January 13, 2020 at 10:14 pm #333293
So something that happened and is bound to happen much more as time goes on…. he actually practices yoga at the studio that I practice at (neighborhood studio, since we live in the same neighborhood naturally its happened this way). I’ve seen him there a few times recently, and the last two times he came and sat with me after class– just talking about yoga or asking how I’ve been, etc. Theres always a lot of people around and sometimes other friends of mine, so it feels like a very inappropriate setting/time to bring up what happened so long ago.
It’s a little confusing for myself personally because when he sits with me and we talk, I’m completely content and happy to just be friends and I don’t actually feel mad in that moment at all (I completely forget about it) And it just seems SO dumb to be hanging on to these words he said so long ago and say something like “oh by the way I was mad when you said this even though it was months ago” … especially when I’m not even that mad at HIM. You know? I’m just mad at ME for not clarifying intentions earlier on, and I don’t know if he needs to know that or if it’s worth sharing that information. I also don’t even know how I would– I don’t feel close enough with him to call him up. I just feel torn and when I say why I’m upset out loud, i just feel like “really thats it?? that happened so long ago why would i be hanging onto something so in the past??”
It’s clear we are just friends, and things would never be physical again. Personally I’m a fan of how things are– the fact that I now only see him in a healthy safe setting such as a yoga class, as opposed to out at a bar with alcohol involved, feels really nice and safe to me, especially now that there is no sexual pressure anymore. And I’m still trying to figure myself out after my last break up and dating again and what I want. Maybe it’s a good thing this is happening and I have this setting/space to see him in.January 14, 2020 at 8:09 am #333357
“I’m just mad at ME for not clarifying intentions earlier on”- make a strong mental note of that and correct in the next relationship, or potential relationship, clarify intentions early.
I understand that when he chose to sit with you after yoga, in your relaxed state there, you felt “completely content and happy to just be friends and I don’t actually feel mad in the moment at all”-
– because he approached you, paid attention to you; he didn’t ignore you, he was not in there with a girlfriend and he did not approach another woman for a relative private chat.
Like you wrote three days ago, you have a core belief that you are not good enough, and the fact that he rejected your suggestion that the two of you become more than hookup friends triggered that core belief. Plus, three days ago, you still expressed hope that there will be a relationship between you and him beyond the past hookup situation: “with sex off the table.. I’m wondering if he’d change his mind”.
Problem is that he is now a sore spot in your psyche- the representative of your I’m-not-good-enough core belief. This means you are likely to get upset if you see him with another woman, thinking something like: why not me, why is she good enough and I am not; you are likely to get upset if you see him around and he ignores you, if he pays attention to another woman while you are around, etc.
What to do???
Work on that core belief more, more than you already did. Do you want to share more about it here?
anitaJanuary 14, 2020 at 12:17 pm #333449
I will reply tonight. Thank you for your perspective!
January 14, 2020 at 1:51 pm #333461
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Anonymous.
Thank you for your perspective. It has been very spot on and you ask all the right questions that sometimes I don’t want to face or ask myself.
I think you are right in that if I see him out with another woman, or he gets a girlfriend, I would be pretty hurt (as I was that night when I saw him out with another girl). Not because he did anything wrong, but because yes I would be wondering well why not me? What does she have that I dont? I should’ve done a,b,c and THEN maybe he would’ve picked me. And obviously none of that is a positive or healthy thinking pattern. And this does stem from the core believe of not being “good enough”.
I’m still unclear at where the core belief stems from. I have a few theories at where it MAY have originated or began. If you’d like to read:
1) Childhood– I’m a very petite woman, and have always been smallest in all my classes and out of all my friends. This does bring me a lot of attention, but it also brings the idea that I can’t do things, or people assume I can’t because I’m smaller. I also was a tomboy as a child, hanging out always with all boys and my older brother. The idea that I always needed to prove myself and keep up and not show vulnerability or cry, has been an idea that was instilled in me at a young age (6-7). This was re-enforced by my parents praising me “shes so strong! she never cries! she’s so independent! she’s stronger than the boys!”
