July 29, 2017 at 8:38 am #160928
I do practice seeing other people as myself since i began to dabble in Buddhist teachings a couple years ago. I found this helped me to be more compassionate towards others, especially difficult or angry people. Also, it has helped me level with people meaning I no longer put people on a pedestal so to speak, or idolize them, I understand we’re all a little rough around the edges.
Despite the fact when I began dating this last woman, I went into it with the mindstate that no one else is going to make me happy (much different than in my past), that is my responsibility. I still feel the overwhelming need for support and love from other people. Taking responsibility for my own happiness certainly has helped me to be more relaxed when going on dates and meeting people in general than in the past. This was reflected back to me when she told me how nervous she was at first, and that I was quickly able to make her feel very comfortable being herself with me. That was good to hear, because I think it means I communicate authentically, and honestly. At least I can take that with me as a sign of growth and progress.
I talked to my mom this morning because i was a mess and having trouble getting out of bed. I admitted to her that I didn’t feel the love as a child, and still have trouble feeling it. She cried a little bit, but admitted that she knew this was true and regretted leaving me alone so much as a kid and not hugging or showing affection towards me and my sister, she said she looks back at pictures from my childhood and it’s clear to her how sad I was. She admitted to her and my father being inaccessible and unresponsive to my emotional needs as a child. She explained that it was even hard for her to allow my friends to come over when I was in high school, she wasn’t aware of how afraid of letting people into her home and close to her she was because of what happened to her as a child. Essentially I inherited her fear and unlovability she felt for herself because of trauma she went through.
After this conversation I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of me, even though it shouldn’t have took her explicitly telling me that I wasn’t properly cared for, it feels like I finally have the permission to stop blaming myself, and to really begin to love myself through empathy as you said. It finally feels like it’s not all my fault I grew up with all these issues, instead of me just telling myself it’s not my fault. I was just a kid after all, and that kid is still part of me. I’ve got to be kinder towards that part of me, and not be angry with it for being in need.
Easier said than done of course but this is certainly progress, even though i thought i loved myself every so often something happens that tests me and brings my truest feelings to the surface. I’m positive i’m nowhere near done dealing with this, it’s likely i will still feel depressed, still want to give up, and still not love myself like I should, but at least now I know why I feel this way and how I should treat myself in those situation.
For that I am thankful for this site, Anita, Eliana, and Tatjiana, you all have helped me gain some perspective, hope, and relief before I can see my therapist next week.
RichJuly 29, 2017 at 9:04 am #160942AnonymousGuest
I am glad your mother expressed personal responsibility for your experience as a child. She validated (definitions: proved the accuracy of… supported the truth of) your experience. It is important for a parent to take such responsibility, or ownership of their wrongdoing, so to release the child/ adult child from continuing to take responsibility that is not the child’s.
I think that the “huge weight has been lifted off of (you)” is the weight of that responsibility that does not belong with you. In other words, it was not that you were unlovable, not a fault or inadequacy about you that brought about your childhood experience, it was the fault of your mother/ parents.
Blaming parents, or assigning responsibility to them, when true, is necessary so to lift off the weight of false responsibility.
This lifting off the weight, that is not a one time event. It will need to keep happening, a process.
anitaJuly 29, 2017 at 9:05 am #160944AnonymousGuest
* did not submit accurately…July 29, 2017 at 10:26 am #160964
Yes, the Buddhist teachings are what I meant. I think that while you continue to progress on therapy, you will not feel the overwhelming need as much to gain the love and support from other people. See if your therapist can give you a workbook and homework that you can do exercises in, such as learning love, feeling love, not needing validation, post traumatic stress disorder. I know this really helped me. Part of it was Psychotherapy, the other part Cognitive Behavior Therapy, and the other Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). Practicing mindfulness, just focusing on today, not the past or future. Try to find something that will bring you laughter every day, and find the simple joys of everyday lives. So often, we get inside our own heads and Psych ourselves out. I’m excited about your therapy session! Please keep us posted, and be gentle and patient with yourself.August 3, 2017 at 7:23 pm #162014
A small update on my situation. Went to therapy this monday, and my therapist reiterated much of what was said here. Especially in respect to allowing myself to care for and feel compassion for the child who did not receive the love he needed. Also how the need for love and safety are conflicted within me. My mom also revealed to me that she was suicidal when i was a baby, and once left me and my sister alone while she tried to kill herself with pills in the next room. This explained alot for me, as to why i have the attachment issues i have.
