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I don't know how much more I can take

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This topic contains 62 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #330877

    Katie
    Participant

    I am in a really bad place. I have been trying my best to better myself, but it seems to only be doing so much. I got a therapist, and she thinks I have body dysmorphic disorder. We have been doing things to fix it, but it doesn’t seem to be going away. I don’t know what to do. Being hyperfocused on my appearance is emotionally exhausting and very painful, but I can’t stop.

    I am also losing my friends. I am not as social as I used to be. I have always been shy, but recently I have become a very closed off person. I don’t feel comfortable being myself around my friends or around anyone (except my dear boyfriend who I do not know where I would be without him in my life). I am constantly battling this horrible mental condition I am in. But when I finally go out and see my friends, I have nothing to offer or say. I have lost the old personality I used to have. I used to be very positive, funny, outgoing, etc. My friends and I were very close, but now we aren’t because I have to hide who I really am now. I even have to hide my true self from my cousin (who used to be the person I told everything to) because her mindset is very toxic and exacerbates my mental issues.

    I just feel very alone. I see people around me laughing and having fun with their friends, but I am not like that anymore. I even feel that I annoy my boyfriend. I am always crying about my life or talking about how much pain I am going through and the things that have hurt me. I feel like he doesn’t want to be around it anymore, but I can’t stop. It’s how I’m feeling in the moment and pretending to be happy is exhausting. I just don’t know what to do. I cry every day. I never feel okay anymore. How can I get over this?

    #330943

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    I  just counted the number of threads you started here, since the first on December 11, 2017, a bit over two years ago: fifty seven threads.

    Here are some of the titles of your threads that were about your boyfriend, in order of dates submitted: Help!!! My boyfriend liked another girl while dating me??/  How can I get him to change more?/ My boyfriend’s mom talked badly on me?/ Boyfriend left, life still sucks, I am still stupid, Do I leave him?/ Boyfriend broke up with me after saying he will change/ I hate my boyfriend’s sister/ My boyfriend (ex) is trying to ruin my life/ I finally broke up with my boyfriend and am unsure of how I feel.

    Here are some of the titles of your threads that are about your brother: My little brother lost all of his friends/ My brother is hated by my entire town/ I’m scared for my 15 year old brother/ I am worried for my brother’s life.

    Some of the threads about your cousin: My cousin is the most insecure girl that I know/ My cousin is so mean to me/ My cousin tells me I need a nose job all the time/ Every time I talk to my cousin I end up depressed/ My toxic cousin.

    Some of your threads about friends: My best friend hooked up with my other best friend’s boyfriend/How can I have friends again?/ How can I change the relationship, should I reunite with my old friend/ I need some help making friends/ Trying to find my friends, niche/Losing my good guy friend/ I reached out to an old friend who ignored me/How do I make friends?

    Some of your threads about your physical looks (and smell): I am tired of trying to be pretty but that’s all I want in life/ I just want to be beautiful/ I photoshopped a picture of my body on Instagram/ I am tired of women being judged by their looks/ A kid told me I look like a witch, does this mean I’m ugly? Do I smell bad?

    Some of your threads about how you feel: Really confused about myself/ I feel like I need to depend on somebody/ Is there something wrong with me? Starting to realize sources of my social anxiety/ I’m so heart broken I want to die, I feel ugly/ Why don’t my teachers notice me/ I need help managing my diet and exercise in college/ I miss my life 4 years ago/ Hurt and confused/ I am so lonely/ I’m jealous, insecure, and truly sad/ Were these girls trying to ne mean to me? Why don’t guys go after me? My teacher said I’m lazy/ I don’t know how much more I can take.

    In your most recent thread, the one I am replying to now, you mentioned being “in a really bad place”, seeing a therapist who thinks you suffer from body dysmorphic disorder, you being indeed hyper focused on your appearance, losing your friends, being closed off, hiding who you really are from friends and from your cousin whose “mindset is very toxic and exacerbates my mental issues”, feeling “very alone”, “always crying about my life.. about how much pain I am going through.. I cry every day”, that you “can’t stop” hyper focusing on your appearance and you “can’t stop” complaining to your boyfriend, that “pretending to be happy is exhausting”, and you asked: “How can I get over this?”

