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I need to write this pain away- ex hang ups

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  • #379276
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    You shared that your mother teased you (“the teasing that my mom liked to do”). When you had a boyfriend over, she teased you in front of the boyfriend at the time, and the boyfriend joined her in teasing you (“my mom would tease me and the boyfriend ..would join in”). The two of them teasing you was “a sort of bonding experience for them at my expense”.

    When your mother bonded with any one of your boyfriends at your expense, she took away the bonding you had with the boyfriend,  and the happiness you experienced within that bonding.

    You wrote, not in reference to your mother: “from an early age, I learned that if I had gained something, others were jealous”- when you gained a bond with a boyfriend, your mother was jealous and took the bond away from you.

    “My sister has always been jealous of what I had… When I was a teenager my closest friend was very jealous… there are always problems, hardships, mostly jealous people… I feel that I am targeted a lot because women here are very jealous and possessive”- I think that your mother targeted you with her jealousy, and that you have been projecting your mother into other women, from your sister perhaps to your teenager friend, and to “women here”.

    Regarding your recent ex-boyfriend, you wrote: “When I was out with my ex.. strange women would come sliding up to him trying to get his attention.. I was so happy around him, that they wanted some of it to rub off on him”- a similar experience to when you brought a boyfriend home, happy to be around him, but your mother tried (and succeeded) in getting your boyfriend’s attention for herself, and bonding with him at your expense, taking your happiness away.

    Your mother’s jealousy extended from the context of your romantic-social life to the context of your professional life: “only a few years ago, I achieved something amazing, my first home and renovation.. my mother never wanted to come and see it. When she did finally, she seemed sulky and attributed the success to her suggestions. I have done two renovations and she had the same reaction”.

    You wrote, not in reference to your mother: “when I am feeling successful and confident and beautiful, when it feels like it is radiating out of me.. I feel that is dangerous, because bad things happen, I attract unhappy comments, unhappy people who feel it’s unfair somehow”- when you felt successful, confident and beautiful, ever since you were a child, your unhappy mother felt that your happiness was unfair to her. To make it fair, in her mind, she took away from you the attention you received, the bonds you experienced, the credit for your professional success renovating homes, etc., by making unhappy comments about you and teasing you.

    “Why am I attracted to witty and entertaining people only to find them mocking me and making fun that turns into hurtful cruelty?”- you were born to a witty and entertaining woman who mocked you and made fun of you and was cruel to you. Next, you see her in other people, often assuming that they mock you and make fun of you when really, they don’t. For example, I doubt that the woman who stepped outside of her apartment with her phone, a woman you never met before, was referring to you when she said to the person she was talking to on the phone something like: “oh! you should see the scene out here today!”, and I doubt that neighbors are talking about you as much as you think they do, when you are out on your balcony.

    Again, I think that you are projecting your mother into women and men, including into your recent ex-boyfriend: “he appears to enjoy demeaning me.. putting me down in front of clients, teasing in meetings and pointing out mistakes”- that’s what your mother did, demeaning you, putting your down and teasing you, and she enjoyed it.

    Having experienced all that growing up with your mother was a very, very difficult experience for you, and would be for anyone. You experienced betrayal by the woman who was supposed to be for you, not against you. When she repeatedly turned against you, it hurt you a whole lot.

    “when my parents met my ex’s parents.. They were sitting around a table and talking and she suddenly, like a young girl, got up and sat on my dad’s knee and she talked to hem and laughed girlishly. As I was there, I thought it was highly bizarre behaviour”- what her behavior suggests to me is that when you were growing up, she didn’t feel like a grown woman and a mother. She felt like your peer, a child and later, a teenager of the same age as you. She was jealous of you much in the same way one teenager girl is jealous of another teenager girl. She wanted the attention, she wanted the spotlight, she wants to be #1 at your expense, at the expense of your sister, at the expense of your father and at the expense of everyone else.

    anita

    #379283
    sossi
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I feel like the last months I’ve been like a person on a bumper car ride at the fair…I crash into one thing and then another and another. I turn around and someone hits me in the side and the back. It feels physical and maybe manifested as the back pain. It hasn’t ended but with each crash I tense up more and more. Every day brings a new problem, every day I feel im hanging on..barely able to stay sane or even wanting to continue like this.