I’ve been trying to be more compassionate towards the hurt child in me this week that is desperate for connection, but so far I am still having trouble enduring the pain itself, I don’t know if I’m just not as resilient as I’ve been during tough times in the past, or if i’m just burntout on constantly trying to heal/improve myself. Either way my motivation has plummeted this week, and i’ve pretty much been pushing the pain down with weed just to get through the day. I know it’s not wise, because the pain comes right back, but I’ve kind of reached a point where nothing really matters too much to me anymore. life just feels like a treadmill of endless needs that are impossible for me to meet. Honestly I feel ungrateful when i’m depressed like this, I always think i should be happier simply because i’m fed, housed, and healthy but I tell myself this and it makes me feel worse because now I feel i’m undeserving on top of everything else. Maybe i’m far too attached the idea that companionship, intimacy, and closeness is a real possibility for me. I’m trying to convince myself to keep trying but i think the part of me that just wants to feel safe by withdrawing from people, and getting high is winning right now, and I don’t know where to find the strength to keep fighting anymore.
IAugust 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm #162034
Just quiet your mind right now. You don’t have to have all the answers at this moment. Just know that you are in therapy, and your Mom gave you alot of information, that put your mind on “overload”. None of this you knew about and hearing about this, probably just put you into a “detached” mode, it’s just our minds defense mechanism, just like I repressed so many things as a child, I don’t want to know all the terrible things my Mom did to me. I guess for one, she had me, so in that way she did the best she could. The Alcohol took over, she had six children.
I think many times, my Dad would start to tell me something about her, but would change his mind and say “your mother was the best dancer/choreographer” “she was a great Model” “She made the best scrambled eggs”. Once he told me she treated me horribly, but I would change the subject. When I have a negative emotion, I take out a picture of where she drove 50 miles to a portrait studio in South Miami. She did this twice. A beautiful picture of her holding me as a baby. In that picture, she was holding me tenderly, and what appeared to be with love. The other picture was when I was about three, I was standing on her lap, looking down on my brother accordingly as we were very close and she was tenderly looking downwards at the both of us, with what appeared love. Maybe that was before the Alcohol took over.
I guess what I’m saying is don’t beat up on yourself or try to figure it all out. You will have alot of conflicting emotions, anxiety..but don’t get swept away by them, because thoughts are just that. Thoughts. Be patient with yourself, be still. Post on here. Writing things down makes one feel better.August 4, 2017 at 7:16 am #162104AnonymousGuest
On the 29th you wrote: “I finally have the permission to stop blaming myself, and to really begin to love myself through empathy…It finally feels like it’s not all my fault…I’ve got to be kinder towards that part of me, and not be angry with it for being in need.”
What happened next, I believe, is that you felt guilty for blaming your mother (instead of blaming yourself). First there was a relief, since blaming yourself is causing you much suffering and it is not congruent with reality, that you are guilty, that is.
But what happened next is the other part of the relief, the assigning responsibility for your suffering to your mother. That created another kind of suffering and so, you went back to blaming yourself.
Stuck in this dynamic, going back and forth between blaming her and blaming yourself is exhausting, isn’t it?
anitaAugust 4, 2017 at 3:45 pm #162222
Thanks for the replies again.
yes this is very exhausting and I’m not quite sure how to escape this cycle of guilt. I suppose i could try accepting it for what it is and that it may never ever completely heal and go away and just learn to live with it.
