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Insecurity and feeling vulnerable

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  • #88353
    Tony
    Participant

    Dear Tiny Buddha Community,

    A couple of months ago, I met this girl and we became good friends and eventually, although we are no where near official, we have expressed our feelings for each other.

    However, my question today is not about our relationship, but more a reflection of myself.

    A little over a week ago, I managed to get myself into a downwind spiral of negative thoughts that I couldn’t get myself out of. This freaked me out about what if I lost her, she didn’t like me back and so on. Since then, I’ve felt a sense of insecurity and vulnerability. I understand a positive relationship is one where two strong complete individuals come together and not one where one person relies and leans on the other to complete him/herself. However, this week, I unfortunately have felt like the latter. I understand there are times throughout the day when I’m busy and don’t reply to contact, yet when it is the other way around, I start feeling a sense of insecurity. I also tell myself that many successfully married couples don’t maintain radio contact all day etc. Yet my feelings often take the better side of me.

    Up until a week ago, I was fine, confident, happy go lucky. All of a sudden after my negative thoughts that backed me into a corner, I now find myself feeling so insecure, helpless and weak. This of course is not healthy for where ever this relationship may progress to and nor is it healthy for my own well being.

    Thanks for all your time, and I look forward to seeing your feedback.

    #88354
    anita
    Participant

    Dear bulletww:

    The way I see it, it is not the thinking of NEGATIVE thoughts that is the problem, it is the thinking on untrue thoughts that is the problem. Once you correct your thoughts to fit truth and reality, you get to a state of mental well being. I want to look at the thoughts you expressed in your post and evaluate them for truth or not, and look forward to your response:

    Here are the thoughts:

    1) “a positive relationship is one where two strong complete individuals come together.” Not true, says I. I heard this kind of thought before, people say it, but it is not true. There is no such thing as a “complete individual”- we are social animals, social beings and as such we never, ever get to a state of completeness- we will always need someone, sooner or later, after time alone, we need someone. Needing another person is not a sign of weakness, of weak neediness, of incompleteness. We simply cannot help needing others, from the time we are conceived to the time we die.

    As far as “strong” individuals, yes, strong but there is no such thing as ‘strong enough” so to not need another.

    Once you correct this untrue thought and accept your neediness as natural and a fact of life, you will no longer feel that there is something wrong about you for being needy of another, or something weak about you.

    2) “a positive relationship is… not one where one person relies and leans on the other to complete him/herself.” Wrong again, a healthy relationship IS one where one person relies and leans on the other, so to endure the challenges of life, so to calm down the fears. We need others. Always did and always will.

    3) There is no such thing as a “complete” person. Sometimes you feel calm and content being alone, or being together, but that calm and content is not permanent, cannot be. There is no “happily ever after” state of mind.

    So, this is what I have so far. Response?

    anita

    #88357
    Tony
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you very much for your insightful thoughts.

    It is interesting thinking about it from that perspective and letting myself feel that it is OK to be needy and OK to let this other person ‘complete’ me per se.

    However, I feel there might be more underlying to the problem. I understand your thoughts, and I find myself agreeing to them – so thank you. But when that need for the other person sometimes creates a sense of uneasy and anxiety that may escalate into negative thoughts, surely that is not healthy?

    My logical voice tells me she does care, all is ok, however, lately more often than not, but feelings will start to panic and question does she really care despite my logical voice fighting against it. I suppose what you mean is that as humans, it is ok to need another person, to be needy and to require ‘completion’ from another, But I guess the problem here is my thoughts? As you said, believing in untrue thoughts that I have generated myself?

    #88360
    anita
    Participant

    Dear bulletww:

    Yes, it is unhealthy to be as anxious and distressed as you have been. But what caused it? One thing at a time. First remove incorrect thinking and the judgment that follows it. Once you remove: I shouldn’t feel needy/I am weak for being needy, then you remove the distress that envelops the need for her. The fact that you have been thinking so much means some of the thoughts themselves are causing you anxiety, probably the judgments based on thinking what is not true.

    This is the panic dynamic: you think, you get scared, you think more, you panic. It is the downward spiral of thinking and feeling.

    And in that spiral you are confused and logic is not powerful enough. So what do you do?

    Calm down of course. When you panic your brain is very foggy like. You can’t see clearly. Panicking, you increase your thinking so to make yourself better, but you only generate more fog and more confusion. You panic so you do the exact opposite of what you should do: think less, calm down, relax, clear the fog/ the thinking.

    You got to get to the calm, fog-free state of mind/ brain. Do so whenever you panic, whatever the reason is. Panic-> go to calm. Don’t try to convince the fear to go away with logic. Empty the mind from thoughts and go back to the issue when calm.

    You can’t argue with panic, you have to take time out.

