November 2, 2023 at 11:33 am #424724
“I had a conversation with my husband on increasing the rent couple of times. He just brushed it off saying his dad will take care of it”- I don’t know if he really brushed (your input) off, or that it is your misinterpretation that he brushed it off, a misinterpretation fueled by a very strong theme in your mind and heart: that you are ignored, unprioritized, treated as less-than others.
There is a core belief in your thinking, and that is what I wrote above, this strong theme I mentioned, and what happens is that you interpret everything that happens through this core belief. Try to think of different interpretations outside the framework of this core belief.
anitaNovember 2, 2023 at 11:38 am #424725
You wrote yesterday (Nov 1, 2023): “I prayed for but still my brain gets anxious about future or past“-
When the brain is in the habit of being anxious, a chemical habit maintained by a combination of chemicals produced by the brain, aka neurotransmitters, and chemicals produced by the adrenal glands aka hormones (put in a simple way, as I am not a scientist or a medical professional), then the brain is in an Anxious Habit.
Changing an Anxious Habit takes the same kind of work, in principle, as in changing any other habit, using a strategy like NPARR: you Notice when you feel anxious/ when you have anxious thoughts, you Pause, Address the situation: what is really happening at this moment, is fear warranted right here and now? Then Respond-or-not: say or do something if needed in the here and now, or not (say and do nothing), then Redirect: think about/ do something different, so to move your attention elsewhere.
And you do the above again and again and again, until this exercise (NPARR) becomes a new Habit.
You wrote yesterday: “I feel like a small kid struggling to manage my emotions and trying to reparent myself“- we all feel, at times, like small children, and the reason is that the brain that we had as children is still the brain we have as adults. Unlike skin tissue being shed and replaced throughout our lives, brain tissue is not shed and replaced. Therefore, we find ourselves with the same mental-emotional habits (ex., the Anxious Habit) that we had- have as children.
I want this very rainy (here) Thurs morning to look back at our communication in this thread since your original post back in September 2021 to today. In the first part of my review will be the suggestions/ advice I offered to you in the past, which I think still apply or may apply (to you and to me!), and in the second part: quotes of what you shared (I will italicize your words in quotes and I will be adding the boldface feature selectively to my words), and my comments today, comments that may help you (and me).
First part, past advice:
1) “I asked myself: what happens when I think (a particular scary thought/ obsession), and I noticed that on the Outside, Nothing Changed. My obsessions happened only in between my ears and not outside of that distance. It made me think of my obsessions not as a real danger, but as mental events that happen in the short distance in between my ears. Not beyond that distance. I stood by a mirror and said out loud: ‘I am an elephant’. I then waited and looked at my reflection: I did not turn into an elephant. I then said out loud other thoughts and watched.. nothing happened. My thoughts in themselves were and are powerless. Understanding this caused me to not fear my thoughts/ obsessions. I still feared bad things happening, it’s just that I understood that my thoughts/ obsessions cannot make bad things happen.” (Sept 11, 2021).
2) “The possible ways to stop obsessing are… taking on the difficult and time-consuming practice of Mindfulness: guided meditations, muscle relaxation practices, daily aerobic exercise, and so forth.” (April 11, 2022)
3) “Emotion regulation will help you perform better during job interviews and help you otherwise in every part of life. There are books and workbooks on the topic, a few are: ‘Emotion regulation in psychotherapy’, ‘Master your emotions’, ‘the road to calm workbook’, and ‘Your emotions and you, Workbook’… Emotion regulation is one thing you can develop further, over time, if you persist” (May 3, 2022).
4) “Instead of being in present I worry about future a lot‘ – when we worry about the future, most often what we worry about is… that the past will repeat itself in the future. For example, when you worry that in the future your husband will prioritize you less than he does now, you are afraid that in the future you will feel more of what you felt in the past… ‘I don’t want to be like zenith vs other friend?‘- if you make friends with little-girl-zenith, next thing you know, you will feel friendly to other people, you will feel like zenith & other friend. ‘How do I release that pain?”- don’t run away from your pain and don’t try to get rid of it. If you run away from it, it will catch you every time. If you try to get rid of it, it will get stickier and stick to you tighter. Look at it, look at the pain, make eye contact with it (don’t look away, don’t deny it), and… relax (July 30, 2022).
