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Feeling unappreciated because of my ex.

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  • #387029
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear canary,

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

    You are welcome, and I am glad you are feeling better now. And that you see that you are enough and don’t need others to validate you:

    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.

    And also, that you don’t need to take advice from people who are harsh and criticizing:

    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.

    These are all important realizations!

    In this last post of yours it also transpired that your father was rather a bully in the family, whom everyone feared, including your mother. You perhaps received less of his yelling and open aggression than your siblings, but still you grew up afraid and hiding your anxiety and your school problems from him, because you were afraid of his anger (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.).

    Your mother was afraid of his anger too:

    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.

    She was afraid of him, he thought he knew better how to raise children, and she didn’t dare to say anything.

    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.

    Well, he certainly wasn’t emotional and loving when you were a child, since he kept you all in fear. Your mother didn’t dare to mention that you have problems at school and that you were being bullied. Neither you or your mother dared to say anything to him, lest he explodes in anger. Your siblings were terrified of him, even more than you were, because he yelled at them much more.

    So you grew up with a bully father, and I believe you’d need to acknowledge it. Even if he has changed since, he did inflict a wound, and I believe his behavior contributed to your anxiety. Because if you needed to hide your fears, if you couldn’t speak openly about your feelings and about being bullied, no wonder this would exacerbate your anxiety and your sense of helplessness. If you were told to be strong and not a crybaby, while this terrifying man is looming over you – how else would you react? And you knew that your mother couldn’t protect you either.

    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.

    Maybe strangers’ opinions matter to you because you’re still subconsciously seeking approval from people who remind you of your father – from fear inducing, judgmental and strict people? From people who lack empathy? Or just in general, you seek approval because growing up, you never received it with a father like that?

    If you had to hide a part of yourself (your weak, vulnerable, fearful side – which every child has), of course you didn’t feel validated and appreciated. Of course you felt unseen and not completely understood.

    It’s much clearer to me now where your sense of not being seen, understood and appreciated is coming from. It’s from your father. It’s fine that he’s changed since, but your mental health is suffering now because of how he treated you in your formative years. You’d need to be aware of that in order to heal it…

     

    • This reply was modified 12 months ago by Tee.
    #387330
    anita
    Participant

    How are you, canary?

    anita

    #387355
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Not doing well… I need to let some things off my chest.

    Having such horrible anxiety is exhausting. I don’t feel like a human being sometimes because of it, I feel so secluded and alien like. I also dissociate and go into this state when in public, im just afraid.

    Yesterday night I had a breakdown because I was carrying so much on my shoulders. I have constant anxiety everytime I’m in public and on top of that it’s been interfering heavily with my school work! I really care about my school work, I always have. When I’m dealing with anxiety all school week, plus have to catch up on a ton of work over the weekend, I can’t find time for myself and it is too much that I break down. I had to miss important classes because of it and I have been getting such horrible grades because I need time to rest and catch up, which is just impossible! I’m so exhausted. This is horrible and also because it’s reminding me of high school, when I would try my best to stay afloat but I was drowning in my own mental struggles. I barely passed and had to retake classes so I could get into university. I love my studies but I can’t do the work when I’m struggling in my life. During the summer I promised myself this would not happen, I made a plan, and gradually felt my anxiety get better and my depression lift. I was excited for the school year. I told myself I would do my best. I’m just sad. I’m so tired. I’m tired of missing out on things because of my mental struggles. I’m tired of being behind my peers even when I’m giving it my all. I’m tired.

    I don’t know if school is damaging me, the program I’m in is tough and I dont know how to balance my mental health with school.

    I have no energy, I barely sleep and when I make time for sleep I cannot fall asleep or I keep waking up early (probably because of anxiety). I wish my university had more accommodations for me, as well as support. when i told them about it they did not provide me with much.

    Also I have no one to talk to about this. I tell my family, they try their best to understand my struggles but I believe they brush it off…. When they ask me how I’m doing I say horrible, they say, “but you look better! You’re doing better.” but im not! even if I’m not hysterically crying doesn’t mean I’m not doing better. I’m just as sad and anxious as i was yesterday. i believe they brush it off because it hurts them just as much as it hurts me. they told me when they hear me cry they cry. so i understand that I guess..