    You wrote: “when that need for the other person sometimes creates a sense of uneasy and anxiety that may escalate into negative thoughts, surely that is not healthy?”

    It is the obsessing on that need that is the problem- you were okay before you obsessed. Before you thought too much. You got scared, that is what happened, you got scared of getting HURT. When people get scared they start thinking A LOT.

    Now, I am thinking too much here, a bit unorganized- this is because I had such a delicious Thanksgiving meal (not traditional)- such a huge meal that I fear I ate too much and will gain weight (an ongoing fear)- so guess what- here I am thinking too much, too quickly, panicking.

    I am going to take a long walk in the cold, why don’t you?

    Let me know if I was of any help (I am a bit all over the place, same panic/ fear principle… interesting).
    anita

    #88363
    Tony
    Participant

    Anita – thank you so much for that reply. It actually brought tears to my eyes because I felt like it just really hit the spot.

    I have been doing the panic dynamic, I feel like I have to correct my negative thoughts right at the time they arise, but of course like you mentioned, I have failed and only made things worse.

    Anita, you are absolutely right. A week ago, I didn’t have these thoughts/anxiety and panic. I have obsessed over it way to much and rewired my brain literally overnight. I am scared of getting hurt, very scared. I have been overthinking over and over. I need to now somehow flip my brain and thoughts back to how it was. But it has been very difficult when that feeling surfaces and I sink into a fearful state.

    It is funny thinking about how confident I was 1 week ago, and then somehow have crumbled and destructed by thoughts generated by myself in my own head. Are there some good steps that may help me return to how I was and rid of these habits?

    Thank you

    #88379
    anita
    Participant

    Dear bulletww:

    You are afraid that the woman WILL hurt you but in actuality, in your brain where it all happens, it is the hurt that you already felt that got triggered a week ago, hurt by others before the woman. That hurt-memory triggered fear. So there is old hurt that you are pushing down (resisting) and fear of experiencing that hurt again.

    What you resist (hurt, in your case), persists.

    I think that what will help you now is to accept that hurt that got triggered a weak ago. It was dormant in some inactive neurological pathway and now the pathway is active, it got disturbed by your new experience with the woman.

    It is not the hurt by the woman that you need to accept, because it didn’t happen yet. It is the hurt you already felt, someone who already hurt you.

    Now that the hurt-memory was triggered, you can not un-trigger it. You have to … process it. So why don’t you write here or elsewhere, here is fine, about who hurt you and how that was. Maybe you can write a poem about it, a song, somehow get in touch with it, feel it. Yes, you have to feel it so to know you can survive it.

    Once you feel the old hurt and survive feeling it, relieved, your fear of the woman hurting you will calm.

    Waiting for your reply, if you reply.

    anita

    #88385
    lovelimess
    Participant

    @bulletww
    Insecure, helpless, and weak are all crappy, put them together and it’s not an enjoyable state of mind.
    Expressing feelings doesn’t sound like a huge step. The pressure you are feeling will cease as soon as you find out about her husband and the 65 pounds she gained after her sex change operation. Not really…but what are you afraid of? Worst case scenario?
    She stalks your life, hurts you for pleasure, ruins your life and your faith in humanity? Rarely happens, but you can’t rule anything out.

    Yep, I agree that you need to flip a switch and get back to zen. Good luck doing that online. These people love fear. Control freaks will use your fear to control you. I’d keep hunting for that complete person that isn’t advertising signs of neediness. Maybe humans do need one another but if you start seeking out the needy women to go all Jerry Maguire with, you are sure to land a fruit loop. Just my opinion.


    @Anita

    Maybe you don’t have a happily ever after in your future because you are on the edge of your seat ready for the inevitable devastation.
    You mention that when a person gets to calm it’s never permanent – do you relish in the constant fear and anxiety of life or is that just my misguided assumption based on your fear inducing posts? Either way, if you were in my home, I would be a chain smoker with a xanax addiction. I hope you are coping well and watching what YOU are eating. Don’t obsess about your weight, needy men mike like a little more padding.

    Night!

    #88386
    anita
    Participant

    + Loveliness: let me know if you would like me to NOT respond to your posts. If you let me know this is the case, I will be glad to accommodate you this way. You can also skip and not read my (many) posts. Take care:
    anita

    #88387
    anita
    Participant

    Dear bulletww:

    I hope to read another post from you on this thread tomorrow, even though it was interrupted above in a very… peculiar way…
    anita

    #88388
    jock
    Participant

    just another stranger helped by anita on this forum but who’s counting?
    I think we’re up to the ten thousands now……..

    #88390
    Tony
    Participant

    Thanks for your feedback all, I appreciate it. But lets focus on the purpose of this forum and not comments that are posted by others?


    @Anita
    ,

    Thanks for what you said, it is surprisingly true.

