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How to open up to people?

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  • #114786
    HealingWords
    Participant

    I have a lot of difficulty connecting to people and forming long term friendships. Over the last year or so I have recognized that I do not easily open up toward others in a way that I feel I am being my true self. This has been a mixture of things from my past, such as friendships where I opened up and was rejected. I think part of my problem may be genetic or upbringing since my brother is similar to me in that we have little to no friends, do not show affection toward others and have never been in a relationship well into our adulthood. However I am aware that I can one day turn this around if I change.

    I wish I could be more open toward others and form friendships, but I just cannot find myself being interested in people who seem diverse from me anymore. I have had friends who were greatly different from me and that has made me feel like there is a gap in the friendship since I do not feel understood. Sometimes I may be narrow minded and am too choosy with who I wish to be close with.

    I also really wish to form a relationship with a man within the next year. I have never been in a relationship, a date or even have been kissed. As I get older this has become more embarrassing and I am sure take away my confidence. But I absolutely hate the modern dating scene, and cannot stand superficial love. I am sure that few guys are interested in me, but I literally have no interest in a majority of the men I have met in my entire life. I have only been truly in love once and was devastated when it wasn’t returned and nothing came out of it. Similar to finding friendships I want to be understood by someone who I am in a relationship with and have common interests. When I attempt to find romantic interests whether from people I have met or online sites I really struggle convincing myself to make an effort because nobody feel right for me. I don’t know if I should just be patient and let myself fall in love with someone down the road in my life or if I should be actively pushing myself to find someone and pushing relationships with different guys to “test the water.”

    How do I learn to be open and form deep connections with people? Is it good for me to be so selective about who I want to be friends with? Is it okay for me to be so picky about who I want to be romantically involved with?

    Advice Please!

    #114789
    anita
    Participant

    Dear HealingWords:

    I understand that in your family, parents and brother, there was not much of a connection and you grew up alone, emotionally alone, as did your brother? And you stopped needing to connect much of the time… and when you do feel the need to connect, you don’t know how- for lack of experience?

    “How to open up to people?”- open up to me, if you will: open up to me about how it came about that you have a difficulty connecting to people?

    Your life started as a baby all eager to connect, a young child fully motivated to connect with the ones who took care of you (parents)- then …. what happened?

    anita

    #115083
    HealingWords
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I am not entirely sure what happened as I was a child with my relationship with my parents, I was my parents only girl so they tended to favor me more, but was also the middle child and may not have always had all the attention, or I got too much and just wanted more time alone. My dad tended to be absent in stages of my life due to work but I would still see him at night. I was described as a happy baby and child, rarely cried always smiled and I guess that was true until I was about 5, and I think that was when my relationship with people changed when I started school and peers my age tended to bully me from then on. I cannot remember a year I didn’t have problems with kids in my class. I think I have always been a bit reserved, I tended to have one or two friends at a time but I had the same friends throughout elementary school. Then when I got into middle school I struggled a bit more in hanging out with the same people until by the time I reached high school my friend expiration date was about 9 months. Well, it was more of a rotational thing, that I would go back to friends from 2 or so years ago.

    I think the seal of the deal may have been when I was in high school, I was forming a really strong bond with two people. At the time, the three of us were all going through depression stages (teenage year, ya know) and the two of them would always be talking about how hard their life was and I kept all my difficulties to myself because I didn’t want to be their burden. I would try so hard to be something that they could be happy about and they didn’t see it that way, they only wanted to be sad. Well around the same time one of my friends started doing drugs (and lied to me that she wasn’t), I opened up to my other friend about who I was and tried to move onto more deeper conversations. Two weeks later he straight up refused to talk to me and started to ignore me. Worst was the fact that I knew he was suicidal, he said that when he would graduate and after all his friends would finally leave him he would kill himself. He purposely tried to push me away so he had that excuse. And I had to live with the fear that if I didn’t do something that I would have been that person that let him die. I always had that battle on sending his parents or a teacher a letter explaining his situation or keeping his secrets. But when time passed and I called his bluff, I knew he caused me enough pain I let him go. He is fine now, I think, its been 6 years or so since then,
    But I think he is the reason I cannot trust people. Even though I may have always had something that made it difficult to connect to people, he reinforced that with fear. I don’t want to be put through that pain again, I don’t want to trust someone enough to open up and then feel rejected.

    And then 2 years ago, I thought I found someone else I could open up to, and I feel that even though I wanted to be ready to be a good friend and finally start meaningful relationships, I couldn’t do it. I was most likely rejected because of it.