    My best friend does not know how to respond when i talk to her about this. She does not provide the support im looking for. this forum provides me some support because everyone speaks with empathy and warmth also providing useful tools or advice. im just so stuck because i feel the same way i felt all throughout high school. I’m physically and mentally exhausted!!!!!!

     

    #387359
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    I am glad you posted and vented, please feel free to vent anytime you need to. It’s tough to experience so much anxiety as you do. I wish there was a way for you to relax and feel better each and every day, and I wish you had the support that you need irl. I want to re-read your recent post and reply further after I get some sleep, in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #387364
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    I am very sorry you’re struggling so much. I believe there are 2 main problems that you’re struggling with: 1) feeling a lack of support by others (I have no one to talk to about this… I just need someone to empathize with me and understand me.), and 2) feeling that you are “less than” because of your anxiety (Having such horrible anxiety is exhausting. I don’t feel like a human being sometimes because of it.)

    I believe both of those problems stem from your childhood. You were afraid to even share your fears and anxiety with your father, and your mother was afraid to share it too – so you’ve learned that your anxiety is a big no-no, something aberrant and to be ashamed of, something that makes you abnormal. That’s where I believe your problem No2 stems from – that you sometimes feel like you’re less than human because of your anxiety. Feeling worthless and that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you.

    The other problem is lack of support. Your parents are now saying “when you cry, we cry“, which isn’t helpful because it makes you feel guilty about your feelings. And they don’t want to really know about your problems, they minimize them (but you look better! You’re doing better.).

    In your childhood, maybe your mother had a similar attitude: “when you cry, I cry”? She lived in fear of your father and it was probably a burden for her to deal with your fears alone. And she didn’t know how to. Whereas your father’s attitude was something like: “if you cry and show weakness, you’re weak, you’re defective, and I’ll be very disappointed in you”. Would you agree?

    You didn’t reply to my previous post, but it seems to me your father had quite a damaging effect on your self-esteem. And in combination with your mother’s fear of him, you were mostly left alone to struggle with your fears, which then grew bigger and bigger, leading to anxiety.

    It seems to me you are still living with that same wound of 1) not receiving proper support and 2) feeling “damaged” due to your anxiety. Would you agree?

     

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 3 weeks ago by Tee.
    #387366
    Tee
    Participant

    P.S. A small correction in the last but one sentence:

    It seems to me you are still living with that same wound of 1) feeling unsupported and 2) feeling “damaged” due to your anxiety.

    #387374
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    Having such horrible anxiety is exhausting… I also dissociate… it’s been interfering heavily with my school work!..  I had to miss important classes because of it and I have been getting such horrible grades.. I don’t know how to balance my mental health with school…  I wish my university had more accommodations for me, as well as support…  I’m physically and mentally exhausted!!!!!!“-

    -it may sound like advising you to add something to your schedule is not a good idea, because you are already so exhausted, but I think that it is a good idea that you add exercise to your day and make it a daily routine. Daily exercise will lessen your daily anxiety, and in so doing, you will have more energy (not less) to focus on your studies every day.

    If your university has a gym, you can use it for a fast walk on the  treadmill, or for a swim in a heated pool, if one is available; a time that is the least crowded at the gym will be best for you. Or a jog outside, at a time  least crowded can do the trick. If your university offers individual or group counseling or support groups, that will be excellent for you!

    Please feel free to post here anytime, vent and get things off your chest!

    anita

     

    #387595
    canary
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    I don’t have many people to talk to that understand anxiety. It’s hard to explain to my family what anxiety is and how it affects me so much. My family sees me struggling, doesn’t know what to do, so they do what they think is right. The way they give me advice and try to support me is clear that they don’t understand the severity of it. I explained to them just right now, that it’s not really school that I’m struggling with but my mental health, which affects my performance at school.