5) “Your childhood experience of being ignored and left out has been very powerful, as it would be in any child’s life. This kind of childhood experience naturally extends into adulthood: we focus on situations (imagined or true) where we are ignored (‘I just can’t stop thinking about this sh**‘) and dismiss/ ignore situations where people do pay attention to us” (Oct 29, 2022).
6) “Make friends only with people who you value and who value you. Distinguish between being friendly and being a friend“(Nov 2, 2022.. Exactly a year ago!)
7) “Wikipedia/ OCD/ Management, Therapy: ‘Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and psychotropic medications are the first-line treatments for OD… The specific CBT technique used is called exposure and response prevention (ERP)… ERP has a strong evidence base, and is considered the most effective treatment for OCD'” (Dec 2, 2022).
8) “You’ve been suffering from significant anxiety for many years, so you get triggered by different things: if it is not one thing, then it’s the other. You can think of your anxiety as FIRE in your home… One day one piece of furniture in your home catches fire… another day, your clothes catch fire…” (Dec 11, 2022).
9) “When the distance between the ears doesn’t feel like home, when it’s not peaceful in that short distance.. nowhere does it feel peaceful (not for long), and nowhere feels like home” (Nov 1, 2023).
10) “I don’t know if he really brushed (your input) off, or that it is your misinterpretation that he brushed it off, a misinterpretation fueled by a very strong theme in your mind and heart: that you are ignored, unprioritized, treated as less-than others. There is a core belief in your thinking, and that is what I wrote above, this strong theme I mentioned, and what happens is that you interpret everything that happens through this core belief. Try to think of different interpretations outside the framework of this core belief” (Nov 2, 2023).
1) “My mother had to deal with my grandmother who used to fight for every small thing. I used to get scared during weekends because it was a always chaos at home. My father is also short tempered person who used to blame/fight with my mother for every single thing” (Sept 11, 2021)- like any child and teenager, your brain developed with your home experience IN IT. The fighting, chaos and fear in the home you grew up in.. became the fighting, chaos and fear in your brain.
I wrote to you back on that day: “It always happens that as adults, when we leave the homes and circumstances of our childhoods, we feel a great relief and a happy feeling of freedom for a while.. . but then, the negative feelings of childhood return. It happened to me too.”- it happens because when we create a huge physical distance from the home we grew up in (ex., India=> the USA), the distance between us and our brains.. is still the same.
2) “My mother used to always compare me with my cousin.. She once told me that you wont be able to achieve what your cousin did. Once i told my dad I was topper in the exams. He told me there might be poor students in the class that’s the reason you became the topper. My father never respected me even my siblings” (Sept 11, 2021)- what your mother and what your father said to you (comparing you negatively to your peers) when you were a child became part of your brain, and so, away from their presence, across the world, your brain keeps saying to you.. what they said to you: it keeps comparing you negatively to your peers, such as your current co-workers, and you keep feeling disrespected by others, such as by friends or a friend’s friends.
3) Interesting (!) On Sept 11, 2021, I quoted you and wrote to you: “‘“I am just trying to heal myself from this trauma so that I don’t repeat the same with my kiddo’– this makes you a Good Person, a Good Mother.. and a Good Muslim, if I may say so!”. Fast forward more than two years, yesterday, Nov 1, 2023, as a response to you writing: “I never want my daughter to go through this“, I wrote to you: “You are a GOOD person and a GOOD mother. Please take it in all the way, let it sink in deep within you… because it is true“.
anitaNovember 4, 2023 at 8:46 am #424780
You know that if you wear sunglasses that are tinted red, everything you see through them would look reddish, right?
Your core belief that nobody prioritizes you is like red-tinted sunglasses and everything you see is affected by that tint. Your interpretation of situations is strongly affected by this core belief. You see yourself unprioritized in situations where it is not objectively true. In situations where there is some truth to it, the unprioritized part of the situation is greatly exaggerated in your mind.