    I met a client who has gone through divorce recently, she is struggling with money and has also sustained a back injury or pain…this is not really a coincidence is it, the same things. My colleague was also inconsolable about arguments she had with the boss, the difficulty the abusive pressurising. There is nothing more to say except leave. My neck became so stiff from the stress of keeping in anger, of trying so hard to keep it together.

    If I could let go of the injustice and anger with other people’s behaviour, maybe I could deal with it. My ex I´m sure is fine with his decisions. He will say he just moved on and because no one questions the actions of a man (sorry its true) he will get away with the cruel details of how he did it. As a man he will feel guilt but also won’t spend long feeling that way. My boss will say she “had to make a decision” on the future of the company and that is why I have been bullied and sabotaged in my work. Fake concern with colleagues and then being “broken down” in public at our meetings.

    I just want people to be held accountable for their behaviour, as I sure have in my life. Instead it seems I am being beaten down by all of the evil side of people. Today I just feel so angry. I have felt like that most days that I have to interact with them.

    Ironically my parents have been supportive and now I feel bad that I would complain about them…its all bitterness building up in me due to all the horrible things that have happened. They are not so aware how hard it has been for me.

    Wow, another awful day.

     

     

     

     

     

    #379284
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    I am sorry this is another awful day. I wish it was possible for you to no longer work where you are working. I don’t know if you read my recent post to you, the one I submitted two hours ago because you didn’t mention it (?)

    anita

    #379474
    sossi
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    What you wrote here, i think is probably the core of it…which i sort of realised when i looked back on the relationship with my ex and then compared it to the relationship with my mother.

    “Why am I attracted to witty and entertaining people only to find them mocking me and making fun that turns into hurtful cruelty?”- you were born to a witty and entertaining woman who mocked you and made fun of you and was cruel to you. Next, you see her in other people, often assuming that they mock you and make fun of you when really, they don’t.

    But how do you move away from that negative yet attracting pattern? I get so tied up in my thinking. For instance, when i first went through the breakup with my ex..i poured over so many explanations and landed on the conclusion he was a narcissist. Because he fit the description well.

    But with time and age, i was seeing other sides to the story as well, and then am not so sure of my diagnosis again. For instance, if he was such a narcissist why would he visibly seem regretful and say sorry to me..even if it was no grovelling apology. Someone with a lack of empathy would not even notice that anything was wrong. Is my mother a narcissist too? she has also shown she is sorry or once or twice apologised even though that was very rare. or are they both bipolar? Ive believed there is mental illness in my family, undiagnosed because people feel shame and want to hide it. Ive faced my problems without hiding anything because mine has been much more disruptive and to the surface but the rest seem to ignore and shove things under the rug. Sometimes i feel people would rather not know and switch on a movie, pretend its not happening.

    I feel a bit better now its weekend. More drama today but im tired out by it. My boss did something yesterday publically in a meeting that left me so angry…i avoided writing a serious email to her today…i was feeling so awful as it was about discrimination.. i felt powerless and belittled. But somehow ive made it through without cracking.  Another time.

    #379476
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    I will be back to you in a few hours, no longer than in 14 hours from now.

    anita

    #379492
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    You asked if your ex or your mother is a narcissist or maybe bipolar- it’s useless to try figure this out because you are not a medical doctor or a psychotherapist and neither one of them is your patient or client. What may be useful for you is to break down those diagnoses and ask whether this or that characteristic is true to your mother, your ex, or you, and focus on the characteristic.

    A deep need for excessive attention and admiration is a characteristic of Narcissism Personality Disorder, and from what you shared, your mother displayed this characteristic. It doesn’t mean that she fits the diagnosis; it means that she fits this one characteristic.