I think my need for love is possibly too tall an order to for myself or anyone else to fill. I just want to feel as if i’m cared for but i realize i can’t just ask someone to do this. But the need is immediate, and overwhelming. I’m so sick of just living with hopes that tomorrow might be the day. I’m becoming inpatient, and childish in that respect. I honestly can’t see a reason why anyone would ever care for me, I mean why would anyone give a shit what happens to me when there are thousands of other healthier people out in the world.
Just don’t know how to cope right now.August 4, 2017 at 5:25 pm #162230
There are millions of people in the world, with some type of illness, even debillitating illness, severe mental illness, disabilities, yet they go on to have meaningful lives. Does this make them “unloveable”? What if I told you, I had several mental health disorders, would that make me worthless and unloveable? This type of thinking puts us in a never ending cycle of “helplessness” we end up stuck in pity and victim mode all our lives, stuck in a rut, not wanting hope, or to find or even Try to find a solution.
I feel despite all my flaws, I still have alot to offer. I can help people, be caring, thoughtful, adventurous, romantic, funny, spiritual, humanitarian, into animal welfare. If you look deep inside yourself, you are a loveable and worthy person capable of giving and receiving love, but you have talked yourself out of it, yet it is there. Please don’t get trapped in this cycle. Stay strong, don’t give up on yourself, don’t be a victim, continue therapy, things will turn around. Keep us posted.August 4, 2017 at 9:16 pm #162242
Thank you Eliana
I think the discrepancy I run into is trying to empathize with myself without feeling like I’m feeling sorry for myself. Because when I start trying to care for myself, yes I do feel like a victim, and I resent that, which makes me give up trying to care for myself, and I tell myself just kill the pain anyway you can and keep it moving. I kind of pointed that out in my first post. I feel like it’s hard for me to accept my flaws without feeling like I’m giving myself permission to keep making the same mistakes. That is when I feel like giving up on trying most. Especially if I don’t feel my life is meaningful. I try to find ways of creating meaning in my life, but it’s been difficult lately since all I do is study and deliver stuff on my bike. I miss helping people with their problems, that made me feel effective, but I know I’m not ready to go back to doing that until I can get my own shit right. Which has me questioning my decision to become a counselor on a daily basis.August 5, 2017 at 5:13 am #162276AnonymousGuest
You wrote in your note to me: “the need is immediate, and overwhelming… I honestly can’t see a reason why anyone would ever care for me”- I see a reason: because you have this need to be loved. It is a need that invites love from anyone who cares to see it in you. It is this human need we are born with, the need to be loved, that is the reason to be loved.
When unmet for too long, a craving is created, a painful craving and a myriad of consequences follow.
You wrote that you don’t know how “to escape this cycle of guilt”- guilt over blaming your mother and guilt over blaming yourself, going from one to the other and back again.
First, need to remove that thing that sticks to self blaming like hair does to soap, and that is Mistakes, a big misunderstood issue. When we blame ourselves for not being loved as children, we proceed to view every possible misstep, every perceivable imperfection in our bodies/minds/behavior/function as proof that indeed we are guilty of not being loved, unworthy of love.
And so, we are stuck in an endless cycle of more and more Mistakes sticking to that painful core belief of being unworthy of love. There is no way to get unstuck because there is no way to avoid Mistakes, that is, there is no way to be perfect, to perform perfectly, to make sure everything turns out perfectly.
Remove this delusion of perfection from your thinking/ feeling and you will be on your way to get unstuck.
anitaAugust 5, 2017 at 11:29 am #162316
I can relate about the pain, and the helplessness it can create. I too turned everywhere to make myself feel better, and painful emotions just kept resurfacing no matter how hard I tried. When I was getting my BA in Psychology, one of my Professors was very much into “emotion regulation” and he brought up a new drug (at that time) called Topamax. He said it helps people deal more effectively when they are in therapy or are really struggling. I would see a homeless cat, and just start sobbing, it would just create horrible emotions in me perhaps because I could relate to the car and suffering although I have repressed alot, seeing a homeless animal or person sent me in a tailspin, and I would call my friend, they would not get sad like I did and I would lash out at them telling them “they had a small heart” how could they not be sad hearing about a hungry and cold cat? That’s when I knew I had to give in to my pride and go on medication.
