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I don't know how much more I can take

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This topic contains 43 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week, 3 days ago.

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  • #336222

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    How do I know who I am compatible with? What if I don’t ever find people I fit in with. I mean what signs do I even look for? I don’t even know who I get along well with.

    #336230

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are compatible with young people who do not smoke, who do not abuse drugs, who do not hook up, who are loyal to their partners, and who do not criticize people for how they look.

    To figure out who you are compatible with outside the things they don’t do (the above), I suggest you join an acting class, one with a dynamic acting teacher who directs his students to do improvisations. This will be an excellent opportunity for you to express yourself, to break through the shyness, to interact with others without getting hurt, and to get in touch with who you are (and have been all along), under the shyness/ the fear.

    When you find out who you are underneath, you will know what to look for in others as far as compatibility.

    anita

    #336336

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    That’s actually really funny that you suggest I take an acting class because I’ve taken a couple of acting classes here and there in my life. Did you suggest that because I mentioned it before in some thread or did you just come up with it? Because I was thinking of joining one anyway! I really like acting and even though it is difficult because of my shyness, I find it really fun.

    The only thing I’m afraid of is awkwardness, not meeting anyone, etc. Every time I try something new, I feel that I am so quiet that I don’t make any friends. What happens if it doesn’t work and I don’t find anyone?

    #336360

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    I suggested you take an acting class not because you mentioned it before (I don’t remember that you did) but because I did and it helped me a whole lot, to express myself to others. I will read your recent post thoroughly when I am back to the computer tomorrow morning and reply then, in about 11 hours from now.

    anita

    #336414

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    “The only thing I’m afraid of is awkwardness, not meeting anyone. Every time I try something new, I fee that I am so quiet and I don’t make any friends. What happens if it doesn’t work and I don’t find anyone”, you asked regarding my suggestion that you attend an acting class.

    Notice my suggestion Saturday, was that you “join an acting class, one with a dynamic acting teacher who directs his students to do improvisations“- this means that you will not be quiet and alone because the teacher will place you in situations with other student and direct you and the other students so that everyone is active.

    You will not be in a corner, alone, awkward. Maybe you didn’t attend the acting classes I am referring to before.

    anita

     

    #336648

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Okay, I will definitely do that. It seems like a lot of fun and something that would help me a lot.

    I have been thinking about my friends and I decided that I DO want to make new friends, but I want to keep my old friends close. I think I was exaggerating when I said, “I feel like I need to be someone I’m not for my friends to care. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if I were different. If I was confident, wore cute clothes, didn’t study for school, was single, was always hooking up with guys, had tons of friends at school, was partying, was drinking, was smoking, was tan and wore makeup, etc, then they would love me. ”

    I think I get a lot of anxiety over situations so I think the worst things. Part of me feels that it is my fault and I should just talk to my friends because I have avoided talking to them out of fear. I fear that I did something wrong to hate me. But really, I don’t think my friends would care about me more or less if I were different. I think that me changing for the better has made me a different person all around, and it is a little difficult navigating the world with these different views.

    I just get a lot of anxiety and depression over my old friends. I was really upset this morning and I scrolled back to my best friend and my’s texts from a year ago. I noticed that we talked every day and we sent hundreds of texts to each other every day. She was my best friend for 4 years. I miss her so much. Now, we haven’t texted in a month. I’ve been so afraid to confront her because neither of us is one to express our emotions in that way. We don’t express it for some reason. We used to bond over over things, but icky emotions like how we are growing apart and miss each other.

    A lot of our experiences were the same. We bonded over normal, healthy things such as school, clubs, and the gym. We also bonded over things we were dealing with mentally. I used to think that because I solved all my big mental issues, that means we had nothing to talk about. But that’s not true, we do and always did. I just can’t find it in me to talk about normal things because I’m so busy trying to deal with anxiety, the sadness of hating my college environment, and body dysmorphia.

    I think when my body dysmorphia became a real serious issue, I started to hide it from her. I would only talk about it with my boyfriend, therapist, and now you.

    Sorry if this message is all over the place, but basically I’m trying to say I want my old friends back and I think my anxiety has kept me from reaching out. I keep telling myself I’m too boring for them, I’m too weird, I don’t deserve their friendship, they must see me as the weirdo I am, etc.

