April 6, 2022 at 10:35 pm #397198
Thank you for your kind words. What you said about healing the inner world is absolutely true. I am not able to figure out how to do that. Would you have pointers?
GirijaApril 6, 2022 at 10:58 pm #397199
Your question is a very valid one. I’ve asked myself that in times of exasperation. How come I feel the worst when making up for whatever is lacking at home or at work. I realized it is because it doesn’t give me joy. I am stuck in survival mode. I think for decades now. You and I have explored quite a bit on why I care so much about my mom to the point that I have become a people pleaser in order to survive. Most social interactions, trigger my trauma response.
I wanted to share with you a revelation I recently had. It slightly lifted the burden I’d been feeling.
I’ve always wondered why the women in my family never left after being abused. One of whom was physically assaulted as well. I am no victim blamer nor do I think it is easy. But I was wondering why they show no interest in leaving, atleast think about it. Behind closed doors, when there are no men or elders around. Why don’t they ever consider leaving? I got to an answer of this by introspecting on my situation at work. Simply put – I am being mentally drained by people intentionally or unintentionally – and I wondered, how come I am not actively working on leaving. I had stopped my interview prep after my mom’s scan due to anxiety. But how come I am not back at it, considering I feel mentally and emotionally abused at work. And then it hit me, the abuse is so draining that I have no energy left to consider leaving. I am so depleted that to save energy my brain is rationalizing not making the effort to leave. Not just that, I often wondered why the women in my family still care about their role. Is the kitchen clean enough, is there husband dressed properly and so on. I realized it’s because even when people are aware of the abuse, they will go to the women demanding and prodding them about other trivial things. How you are not good enough. And to the women, both the judgement and the actual domestic abuse is equal in terms of pain. I see the same thing happening, I recognize the abuse at work and yet hold myself accountable to the point of being perpetually anxious.
I also wondered about how people say getting hurt by people’s words is on me to fix, by getting stronger mentally. To me, just now, the realization hit, that that is like asking a physically abused person to get better at taking punches. It is not right. Ask the abuser to stop abusing or get the abused away. This is the right way.
This is why we often need people to talk us into empowering ourselves, abuse had psychological effects that impair our ability to discern what is right. And we are drained to the point that we don’t see alternatives despite being aware of them.
The other thing, people pleasing. I cannot bear the idea of possibly messing up anything. So scared of causing issues. I’m even thinking about my abusers at work, their tasks that they are yet to complete. It is similar to the abused caring about the abuser. You were already given the hint that any failure in the house is on you, like work for me. It keeps you from having energy to put into leaving. All your time and energy goes in pleasing the abusers and their enablers.
So, when will Girija be #1 in her life. I want to say now. But I need to learn what it looks like in practice.
GirijaApril 7, 2022 at 1:56 pm #397221
“I had stopped my interview prep after my mom’s scan due to anxiety. But how come I am not back at it, considering I feel mentally and emotionally abused at work. And then it hit me, the abuse is so draining that I have no energy left to consider leaving” – I don’t think that it’s the recent adult stress or abuse at work that is as draining as having lived your whole life with your mother and father, and being a prisoner in life with them, as if no other life is possible for you.
“I also wondered about how people say getting hurt by people’s words is on me to fix, by getting stronger mentally. To me, just now, the realization hit, that that is like asking a physically abused person to get better at taking punches. It is not right. Ask the abuser to stop abusing or get the abused away. This is the right way” – absolutely true, I agree 100%.
anitaApril 7, 2022 at 7:07 pm #397233
I know that it’s the recent adult stress that has me drained now. My life in general will need shifts for sure. But what I am also trying to address is how to handle the stress that is coming my way and going to be that way for as long as I hold a job or interact with people. There are people that have a peace about them, which is by no means because they don’t have issues. I want to be like that.
GirijaApril 7, 2022 at 7:31 pm #397237
“How to handle the stress that is coming my way” – practicing Mindfulness and further developing your communication and assertiveness skills comes to mind. Did we discuss these two topics that I just italicized?
anitaApril 7, 2022 at 9:53 pm #397248
I recall we did.
GirijaApril 8, 2022 at 8:12 am #397257
It may be worthy for you to elaborate on what you recall because the practice of what you recall (and what we can expand on) can significantly help you in regard to your workplace situation.
anitaApril 8, 2022 at 9:27 am #397281
I recall using mindfulness as a way to heal my inner self. Essentially being able to focus on the present so as to not get carried away by anxiety. This is what comes back to me, it maybe a culmination of everything I ever read or heard.