2) In middle school/highschool I didn’t feel like I was one of the “pretty girls” because I had that tomboy idea still in me…I was a competitive surfer, and have been surfing since I was 7. I didn’t like makeup or fashion like all the other girls liked, so I didn’t think guys would like me because I wasn’t into that stuff. I didn’t realize or feel like I was pretty and feminine until later in life. I thought the things girls liked were boring and at sleepovers I wanted to leave early so I could go surfing the next morning.
3) In college at 18, unfortunately my first sexual experience was a bad one. My best friends older brother (who had a girlfriend at the time) got me drunk and got me to do things I’d never done, even when I said “no this is wrong, we can’t do this” over and over). He made me believe if I told anyone that everyone would hate me and lives would be ruined. This experience was deeply difficult for me and caused many trust issues and relationship problems for years after around sex and men. as well as conflict with my best friend. I was very hurt by this because it confused me why this man who claimed to love his gf wanted to do this with me/seemed to like me, yet still wanted to be with his gf and didn’t want me as his gf. Why would he do this, knowing I’d never had sex before, why did he pick me? It took years to process this experience and the pain and anger that came with it–It wasn’t until therapy and a caring ex boyfriend who made me realize this was actually considered a type of “date rape” and emotional abuse with the threats that I couldn’t tell anyone and everyone would hate me if I told.
4) As far as parents go, my dad was an alcoholic with a loud/intimidating voice/anger issues. My mom was emotionally closed off, and unhappy with their marriage. I’ve come to realize she struggled with setting her own boundaries and standing up for herself. They divorced when I was 7. He once drove me home when he was really drunk when I was 13. He was a good dad in many ways, but quite a few issues. We have a good relationship, but I too struggle with boundaries with him as well.
Obviously after #3 happened, I had so any walls and defenses up. I didn’t want to get close to ANYONE and felt very lonely in my life. And I caused pain/confusion in guys that did show interest. I was confused and just extremely hurt inside and hadn’t dealt with any of it. No guy was really patient enough to try and understand what was going on inside me (understandable)… but eventually therapy and my first real boyfriend helped me see.
I’m at a point where I’ve done a lot of internal work, mostly through yoga, vulnerability practice, some therapy, and just focusing on the things that make me happiest. But after recent encounters with this new guy, it’s made me see I have more work to do. I’m not sure how else to work on my own self-worth. I just got my yoga teacher training certificate which is VERY exciting to me, and I’ll be going on yoga retreats/meeting new people in the coming year and just continuing the inner work.
January 14, 2020 at 2:37 pm #333465
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by Anonymous.
Congratulations for earning your yoga teacher training certificate, how exciting!!!
Regarding the “lot of internal work” we do to heal from significant early life significant emotional injuries, there is always more work to do. I used to think there is a heavenly destiny to the work, but found out.. no heaven.
I will need to re-read your recent post after I rest (I had a slip and fall accident yesterday, fell on ice flat on my back, bruised chest muscles), plus other troubles due to below freezing temperature and snow, so I will have to come back to your thread later, maybe in as long as 16 hours from now.
“my dad was an alcoholic with a loud/ intimidating voice/ anger issues. My mom was emotionally closed off”. If you want to elaborate on your experience with your father’s anger, and your experience with your mother emotional unavailability (as a child and later), please do. I point to these two sentences at this point, because almost always, our core beliefs are formed in our first decade of life, not later.
anitaJanuary 14, 2020 at 3:08 pm #333469
I’m so sorry to hear about your fall Anita! I hope you can get some rest. Definitely no rush in your response… I really just appreciate the words of wisdom and time you give to reading through all my postings.
I don’t remember too many early experiences. I just know my dad was very selfish in that he always wanted to go surfing rather than prioritize his family… my mom always said it was like having another child. I don’t believe they really planned about having kids.
They both worked a lot, full time. I just remember my parents fighting a lot and my dad cussing a lot very loud. My mom would get scared and withdraw or not even want to have a conversation. How could she have a reasonable conversation with someone who was drinking so much?
