December 28, 2020 at 7:28 am #371770
This will be another long post, please take time reading it, especially the part following the *
You explained that your mother ignored the big problems in her marriage for a long time, becoming “really distant”, but she didn’t break the marriage until something happened that she could no longer ignore: her father died, and in combination with the fact that her husband prevented her from seeing her father while he was alive, she got very depressed for about a year. Only then did she end the marriage. She told you later about her 15 year old marriage: “I’ve stopped being in that relationship years ago when I understood that nothing is going to change”. Although she is out of her marriage, she “still gets away from.. problems”.
You suggested that maybe you are “like that”, like your mother, that is, ignoring the big problems in your relationship with your lived-in boyfriend, and will not break that relationship unless something big happens that you cannot ignore.
* You wrote today regarding your mother: “I can understand her but the things I’m living are nothing to her, when compared. But then again, it’s not easy. I know. All in all, this is my kind of hard”-
– you expressed this point before, that both your parents suffered more than you did, and that your mother downplayed/ dismissed/ ignored your struggles and misery, giving you the message that your misery is nothing compared to hers.
In July 21, 2020, you wrote regarding your parents and then, regarding your mother: “I know that they have much more traumatizing lives… I have started to give clues about how I feel to my mother the past year.. This made me realize my mother’s tendency to neglect others’ misery even more… when I talk with my mom, I see that because of all the drama and trauma she was born into, she looks down on and doesn’t respect others’ misery all the time… I have explained her the past year several times that it’s not the right thing to compare one’s misery to an other’s.. She has an extreme empathy towards animals and innocent people. But then again, when I try to talk about a huge problem in my little world, it’s not relatable for her. That was always the case… maybe I have to accept that she’ll always be like that. She won’t care that much, she would not understand”.
miyoid, it was never as clear to me as it is today:
Your mother downplayed/ dismissed/ ignored/ looked down on your childhood misery—> you downplay/ dismiss/ ignore/ look down on your own misery.
Your mother did not have empathy for you—> you do not have empathy for yourself.
It seems to me that your mother’s invalidation (downplaying, dismissing, etc.) of your hurt feelings/ misery was extreme.
In addition, it may feel to you that if you have empathy for yourself you will be like your father, who expressed that he is always a victim, no matter what. You don’t want to be like him.
In June 25, 2019, you wrote regarding your parents: “I have never shown them the hurt version of me, they think that I’m a healthy, strong person”- this means that your hurt/ misery was never seen by any of your parents- but not because is wasn’t visible and audible, but because they were focused on their own misery, not on yours. All they could see was themselves; they didn’t see you.
But your hurt and misery existed and it still exists- it is immense. I can see it all through your many posts over the years. For your childhood hurt and misery to stop leaking into your every day life and future, it needs to be validated. It is necessary that you no longer downplay, dismiss, ignore and look down on your hurt and misery. Instead- validate it, respect it, honor it because it’s very much there and has been for so long, so long that at 22 or 23 you feel like an old, old woman.
Replace apathy toward yourself with empathy.
Regarding the rest of your posts today: you agreed with me that you and the man you live with fear abandonment (now I am thinking that your apathy toward your hurt and misery is a form of self-abandonment), that you both feel empty (now I am thinking.. you are empty of empathy for yourself), that you both don’t have a strong sense of identity (.. the hurt and misery have to be validated and integrated into your understanding of who you are).
You are used to downplaying your own misery/ bad life situations including your live-in situation with this man. To an outsider, it looks like a bad situation to live with a man who gathers razors and whatnot so to kill himself.. but when a person is used to ignore, dismiss, downplaying her situation since childhood, a person keeps doing the same thing in adulthood.
