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Feeling unappreciated because of my ex.

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  • #386880
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    I just need someone to empathize with me and understand me“- I wish I was that someone for you. I will reply further in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #386881
    canary
    Participant

    I just wanted to add something I remembered.

    I took a Clifton Strengths test, and the first strength was individualization. I resonated with all the other strengths so deeply, it felt like I was finally being acknowledged and appreciated. I never even considered the strengths I got to be considered strengths! I thought they were just qualities everyone has.

    “Individualization theme leads you to be intrigued by the unique qualities of each person.”

    I think this is why I am always so curious to learn about people and peek into their life. I can appreciate every individual and realize that everyone is unique and have their own beauty. But it’s so hard to do that for myself sometimes. I don’t feel special, unique, or appreciated.

    I’ve been taught that my traits are actually weaknesses, and whenever I see someone that is somewhat like me, being strong and confident, I get so inspired and I look up to them.

    I was always told that being sensitive, emotional, and thinking about the deeper meaning of things was a bad thing. So I always felt out of place because that is exactly like me.

    I am so sensitive to little things, I constantly get lost in the beauty of the world. I find beauty in everything, especially little things. I have such a deep appreciation for little things that most people don’t really think about. I enjoy thinking about these things, it makes me so happy. I enjoy being emotional too, when I get happy I feel like I am the sun. When I get sad, I allow myself to feel and make art to express myself. I’ve always been doing that. Some people may call me an overthinker, but I don’t consider myself to be an overthinker, I think deeply about little things, and it does not harm me it just brings me joy. Also, this is unrelated to my anxiety because I know anxiety makes me overthink but I was not talking about that.

    I also feel like everything falls into place and everything is connected and I love thinking about that!

    I hope this made sense.

    #386882
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I know I didn’t express my appreciation but I greatly appreciate each and everyone that takes the time out of their day to comment on my threads. In some way, I don’t feel that nice dumping every thought into the threads because you respond to lots of people. So it makes me feel like what I’m doing is wrong. I know you don’t owe me a response, but I feel I might be too much, especially my emotions. I hope that made sense.

    #386886
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    I read all your recent posts. You wrote about your experience with strangers (the boldface feature is my addition): “I care about them and want to connect with them. I feel this way with almost everyone I see, every single stranger.. I so badly want to feel fully understood.. I think I’m looking for this connection with myself… I forget to take care of myself and think for myself! It’s almost like I get so immersed into their lives, I feel myself becoming them. ..It’s hard feeling safe in public, I feel afraid and alone… I feel afraid talking to myself because I don’t know if those thoughts are mine or not”-

    -I think that the problem is that you are too  much of a stranger to yourself, not connected enough to yourself, and that makes you feel uncomfortable, not normal, scared and alone. In public, you get immersed into the lives of strangers because you need a friend, and you are not your own friend yet.

    In a note to me, you wrote: “I don’t have access to a psychotherapist at the moment, do you have any recommendations for some books or other resources that can explain ‘splitting’? Thank you“-

    – You are welcome. I don’t think that there are self-help books addressing the psychological topic of splitting. But I will probably able to recommend books about befriending yourself, that is, no longer be too much of a stranger to yourself. Before I do, I need to ask you the following questions: (1) when you are in public, do you often feel disconnected or detached from your thoughts and from your emotions? (2) Do you feel as if you are an outsider who is observing your thoughts or body from the outside?  (3) Do you feel sometimes that what you think, what you say, and/ or how you move your body is not in your control? (4) Does the world seem foggy, dreamlike sometimes, like it’s not real, or visually distorted?

    anita

    #386894
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    To answer your questions:

    1) Sometimes, but not a lot anymore. I try my best to feel grounded and in tune with my body and emotions. Sometimes when I am having really bad anxiety or a bad day, I notice I feel detached from reality for a bit. This used to happen a lot back in high school, I would become detached from my body, thoughts, and emotions. Since then I’ve learned that this is because of my anxiety. This happens when I’m in public or at home but mostly when I’m in public surrounded by many people. I noticed that I went through a period where I stop experiencing this (over the summer), then when I went back to school, it happened again. I felt this way just yesterday.

    2) Sometimes. I feel like I am myself in my body, but sometimes I get moments where I feel like I’m just observing my life. It’s a bit scary.

    3) Not really. I feel in control of my body and actions most of the time, but sometimes I feel like my thoughts are just random noises. But I believe I always feel control of my actions and thoughts.

    4) Yes. This happens sometimes. It’s been happening recently because I haven’t been having the greatest days. This used to happen daily when I was in high school. Somedays, life seems so vivid, real, and alive. But somedays, it doesn’t.

