March 14, 2020 at 8:49 am #343282
Thank you for asking me to be careful and safe, I ask you the same. We all need to panic less and do what we can do to be safe, not only from this particular virus but from other pathogens and from causing accidents and from making impulsive choices that harm us. Let us all fear less and pay attention more.
When you came to the U.S., one of your key objectives was to become more assertive and not a pushover. With your flat mates, initially you “tried to reason with them but it soon became a big argument/ fight and I lost my temper”-
-reasoning with someone is not being assertive. Being assertive is telling a person what you will do- and what you will not do in this or that circumstance and then keeping your word. For example, after you asked a flat mate to wash his dirty dishes after he eats, explaining to him the reason: that you need a clear sink so to wash your own dishes after you eat (that is the reasoning with him part), and he still leaves dirty dishes in the sink the day after, don’t try to reason with him yet again. Instead, place a big box in the kitchen and say to him: if you don’t wash your dishes after you eat, and I need to prepare my own meal, then I will place your dirty dishes in this box.
Say that in a calm, confident voice. If the flat mate objects or starts to argue, don’t argue back. If he doesn’t suggest an alternative better solution, and the box is the only solution you can think of, then just repeat yourself that once and move away from him.
If his dirty dishes are in the sink next time you are about to make your own meal, do what you said you’ll do, put them in the box (and cover the box, so you are not grossed out). Cook, eat, wash your dishes, put them away and do not place his dirty dishes back in the sink. It is his job, not yours.
It is way better if everyone uses the same dishes, wash them after meals, no boxes etc., that would be ideal, but we don’t live in an ideal world, so we have to do the best we can with what and who we have in our lives.
“In reality, I hate confrontations with anyone”- confrontations that include arguments are not the same as asserting yourself. Arguments are aggression, not assertion. Assertions are measured, controlled and limited in time. Aggression escalate quickly, a smaller argument growing into a bigger argument, and you lose control.
You wrote about your flat mates: “it would be counter-productive for me to fight with them over small things”- it will be counter productive for you to fight with them over anything, small or big, except for if your life depended on it, for example, if one of them approached you with a weapon with the intent of harming you.
I think that you have been confusing assertiveness with arguing and fighting. Arguing and fighting are not part of assertiveness.
Regarding doing much more for a friend than the friend does for you- don’t. Resist your inclination to do a whole lot for another person. Do some, then wait for reciprocation. If the friend does something small for you, do something small in return. Don’t over-do for others, it will cause you feel used and angry.
“What actions would you suggest for me to become self-confident?”- practice the assertiveness I suggested. It will not be easy, but every time you succeed, your confidence will grow. (Also, practice not over-doing for others).
You wrote: “I had left my job and country as well, just to get past the things and people who were a source of anxiety for me”- as you can see, there are plenty more people in a new country that will be a source of anxiety for you. So what you need to leave behind you is your passive (push over)- aggressive (arguing and fighting) pattern of behavior, and learn assertiveness.
“I overthink situations.. a complete spiral where you would start by innocuous thoughts and then they become a tornado of negative emotions”- when you find yourself stuck in thoughts regarding a conflict, ask yourself: what do I need to do/ what action do I need to take?
Switch from ruminating to taking action. Figure out a plan of action, focus on the very next thing you need to do, and focus on doing that very thing. When you are done with that one action, evaluate and proceed to the next action on your (same or adjusted) plan of action.
anitaMay 19, 2020 at 6:39 am #355908
I read your new thread but didn’t notice any issue that you brought up there that I didn’t respond to here. I noticed of course that you didn’t reply to my last post to you on this thread, and that’s okay with me (I am used to it, most often I am the last to post on threads). I am posting to you here just in case you want to further communicate with me. I want to leave your new thread for others to respond to.
anitaMay 19, 2020 at 9:36 am #355934
Thank you so much for being so proactive. And I really really mean this. Discipline has always been a bottleneck for me and I really need to work on that.
I again went over the posts in this thread and I can see a connection between both the posts. In my other post, I have gone over the issue of my feeling of loneliness. As you mentioned earlier, I need to be careful about the people from whom I seek love and affection. That is true but then it is really hurtful to be distant from a few people for whom I care very much even though they never put me at high priority in their lives. I had tried to become distant in the past but the pain and loneliness became too much and I forgot about the downsides of those friendships. Also, it’s not that they hurt me intentionally, It’s just that I am not a priority for them. What should I do about that?