I am looking forward to your thoughts about this post, but only when you have the time, as I know how busy you are.
anitaDecember 29, 2020 at 11:01 pm #371900
It all makes sense, you make excellent observations. I’m appalled. I will try to learn how I can create empathy towards myself. But I have to tell you about a recent thing we’ve experienced. You know I get scared of losing this boyfriend and he is scared as well. But the other day, he wanted to end things. He wanted that because he realized what he started to become and didn’t like it. He doesn’t like the fact that he’s harming me, himself, physical objects as well. He doesn’t want the blame that comes with those behaviors. So he wanted to make it stop. Although, he wanted to still be by my side to help me, in order not to abandon me. Then I cried a lot, I was starting to feel that we could be separate for a while and that might feel good for a change. But that hit hard. I basically felt like a little kid. Even if he says that he won’t abandon, stay as a good friend, that’s not enough for me to stay calm/okay. I was abandoned before, several times, both by parents and partners. I thought I would get used to be alone or be stronger by time. But I don’t feel like it. So, after work, he made that talk and I cried a lot. He couldn’t help himself so he was there with me. However, he changed his mind on that night. The other day, was like any other day. I’m starting to feel like he’s only changing his mind because he doesn’t want me to feel bad. He might be postponing or he could have changed his mind, really. I’ve asked that a lot by the way, I’ve told him this doubt of me. He doesn’t agree. That’s all.
I remember a post that I shared here, saying that I don’t ever feel like doing anything if I don’t feel loved. I don’t remember focusing on school ever, during middle school. I feel like that was the reason why. I remember just one day that I felt okay to actually listen and focus on classes. Other than that, I was distracted, didn’t feel like doing anything. That was the case everytime I was abandoned again. And I don’t feel like I would be able to handle that state if that happens again. Maybe a delusion, but feels right to me. Never seen the opposite.
December 30, 2020 at 2:50 am #371903
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 3 days ago by miyoid.
He is now considering having an affair or flirting with another person just to stay alive. I cannot say anything since I have not much to offer. But I feel like, we were in this together. I was in pain with him as well. I have tried while he was trying. So this feels unfair. He wants to be by my side but he also needs stuff to try to feel alive. He is sure that he still loves me. But considers all the stuff I did with my exboyfriends (such as camping, going to different cities, smoking, drinking) as ‘living’. And he thinks that he didn’t do any of those in the past, so he feels left-alone. Although I know that’s totally an illusion, because we’ve spent our first ‘together’ week abroad, having more fun than any other ex. But then again, months after being home, I studied for masters’ exams and applied for lots of jobs and had online meetings while he was waiting for his next semester at school. So besides trying to understand my situation, since I’ve got reasons to feel stressed, he also wanted to go camping, travel, holidays etc. But I couldn’t make plans either because of the pandemic and because I wanted to find a job or draw a path to a masters or any future plans for that matter. So he got annoyed and upset about that. And now, I’m in a full-time job, therefore, I can only offer him late-night plans and my Sundays.
When I say that knowing him seeing other people would hurt me, he doesn’t want to hurt me. Although, he doesn’t want to lie to me either. So, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I realize now that I am still really dependant. Nothing has changed.December 30, 2020 at 6:15 am #371905
You shared that you are “scared of losing this boyfriend”. The other day, after work, you came home and “he wanted to end things.. because .. he’s harming me, himself, physical objects as well. He doesn’t want the blame that comes with those behaviors. So he wanted to make it stop.”
His announcement hit you hard and you “basically felt like a little kid… I was abandoned before, several times, both by parents and partners”. You then “cried a lot”. He then changed his mind, but you are thinking that he changed his mind only because he doesn’t want you to feel bad, and that he will leave/ abandon you.
You remember that when you were abandoned by this or that parent, you weren’t able to focus in school and you “didn’t feel like doing anything. That was the case every time I was abandoned”, and now- you are afraid that this boyfriend will abandon you and that you will not “be able to handle that state if that happens again”.
Next, this boyfriend “is now considering having an affair or flirting with another person just to stay alive… He wants to be by my side but he also needs stuff to try to feel alive. He is sure that he still loves me but considers all the stuff I did with my ex boyfriends (such as camping, going to different cities, smoking, drinking) as ‘living’. And he thinks that he didn’t do any of those in the past, so he feels left-alone”.
You remember that during the first week you spent with him abroad, you had “more fun than any other ex”, but following that you didn’t have the time to go camping with him or travel because you were busy with studies, applying for jobs, the pandemic, and now you are working full time, and all you have for him is your late week nights and Sundays.
In June 2019, you wrote regarding men and relationships: “I pick whomever that I can get affection from. I crave affection, not the person. Because of that, I’ve started to question if I ever like anybody?… my anxiety appears when I don’t get that affection… Between the relationships, there was always suffering, mental breakdowns. I simply didn’t want to continue my life in those moments”.
