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Feeling lost in life

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  • #394259
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    I will be reading your posts from the first to the sixth and comment:

    “I got very anxious and paranoid of how other… people…  perceived me. I could feel the change in…  the behaviour of others…(I) became so tense and nervous around people” –

    – in this emotional state when around people, it is impossible for anyone (1) to accurately perceive how other people perceive you and, (2) to accurately interpret their behaviors. Even in a much calmer state, people misinterpret others’ behaviors!

    It feels like nobody can handle my oddity” – you think that others think that you are odd, but you are wrong, at the least, not every person thinks that you are odd. Most people are not at all thinking about you because they are busy thinking about other things, many are busy thinking about what others (including you, Sesha) are thinking about them, and some are busy thinking if others are thinking that they are odd!

    I wish that I know how to find silence in my head. I am trying my best to train mindfulness and also to take care of myself by meditating, eating well and go outside” – I hope these non-pharmaceutical strategies to calm down work for you. There is the option, if necessary, of psychiatric medications, such as the SSRI anti-depressant drugs that are also prescribed for anxiety.

    I think people kind of felt offended by me” – like I said, for as long as you are too anxious around people, you are not likely to accurately interpret their reactions to you. A person may be offended by someone else in his/ her life earlier in the day, and you inaccurately think that the person is offended by you. The tendency when too anxious is to take everything personally, as if other people’s behaviors are all about you.

    Even if my parents love me and would give everything they have, they used to be very demanding and discouraging at the same time. But they changed… I want to emphasize that my parents aren’t bad people, but they grew up that way and didn’t know better how to educate me” – young children naturally look up to their parents as if they were gods. The reason: they feel safe being dependent on perfect, all-good, all-loving, all-capable gods than they would if they were aware of how imperfect their parents really are.

    In the exceptional case of healthy-enough childhoods, older children gradually learn to perceive their parents as humans. When childhoods are not healthy-enough, the child grows up into an adult who keeps looking up to the parents as if they were gods. The reason: the child, now adult, never felt safe enough to see the parents as humans, and he/ she still needs them (or any one of them) to be gods.  This tendency stands in the way of the adult-child healing because the more you see your parents as perfect, the more you see yourself as imperfect. To see yourself as you really are, you have to see your parents as they really are.

    In your thread, you were quick to protect your image of your parents, but in reality, if you see them as they really are, you will not hurt them, because your image of them exists in your head, in the distance between your two ears, and your parents don’t occupy that space. What’s happening in your brain is your private business. You don’t have to share it with your parents.

    I am also very envious of her life and compare myself very often with her, because we grew up in the same circumstances, but she seems to have her life together… She doesn’t want to have any negativity in her life. I am somebody very negative and unbearable” – in families, even though the circumstances are often very similar for two siblings, the strong tendency (unless the family is healthy) is for the younger sibling to take the opposite role to that of the older sibling. A common example: if the older sibling is rebellious, the younger sibling is likely to takes the obedient role. In your case, if you were considered the “negative and unbearable” sibling, then your sister is likely to have taken on the role of the positive-and-bearable sibling.

    Many times, they just stand up and go because they can’t bear my emotions and my intense moaning… I couldn’t bear those emotions and regulated them in very destructive ways… Those intense emotions are scary and terrible for others too… I get very clingy and vulnerable. I want that people don’t leave me alone… Therefore, people feel suffocated by me…  I feel like I am acting like a child” –

    – I am trying to get a picture of how you actually behave when overwhelmed with intense emotions, and I don’t have enough information to have a picture. You mentioned “intense moaning“, which means that you make intense sounds of pain and suffering (?) Maybe you cry loudly, or for a long time, I don’t know. Maybe you beg people to not leave you. It will help me to see the picture I need to see if you describe what I would see and hear if I was there, while you regulate your emotions “in very destructive ways“. What do you actually say and do during those times?

    What should I do then to get the comfort I need to calm down those intense emotions? Like you said alone the emotions intensify but in such an unstable state I can’t seek comfort in others” – you already know about mindfulness, meditating etc. (“I am trying my best to train mindfulness and also to take care of myself by meditating, eating well and go outside“), and I mentioned the possibility that psychiatric medications may help. To give you a suggestion that is more specific to you, I will need to have the picture I asked for in the previous paragraph. If you feel comfortable enough to give me that picture, please do.

    anita

    #394265
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    I agree with you that most people usually are occupied with their own thoughts and probably don’t notice my oddity. Like you said the tendency is high to misinterpret people’s behaviours when being very anxious. The awareness helps me to relativise the behaviour and reaction of other people. Especially now without the stress of my study I can withdraw myself from possible conflicts with others. But on the other hand avoidance is also not the solution.