    #386895
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    Your answers lead me to better understanding, so thank you (I like understanding, not confusion!) I will be away from the computer for a while, and the next opportunity I will have to be focused enough to reply to you further is Sat morning, which is in about 16 hours from now. I will be back to you then, and if anything comes up before I return, anything you want to add: please do (it will not be too much for me, no worries!)

    anita

    #386952
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    you are very welcome, and I am happy to hear from you again. It was beautiful to read this about you:

    I am so sensitive to little things, I constantly get lost in the beauty of the world. I find beauty in everything, especially little things. I have such a deep appreciation for little things that most people don’t really think about. I enjoy thinking about these things, it makes me so happy. I enjoy being emotional too, when I get happy I feel like I am the sun. When I get sad, I allow myself to feel and make art to express myself. I’ve always been doing that. Some people may call me an overthinker, but I don’t consider myself to be an overthinker, I think deeply about little things, and it does not harm me it just brings me joy. Also, this is unrelated to my anxiety because I know anxiety makes me overthink but I was not talking about that.

    I also feel like everything falls into place and everything is connected and I love thinking about that!

    You are very sensitive and perceptive, and you notice beauty in details. Seeing that beauty fills your heart with joy. You see a bigger picture and how everything is connected, and this makes you happy. That’s so precious!

    Now compare that with this:

    I was always told that being sensitive, emotional, and thinking about the deeper meaning of things was a bad thing. So I always felt out of place because that is exactly like me.

    I’ve been taught that my traits are actually weaknesses, and whenever I see someone that is somewhat like me, being strong and confident, I get so inspired and I look up to them.

    You’ve been taught (by your parents, teachers or both?) that being sensitive, emotional and thinking about the deeper things in life was a bad thing. It’s almost like being told that the core of who you are is bad. No wonder you started feeling less than:

    I can appreciate every individual and realize that everyone is unique and have their own beauty. But it’s so hard to do that for myself sometimes. I don’t feel special, unique, or appreciated.

    Also, it seems to me that your parents and other authority figures (teachers, counselors) didn’t show enough compassion and understanding for you:

    I feel like some people in this world get so caught up with themselves and their lives that they forget how to empathize and be compassionate towards others. Some of my past counsellors were like this, as well as teachers, and it was disheartening for me because I realized the world is a cruel place sometimes.

    I just need someone to empathize with me and understand me.

    In your earlier posts, you said your parents, specially your mother, loves you and supports you. But based on what you said, in your childhood she didn’t really know how to help you with your fears and anxiety. I wonder if your mother too (or both of your parents) somehow sent you the message that you shouldn’t be so emotional and sensitive, that you should just ignore the bullying, sort of toughen up and don’t take it to heart so much? And when you couldn’t, you felt that there was something wrong with you?

     

    #386960
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    I believe that my parents did not understand my emotional side and sensitivity at first. I remember when I would become triggered over little things and have my boundaries be crossed by my parents (eg. I don’t want a hug right now, don’t touch me right now), and I would become so reactive and throw tantrums. My parents did not know what that was so they would yell at me and label me as a crybaby, without understanding why I was acting that way. Of course, they know better now, but at the time they did not. So that really stuck with me.

    My peers also treated me this way. My teachers, friends, classmates did not understand me whenever I would have an emotional reaction to something that bothered me, even if it was very little to them. They did not outwardly say that I am too sensitive, but they would communicate that through their actions and behaviors. I lost some of my friends because of this because they believed I was toxic whenever I would have an emotional outburst and I tried to communicate with them but I did not even fully understand why I was acting that way. So that made me more insecure.

    I did not understand why I cared so much, especially about little things. I did not know why I cried so much. I understand now that I am simply sensitive and emotional, it’s not a bad thing, I just didn’t know what was going on as a child so I didn’t know how to manage it. Now, I don’t have frequent emotional outbursts, and when I do, I can control them much better because I know what’s going on. I’m also able to communicate easily with whoever was involved and thankfully they can understand.

    “Also, it seems to me that your parents and other authority figures (teachers, counselors) didn’t show enough compassion and understanding for you”

    This is true, I felt like the weird child because I did not act like my peers. I was too emotional, quiet, sensitive, and overall weird. That’s what I believed growing up, and that’s why I lack confidence.

    “I wonder if your mother too (or both of your parents) somehow sent you the message that you shouldn’t be so emotional and sensitive, that you should just ignore the bullying, sort of toughen up and don’t take it to heart so much? And when you couldn’t, you felt that there was something wrong with you?”