    Extreme mood swings, from emotional highs to emotional lows is a characteristic of bipolar disorder. At times when reading your posts, I noticed such mood swings, but it doesn’t mean that you fit the diagnosis. It likely means that when you are under great stress, your moods swing.

    What may be useful is (1) keep yourself as calm as possible, so your moods don’t swing and you are less likely to act impulsively and unwisely, (2) figure out if a person you interact with treats you respectfully and with some empathy, and according to the answer, decide if/ how to interact with that person. For example, if your mother mocks you, then “once or twice apologised”, and then mocks you again, then she is treating you disrespectfully, and her apology is meaningless because it didn’t translate to her behavior. She did not correct the behavior she apologized for.

    I hope you have a restful weekend!

    anita

    #379687
    anita
    Participant

    Thinking about you, sossi, hoping you are okay.

    anita

    #379886
    sossi
    Participant

    Hi Anita, Its been a while…ive had a week of feeling totally exhausted and weak. And it has passed by so quickly while i have too much to do and worry about. im dealing with a lot of mental stress as you can tell but i feel it is transferring to various physical complaints. In the last weeks i also heard a lot of my colleagues complaints about the same, its compounding in a ball of angry frustration.

    Life has been much like a fight lately. Im trying to swim but im dragged down and hit again and again. Things seem to keep going wrong. Today i left work with a head swimming like id been in an actual fight….thats when i knew, im really sick from this, i really have to do something and stop sitting and pretending i can manage, hoping it will go away.

    First i felt unwell, so i knew i had to survive a full day with a headache and sore throat, then my dog ran away on our walk and i spent most of an hour to get her back.

    Then i had to go to the office and be around the fragile air of uncertainty that i have felt there more keenly recently. I know i keep repeating myself here but its almost like i dont believe what i already know is happening, like i need someone else to tell me…the family member is replacing the old team. This is a hostile takeover within the company while the boss pretends she doesnt know what the problem is and denies everything.

    It may not be illegal but its still not ethical to take someones job anywhere in the world, so the alternative option is, if you make it so unpleasant that they leave….no one will raise an eyebrow and the victim wont have any support. Meanwhile since i started in sales i have had a very hard time with the work, it takes time but i also have years of experience and i know its a bad time right now. So money is incredibly tight and meanwhile my colleague, the family member, is thriving and making a lot of sales….Some of these sales i believe are due to him taking advantage unfairly…not all but definitely some.

    So today, as with other days when i have had to be around him and other staff..he created a situation he knew would be uncomfortable for me. If i was a psychologist i could tell you exactly what he was up to but i dont have the words, i would call it “psychological bullying” because nothing happened and you can reason it away but it is intended to cause stress to a particular person, me.

    We have a rota that means each person takes a day in the office. Today was my turn and within half an hour he turned up, in his usual behaviour of being very busy doing nothing. He started a conversation across the room with our new office assistant who replaced my old job, he hired her and they spend a lot more time together.  The way our office is laid out, this is very distracting for the person in my seat as you can´t concentrate. I knew it was leading up to some “moment” he had planned.

    A short while later in walked an old colleague who had always got on very well with him, she acted very casually and said hi to all of us before sitting down with her back to me and had a rapid fire private, yet public conversation with him about something or other..I blocked it out as much as i could because im supposed to be working and obviously i was not included due to the conversation in their language and the way she was sitting, blocking me. If they speak to include me, they always switch to english as i cant follow everything which puts me at a disadvantage. I must also say, usually he goes in the other room to meet people but today he didnt. The reason that this is potentially upsetting is because my friend and colleague who has fought recently with him about various things, is away having a surgical procedure and the impression was very much that he was interviewing/bringing this old colleague back. Incidentally, while my colleague is away, he has allowed the other “new” staff member (his best friend) to work in her job temporarily. So now you can see why this is threatening to a number of us.