    I am aware of psychiatric medications. But I really don’t want any medications. In my situation I believe that the brain can be trained to be more resilient and regenerate from stress damages. Unfortunately it takes time to see any results and it is a lonely way.

    You reflected well on how children see their parents. They are the caregiver and gods in the eyes of children. I used to see my parents as gods. I especially used to listen everything what my father said. Back then I didn’t have any friends to exchange on different perspectives. I was trimmed only to performe and not to socialize. I think that back then I didn’t build any own opinions or interests. I was scared to be under people and to explore the world.

    I protected the image of my parents because I felt guilty to blame them for what I become. They didn’t do everything right and I am angry at them. But they still support me and at the end I can’t change the past. So to recognize that they did wrong and move on is the best way to continue to live.

    It is unfortunate that I didn’t become the positive and bearable sibling. But I want to find a way to become free from my suffocating self. Through my experiences in the last few years and responsabilites as the older sister I will never be as positive as my little sister, but I can be one day free from my suffocating emotions. Maybe not now but one day.

    When I am overwhelmed with those intense emotions I cry a lot and I talk very negative about myself and others. I get paralyzed and every suggested possible solutions I reject and continue to whine. Then I repete those negative things again and again. My whining words are nothing new and gets boring to listen to. Many times I told my father that I want to die because everything has no meaning or I can’t handle my life. But he feels helpless and can’t help me. For me it is almost normal when he walks away. I would not wonder when other people would do the same. I did also get angry and push my father away by going away before he does, because I know in my core he would not catch me even if I need him the most. My whining is unbearable and unhealthy. Even my therapist felt uncomfortable with my whining. It’s just too much. But I still wish that somebody will be patient enough to sit next to me, interrupt my thoughts and get with me through those intense moments without judgement. I often hoped that love will safe me, but I know that it is irresponsible of me to expect that from somebody if I can’t pick myself up.

    Sesha

     

     

     

    #394293
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    I just read your recent post and there is a lot in it, many beginning thoughts formed in my mind as I read. I know that I will need to re-read and reply Sat morning, my time (in about 14 hours from now), when I hope to be rested and refreshed. I will be back to you then.

    anita

    #394360
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    To recognize that they did wrong and move on is the best way to continue to live” – to recognize what damage their wrongdoings caused you, heal from the recognized damage and move on.

    Your healing is not about (figuratively) taking your parents to court, proving their guilt and declaring them guilty, and then punishing them, or declaring them innocent, and absolving them from guilt. Your healing is not about judging your parents. It is about seeing and understanding how they negatively affected you. Without this seeing and understanding, there is no starting point to healing.

    Stated again, your healing is not about your parents. It’s about you. Your parents will not be helping your healing and therefore, they don’t need to know the details of your healing. So please, try to not get caught in feelings of guilt in regard to judging them and blaming them. They don’t have to know anything about what constitutes your healing. Your healing is your personal project.

    Healing has to include figuring how your parents negatively affected you because parents are way too powerful over their child’s mind and heart, way too powerful to ignore. In the young child’s mind, parents are gods. Gods are powerful, as long as your faith in them as gods continues.

    Likely, you think that you fully know, now, that you are in your mid-twenties, being the intelligent, educated adult that you are, that your parents are not gods. But the one who is currently, like before,feeling those intense emotions… desperate for comfort… very clingy and vulnerable… overwhelmed with those intense emotions… cry a lot… get paralyzed and every suggested possible solution… (she) reject and continues to whine“- this person crying, whining… she is still the 2 or 3, or 5-year-old of 20 years ago who believes her parents are gods.

    This young child’s gods walked away from her and naturally, being 5, she was too young and unprepared to be left alone. “Many times, they just stand up and go…. they walked away… I want that people don’t leave me alone“.

    Let’s say you were in your bedroom with your parents. You cry, they walk away while you are crying, without any effort to comfort you, settling into the living room sofa, watching TV. They did not disappear from your life, they were only a few steps away, but those two people/gods in the living room were no longer the gods that you trusted before. They became gods who betrayed the trust of their greatest believer-follower-admirer.

