August 5, 2019 at 8:42 am #306639
First, most of the time I don’t think people who post photos are intentionally trying to make others feel bad. When you saw those photos online, you felt bad. Was it intentional on your former friend’s part? Maybe, maybe not, but either way it ruined your day. I think this happens a lot.
I began moving forward once I realized that it wasn’t the situation that was affecting my happiness, it was I. I was causing my own misery, drowning in my own negative thoughts. So one day I decided to stop in spite of the unfairness of the situation. So I read some books and learned how the mind works and how we sometimes need to detach from our thoughts. We can’t stop our thoughts but we can view them from a distance, not engage them or be dragged down by them. It wasn’t easy at first but it’s become a habit for me now.
What happened to you could happen to anyone. You tried to make it right but it turns out you can’t fix it so all you can do now is take care of yourself, heal, and get stronger. Don’t let these women affect who you are, and if you aren’t quite sure who you are then make a list of the qualities and values that are important to you and stick to that list no matter what happens. Sometimes we slip, make mistakes (nobody’s perfect), but then we forgive ourselves and get back on track. Take your power back from these women. They can’t affect you anymore.
No, you aren’t making too much of this experience. If you let it, this experience will teach you new ways to cope when things don’t go as planned.
BAugust 5, 2019 at 8:55 am #306643
PS – Just now realized I didn’t answer your questions…
How long did it take? It’s ongoing. I still feel something when I run into some of these women but I can cope much better now. It happens slowly I think. Months, maybe years.
Where did I land emotionally? I feel strong emotionally. Much stronger than I did. Maybe there’s some apathy. I just don’t think of them anymore, that is, until I run into them and feel a little something, maybe there’s some sympathy for them…but then I get back on track.August 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm #306733
“It’s really only been in the last few years that (your mother) stopped giving negative, critical opinions and I’ve stopped needing her approval… to think about those times and wallow in the emotional abuse would not be a good mindset for me… we’ve finally reached a place of peace… I’m now on month three, and am in the ‘anger’ phase. Mostly at the woman who I was friends with for five years… Will I ever be able to move forward completely from this experience?”-
My answer: maybe not completely. If you didn’t see any of these people your thread is about, time would do its thing, but being in contact and having more experiences with the same people makes it difficult to have an emotional distance from the events that trouble you, to see those events as things that happened in the past and are done with.
My suggestion was never that you wallow in the past, but that you gain a deeper emotional understanding of what happened in the context of your relationship with your mother so that you don’t keep reliving it, or re-experiencing it in the context of your relationships with other women. You may be at peace- in some way- regarding your mother, but your intense anger at her is projected unto others.
anitaAugust 6, 2019 at 7:15 pm #306939
I had a moment today when I was able to fully appreciate what I have in my life and feel true sadness for the woman who is separated. I felt full of gratitude for my family, friends, that I love my work and that I have a loving spouse. I felt grateful and a few moments of true joy. (Is this being present and mindful?) The woman who used this situation to endear herself to these other women doesn’t have those things…her family is there physically, but not really. She is bored with her job, doesn’t love her husband and while she has friendships, they are new and few.
I started reading Present Over Perfect and I have a New Earth on my kindle.
Perhaps this situation was a nudge in the right direction. Most everything happens to me for a reason, especially bad things (relationships, jobs, situations). I learn and take away the lesson. Perhaps this was for me to finally recognize that I need to learn to not let my thoughts overpower my mind and body. That it makes me physically sick when I let this happen and it’s time to take back my mind.August 7, 2019 at 8:55 am #307001
I hope you continue to practice gratitude and mindfulness, taking back your mind, as you put it.
anitaAugust 7, 2019 at 9:05 am #307003
I’m with anita. I love your post. That’s how I feel too, that I need to keep my thoughts in check or else it means trouble for me. To me mindfulness is about bringing my attention to whatever is happening right now, and as regrets or worries creep in (which they will), being aware of what’s happening and letting them go. It’s about keeping a close watch on the activity in my head, being aware when unhealthy repetitive thoughts are bouncing around and choosing to get back to a healthier state. It’s an active choice I make over and over and over again every single day. What helps is letting my senses do the driving: what am I seeing (husband, kids), hearing (voices), smelling (eucalyptus trees), tasting (an apple), touching (my dog’s fur) — I’m instantly out of my head! Sometimes it’s easy; other times not so much, but overall it has greatly improved my life.
