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This topic contains 232 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #191793

    Cat
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I understand about the numbers thing – it was only a few weeks ago in my pit of dire despair that I was frantically googling every number sequence I came upon!! It was pretty crazy. I feel better now having a direction and a Plan Of Action to work towards 🙂 I won’t speak of numbers again, I understand.

    Wow, it does sound like we have had very similar experiences… Random question, but did your experiences growing up happen to affect your memory at all?! I ask because, I think I blocked so much of my childhood out, that now I do find it difficult to remember things…It’s weird. Have you heard of the term gaslighting as well? My parents did that to me a lot, and I think that’s why growing up I’ve had a lot of difficulties with judgement of character/ trust etc.

    How is life for you now? Are you currently leading a life that you love?

    I’m surrounding myself with my sister and supportive girl friends. I am very cautious now of other people and their intentions, and I am trying to follow your third option – thoughtfully choosing who I spend time with and how. It’s a skill for sure: I know too many women who put so much focus and attention on to guys who don’t deserve it 🙁 Ah well, all I can focus on is taking control of my life.

    Cat

    #191795

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    I heard the term you mentioned, but prefer it if you described what it means to you, what you experienced with your parents (“My parents did that to me a lot”).

    Regarding my memory, all my childhood memories can be placed in a five minute film, at the most, I am thinking. It is incredible how little I remember. But considering I was as dissociated as I was, that is, as removed from my experience as was possible for a child, it is not incredible. When actual life experiences are removed from awareness as possible, those experiences don’t stick (in memory).

    Am I currently living a life that I love? As much as is possible for me at this point. Loving life? I look at our dog (the neighbors’ dog really, but he doesn’t know it), he loves life, curious to explore, is out there exploring in the rain. Exploring, or learning is my passion to, like Hunter’s (our dog). I still suffer from anxiety, and anxiety is very unpleasant. In the process of healing, ongoing.

    As to “many women who put so much focus and attention on to guys who don’t deserve it”- all boys are born deserving, you know, as deserving as girls. In relationships often enough it is the women who abuse the men. And then, there is the unfortunate taught messages, about sex and women, about using women for sex… and the women using men.

    We, women and men, tend to look at others as our saviors. Seems like everyone is looking at everyone as saviors while nobody is qualified.

    anita

    #191851

    Cat
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    The term ‘gaslighting’ – as far as I’m aware, its the act of one person trying to make another person feel like they are deluded/ wrong/ crazy when in fact they are right. For ex. I’d say something like, “But you did say that”, to which they’d reply, “No, no I didn’t”. Etc. Or one minute they’d be really abusive, then next minute act like everything is normal…. Weird. So weird. The more I grow, and the more I move away, I realise that my parents are literally just two people I happened to be born to – I cannot relate to them at all, and I am slowly but surely allowing myself to step in to my own person and break free from their control.

    I can relate, I hardly remember anything from my childhood either – probably for good reason!! And I too was very detached, a very floaty individual who was just drifting through life allowing myself to get bullied from all angles – school, home life etc. But now what do I say? Not today Satan, Not Today!!

    How is your memory now? I find for me that it is still difficult to remember things – I could listen to an album over and over and not remember the track listings. Or I could read something, and forget the facts. Maybe it’s an attention thing as well, I’m not sure.

    Up until recently I suffered from severe, severe depression and anxiety. To the point where I was in bed all the time, feeling too unworthy to even go down in to my kitchen (for real). I’m only really coming out of that now – but what I’ve learnt, since being off work – is that giving myself time to analyse my life – and see what parts were bringing me joy, and what weren’t/ what I wanted to do and what I wasn’t doing etc. Has seemed to set me on the right path and I feel open to new beginnings and change. Releasing the person that I thought I was and stepping in to what I could be…. It’s a practice of confidence in being the person that you love, the person that you want to be, and telling yourself that you are deserving of being that person, and that you are deserving of all the happiness you wish to achieve <3 <3 Also, I started back on medication, and personally that helps me as my depression is very very severe chemical imbalance, which I think is genetic.

    You are right, both boys and girls are born deserving and free from all the expectations that will be put on them in terms of relationships…. I think it’s difficult to say which sex is more abusive, without statistics. So let’s agree that it can happen on both parts?

    A lot of difficulties I’ve found in my relationships growing up have been due to the insecurities around sex – as if, if you don’t have sex then the partner will get bored or something. Or having guys who are mainly in to me for those reasons, although I admit I have been the same way with guys before. It’s crazy. Especially being my age and being around so many people all the time.