My mom never really showed sadness or anger.. she always wanted everyone to just “be happy” and “positive” all the time. Was always the time to say “Dont be sad” or would maybe not acknowledge certain feelings at all when it was clear I was upset about something.
My dad also was good at not acknowledging my feelings if I was quiet or mad or in a certain mood. Perhaps it made them uncomfortable?
I remember being so mad when he drove me home drunk that I couldn’t even speak to him or express my anger. My mom was obviously very upset too but I don’t remember her talking very much to me about it. Maybe she didn’t really know how or was so ashamed of it to talk about it with me.
My dad seemed to sort of favor me over my brother… I don’t know why. But he had always been mean to my brother, calling him names often. I’d always get furious with my dad and “call him out” on that behavior and he’d listen to me because he always felt bad making me upset. My brother eventually struggled with alcohol as well and I always felt like I was the responsible one in my family and more mature, even though I’m the youngest.January 14, 2020 at 3:36 pm #333471
Thank yo. Well, I tried to rest but my chest hurts more when I lie down, so I am back. Like I wrote, I will be re-reading everything on this page tomorrow morning, but we can go back and forth a bit more before then.
When your mother wanted you to be positive but you didn’t feel positive; when she told you to not be sad but you did feel sad- what did you feel about feeling negative or sad.. when mom said you shouldn’t?
“My dad also was good at not acknowledging my feelings”- how did he not acknowledge your feelings, specifically?
January 14, 2020 at 9:37 pm #333541
- This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by anita.
Well hope you’re feeling ok and taking it easy.
To your questions about my parents: When my mom would say those things, it made me feel like being sad was a bad thing and I should avoid those feelings or try to change them asap. It also feels like I wasn’t able to peer deeper into those feelings because questions /follow up questions weren’t asked of me as to why I felt that way.. so sometimes I may not have even understood fully the WHY behind my emotions. They were kind of glossed over and then moved on to the next subject quick.
As far as my dad goes.. I feel like he was always uncomfortable around feelings talk, even now he admits hes never been good at “that stuff”. I feel like I never really could show him my feelings, I wasn’t as comfortable verbalizing my feelings to him. They would manifest in silence or irritation, and he would just sense my mood and sort of stay away… not ask so much how I’m feeling or what’s going on with me, just wait till my mood/feelings passed. Or even when he would ask I’d act or pretend like “im fine” because for whatever reason I didn’t want to be vulnerable with him. Maybe that has to do with my tomboy attitude and him sort of favoring me over my brother? Maybe I felt like I had to impress him and being vulnerable for some reason was a sign of weakness– usually a very masculine trait I guess, possibly learned from all the boys I hung out with constantly at a young age.January 15, 2020 at 9:42 am #333603
I am feeling much better this morning, thank you. I am so relieved to be feeling better!
The purpose of my study of your posts this morning is to identify the origin of your I-am-not-good-enough core belief. But I may come across other topics as I proceed with the study to follow:
1. Your father and you: he encouraged you and praised you for acting masculine: “She’s so strong! She never cries! She’s so independent! She’s stronger than boys!” He even “seemed to favor me over my brother’, you wrote.
A child very much enjoys being favored, being a parent’s favorite, and is very invested in keeping that advantage going. So you kept the masculine behavior going: “was a tomboy as a child, hanging out always with all boys”, “always needed to prove myself and keep up and not show vulnerability or cry.. my tomboy attitude.. I felt like I had to impress him.. being vulnerable was a sign of weakness- usually a very masculine trait… all the boys I hung out with constantly at a young age… I didn’t like makeup or fashion like all the other girls.. I didn’t realize or feel like I was pretty and feminine”, “In middle school/ high school I didn’t feel like I was one of the ‘pretty girls’ because I had that tomboy idea still in me”.
Your father didn’t encourage you to be “pretty and feminine”. He encouraged you to be boyish, masculine, so that was your focus, be boyish/ a tomboy, masculine.