    I don’t know Anita, that is just my thoughts on my poor connections, I have always been a bit bad with connecting with people for what ever reason and my experience as a teen sure didn’t help. I am not entirely sure the roots of it but I can tell you where the trunk is.

    What are your thoughts?

    Laure

    #115086
    VJ
    Participant

    Dear HealingWords,

    The Heart Chakra (one of the energy centres of the body) needs to be in a balanced state in order to form deep connections and meaningful relationships. It should neither be closed nor overly open.

    Without much explanation writing here you may want to take a look at Carol Tuttle’s resources on the Heart Chakra.

    Webpage:
    You may want to read out about what it represents and what happens when the Heart Chakra is closed and also on healing it.
    (http://www.chakrahealing.com/blog/heart-chakra-healing)

    Video:
    Check out on opening-up the Heart Chakra and especially the ‘ball of energy’ exercise at the later part of the video which is very effective and has helped me a lot.

    In the initial part of your first post you have also mentioned – “I have recognized that I do not easily open up toward others in a way that I feel I am being my true self.”
    Hence you may also want to open up your Throat Chakra as they seem to be apt to your situation.

    Webpage:
    (http://www.chakrahealing.com/blog/throat-chakra-healing)

    Video:
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=c7mMhnd80gM)

    Take care,
    VJ

    #115115
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laure:

    I read your last post attentively. I like your last clever line: “I am not entirely sure the roots of it but I can tell you where the trunk is.” Most of your post was indeed about the trunk: school experiences.

    I understand what you wrote at the beginning of your post: “I am not entirely sure what happened as I was a child with my relationship with my parents”- that makes sense that you wouldn’t know what happened when you were a very young child.

    Therefore I will ask: What was your relationship with your parents (any one or both) as an older child, during the time you were bullied in school? Did they know you were bullied… did you tell them… what did they do? Same questions in regard to your later years in school, when you had the friend who threatened suicide: did they know.. did you tell them, etc.?

    anita

    #115393
    HealingWords
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Bullying in school started when I was very young, and my parents, especially my mom was very supportive and upset that it was happening to me. However she felt she was very helpless in the situations as when she talked to the teachers and counselors were not helpful and I suffered many years until I switched to the public school. She tried to be active in my school and volunteered some days to teach kids in my class and girl scouts. She did try to build my confidence through martial arts and sports, and sometimes it worked. Honestly I don’t remember what my dad did. He probably got pissed, would try to comfort me but left it to my mom for the most part.

    When I was older and I got made fun of, I didn’t really talk about it in detail to them because it was really upsetting and brought up past experiences that I wanted to forget and it only lasted for a year. But around freshman year my relationship with my parents started to degrade. It was around the same time I became friends with those two people, and there was an incident where my father was drunk and he said I was a slut, which was damaging to me since I dressed like a boy and conservative, I never have been on a date or had a relationship with a guy. I never told them anything about my friends because they became so judging of my life at that point there were so many thing that they would not have agreed with. One of my friends was spiritual in a new age type was with spirit guides and was gay. She was my only friend for awhile so naturally I wanted to protect our friendship and felt that my parents would threaten it if they knew everything.

    When I lost those friends I think my relationship with my parents improved after awhile. I decided to open up to my parents and they werent happy at first but have gained a better understanding and kind of gotten over a lot of my weirdness. I still made friends but I just wasn’t close to them. When I would completely stop making friends or talking to people in general my mom and dad got extremely upset with me and would try to push me to meet new people, especially in college when I literally went a semester not saying a word to anyone besides the teacher. It was partly because of of my mom I started hanging out with my local outdoor pursuits, and she made me sign up for a course in my interests where I met the guy I mentioned that shared the same interests as I did and wanted to open up too.

    So, I guess the point of my relationship with my parents is that there are times when our relationship sucks and some where they are the only ones who understand me. They do appreciate that I am an independent person and are happy they got me and not some druggy kid, but they are not always supportive on who I am and what I want to do with my life.

    #115394
    HealingWords
    Participant

    VJ

    Thank you for your insight, I want to work more with meditations and I will look into the heart chakra and Carol Tuttle’s resources. I know that my heart is not open a majority of the time.

    Thanks,

    Laure

    #115413
    anita
    Participant

    Dear HealingWords:

    Unfortunately, it is not good enough for us as children to have sometimes-supportive parents. We need consistently supportive parent/s. Sometimes your mother supported you having friends, pushing you that way and at other times, often enough, she did not, being judgmental of the friends you had.