    I have come to the conclusion recently that I am going to set a high standard for my next relationship. Not rush things or anything. And first of all ensure that my life is as good as it can be and that my self esteem is good. It’s going to take a while, but losing Clarence really made me realise that I wasn’t living a life that I loved and instead was looking to him to fix it all. I guess this is like the saviour thing you were talking about(!) I’ve done it time and time again, but this time, this one really made me stop doing it – and I doubt it will ever happen again.

    Sending love,
    Cat

    #191875

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    I want to respond to your latest post but first, a few days ago I listed quotes from what you shared. I would like to respond to a few of those first:

    “my mother… would scream and shout at me and my sister for no reason… she would yell at (father) so he would end up slapping us… There was no way out for me.”-

    I can relate to the experience of being yelled at. And being slapped. At the time I believed there was a reason, that I was at fault, that I was bad. I can relate to “no way out”. In nature, when an animal experiences aggression by another, the animal runs away or fights, and as a result, resolves the danger, no longer being exposed to the aggression (or it dies trying), but as human children we are stuck with aggressive parents, we don’t have the Flight/ Fight options. This is why animals in nature do not end up with anxiety (ongoing fear) and we do.

    When animals in nature do find themselves trapped, unable to run away or fight, at the mercy of a predator, the animal “plays dead” which means, it dissociates, minimizes awareness, goes numb. Which is what we do as children, being stuck with aggressive parents. In nature, this dissociation doesn’t last long: the animal gets eaten by the predator or the predator lets go and moves on. In our human experience, this dissociation lasts and lasts because the parent doesn’t go away nor does it.. kills us. It keeps us alive and keeps the aggression going.

    “On one of the days I … felt anxious and left the festival and started walking in a random direction… I felt like my brain wasn’t working… “- very much can relate to that “brain wasn’t working” feeling, a heavy fog in the brain, like sleep walking.

    “I am definitely a free spirit but sometimes this means that I can follow down the wrong path… I feel that most of my life I have been running away from making decisions and putting it up to the universe and following signs, rather than using my own sense of judgment”- I felt so trapped, so imprisoned in life with my mother, that hitchhiking in opposite directions from “home”, away from her, had such a strong freedom feel to it, intoxicating, promising. I learned over time that freedom does require more than escaping the original entrapment, and for that to happen it does require “my own sense of judgment”, what I referred earlier as the third option, making thoughtful choices.

    “For too long I’ve been an open book, hoping that someone will pick me up and understand me. I’ve allowed myself to be open and vulnerable to a lot of people”- can  relate to this as well. I looked up to others as ones in power, able to pick me up and rescue me. So I gave them all the information I thought they needed to rescue me. They didn’t. No one rescued me.

    “When I posted on here last night it felt uplifting- because I knew that the right people were going to hear this story, and help me along my journey… I think far too often I have been looking for answers from people who aren’t spiritual or have faith…”- that is an optimism I do not share, that is, I don’t believe there is a forum or a place with “the right people”. Better evaluate over time each individual you interact with.

    “this is one of my dreams and goals, along with starting a new happy life in Bristol”- I moved to many places, lived in many places, and had pleasant experiences in some, for a while. No happy life happened for me no matter where I was. I was in too much pain, too much conflict, too little awareness and lacking communication skills,  assertiveness skills, and other skills necessary for well-being,  so a happy life anywhere was not possible for me.

    “It’s almost like I feel guilty for simply living my life or being confident or free because my parents never had that freedom.. if they can’t have it, why should I? They always said I was so lucky to have the things I did and looked sad because they didn’t have it and made me feel guilty… I feel so sorry for my parents not having these opportunities.. deep down I feel responsible for it all, and I really feel like a massive moral weight on my shoulders… I can’t remember one time as a child or growing up where I was just allowed to be happy or at peace as everything (I) did was wrong… it’s like being morally and soulfully contracted to carry out a life under their pains and misery, and feeling like I am harming them if I choose to love myself and therefore cut them out of my life etc. It’s the worst feeling in the world”- so well stated.

    My Core Beliefs formed in childhood were: I don’t deserve to be happy until my mother is happy. Another: I am responsible for my mother’s misery and it is my responsibility to fix my wrongdoing (that is, to make her happy). Another: I am bad and do wrong. It is a cascade of core beliefs forming as a result of parents’ input and children automatic inclination to take such responsibilities.

    “I have lived most of my life believing that my thoughts/ actions/ opinions are wrong… finding myself just falling in to situations” – with the core belief that you do wrong, that you can’t depend on yourself to do right, to choose well, you don’t venture into a life of thoughtful choosing… Better chance things will turn out correctly if I let other people choose for me, as they must know better, goes the thinking.