So I don’t have anger about my earlier situation because it forced me to find ways to cope with challenges, and the next challenge is always just around the corner so having a strategy in place beforehand brings me peace of mind. In my humble opinion, you are on the right path.
BAugust 7, 2019 at 11:41 am #307043
PS – I wish Peter would chime in because every time he does I look at mindfulness from a different angle and see something I hadn’t seen before, obtain a deeper understanding. On another thread he suggested author David Richo – thank you, Peter! I will also take a look at Present Over Perfect.September 3, 2019 at 6:35 am #310103
Hi Anita, I wanted to thank you for pointing the issues about my Mother and that while they are in the past, they are still indeed current. While I am at peace with our relationship, I have clearly been struggling with deeper issues related to my relationship with her…the need for approval from women and insecurity, trust issues. Just thinking about this and how it relates to my relationship with her has helped me move forward. While I should have been upset with this situation, maybe my intense feelings were rooted somewhere else. Just thinking about where my feelings are coming from, I’ve already noticed that I’m letting go of the anxieties with friendships. You’re correct, “deeper emotional understanding” is needed and likely I’ll need the help of a professional to get there. Your insight has been truly appreciated. I’m in a better place and attribute much of this to your kindness and observations. I do still reserve the right to relapse and come here for support! 😉September 3, 2019 at 6:54 am #310107
Hi Brandy, I’m in a much better place. School started and the woman who fueled this situation…wouldn’t you know it, her son is in my daughter’s class AND they sit at the same table of four. I was dreading this, but I acknowledged the feeling and didn’t obsess about it (progress!). She was very nice at visit the classroom day and I was nice, very uneventful. Don’t get me wrong, I crossed the street to avoid her this morning, but I’m sure she feels like she “won” and this is her way of being gracious and this is my way of moving on.
I’m making progress on mindfulness. I notice a change in my thoughts already. I did not get through Present Over Perfect, but I did start listening to Oprah’s series with Eckhart Tole, and I plan to read it once I’m finished. My mind doesn’t race and fixate over every last interaction that I feel went awry. I’m able to bring my thoughts back to “now.”
The situation with these women SUCKED. It was awful and traumatizing for me, very unfair and I trust the universe to handle it or not handle it. Not my concern. I’m ultimately very grateful it happened. Time is so valuable and I don’t need to continuously invest in people who don’t respect me. If this hadn’t happened, I would never be moving toward mindfulness and NOW and fully appreciating the people I have in my life. I’m getting better at reigning in my racing thoughts, being aware that they’re happening and bringing them back to the present has decreased my anxiety. It’s pretty amazing.
Brandi, your help has been pivotal. While I received a great deal of support from my friends, this message board allowed me the anonymity to be truly open and receive honest feedback and advice, with great compassion and kindness. THANK YOU.
And as I said to Anita, I reserve the right to relapse and come back 🙂
Is there a place on Tiny Buddha where I can go to converse about about mindfullness and ego and get ideas and strategies?
KSeptember 3, 2019 at 7:36 am #310113
You are welcome and please do return whenever you relapse into those neuropathways formed in childhood- we all do.
There is nothing more powerful in a girl’s brain/ life than a troubled relationship with her mother during childhood because that early relationship is recorded in our brain in the form of thousands of neuropathways, carrying the conflicts and strong emotions that we experienced with her- to the current relationships in our adult lives.
anitaSeptember 3, 2019 at 3:20 pm #310189
Thanks for the update, and you are very welcome. What happened to you is classic female relational aggression. These women were successful in turning you into an “undesirable” within their pathetic little social circle, and it’s too bad (but not unexpected) that they rebuffed all your attempts to make things right. Hopefully you understand that this situation had very little to do with what you said about that one women’s separation, as that was only an excuse to push you out, and any good sociology book with a chapter on group dynamics can provide answers as to why they wanted to push you out in the first place. Rest assured, though, that in my experience, the nicest, most sincere people are those who aren’t part of an exclusive clique, those who don’t practice “group think”.