Secondly, I have started believing that all people suffer from similar emotions. I am at some priority in my family but not with my friends. Is it the same with others as well?
SearchForSelfPeaceMay 19, 2020 at 10:04 am #355942
You are welcome. You wrote in the beginning of this thread, Feb 1: “Even if I do talk with (people), I am not comfortable connecting with them deeply. I am fine with abstract jokes and topics but not with personal stuff.. When I see a few friends of mine connecting deeply with others and forming lasting relations with others, I feel a bit envious of them”.
Today, May 19, you wrote: “the pain and loneliness became too much.. I am not a priority for them. What should I do about that?.. I am at some priority in my family but not with my friends. Is it the same with others as well?”
It occurred to me a moment ago (and I don’t know if we talked about it), that the reason you are lonely and that your friends don’t consider you a priority is what I italicized above: that you don’t feel comfortable connecting with people deeply and personally, so you don’t. As a result, you don’t experience deep personal connections with anyone. Even though you feel lonely and desperate for connections with others, you never form personal deep connections to others and they don’t form personal deep connections to you. So it’s mutual.
Can you elaborate on being of being at some priority in your family (“I am at some priority in my family”)?
anitaMay 21, 2020 at 1:19 pm #356304
My hesitation to share personal stuff usually happens with newer friendships which I have developed in the last couple of years. Perhaps it is because of the difference in our thought processes. They are more chilled out and I am not that easygoing. In fact in all such friendships, I believe that there is not much future. 10 years down the line, we would probably be busy in our lives and won’t have time to be playing video games regularly or going out drinking every Friday night.
However, the people I wrote about on 19th May are those with whom I have shared my lows and highs. I am comfortable with these people to share my thoughts and feelings. Similarly these people are also comfortable sharing personal stuff. It’s just that I am not amongst the primary friends with whom they would share their hard times.
Regarding being a priority with my family, I feel that they care a lot for me. They always accommodate to my schedule and remember small details about me. I also care a lot for them. However, I cannot share all the things with them because of the generation gap and the fact that they would be derailed by my situations and there won’t be much that they can help with.
Anita, Can you please help answer a question of mine? I always wonder how can I mentally brace myself to stop feeling hurt when I see my friends making an effort for their other friends but not me. It’s not that they don’t make any efforts for me but just that I care a lot more about them than they do about me. I know that I shouldn’t have expectations is friendships but can a person go about without having any expectations from anyone?
I care about these people so much that I can never hold anything against them despite feeling hurt for anything intensionally/unintentionally they do.
SearchForSelfPeaceMay 21, 2020 at 2:27 pm #356318
“I always wonder how can I mentally brace myself to stop feeling hurt when I see my friends making an effort for their other friends but not me.. I care a lot more about them than they do about me”-
You mean that you care about a particular friend and see that friend as a higher priority to you, but that friend cares less about you that you care about her, and sees you as a lesser priority.
“can a person go about .. without having any expectations from anyone?”, meaning can you (or anyone in your place) care more about a friend and feel okay with her caring less for you.
Assuming I understand what you are asking correctly, then I’d say: no, I don’t think that you can feel okay about caring significantly more about a friend than that friend cares about you.
I used to be very sensitive to how I was treated, noticing and focusing on anything that indicated to me that another person didn’t like me or think well of me, so much so, that I was focused inward, not outward. I was so focuses inward that I didn’t really listen to and understand my peers. So lost in my own thoughts and distressing feelings, I didn’t feel empathy for them. As a result, I didn’t make friends.
And so it happened that people my age really did not like me or value me because.. although I desperately wanted them to accept me and approve of me, I didn’t accept them and approve of them, and I was angry at them for any perceived indication of them not liking me. It is funny, in a sense, and sad, how desperately I wanted friends and how unfriendly I was to others, at the same time.
Do you partly relate to my experience?
May 22, 2020 at 8:27 pm #356460RaviParticipant
- This reply was modified 5 months ago by anita.
I read your posts but I do not think you are introvert as mentioned in the title. There is a difference between being an introvert, shy, or a socially anxious person. Some or most people are a combination of two or more of these. Introvert people do not have much of self-esteem issues. But don’t worry about that I do have resources to help you on that. There are lots of free online self-tests available to determine whether you are shy or introvert or a bit of both. You can take that and let me know here what you come up with so that I can suggest you what to do next. I have been researching about these for my own issues too, so I know a few resources.
Alongside, for self-esteem issues I recommend you to go to increasingselfworthDOTCOM. (Replace with an actual dot).