My understanding today of the relationship between you and this man, based on what you shared recently and what you shared before (correct me where I may be wrong):
The two of you met sometime in 2019, both depressed, had an undefined relationship as you called it, he then went abroad to study for six months, during that time you talked every day. He then returned from abroad and moved in with you sometime in early 2020 (living together made financial sense because separately, each one of you would need to find flat mates so to share the bills). Both of you have been depressed ever since, throughout the time you lived together.
You spent 24/7 together during the pandemic. At some point he told you that he felt that you were “just used to him and don’t really love him”. During that time, without your knowledge, he looked into your computer records and found some photos and messages between you and ex boyfriends. He told you that those photos/ messages traumatized him and since then he’s been obsessing on these images and messages, tormented. Once in a while he attempts suicide or makes suicidal gestures, he was hospitalized and has been on various psychiatric drugs.
In August 16 thus year, he wanted to break up with you “because he is sick of himself for harming me emotionally”, and the other day, more than four months later, he wanted to break up with you again because “he’s harming me, himself, physical objects as well”.
You do not want to break up with him because you don’t want to break with anybody, no matter who the man is. When you work, you need to know that there is a man there waiting for you, and when you are home, you need to know that there is someone there. Even though you’ve been depressed with him all along, you are afraid that without him, you will feel even worse (“suffering, mental breakdowns” and unable to focus), just like you felt in the past in between relationships. You are currently working many hours in a demanding full-time job and you need to focus.
In conclusion: I understand your fear about being broken up with and being more alone than you are now, suffering more. I understand the financial consideration, assuming he still pays some of the rent/ bills. I also understand that what keeps you together with him emotionally is not Love, but Fear. What attaches you to him is your need for Someone, no matter whom. What keeps him with you is guilt, not wanting to hurt you. He doesn’t want to be with you. He wants out of the relationship. Let him go, miyoid, give him the Out that he wants.
You wrote most recently: “I realize now that I am still dependent. Nothing has changed”- make this change: break up with a man for the first time in your life. You’ve never done it before, what a change this will be!
Break up with him responsibly way- plan the steps to make it happen and follow the plan. Part of the plan will need to be how you will survive the suffering that you expect to experience, keeping and doing well on your job. The two of you do not have to break up/ move out right away, you can decide on when to make it happen– a time (dependent on your job, etc.) that is less inconvenient for the two of you.
What do you think about my suggestion?
anitaDecember 30, 2020 at 6:58 am #371907
I will think about this for a day at least. Thank you Anita, for your wise words.December 30, 2020 at 7:22 am #371908
You are welcome, miyoid. Post again whenever you want to, if you want to- I am here.
anitaDecember 30, 2020 at 11:12 pm #371946
I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t feel the strength to do anything. I don’t want to come here and complain about stuff and don’t do the things you suggest me to do. He feels guilty, he doesn’t know what to do. He just wants to support me and do whatever I want. All I can want is to finish work today, go home, lay in bed and cry. He waited till I was asleep yesterday. It cost him a lot of time, but I realized something. I recall not being able to sleep in the past. My mom used to try to put me to sleep, wait till I seem asleep and then go mind her business, either smoking and thinking at the balcony or doing whatever she was doing. And this was a never ending cycle. Her thinking that I’m finally asleep, going to the kitchen to smoke cigarettes and then I suddenly wake up and realize she’s not there. So I immediately think that she’s left again. After I find her at the kitchen, I try to express my worries and she tries to put me to sleep again. And this repeats n repeats. I knew I had some sort of problem about being abandoned by it’s more clear now. And in every relationship I had, both romantic or not, I have never felt safe. After the tiniest amount of emptiness, I’ve always thought ‘there you go’. People tend to need that break in the kitchen or balcony, but I couldn’t understand that.