    “I often get judged and labelled as ‘trouble’ just for standing up for myself”- I carried lots of anger with me, and I did not express that anger assertively.  I was either passively submissive or aggressive.

    Regarding your recent post: I refer to similar thinking (gaslighting)  by my mother as “convenient thinking” or, as my therapist at the time referred to it, “expedient thinking”- whatever is convenient at the moment. Angry at a person- she will tell you how she is bad and wrong; pleased with the same person later, she is good and right and her previous actions are interpreted, retroactively,  in a way contradicting the previous interpretation.

    As to my memory- it is better now. I am at more attentive to my surroundings and remember things. I still don’t remember much of my childhood but some memories exist and those get more color as time goes by, a result of  healing from that long, long term dissociation.

    anita

     

    #192547

    Cat
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Apologies for my late response here. I’ve been meaning to reply the past couple of days but wanted to be in a good head space due to the nature of what we’re talking about – Because those issues mentally and physically take me back to those darker times, it’s important I’m strong enough to write about them…. I’ll respond to your message, and then give you an update on what’s happening in my life 🙂

    1. The point you made about comparing us to animals – I agree 100%. When I had counselling sessions a few years ago, I was taught that someone who has been abused is used to behaving out of the ‘fight or flight’ response, which happens in the amygdala part of the brain. I was so accustomed to hiding away, being fearful, running away etc because I was so used to using my amygdala all the time. I agree – and I think that because we had no escape from the aggressive parent, it has given us a good idea of what feeling trapped/ what suffering feels like/ what it is to suffer. I think these things are massive things to put upon a child, and even for a child to comprehend. I feel like there’s the possibility it did a lot of damage to my mind.

    2. I have stopped running away now (I think).  I think Chicago was the cherry on the top of a long-baking escapism cake. Now I want to learn and practice loving myself, and creating a life that I am proud to lead and love to lead. I think far too often I resort back to being that young child in my head, and punishing myself by not eating, staying in my room, not washing etc. It’s a habit that I am aiming to overcome this year. And to develop a better relationship with myself.

    3. No one has rescued me either. Time I rescued myself.

    4. I disagree. I think this comment thread proves that this was the EXACT forum that I needed, and that YOU Anita, were the exact person that I needed to talk to. Your comments (mostly) and also the smaller comments from other people – you reignited my faith again, just from being there, and just from understanding. The service you provide to others goes along way, and far too often we don’t realise how sometimes the smallest act of showing understanding or support can really impact someone’s life. This whole conversation has given me a sense of stability over this past week or so. And for that I am extremely grateful <3

    5. Yes, similar core beliefs… the hardest challenge I face in adulthood is challenging those core beliefs when I wake up every morning. Thinking, I have a right to a happy life. I have a right to a happy day and stable relationships etc etc. Small steps but I hope I will get there.

    I spent the day in Bristol yesterday and had a very positive day 🙂 Mainly because the city is full of diversity, and people who are happy to live there! Which is what I need, and also people my age who I have stable relationships with. My friends and sister have been getting me through this time and I see a happier life coming ahead 🙂 It’s the act of believing it that I need to master. I did house viewings in Bristol yesterday, and there’s a girl with similar interests to me who I’m going to live with!! So I am sorting that out tomorrow.

    Last night I realised that I have difficulties sleeping as well because I have a really bad pain in my mind. I used to think it was just overthinking, but there is a physical pain. Not sure if you’ve ever experienced anything similar? It keeps me up all night – I’m not sure whether it’s the depression or something else. I grew up with a “lazy eye” – although since my self-progress I’ve actually been using it more and more so I think it is linked to that too.

    I’m sorry Anita. It sounds as though you had a really tough and unjust upbringing as well, and I know the heavy burden that it carries too. I am just hoping that your experiences in early life haven’t made you write off optimism for the rest of your life, because there is still so many good people, so much beauty and so many glorious moments still to be had.

    Sending my love,
    Cat

    #192611

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    I hope that Bristol is a New Beginning for you, that your life gets better and better. If you need help when living in Bristol, you can find quality psychotherapy there. Places of course, do not change our core beliefs, nor do they re-map our brains, calming the fight and flight response you mentioned. But places can help or hinder healing. Within the same city, the same neighborhood, there are places that help and places that hinder.

    Thank you for your words of appreciation (#4).