    My struggles with anxiety: It’s just difficult to show up to class, feeling anxious, and unable to focus on the lecture. Then finding a place to eat, navigating through the huge crowds, I feel afraid. I still do it though, but somedays when I have so much piled up I break down. Like what happened last week. I break down because I had a lot of stress from the huge workload from school because I was behind + anxiety, become depressed for a few days, then when I’m feeling better I’m forced to face all the work that I missed. Piles and piles of work. My sister told me she went through the same thing, but she was physically ill and became so behind in class. She just barely passed her exams. So she is helpful when she is telling me how to catch up with school work and making a plan.

    But the thing is, I’m afraid this won’t just happen one time. I’m afraid that I will have episodes where I won’t be able to get work done, be behind, and the cycle will continue. This is scary because this is exactly what I was going through in high school, the feeling is so familiar. I would go to school, get good grades, have an episode, miss school for weeks, and then when I go back again I’m faced with so much work. That triggered another episode, it was like a neverending cycle. The thing is, it is really disheartening when you think you’re doing good and then suddenly hit with so much.

    I know that I can get through my school year, it’s just that when I’m so behind, it takes so long to catch up and I’ll probably never be fully caught up in work, and it’s hard to pass. Because I will get episodes and they will be random.

    Yes, I feel less of a human because of my anxiety. Because I see everyone, like my peers and family not feeling the same anxiety I feel. So it’s hard for me to connect with them and talk about my anxiety. Sure they can take time to understand, but they won’t ever really fully understand it. And I feel I’m looking for that connection because it makes me feel less alone. I browse anxiety forums and social media pages, especially the social media pages that talk about the harsh side of anxiety + give you ways to deal with it, and I feel less alone. But I don’t have anyone to talk to specifically about this. So that’s why I don’t feel normal sometimes, especially in public when I feel an episode coming. I micro analyze everyone’s behaviour and they all seem so nonchalant, but I’m the only one in the room bouncing my legs, feeling uncomfortable and changing positions, so I feel like everyone is watching me, even though I know no one is. I know people that struggle with anxiety suffer in silence, so you can’t tell someone has anxiety just by their behaviour. I’m just looking for connection. I find lots of people on social media talking about their struggles with anxiety, it’s just that I don’t have anyone to talk to about this issue so it makes me feel alone and makes it harder for me to deal with it. I gain lots of peace and comfort when I post on this forum though, so I thank everyone for taking time out of their day to listen to what I have to say and provide me with meaningful replies.

    In your childhood, maybe your mother had a similar attitude: “when you cry, I cry”? She lived in fear of your father and it was probably a burden for her to deal with your fears alone. And she didn’t know how to. Whereas your father’s attitude was something like: “if you cry and show weakness, you’re weak, you’re defective, and I’ll be very disappointed in you”. Would you agree?

    I agree but not fully. I believe my father never had that attitude of emotions = bad, but that’s what he showed us. All he did was tell me to deal with the negative comments I would receive from people. But I don’t believe he had that attitude that showing emotions means you’re weak, he just told me not to tell other people my personal problems and emotions, but I would do it anyway. This is because he told me that I can’t trust anyone (same with my mother, she told me that as well), that I shouldn’t share personal information with others except my family. I’m not sure if that relates to what you’ve said.

    You didn’t reply to my previous post, but it seems to me your father had quite a damaging effect on your self-esteem. And in combination with your mother’s fear of him, you were mostly left alone to struggle with your fears, which then grew bigger and bigger, leading to anxiety.

    Yes, I agree. I think it’s quite ironic because although he damaged my self-esteem a lot, he’s the one that’s been bringing it up recently. Because I placed a lot of importance on my fathers’ words and took everything he said to heart, he would constantly criticize me about little things that eventually became my insecurities. For example, he’d comment on my weight (I was very skinny), he’d comment on my height, my posture (I slouch), and little things like that. It made me insecure. But after a few years, I’m not sure how long, he eventually stopped and now whenever he comments he says the exact opposite of what he said before. For example, he knows how I lack confidence and he tells me that I’ve been acting confident lately and that he’s glad I am. He tells me that I’m strong, I’m able to get through anything, he tells me not to worry (especially about school), he is literally telling me the opposite of everything he told me in my childhood.