Although, with him, I was able to feel safe. He achieved that, I don’t know why. He is very sincere about his communication, that’s why he expresses every thought. Even the flirting stuff he wanted, he told me and wanted to be honest. Maybe I would be better if he lied. But he has seen somebody yesterday. I told him (before) that ‘I cannot say you not to do something, but this is how I feel about it, and it makes me feel bad.’ So he thought he needed to do that, try that. And gave me chances to say ‘don’t do it’. But I didn’t. So he tried, talked her like a friend. But the flirting part was insincere, he says. He pushed himself to do one thing that contradicted with me and didn’t want to feel like he was not doing anything for himself. He wanted to feel selfish, I guess. But now, he regrets. And I regret that I didn’t say ‘don’t do it’. He says that even I were to forgive him, he won’t be able to do that. But he wants to try, try to be happy with me again. It has been one of the hardest days of 2020. It has been a really hard year. I feel weak, too weak to plan something. I can only try to continue stay alive.December 31, 2020 at 6:24 am #371948
Don’t worry about not following my suggestions. When I suggest something, it is only a suggestion for you to accept or reject, and I feel fine that you rejected my recent suggestion, really. You are welcome to “complain about stuff” here on your thread anytime.
What you described in your recent post fits what is described under Separation Anxiety Disorder in children and in adults.
According to healhtline. com/ health/ separation anxiety in adults, “Separation anxiety isn’t only seen in children. It can also be seen in adults. Adults with separation anxiety have extreme fear that bad things will happen to important people in their lives… People with this disorder may be socially withdrawn, or show extreme sadness or difficulty concentrating when away from loved ones… common symptoms include: .. *difficulty sleeping away from a loved one for fear that something will happen to them *depression or anxiety attacks related to (separation)”.
Another website, exploring your mind. com/ separation anxiety disorder in adults, reads: “Separation anxiety can stem from childhood. More specifically, it can be related to the individual’s first bonds of attachment… The likelihood that you’ll develop separation anxiety disorder as an adult is much higher if you were diagnosed with separation anxiety disorder as a child”.
Another website the ravive. com/ therapedia/ separation anxiety disorder, reads that according to the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition), symptoms of the disorder are: “*Unusual distress at the discussion or experience of being parted from their attachment figure *Excessive fears that harm will befall their attachment person *Persistent worry of an unexpected event that could lead to separation from the attachment figure *Refusal to leave the attachment figure *Excessive fear of being alone *Nightmares about separation *Anxiety about sleeping and being separated from the attachment figure *Physical complaints when separation is immanent.
“Children with anxiety disorder may be clingy, follow parents around the house, and unable to sleep alone… Separation anxiety disorder was originally viewed as a childhood disorder. It is now recognised as an adult disorder as well, and 36.1% of adults with Separation Anxiety had separation anxiety that began in childhood…
“It may lead to impairment in the ability to complete housework, personal and social impairment, and work problems. People with separation anxiety are more likely to have another anxiety disorder or mood disorder…. Children with separation anxiety often appear withdrawn, sad and are unable to focus when apart from their attachment person”.
Notice how what you wrote Dec 29-30 in regard to your reaction to separation as an adult (from this boyfriend) and as a child (from your parents/ mother) fits this diagnosis (the italic indicates the present, regular print indicates your childhood): “It hit hard. I basically felt like a little kid… I cried a lot…. I don’t remember focusing on school ever, during middle school.. I was distracted, didn’t feel like doing anything. That was the case every time I was abandoned again… I don’t feel the strength to do anything… All I can (do) is finish work today, go home, lay in bed and cry. He waited till I was asleep yesterday… I recall not being able to sleep in the past. My mom used to try to put me to sleep… I suddenly wake up and realize she’s not there… After I find her at the kitchen, I try to express my worries and she tries to put me to sleep again. And this repeats n repeats… I feel weak, too weak to plan something. I can only try to continue stay alive“.
What do you think and how do you feel???
anitaJanuary 5, 2021 at 7:22 am #372212
That makes sense.
However, ‘for fear that something will happen to them’ does not apply to me. I feel like this is a very selfish fear. I don’t think something bad will happen to them. I only care about if they will abandon me or not. That’s what this kinds of situations makes me think.
I’ve posted about this but separation actually makes me depressed. I guess that’s the word for it. I just don’t want to do anything at all and get upset about why and how I was abandoned. I get so dramatic in my head that I cry for hours and hours. I remember spending some days just crying. I don’t know if all of those were sincere. Maybe I like to victimize myself in my head. I’m not sure.January 5, 2021 at 7:25 am #372213
Also, I have to say I’m surprised by your conclusions. It’s mesmerizing.January 5, 2021 at 9:49 am #372219
“I feel like this is a very selfish fear. I don’t think something bad will happen to them. I only care about if they will abandon me or not”- all fears are selfish. Fear is always about oneself dying: either from a real-life dangerous situation, such as when being hit by another car while driving, or from experiencing too much emotional pain.