Your father was a surfer and your mother disapproved of him surfing: “my dad was very selfish in that he always wanted to go surfing rather than prioritize his family.. my mom always said it was like having another child”. And yet, you were “a competitive surfer since I was 7”. You were motivated to be what he favored in you, what he valued about you, and you were motivated to please him, so to maintain his favoring you.
Even though your father was “an alcoholic with a loud/ intimidating voice/ anger issues.. cussing a lot very loud”, when he called your brother names, you were not afraid to “get furious with my dad and ‘call him out’ on that behavior and he’d listen to me”-
– you were somewhat protected from his anger because he favored you. And you felt power over him: he listened to you! It is a very powerful emotional experience for a child, to be listened to, and to take advantage of it so to make a positive difference in your family, in this case, to make your father stop calling your brother names.
2. Your mother and you: she “never really showed sadness or anger.. she always wanted everyone to just ‘be happy’ and ‘positive’ all the time… say ‘Don’t be sad'”. When she said those things to you, “it made me feel like being sad was a bad thing and I should avoid those feelings or try to change them asap.. my emotions.. were kind of glossed over and then moved on t the next subject quick”.
Like your father, she too encouraged you with these statements: “She’s so strong! She never cries! She’s so independent! She’s stronger than boys!” So you were indeed investing in being these things: strong, independent, stronger than others.
My understanding at this point: that you were a tomboy, that is a direct result of you being encouraged by your father (and maybe by your mother as well) to be masculine. But why the I-am-not-good-enough core belief? Why did it come about following you being favored by your father and even though you did make some positive difference in your family (for example, your father stopped calling your brother names at this or that instance, and even though both your parents were pleased with you)?
– because you didn’t make that much of a difference. Your father still yelled at time, still cussed, still called your brother names or put him down somehow; your mother still not content. You never got to have that calm, peaceful, content family gathered by the fire in winter evenings telling stories or playing games, smiling at each other with affection and contentment.
“If by an act of miracle, you did make a big enough difference in your family life, as a child, then you would have had an I-am-good-enough core belief.
Fast forward, you wrote the other day, regarding this man: “if I see him out with another woman, or he gets a girlfriend.. I would be wondering well why not me? What does she have that I don’t? I should’ve done a. b. c and THEN maybe he would’ve picked me”
You didn’t make a big enough positive difference in your childhood family life. Fast forward, you didn’t make a big enough difference in this man’s life: he didn’t change from being non committal to being committal to you.
Your father, your mother, your brother didn’t change to the better because you were in their lives, no matter how hard you tried. This man didn’t either, so you wonder what about you is lacking for not having made that difference, and what could you have done better.
Your unfortunate experience with the man at 18 is significant, but not in the very formation of this core belief.
anitaJanuary 15, 2020 at 10:41 am #333623
That’s great Anita you are feeling better!
Thank you for your analysis. It seems quite accurate and makes sense to me as to how this belief came about. Although it sounds harsh to hear something like “I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in my family life as a child”, I just wonder was it even possible for me to do so?
Does anyone make a big enough difference as a child? Is that even something that should be expected of a child? There were certainly times where I felt like the parent/peacekeeper of my family which is not the role of a child. I wonder if I spoke up about MY feelings more that could’ve made more of a difference? Maybe, but probably not. (?)
And relating this to the current situation with this man, why do I feel bad/upset thinking that I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in his life? Is this because it is triggering the past feelings of not making a big difference in childhood? How can I NOT feel upset at the thought that I didn’t make a big difference in his life? It frustrates me because I know I’d have so much to offer, yet it seems he doesn’t see this and it bothers me. Or maybe he does see it, and for whatever his reasons he doesn’t want it.
Fast forward to now, I KNOW I make a large positive difference in my family life as we are all adults—my dad recently got cancer and I took care of him for two months as he went through treatments. My mom and I have a closer emotional relationship as well and she is able to confide more of her true feelings in me. As an adult I’m more feminine and enjoy feminine things, which is something my mom and I can now have fun doing (things like hair and makeup and shopping—something I wasn’t into as a child) She is happier with her new partner, and they’ve been together a very long time.