    Basically, in my childhood he would tell me to focus solely on my studies, not talk to people about my personal issues (he even told me not to make friends), he would criticize me… and he did that because that was his way of raising me. He wanted me to grow up to be strong, so he would tell me things that he wished he was told as a child (focusing on studies, appearing confident, etc). But it only did the opposite, I grew up insecure!

    So now when he understood the effect it had on me, he’s being honest with me and trying to keep my confidence up. I believe this happened after my hospital visit around 2 or 3 years ago. He’s been acting kinder to me, he tells me not to worry about school whenever I feel stressed.

    It seems to me you are still living with that same wound of 1) feeling unsupported and 2) feeling “damaged” due to your anxiety.

    Yes. I don’t feel supported sometimes. I talk to my family about it and they do boost my confidence and support me but I’m looking for someone to understand my anxiety because that’s the main thing I’m dealing with.

    I don’t know if I would use the word “damaged”, but I just feel excluded from everyone because my peers and family do not understand my anxiety, only people online.

    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by canary.
    • This reply was modified 11 months, 2 weeks ago by canary.
    #387598
    canary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Daily exercise is something I’m trying to fit into my routine. I do yoga and have even joined a yoga club so I’m hoping I can do it more regularly.

    It’s difficult to have a full routine and stick to it. Making these things into a habit is difficult. I’ve been trying to focus on my sleep schedule first because my sleep is most important to me and affects me the most.

     

    #387601
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    Yes, I feel less of a human because of my anxiety. Because I see everyone, like my peers and family not feeling the same anxiety I feel. … So that’s why I don’t feel normal sometimes, especially in public when I feel an episode coming. I micro analyze everyone’s behaviour and they all seem so nonchalant, but I’m the only one in the room bouncing my legs, feeling uncomfortable and changing positions, so I feel like everyone is watching me, even though I know no one is.

    I know the feeling. I suffered from toxic shame, and it got particularly strong in secondary school. I would often blush intensely for no reason, sometimes simply sitting in class, listening to the teacher. I would start blushing on my my way to school and was constantly cooling my cheeks with my hands, because they were burning! I felt like a freak, and really so different than others, because everyone seemed to be relaxed and normal, while I was battling this demon. And I couldn’t talk about it to anyone because I had no close friends in secondary school, so I just suffered in silence.

    Toxic shame for me was like anxiety for you – debilitating and something that isolated me from people. But what caused toxic shame wasn’t my blushing cheeks. Rather, it was the belief that I was to be ashamed of myself – a belief that my mother planted in me. I felt like a freak because of her constant criticism, and having blushing cheeks just “confirmed” in my mind that I indeed was a freak, abnormal and that there was something fundamentally wrong with me. Which is similar to feeling “less than human”, like you do.

    I am trying to point out that you most probably don’t feel less than human because of your anxiety – you feel it because you were severely criticized by your father when you were a child:

    he would constantly criticize me about little things that eventually became my insecurities. For example, he’d comment on my weight (I was very skinny), he’d comment on my height, my posture (I slouch), and little things like that. It made me insecure.

    Constant criticism makes the child feel like a freak, abnormal, and less than human.

    Basically, in my childhood he would tell me to focus solely on my studies, not talk to people about my personal issues (he even told me not to make friends), he would criticize me… and he did that because that was his way of raising me. He wanted me to grow up to be strong, so he would tell me things that he wished he was told as a child (focusing on studies, appearing confident, etc).

    How can a child grow up to be strong if they are constantly criticized? He was like a drill sergeant and you were in a boot camp – he was beating you up metaphorically with his words, yelling at you, and this was supposed to toughen you up and make you strong. He was crushing you and your self-confidence, while believing this would help you. That’s really bad parenting!

    You were supposed to appear strong and invincible, while inside you were falling apart. You were afraid, you didn’t know what to do, and you weren’t supposed to talk to anyone about it. Only to your mother. But she too told you to keep a front and pretend that everything is fine:

    This is because he told me that I can’t trust anyone (same with my mother, she told me that as well), that I shouldn’t share personal information with others except my family.