    I am rediscovering a bit of that optimism you mentioned, these very days, a bit of the looking-forward to things. Similar to Hunter the Beagle, all excited about what new smells await him in the yard. Optimism as in seeing good things that are not real, I have no intention of resuming there. So I am continuing to write off this kind of optimism as well as pessimism and see more and more of what is simply there, what is true to reality.

    anita

    #192613

    anita
    Participant

    * didn’t reflect under Topics

    #192649

    Cat
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you very much, your kind words mean a lot and I hope so too. I hope I can start building and creating a life and lifestyle that I envy of so many others. I will let you know my progress with Bristol 🙂 I have just put down my holding fee!

    I tried psychotherapy in the past few months. I didn’t find it as helpful as I could, as I was unable to really explain what happened in my childhood due to memory, and when I did, my therapist only told me things that I already knew really. I think if I was going to have therapy again I’d have CBT.

    “Seeing good things that are not real” – could I ask you to expand/ explain that a little more please? Or give me an example of one such situation? Reality will always be hard to decipher – because there isn’t one sense of reality. The way that I perceive a table, may be completely different to how you perceive a table….

    In terms of reality, I know that because my enthusiasm was stamped out as a child, throughout my teenage years and young adult life, it meant I wanted to seize as much enthusiasm as possible, which made me trust the wrong people and have many manic episodes etc etc. (Chicago).  Now I’m more aware of this, I’m getting a better understanding that people aren’t these god-like beings that I see in them, and instead, are just (mostly) calm people with a range of emotions and interests. I am looking to know myself better than I know anyone else, as before I would know people so well and myself not enough.

    Cat

    #192653

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    You are welcome. Congratulations for putting down a holding fee in Bristol! How exciting!

    As to “seeing things that are not real, you wrote “there isn’t one sense of reality. The way that I perceive a table, may be completely different to how you perceive a table”-

    A table can be perceived as something to use to use for dinner, placing plates and food on and eating. It can be perceived as a place to sit on, as some people sit on tables. Or dance on, as some people would dance on a table (hopefully if it is solid enough). Or it may be perceived as something to burn in a fire, to warm up a home. All these perceptions are realistic because a table can be all these things to different people at different times.

    I have a question for you, in my effort to understand your thinking and believing:

    if a person perceives a table as an elephant that is about to walk over and stomp him or her, is that reality, in your mind

    anita

    #192729

    Cat
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Dear Anita,

    Thank you 🙂 I am currently sorting things out with the agency via email – which I am continuing to do tomorrow. Move in date – March 31st. I let my current housemate know that I was looking to move out, and asked her to not have her friend round until I moved out. She apologised and said she was going to stop. I haven’t seen her the past few days.

    In terms of the reality question – Yes, tables have different purposes – but what I meant was, what if someone saw someone being violently attacked upon a table? Then I’m sure that this would skew their vision of tables (whether consciously or unconsciously). compared to someone who had never seen such a thing. I feel like this is the case with me, for so long my entire vision of the world – in particular houses, and kitchens, has been subconsciously negative because I saw so much, and experienced, so much abuse in them etc.

    I think it’s important to recognise this. It’s taken me years to realise that it wasn’t necessarily being around people that brought on my anxiety, it was the associations that happened in my mind when I was around those people. Recognising this has given me a sense of power over my past – as it isn’t necessarily the present that is making me feel fear, just the associations that I have with the past.

    In terms of your question – yes, 100%. The reality is in our minds. Because for that person, that is what is happening in their reality.

    For some reason, their mind sees the table as an elephant, and it’s their mind that is torturing them, not the table…. Same can be said when I had a fear of leaving the house – seeing the outside as a threat, whereas the threat is only in my mind. Now I see the outside, simply just as outside.

    Not sure if you’ve ever seen the image of two people sat on a bus. One is sat one side, looking sad and looking out the window and seeing sadness and bleakness. On the other side, another person is looking out the window and seeing happiness and sunshine. A good message that what we see in the world, and what we attract, is dependent on what our mind allows us to see.

    Cat

    </p>

    #192787

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    March 31, again, exciting indeed! I hope your housemate continues to cooperate.

    You wrote: “It isn’t necessarily the present that is making me feel fear, just the associations that I have with the past”- excellent insight, I say.

    I wonder then why you wrote in your post before last: “Reality will always be hard to decipher- because there isn’t one sense of reality”-

    Is there a bare reality in your mind that is objectively true, stripped from all differing associations (ex. of bare reality: a kitchen is a place where people prepare food)?

    And if there is such objective reality, then why will it always be hard to decipher it?

    anita

     

    #192795

    Cat
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you 🙂 I am still struggling with sleep – getting to sleep around 3am/4am and waking up at 12pm/1pm – so really hoping that I can sort this out and get in to a good routine before March rolls around.

