December 20, 2018 at 7:03 am #270137
When we are conflicted and afraid for a long time, there is no one solution or situation that will make us feel calm and peaceful for long, so better not expect it.
Whatever the next move you make, staying in the current apartment next year, moving to your aunt’s, renting a place of your own.. whatever choice you make, distress will follow.
The “right thing” for you to do is to follow the following formula which my therapist at the time presented to me:
Wisdom= Rational Mind+ Emotional Mind.
If you go only by the emotions, that is, by the emotional mind, nothing is going to work, because your distress will reoccur in any situation and you will quit every effort you make. Going by logic/ rational only is not going to work either, as in this example: it is rational for you to live with your aunt so to save on rent and buy. But if living with her will drive you crazy and you lose your job as a result then the rational-alone did not work for you.
Combine the two, do what is logical but pay attention to how you feel and what your feelings are telling you, then re-evaluate your plans and adjust, make changes. Try different solutions and evaluate.
The “going up and down with emotions” will probably continue for a long time.
“One day I am confident that I got it and the next few days I am down and out and then I have to start over”- this is the key to making it: when you are “down and out” it doesn’t mean all is broken and you have to start over. The down-and-out is part of healing, part of moving on, part of making your life better, can’t prevent it or avoid it.
Don’t start over; continue instead. Keep going through the distress. Take breaks when distressed, walks in nature, watch a movie and so forth, then continue, keep going, combine the rational and the emotional minds and in so doing, live wisely.
I think it is a very good idea for you to move out of where you are now because you are living with the people to whom you adjusted as a child and living with them only encourages adjustments that hurt you. Living with your aunt, if she was not a person involved with you as a child, is better, depending on further evaluation, once you live there.
anitaJanuary 2, 2019 at 7:18 am #271991
Hi Anita, Happy New Year!
I made the move to my Aunt’s house on new years eve. It was very difficult for me to leave my brother but we left on very good terms. I helped him set up his place a little nicer before I left and we had a great dinner and everything was so good in that moment. Now that I am here at my aunts I feel very lonely. All the things I was complaining about I miss. I know this sounds immature but it is true. I miss my brother and even my father. I have been down and out these last two days. Another change in my life. I was feeling good about myself and trying to fight my codependency but here I am again. I was up all night with anxiety and fear of life. I don’t know where I am heading. I feel so lonely in life. I miss the man I thought I was going to be with forever. I miss having a routine. I miss my mom. I miss myself when things were much simpler and I was more naive and loving. Learning about all the narcissists in my life and that I was with one for almost 5 years has took a toll on me. I have made a lot of progress but I continue to hurt and feel lonely on days like today. It is like every self doubt thought I have ever had comes rushing at me and I feel like the girl I used to be. Lonely, insecure and afraid. I just want to maintain my confidence and feel stable in life. Sometimes I do and sometimes I feel lost. I am so sad to start this new year this way. I was hoping for a better start.January 2, 2019 at 7:52 am #271995
I hope this new year is a good year for you, soon enough.
“I just want to maintain my confidence and feel stable in life. Sometimes I do and sometimes I feel lost. I am so sad to start this new year this way. I was hoping for a better start”-
don’t evaluate how you are doing in life based on how you feel, not at this point and not for a long time to come. Like I wrote to you in my last post, distress will be your companion for some time .
Focus on what you do/ how you function, not on how you feel. Evaluate a good day or a bad day not by how you felt during the day, but by how you functioned that day.
Why don’t you list a few objectives at the beginning of each day and look at that list at different times of the day, especially when you feel lonely and distressed?
January 2, 2019 at 8:52 am #272011
- This reply was modified 3 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
Hi Anita, Thank you. I have been functioning pretty well. I have learned to go on despite my feelings. I just find it so difficult sometimes to feel OK and pretty good about myself and future and then wake up in an anxiety the following day. Is this normal? You say that distress will follow for a long time, why? It’s been 5 months since my break up and 3 and a half months since my mom passed and well I guess a lifetime of abuse. I just want to know I am making the right decisions. I wanted some independence and more space at my aunts house but now I am lonely and I also came because I was feeling disrespected at my brothers house but could that just be my up and down emotions? My brother is very good to me but no he is not perfect and I find it hard to draw the line. I have been setting boundaries with people or at least trying but I am not sure if I am doing the right thing because I feel like since doing so and since not putting up with things I don’t feel great about it and I don’t have a lot of support. My friends haven’t been speaking to me and my family hasn’t been loving my boundaries.January 2, 2019 at 9:32 am #272023
You are welcome.