    Maybe she didn’t want to go to school to talk to your teachers when you were bullied because she considered it shameful that you’d have problems with it? Were their concerns along the lines of “what would the people say, how would our family look in the eyes of other people? In the eyes of the teachers?”

    If so, you had the additional burden of keeping it hidden from others, pretending you were fine, while inside you were falling apart.

    This is my summary based on what you’ve shared so far: first your father breaks you, makes you feel weak and insecure, and then he demands you to be strong.  While you mother demands from you to only pretend to be strong and not talk to anyone about your weaknesses. A perfect recipe for a mental breakdown, if you ask me.

    You say your father has changed a lot in the meanwhile:

    For example, he knows how I lack confidence and he tells me that I’ve been acting confident lately and that he’s glad I am.

    The only problem is that you aren’t more confident, you are still anxious. But when you tell him that, he doesn’t acknowledge it:

    When they ask me how I’m doing I say horrible, they say, “but you look better! You’re doing better.” but im not! even if I’m not hysterically crying doesn’t mean I’m not doing better. I’m just as sad and anxious as i was yesterday.

    This kind of attitude – denying your reality, minimizing your struggle – isn’t really helpful. What would be helpful is if they paid for your counseling. So that you don’t have to rely on school counseling but have a real, quality support.

    He tells me that I’m strong, I’m able to get through anything, he tells me not to worry (especially about school), he is literally telling me the opposite of everything he told me in my childhood.

    It’s good he is telling you this now, but the damage is already done. You’d need to heal your childhood wounds, specially your lack of self-esteem. And you might need professional help for that – it’s not enough if your father tells you you are strong, while at the same time denying or minimizing your suffering. He had his chance to cheer you on, but he blew it. Now you need someone else to help you heal the damage he’s caused.

    I don’t feel supported sometimes. I talk to my family about it and they do boost my confidence and support me but I’m looking for someone to understand my anxiety because that’s the main thing I’m dealing with.

    Your family was involved in creating the damage, so now they can help you only partially. As I said, I think the best way they could help you is to pay for your counseling.

    Also, have you thought about taking a break from school for maybe half a year, while working on your mental health? Because it seems you feel a great pressure to perform well in your studies, but find yourself unable to do it. This then becomes another way of beating yourself up for not being good enough, for underperforming and disappointing your father (not the current, more relaxed version of him, but his old self, who stressed the importance of school so much).

     

    #387604
    anita
    Participant

    Dear canary:

    I am amazed by TeaK’s .. amazing reply right above: so thoughtful, intelligent, comprehensive, a most high-quality reply.  I am deeply touched and enlightened by reading it, and I already re-read it slowly, taking my time. I hope that you re-read her post many times, over many days because there is so much in this one post!

    My comment for you has to do with this quote from your posts: “my ex found my weird personality to be humorous and relatable.. I was taught that being sensitive and emotional was bad and weird“-

    You felt so good that your ex, unlike your father, was okay with your emotions, that he didn’t think your emotions were weird and he didn’t think that you are weird for experiencing and expressing your emotions. You will need yourself to be okay with your own emotions, to make peace with them. Let’s say you didn’t sleep well last night and you feel tired and it’s difficult for you to focus. If you were okay with your emotions, you’d think: I am tired, so I have to take it easier today, do things more slowly.

    But when you are not okay with your emotions (believing that your emotions are weird and that therefore you are weird for experiencing them), you’d think something like this: what is wrong with me.. I shouldn’t be feeling this way.. I am weird.. people can see that I am weird… I will not be able to do anything today, I am a mess.. what’s going to happen to me.. etc.

    Experiencing any particular distress: hunger, tiredness, fear, shame, guilt, sadness, anger, etc.- feels not as bad as it feels when you interpret these distresses to be weird and unacceptable. The latter makes you panic, and the panic makes you feel way worse than the distress itself.  I hope that you can work on becoming okay with all your emotional experiences in quality therapy!

    anita

    #390277
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    how have you been doing?

