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how to help myself?

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  • #190085
    Lily
    Participant

    I feel very crazy at the moment. I’m unable to structure my life. At age 30 I’m still financially dependent on my parents. Three years ago I went back to university for a second bachelor’s degree. About one year ago I lost my part time job because of cut downs. It was not a very impressive job, but it was okay and the people at the company were satisfied with me. Since then I procrastinated on searching for a new job. The problem is writing the application. I feel unqualified and ashamed of myself. But it is childish of me, I know I need to do it. You need to do hard things in life. But I don’t stick to my plans.

    For some time I tried therapy. At first it made me understand things a bit better, but then it stagnated. My therapist also said that and she suggested I try another form of therapy after this therapy. Then she got sick (spinal disc herniation). She said she would call me for a new appointment once she was okay again, but that was in september. I have the fear that she wanted to get rid of me… Most likely I’m being paranoid, but the thought still comes back again and again… I know she is only human. Maybe she is very sick and it’s selfish of me to think bad of her.

     

    I need and want to grow up.

     

    My goals are:

    1) Find a part time job again.

    2) Become completely financially independent from my parents as soon as possible.

    But I keep putting things off. And I hate myself for it. I don’t know how to change.I don’t know if it’s even possible. My therapist said it’s up to me. She was probably very irritated by me and I am also disappointed in myself. I don’t know if anybody can help me… I have to help myself, but I fail again and again.

    #190107
    Mark
    Participant

    Lily,

    Good for you for having such self-awareness and goals for yourself.

    You may want to just talk with your therapist on the phone before going in to see her to reassure yourself about the appointment.

    If nothing else you can get the other form of therapy she was thinking of you to do afterwards.  Perhaps it is time to start that now.

    Are you doing anything to support yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually?  I believe it is hard to put things into action if we are not resourceful.   I am a firm believer in exercise, having a circle of close friends, and meditation to support myself in those realms.

    You may want to review what you already had discussed with your therapist to help you right now as well.

    Any of us cannot really shift if we stay stuck in beating ourselves up.  Changing our language and self-talk is a start in doing that.

    Mark

     

    #190153
    Lily
    Participant

    Hello Mark,

    thank you for your reply!

    I’m not sure if I want to go back to therapy. Therapy with my old therapist is over, I think. I haven’t heard from her since september and I’m unsure if I want to continue. It seemed like she didn’t want to go on. She said she couldn’t help me any more, only repeat what she already told me. I asked if she would like to end the therapy and she shrugged and said that this is up to me. Then she got sick. But I wish that there was a final talk maybe or a conclusion.

    Maybe I should look for a new therapist. This was behaviour therapy, she suggested I try analytical therapy. I’m still undecided if I want this. I have doubts that it can help me.

    As for doing things for myself, I wanted to go outside more. Long walks in nature usually make me feel calmer. I also wanted to try running again.

    Also because at the moment I feel weird at the dormitory I live. It is nothing big, but I feel I behaved weirdly. Usually I say hello to everyone, but I’m only closer with one or two people. Some time ago I saw one of my flatmates and a friend of hers at the corridor and said hello and they said nothing back. I found it rude and maybe was a bit sulky. Then I said nothing to them for a few days. Later I saw her again and said hello, but she just looked at me and went into her room. And some time later I was in the kitchen doing my dishes when she said something (probably just hello) and I said “what?” in an irritated tone. Since then it has been very weird and I don’t know how to behave around her. I also feel weird around the others now.

    It’s just one tiny thing and the problem is maybe that I think too much and I’m too emotional. I wish I could just get a thicker skin. I think my emotional reaction makes everything worse!

    This is just one more reason to go out more. So my plan is to at least go out for a walk every day, go more to the library and meet with one of my friends to work on projects together. In the last time I spent too much time alone and I don’t think it’s good for me. I also want to write at least one application a week. So far I haven’t been succesful, but maybe I can go to the library to do that so I have less distraction.

    Lily

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #190161
    Mark
    Participant

    Lily,

    Good that you are setting small and achievable goals like write one application a week.  Plus you are going into an environment that will support this effort, i.e. library.