Yes, it is that “well I guess a lifetime of abuse” that is the reason for the anxiety returning. I wish it wasn’t so. But I don’t make the rules, unfortunately. Because if I made the rules I will feel good forevermore and so will you, feeling good every day, every moment of the day and then going to bed with a smile, looking forward to another good day to come.
It is my experience in childhood that keeps being reactivated. It is not my choosing, it is how the brain operates, automatically. If you lived your childhood in fear, your brain does its best to feel as little of it as possible, not being present so to… well, not be there as much as possible. It forgets a lot. It daydreams. But the fear, that is well recorded and when we find ourselves at a certain adult age, away from the home of origin, here is that fear.
There is one more thing. That home of origin, it wasn’t bad all the time. There were moments of affection, of comfort, peace and good food. There were smiles. So when we are away from the home of origin we miss those few comforts. I think this is why you now feel lonely.
Hope is about a life where you are never abused. To find that life, you have to give up on and let go of the comfort mixed in that abuse that you had in your original home.
anitaJanuary 8, 2019 at 1:51 pm #273219
I really wish you made the rules lol. I wish I could feel good everyday. I understand my fear of being away from the home of origin but don’t understand where all of my anxiety and fear that appears almost every other day comes from. I was doing ok for a few days. Living life just fine, figuring things out and then BAM. Last couple of days filled with fear, doubt, negative self talk, self hate, insecurity, and unable to point out what I need in the moment to feel better. I have been so lonely. I miss my ex boyfriend so bad and still struggle with what happened with us. I know he isn’t good for me and I deserve better but in moments like today where I can’t seem to love or have compassion for myself I feel like reaching out as if I need him. He always made me feel better but ultimately he killed me inside. The pain of his betrayal has been lingering. It’s been 5 months and I still have days like this. Where I have no hope and no vision. Where does it all go.January 8, 2019 at 2:42 pm #273229
“I was doing ok for a few days. Living life just fine, figuring things out and than BAM. Last couple of days filled with fear, doubt, negative self talk, self hate, insecurity”-
it happens all the time: our emotional experience of childhood gets activated in the present. Those early emotional experiences get well recorded in neuropathways in our brains, thoughts and emotions. As time goes by, years and decades, we shed our skin but not our brain, it is the same brain, the same recorded experiences and these get reactivated.
Often we forget how we felt when we were children, trying to remember… while all along we feel the same way as we did then. Notice how you feel now. This is how you felt then.
I do to. And yes, if I made the rules, you and I will be so very joyful right now, without sugar or drugs, just naturally joyful, bright eyed and bushy tailed. All the time. I would insert joyful beautiful dreams when asleep. Why not.
anitaJanuary 8, 2019 at 3:52 pm #273253
So what do we do when this emotional experience gets activated? How do we overcome what we went through as a child? How can I go on in my life and make plans and decisions and live the life I want if this continues to happen to me? You said in an earlier reply to expect to be distressed for a long time. How long? How do I cope meanwhile. I am so afraid sometimes when I get this anxiety. I am 30. I still want kids and a husband and a life. How will I get that if I continue this cycle on repeat. I am so afraid of being alone in this world.January 9, 2019 at 7:15 am #273379
You mentioned being 30. What I suggest next will take about, I am guessing, two years to produce significant results. If you persist with what I will suggest next and not stop when you feel better (we feel better at times no matter what, it is not an indication of healing or progress, sometimes the brain simply takes a break from feeling bad), and if you don’t stop because you don’t feel better, if you persist while you feel badly, then in two years, the progress you will make will be very significant. I suppose at 32 you can start dating a good man, be married and pregnant by 33, so it is realistic then, time wise, to go through the following:
Pause between feeling badly and automatically reacting to the bad feeling by doing something impulsive (and often damaging). In that pause calm down and think logically. Focus on functioning effectively, communicating with others effectively, living effectively, producing win-win interactions with others.