    Last week, my boyfriend forced me to talk to them. I am in a big group message with them on text, but I don’t talk in it. My boyfriend forced me to talk in the group message because he knew how sad I was. I started a short conversation, and I felt so much happier. I felt like myself again because I was talking to my friends again.

    #336656

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    If you choose to answer the following, do so when you have the time and you are calm, so that you answer specifically and not “all over the place”:

    1. You wrote: “I think that me changing for the better has made me a different person all around”- what changes-for-the-better are you referring to here? When did these changes occur (how long ago)?

    2. You wrote: “I solved all my big mental issues”- can you list those issues?

    3. Your best friend of four years, having communicated with her via hundreds of text messages every day, then no texting at all in the last month- when did the intense daily communication end and what brought about the slowing down (and recent cessation of all texting in the last month)?

    * If you happen to answer today, I will read and reply to you tomorrow morning.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by  anita.
    #336686

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    1. My therapist and I worked to change my thought patterns. I started trying to listen to my gut rather than other people. For example, if my cousin were to say, “Katie, your nose is big and you need a nose job,” instead of freaking out and thinking I need one, I would attempt to listen to my gut. Since I never thought my nose was big before, there is no reason for me to think my nose is big because my cousin said so. Another example is if my friends were to say, “Katie, you should break up with your boyfriend. He’s not good enough,” I would listen to my gut and only break up with him if I wanted to. I used to listen to other people’s opinions over mine, so I started to change that. I also started to distance myself from things that caused me unnecessary anxiety or would trigger me into bad thinking patterns. This all started to happen around October.

    2. I don’t know if I had an eating disorder, but I definitely would diet and somewhat starve myself. I would always be thinking about how I could lose weight. I think I officially dropped that whole mentality in September through November. If my friend were to bring up dieting, I wouldn’t continue the conversation to avoid bad thought patterns. I also started to work on my anxiety. I still believe I have anxiety and I know if I weren’t actively fighting to keep a healthy mindset about my body, I probably would fall back into my eating disorder mindset. So those things may not be solved, but I figured out how to better deal with them.

    3. I think we texted every day until late September. At the beginning of my college semester that started in August, I was extremely busy. I remember my best friend would call me, but I wouldn’t be able to answer because I was either in class, at the gym, doing homework, just studying, at a club meeting, etc. I think our texts began to slow around then. I was upset about it then, but I just told myself that I need to get settled into my routine before I have time for phone calls from friends and a social life. Then my friend went on a retreat for fall break at the beginning of October and she didn’t have her phone for a week. After the retreat, our texts slowed even more. However, I became even BUSIER so I didn’t have time to fix it. I visited her at the end of October (she goes to college too so I visited her college) and everything was normal but I felt that she was acting a little distant. I assumed it may have been because she was starting to become closer to her college friends and I am different from her college friends. After that, we probably texted every 2 weeks. Then the texts completely stopped when we had plans to hang out twice and she canceled both times. Our last texts were:

    Her: “hey sorry I can’t hangout! Something came up. How about we visit each other soon!”

    Me: “Yess definitely!”

    Well, actually, they aren’t the official last texts we sent. My boyfriend forced me to text her “Hey what’s up” but I kinda regret it because I don’t know how to continue a conversation with her anymore 🙁

    #336692

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    I thought I should update you about my text to her. I didn’t really know what to say so I made something up, but again, the conversation was extremely short. I feel like if she wanted to be my friend, she would continue the conversation, ask about my life, tell me about her’s, but she didn’t.

    I just want to know if she wants to be my friend or not. It’s confusing for me. On Christmas, she wished me merry Christmas. On new years, she wished me a happy new year and said, “happy new year here’s to a year of new memories.” She has texted me about trips we could take in the summertime. Yet, our texts have slowed and completely stopped in the last month. When we do text, our conversations are extremely short. I don’t know if I’m in denial about her not wanting to be friends, if I’m overreacting and it’s my fault for not making enough of an effort, or if it’s just that we have anything in common anymore and I need to make an effort to reconnect. I think we do have a lot in common. We’re both in college, we’re both 20-year-old girls, we both stress about grades, we watch the same tv shows, we both want to travel to the same places, we live in the same hometown, etc.