When we feel emotional pain, we are afraid of feeling more of it, and then more.. until it will be too much to endure. We incorrectly believe that emotional pain in itself can kill us.
“I remember spending some days just crying. I don’t know if all those were sincere. Maybe I like to victimize myself in my head. I’m not sure”- I am quite sure: those cries were sincere and it is not you who victimized yourself. You were a victim of your parents and of circumstances, like so many of us.
The reason crying feels insincere at times, when it is sincere- is because it often happens that while we are crying, at one point, in a split of a second, we dissociate: we kind of split/ separate from the sadness. When this happens, because it happens so quickly, we notice that we are still crying, or that there are tears in our eyes- but we are not feeling sad. We then feel fake, suspecting that we are pretending or deceiving someone. But reality is: we were sad and then we dissociated.
anitaJanuary 6, 2021 at 6:09 am #372279
Yet another perspective you’ve made me see, dissociating. Thank you anita, I am not sure what I need to work on as a step now. I might try to read more, observe more and I can try to understand how I won’t die if I would get abandoned again. Thank you for the wise answers.January 6, 2021 at 7:32 am #372285
You are welcome. “I can try to understand how I won’t die if I would get abandoned again”- the fear of being abandoned was born in you when you were a child. For any young mammal, it is very, very scary to be abandoned because it means death (there’s no one to feed the young mammal, and no one to shelter it from the cold and/or from predators). Humans are mammals and we are born with the same instincts, so when a child fears abandonment, that fear is great, just as if the child was in the wild.
In reality, you survived childhood fed and sheltered. Now, as an adult, you are able to feed and shelter yourself, and you have been doing for a long time. You still fear abandonment because your brain is the same brain you had as a child, and it is in the habit of being afraid of abandonment.
One therapy recommended for adults who suffer from separation (abandonment) anxiety disorder is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) where you sort of.. catch yourself thinking something that made you feel bad, you then think: is what I just thought true or not? Then, if you figure that it was not true, you think again, replacing the untrue thought with a true thought.
For example, you suddenly feel stressed/ worried, then you wonder: what made me so stressed just now?.. Next, = you notice that you were thinking something like: I will die if he leaves me! Next, you think: is this thought true? If you figure out that it is not a true thought, you replace it with: “I won’t die if I would get abandoned again” (your words). Next- relax into the new thought.
anitaJanuary 11, 2021 at 6:16 am #372586
I’ve bought a CBT book with my boyfriend’s recommendation months ago. He didn’t read it as well but he knows about the author and he also knows CBT. However, since he didn’t read it, i didn’t read it as well. I read like 100 pages and then let it go. And the reason is that the book says simple things, so simple that one would stop and think ‘Is that the thing that would make me better? I doubt it.’. Since it’s really basic, i didn’t continue reading it. But even though it’s basic, I have hard time doing that basic stuff. So I will be start reading it again. Not just the book, though. I will be reading stuff about CBT as well.
Thank you again. Usually what makes me feel worse is the first reaction to an event. When something happens and triggers my fear, the first reaction I can give is some kind of shock and anxiety within me. It’s like the anxiety starts from the center of my chest and then it expands. And I keep feeding it, expands more and more. I have to learn not to feed it. And also I have to learn how to handle it and prevent it.January 11, 2021 at 8:18 am #372588
You are welcome. When you feel that “some kind of shock” which starts from the center of your chest and then expands, try the following, if you wan to: (1) Notice that the shock happened; say to yourself: it happened, or: it is happening, whatever you feel comfortable with, (2) Focus on your nose, on taking air into your nose slowly; listen to the sound of the air going into your nose. Do this for a moment or so, focusing on nothing else but your nose, (3) Say to yourself: this happened many times before, this will not kill me, I will be okay; and hush yourself, as if trying to calm a baby, or a small child, hush.. sh… it will be okay, (4)If you like lullaby lyrics/ music, choose one that you like and repeat the words to yourself, or sing it to yourself.
If you try it, please let me know how it goes for you.