Functioning effectively and producing those win-win interactions (avoiding people with whom such is not possible) will make you feel better over time and give you the practice you need toward that future win-win relationship with the man you will marry in the future.
Take breaks from anxiety and distress by exercising, taking walks, hot baths, any variety of activities that can be considered to be healthy distractions or distractions that are not harmful. Make a routine of such distractions, ex., a walk per day at a certain time, if possible.
When you experience conflicts with other people, it is time for conflict resolution skills, win-win solutions. These will be opportunities for you to learn and practice such, which will helpful to you in that future relationship with your husband and your children, teaching them these skills that you learned and practiced for a few years before they will come into the world!
Quality psychotherapy may be a must along the way. More insight into your childhood, seeing what really happened there will be helpful. A capable therapist will also teach you skills such as healthy distractions, mindfulness, breathing to relax, etc.
Read about and practice Mindfulness, exercise it daily. A self help book on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may help, such as CBT for Dummies, if you don’t mind the title (I started CBT with that workbook). Guided meditations with the theme of mindfulness are also a good idea.
This is what I have in mind for now, keep writing to me if you want and I will probably come up with more things.
anitaJanuary 28, 2019 at 11:21 am #277375
Here I am again in a stressful place. I have been taking your advice and have been trying to continue whether it’s a good or bad day. I have had high anxiety for about 2 weeks and I have done my daily duties through it all. I was able to do so by loving myself and telling myself I love myself constantly, also by giving myself what I need. Last week a relentless bout of anxiety has overcome me. I fear I have made the wrong decision moving in with my aunt. My gut was telling me that but I over ruled my mind by thinking I could handle the situation. She is completely codependent and is driving me crazy. I don’t know if it is her or my own codependency. She calls me in the morning on her way to work, on her lunch, when she gets off work and text throughout the day. She is a little passive aggressive and controlling. I have tried to set boundaries but I am so new to them and it is hard. I believe this is the cause for this recent bout of severe anxiety causing me no sleep for 3 nights. I fear I am alone in the world. My family was supportive when I first came to Chicago in need but now that things are in motion it seems I am only good when someone needs something. And I feel like everyone is always needing something and expects me to help. I feel bad because I do want to help but at this point in my life I cannot help anyone but myself and I feel afraid of that. I do not know who and what to trust. I am so scared in this moment. I would have to say I think I have had suicidal thoughts. I cannot take my codependency or anyone else. I am trying so hard to set boundaries but it has been so very hard as it seems no one respects those. Is this world this bad? I feel like I have been used my whole life. I do not know if i am exaggerating but it seems this way. I am thinking of renting an Airbnb for a couple of days and see how I feel on my own away from the world. What do you think about this? Is this impulsive or productive to what I am going through. When I get this bad with anxiety I find it hard to trust my own decisions. I just want some relief. If i do go to an Airbnb should I be honest with my Aunt? or Make it seem I am going elsewhere. I want to communicate effectively but also do not want anymore on my plate I cannot handle. Please and thank you for all of your advice.January 28, 2019 at 2:37 pm #277435
I think you’ve been functioning well and I am impressed that following two weeks of high anxiety you are still sensible, coming up with the sensible idea of renting an Airbnb.
I am also sorry to read that indeed living with your aunt is not a good idea. I wish it was, but it is not. If I was in your place, I wouldn’t be able to endure her behavior, texting you throughout the day, for crying out loud. I would need an aunt that will let me be, leave me alone to breathe.
Living with your father is a bad idea, and living with your aunt is not a better idea. So now, better live elsewhere, a third option. I wouldn’t put any effort in trying to communicate better with your aunt but get out of there as soon as possible.
I will soon be away from the computer for the next fifteen hours or so. I hope to read from you when I am back.