    I wish that they didn’t let me down emotionally when I most needed them… I know in my core he would not catch me even if I need him the most” – the gods, particularly your father perhaps, betrayed your once unquestioning trust. You know in your core that if you fall, your father will not catch you.

    It feels like I can never reach those high jumps like others did” – it is no wonder that you are afraid to jump high, that you don’t trust your ability to jump high and survive the jump- the higher the jump, the greater the fall… and there’s no one to catch you.

    For me it is almost normal when he walks away” – you adjusted to his habit of walking away from you, so it feels almost normal, but the kind of normal you experience is full of “racing thoughts of self-blame, shame and worry. Also, feelings of loneliness and worthlessness“.

    I have a comment about your sister. It so happens that my younger sister seemed to me, when I was growing up, to be perfectly healthy, mentally and emotionally, so very different from me: she was social, had so many friends, popular, smiled a lot. I figured at the time that she is proof that I was the odd one, that something was very wrong with me. Otherwise, I thought, why would a sister growing up with the same mother, the same circumstances as I did, be so healthy while I was so sick. A couple of decades later, I learned of her panic attacks, and her severe sense of shame. I was wrong about her after all. I didn’t know.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
    #394381
    jess
    Participant

    Sasha,

    I have the same feeling right now. It started about a year ago. But I was in college for my first year in 2020 and slowly began to realize that school isn’t for everyone and it definitely doesn’t mean everything, especially over your own health. I though for the longest time to make good money you have to have a degree, which can be true in some cases but there is MORE to life than the typical go to college and get a career that you’ll be doing your whole life. But what if you’re not happy with that career as you come to realize? I learned in Sociology that we should question the familiar. Not everything is as it seems, just because it’s the typical thing to do doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. I’m on your boat because I see so many people around me being successful and living happy lives and I have no clue what I am doing or what makes me happy. I feel like I definitely lost my sense of self as well.

    I think this vacation will help you decompress and relax from the stressors of reality. Sometimes you have to take a step back and realize the world is constantly moving hectically, but you can take a few breaths away from that caos and indulge in what you makes you happy. I am taking a break from school to find my real interests because I’ve never had the chance to do that since I’m always doing SCHOOL. I think you should take this vacation as a time to enjoy your environment and connect with your inner “engineering.” Maybe even take a break from school until you know what feels right for you.

    I hope you the best, it will all workout for a reason.

    As long as you’re happy, you could be changing jobs your whole life. <3

    #394385
    jess
    Participant

    Sesha*** I’m sorry I spelled your name wrong.

    #394395
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    Thank you for your eye opening analysis. It is true that my inner child is still feeling those lonely and suffocating feelings even if I can see as an adult that my parents are not gods. But my inner child is still hurt from their behaviour to walk away when I needed them the most especially now when I stopped my study and feeling the same like my inner child that I want to be comforted during those hard times. It is good that I am brave enough to want to break through this vicious circle to be needy to cling on somebody to give me the hold I am craving for.

    I feel understood from you when you said that I am afraid to jump high, because I don’t trust my ability to jump high and survive. I am very anxious that I won’t have a safety net to catch me if I fall. That’s the reason why I hesitate and overthink to try new things or to meet new people. I know how that hurtful feeling to be outcasted feels like.

    Thank you for sharing your own experience with your little sister. Probably my little sister struggles with other issues too. I know that being envious won’t help me at all.

    Sesha

    #394396
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear jess

    Thank you for your encouraging words and sharing your experience. It feels less lonely to hear that others are also figuring out what to do with their life. Especially if you often see that many people around you are being succesful and seem to be happy.

    For years I pushed myself through my study and was never thaught differently. I was always thinking to finish my degree first and then enjoy life. After many years of studying I also realised that a degree is a longterm goal where I still live my life. Like you said there is more than going to college. Unfortunately I invest most of my time and energy in studying and build almost my whole identity around being a student. I did everything to keep up with my study no matter what and never really build an identity beside college. Now with that semester break I do question who I am and my career choice. Like you said we should question the familiar, because maybe the chosen career path won’t make you happy and not every career path is meant for everyone. What drives me crazy is I don’t know what makes me happy and where to begin to find my real interest.

    jess, I wish you also the best on your self-discovery path.

    Sesha

    #394406
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    You are welcome.