GirijaApril 8, 2022 at 9:49 am #397305
Here is a Mindfulness Exercise you can do: when alone, uninterrupted, and relatively calm, sit in a comfortable chair with your laptop… on your lap, and with eyes partially closed, run the imagery of a beginning of a typical workday, and lazily let your fingers record the imagery of what you do, what you see, hear, and what you feel: you wake up, you do this (you feel…), you do that (you feel…), you arrive at work and see the building where you are about to enter (you feel…), you hear a coworker greet you (you feel…), etc., etc.
You are welcome to do this exercise on Word and tell me about it, or you can do it here on your thread, and we’ll take it from there.
anitaApril 9, 2022 at 12:34 am #397376RobertaParticipant
Is there anything in your life that brings you even a moment of peace or joy or inspiration?
Do you have access to any nature including animals?
These may seem odd questions, but you have to start where you are – one can not be immediately whisked off with a click of fingers to some wonderful retreat to start building that inner strength nor am I advocating anyone staying in an abusive situation. ie sometimes the bathroom may be the only place in the home that feels a modicome of peace, if you can place a candle , plant or flower there it will help to remind your mind that this is your peace time even if it is for just a few minutes.
There are thousands of different meditations, but the most basic one is counting the breath and there are various versions also body scan meditation(yoga Nidra) there are loads on youtube. If you can treat yourself to even 5-10 minutes a day that is a start, do not expect miracles I think it takes as long to undo the damage as the damage and the sub-sequences of that damage. This is not to dishearten you but to give a more realistic outlook. I always celebrate when a young person meets the dharma as they have accumulated less in general. I have worked with people who are in their 70’s 80’s & 90’s who are only just starting to unravel a lifetime of hurt and have seen that it is possible to make considerable progress even at that later stage of life.
It is not just one area of our lives that needs to be nurtured but the whole of our life. What we eat, read, do physically. meditation/mindfullness etc is not a stand alone fix.
RobertaApril 9, 2022 at 9:20 am #397394
Just to clarify, you want me to visualize an entire day and write out my feelings and thoughts?
GirijaApril 9, 2022 at 9:25 am #397396
Visualize the beginning part of the workday, the first hour or two.
anitaApril 9, 2022 at 9:27 am #397398
<p style=”text-align: left;”>Hi Roberta</p>
What do you mean by meets the dharma?
GirijaApril 9, 2022 at 10:31 am #397403
I am not sure if this is how it should be but here it is:
I wake up and still feel groggy. Brush my teeth and check my work messages. If there is a message I need to respond to, I keep rehearsing what the answer should be. If it is a low risk message and shoot an answer really quick. There is an impulse to reply. I turn my laptop on and constantly look for any messages I may get. I am bored. But at the same time, feeling tensed or irritated at the thought of having to attend a meeting that happens daily. If someone tells me there’s an issue, I am already scared it may be horrible. I am reminded of an upcoming deadline or milestone and get nervous at it failing and how I should deal with. I walk around the house, and ask my mom if she needs help with anything. I do what she needs but I feel physically unable to find energy to do anything. I push things for work to the next day, but dread the consequences. I eventually will get to it because the fear of being reprimanded pushes me to action. I am sick of constantly feeling scared and acting out of fear.
GirijaApril 9, 2022 at 11:48 am #397407
I didn’t know (maybe you shared, and I forgot) that you work from home… every day, or do you go to an office some days?
“I wake up and still feel groggy… I am sick of constantly feeling scared and acting out of fear” -so, living in fear, you go to bed groggy, and you wake up groggy.
“I wake up and still feel groggy. Brush my teeth and check my work messages” – here is what I suggest that you do after you wake up and before you check your messages, an exercise that takes about a minute or two to do, and which I do first thing every morning: standing straight, slowly (don’t rush it) rotate your arms 10 times in the forward direction and then ten times in the backward direction. Once you do the 10th rotation in the backward direction, hold your arms steady to your sides, perpendicular to the floor- this is a chest-opener posture. It is a courage posture because you present your heart to the world (unlike the usual fear posture: the shoulders rounded forward, closing in on the heart, hiding it from the world). As you hold this posture for some time, say to yourself: I am facing today with courage!
“If there is a message I need to respond to, I keep rehearsing what the answer should be” – when you notice that you keep rehearsing an answer, say to yourself… I am facing this message with courage! Then take a deep breath and answer the message.
“I turn my laptop on and constantly look for any messages I may get” – decide how often you should check your messages, let’s say once an hour- have your phone beep every hour and check your messages after each beep.
“Feeling tensed or irritated at the thought of having to attend a meeting that happens daily. If someone tells me there’s an issue, I am already scared it may be horrible“, etc. – say to yourself (you should know by now…): I am facing today with courage! If you are not convinced, do the arm rotation exercise again, or just the last part of it, the chest opener posture.
Let me know how it works tomorrow morning, will you?