    It’s true, even though I know that I am on the right path, that I am currently safe and have nothing to worry about, in my head I still perceive a lack of will to live almost, and therefore does make it difficult to get out of bed, unfortunately. I guess it’s a lack of belief in myself/ my life.

    Yes! That’s exactly it. So, for me – take today for instance, I am seeing the potential of today in 2 different realities….. The first one being: this is the same as every other day, I’ve woken up late, feel a bit useless, might as well just stay in bed and do work from home and hope that tomorrow I get up earlier and go in to town… The second view of how I’m seeing today is this: Okay, well, it’s only 1.20 and coffee shops don’t close until 5/6 so there’s still time. Posting on Tiny Buddha first thing is helping you to remember the positive changes and direction that your life is heading in, so why not post on here, then shower, wear what you want to wear and head in to town?? (I’m smiling as I’m typing this 🙂 ).

    So, I guess for me – in terms of seeing my life, and my self, and everything around me (literally). I either see it with no worth and potential, or I see with so much worth and potential and respect. I guess this depends on my actions – and my influences… For me, it seems like Tiny Buddha is a massive help for me, that helps me to see the second one. Because when I come back on these forums, I am reminded that I am a human, with the same wants, desires and needs as other humans, and I deserve the same goodness in life that other people on here deserve too.

    If I didn’t come on here, and kept to myself today, I think my brain would sink lower and lower back in to the past, and that feeling of isolation from everyone else and reiterate the idea that I am the outsider looking in, who does not deserve a confident, happy life like so many other people have.

    – I will let you know which action I took today 🙂 🙂

    Sending love from England,

    Cat

    #192797

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    I hope that as I type this you are already out and about (what you referred to as the second reality). These two realities: staying in bed vs going out reminds me of our neighbors’ dogs. You may be a cat person (your user name) but I hope giving you a canine example is okay with you…

    One of the neighbors’ beagles is an outgoing, loving, reaching out, going out and about beagle, that is Hunter. He wakes up early, goes out rain or shine and explores the unknown. Same areas mind you, but for him it is the unknown, every morning anew. He explores on and off I suppose, until nighttime. When we open the door for him after his request to come in, he wags his tail, very loving.

    Toby is the other beagle belonging to the neighbors. He never asks to come in, not even close. He doesn’t explore, but stays home all day. He doesn’t wag its tail at people he doesn’t know well. He barks instead.

    For Hunter the world is exciting and inviting. For Toby the world is scary and uninviting. Toby had a traumatic puppyhood. Unlike Toby, we people have the option to overcome a traumatic childhood through a long process of healing so that we can heal that motivation to explore, so that we will be motivated to go out and about and discover the world, every morning anew.

    Until such a time that you feel the motivation, you can do what animals cannot do, will yourself into doing what you don’t feel like doing, talk yourself into it, just as you already do sometimes.

    anita

    #192971

    Cat
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I felt positive yesterday, and after I wrote that message I went and had a shower. I did not manage to get in to town yesterday as I had some logo design stuff that I needed to sort out, and some work that I needed to do here. Was it another wasted day? A little bit, yes. Again, I got to sleep late last night, but I read your message, and the thought of humans being like animals, like sleepy cats actually helped me to go to sleep!! xD

    I am both a cat person and dog person….depending on the cat and the dog!! I am guessing that you are a dog person?

    Thank you for that comparison…. that makes sense. It’s difficult as humans because we simply have SO much awareness about everything and what things mean. Recovering from psychological abuse is something that is so….harrowing, soulfully harrowing. I can have a normal day and be optimistic about my future, then come home and depression/ sad thoughts/ lack of motivation can wash over me like a wave. Do you feel this too? If so, what ways do you try and get yourself out of that mental state/ mood?

    I woke up earlier today, and went in to town 🙂 Did things at the library for the housing agency, and then went and bought some face masks, other products etc etc. I have come home now, and I intend to continue sorting out my room this evening and then have a pampering session and watch a film.

    How are you, and how is your weekend going?

    Cat

    #192977

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cat:

    I am fine thank you. As to cat/dog person, I was neither, but am now a dog person, like that tail wagging, happy to see you welcome. I am quite aware though of those teeth and the size of a dog and know that aggression is possible. Not by Hunter though.

    Regarding “depression/ sad thoughts/ lack of motivation” that “wash over (you) like a wave”- one very important practice that I believe is necessary it to endure suffering without doing anything to escape it any which way. It is like getting a foot cramp, you can panic and try to prevent the pain to come any which way, or you can stay still and let the pain take its course. The pain increases, gets to a top point and then decreases and you survived it.

    anita

     

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