    My mother never told me to toughen up when I told her about my bullying. She didn’t know what to do, but I remember she would try her best to reassure me and she’d let me skip class if I wanted to.

    My father did send me that message. In fact, the main reason I got bullied was for my body & facial hair. My dad told me that having facial hair is normal, that I should deal with the comments and he believed that not allowing me to remove the facial hair would make me stronger as I got older. But he never once told me how to deal with the bullies. He expected me to learn to deal with it myself. I already got picked on and mistreated as a child, but when I got older and developed facial hair, I got picked on even more. So there came a point where I was crying my dad came into my room and I screamed at him telling him how I get bullied at school because I’m ugly. He told me I was allowed to remove the facial hair. But when I did, I went through a period of not knowing who I was and being treated differently. No one said a word to me anymore, I actually felt uglier when I got it removed. It was weird being treated differently.

    I was taught that being sensitive and emotional was bad and weird. I tried so hard to get rid of that part of me, but when I knew I couldn’t I learned to accept it. I just don’t feel appreciated for being myself.

    #386961
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    In your answers to my questions you shared that when you were in high school, it happened a lot that you felt detached from your body, thoughts (feeling that your “thoughts are just random noises”), and emotions. Currently it happens when you are “having really bad anxiety or a bad day”, mostly when you are “in public surrounded by many people”. You stopped experiencing this detachment during the summer and re-experienced it when you returned to school. You experienced it the day before yesterday as well.

    When you were in high school, every day the world looked  foggy, dreamlike, not real, visually distorted. Currently it happens sometimes, more so when you are having bad days. Sometimes you feel like you are observing your life from outside your body and “It’s a bit scary”.

    What you described is indeed a result of anxiety, like you wrote. The symptoms are described under the terms depersonalization (a depersonalized person is like a split person: the body, thoughts, emotions get split from the whole) and derealization (to de-realize means to detach from reality, experiencing the world like in a dream).

    These symptoms, as you know, are temporary and happen when your anxiety goes up. Seems like your anxiety goes up when you are in public, including when you attend school, and when you have a bad day (encountering problems and challenges, I imagine, is what you mean by a bad day).

    I came across a website today that may be helpful to you. It includes information,  positive and encouraging recovery  testimonial, articles, and more. It’s called dp manual. com, standing for The Depersonalization Manual.

    You wrote that it is scary to experience these things (“It’s a bit scary”). On the “DP Info” page, it reads: “It’s a scary experience for sure, but regardless of how long it lasts, the feeling of being cut off from reality is still a natural symptom of anxiety. It’s not permanent and it can’t hurt you!“.

    I hope to read more from you, anytime!

    anita

    #386965
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    I remember when I would become triggered over little things and have my boundaries be crossed by my parents (eg. I don’t want a hug right now, don’t touch me right now), and I would become so reactive and throw tantrums.

    Can you remember one such situation where your parents wanted to give you a hug, and you refused? Do you remember what exactly happened and why you didn’t feel like being hugged at that particular time?

    I did not understand why I cared so much, especially about little things. I did not know why I cried so much.

    We as babies and little children are super sensitive and cry for the slightest reason. It is the task of our parents to soothe and calm us down. If the parents didn’t know how to do it properly, or they themselves were anxious, we won’t learn how to calm ourselves down, and we’ll cry and get upset for even the smallest things. This could be one reason why you are so sensitive.

    You said your mother didn’t know how to handle your fears and anxiety. She told you to skip school (which is avoidance), rather than help you deal with the cause of your anxiety. Perhaps temporary it felt good not to have to go to school when you were upset, but on the long run, it didn’t solve your problem. When we avoid things, our fear grows.

    Your mother didn’t really help you with your main problem (to reduce anxiety), you were left to your own devices. Since you didn’t know how to soothe yourself, you felt helpless and desperate, and you reacted with strong emotions even to the slightest problem. You reacted like a small child who cries easily, because your mother (and your father) didn’t know how to help you deal with your emotions. At least that’s my take of why you are/were so very sensitive.

    Now, I don’t have frequent emotional outbursts, and when I do, I can control them much better because I know what’s going on. I’m also able to communicate easily with whoever was involved and thankfully they can understand.

    That’s good. You’ve learned to emotionally regulate yourself. It sounds like you are being a good parent to yourself. You understand yourself better and are able to “communicate easily with whoever was involved and thankfully they can understand.” I think this is what you needed from your parents in the past – to understand you and explain to you what’s going on and how to help yourself. And also to talk to your teachers, so they pay attention if other kids are bullying you. This way your parents could have contained your fear and helped soothe you. If they had done that, you would have also known that there is nothing wrong with you.