    One of your 57 threads, August 1, 2018, a year and five months ago, is titled: “I realized something that really changed everything for me”. In it you wrote: “My dad .. is always working.. My mom is home all the time but she deals with.. depression and anxiety.. neither of my parents have been around to guide me or my siblings. I always knew this but didn’t think it was a big deal… I’ve always let my boyfriend walk over me and never had the strength to break up with him.. I’ve been told I have no personality.. I just go with the flow when with most people. I am always unsure of myself and never take charge.. I feel so fearful and stressed all the time.. I am still an extreme introvert and am very aloof in most social situations”.

    My input to you, Kate, this Jan 3, 2020 morning:

    1. Reads to me that you should end all contact with your cousin, you consistently described her as toxic to you, you ending up depressed every time you talk to her, and you mentioned here on your most recent thread as toxic still. It is therefore a no brainer to me that you should end all contact with her.

    2. As I suggested to you before, do all that you can to direct your younger brother toward professional help regarding his issues, including his drug abuse. If you haven’t done so already, go to his school’s counselor and talk to him or her about your concerns for your brother health and safety.

    3. Continue to see a therapist and share with her what you shared on your threads, particularly the August 1 thread.

    4. Regarding my participation in your future threads: to be potentially helpful to you, it is not effective that I .. sort of multi task as I respond to your many, many threads, most often receiving either no reply, or a one line reply from you. Therefore, any and all future communication between me and you will happen on this thread and on no other.

    You are welcome to respond to this post, or not, and you are welcome to start as many new threads as you would like in the future. I hope that other members will respond to your future threads.

    Regarding a possible communication between you and me, it is to be done here. If you choose this option, please let me know what you think about the content of this post to you.

    anita

    #330949

    Lara
    Participant

    Dear Katie,

    I don’t have much to add since anita said it all. I am just here to give you a virtual hug. I hope you manage to find things (hobbies, volunteer work, group activities etc.) where your focus can shift to other things for a while.

    #331287

    Katie
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Wow, that’s a lot of threads. I didn’t realize I wrote so many. Thank you for putting in the time to go through them all haha. I want to mention that my current boyfriend is not the same boyfriend that I wrote all my threads about (he is not as toxic as my ex and our relationship is healthy, thankfully). I just wanted to bring that up to clear up any confusion. Also, sorry that I create so many threads. I think I have a hard time relating one problem to another, so when a problem comes up for me again, I just make a new thread. But again, thank you for putting all my threads together it makes it really easy for me to make the connections. I will reply to you on this thread from now on.

    And as for the points you made,

    1. Thank you for the advice. It is really helpful to listen to what others think I should do. Many people believe it would be best if I end contact with my cousin or at least distance myself. It’s just very difficult for me. I am very afraid of losing her, and even though she is so toxic, she plays a vital role in my support system. I know that may not make sense, but I believe she wants the best for me. She says toxic things to me that make me very upset, but she is also someone who I talk to every day. It’s very confusing for me. I have tried distancing myself from her, but I end up feeling sad. When I talk to her again, I feel happy that I have an important person back in my life again. So I don’t really know how to go about this 🙁

    2. Thank you again. I will definitely do this.

    3. I will also do this.

    4. I will reply on this post from now on, thank you again for putting in the time to help me.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by  Katie.
    #331291

    Katie
    Participant

    Dear Lara,

    Thank you so much <3

    #331665

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are welcome. It’s not a wrongdoing that you started so many threads, so no need to apologize. On the other hand, it will be helpful to you to not sort of.. multi task this way, and instead focus on this or that issue before moving to the next.

    I am glad to read that your current boyfriend is not your ex boyfriend, and that it is a healthier relationship.

    I appreciate you responding to the various things I brought up.

