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  • #352910
    anita
    Participant

    Editing: find something that you want but were afraid to assert yourself on the matter, and do assert yourself in that context.

    You need an experience equivalent to asserting yourself with the bully who poured the drink on you years ago. You need to feel that kind of power, and you can’t feel it, and you can’t believe that you have that power, until you experience it in action.

    anita

    #352922
    Matthew
    Participant

    “You need an experience equivalent to asserting yourself with the bully who poured the drink on you years ago. You need to feel that kind of power, and you can’t feel it, and you can’t believe that you have that power, until you experience it in action.”

    But I’ve already felt that kind of power, only very few times, maybe once or twice, when I felt I did the right thing and was able to stand up for something. But I think that it needs to become a pattern in order for a change to make place.

    Same goes with people. I’ve found and met people who respected me and whom I felt good with, and who contacted me and wanted to meet me without me initiating it, but it’s still not a pattern. And all of them live in a different places, so I am not able to meet them regularly.

    I believe what you said in the beginning, that change will happen through time if I don’t give up, and one day I will realize that I have changed. It’s just that I feel way behind others my age who haven’t had this social anxiety and social fear, and I’m often afraid that because of these I will never be able to fully reach the “normal” level. The truth is that I can do it with certain people, who respect me for who I am, but with others, with new people I still feel that I’m hiding myself and I’m afraid to show myself to them.

    For example here is how I see things how: if I were at an event, let’s say a smaller party, and I saw a girl that I liked, I would have absolutely no idea what to say to her. I would just shake and I would not even be able to talk clearly. And even if we have a 5 minute conversation, she would leave me afterwards and go to other boys who are more “interesting and fun”.

    I remember one time 4 years ago when I was at a student party and I saw a girl that I liked and as nobody knew me there, I decided to go against my fears and go dance with her. We did dance a little, then she told me she was going outside and will come back, and she never came back. I just kept looking for her like a child. And then I found out that afterwards she danced with 3 other guys all of whom she kissed while dancing. And, honestly, this is something I have never done and I don’t regard to as an achievement or anything like that, but I kept wondering why she had left me there and why she had kissed all other boys and not me.

    This was my only experience of this kind, and as you can imagine, it didn’t encourage me to believe I was attractive.

    I keep asking myself whether the problem is with me, or rather with me almost always having been in the wrong places with the wrong people.

    #352946
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    In my most recent post to you, I wrote: “You need an experience equivalent to asserting yourself with the bully who poured the drink on you years ago. You need to feel that kind of power, and you can’t feel it, and you can’t believe that you have that power, until you experience it in action.”

    And your response to thatwas: “But I’ve already felt that kind of power, only very few times, maybe once or twice”.

    Can you tell me about that one or two times?

    anita

    #353086
    Matthew
    Participant

    Anita, I apologise, but now that I think about it, I feel I exaggerated when I said that I felt the same kind of power. I replied too fast, without analyzing it. I didn’t intend to confuse you.

    One situation I thought about was when I worked in a children’s playhouse and a child was too little to play in a particular game. When I told him that his father became angry and he started raising his voice at me, but I just told him that it’s not allowed and that’s it. He later came to appologise for his behaviour and thanked me for doing my job.

    I felt proud for what I’d done, but it’s not really a big deal. It was rather about doing the right thing without being in any kind of danger, than standing up for myself, and it actually does not compare with my event with the bully. So the truth is that I haven’t had an experience equivalent to that one in which I won.

    I am over 25 and even little kids who are the same kind of bullies are aggressive with me (and with others too) on the street. One time, around 5 years ago I was riding the bicycle and a child (I guess around 10 years old) wanted to hit me with a bag that he was holding. I was lucky for having had a fast reflex and bent down (thank God for the amazing way the human body behaves when in danger), otherwise I would have fallen off the bike and maybe even injured myself. I must have a look or a face that emits vulnerabilty to these people. Other times they just do that thing when they want to scare you by pretending they want to hit you with a fast move and, of course, I defend myself by reflex. Then they just laugh. What am I supposed to do? If I told them anything they would just beat me up. Last year I was walking with my parents in the center of the city and one boy was coming with the bicycle very fast facing us and when he was close he quickly turned in order to scare me and make us think he was going to hit me. I still can’t see any way out of these events.

    So I don’t know how I can actually get into such a situation in which I can stand up for myself and win.

    #353100
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    There are some cultures or societies that are more aggressive than others. It is a shame that you (and I when I grew up) and so many others live in such environment where young people feel comfortable scaring and bullying random people on the streets.

    Here is what I suggest that you do  next: go over our communication so far on this thread (and the previous if you have a record of it.. do you?) and let me know of the following:

    1. Is there anything that you weren’t aware of before, but became aware of as a result of our communication; if so, what is it?