Keep persevering, don’t give up and don’t give in and life will get better.
anitaJanuary 30, 2019 at 1:50 pm #277799
Yes, thankfully I am persevering and made a sensible decision which I am so glad I made. These last two nights have been great. I have had so much peace to just sit and think about all that has happened to me. I am still sad, and hurt, and anxious but am ambitious for the future. I have many ideas on where to go next in my life. But as soon as I think of them fear follows like a leach. I get excited when I feel confident about something as soon it turns to fear and doubt. I sometimes fear if I don’t make some type of move now then I will be at this standstill forever or just stay where I am at. I don’t want to leave my aunts so soon because I would like to save and invest. I think investing would be the best way for me to go. I lost 5 year in my relationship with nothing to show for financially and I want to secure something in my life. But I also do not want to continue somewhere I cannot tolerate. I definitely think the break I had from my aunt was needed and has helped with my feelings toward her. But I also think being alone brung me a sense of calmness. I think since I have arrived in Chicago after my break up I have lived a life of not knowing what was next. I have been living everyone else’s life. I miss my Florida life and I wonder if I should think of going back there? I have my job there. To invest would be half as expensive. I fear being away from my family but also know that I have learned we are truly alone in this world. Family will always be there when you need them but If i live my life here in Chicago where everyone always needs something will I ever live the life I want for myself?January 30, 2019 at 3:45 pm #277803
You wrote about Chicago, “everyone needs something will I ever live the life I want for myself?, and in Chicago, you “have been living everyone else’s life” .
You also wrote: “Family will always be there when you need them”- but what you need is to live the life you want for yourself, to live your own life, not everyone else’s, so clearly Chicago is not the right place for you.
Maybe in Florida (or elsewhere, away from Chicago) you can live the life you want for yourself, your own life.
You wrote: “I am still sad, and hurt, and anxious but am ambitious for the future”, what a wonderful testimony, ambition in spite of the presence of fear, sadness and hurt. Fear will continue to be a reality, it does follow us “like a leach”, but keep that excitement, that ambition and may these carry you through the fear and doubt.
There is no doubt in my mind that the right thing for you is to live your own life. I am excited for you!
I will soon be away from the computer for about 14 hours.
February 1, 2019 at 2:50 pm #278129
- This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by anita.
Thank you. I wanted to write again today especially because the turn in thoughts have been major! Here I am again stressed and doubtful. I have been sad and I have been numb. Thoughts of what happened to me, thoughts of what still remains. I haven’t really ever explained the emotional abuse I went through in my relationship to a narcissist. I have studied and researched narcissism for the past 6 months and I am still sickened by the thought of someone using me for 5 years and never loving me. I am hurt by all of the betrayal I am learning took place in my life because I have been forced to look into my child hood wounds. I am so hurt and just want someone to turn to. Some one to hold me and tell me it will be ok. Some one to have my best interest at heart. I do not feel I have that. And it is scary. I have people to turn to at times but it seems like conditional love. I am very hurt by my feelings today as I was once again heading in a good direction. I am trying to understand what triggers days like today. Today I feel terrified of life. I have thoughts of becoming depressed and unstable. I know these aren’t true but they are so scary to have. I am having a bad day Anita. Bad bad day. I know you this is normal, but is it really? Sometimes I feel I may be bi polar or have something wrong with my fluctuations of moods.February 1, 2019 at 4:36 pm #278141
Anxiety is the human condition, everyone is anxious. I didn’t meet yet in person or online a person who is not anxious. Key is to not get alarmed when you experience a spike in anxiety, figuring there is something abnormal about you. Who does not feel extremes of anxiety at one time and a surprising calm at another time, or depression and then a surge of hope and even joy.
You are lonely and anxious, some days more than others, you experience fluctuations of moods because you are human and the brain fluctuates, everyone’s brain fluctuate.
Don’t panic, you are okay. You will feel better soon. Function as if you are okay and sooner than later you will feel okay again. Endure the spikes in anxiety, calm yourself best you can when that happens, don’t panic, don’t catastrophize, function sensibly and life will be better.
I will soon be away from the computer for about twelve hours. I sure hope you feel better soon and I hope to read from you when I am back to the computer.