    Anyway, you are doing that for yourself now  – you can emotionally regulate yourself better. Now what’s left is to tell the little girl inside of you that there’s nothing wrong with her. That it was your parents’ failure and lack of parenting skills, not yours. And that she is perfectly fine just as she is. That there is nothing weird about her.

    I lost some of my friends because of this because they believed I was toxic whenever I would have an emotional outburst and I tried to communicate with them but I did not even fully understand why I was acting that way. So that made me more insecure.

    In fact, the main reason I got bullied was for my body & facial hair.

    Did you have those emotional outbursts because you were bullied? And then some of your friends thought your reaction to bullying was too much and “toxic”? Or your emotional outbursts were unrelated to bullying?

     

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by TeaK.
    #386967
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    Can you remember one such situation where your parents wanted to give you a hug, and you refused? Do you remember what exactly happened and why you didn’t feel like being hugged at that particular time?

    I think I was just having a rough day, didn’t want to speak to anyone, and did not want to be hugged. That’s usually why I felt that way.

    Did you have those emotional outbursts because you were bullied? And then some of your friends thought your reaction to bullying was too much and “toxic”? Or your emotional outbursts were unrelated to bullying?

    I think the outbursts were a mix of things. Unrelated to the bullying, but the bullying was the source of my outburst. For example, I was insecure and did not want to take pictures with friends, or want to be filmed, because the bullying contributed to my insecurity. When my friends would do that without realizing it, I would react and be upset, that they posted a video or picture of me without my knowledge. It was things like that.

    #386968
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you for the resources, I have actually visited that website before and seen some of the videos. It made sense to me that this stems from my anxiety. I still feel afraid sometimes, especially in the moment, but I still experience derealization. It has definitely decreased over the years, and I’m thankful for that, but I will see how to manage it when my anxiety gets bad.

     

    #386969
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    You are welcome. The key is to lessen your anxiety, not to eliminate it (I don’t think that there is a single person who is free from anxiety). You are already familiar with mindfulness/ grounding yourself in the here and now, and various other techniques and practices for lowering anxiety. The more you lower it, the less depersonalization and derealization that you will experience.

    I experienced both (depersonalization and derealization myself) and I am glad to report that healing and recovering from these two experiences is possible: it happened to me and to many other people. It takes practice, as well as better choices in life overall: whenever possible, choosing the people and the situations that calm us vs people and situations that stress us out.

    anita

    #386970
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    My father did send me that message. In fact, the main reason I got bullied was for my body & facial hair. My dad told me that having facial hair is normal, that I should deal with the comments and he believed that not allowing me to remove the facial hair would make me stronger as I got older.

    What did your mother say? Did she agree with your father? It’s interesting that on one hand, you were allowed to skip school (your mother allowed it, perhaps without even telling your father about it?), and then you weren’t allowed to remove your facial hair because that will “make you stronger”. Could it be that your mother was too permissive, but not really able to help you deal with your fears, while your father was strict and lacked empathy?

    If your father had the last word in a rather female problem of removing facial/body hair, does that mean that your mother didn’t really have a say in your home? And she “protected” you by allowing you to skip school in secret? If your father knew about it, he would have forced you to go to school, without showing much understanding for your anxiety?

    I think the outbursts were a mix of things. Unrelated to the bullying, but the bullying was the source of my outburst. For example, I was insecure and did not want to take pictures with friends, or want to be filmed, because the bullying contributed to my insecurity. When my friends would do that without realizing it, I would react and be upset, that they posted a video or picture of me without my knowledge.

    Right. Those outbursts were the result of bullying – you didn’t want to appear in common photos or videos, because you felt so insecure about yourself. A part of your insecurity and frustration is that you weren’t allowed to remove your facial hair, due to your strict father. You were forced to “toughen up” in a situation where a more permissive attitude (allowing you to remove the unwanted hair) might have been a better approach. At the same time, you weren’t taught how to become emotionally less reactive and “toughen up” in a healthy sense, by developing coping skills for your fears and anxiety, or by dealing with the bullies.

    It seems to me you got poor parenting both from your mother, who was permissive but powerless, and your father, who was strict and lacking empathy. Would you say that this is true?

    I was taught that being sensitive and emotional was bad and weird. I tried so hard to get rid of that part of me, but when I knew I couldn’t I learned to accept it. I just don’t feel appreciated for being myself.

