November 30, 2022 at 2:30 pm #411024AnonymousGuest
Dear Katrine Nielsen:
You are very welcome. I hope that it gets easier for the two of us to receive empathy!
“I am very quick to jump to conclusions and there always negative“- like every other animal, humans prioritize attending to perceived danger over attending to perceived pleasure, therefore the focus on the negative. It takes relaxing first, before being able to evaluating a situation in a more accurate, balanced way.
anitaDecember 3, 2022 at 1:04 am #411129
Your right there wasn’t any rejection directed at me, but I took it that way. … I am just really sensitive in these situations, I need to practise this more.
Yeah, and I think it’s good to be aware what triggers your sensitivity, i.e. hypervigilance. You mentioned what it is for you: loud music, lots of people, not being able to see the exit… When you’re in those kind of situations, there is a higher chance that your anxiety will spiral out of control. Therefore it’s good to be prepared (because you don’t want to necessarily avoid such situations all of the time) and sort of count on it, and have a plan what to do in those situations, which will help you stay more calm.
There is a youtube video by psychologist Kati Morton, titled “7 tips to stop hypervigilance from PTSD“, where she explains how to help yourself, both in general and in those triggering situations. One of the key tools is deep belly breathing, same what Dr. Lepera suggested too. This deep breathing should best be practiced when you’re not triggered, but when you feel calm, so that when you get triggered, you can apply it immediately.
I think that apart from deep breathing in triggering situations, you might add a mantra of your choice, telling yourself positive affirmations, e.g. I am worthy, I am lovable, People like me. Or you may apply another self-soothing method, which will help you calm down.
In any case, I think having a contingency plan would be really helpful, because it would help you feel more empowered rather than helpless when those triggers occur.
Just as a side note, another calming method is progressive muscle relaxation (not mentioned in Kati Morton’s video, but elsewhere). This too should be practiced once per day – not in triggering situations, but when you’re calm. I think this is like an “exercise” for our nervous system – it teaches our nervous system how to relax better.
There has been so many incidents with my sister reacting very strongly and me being blamed for it. Lately with the christening, my parents usually don’t take my side in this case they did and it was really nice to try.
Good they took your side in this instance… but unfortunately, this was an exception to the rule. Because throughout your childhood and youth you were regularly blamed for things that were not your fault, while your sister was excused from blame and responsibility, I guess due to her illness?
It so hard when your walking on eggshells. Like during the pandemic I sunk into a depression so bad that I was thinking about suicide every single day, I honestly didn’t think I would survive it. My sister ask me to come to her house (with a few other people) to meet her new boyfriend but I couldn’t get out of the house (cuz of the depression) I kindly declined and the next day a girl called my and told me so your just staying away to be passive agressive and hurt your sister. That hurt.
Yes, that was very hurtful. She seems like a very self-centered person, without much empathy or understanding for others, specially for you. It’s all about her (me, me, me), and nothing about you and your needs.
That feeling the people think that I am a bad person, especially since I spend most of my life being a people pleaser and didn’t have any boundaries cuz they made me feel selfish. Now I am learning that a boundary isn’t a no to them but a yes to myself.
Yes! You said it perfectly! Keep applying it, don’t fall for your sister’s (or anyone else’s) manipulation and guilt-tripping!
The coffee date was a succes. We spend all day together and had the best time it went by so fast, and she is totally up for doing it again. So I am very happy that I asked.
I am so happy for you! That’s a really good development. I am so so glad….December 4, 2022 at 12:43 pm #411303
That is true. I’m getting better at it but it’s still not easy, but I’m also receiving a lot more compliments now (living abroad comperet to back home) so practising makes it easier.December 4, 2022 at 1:01 pm #411305AnonymousGuest
Dear Katrine Nielsen:
It is possible to reduce the frequency and intensity of that panicky fight-or-flight neural & hormonal bodily response, but it really does take- like you say- practice. A lot of practice, I would add: day after day, every day and night.