Its a very good website and there are tons of articles for free along with meditations and exercises for issues as these. I have also interacted with the author of the website. She does make it a point to respond if you post anything on any of the posts or via email.
tc.May 26, 2020 at 2:39 pm #356933
Thanks a lot for sharing your thoughts. As you suggested, I took one of the introversion/extroversion tests and it gave me the following results –
“According to your results you appear to be the type of person who doesn’t socialize very often. You likely have a limited social network, and possibly aren’t really interested in extending it beyond a few close and intimate friendships. Having an active social life doesn’t appear to be an important thing to you. Chances are that when the opportunity arises to socialize among a large group of people, you’ll most likely turn it down if possible. This doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t enjoy socializing or being around people. Rather, you tend to prefer spending time with smaller groups of friends. Individuals who score similarly to you typically aren’t conversation-starters, especially with people they aren’t familiar with. In addition, they aren’t known to be exceptionally outgoing, unless among close friends.”
On reflection, this is almost entirely true. I do have a limited circle of friends and an even limited circle in which I can share my thoughts without hesitation. I have observed that If I am not afraid of losing the other person’s friendship then I am more of myself and do not let them trod on my self-esteem. I can have somewhat difficult conversations with them. But that is not the case when I am too afraid of being left alone. What do you think about that?
CheersMay 26, 2020 at 3:27 pm #356936
I read your experience and I felt that it was my own experience. Please give me a couple of hours more to respond to you in detail.May 26, 2020 at 3:30 pm #356937
Take your time, SearchForSelfPeace. I will be here when you post.
anitaMay 29, 2020 at 10:17 pm #357223RaviParticipant
From what you have responded to my post I do not actually see any introvertedness or shyness issues anywhere. Your only issue is when you have the feeling of left alone, as you mentioned. If you can increase some self esteem. self worth, self love- I think you will be back on track, with friends or anywhere else. Do take a look at the website I have suggested you above. That will cover up everything.May 30, 2020 at 3:56 pm #357264
The last couple of weeks were really hectic for me as I started working on a completely new project. Thank you so much for being understanding.
The experience you shared resonated with me very much. I am also very sensitive to how I am being treated, so much so that my mental peace is disturbed regularly as well as relationships with people around me. I always feel that others are not being just with me and I try to passively respond to that. It is true that I often go overboard for many people and their actions fall short of mine but then my behavior is capricious due to which others probably don’t feel secure. I feel that it is my insecurity in friendships and fear of confrontations which causes my fluctuating behavior.
Therefore, I think I am doing the same thing of thinking inward so much that I am not able to accept people with their flaws. On more introspection, I found that I have accepted many people in my life who have their eccentricities and were a source of annoyance for me initially but as time went by they accepted my flaws and me theirs. In all such cases, probably the other person accepted me first and I probably reciprocated the same. On the other hand, many people drifted apart as we could not accept each other. What do you think about this? How can I improve my behavior?
Can you please share what was your journey in being more accepting?
Just a parting thought, I feel a great deal of gratitude towards you for listening to me patiently. Again, thanks to you, I am able to identify with the feeling of selflessness and gratitude.May 30, 2020 at 5:04 pm #357268
“my mental peace is disturbed regularly.. I always feel that others are not being just with me.. My behavior is capricious.. my fluctuating behavior.. How can I improve my behavior? Can you please share what was your journey on being more accepting?”
I am not very focused this afternoon (my time), so I will be back to your thread later, but for now I would say, your search for self peace is what I searched for many years and found and keep finding: it is a gradual, slow process. You can find it too, more and more of it. How I wish it was quick and wonderful event instead of a slow and gradual process, but real life is different than what we imagine.
I used to see everyone as superior to me, as if they had something I didn’t have and if only they like me, maybe they will give me that something… but this was not reality: all those people I thought were superior to me- were not. Once you see people as they are, you will not envy them anymore, or be angry at them, you will realize they are not in much better shape than you are.
That Quora post you mentioned on page 1, which says in part: “You feel unloved and unwanted.. Because you are searching for love in the wrong places. You are knocking at the wrong door. No matter how hard you try, it will not open”- all the doors were wrong for me because I expected super humans to open those door for me, but instead the people who opened doors for me were either too weak to help me or too cruel to not take advantage of the weakness that led me to their doors.