On Thursday, you wrote: “Nobody prioritizes me. My husband will prioritize his parents in case if we move back to India. My friends don’t invite me to parties. My daughter will lead her own life once she grows up“-
– It occurred to me after I submitted the last post to you, in regard to your daughter (and this is the reason I am typing this post) that when your daughter, now five, I believe: when she starts the normal, natural mental/ emotional process of individuation (the process of separating from one’s parents and defining oneself, starting as early as 9-years-old, often at 11 or 12), you may (maybe) interpret it according to the core belief I mentioned, and think that your daughter is un- prioritizing you, get angry at her, and discourage or block her process, which will greatly harm her mental health.
It is unfortunate that lots of mothers view their children’s natural struggles for individuation and independence as if the child is turning against them and is trying to hurt them.
We can talk more about this core belief, address it head on and change it…?
anitaNovember 6, 2023 at 9:15 am #424814
Hi Anita!! What you said is right. After reading what you wrote i googled about it then fear of abandonment popped up. I watched some of the youtube vidoes on how it effects the relationships and friendships. Since childhood i build walls around myself i had very limited number of friends due to the fear of always being ignored/hurt. I always had this misconception people will always leave me. May be the emotional neglect of my father had very huge impact on my life. He provided us with everything needed but he wasnt emotionally available. Still he doesnt call talk to me. He talks to me only when he needs money from me. My mother has changed alot but my father is still the same. I know i keep going back to the past but its time for to heal now. I dont know how to work on it. How d i know if someone is really ignoring me or if its my brain overreacting?November 6, 2023 at 9:44 am #424815
“Since childhood I build walls around myself I had very limited number of friends due to the fear of always being ignored/hurt. I always had this misconception people will always leave me. May be the emotional neglect of my father had very huge impact on my life“-
– your father, your mother, others.. what happened in your childhood really was bad enough to cause all this suffering that you’ve been going through (throughout objectively positive things happening, like the purchase of a new home, getting a job, getting appreciation and a bonus for the job, etc.) There is a lot of emotional suffering in feeling repeatedly ignored and hurt and fearing abandonment.. and all that suffering was born in the misfortune that you experienced as a child.
“He provided us with everything needed but he wasn’t emotionally available“- there is not much more than food, water and basic protection from harm that a human child needs from her human parents than a fawn (a baby deer) needs from its mother. A human child needs the parental emotion of regular affection and approval (love), for one.
“Still he doesn’t call talk to me. He talks to me only when he needs money from me”- no love there.
“My mother has changed a lot but my father is still the same”- remember that your suffering took hold in your mind and heart when you were a child, before your mother changed. I am glad she changed though!
“I know I keep going back to the past but its time for to heal now“- good to read this. Addressing the past is necessary for the purpose of healing.
“How do I know if someone is really ignoring me or if its my brain overreacting?“- there are Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) worksheets available online that help address a real-life situation and figure out what has really happened vs what we felt happened. They help identify and avoid emotional reasoning (we feel that something happened although it didn’t=> we think it really happened.
Would you like to research for such worksheets? There are also real books and workbooks on the topic.
anitaNovember 6, 2023 at 10:26 am #424816
* Correction to the 3rd paragraph: there is so much more than food, water and basic protection from harm that a human child needs from her human parents than a fawn (a baby deer) needs from its mother. A human child needs the parental emotion of regular affection and approval (love), for one.
anitaNovember 7, 2023 at 2:35 pm #424846
Okay. I will try to find out the worksheets on google.November 7, 2023 at 2:36 pm #424847
I am not sure if i can do this by myself. Do you think i should go back to my OCD therapist ?November 7, 2023 at 6:38 pm #424853
There are two issues: OCD and the strong, persistent Core Belief that you are ignored etc. These issue connect but they are also separate in that there are many people with strong defeating core beliefs who do not suffer from OCD. I don’t know if your OCD therapist can also do CBT (which I think is the right therapy for the purpose of changing core beliefs)…?
anitaNovember 8, 2023 at 8:54 am #424862
Oh okay. May be i will schedule a session with my OCD therapist and see what he says. If it doesnt workout i will probably have to find a new one. I am very bad at taking care of myself. So cant do this alone. I need some therapists help.November 8, 2023 at 9:30 am #424865
Finding the right therapy and being consistent with it is very important. Back to the self-help CBT exercise, if you want to continue, here it is
I asked you at the end of Oct to complete a few sentences and you did (the boldfaced words re the words you used to complete the sentences: “I feel inferior to my teammates because I think that I am: dumb” I feel inferior to my friend’s other group of people because I think that I am not lovable. I am inferior because I think that I am not good enough”.