    Being emotional and sensitive isn’t bad – it’s necessary for empathy. However, being overly emotional and unable to control our emotional reactions isn’t the best. As I already said, it seems to me you weren’t taught how to deal with your fears and anxiety, and then you were criticized for being so emotionally reactive. You were criticized for something that wasn’t your fault.

    You don’t need to get rid of your emotional, loving, gentle side, who gets immersed in the beauty of nature. What you need though is better emotional regulation, which will allow you not to be so insecure and sensitive to people’s reactions. And you need to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You just didn’t get the proper upbringing and proper tools….  but you are making up for it now.

     

    #386989
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    What did your mother say? Did she agree with your father?

    She did not agree, she was willing to let me remove my facial and body hair but she was afraid to speak to my father about it because he would become angry. I think it’s important to let you know my father had narcissistic traits (according to my siblings), and an unhealthy mindset and view on life. By narcissistic traits, I’m referring to arrogance, desire for power and wealth, manipulation, but only towards others, not his children. He is not this way anymore. In his eyes, he was preparing me for the reality of life, the harsh and cruel life that he had to face and overcame. He wanted the best for me but was unable to see how his actions and thinking were wrong and twisted. I understand that his intention was to never hurt me, but unfortunately, they did. I have no hard feelings towards my father, I love him very much and always did. He was just uninformed at the time but now has understood what he did was wrong.

    If your father had the last word in a rather female problem of removing facial/body hair, does that mean that your mother didn’t really have a say in your home? And she “protected” you by allowing you to skip school in secret?

    Yes exactly. My mother did not have a say at home. My father would try to keep his power and control over his wife because he assumed she would be really demanding, because of the environment she grew up in. My mother is not like this at all, she’s super sweet and easy-going. My father assumed that because she grew up rich and married someone who came from poverty, she would be demanding of luxurious items. So he had to keep his power over her. He has since loosened up a lot. So that is why my mother was afraid, she is not that afraid anymore because she has regained her power and my father is more understanding now. I’m very open with my parents now, especially about my anxiety.

    If your father knew about it, he would have forced you to go to school, without showing much understanding for your anxiety?

    I don’t think so. My father would never see me cry, only my mother would. I didn’t speak to my father about my anxiety as a child, so he didn’t know what I was dealing with. I was too afraid to ask him for permission to remove my facial hair because I assumed he would get angry and say no, so I never did. But when he saw me having a breakdown, he immediately had a change of heart and gave me permission. So, if he knew about it I’m sure he would’ve let me done whatever I wanted.

    It seems to me you got poor parenting both from your mother, who was permissive but powerless, and your father, who was strict and lacking empathy. Would you say that this is true?

    Yes! This is true. I understand my parents both love me, but they were misinformed or not informed at all on how to parent their children. My older siblings both grew up afraid, they still have some fear in them, but they weren’t that close with my parents. When I was born, my parents explicitly made a plan to raise me to be better. So I didn’t endure as much as my siblings did, but I had to deal with my own problems that were different from the problems my siblings faced, and I had to deal with them alone because I was not close to my siblings at the time.

    Basically, I was raised differently than my siblings. My mother was powerless because my father wanted to raise his kids properly but was misinformed and had an unhealthy view of life. I wouldn’t say my dad lacks empathy, he is very emotional and loving but he was just blinded by his own mindset at the time. He has since warmed up.

    You don’t need to get rid of your emotional, loving, gentle side, who gets immersed in the beauty of nature. What you need though is better emotional regulation, which will allow you not to be so insecure and sensitive to people’s reactions. And you need to know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with you. You just didn’t get the proper upbringing and proper tools….  but you are making up for it now.

    Thank you for this. It is very difficult to bring all the focus towards myself because I realize that I care about everyone’s opinion of me. Even a stranger’s opinion of me matters to me, and I’m not exactly sure why. I know that the only opinion and advice that I should take is from those I look up to. Someone who I look up to will never criticize me in a hard way because they are loving and gentle.

    It’s hard to live life when you feel so inadequate compared to others, but whenever my family, friends, strangers, reassure me and remind me how special I am, I feel so much better. I realize that whenever I feel inadequate, I need to bring the attention back towards myself. I need reminders of who I am and what my strengths are. I don’t need others to validate me and agree with me. Also, there are amazing people out there that are filled with unconditional love and you can just tell who they are. I remember the impact some strangers have left on me, by doing nothing but being filled with love. They act so sweet to others and themselves, and I aspire to be like that. Having so much love and joy, filled in your heart that no amount of hatred can extinguish it.

    Thank you for speaking with me, I appreciate everyone that has commented. I feel much better and at peace after speaking and being honest. 🙂

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