    #391951
    canary
    Participant

    Hello TeaK,

    Sorry I have just seen this. But I am doing alright. Not the best.

    I joined a counseling program for a few weeks regarding my social anxiety, and it really gave me a lot of coping strategies so I am glad it helped with that! I wasn’t able to practice the exposure hierarchy that I was told by my counselor, because being stuck at home because of the pandemic!

    I realized that school stress adds a lot onto me and makes my anxiety sooo much worse and because of that, I end up breaking and burning out and going through a depressive episode, which is something I’m going through right now. 🙁 So I’ve decided to take fewer classes and take it slower with school, I hope it will help with that.

    But really, not much!!

    I’ve made a new thread regarding practicing forgiveness and it helped bring some clarity to my situation. Because I found myself feeling angry and sad towards my ex, even though I thought I forgave him. I’m just wondering, if you have the time, please read through it and try to understand the frustration between me and Anita. I’m not sure if what I’m saying is making sense and it’s worrying because Anita is saying I’m lying because of all the contradictions. I tried explaining myself to the best of my abilities, but it worries me. I think having an outsider’s opinion will help bring clarity. Though, you do not have to do that it was just something that is making me feel weird.

    Thank you for checking up on me 🙂

     

    #392141
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear canary,

    I am sorry you aren’t feeling better. But I think it’s a very good decision that you chose to take fewer classes, since having the full load has been super stressful and only contributed to your anxiety.

    I would like to go back to something profound you said last October:

    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.

    Indeed, you need to tell yourself that you are lovable, worthy and good enough – even if you suffer from anxiety. What you need is self-acceptance. Your parents didn’t understand your anxiety, their message to you (even if they didn’t tell it in so many words) was to be ashamed of anxiety, to not speak about it to anyone, and to pretend that everything is fine. And if you can’t pretend, then something is terribly wrong with you.

    I believe what you need most is to accept yourself fully and completely – together with your “weirdness” and anxiety and all of  it. Only when we accept ourselves with our flaws, can we change. That’s a paradox that Carl Rogers was talking about: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”

    You have learned to judge yourself, because your father judged you when you were a child (for being skinny, for being too sensitive, for being anxious…). This imprint of “I am not good enough” stayed deep within you. It can only be countered by self-acceptance : “I am good enough, even if I have all these weaknesses. I am precious, I am lovable. I am worthy.”

    On your other thread you said you are angry at your ex boyfriend because he told you hurtful things:

    He insulted me, disrespected me, and treated me very poorly. He insulted me and the insults still linger in my head. I wonder if he really meant that. I wonder if he actually thought I was ugly, or if he was just projecting onto me.

    When we don’t love ourselves, the insults hurt much more. A part of you probably believes what he said, e.g. that you are ugly, and another part of you is angry at him. It’s a battle inside of you. If you loved yourself enough, his words wouldn’t be so damaging for you. It’s like there is a wound, and he puts a salt on that wound. If the wound weren’t there, his insults wouldn’t hurt so much. You wouldn’t have the need for him to apologize in order to feel better about yourself. You would feel good about yourself even without him apologizing.

    It doesn’t mean he is not guilty for being rude and disrespectful. It’s just that you would be able to let it go more easily. Does that make sense?

     

    #394073
    canary
    Participant

    Hello TeaK,

    Thank you so much for the response in this thread and the other one.

    I’ve recently read what you’ve written and I’ve been thinking about it for a while.

    I haven’t been able to let myself write out my feelings let alone respond, because I felt some sort of shame around my emotions.

    What you need is self-acceptance.

    Thank you for making this make sense. I felt I was never accepted as a child. Because of the bullying, and when I developed anxiety + depression, my parents, especially my father, didn’t want to accept it. And it was very painful for me to struggle with this alone. I felt I had no one to talk to about this.

    Then I met my ex boyfriend, who made me feel confidence, and I felt like I could be myself in front of him. Then during our breakup, the confidence was taken from me in an instant, when he was disrespectful and made negative comments to me.