Since you are in the Psychology and counseling profession, I was wondering if you have ever considered medication, for emotion regulation to help you with painful thoughts, traumatic events and emotions? Since being on Topamax, seeing a homeless animal or person in need no longer sends me into despair. Just some thoughts..August 6, 2017 at 9:37 am #162510
I have pretty much always struggled with perfectionism, it was the reason I was/am so hard on myself, I was a very well mannered child, excellent student, overachiever etc. I did this because I always thought if I could discipline myself it would make my parents life easier, which it ultimately did, they never had to spank me as a kid, or tell me something twice, but it caused me to be hypervigillant of any imperfection I had which ultimately led to me starting to self harm out of frustration of never being “good enough”. I honestly thought I had begun to accept myself, I no longer hide my scars which took years to get to that point. I can see though that battle is not over, but trying to tell myself I can’t do it alone and I’m worthy of help/love is still a struggle just because I have always been the most composed rock solid person in my family, at work, or with friends.
I refuse to take medication I’ve sertraline twice for about 3 months on two separate occasions and hated it. My personal opinion on antidepressants is that I might as well be self medicating with weed, less side effects, and I can use as needed. To me antidepressants just made me way to numb.August 6, 2017 at 9:53 am #162526AnonymousGuest
The “most composed rock solid person” is still a person, flesh and blood, hurt and scared, at least at times. Scars and all. Still a person needing love and help. Coming to think about it, a person is not a rock. A rock is a rock, a person is a person. This is why a rock would never consider self medicating with weed or antidepressants, nothing to medicate, no awareness/ no distress.
anitaAugust 6, 2017 at 11:03 am #162530
I self harmed for decades, until Topamax. I have Borderline, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, born with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Have Panic Disorder, Severe Anxiety disorder. It wasn’t until I was about 45 until “I let go of my pride” and went on medication. This was after my 12th Psychiatric Hospitalization, right after cutting and wanting to swallow something. I knew something, anything needed to be done.
I too was “numbing” myself. I did not smoke Pot regularly because I was too afraid it would be a “gateway” to more potent drugs like heroin, cocaine. I could only take a few “hits” and I already felt the effects. Yes, it felt good, but it was just a temporary bandaid. I only felt good for about 1/2 hour. Then I would get “paranoid” once I thought my friends dog was out to get me, and it was a small cocker spaniel! My friend laughed at me, because she knew I loved the dog, and could not figure out why I was Acting so paranoid. Please don’t do drugs as “a way out” because it just makes you feel worse, depressed and guilty in the long run, not to mention people can get in trouble with the law, and is it ever expensive. Weed won’t fix your need for perfectionism, self harming, etc.
Sertraline is in a class of antidepressants called SSRI’s. I was on Prozac, Celexa, Zoloft, Lexapro, Paxil. I felt like a zombie. They numbed me. Then they put me on SNRI’s, such as Cymbalta, which didn’t do anything at all, except make me sweat profusely, make my heart race, vivid dreams, and sent me to ER. I was finally put on Remeron (Mirtazapine) while hospitalized, it is in a class of antidepressants by itself, not an SSRI, or Antipsychotic, or SNRI. I have been on it since 2005, and it pulled me out of the worst depression of my life. I am also on Wellbutrin XL, which in in a different class of antidepressants. Not an SSRI. Does not numb you, or the Reneron. Topamax, is for Migraines and seizures but has been very successful for emotion regulation. It is not an antidepressant. What I am saying is don’t give up on antidepressants because SSRI’S (Sertraline) did not work for you. They don’t work for many people because they numb your emotions. It’s just trial and error, they can also do a “cheek swab” to find which one will work for your DNA. Olanzapine is also used with great success for people with intrusive thoughts, perfectionism, etc. It’s in a class by itself. Very well tolerated. An Atypical Antipsychotics/Antidepressant. And it’s longer lasting and less expensive, more effective than weed.