    My inner child is still hurt from their behaviour to walk away when I needed them… It is good that I am brave enough to want to break through this vicious circle to be needy” – yes, you are brave. But every time you visit your father, because of the memories of him walking away from you, the emotional abandonment/ betrayal wound opens up again, every time you visit, to one extent or another, doesn’t it?

    I don’t trust my ability to jump high and survive. I am very anxious that I won’t have a safety net to catch me if I fall. That’s the reason why I hesitate and overthink to try new things or to meet new people” – this reminds me of an exercise I’ve seen done in group psychotherapy: everyone is standing up, one individual, with his or her back to people standing up behind, falls backward and the others are catching the falling individual. The exercise is supposed to build just a bit of trust in being caught when falling.

    This is making me think: how can you, Sesha, how can you get a little bit of a real-life experience of being caught when falling?

    anita

    #394412
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    You touched a nerve. Yes, especially now when I feel very vulnerable and I am often around my father that emotional abandonment/ betrayal wound opens up quite often. It turns me to a very negative and difficult person. I really don’t like this side of me and I blame myself.

    You asked a very good question of how I can get a real-life experience of being caught when falling. If I would know that I would probably not feeling lost, anxious and alone. I would be more active in my own life and not circling around my past or future. But maybe volunteering can be something or finding a support group for real human acceptance. I am also thinking a lot to get a little job to feel like I am doing something. At the end it is really just to reach out or to jump in the cold water.

    Sesha

    #394413
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    That’s how I felt every time I visited my mother, the old wound opened up and bled, all over again, every single time.

    At 25, desperate enough, I flew thousands of miles away from her, a whole ocean and two continents away, and I made progress far away from her, but every time I visited her, I regressed, much of the progress was undone by seeing her/ hearing her/ feeling her so close to me, too close. Eventually, all progress was undone, and I was depleted. I lost decades of life, life unlived, or too poorly lived.

    I really don’t like this side of me, and I blame myself” – really, it is not your fault, not any more than it was mine. I couldn’t help it that when I saw her, the wound re-opened. Nature operates this way. I can’t help nature.

    If you “jump in the cold water“, like I did when I moved continents away, all by myself and with very limited resources, you’d have to make sure that you don’t visit the … same old, same old murky waters of many old injuries.

    anita

    #394528
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    I wanted to add that I don’t expect you to cut contact with your parents, hardly anyone chooses this path of ending contact with a parent, neither is it practical for many who are financially dependent on their parents.

    What I am saying though is that if you will, please consider that it is not your fault (and therefore please don’t blame yourself) for having negative feelings toward a parent who repeatedly betrayed your trust when you needed him most. I am not suggesting that you confront your father or fight with him… or cut contact with him. I am asking you to not blame yourself for what you are feeling- and for what you are not feeling- for any of your parents.

    We all start loving and trusting them. When things go wrong, the cause is the parent’s neglect or abuse. If as the adult that you are, a stranger or a casual acquaintance walks away from you when you need help, it hurts some. But when you are a child and any of your parents walks away from you when you need their help- that hurts a whole lot. A parent has so much power over his/ her child, and therefore, so much responsibility to do right by the child. Most parents are not up to the task. And as a result, we suffer.

    Please don’t blame yourself for what you are not responsible for.

    anita

    #394648
    Sesha
    Participant

    Dear anita

    You were so courageous to move so far away from you familiar environment to break free from your vicious cycle. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be on your own with very limited resources. You are a fighter.

    Thank you for your compassionate words not to blame myself. It’s hard, but I’m trying my best not to blame myself and instead to focus on being ok where I am now and to find a solution to get my inner hold again. I don’t have the intention to cut the contact with my parents but I set a limited time to interact with them to not fall into old habits of helplessness. Hopefully I will find my stable self soon again.

    Sesha

    #394650
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Sesha:

    You are welcome and thank you for your kind words. But truth to be told, leaving my mother and venturing into the world on my own was the easiest thing I ever did. It felt like taking in a breath of fresh air. On the other hand, living and visiting my mother felt suffocating. It was so difficult to do.

    I hope you manage to no longer blame yourself for what you are not guilty of, and that it will become clear to you, over time, what it is exactly that you are not guilty for. Give the blame to whom the blame belongs, so to clear yourself of blame that doesn’t belong with you. Feel free to post anytime you feel like it, and I will be glad to reply to you whenever you post.

    anita

    #395216
    anita
    Participant

    I hope you are feeling/ doing better, Sesha!

    anita

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