    2. Is there anything that you were aware of before, but got to be more aware of as a result of our communication; if so, what is it?

    anita

    #355034
    Matthew
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Thank you for your patience. Many things have happened during the last two weeks and I didn’t feel like writing. But now I’m back.

     

    I still have an archive screenshot of my earlier post, that I kept for revision. I looked over everything and here is my answer:

    Things I wasn’t aware of before, but became aware as a result of our communication:

    1. I believe way too much in what movies tell us, and think accordingly.
    2. You told me that you thought I wasn’t losing myself or selling my soul if I open up myself more and try to do other things than the ones I liked so far. This helped me a lot. I remember that reading your reply made me feel so much better back then. You wrote me “We often enjoy what we are good at.” A person I respect a lot has also told me something similar recently. She said: “If you have a choice between what you like and what you’re good at, choose what you’re good at. When what you like is an occupation, you don’t like it anymore.” And I can say that I almost agree with this point of view, let’s say 86.47%, because there still are many people who love what they do, even if it’s their occupation.
    3. The bullies from school and the fact that I’ve never confronted them have had a great impact on the way I see myself and the way I react to things happening around me and with me.
    4. My parents haven’t managed to teach me to stand up for myself.
    5. Financial or professional success will not lead me to have a better experience of life.

     

    Things I was aware of before, but got to be more aware as a result of our communication:

    1. I don’t love myself. I’ve always known this.
    2. I don’t trust myself/I don’t believe in myself.
    3. I really live too much in the past, and I am full of very strong regrets and “what if”s, which lead me nowhere.
    4. I need to be my own best friend, and act accordingly.
    5. I need to jump over unknown cracks in order to grow.
    6. I have been having the same problems over the past years, and this shows the fact that I still haven’t managed to solve them. I’m on the point of planning my moving to a different country and one of the first things I worry about is how others will like and accept me because I don’t see myself as being equal to others (meaning that I feel inferior). And deep down I feel that I would change myself only to be accepted, which I know is not ok.

     

    And I think you won’t mind if I add something that I feel right now:

    Last week a person I respected and loved passed away and he was not old. This, along with the possible changes that are about to take place in my life (moving away to a different country) have made me ask myself what really matters in life, and I think a lot about the fact that life is so short and things happen in the most unexpected moments and ways. We spend our precious time worrying and overthinking instead of enjoying the moments with our loved ones, and we inevitably always realize all this when it’s too late. Sometimes I feel extremely sad and I cry thinking about the future, thinking about the fact that one day I will lose my family, whom I love so much, (I’m terrified of the possibility that when I leave it will be the last time I see my grandmother, or even worse, my parents, as life shows us that we never know what tomorrow brings… I’m actually crying right now while writing this) and other times I feel optimistic about my future and I believe in myself. These states can alter in a matter of minutes.

    I am aware of the fact that if things will go well it won’t be nearly as bad as I imagine because my life will move forward. I know that video chat exists, and it will enable me to stay in touch with everybody. I know that a relative of ours who has moved far away when he was young doesn’t regret his decision and we are always happy when we meet (once a year for a few days), I know that everybody has to life their own life and do what is best for them. I know that one day I will be the parent or grandparent of somebody which means that I have to build my own life, but all this is still very tough. I know I am not a weak person for having these feelings, even though it feels so, just a sensitive and emotional person, which I believe is ok, beautiful and natural.

    I think I am not afraid of failing. I am afraid of change. I am actually afraid of advancing in life and moving on. Maybe this can be applied to my other problems too? I am afraid of believing in myself and becoming confident? I am afraid of hopping onto the train that I’ve been waiting for in the station because that would mean that I am never returning to that station? I feel that it’s all liked like in a chain. I’m afraid to leave the station because I am not sure that the next station will offer me something better, something that it’s worth leaving my actual status for. If this is indeed what lies behind my problems, what’s the solution? Is it as simple as “Just do it”? Ignoring all the pain involved and moving forward without looking back?

     

    Life and living seem so very hard when you actually realize that no moment will ever repeat itself and we waste so much of our time.

     

    Thank you for “listening” to me, Anita. It means a lot.

    #355060
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    Pleased to have you back! I will be able to read your post attentively and thoroughly tomorrow morning,  in about 15 hours from now. I will reply to you then.

    anita

    #355174
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    I am glad you did the exercise I suggested, answering my two questions. You did a thorough job, and I am encouraged by the fact that you took my suggestion seriously and followed through.

    I read the rest of your post and this is my understanding today (presented in a simplified way): you are afraid to leave home because your memories of your childhood experience at home are good, and your memories of your later childhood at school and on the streets are bad.

