What is it that you did express loudly?

    2. You wrote that you are “outgoing and slightly show off type in the family”-

    – what did you show off to your family?

    3. “My sisters are very quiet but also very opinionated and usually get what they want”- if your sisters are and have been very quiet, how did they express they strong opinions, and how did they manage to get what they wanted?

    4. “My childhood was amazing!… I used to be petrified of the dark, so every night I would cry when going to bed because I didnt like the dark. My parents would get tired of it.., they would close the door on me (making it darker) and I would end up screaming because I’m scared.. I cried/ screamed because I was scared of the dark, they just thought I was being naughty. Anyway, so my father would come in and tell me that he is taking me to boarding school if I didn’t stop. I grew out of this at the age of 5, just after I started school”-

    – it doesnt sound like an amazing childhood, at least not before you were five, when you were so scared, cried and screamed and instead of being held and comforted, or having a small light turned on in your room, so it’s not so dark, your parents closed the door on you so it is darker, and your father threatened to send you to boarding school. Does it sound amazing to you?

    5. “when my younger sister was born.. I was 5 years old. So I was getting all the attention when I was younger, and then suddenly my younger sister came along and I was ‘pushed off’ to the side and had to entertain myself”-

    – but when you were under 5 years old you didn’t get positive attention when you cried in your room, scared of the dark. The only attention you mentioned that you received was your parents closing the door to your room so it would  be darker, and your father threatening to send you to boarding school. Where was “all the attention” that you received before your sister was born?

    These are all my questions for now. I do have one suggestion at this point, and it is about this sentence: “I always have a positive spin to things (again, something I don’t want to change)”, connecting it to the question in the beginning of this post:

    – Better that the “new personality/ self” have a realistic spin of things with a touch of positivity, instead of a positive spin that has nothing much to do with reality. A positive spin that is so strong that it removes a person from understanding reality  is confusing and therefore, harmful.

    anita

     

     

    #361509
    Brooke
    Participant

    1. Just in general I am loud. I would form my own opinions but never really voice them unless I found it necessary. I would just speak loud or say a joke out loud to try and gain attention for a minute or two because my parents are so occupied with everyone else (who can blame them we are a pretty big family!). I also don’t have the best volume control with my voice when talking, so when I’m excited my voice gets louder  .

    2. I showed off by telling jokes and making people laugh, I’d do something weird like a random dance move or sign something out of the random, something that would make them go huh? But also look at me… I’m not afraid to be in the spotlight but I also know how to share the “stage” with everyone. So if only show off a little bit and then calm down to an extent.

    3. My sisters would express their opinion by just saying what they’re thinking/feeling in a rather rude and blunt way. And they won’t budge from their statement until they get what they want. And if they didn’t get what they want they’d be cranky or upset all day.

    4. Now that I think of it… no it probably wasn’t the best. My mother would eventually come in and lay with me after my dad got angry and either drove somewhere to “cool down” or go to bed. She would reassure me that I wasn’t going to be sent anywhere and that she loved me.

    5. You have some really good points that I never really thought of… the crying would only happen if a night so during the day they were lovely and so caring (especially my mum, dad was usually at work most of the time… so I have a better relationship with mum then dad but our relationship has grown a bit more now I’m older). I know I get slightly hurt/upset when I see dad being really nice and “playing fighting” with my younger sister now because he never really did that with us

    #361510
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Brooke:

    I feel like I am getting to know you bit by bit as we communicate (obviously, it’s going to take more time for me to understand you and the dynamics in your family).

    So you were loud as in the sense that the volume of your voice was up, and your sisters were quite as far as the volume of their voices. But they expressed their opinions and you didn’t express your opinions. They were rude and blunt and quite aggressive when they didnt get what they wanted, and you tried to break the tension by being loud and funny. Did I understand correctly?

    Reads like your sisters were quite impatient and your father was maybe over-worked, very busy when you were growing up, and your mother, I bet, was busy too, so there was tension in the home, and your family-role was to be the loud and funny one, and so, to break the tension.

    Fast forward, in school, with friends, you do the same thing- try to break the tension, whether there is tension or not?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month ago by anita.
    #361524
    Brooke
    Participant

    Oh wow Anita that honestly is spot on. Sorry I know I took forever trying to the main point haha but you’ve hit the nail on the head, right down to mum and dad being so busy and stressed!
    Even just talking about it has helped me unscramble my brain/feelings and is helping me understand certain things

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