    About your flatmate, there is a book “The Four Agreements” (there is a follow up book as well on the Fifth Agreement as well), where the Second Agreement is: 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally –Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

    Easy to say, hard to do.

    You may have better luck by trying to start a conversation next time you see her rather than just a “hello.”  When we get to know each other and find common ground then we won’t be strangers anymore.

    Take care,
    Mark

     

    #190191
    Lily
    Participant

    Hello Mark,

    My plan now is to find a job online tomorrow, then go to the library on saturday to start writing the application. Maybe if I write this down here it will help?

    I think you’re right about the flatmate. I took things too personally. Maybe it had nothing to do with me. Sometimes I get angry over little things and my thoughts just go crazy. I overreact, I become whiny and I want to hurt myself, destroy myself… Nothing really serious happened, I didn’t say anything mean or really do anything to her, but maybe I was passive aggressive and whiny.

    Speaking to her could be a good idea, but I don’t know if I can bring up the courage. I also don’t know if she would be interested in this… Maybe I could try to clear things up and explain myself? Say something like “I’m sorry if I acted weird lately. When you didn’t say hello back I was a bit taken aback and maybe took things too personally.” Or would that be weird? I’m also still not sure if I’m courageous enough to try that.

    The easier option would be to just leave her alone, which is my instinct. Right now I feel like I want to hide and not see anyone from the dormitory. Maybe after a while things will get back to normal.

    Interactions with other people are also a problem for me that I need to work on. I worry way too much about what other people think!

    My therapist also suggested to try group therapy – a horrifying idea, but maybe it could help. I guess it’s time to do some uncomfortable things. But maybe find the job first.

    Thanks for your advice again.

    Lily

     

     

    #190221
    Mark
    Participant

    Lily,

    I was thinking more small talk with your flatmate like, “Hi there.  We never really talked and I just wanted to introduce myself.  My name is Lily and I’m from …. and right now I’m looking for something part time for work.  What’s your name?”

    8 Steps to Making Smalltalk

     

    Mark

    #190293
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Welcome back!

    When your former therapist told you in September that she couldn’t help you anymore, she should have suggested who could possibly help you, or where you may look for help, and then end the therapy. That would have been the professional and decent thing to do.

    After what she did tell you, that she can no longer help you, you asked her if she wants to end the therapy. Her response was to shrug and tell you that it is up to you. That was not a responsible choice on her part. She stated that she can not help you, and so, it shouldn’t be up to you to continue something that doesn’t help you. It is her responsibility to end something that she believes is not helpful to you.

    This leads me to think that she may not have been a competent or a quality therapist.

    Would you like to share what was helpful to you, if anything, during therapy with her?

    And if you would  like to update me, do you have any contact with that man you shared about two years ago? Also, you living with your parents at this time, are you staying in the same room as before, one where you have no privacy as people walk through it to get elsewhere in the home? What is the state of your privacy and relationships with your parents?

    anita

    #190335
    Lily
    Participant

    Hello Mark,

    today things went a little better. We were in the kitchen, cooking and there was also another flatmate around. The other flatmate (let’s name her Lisa) talked to me and then the girl (let’s call her Anja) asked a question and I answered it. After Lisa was gone Anja asked about my food, and then we talked about the food, school stuff and upcoming renovations. So that is good, I feel better. I still feel a little awkward, but I hope we will get along o.K.

    Hello Anita,

    I remember you, thank you for replying again and thanks for the welcome back!

    Maybe I didn’t explain everything about the therapist clearly (I didn’t want to write a too long post). The last time we met was in July (maybe June?), then she went on vacation. We were supposed to meet again in August, but she canceled that. Later she called and said that she was sick and canceled all of the remaining appointments. When I called her in September she left me a message saying that she needs to go to rehab because of her injury and that she would get back to me when she recovered. But I haven’t heard from her since then.

    She already told me during one of our last meetings that she couldn’t help me any more. She had suggested that I try another form of therapy after this therapy, but later it seemed like she wanted me to start searching for a new therapist immediately. But I wasn’t sure if I wanted another therapy now or if I should take a break from therapy.