    Regarding your cousin, you wrote: “even though she is so toxic, she plays a vital role in my support system. I know that may not make sense”- it doesn’t make sense. I figure what you mean by she playing a vital role in your support system is that you end up “feeling sad” after not talking to her for a while, and when you do talk to her again, you “feel happy”.

    So what you think support means is a temporary feeling, feeling happy after feeling sad. It is similar to not taking a harmful drug for a while, a toxic drug, the drug addict feels sad and distressed, then takes the drug again, and feels temporarily happy. Then feels miserable again because the drug is toxic, stops taking it, feels bad and takes it again and so on and on.

    Does this make sense to you?

    anita

    #331765

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Yes, that makes sense. I think part of the reason why I don’t want to end contact with her is also that I am not close to many people. I have been feeling a distance growing between my friends from my hometown and me, I don’t have many friends in college, and so right now my cousin seems to be one of the few people I have in my life. I think the solution to that would be to make more friends, but that is something I’ve been having a lot of trouble with. I’m very shy and I don’t open up to people often. That is something I want to change about myself, but I don’t know how to do that.

    #331823

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    “I’m very shy” because some people  in your life hurt you. Babies and young children are never shy until someone hurts them. Fast forward, your cousin is hurting you, so you stated many, many times. This means she is enforcing that shyness that prevents you from making friends. You don’t want people in your life who keep you very shy and lonely, you want people who help you get better, don’t you?

    Look at the title of your thread: “I don’t know how much more I can take”, I will edit your title to make it specific (according to my suggestion to focus on one issue at a time instead of multi tasking): I don’t know how much more of my cousin I can take.

    anita

    #332119

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Yes, that makes sense. I actually just got out of my therapy appointment and that thought (about my cousin enforcing my shyness) came to my mind. My therapist was asking me, “what does being confident look like to you?” and “what do you think you would be like if you were confident?” And I was imagining myself if I were more confident. My answers to those questions were that confidence is trusting your own opinions. I also said confidence is accepting yourself for who you are and even being happy with who you are. I have definitely gained some confidence since I’ve been in therapy, so answering this question was somewhat easy. However, I felt that if I were to become that confident person that I imagined, it would be an odd pairing with my cousin. I wondered: would she be afraid of saying those things to me if she knew I would never allow it? Would she be happy with me being happy with myself? How would she treat me? How would I treat her?

    However, it still confuses me because I don’t know if she would or wouldn’t be happy with my confidence. I guess that in the end, her feelings shouldn’t matter as much as my own feelings. And the truth is that she hurts my feelings.

    But then I also wonder why my cousin says those things at all. I know other people like my cousin who say things to me without a care. I feel like most people who know me know that I’m very shy, insecure, emotionally-impressionable, etc. If I imagine myself in their shoes, and I knew that someone is very shy and insecure, I would never say anything if I thought it may hurt them.

    In the end, I just want to be confident enough to not care when my cousin says these things and maybe I would be more able to end contact with her if I didn’t tolerate it.

     

    #332125

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    I am glad you are attending psychotherapy!

    “I also wonder why my cousin says those things at all”-

    – Here is what I suggest: list three of the things she told you that bothered you the most. For  each of the three things she said,  list 2-4  possibilities as to why she said that thing. When you submit this, if you so wish to do, of course, I will read and give you my feedback.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  anita.
    #332755

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you, I am glad too. Here is my list:

    1) “You would look so pretty with a nose job” “You need a nose job” “Your nose is slightly big. Don’t worry you can always get a nose job” etc. Her opinion on my nose bothers me because I never had a problem with it before she said something. She is the only person in my 20 years of living that has told me my nose is big. After she said it, I couldn’t stop inspecting it in the mirror. She may have said it because:

    a) she wanted to hurt my feelings and make me aware of my flaws to lower my self-esteem b) she is socially inept and thinks its normal to point out things about people’s faces c) she is just honest/critical and thinks I get told this all the time d) she has body dysmorphia and is pushing her warped perceptions onto me out of obliviousness.