    I just want to know how it is between us so I can act accordingly. If she doesn’t want to be my friend, I want to move on and mourn the loss. If it’s my fault we grew apart because I’ve been so busy dealing with everything, I want to continue making an effort. I’m constantly switching between being angry at her for treating me badly and thinking it’s my fault because I stopped answering her. 🙁

     

    #336792

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    This is going to be a long post (because I have the time, only a few threads to answer this morning, and because I have the interest). There are 3 parts to this post.

    Part 1, I am quoting from Wikipedia’s entry on Shyness because you repeatedly wrote that you are shy and have been shy from an early age (I am quoting what I think is of interest to you): “Shyness can be a characteristic of people who have low self-esteem… The primary defining characteristic of shyness is.. fear of what other people will think of a person.. fear of negative reactions, being laughed at, humiliated.. criticism or rejection..

    One important aspect of shyness is social skills development. Schools and parents may implicitly assume children are fully capable of effective social interactions. Social skills training is not given any priority (unlike reading and writing) and as a result, shy students re not given an opportunity to develop their ability to participate in class and interact with peers…

    Shyness.. may be quite devastating for the sufferer, in many cases leading them to feel that they are boring… No correlation (positive or negative) exists between intelligence and shyness. Research indicates that shy children have a harder time expressing their knowledge in social situations and because they do not engage actively in discussions, teachers view them as less intelligent. In line with social learning theory, an unwillingness to engage with classmates and teachers makes it more difficult for shy students to learn”.

    Part 2 is a summary of your two recent posts, having answered my questions: you wrote that since around October 2019 you started changing your thinking, ex. from “freaking out and thinking I need (a nose job)” following your cousin telling you that you do, to thinking: “there is no reason or me to think my nose is big because my cousin said so”. And you wrote that you “used to listen to other people’s opinions over mine, so I started to change that”. You also wrote that you used to starve yourself and “always be thinking about how I could lose weight”, but you “dropped that whole mentality in September through November (2019)”.

    You also wrote that when you started college August 2019, you were extremely busy and didn’t have time to text with your best friend at the time as often as you used to, the communication slowed down and continued to slow down, texts getting shorter, almost to a halt. At this point you don’t know “if she wants to be my friend or not. It’s confusing for me… I just want to know how it is between us so I can act accordingly.. I’m constantly switching between being angry at her for treating me badly and thinking it’s my fault because I stopped answering her”.

    Part 3 is my new understanding regarding your cousin after reviewing your threads since July 2019:

    You wrote: “I also realize why my cousin says this stuff to me. It’s because her mom tells her those things. Her mom tells her she’s not pretty enough, smart enough, cool enough, etc… But my cousin always tells me ‘I am not angry at my mom for telling me those things, she just wants the best for me. She knows my confidence is high enough that it won’t hurt me’. But in my opinion, I think it does hurt her”-

    – of course it hurts her and has hurt her ever since her mother started to criticize her looks, smarts etc. What she did, your cousin, is what children do- (1)she made believe that while her mother was criticizing/ hurting her, her mother had her daughter’s best interest in mind, and (2) she switched her anger from being directed at her mother to being angry at other people, strangers,anyone (“Everything she says about another girl (even sometimes guys) is negative. ‘She’s annoying, she’s stupid… but worst of all she’s ugly'”), and at her own cousin aka Katie (“She would always put me down, and sometimes not even so subtly… She would laugh at me, LAUGH.. she would look me up and down, laugh and say, ‘no offense Katie, but you’re not pretty enough”).

    Regarding (1) above, notice this: your cousin believes that her mother wants what is best for her when she criticizes her:”she just wants the best for me”, and you believe that your cousin wants what is best for you when she criticizes you: “I know that may not make sense, but I believe she wants the best for me”, (you wrote late last year).

    You are both wrong: her mother criticizes her when she is angry and wants to hurt her daughter, and your cousin criticizes you when she is angry and wants to hurt you. When she laughed at you, saying to you “no offense Katie, but you’re not pretty”- she said “no offense”, but she meant offense, it was her intention to offend you.

    You wrote: “I know that may not make sense, but I believe she wants the best for me… Even though my cousin is toxic, she still seems to care”- you need her to care, so you make believe that she wants what is best for you. But it doesn’t make sense because when a person wants the best for another, she does not repeatedly criticizes and offends the other.

    Here is a point of confusion: sometimes your cousin’s mother is nice to her, being affectionate, and during those times, she wants what’s best for her daughter, but this state of mind doesn’t last long and once her anger (at anyone) is up, she resumes the criticism. Same regarding your cousin and you.