    I agree with her that therapy had become stagnant. The sessions would be like this: she would ask me: “how do you feel today” and then we would discuss the topic of the day. At the end I think I was talking about the same topics again and again. It turned a bit into a pity party…. I also didn’t meet the goals we had set together. For example, we were working on me structuring my days. The plan was to work for two hours on my uni projects, then have a break and later work two more hours. Later I could expand the hours. It only worked for a few days until I started procrastinating again.

    For a time we also tried role plays. I guess it was an attempt of her to turn it more into a behaviour therapy. It usually was more like analytical therapy with me talking a lot about my past, this ex and my problems. I have to admit that I was also afraid to really go out and do things differently. At the beginning I tried more. I tried to speak more in uni, I went to a fair and even helped a professor organize an exhibition for our art class. But about a year ago I got sick for a while. Everything seemed too much and I crawled back into my shell.

    What helped me was discussing things with her. I think I was able to understand myself a little better.

    It ended a bit unfortunate with her being sick. It didn’t really end at all. Maybe I should have called her again, but with her saying that the therapy wasn’t working and suggesting that I go look for another form of therapy…. I had the fear that maybe she wanted to get rid of me. And there also weren’t many sessions left anyways. So I guess it is over?

    About that man. I moved out of this student dormitory in May 2016. After that, it was easier for me to get control of the situation. He talked me into meeting him again some time in May or early June, but after that I didn’t see him anymore (with one exception). He contacted me on facebook, at first I still responded, but then I blocked him. He made new accounts, but I blocked him. In September 2016 he wrote me and then he stopped for almost a year. I thought it was over. But last July he sent me a new message on a new account (saying that he missed me and wanted to be just friends on facebook and that he only wanted to know how I was doing). I didn’t respond and blocked him after a few days. And then in September I accidently met him at the train station. He was persistent as always and didn’t want to let me go. I walked away, but he came along and we more or less talked for a while. Maybe I didn’t handle the situation best, but at least I said I wouldn’t unblock his facebook accounts when he asked me to and then went home. The last time he wrote me was early January, but I immediately blocked him. Now I have him blocked 8 times on facebook (but he deleted his last account, so maybe it’s over now?).

    The crazy thing is that I still feel attached to him and even miss him somehow? Some part of me actually wants to respond to him, but I think it would lead to nothing positive.

    And about my parents. I don’t live with them, they live quite far away. But they financially support me. That is something I want to change.

    I moved into another student dormitory and have my own room, but  a shared kitchen and bathroom.Everything is okay with privacy here. I can go into my room if I want to be by myself.

    Sorry if that post turned out too long!

    Lily

     

     

     

    #190339
    Mark
    Participant

    Thanks for updating me Lily.  Remember it sometimes take bit-by-bit in terms of relating and getting along with others.

    Wow about that past dude who is such a Facebook stalker!  Good thing you are not with him anymore.  That behavior is unacceptable.  Good for you to know not to respond to him.

    Mark

    #190437
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Your former therapist did act irresponsibly, is my understanding. She should have not left you hanging, like she has done. Reads to me like she didn’t have in her the capability to help her, not that you couldn’t be helped.

    Having re-read our previous communication on your other thread, you do take more responsibility over people and situations than what is true to reality, excusing other people’s wrong choices and mistreatment of you (including that man’s mistreatment of you) because your behavior was not.. perfect.

    Of course you are not perfect. No one is. But when a man disregards your feelings, pressuring you as he has done, it is he who is responsible for his behaviors, not you.

    When you allow another to mistreat you, that person is still responsible for mistreating you.

    And your former therapist is… still responsible for not being clear with you, for leaving you unsure for months as she has done.

    “How to help myself” is the title of your thread. One way would be to figure out the issue of responsibility: what you are responsible for and what you are not responsible for.