    I always understood that this old colleague didnt want to come back to her old job but now im not so sure and they were very friendly in their meeting, chatting and laughing like good friends. I also got the impression she had visited before, as she waved hi and called the new assistant by name, you dont normally do that if you dont know them. I got on ok with this person but she was a cold energy, like him, driven for success and status..not open to empathic behaviour. She once told me for example, that she thought it was ok that one of her friends was dating a married man. Its totally different to how i feel. And yet…yet, i know she was cheated on and already had a child with that person. She quickly found another guy..a foreigner with a lot of money and seemingly little between the ears as she got pregnant immediately. The first days she joined us all i heard was her shouting down the phone at her partner. She is a no nonsense functional human being…basically pretty cold.

    I felt very strongly that this was a show intended for me…to push me again, out of the company. Even the boss came out and was chatting with her very friendly and casually. I asked the boss afterwards what the meeting was about as he quickly left after that and she said she didnt know, all very light and innocent. But it certainly was not just a “hey, how are you doing” visit.

    Again, i felt like i should speak to a lawyer. If they pressurise me (done), degrade my role (already done) sabotage my work (done), demean my work(done)or bully me into leaving (seemingly) then should i fight this? im no longer friendly and open…they got that out of me. I have nothing left to give the poor new colleagues as its just too much for me, another round of the same. But i want these family members to pay for the damage caused to my peace of mind.

    Then, as if i wasnt already disturbed by that…later in the day the older business partner of my ex came to collect a key. He caught me in a moment of being flustered…and for some reason, i never could remember his face. He didnt start much of an introduction but just said he wanted the key to “nr….” so i was trying to find out what that was and when it dawned on me i was filled with humiliation. The keys had attached a fob from my company and i couldnt remove it so i just handed it to him and asked him who sold the house, to which he OF COURSE replied that it was the company of my ex´s new girlfriend..of course. We had it for sale also but my ex refused all the offers we got…i couldnt understand it. then when he told me who his girlfriend was, i realised why he made it harder for us.

    This small moment has set me back at least a week of anger, tears and sadness. But mainly rage at my misfortune. I can´t explain to anyone how messy it is in my brain due to the cold hard cruelty of this Ex and my boss..the two of them working overtime to try and totally destroy my mental peace. that is what it feels like because it doesnt seem to stop!?

    So i was glad for him to take the key away…but why did he come on my day? As he left he also said something strange, ” ill see you soon”. Not something you say to someone who you KNOW had been treated badly by your business colleague that you are UNLIKELY to see again, not something you mistakenly say to someone you NEVER see otherwise? what?

    Im left confused and more angry again. I thought about sending a nasty text to my ex to say why he would never see me again but i stopped myself…but every time this happens, when i see him somewhere or some car of her company goes past, im reminded of my misfortune and failure. I feel i need to leave, go somewhere where no one knows me. And where i can get away from the pain caused.

    When i was younger i had some serious depressions, after one boss was putting me under enormous pressure i had a nervous breakdown. I felt suicidal. Recently when i took time off work, it was because i felt that familiar feeling of losing my mind and a shaking feeling that meant i had to stop CARING about the work.  A friend shouted down the phone i was heading into a depression and i was angry back but knowing he was right. There are people who dont understand why its a big deal, why cant you have a beer and just let go? for others they understand, i want to do a good job..respect means a lot to me. So to have that torn away from you is cruel. To get demeaning comments is cruel. To downsize or demean your role is cruel after loyal and continued support and commitment. I broke down to a doctor and she wrote a note for me but i didnt want anything to go on record…due to my last stigmatized experience. Instead, my body broke down and i suffered the back problem which basically “solved” the problem. You see how it works?

    This is almost criminal to me. They have plenty of money. But their older staff are worth nothing to them. Shameful. I have had such hateful feelings, wanting to destroy things..then all i can turn to is karma. Hoping to teach them a lesson.

     

     

    #379887
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    Good to read from you, but not good to read how much you suffer. It’s okay for you to share here about your suffering, as long as it helps if only a bit, to type it away, and having someone read it.