anitaDecember 4, 2022 at 2:54 pm #411316
I’m glad to hear it because this is a really hard state to be in. I’m taking notes of what you and Tee are saying and then try applying as a rutine, to make things easier on me.December 4, 2022 at 3:04 pm #411317
Yes, I too feel my sister is very self centeret. One of the hardest part for me is that she is so empathetic and caring about people outside the family. I thought that she wasn’t capleble of it, because of what she has been through but seeing her treat other people so well, and then take her anger and frustration out on us, the very people who kept her alive. Is a huge betrayal. When I new friend of hers lost her dog, she showed up with presents and talked and supported her. She told me it’s really hard on that girl suffering from mental illness and then losing herdog during a pa demic. But when I told about my depression and that i was suicidal (having lost pretty much anything at that time) she just said you need to get it sorted. Never talked about it since. I also feel like something bad has been said about me behind my back, her boyfriend won’t look me in the eye when talking to me, and he hugs my parents but will only shake my hand and that doesn’t feel good.December 4, 2022 at 8:59 pm #411327AnonymousGuest
Dear Katrine Nielsen:
I am glad that you are taking notes. learning and applying what you learn!
anitaDecember 6, 2022 at 11:30 am #411416
One of the hardest part for me is that she is so empathetic and caring about people outside the family. I thought that she wasn’t capleble of it, because of what she has been through but seeing her treat other people so well, and then take her anger and frustration out on us, the very people who kept her alive.
I know what you’re talking about. My mother is like that: very empathetic and understanding with other people, but extremely criticizing and blaming of me and my father (her immediate family). As if she is split in two.
With other people, I guess she is doing what she believes a good Christian should do: help others, sacrifice, be kind… I guess she feels good about herself for being such a “good person”. But then her unresolved childhood wounds and her stubbornness come out with me and my father – always blaming us for her problems, never taking responsibility for any of her bad behavior. No empathy or understanding for us, only for other people.
Perhaps with your sister it’s similar – maybe she knows that being kind to others will bring her some benefit (people will like her, respect her, want to be in her company…), and so she is eager to behave nicely with them. But with you and your parents, she probably feels unconditionally accepted. She feels she can do whatever she wants and there won’t be any consequences (all will be forgiven), and that’s why she doesn’t have to pretend. She can be selfish and rude.
I also feel like something bad has been said about me behind my back, her boyfriend won’t look me in the eye when talking to me, and he hugs my parents but will only shake my hand and that doesn’t feel good.
It’s quite possible she makes up stories against you, portraying you as a selfish person. And people believe her, because she is so kind to them, so there is no reason not to trust her….
Anyway, I think the first step for you would be not to blame yourself when your sister is blaming you – not to trust her accusations and her characterization of you. You’re not selfish just because she says you are. You’re not selfish just because you refuse to fulfill her every whim.
Once you accept that you’re not a bad person as your sister is trying to portray you, it will be easier for you to not take her insults seriously. And you’ll also be able to set some boundaries, so she cannot just say or do anything to you without any consequences.December 11, 2022 at 3:50 am #411704
how have you been? It’s been a while since you wrote, so I thought to check on you…December 11, 2022 at 1:12 pm #411736
Yes, so much learning going on here so that’s really possitive. And by taking notes it makes it easier for me to wrap my head around it.December 11, 2022 at 2:00 pm #411737
I’m hanging in there, how are you?
Was going to write a couple of days ago but this week has been really crazy. We had a apres ski party on Thursday for all the big clients it’s the most busy day of the year, and the entire bar gets turned into a winter wonderland. Everybody was working and no one was able to take that day off. It wasn’t an easy day for me with all those people around me, and all that was happening around me. Several things had me dysregulated.
Knowing that Y is planing on going to Canada and travel with the guy I like, but still hasn’t told me about it. Makes me wonder if we are really friends or if something is going on behind my back. I need a lot of transparency because of my trust issues so if she would have just told me about it, it wouldn’t have made my mind go crazy trying to figure out what is going on.
Seeing the guy at the aprés ski party talking and socialising with all the girls, getting their instagram (like he did before the yoga session with everyone accept me, even the ones whose name he couldn’t even remember. The only thing he said to me was if his food was ready soon. It just makes me feel like there’s is something so bad about me. Like two weeks ago or so when I was sitting in the café talking to one of the boys from work (who sat right beside me) he said good morning mate how are you? to him then talked a bit with Y, and then started making himself a tea. The tea was litterally right infront of me, but he didn’t look nor speak to me. Not until he came and ordered his food. I’m trying to tell myself that I may not be as bad as it makes me feel, and try not to think too much about it. Everybody stayed after work and partied together and had lots of pictures talken in a photobooth, which makes me feel sad that I left without having a drink with them first. But that was entirely my decision because I was really tired (still doing a lot of overtime) and didn’t want to stress my body too much.