    In your thread regarding your cousin flirting with your first love in a party, you wrote: “My real worry is that my cousin did this BECAUSE she doesn’t care about me and my feelings”- reality is she didn’t care about you or your feelings during that party. At that time or at other times, not only does she not care about you and your feelings, but she wants to see you hurt.

    It is very difficult to accept the reality that a person we need, a person we feel close to, a person we care for so much, doesn’t care in return, and worse: wants to hurt us.

    You make believe that she cares about you and wants the best for you, but part of you knows it is not true to reality. The result of the gap between this make-believe and reality is this: “I feel sometimes as though I’m going to have a panic attack after talking with her because she brings up the worst parts of my brain…she can make me feel so depressed after talking to her for 30 minutes.. most of my self-esteem issues revolve around my cousin.. When I was 14, my cousin told me my eyebrows were too thick. She told me my legs are too fat… my nose was too big… I took all of it in.. starve myself until my legs looked good enough.. try to hide my nose. I truly felt so ugly”-

    – you see, she intended to hurt and offend you and she succeeded.

    In Summary of the three parts of this post:

    -It is still not too late for you to learn social skills which will greatly help you feel more confident in social situation.

    -Keep working on correcting your thoughts (a Cognitive Behavioral Therapy type work) with your therapist, and most importantly correct your thoughts regarding your cousin in therapy.

    -It will take a long time for you to correct your thoughts and beliefs regarding the main people in your life, to learn social skills, to make choices that are healthy for you to make- and as a result, to increase your confidence and self trust, and decrease your anxiety and self doubt. When this happens you will no longer be shaken and disturbed by the thought that this or that person may disapprove of something about your looks and behavior.

    -But notice this: your cousin is really trying to hurt you, and the only healthy choice to make regarding any person who repeatedly wants to hurt and offend you, is to not give that person access to you. (There is no way for any human to not be offended when someone we love wants to offends us and goes about doing it).

    anita

     

     

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks, 1 day ago by  anita.
    #336856

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you for taking the time to write a long, detailed reply!

    For part 1: I really relate to what you said about teachers. Even though I will study for a specific class every day and know the material like the back of my hand, I felt that I was never noticed. Except, I would always see teachers praising students for hard work so it didn’t make sense. I also feel that it’s important to mention that there was a time in my life (beginning of high school) where I was making a lot of friends and developing social skills. So, I did have some amount of social skills before. However, I retreated back in my shell when people began to judge me and I started to feel weird. Being shy really has drawbacks and I’ve experienced a lot of them.

    Part 2: That summary is accurate. Overall, I feel upset because I was busy and lost touch with my friend, but she didn’t really seem to notice or care. However, whenever I do talk to her, she treats me the same as always, so I can’t tell if I’m overreacting. We talk like normal whenever we talk again. I’m just confused.

    Part 3: That does make a lot of sense. It has been difficult for me to understand why my cousin would want to hurt me, but I also noticed that during the times my cousin is really happy, she is not mean at all. Whenever she is happy and something really good is happening in her life, she never puts me down. I think noticing that has helped me understand that she tries to hurt me out of her own pain.

    It is also difficult for me to understand that my cousin would flirt with my first love to hurt me. I actually posted about that situation on multiple advice websites because I really was hurt, but I couldn’t talk about it with my boyfriend (for obvious reasons) or friends because they were there to witness it and I was embarrassed. There is something about being humiliated by my cousin in front of everyone that made me want to isolate myself. I know what she did wasn’t the worst thing ever, but it felt really hurtful and my friends could probably pick up on what she was doing too.

    Someone on one of the other sites (I think Reddit) said I was being self-centered for caring about my first love and my cousin because the relationship was long over. He/she said I had no reason to be hurt because neither my cousin nor the guy should have to hide their attraction for each other. However, I think what hurt me wasn’t that my first love would flirt with my cousin (although I think that’s a slight slap in the face. It’s like if you were to break up with a guy and then he flirts with your sister in front of you. She basically is my sister, I don’t know it feels wrong), but it was that my cousin didn’t stop it.

    She let it happen to the point where he was obviously touching her and telling her she’s beautiful when I was right there talking to both of them in a conversation. Me, her, him, and my few friends were in a conversation and it was so weird. Like, both that guy and my cousin were leading the conversation and then I blinked and he was touching her and telling her she’s so beautiful.