    You experienced Home as a good and safe, and the World outside as a bad and dangerous Place. (No wonder you were so miserable when you lived alone in the city, rushing back home).

    “Sometimes I feel extremely sad and I cry thinking about the future, thinking about the fact that one day I will lose my family, whom I love so much (I’m terrified of the possibility that when I leave it will be the last time I see my grandmother, or even worse, my parents.. I’m actually crying right now while writing this)”-

    – you are very attached to your parents and to a lesser extent, to your grandmother, too attached.

    “I am afraid of hopping onto the train that I’ve been waiting for in the station because that would mean that I am never returning to that station?”-

    I will rewrite the above question: I am afraid of hopping onto adulthood because that would mean that I am never returning to my childhood.

    You are in between childhood and adulthood: too attached to your childhood/parents and too scared of adulthood/other people.

    “Sometimes I feel extremely sad and I cry thinking about the future, thinking about the fact that one day I will lose my family, whom I love so much (I’m terrified… and other times I feel optimistic about my future and I believe in myself. These states can alter in a matter of minutes”-

    you oscillate (move back and forth) between a sad and scared child state of mind and an optimistic and confident adult state of mind.

    From www. jpsycholpathol. it/ wp- content/ uploads/ .. pdf, about the newest American Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) diagnosis of adult Separation Anxiety Disorder:

    “Separation Anxiety Disorder has been recently classified into the DSM-5 section of Anxiety Disorders, acknowledging its role not only in childhood and adolescence but also across the whole lifespan… the DSM-5 acknowledged Separation Anxiety Disorder as a condition that may span the entire life, but also begin at any age, leading to its inclusion among anxiety disorders… it usually begins in childhood and more rarely in adolescence.. the vast majority of persons classified as having adult Separation Anxiety Disorder report first onset in adulthood, with a peak onset in early 20s.

    The essential feature of Separation Anxiety Disorder is an inappropriate and excessive anxiety concerning separation, actual or imagined, from home or major attachment figures, causing clinically significant distress or impairment in functioning. Symptoms may include recurrent excessive stress when anticipating or experiencing separation from major attachment figures or home, persistent and excessive worry about losing major attachment figures or about potential harm befalling to them.”

    Back to your writing: “I am afraid of change. I am actually afraid of advancing in life and moving on… I am afraid.. what’s the solution? Is it as simple as ‘Just do it?’ Ignoring all the pain involved and moving forward without looking back?”-

    My answer: I believe that you are afraid to separate from your parents and grandmother, afraid to leave your childhood home, afraid to make the transition from childhood to adulthood.

    I think that you separating from your parents cannot be easily done, as in “just do it”. It will take managing your separation anxiety, and over time, healing from it. It will take making a step by step plan which will include utilizing relaxation techniques. Quality psychotherapy aimed at managing and healing from your separation anxiety will be very helpful.

    Enough with this post, write me back whenever you want to.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by anita.
    #355594
    Matthew
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for your reply, which was very clear and to the point, like always. You are a very wise and kind person. (the perfect combination)

    Maybe you will say this is a stupid question, but I’m very serious about it: at my age (25) is it normal for me to feel bad for leaving my parents or it would rather be normal if I couldn’t wait to do it?

    I’ve separated from my family a few times for longer periods (half a year and a year) and each time the first few days were hard and them I got used to my “new life” and I moved forward. I worked, I studied, I traveled and I managed by myself. But I was not able to fill that space with other things like a relationship or real friends. I was neither valued for my skills by others, like I had told you in previous posts, which altogether increase the number of reasons why I don’t have faith in the fact that things would be any different in the future.

    My conclusion is similar to yours, but I would build some more onto it: I totally agree with your opinion, that I am afraid of separating from my childhood and entering adulthood, but I would say it’s mostly because I don’t feel I can compensate for the emptiness that will be left inside me. I feel like I lost faith in the world, in the way it works and in what it offers. I think that if I knew that I was able to find genuine people and if I knew I objectively represented value to the world, things would be much easier because I could see that I am leaving a “good place” (my home, my family), but I am going to another “good place” instead. And by “place” I don’t necessarily mean physical space. If I am not valued for who I am, for the way I think, behave and act, or for what I am good at, I really don’t know what else there is that I am missing and that I could be valued for.

    #355600
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    You are welcome and thank you for your kind words (you are a kind person)!

    As before, I want to read and re-read your recent post tomorrow morning, when I am more focused and reply further then (in about 15 hours from now).

    For now, regarding “at my age (25) is it normal for me to feel bad for leaving my parents or it would rather be normal if I couldn’t wait to do it?”- I don’t think normal has much to do with anything, and not only in these abnormal days, but before.. there is not much Normal going around.