Nevertheless, it still hurts like hell to be rejected, but this painful experience has propelled you into mindfulness, and you’ve only scratched the surface, and that’s what I call grace. I’m proud of you!
To answer your question, I would probably start with the TB blog and click on the subject “Mindfulness and Peace”.
BSeptember 8, 2019 at 2:12 pm #310895
Ok ladies, I don’t consider this a relapse but it’s definitely a situation I’m unclear on how to handle.
My husband and I agreed that we’re no longer attending the couples dinners, so we’ve skipped the last two. The couple we are still friends with is aware. The 2nd dinner we declined was yesterday, and today I received a text from the woman whose separation information I shared. She said she’s sorry we decided not to participate anymore and would I like to meet with her to have a fresh start. The answer to this no. A face to face is out of the question for coffee, for drinks…no. This feels like a “fool me once” situation.
It’s been four months…I’ve experienced extreme distress, sadness, disappointment, anger…my body processed the stress in such a physically damaging way. I’m finally moving forward. I don’t think we could ever be friends again- there’s no trust. But do I owe her a response? Do I owe her anything? What’s the gracious move here?
Brandy, once you said relational aggression, it clicked for me. My role, their role, the whole toxic dynamic. And it’s true, the people I love the most, they don’t have a group. One misstep and I was ousted. I refuse to put myself anywhere near that situation again.
And once her text message popped I felt a rush of anxiety and my heart started racing. I acknowledged the feeling and I’m working on letting it go.
What should I do? How do I respond?September 8, 2019 at 4:02 pm #310905
When faced with a situation like this one I choose the response that will leave me feeling good about myself in both the short- and long-term. You don’t want to meet with this lady which makes a lot of sense to me, but ignoring her message will only create more animosity toward you. My goal would be to protect myself (not meet with her) but also to decrease some of the bad blood that’s between these women and me so that I can breathe easier when seeing them around town. So I’d probably respond with something like this:
”Thanks so much for your message. I appreciate it very much. Unfortunately at this time I’ll need to take a rain check. I hope you’re doing well.”
Done! This way you’re decreasing some of the anger between you and these women, and you’re also keeping the door open in case you learn something new that results in your suddenly seeing the whole situation differently.
Always take the high road.
Just my two cents. 🙂
BSeptember 8, 2019 at 6:58 pm #310921
I will be able to read your recent post and reply when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now.
anitaSeptember 9, 2019 at 6:34 am #310997
“do I owe her a response? Do I owe her anything?”- no.
“What’s the gracious move here?”- ignore her, do not respond to her at all, not now and not in the future.
Like I suggested to you before, this womanm(I’ll call her “w”) means to you more than the rude person that she has been to you: she activated your experience as a child with another rude woman, your own mother (I’ll call her “W”).
This is what you wrote before about W: “As a child my Mom.. was quick to point out all my flaws, often dubbed me selfish or bad and really made me feel like a horrible person… she was emotionally abusive… it never occurred to me that I don’t really see myself as a truly good person… I have always needed my mother’s approval.. I’ve stopped needing her approval”.
If you respond to w with a gracious response- I think your motivation would be to avoid more of her anger, more of her critical comments about you to others, that is, your motivation would be to pacify the angry woman (W, originally).
If w was nice I wouldn’t suggest ignoring you, but she has been rude to you, so it is fair that you don’t respond to her and it is an opportunity for you to practice courage and ignore her. I imagine it will be scary for you, fearing maybe of what will she do next. And you may fear that ignoring her means that you are selfish and a bad person (like W told you…).
– what do you think about what I wrote here so far?