    I didn’t know if I was coming to this specific conclusion because I was hurt or if this is really what happened, but to me, it felt like my cousin was basking in the joy of him flirting with her. I felt like she was trying to pretend she didn’t understand why he was coming onto her so hard when in reality, she wasn’t stopping his obvious advances and was even slightly flirting back. It was a really complicated situation where I feel she was flirting with him before I came. I don’t mean to ramble about the situation, but for some reason, it’s still very hard for me to process. I just try to write my thoughts so I can organize them and understand them.

    I felt that she wanted me to see him flirting with her so I would think that men think she is more desirable. I feel that that is just how she is. She uses men as proof that she is desirable, and I could somewhat tell, but it hurt because she knew what that guy meant to me. At the time, I didn’t know if I was getting those signals because I was jealous/hurt/confused or if it was actually what she was doing based on how close we are and how well I know her. But to me, it makes sense that she wanted to hurt me when I think it through. I felt so hurt on that day, I felt so alone and felt like she didn’t care.

    It also is more clear to me now that she wanted to hurt me when she said my nose is big. It makes me so upset though because I went through all this pain because I truly believed my nose was a problem because of her. I don’t mean to be rude when I say this, but something I also noticed is that my cousin will praise girls who have bigger noises than me. She will say, “I want to look like her,” but she won’t say they need a nose job. I used to wonder if I’m blinde and my nose is actually bigger than theirs because there must be some reason why she says I need a nose job and they don’t. Right now, I am at a point where I don’t care if my nose is bigger than theirs or not. It’s just very confusing because I care about her opinion still. I want her to accept me, you know? I guess I have to work on that.

    Something that I also thought I should mention is that I’ve been trying to pay attention to things that truly make me happy. And those include singing, dancing, movies, tv shows, cooking, taking care of myself, etc. I don’t have a problem with cooking, doing self-care, exercising, and all-around taking care of myself because I do that all the time. However, I’ve always been too shy to sing and dance. I always wanted to do it, but now that my confidence is slightlyyyy improving, I’m thinking about trying it out (in private though). I just wanted to know what your thoughts on that are. I am hoping that if I do things I like, my confidence will grow.

    • This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by  Katie.
    #336928

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    You are welcome!

    Regarding part 1, you wrote that you worked very hard for a specific class but then the teacher praised other students for working hard, not noticing at all that you worked hard. I can see how confusing this is, and very discouraging.  A child in this situation will think something like this, I imagine: but what about me? I worked hard too! This is not fair. I imagine this child angry, confused and anxious.

    Regarding part 3, you wrote: “I also noticed that during the times my cousin is really happy, she is not mean at all.. never puts me down”- when people feel really happy they are motivated to be nice and loving to other people. It is when people feel anger and frustration, that they are motivated to hurt other people (but good people will not hurt other people no matter how they feel).

    So it makes sense that your cousin wants to hurt you by putting you down, when she is unhappy, not when she is happy.

    “she tries to hurt me out of her own pain”- I think that all abusers in the context of personal relationships hurt and abuse their victims out of their own pain. It is not that there are two categories: people that hurt their family members and friends out of happiness and people that do so  out of pain. There is only one category.

    Your perception that your cousin was “basking in the joy of him flirting with her” reads accurate to me, it is a very common experience, for a woman to enjoy a man flirting with her, and in this case, it reads accurate to me that part of her joy was having you watch it.

    She wants you to feel worse so that she can feel better, this is what is behind her putting you down and flirting with the guy. Her intention is to downgrade you so  to upgrade herself, in her own mind. She will use anything to accomplish this job, your nose, your ears, whatever works.

    Give up on wanting your cousin to accept you- she is not interested in accepting you, she is interested in lowering you so to elevate herself.

    I think that singing and dancing, in private at this point, is an excellent idea.

    “I am hoping that if I do things I like, my confidence will grow”- only if you don’t spend time with a person who actively works on lowering your confidence!

    anita

    #337436

    Katie
    Participant

    Anita,

    Sorry that I haven’t replied to your message yet. I have been meaning to reply, but I think that I just need a little break. I just wanted to let you know in the case that I don’t reply for a couple more days! But I plan on replying soon 🙂

    #337462

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Katie:

    How considerate of you to let me know the above: I appreciate it! Take your time, reply when it is convenient for you.

    anita

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