    I am not surprised to read about a toxic work environment, as it is not uncommon. I just wish it was different for you, I wish you worked in a place where you were appreciated and rewarded for your hard work and dedication. You wrote that money is tight and if I understand correctly, it is likely to be difficult for you to find another job. But if it is at all possible for you to go on disability (due to your body being harmed by the toxic work environment), or some other social program, so that you can rest and recover before looking for a new job- I wish you’d go that route. Maybe seeing a lawyer is a good idea, a lawyer that specializes in work related/ employment issues?

    anita

    #379918
    sossi
    Participant

    Hi Anita, Thank you for understanding that sometimes its just…well writing it out but also someone seeing this is wrong. If i could write with hindsight i would say that perhaps a great deal of people´s mental issues can be caused by the negative choices made by others. In my case, my ex is a common situation but the work situation bothers me maybe more…because i dont feel i can do much about that. Ive had a situation like this before and now here i am again. Corrupt bosses who are weak managers and turn to people with underhand ways of doing business…it must be the norm.

    Im try to look from the outside into my situation, to see how it looks from other peoples´perspective. I feel a lot of shame for complaining. I want to be a strong and successful business woman with a great life and a happy home life but i am not. I know that there are people going through a lot like me. And im lucky to still have a job but at times it feels like it could break you.

    As i get older of course the people who are my clients get younger and i realise i missed out on a lot. Work has been at the centre of my life because i never make much money and always seem to be at a disadvantage. I can´t seem to break out of working for others when ive had many ideas for self employment, i never had the funding to start something or a solid idea or connections. I dont live in my native country so there will be no natural source of funding.

    The unfair situation at my work i know includes some clear examples of discrimination but at a certain point you are faced with the ugly truth. Do you have the money to fight this? What will you gain from fighting this? and the answer is, im a small person with not much money battling it out against the kind of people who are big fish in small ponds. and its a small world. Im worried about burning bridges and i dont have many connections. But the anger i feel has been burning me up. Its unfair! but i have to keep my mouth shut.

    I have to say that i already spent time off work due to the stress, and used that disability time to try and find another job. But the terms and conditions were not good. I weighed up the difference and it didnt seem to come out well.  its tough to start again. One of my colleagues tried to leave, she had more years experience than me and a year later came back with her tail between her legs….

    In my mind i can handle almost anything, ive been through so much. But when someone pokes at me on a daily basis like it seems this family member just has to, it sends me over the edge. He is playing with fire.

    I am somewhat calmer today and had a good result at work but whenever i am around them at the office something is always triggering bad feelings. I need to find a way to not care at all about them.

    I have to say that although ive read about other people in toxic work situations i dont tend to meet so many friends or people in one. I guess because they leave before it affects them! But right now i just cant leave without a decent amount in the bank.

     

     

    #379919
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    I will read and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about 9 hours from now.

    anita

    #379920
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    You are welcome. I agree with this: “a great deal of people’s mental issues can be caused by the negative choices made by others”- there is a lot of harm caused by individuals and groups of people who are in the position of power over others, starting with parents and other adults who are in the position of power over children, and later,  by employers who are in the position of power over their employees (and without the protection of strong labor unions), all the way up in the ladder of power to the many political leaders in the position of power over millions of people who have caused many millions of deaths, severe emotional and physical injuries and lots of suffering. It is very difficult for me to hold this reality in awareness. I wish it wasn’t reality.

    There is another undeniable reality: because there is so much aggression in the world, physical and otherwise, often beginning in childhood, there are many, many people who imagine that they are being verbally and emotionally attacked when and where this is not the case, misunderstanding/ misinterpreting other people’s words and actions as aggressive.