The guy I was with earlier this year is in a new relationship. With a girl he knew from home before moving to Europe and wanting to settle here. All of his stories are about them going on dates. I stopped looking at them because it just makes me feel bad, because he never did any stories on social media with me. He is a great guy and the most stable guy I have had in my life, but after going home his life continued in a new direction and he kinda forgot about me. I know this is normal but I feel like a lost a very dear friend as well. He did wrote me about the world cup in football asking how I was doing and that he was rooting for my country. It made me happy to hear from him but sad when he didn’t reply to me asking how he was doing.
I’m going home for Christmas but am worried about seeing my sister and brother in law, I have very bad anxiety attacks being around my sister and the will probably be staying with us for a couple of days, which makes it that much harder because I can’t get away. We also have a family gathering after christmas eve and I’m gonna be (as always) the only single person there. Christmas is my absolute favorite time of the year it’s so magical and it’s always been hard that I’ve never tried spending it with someone special. Having had my hopes of a relationships broken before december three times now. So I struggle to really get in that holiday spirit.
I’m sorry your mother also acts like that. It is the hardest thing when having to deal with a person like that, that they aren’t like that with everybody. Because then no one will believe you and it leaves you alone with the pain and isolates you more. At my brother in laws 30th birthday party I was soo anxious, he has four siblings and they were all there with their partners and they still had there jobs. I was able too have fun though, talking a lot with his siblings and the conversation actually went as if we had been friends for years, that really surprised me. But then my sisters behaviour of such a loveling and caring person and they way his parents was talking about her like, who is this person? Do I really know he? when saying goodbye I couldn’t get myself to look her in the eyes I just looked down and said goodby and so joined my dad. A week later my dad got a phone call from her, she and his parents had noticed my behaviour and said that it would have consequences, I probably wouldn’t be welcome in their house again and I wasn’t going to be invited to my sisters birthday two months later. I was shocked. It was a very strong reaction in my book, and I got reactive and yelled (for the first and only time at my dad) He threathen to leave the family saying he didn’t want to have to deal with us children and all the problems anymore. I broke down crying and walked out of the hours and stayed away for hours walking a field. No wonder I am really sensitive and always trying to read people and assuming that they think bad of me.
Your right I’m not a bad person for saying no to her and think about myself also. Boundaries are really hard, but neccesary cuz I don’t have the health to deal with her anger anymore.
Sorry for the once again long rant.December 12, 2022 at 1:53 am #411752
good to hear from you! I was sick with covid 2 weeks ago, but thankfully am fully recovered now.
Knowing that Y is planing on going to Canada and travel with the guy I like, but still hasn’t told me about it. Makes me wonder if we are really friends or if something is going on behind my back.
I can imagine why this situation is making you feel uncomfortable. How come Y is travelling to Canada? Has she planned it before, independently of your guy, or there is something going on between the two of them?
In any case, the fact that she hasn’t told you yet, and you’re supposed to be close, is unusual. Maybe for some reason she feels uncomfortable telling you. Do you think it’s possible they got together? Because so far it was always like there’s nothing romantic going on between either X or Y and your guy, they’re just friends… Maybe they are indeed, but are travelling together because he’s going back home, and she was planning to travel to Canada in January, so they thought why not go together… I don’t know Katrine, it is strange. I guess you’ll find out soon enough…
As for your guy not looking you in the eyes, even if he was there right in front of you… well it’s a typical behavior of someone who is uncomfortable about contact. It can be his usual avoidant behavior with you, or it can be that there is something going on between him and Y, which makes him even more uncomfortable. Again, I don’t know, Katrine, but whatever it is, please don’t blame yourself – it is absolutely not your fault.
I’m trying to tell myself that I may not be as bad as it makes me feel, and try not to think too much about it.
No, you’re not bad whatsoever! The fact that he doesn’t greet you or doesn’t look you in the eye has nothing to do with you – it’s all about him and what is going on his mind. Please don’t let his immature behavior define how you feel about yourself!