Everyone in my family tells me how grateful they are for me and how much they love me.
Anyways, thanks again for helping me talk and sort through these ideas.January 15, 2020 at 12:02 pm #333659
“it sounds harsh to hear something like ‘I didn’t make a big enough positive difference in my family life as a child’, I just wonder was it even possible for me to do so?”-
– no, it is not possible. This is why I wrote to you earlier “If by an act of miracle, you did make a big enough difference in your family life..”- no, a child cannot possibly change her parents or the circumstances of their lives.
It is a dream of a child though to make her mother happy, to make her father happy.. a dream, not a possible reality.
Personally, it took me many, many years to get to the point of believing that indeed it was not possible for me to make my mother happy. I used to argue with myself, as an adult, that if only I made enough money and was able to make my mother rich, make it possible for her to live in a big house and have all the material luxuries she desired in her life… then she would be happy. I felt guilty for not being rich.
“Does anyone make a big enough difference as a child?”- no child can change an unhappy parents, no child can change the thinking or behavior of her parents. It is the delusion of a child that she is so powerful as to be able to make a big difference.
In reality, it is the parents that make a big difference in the child’s life, positive or negative. Not the other way around.
“Is that even something that should be expected of a child?”- a parent should never expect that of a child. Problem is the child expects that of herself.
“I wonder if I spoke up about MY feelings more that could’ve made more of a difference?”- no, no difference. I remember how hard I tried to help my mother, having read books on psychology and self help as a teenager, how hard I tried. She rejected all my efforts.
“How an I NOT feel upset at the thought that I didn’t make a big difference in his life?“, you asked in bold letters. Here is my answer: when our struggle’s origin is in our childhood, as it often is, we don’t like to go there, we prefer to focus on a current situation, a current relationship, and obsess about it. Hence you using bold letters in regard to this man, not in regard to your parents.
Thing is even if you did make the difference in his life and he asked you to marry him, the childhood not-good-enough core belief will still be there.
“I know I’d have so much to offer, yet it seems he doesn’t see this and it bothers me”- no one is more motivated than a child to offer her parents all that she has to offer, but parents often reject the child’s offers, or are not impressed by the child’s efforts. After all, what is a crayon drawing that a child presents proudly to her parents, to tape to the refrigerator.. or a good grade or athletic performance, when the parent has pressing concerns and worries (that have nothing to do with the child).
In other words, for the child, a parent is Everything. Not the other way around.
“now, I KNOW I make a large positive difference in my family life as we are all adults”, you wrote. You took care of your father for two months, you do fun things with your mother, makeup and shopping, “Everyone in my family tells me how grateful they are for me and how much they love me”-
– you are still trying to make that difference, but the core belief that you are not making that difference is already formed, way earlier.
It is very, very difficult for an adult child to consider these things, this is why it is easier to focus on this man. I imagine you feel quite distressed with our latest communication, aren’t you?
anitaJanuary 15, 2020 at 1:20 pm #333691
I certainly have a lot to process with these last few posts. I am at work so I’m not allowing myself to really “go there” with how I’m feeling. But as soon as I am home and relaxed I’m going to re-read and face the probable distress that I’m currently trying to avoid haha.
Regardless, I have to say I’m happy I’m delving into these ideas at 29 years old…. better to go through this now than later in life.
I will write much more tonight. Thank you.January 15, 2020 at 1:27 pm #333695
I like your attitude. And you are welcome. I was going to get away from the computer anyway, so do take your time and post again when you are relaxed and when it suits you. This kind of work cannot be rushed and will take time.
anitaJanuary 15, 2020 at 7:18 pm #333773
I’ve read over these posts again and have processed more of what you wrote.
This stuff certainly brings up the question for me at how can I stop relating to men that I’d like to date in the way that I related to my parents/father ? I find myself continuing to think of this man in relation to all of this. And I’m guessing your answer might be: to work on my core-belief of not being good enough.