    2) “You’re not good at this subject” “You aren’t smart” “You shouldn’t do this because it’s too hard for you” etc. This bothers me because she only says this about things I am passionate about. If I like something and work hard on it, she always tells me I’m not good. She even says this about things I am objectively good at.

    a) she wants to hurt my feelings and lower my self-esteem b) she is threatened by me taking on difficult challenges c) she genuinely doesn’t think I’m smart enough and just wants to be honest

    3) “Your boyfriend isn’t good-looking” “your boyfriend is a loser” etc. The reasons why this bothers me are obvious. She is being plain rude.

    a) she is just extremely judgemental and is too vocal about it b) she doesn’t want me to enjoy my boyfriend and wants to make me second guess my choice to date him c) she liked my ex-boyfriend better and she says this to make me want to break up with my current one

     

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Katie.
    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Katie.
    #332769

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    I am  impressed: You followed my suggestion and did an excellent job at it, very neat and organized, like an A+ homework assignment! I am looking forward to attentively read and study it tomorrow morning, and I will reply to you then (in about 13 hours from now).

    anita

    #332841

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    Regarding #1, the nose. Fact: she created a problem for you that wasn’t there before. Before her repeated negative verbal input about your nose,  you were not concerned with your nose. After- you are focused on your nose. Regardless of why she said it, it has hurt you.

    And regardless of why she said something negative about your nose the first time, she said it the second time, and then the third, and maybe more times.

    Her reasons come down to either she is oblivious/ socially inept (your words) or she is mean, that is, she is trying to hurt your feelings and enjoying that she did. If she is mean, you are in trouble, because whenever we are in a relationship with a person who wants to hurt us, we are in trouble. If she is oblivious you are also in trouble because she will again and again say and do things that can hurt you.

    Here is how you know if her reason is being oblivious and socially inept:  when she walks in the street does she tell people she passes by: hey, you are too tall! You are too short… too fat.. too scruffy. your nose is too big.. and on and on? If not, why doesn’t she? I imagine she wouldn’t because of being afraid they will hurt her back. This means that she knows that her words about your nose are hurtful.

    How about a social gathering, does she tell people she knows in the group the same kinds of things? If not, she doesn’t because she knows it is hurtful and that the people she hurts are likely to hurt her back.

    “she is just honest”- well, if she is honestly angry at someone, should she beat that person with a baseball bat?

    Regarding #2, again, Fact: regardless of her reasons, she has hurt you. In the previous example she criticized something physical about you, here she criticizes your intelligence.

    If she “genuinely doesn’t think (you’re) smart enough and just wants to be honest”, then she is.. not smart at all and not intelligent. Because an intelligent and smart person would know that saying those things to another (especially to children, and I hope that she won’t continue her abusive verbal input to her future children!) is harmful. Plus it is arrogant, who is she to decide how smart you are!

    “She even says this about things I am objectively good at” leads to the reason being indeed “she wants to hurt my feelings and lower my self esteem”.

    I read #3 and it doesn’t change my conclusion at this point:

    The title of your current thread is: “I don’t know how much more I can take”-

    – my answer: you don’t have to take any more of your cousin’s verbal assaults. I mentioned earlier her future children. It is so sad to think about it: they will have to take her verbal assaults. They will have no choice because as young children they can’t perceive being without their mother.

    But you do have a choice. Tell her that you hope very much that she will not do this to her own children, criticize their looks and their intelligence, because it will hurt them way more than it hurt you. Then either end all contact with her or tell her something like this:

    in the next four months, Jan 12- May 12, I need you to not criticize anything about me at all, not my looks, not my intelligence, not my studies, not my boyfriend, nothing at all, for four whole months. If you agree to what I just said we can continue to be in contact, if you don’t agree, I will be ending my contact with you. What do you choose?

    If she agrees, then continue friendly contact with her, but the moment she breaks her own word, end contact with her.