    When we don’t love ourselves, the insults hurt much more. A part of you probably believes what he said, e.g. that you are ugly, and another part of you is angry at him. It’s a battle inside of you. If you loved yourself enough, his words wouldn’t be so damaging for you. It’s like there is a wound, and he puts a salt on that wound. If the wound weren’t there, his insults wouldn’t hurt so much. You wouldn’t have the need for him to apologize in order to feel better about yourself. You would feel good about yourself even without him apologizing.

    It doesn’t mean he is not guilty for being rude and disrespectful. It’s just that you would be able to let it go more easily. Does that make sense?

    You are exactly right, you’ve got it spot on.

    This feels exactly like a battle within myself.

    It’s like there is a wound, and he puts a salt on that wound. If the wound weren’t there, his insults wouldn’t hurt so much. You wouldn’t have the need for him to apologize in order to feel better about yourself. You would feel good about yourself even without him apologizing.

    Funny thing is, he messaged me today. He told me he has something to ask me, while admitting that the request is selfish. He told me that he has been in therapy for 6 months and trying to come to terms with his narcastic tendencies. He then apologized to me for the past and is wanting to speak to me about this as I was someone that was close to him and spent a lot of time to him.

    The apology did not make me feel anything. And yet, I still feel some sort of anger/saddness about this. You’re right. The apology did not make me feel better about myself. I haven’t magically accepted myself either.

    But him reaching out to me made me realize a lot.

    First, I felt so happy that he is seeking support and is wanting to better himself. Then I was reminded of how much love I have for this person. I love him like all my friends, and I just want the best for him. I then realized that I am able to love him and accept him through all his struggles, yet I was not able to do that for myself.

    I wish that I am able to let myself love myself the same way I love and accept others. I always have so much love for strangers that I meet on the street, yet I cannot have that same love for myself. I know myself the most, but I still hold back from letting myself love myself. This is painful and damaging for me.

    I currently don’t make myself a priority. I don’t feel so kind to myself.

    I am able to love others when they are struggling, but I am unable to love myself when I’m struggling.

    In the previous thread you wrote:

    Another reason why I think you are so angry at him is that you are actually angry at your parents, specially your father, but you are projecting that anger on your ex boyfriend. Your ex probably hurt you much less than your father did, and yet, from our previous discussions, you don’t seem to allow yourself to actually feel anger or any negative emotions towards your father. You are quite protective of him and always stress that he has changed.

    But the truth is that your father’s bullying, lack of empathy and denying you the right to show vulnerability – left a big scar on you. You are still traumatized by it, and you are still angry because of it. It’s a justified anger of a child and teenager that you were, whose legitimate needs weren’t met. I think this is what actually makes you angry, and why you can’t shake off your anger now. Your boyfriend’s lack of empathy after the breakup is just a trigger for this old anger to come out.

    At first, I did not agree with what you said. But now I understand what you mean and I agree with it.

    I am still traumatized by how my father made me feel. He made me feel shame around being vulnerable. This is why I kept a lot of things to myself and only spoke to people I trust (friends) about it.

    When I got into my relationship, I was able to be vulnerable with this person without feeling any shame because I felt validated. When things got rough, it triggered my old wounds that came from my father, and the relationship had a rough ending. Even after the breakup, my confidence was stripped away in an instant whenever my ex would make rude comments or disrespect me. This triggered my old wounds. And you’re right, I think I am angry at my father. I’m not sure if I’m angry at him or if I’m angry at what happened. Or maybe I am too afraid to admit that I’m angry at my father, because I love him so much and I know that he was only wanting the best for me and his behaviour with good intentions left a big scar on me.

    My breakup was a trigger for my old wounds. I also don’t know if I forgive my ex. It’s been hard to think about. I don’t even know exactly what it means to forgive someone.

    Thank you so much for this. Today I was able to express myself freely.

    I still feel afraid and hurt.

    I still struggle to accept myself.

    But typing this out brought me so much clarity.

    Thank you again.

    • This reply was modified 7 months ago by canary.
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