The guy I was with earlier this year is in a new relationship. With a girl he knew from home before moving to Europe and wanting to settle here. All of his stories are about them going on dates. I stopped looking at them because it just makes me feel bad, because he never did any stories on social media with me.
As far as I understood, your relationship with this guy had an expiry date from the beginning. I mean, neither of you wanted it to continue once the guy leaves your country, right? And you weren’t really upset about it. I mean, that’s how I understood it. So perhaps that’s why he wasn’t posting anything about you on social media – since he knew it was only temporary? I don’t want to sound insensitive, but that’s how I understood it. Please tell me it wasn’t like that for you…
At my brother in laws 30th birthday party I was soo anxious, he has four siblings and they were all there with their partners and they still had there jobs. I was able too have fun though, talking a lot with his siblings and the conversation actually went as if we had been friends for years, that really surprised me. But then my sisters behaviour of such a loveling and caring person and they way his parents was talking about her like, who is this person? Do I really know he? when saying goodbye I couldn’t get myself to look her in the eyes I just looked down and said goodby and so joined my dad. A week later my dad got a phone call from her, she and his parents had noticed my behaviour and said that it would have consequences, I probably wouldn’t be welcome in their house again and I wasn’t going to be invited to my sisters birthday two months later. I was shocked. It was a very strong reaction in my book,
Yes, it is a very strong reaction! You were denied future visits because you haven’t cheerfully greeted your sister but looked down while saying goodbye. When did this happen?
I understand why you didn’t feel like greeting her – because you felt triggered. You saw how “loving and kind” she is with other people, and you know how selfish and judgmental she is with you, and that’s what upset you. You felt resentment towards her, and you couldn’t bring yourself to be nice to her. You let that resentment be visible to everybody, and I guess that infuriated her.
And sure enough, she retaliated, because that’s what she always did, hasn’t she? She had the right to be mean to you, but you didn’t have the right to be mean to her. Your parents defended her and never protected you. Or they blamed both of you, when it was clearly her fault. That’s very unfair.
It was the same this time: your father first scolded you (I guess repeating her words and her point of view), and then when you reacted and started yelling at him, he accused both of you:
He threathen to leave the family saying he didn’t want to have to deal with us children and all the problems anymore
Again, he wasn’t interested in finding out who is right and who is wrong – he was just interested in keeping the false peace. You were expected to give in to her whims, so she would stop her tantrums and her screaming. You needed to give in, so there would be peace in the house. You were always accused, while she was almost always excused.
As I said, very unfair. No wonder you’ve got so much resentment towards her!
I think you’d need to process that anger, preferably in therapy – years and years of abuse by your sister, and your parents tolerating that abuse, not protecting you from it, even blaming you for it. You need to express it in a safe environment.
If you do, two things will happen: 1) You’ll be less affected by her behavior in the future, and 2) You’ll be able to set boundaries with your sister and even cut all contact with her, if necessary. Because you don’t deserve to be abused like that – you don’t need it in your life and you’re allowed to say “No! Thus far and no further!”
Do you have an opportunity to go therapy?December 12, 2022 at 2:27 am #411754
I’ve noticed a typo in one sentence. It should be like this:
Please tell me if it wasn’t like that for you…December 12, 2022 at 6:42 am #411759
I hope you are feeling better now and that you don’t have to deal with any side affects of it. Covid is really hard on your body.
Well Y is here in Europe on a two year visa so she can travel and work at the same time, he has been doing the same thing working and traveling wanting to see as many countries as possible, she has been on three different holidays since she started working here in late april and is going on another one to different countries in january. She can be a bit impulsive as X said and she spends a lot of money drinking and not thinking about how ekspensible it is to travel for longer periods of time. I don’t think anything romantic is going on between them, my guy collegue and the two girls who also works the bar and have seen them there as a group getting absolutely hammered and he would (when he gets really drunk) make out with a woman and then not see them again. They say that thay haven’t seen any flirting behaviour between the two and that he X and Y are just close friends. She has been talking about other guys (she had a guy over that stayed the night) and asked the cute guy if his friend was single. And when the cute guy came to the bar back in June and started asking about me he thought that I was still living there, but I had moved out and Y had taken my bed. But being left out and not informed definitly makes me worried and think worst case scenarios. I did the same with X they were the last persons left at her housewarming and at the staff party they got super drunk and Y danced really close with another guy at work and X danced very close with the guy I like. They are party people who sometimes gets high, he is trying to get out of that because he knows it’s bad for him.. The only person that he doesn’t gets wasted with is around me, which stupidly made me feel a bit bad (even though I am glad I’m not an enable).