    Taking more responsibility than you own, more than what is true to reality, means that you cannot evaluate other people’s behavior correctly, that much that they do is excusable and acceptable.. when it is not.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by anita.
    #190467
    Lily
    Participant

    Hello Mark, hello Anita,

    today I started writing an application. I gave myself an hour and I managed to write a few sentences. Not much, but better than before. So I want to try another hour tomorrow. Last time it helped announcing it here, so maybe it will work again. Hopefully, by the end of the week I will be able to send it off.

    The situation with the therapist also made me feel bad. To be honest, I was a bit angry with her. But also disappointed in myself. I felt like I hadn’t tried hard enough.

    I wish she would have been more direct. My feeling during therapy was also, that she was an o.K. therapist, but maybe not the best match for me.

    It is true that I think too much about other people’s opinions and feelings instead of my own. We actually talked about this in therapy, but I haven’t really freed myself of that way of thinking. I’m just more conscious of it now. I think I’m aware of a lot of the problems I have, but I haven’t made much progress in changing things.

    Maybe after all I should start looking for another therapist. But I feel unsure.

    Lily

    #190471
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Good job with the application, doing a bit at a time and doing what worked before. It may work again.

    And then, it is about not doing what didn’t work before. From reading your writings, I don’t think that the problem was that you didn’t try hard enough in therapy. I think that the problem was a therapist who was not able to help you. She may have been unable to help herself.

    Better be selective as to a therapist, if you choose to seek a different one, as well as other people in your life, who to have in your life and in what capacity.

    It is not you who makes people who they are: you didn’t make your former therapist incapable of helping you and you didn’t make that man disrespectful of you. They were like that before they met you.

    So when you meet people, figure out who they are, capable or not, respectful or not before giving them your time, your money and the rest of you.

    anita

    #190653
    Lily
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I managed to write for one hour again, but not much. Maybe next time I will try to write a little earlier in the day. Too often I distract myself and waste a lot of time. It has happened today. Sometimes I put my cable for internet access into my letter box, so I can’t use the internet too easily (I know, it’s probably a little weird). I think I will put it there every night from now on and hopefully I will become more productive then.

    I’m not sure if I tried hard enough. I’m not very disciplined. Maybe for some days I can stick to a new habit, but then somehow I’m back to the old problems. Distracting myself through media is a big problem, it has been for years. When I waste a day in front of the computer, I feel bad about myself. Most of the time I don’t even enjoy it, while I’m at it.

    But at least I felt a little better during the last days. In the weeks before I was really not in such a good place mentally. It really helped writing about it. Thank you and Mark for taking the time to read and reply!

    About me and other people. I have never really been much of a people person. In school I was not very much liked, in my early twenties I thought I’m better off alone (I always had a few close friend though). Just in the more recent years I realized how important friends are for me. Luckily I have found a few very good ones in the city I currently live. I have one very close friend and some others I get along well with.

    When I watch my friends I see that they have far less problems in setting boundaries and saying no. For example one friend and I were at an exhibition of our artwork, when one person asked us questions about the artwork, but in a sort of rude way. While my friend remained short-spoken I was answering his questions, trying to be friendly.

    I like to be friendly to others. But of course you can’t be friendly to someone who mistreats you. With that ex I realized that he was treating me badly, but I also doubted my own judgement. It was such a crazy relationship, I’m still confused and ashamed of it…

    In therapy we came to the conclusion that I should think more about what I want, instead about what others want. I’m seeing things a bit clearer now, but I still am not good at saying no or standing up for myself. Maybe it takes more time.

    Lily

     

    #190747
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Your last words in the post above a re “Maybe it takes more time”- I agree, more time, more understanding, more practice.  It is  an ongoing  process of learning and applying what you learn, through time, through distress, keep going.

    From your reaction to the rude person asking questions and your accommodating  of the rude man in your former dormitory, reads to me that you are motivated to be good and nice to a rude person, as in .. you spot a rude behavior  toward you and that itself triggers you to act nicely and to accommodate the rude  person, to do what he or she wants.