    If she ignores your assertion and tells you anything of the following: I didn’t criticize you, you really do have a big nose, your boyfriend really is a loser, really, you aren’t smart, if you were smart, you would know I didn’t criticize you, you are only imagining this, don’t you remember all the positive things I said to you about yourself.. etc.  etc. etc.- don’t participate in a ridiculous argument with her but instead, repeat yourself a second time:

    zero criticism on your part for four months or  no contact now, which one do you choose?

    If she still argues, then announce: I am now enforcing no contact between you and me. Then walk away, block her from your phone, social media and in each and every way.

    anita

    #333033

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for the advice it is really helpful. I will do my best to implement it. I just feel that it is going to be very hard for me. It has always been extremely hard for me to confront my cousin about things like this. I have no idea why. I can confront her about little things, but nothing like this. I will try though.

    I am just worried about who I will have in my life. If it ends up that I have to end contact with her, I will have almost no one. I’m just growing apart from my best friends from home (I’m in college). They all have new lives and I have a new life too, but it’s been hard for me. I used to tell them everything and we were extremely close. I never thought we would drift apart.

    Over winter break, I thought it would be like normal and we’d hang out every day like we used to. But, we didn’t. I made an effort to try to hang out with them and most of them were busy but my best friend who I was closest to just chose to hang out with her other friends over me.

    The only person I truly feel close to is my boyfriend which is why I am still sane but it doesn’t seem healthy. I’m 100% fine when I’m hanging out/talking with him and I do not feel lonely at all because we are very close. He’s my best friend. However, I can’t hang out with him all the time. I need other people I can depend on besides him. I also have my cousin but I’ve distanced myself, and I’m trying to get myself to confront her.

    Something else that is important to note: one of my new year’s resolutions is to make friends (whether that be in my classes, clubs, or just out). Yet, that resolution has been seeming to cause me more pain than hope. I feel a lot of pressure to make friends and I’m hard on myself when it doesn’t work. I actually felt physically ill after the ball dropped at midnight because I was thinking about how I am probably not going to make friends despite thinking up a bunch of goals and plans on how I’m going to do it. Everyone keeps telling me “just stop sulking and make an effort” but I just can’t. I’ve been dealing with these problems for over a year now and I’m stuck. It just seems like one problem leads to another. I enter an abusive relationship -> I stop making friends and become isolated, my self-esteem lowers -> I cling onto my abusive ex-boyfriend (current boyfriend at the time) for a sense of comfort -> I have to break up with him for my own well-being -> I end up feeling extremely vulnerable -> my cousin says mean things and I let it lower my self-esteem even more than the old relationship did because  I can’t confront her or end contact with her -> I end up just distancing myself from her -> I end up clinging onto my current boyfriend for support/comfort but at least he respects me and treats me correctly -> I become closed off around my friends because they do not understand me like my boyfriend does -> I become closed off around everyone -> I feel even more lonely and sad -> my self-esteem goes even lower ->, etc. I don’t know how to break this cycle.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by  Katie.
    #333207

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are welcome.

    “It has always been extremely hard for me to confront my cousin”- you have the option to end all contact with her without a confrontation. (From your account, I don’t see much use of a confrontation with her; I am not optimistic about the results of a confrontation with her).

    “If it ends up that I have to end contact with her, I will have almost no one”- if you lived on an island and she was the only other person, or one of only a few people, then you would have to find a way to interact with her in better ways. But you are not living on an island, there are many thousands of people around you- you don’t have to have her in your life!

    To “have almost no one” in most circumstances is better than having a person in your life who drags you down.

    Before I read your new year resolution to make friends I thought to myself that..  indeed you need to make new friends, but in small steps, make acquaintances first. Don’t rush. little by little. “I feel a lot of pressure to make friends”- that’s the rush. No need to rush, rushing defeats almost all objectives.

    You detailed a cycle, from I enter an abusive relationship-> … my self-esteem goes even lower-> , etc. I don’t know how to break this cycle”-

    – you are no longer in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend, so the cycle broke. Next- end the abusive relationship with your cousin by enforcing a no contact with her. Next make acquaintances in small step, without pressuring and overwhelming yourself, and with time and patience one or more of these acquaintances will become your friends.

    anita

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