I still struggling with him calling me by nickname because I really struggle with grey areas, which I know now is very common for people with trauma. I have a very black and white thinking grey areas makes me feel uncomftable, I wanna know exactly which lable to put on someone good/bad, hence why I have a tendency to cut people out of my life instead of trying to repair. If you call me by nickname then you should see me as a friend, but not inviting me to your birthday but inviting the new people still hurts. I still would like to be his friend because we do have a lot in common and cuz I feel that we in a way do have a history together. He too has been open about his struggles and he has given me more details about it than X and Y. I think looking at him as you and Anita said as someone who is quite troubled and as Anita said people with mental illness doesn’t always see how our behaviour affects other people, so to try and not take it personally.
You are right. We both jnew that we only had a small amount of time together because of his visa, and he did say that we shouldn’t get too close since he not neccesarely would get a sponsered visa. I think it triggered a the closets I have been with a man wasn’t good enough type of wound.
The thing with the birthday party was spring last year during the pandemic, so a while ago but the day we came to see my newborn nephew in August he stilll wouldn’t look at me or hug me like he does my parents, it’s a punch in the gut every time and I’m already dreading seeing them at Christmas. It’s still weird hearing someone describe my sisters behaviour as abusive it’s definitly what I needed to hear because it makes it clear that I don’t deserve that type of behaviour. Not excussing her behaviour anymore with her being tired, or stressed only then can you put down boundaries. I just didn’t know that they would react this strongly against me to keep the peace. The not being defended when someone mistreats you was for me what hurts the most. They have been more supportive after I moved abroad and my mom is now telling to call home if I need to talk about anything that stresses me. I have told her everything about the guy, X , Y and evertything else that has been stressing me out and she let me get it out of my system. And finacially they have always helped me out, not that that errases the hurt that has been caused but it has helped me during the past months.
Some positives that has happened, we celebrated one of the new girls birthday Saturday (the one I had a coffee date with, and have another one coming up). I overheard her asking Y if the cutre guy was coming but he had an event to do that night and so couldn’t join. I felt my anxiety go up and my mind strated racing, I felt overwhelmed ( It was an insanely hectic day at work) and so started to look for excuses for me not to join them. But I stayed and I am really proud of that. I took some deep breaths and tried reframing/challenging my negative thought and the first hour or so I felt really like I was in the way and that they would have more fun without me. But after that (and the one drink I had made me tipsy) I started relaxing more and talking with people (obviously had he been there as well I would have been more anxious but it’s a start). Y asked them to come to a christmas fair on Friday she also asked me to join when I finish my shift and I accepted. I have been going out and been social three times in a couple of weeks and have more coming up, and I am gonna ask other people as well. I am sure the more I do it and am able to also have fun the easier it gets, thinking it’s better not think all or nothing, like if I don’t stay until the morning getting hammered like the others I’m a failure, and instead make a compromise, go out for some hours and have fun. That way I also help keeping my fomo at bay.
I have actually been looking for a therapist but it’s hard to find someone who deals with complex trauma. I tried therapy several times back home but we never got anywhere which really ended up making me feel more broken. My mom send me a link to someone over here and there’s a free consultation to see if she is able to help.December 12, 2022 at 8:24 am #411763RobertaParticipant
What vicious cycles you are in. The relationship or lack of it with a man/men you like.
The turbulent relationship with your sister/family.
Holding on to past hurts and grasping at unknown futures is like wrapping yourself in electrified barbed wire.
As you & your sister were growing up your parents did not have xray vision/omnipresent ( ie not seeing what was going on when they were not in the same room). So any nasty manipulative behaviour went unchecked.
It appears that with every encounter a whole train load of baggage comes with it (how tiring & anxious making).
If you gave up trying to right old wrongs and resolved that you will bring gentleness to each encounter and not dictate how its outcome should be then maybe life may not be so painful for you. I know this is much easier said than done but it is well worth the effort to not add new hurts onto the mountain of pain that is already there.
best wishes with all your future interactions