    “the anger I feel has been burning me up. It’s unfair! But I have to keep my mouth shut… when someone pokes at me on a daily basis like it seems this family member just has to, it sends me over the edge. He is playing with fire”- I wonder what you mean by him playing with fire?

    anita

    #380675
    sossi
    Participant

    Hi Anita, Im back after being incredibly busy working around the clock. Ive tried my best to keep my head down and stay away from the rest. Its been the only way I can deal with my circling thoughts I guess but im close to burning out again from everything. Since Ive been back to work I’ve not been feeling very healthy (tired and sometimes unwell) and I’ve been struggling with this general emotional overspill. I think that I’ve unintentionally developed a trigger response to almost anything that can be perceived as negative. Im finding it hard to switch off and relax in any way, even if I take a walk something happens that irritates me.

    But something else is weighing on me. Bad news. I just heard from my mother that my brother in law lost his sister to an overdose…this is the US and she was apparently already years into addiction. At first I was just shocked, she was 41 and I didn’t know her at all. Later on though, I started to feel really sad and emotional about it…trying to imagine what had happened to her and her life to make it so bad. I couldn’t get away from the heavy feeling and didn’t really know why it was bugging me.

    I realised a bit later that the reason it felt so much to me was because my ex was an addict. Its not something that I like to admit. I only really understood that some years into the relationship and the signs were of course obvious but I was quite naive and also in a bit of an alternate reality myself, having suffered from depression and some bad experiences as well as a whole new country and culture. This triggered me to think of the issues that he may have been dealing with as well as hers, no doubt to do with family and childhood issues. This is of course worrying as my sister has a relationship with that family and we don’t know for sure the whole story. But when my sister ever spoke about her it was in negatives; that she was a total mess and no one could help her. To me that is sad in itself as I find it hard to give up on people although I know others do. I often feel a huge amount of sadness for situations or people I don’t even know.

    After I had this news I had a zoom meeting with work and I had lost the thought from my mind at that point but just felt so angry and didn’t know why (probably that). I couldn’t smile and go along with all the fake compliments that were going on and I could see that some of my team were smirking at my apparent attitude. That made me even angrier as its led by this family member for sure influencing the new staff. Sometimes it feels like im being tortured in life…I wonder why its ME that has to continually be taught a lesson? Why can’t something go wrong for this guy at work? Ok, some things have but he bounces back and has now got a supportive little team going…that like to make fun of me I think, but this is just defensive thoughts. I still can’t speak the language and so mostly at the meetings I can’t join in, they seem to find that funny. But to me its abusive.

    Today I met with an old colleague I used to work with. He knows the situation and also had his own experiences with the family member. I know this ex colleague would probably like a relationship with me and I’ve only seen him on a couple of ocaccssions but I just don’t feel anything. And although I like him as a friend, some of his behaviour irritates me as he was already giving up on another job he is in…I think he needs patience and he was talking about leaving the country which made me depressed. Maybe he is right? I should not hang on for so long but do something different.

    I wish I had more guts.

    #380676
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    I am glad you posted again. I read only a bit, it being late. I will be back to your thread in about 10 hours from now.

    anita

    #380685
    anita
    Participant

    Dear sossi:

    “he was talking about leaving the country which made me depressed. Maybe he is right? I should not hang on for so long, but do something different. I wish I had more guts”- I too wish you had the courage to leave your workplace and the country you are in, if indeed it is the country that is adding to your depression.

    You try your best to keep your head down, you wrote, to swallow your anger/ to not show it, but the anger spills and overspills (“this general emotional overspill”). You are walking around with too much anger in you, and it overspills no matter what or who you are interacting with:  “even if I take a walk something happens that irritates me… although I like him as a friend, some of this behaviour irritates me”.

    This means that situations that are not offensive cause an overspill of  your anger (a walk), and people who are nice cause an overspill again (the friend you like).

    “I often feel a huge amount of sadness for situations or people I don’t even know”- probably because people you don’t know don’t cause an overspill of your anger. Without anger, you are able to feel something that’s different from anger: sadness.

    “I’ve not been feeling very healthy (tired and sometimes unwell)”- lots of anger makes us sick because it is an excited neural/ chemical state of the brain and body. Sadness is way healthier to feel than anger because it is a way calmer neural/ chemical state of the  brain and body. Therefore, of the two, I wish you felt sadness.

    anita

     

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