    We discussed  your childhood some, your father entering your room without  knocking, if  I remember correctly (even if  your room was the  only  way to get to other parts of the home, he  could  have knocked) as well as him having  a key to the bathroom. In what other ways was he … rude and  intrusive? Maybe other members of the family were rude and intrusive?

    anita

    #191015
    Lily
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I think the problem with that man was, that I was doubting my own judgement. I felt that what was happening was not good and that it was an unhealthy relationship. So I tried to end it, but he always came back  like nothing serious had happened. And I opened my door for him because I felt guilty, I hoped we could talk things out and fix it. I wondered if I was the abusive one. The situation was very crazy.

    If it is clear to me that someone is behaving rude, I think I would react differently. I feel confused just writing about it.

    When I was a child I felt more like my problems at school (primary school until about the sixth grade) were hurtful to me. I remember once a child called me a “Missgeburt” which means a “creature born with severe birth defects” (I used wiktionary to help me translate). A teacher heard it and was shocked, but I told her that it is o.K. I think I didn’t want to be seen as a tell-tale?

    I was probably an easy target because I was a crybaby and had weird glasses and clothes. Back than I thought people din’t like me because of the way I looked. (Now I like the way I look) Later I thought it was because of my character.

    In my family things were also not perfect. I didn’t get along especially with my father and sister. I felt that I even hated them! My relationship with my mother and brother was more distanced. My brother is five years younger than me and we were not close until later. My mother, in my opinion was overstrained with household and the family. She also worked. And I think our family was not what she had imagined her family to be like.

    A big thing between me and my parents was that they are very religious, but I wasn’t. Even as a young child having to go to church felt like a burden to me. Everything about religion felt like a duty and burden. As my father is a pastor it was especially difficult because “what would people say?”.  I felt like I was forced having to go to church, to bible studies, church choir, church youth group trips, having to go through confirmation… I did those things, but I passionately hated religion as a teeanager. I rebelled in secret throwing a bible away or watching horror movies…

    They still give me religious books and calendars as presents. I guess they want the best for me, but what if I gifted them “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins, wouldn’t that be disrespectful?

    But o.K., it’s not a big problem anymore. We mostly don’t talk about this any more. If their religion makes them happy, good for them. And for the most part, they leave me alone with it.

    My relationship with my father and sister was difficult. For a long time my sister and I shared a room and we didn’t get along well. When we fought, my sister went to my father and he was always on her side (that’s how I remember it anyways and even my mother said that she was my father’s favorite). She also got on my nerves because I was her big “role model” and she wanted to do everything that I did. But I wanted to do things for myself, play by myself have a hobby that she wouldn’t pick up immediately. I was also a pretty difficult child I guess, clearly not a saint. I hit my siblings and insulted my parents and cursed like a sailor (I reread my diary from that time and felt pretty ashamed – I guess I was trying to be strong and confident – I thought being loud meant being strong – I didn’t want to be nice).

    But back then I fought back. Even if it probably wasn’t in the best way. I don’t know when that changed?

    My father and I didn’t get along at all. He is a very headstrong person,not very open-minded, but I also sense some sort of insecurity behind his display of strength? He used light physical punishment like spanking, slaps in the face or headslaps, nothing very serious, but I don’t think it’s good to do this to physically less strong children (or anyone). Also the things he said were hurtful. When he talked about my friend and I he once said “the two fatties” (I was only a bit chubby for a time around age 12). Or in my diary I wrote about an episode. I had accidently dropped eggs to the floor, then I didn’t clean them up properly. My sister told my father and he called me “the dumbest child”. I think you can make a child clean up their mess without resorting to insults. Not sure, I was surely not an easy child to deal with… But I felt like they only saw the bad in me, like I was the evil child or black sheep. Once I went to a doctor and the doctor later told my mother what a nice girl I was. My mother said that she doesn’t know how I usually am.

    I didn’t really trust my parents and didn’t want to have anything to do with them when I was a child or teenager. Now we get along better. Especially my mother has changed a lot, she seems much happier with herself now. My father and I also get along better. I think it is also because I’m a bit more reasonable now. I surely was not very nice as well, insulting my parents or hitting them back.

    But I feel like I’m back at pitying myself… I know others have it worse. And maybe I should focus more on the present?

    Lily

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

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