If you are reading this before I am back to the computer (in about 13 hours), and it makes some sense to you, please let me know what it is that resonates with you, and what does not.
anitaMay 30, 2020 at 11:24 pm #357285
I completely agree with you that the journey of self-discovery and peace is a long one. In fact, around 2 years ago, I used to be completely unaware of my emotions and was almost friendless. Compared to that, currently, I am in a better position.
With respect to your second comment, I feel that if someone is overconfident before me then I get subdued easily. Even, I am a pushover until a point. When I stop caring about those people remaining in my life for the long term, then I can be more assertive. With that being said, I agree with you that different people are fighting different battles which we may not understand.
The part which resonated the most with me was your last comment about knocking on the wrong doors. It may be true that those people might not be strong enough to open the door for me. But I feel great care for them and I wish that things could have been different. Watching them care for others makes me envious. I don’t want to exclude them from my life as I believe that they care for me at some level. At the same time, I don’t understand the way to deal with this envy. Any thoughts on this point?
SearchForSelfPeaceMay 31, 2020 at 10:46 am #357314
I looked forward to write to you following my last post to you, but answered others first because I wanted to take my time re-reading all your previous posts.
“When I see a few friends of mine connecting deeply with others.. I feel a bit envious of them.. I don’t factor very high in their list of priorities.. I have always been sort of the third wheel in most of the friendships… being the odd one out… feeling hurt when I see my friends making an effort for their other friends but not me… I often go overboard for many people and their actions fall short of mine”-
– this is an emotional experience that you keep having, again and again over many years. It is an intense and distressing experience that involves a deep hurt and great sadness and from time to time, intense anger at the injustice of it: it is not just or fair that you are left out, no matter how hard you care for others and how much you do for others.
“If I want to develop a greater friendship with anyone, then they don’t want to with me”- It hurts a lot to be unwanted. And when you watch people that are wanted, you feel envy, which is a mix of desire (to be wanted) and anger (that they are wanted, but you are not).
“deep down I understand that I am a boring person… I am not very good looking (I know this to be a fact)”- oh, how it hurts to believe all this, I know because I believed such things about myself.
“I remain depressed most of the time… I have been always unhappy in all phases of my life. I am always complaining and waiting for the time to pass… I watch others enjoying their life.. but here I am lonely in all phases of life”.
You wrote that you are boring and not very good looking- but this is not how the belief that you are inferior to others started. It was not that you felt fine and one day, you noticed: oh, I am boring, and I am not good looking. First the belief took place; the belief that you are inferior to others and therefore unwanted started early on in your life, before you evaluated your physical and personality attractiveness. Something happened to lead you to believe these things about yourself early on.
If as a child, your parents/ caretakers attended to someone else but not to you, neglecting you while giving their positive attention to someone else, that would explain it. If that was not the case, and your parents gave you no less attention than to other people in the family, and your experience of inattention started in school, in regard to your peers or teachers.. then you took that hurtful, distressing experience home.. and no one there noticed. No one at home noticed how hurt that little girl was, so that distress, unnoticed, festered for years. Fast forward, it is still the same emotional experience, still so very painful.
— What to do???
First, what not to do:
1. Don’t go overboard for others (“I often go overboard for many people and their actions fall short of mine”). No reason to repeat doing what didn’t work for you in the past. Again and again you went overboard for others, and again and again, their actions fell short of yours. And after all the overboard actions, you are still experiencing the same old, same old experience of being unwanted. So .. no more going overboard for anyone, not for a long, long time.
2. Do not subdue to anyone! (“I feel that if someone is overconfident.. then I subdue easily.. I am a pushover)”. If and when you encounter a person who seems overconfident, resist your tendency to subdue, or submit to that person’s perceived power. If you get confused and don’t know what to say or do- remove yourself from the situation.. but do not subdue, do not go under anyone, so to speak.
What to do: I don’t know yet. But consider the following and let me know, after some time of consideration, what you think and feel about the following:
There is nothing about you that is inferior to others. You believe that you are inferior but it is only a belief, not a reality.
Because you have this painful belief, you are indeed less attractive to others. I will tell you how that comes about from my personal experience: because I believed that I was unwanted, I didn’t look people in the eye (afraid to see their rejection of me), I looked away. I walked with slouched shoulders, kind of bent over, my body posture expressing shame, which is not an attractive expression in other people’s minds.
When in company, and peers talked, I didn’t listen to what they said because I was planning what I was going to say. When I did speak, it must have been evident to others that I didn’t listen to what they said. And it is true: people really don’t want the company of those who don’t listen to them!
Let’s keep communicating, and we will figure out together the answer to .. what-to-do???!
- This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.