    Your father’s comment is alarming- not only is it bad, bad parenting kind of comment, but especially alarming to me since at the time (and still, as I understand) you were not even kissed by a guy. I wonder if it was an exceptional event, him calling you that name, or if there were other similar, maybe more subtle such communications to you by him…?

    You wrote that your patents “are happy they got me and not some druggy kid,” Happy that you are …not as bad as a druggy kid? Comparing you to the lowest denomination in their minds, a drug addicted daughter, is not much of a compliment, is it?

    Continued quote: “but they are not always supportive on who I am and what I want to do with my life.” This is my point, not ALWAYS supportive. We need consistency, not … sometimes.

    Please post again.

    anita

    #115434
    HealingWords
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Well yeah, it is true that they have never been 100% supportive toward everything I do and I straight up tell them that they were never the type of parents to have us try to reach the highest goals we want. Instead they try to knock us down to reality. I can see they being bad or good. For example my brother who is 25 is working to try to be in the olympics for martial arts, he is aiming and taking steps to the highest point he can go, even if it isn’t reasonable. My parents support him going to tournaments, but she constantly says “He will never make it as an olympian, he shouldn’t even try.” type thing. It might be true, but as a mother I think she shouldn’t be saying that, I think she should be saying to him “I believe you will be an Olympian” regardless if she thinks its true. She isn’t always negative, she wants him to open a martial arts studio and offered to pay to start it up.

    As for her comparing me to the lowest point someone could be, although it is true it is partly because a couple of people in my high school have died from overdose or have gone to jail and my parents are hearing this and are just happy that they don’t have a problem regarding that. I think they are proud that all her kids have their act together, especially in comparison to many kids my age. However I understand that they shouldn’t be comparing us to them, and treating us like we could have been better, or their perfect ideal child.

    Regarding my father, yeah I am not going to lie that he has not been the best father. That type of instance happened once, maybe twice, but he never has hinted at that and I am confident to say he has no image of that toward me at all now. It was very damaging to me at the time because unlike most people at that age (14 years old), I was immature with regards to guys, I had the most innocent mind and no desire to date, but mostly because I hadn’t met anyone I liked. I imagine that could have made me repress feelings for guys. I remember that when I was in high school, I talked to people online who had my similar beliefs and interests, for months everyday. I had 3 instances where it was a guy that eventually hinted at romantic interest, and it was always a complicated situation where they lived in a different country and wanted to meet me. I would stop talking to them partly because at the time it was a big thing to avoid stranger danger with people online and also because I didn’t know how to react to romantic interest toward me. It still feels like the case that I have not met the right person for me, there were maybe two instances that I was convinced that I did but now I think it is the lack of the best person for me. And it is not that my parents did not support me dating people, my mom would always say “So-so is a nice guy, you should date him” (dad is always neutral on everything but would agree). And with that it comes back to the is it just because I cannot connect well to people that I will never be able to start a relationship with the best person for me, or if I am being too picky and if I am capable to learn better connections with others that I can compromise?

    So no, my parents have never been consistent with support, but is that the connection to why I have difficulty with my relationships with others? Is it because of my relationship with my parents that I believe I cannot fully have a constant connection with people and that I believe they will not stick with me when they have the hard times in life? Is there a solution?

    #115482
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laure/ HealingWords:

    I just realized we communicated before on previous threads. I want to read those tomorrow morning (with a “fresh brain” I hope to have) and get back with you on this thread with what I hope to learn tomorrow from our past communications and this thread here.

    anita

    #115485
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Laure:

    I read a good part of your previous threads (this evening, sooner than I intended): you are about 21. You love nature and envision yourself being happy living alone in the woods. You like being alone but you also want a romantic relationship soon. You believe there is something faulty in your ability to connect with people. You described The Lonely, a wall that surrounds you, a wall you are afraid will always be there.

    You were bullied in school and your mother tried to help you but failed and so you were bullied for a long time. According to you, your parents were good enough.

    I wrote to you at one point that you communicated well with me on a thread. Your response was that you have a difficulty communicating with people in person.You suggested again and again that your difficulty connecting with people is severe, abnormal.

    I am at a loss at this point because I don’t know how it looks like, you not communicating well, not connecting with people in person. Let’s say there is a young man (since you are interested in having a romantic relationship this coming year, I am suggesting a young man in my imagined scenario) in a coffee house, a first date, just getting to know each other on a casual coffee date on a Saturday afternoon.

    What is happening? As you sit across him, are you smiling? Looking in his eyes or away? Are you speechless, fidgeting..? Are you able to focus and hear what he says? Able or interested in asking him questions? Able to answer his questions?

    anita

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