    I would say that it is understandable that you feel bad for leaving your parents, it is not weird or strange in my mind.

    I’ll be back tomorrow. Please do something nice for yourself before I am back, and if something comes up that you want to add, post again.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by anita.
    #355746
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    “I totally agree with your opinion, that I am afraid of separating from my childhood and entering adulthood.. I don’t feel I can compensate for the emptiness that will be left inside me. I feel like I lost faith in the world, in the way it works and in what it offers. I think that if I knew that I was able to find genuine people and if I knew I objectively represented value to the world, things would  be much easier because I could see that I am leaving a ‘good place’ (my home, my family), but I am going to another ‘good place’.”

    You defined a “good place” as the experience of being objectively valued for who you are, for the way you think, behave and act, or for what you are good at (A bad place being the life experience where “I am not valued for who I am, for the way I think, behave and act, or for what I am good at”).

    My input today:

    You are living with your parents, and maybe with your grandmother as well (or close to). This home is your “good place”, in quotation marks because you are and have been dissatisfied there.  So actually, it is a bad place for you and has been a bad place for many years.

    If living with your parents was indeed your good place, you wouldn’t consider leaving it.

    At this point, and for years, the fact that your parents value you doesn’t satisfy you: it is not enough for you. You want the world to value you, but you are disappointed with the world.

    You will need to make a choice: either accept and relax into living at home, with your parents or move out and into the world. If you choose the world, change your attitude regarding the world: the world is not about you, it’s not there to take you into loving arms. The world is not a good world. Many millions of people are struggling and suffering and dying in the world every single day. The world is  not likely to make an exception for you.

    anita

    #355928
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Matthew:

    I am having some time this morning, so I looked for your previous thread, I wasn’t sure that you deleted it. I found out that you indeed deleted it. I do have a record of some of our communication earlier in the year and I will share part of it that I think is relevant, but I will not mentioning your previous username or any details that you didn’t mention yourself on this thread:

    I wrote to you a few months ago, on your other thread: “As a young child you adjusted well to your parents: they wanted you to do well in school and you did (‘I’ve had straight A’s’), they wanted you to not cause them any trouble, and you accommodated them (‘I didn’t cause much trouble’), they wanted you to always be very polite and respectful and you were these things (‘was always very respectful’). As a young child you played with other children and you felt that you belonged (‘felt I belonged to the world I was part of’). Then school started and you didn’t belong there… many people your age .. thought of you as weak for not acting aggressively from time to time..(‘I was never involved in fights’)… They should have taught you to be assertive.. to stand up for yourself effectively, to talk confidently, to carry yourself confidently, and .. be prepared to protect yourself when attacked and hit back when necessary…

    When you were appreciated by your peers at university, like you wrote, ‘it was a little too late because that loser feeling and the thought that I am not wanted by others’ was already established earlier in your life, at elementary school. Maybe if you learn to act assertively now, you will be less afraid of being considered a loser by others, and overall, you will be less afraid.”

    After I sent you the above, you responded: “you misunderstood some things I had written.. My parents did teach me to stand up to myself.. The school I went to wasn’t particularly aggressive… I should blame myself for not being smart or strong enough.. I agree that I need to learn to be assertive but I don’t know how to do that now. What’s the way?”

    My answer to you at the time was: “.. You studied a lot in your life, passed tests, got A’s- but those tests did not involve emotional learning. Academic learning is easy and fast to those with academic ability, but emotional learning, no matter how intelligent you are, is a different ball game.”

    Your response: “I would like to embark on an emotional learning journey.. start a new post”, and you did, this thread titled Emotional Learning Journey.

    Sometime in the beginning of your new thread you wrote: “I remember being a very happy child. I was loved by everybody. I was calm, smart, I loved playing with Lego, making puzzles, watching cartoons.. In kindergarten things were good, I enjoyed playing with others and I felt that they did too with me”.

    Next, after kindergarten, “in school I kept being mocked.. I was stopped on the street by a boy who  is known to being a trouble maker and he poured a drink on me just for fun. That has made me become afraid of going out in the street alone… I didn’t feel safe on the street because of that experience (and some other similar ones), and I didn’t feel quite well at school either because I never felt genuinely respected or loved by others.. I’ve always wished I had that friend like you see in the movies, who would always be on my side, who would defend me in conflicts and who would support me when I’m feeling down..when I was around 10 years old.. every morning before going to  school I woke up feeling sick because of nervousness and a few times I even threw up. It went  on like this for weeks. It was a fear mixed with anxiety.”-

    I want you to, take  on your emotional learning journey as the leader: show me the way in this journey of yours. You figure out what these quotes mean and what is helpful  for you to  do next (not just to think, but to do).

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by anita.
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