How do I unlearn this core belief? I suppose this is the first step, at least identifying where it comes from. I’d imagine if I did unlearn it, a whole bunch of things in my life might change. And I might start realizing other ways in which this belief has led me to making certain decisions or keeping certain relationships. What an enlightening moment.
The man I want to date shouldn’t be someone that I desperately feel the need to offer everything to in order to impress or gain approval from.
This also has me wondering, do a lot people develop romantic relationships with people who just feed into that parent/child relationship they once had ?
I feel embarrassed that this man probably now saw me and sees me as nothing at all, just a girl who has no boundaries and was easy to take advantage of without any effort or commitment. He has no desire to know me any further than what he already thinks of me, despite his apparent interest in being near me/talking to me when I see him in person. He isn’t thinking of me at ALL, while I’m obsessing over him and the experience we had. I’m embarrassed that he thinks I wanted to date him—when now I’m feeling like it would actually be a lot healthier if we just had a platonic friendship this whole time, and I wish I didn’t decide to have sex with him without knowing him better. I have a voice in my head (which is that of friends and society) saying its impossible to be friends with someone you had sex with in the past… but is it?? I feel like it could be possible, without the hope of it materializing into a romantic thing.
I definitely hear what you are saying about how it’s easier to obsess over a current situation, than focusing on the childhood and formed beliefs. That is certainly a harder and more abstract pill to swallow. But again, I’d like to start thinking about how I can unlearn this core belief.
I REALLY don’t want to feel upset when I find out this guy is dating someone or gets a girlfriend, or if I see him flirting with a pretty woman. I’m actually dreading that moment (eventhough I’m almost certain it won’t be as bad/or hurt as much as I’m making it out to be). I’d like for it to just roll past me, and I’d like to feel peaceful enough in myself to remain friendly with him—as it seems we are heading that way (with all the run-ins I’ll inevitably have with him at yoga and around town/out with friends).
Thank you Anita for taking all of this on. I often wonder how you have it in you to hear everyones issues on this forum, and respond with such kind honesty. I also really appreciate your honesty in sharing about how you felt guilty for not being rich and making your mother happy. Humans are such complex creatures… so much to learn and UNlearn.
January 16, 2020 at 10:39 am #333875
- This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by Anonymous.
You are welcome and thank you for your kind words. Indeed, “Humans are such complex creatures”, but it is possible to dig and locate the simple ingredients in our making. “so much to learn an UNlearn”- well stated, says I. This is what I do here, I learn and unlearn (which is learning) every day.
“do a lot of people develop romantic relationships with people who just feed into that parent/ child relationship they once had?”- yes, because the relationship between a child and her parents are her first and most powerful relationships. The child’s brain is formed during these early relationships.
“I feel embarrassed that this man probably now saw me and sees me as nothing at all”- in reality, it is of no importance whatsoever how he sees you. It is all about how you see you. When person A devalues person B, it is not evidence that person B is without value, it is evidence only to the fact that person A doesn’t see value in person B.
“He has no desire to know me any further than what he already thinks of me”- this is most often the case: people don’t care to get to know more about this or that person. They are not motivated to put the time and energy and patience that it takes.
“it’s possible to be friends with someone you had sex with in the past.. but is it?”- maybe if one is no longer invested romantically in that person. But you are.
“when I find out this guy is dating someone.. I’d like for it to just roll past me, and I’d like to feel peaceful enough in myself”- then find peace in the fact that you had no power to make that big difference I talked about, in the context of your family of origin.
“How do I unlearn this core belief?”, the core belief that you are not good enough. One place to unlearn it is in quality psychotherapy where the objective to unlearn this core belief is stated and a plan as to how to accomplish it is designed and followed, with adjustments and accommodations along the way.
Here on your thread, we can do an exercise, if you want. It is a CBT (Cognitive behavioral Therapy) exercise. You can state the core belief, then list evidence in support of it, and separately, evidence refuting it. If you want, you are welcome to do this next and when you do, I will give you my input.