Next, I asked you: “Imagine that you are in a court of law as a defendant. The Prosecution is presenting evidence that you are dumb, unlovable and not good enough. After the prosecution finished their presentation, the Defense disputes the validity of the prosecution’s evidence and/ or presents its evidence that the defendant is smart, lovable and good enough. Type away each side’s presentation…?”
You replied Nov 1: “Prosecution side: Don’t now anything about American culture like movies, games, not into hiking, doesn’t talk much. Also fumbles a lot during the meetings.
Defendant: Many people in the team have appreciated my work. Has better technical knowledge when compared to my teammates. Has offered help to my teammates regarding the technical stuff.”
Question today, directed to the Prosecution side: if you learn about the American culture: (1) study American movies, (2) play American games, (3) hike once a week or once a month, (3) time yourself talking and talk for a longer time, and (4) not fumble: if you achieve these FOUR things, then you will be smart, lovable and good enough?
anitaNovember 8, 2023 at 9:56 am #424866
I dont think so. I want to accept myself the way i am except fumbling during the meetings. I tried watching american movies for a couple of years i am not interested now. I dont watch movies much be it american or indian. I went for hiking with my friends husband. He took me to couple of strenuous hikes which i resented going to. I like the easier ones. May be accepting myself the way i am makes me complete i guess instead of being somebody else. If people dont like it thats ok its their problem not mine.November 8, 2023 at 10:28 am #424869
The Prosecution is supposed to present evidence that you are dumb, unlovable and not good enough (your chosen words about yourself). You presented the 4 pieces of evidence back in Nov 1. Seven days later, you are now withdrawing 3 out of the 4, leaving only fumbling as evidence of the italicized, boldfaced above..?
I will do the same exercise that I asked you to do, but because I don’t feel inferior anymore- to a large extent, I don’t- I will use the past tense and make other minor adjustments to the sentences:
1) Sentence completion (my completion is boldfaced): I felt inferior to everyone because I thought and felt that there was something terribly wrong with me, a terrible defect, something severely lacking, that I was of a lesser quality than everyone else, or almost everyone else.
2) The Prosecution presenting evidence for my wrongness, defectiveness, severe lack and being of a lesser quality than everyone else: (I am inviting my mother’s voice, which always makes it easy when it comes to prosecuting myself.. I heard her so many times doing it, that it just FLOWS out of me with no pre-thinking or evaluating the words that simply flow out of me)- The defendant is Guilty!
Defense: You can’t just claim something like this with no evidence, this is a court of Law!
Prosecution: I don’t need to explain myself when the Evidence is right in front of you, the defendant! .. But since you are all stupid, I will explain: I am a good person. The defendant is a bad person. (silence follows for a few long moments).
Defense: This is all the explanation you have? You explained nothing. What makes her bad? What makes you good?
Prosecution: How dare you say that I am not good, or that this terrible person, the defendant-is not the bad person that she is? Who do YOU think you are? Let me tell you who you (the defense) are: ***** ***** ***”.
End of exercise.. lol. It didn’t at all go the CBT direction I intended it to go. Like I said, the words just flew out of me with no pre-thinking. But there is still something I can learn from the above: I felt that something was terribly wrong with me, that I was inferior etc., simply because MY MOTHER SAID SO. She insisted that it is so, repeated that it is so, and said it with strong emotion and in no uncertain terms.
If my exercise is- or can be- any help to you, let me know and take it from here…?
anitaNovember 8, 2023 at 10:37 am #424871
I just got confused and wrote something stupid. Let me go through your paragraphs again and get back to you. lol.. I am still confused 🙁November 8, 2023 at 10:54 am #424872
My CBT exercise went down the drain when I let my mother’s voice take over.. She didn’t behave herself in the court of law where she was supposed to present evidence and be logical, calm, in control of her emotions… Sorry she confused you (She confused me for decades!)
Can I help you with your confusion?