    Three and a half years ago, I went through a break up with my then girlfriend. We were together for 4 years, my first proper relationship if you like. It really broke me in a way that I had only heard of from others. I felt I was destroyed overnight and the next morning began what seemed like an impossible weeks, months and years of recovery to come. It hurt in a way to I didn’t really know existed, I was mentally strained and anxious about basically everything.

    Months went by and I slowly got back to my feet, I still had the determination to try win her back. But each time I tried, it just brought back more stress and I’d fall back into similar patterns again. Obviously I never quite succeeded, perhaps my mental state would not have allowed me either way. After about 1.5 – 2 years I was pretty much reinvented. I had learnt a lot, rediscovered a lot and I did like myself a whole lot better. I did try to go back for her one more time and it wasn’t successful, but this time, I felt I had the closure and I moved on.

    Three and a half years have passed and I feel great with life challenges! I like who I am and I know there are constant growth thats always going to challenge me. After reading your post Anita, I know to this day, I can still remember one of the nights not long after the break up where I was freaking out when I was trying to get in touch with her but not really getting a response. Perhaps those are the feelings that I suddenly linked to in my present circumstances?

    I have been single since 3 years ago, and I guess if I dig deep, I can see a sense of insecurity and fear since then. Perhaps this insecurity and fear combined with that rather traumatic emotional night was what I am reminded of last week when I sunk into that negativity?

    #88401
    anita
    Participant

    * Thank you, Jack! Your support means so much to me. It sure does!!!

    Dear bulletww:

    I like you being assertive about sticking to your thread and not being distracted otherwise!

    Everything we think and feel happens between our ears, in the trillions connections between billions of neurons in any one of our brains. The experience with your ex girlfriend re-surfaced, or got TRIGGERED by the experience with the new woman in your life. The experience with your ex girlfriend was stored in certain neural connections, the fear was in those connections- not active because you did have closure about that relationship, and you moved on, so the connections that feel like fear, were dormant like. Then those connections got triggered and woke up. The dormant pathway (connection) was turned on, lights on, electricity running… chemicals released.

    You wrote in one of the posts above: “I am scared of getting hurt, very scared.” This is the message of what you’ve been experiencing lately. You and the new woman expressed feelings toward each other, there is nothing official yet and the fear was triggered, the pathway/ connections formed in the past were triggered.

    What to do? Fortunately your brain has many more neurons and connections than the ones triggered lately, some formed during the time you recovered from the previous relationship. You might want to remember what worked then, what thoughts and behaviors worked for you then to quiet the fear and distress of past (and … reactivate those pathways!)

    Otherwise: thoughts. Engage in TRUE and realistic thoughts, not just any thoughts, not convenient, “feel good” thoughts, but think of what is true and real. You wrote in a post above: “My logical voice tells me she does care, all is ok”- I want to challenge this thinking and suggest that maybe you replace of augment it with truer thinking. The reason is that if a comforting thought is not convincing to you all the way, it will not be …strong enough to override the anxiety producing connections.

    “She does care” your thought was. She probably does, she told you so. But not good enough, your fear says, after all the ex girlfriend cared at one point, and look what happened?

    How do you combat that thought? That is logical, isn’t it?

    Also “All is ok” is not convincing as well: at one point you thought all was okay with the ex girlfriend and look what happens, says the fear. How you combat that thought?

    These are realistic thoughts I am suggesting, thoughts for you to consider and adopt if you believe in them completely (I am writing AS I am thinking these thoughts): She (the new woman) may care for me, and she may stop caring for me. If she cares for me (if what she said was true and she didn’t lie to me, to herself…) then the quality and intensity of her caring WILL change over time, this is a fact of life. It will change, get stronger, weaker, then stronger and stronger or weaker and weaker or it may stop all the way.

    Now how can you be okay with this new thought?

    Slowly, with awareness. If you agree with the thought (Let me know), then let it establish itself in your brain, try to be calm with it. It is reality. This fear will not go away no matter how long you calmly accept the reality of uncertainty. Fear is something everyone has to live with. Everyone has to find a way to live with fear. It cannot be eliminated. Some will stay: it is instinctual. Other parts of your brain can minimize the chances of you getting hurt by learning WHO the new woman is, over time, so that you get involved deeper and deeper over time with an honest and trustworthy woman. You get closer to her gradually, somewhat carefully, little by little and you observe and learn about who she is and what is reasonable to expect from her.

    It is not ALL or NOTHING- you don’t jump into a relationship blindly and you don’t avoid the relationship all together. You go ONE LITTLE STEP AT A TIME, acknowledging with each and every step that nothing is guaranteed. And throughout the process, you manage the fear that will come up again and again in times of crises or otherwise.

    You survived the last hurt and you thrived afterwards. This can be a lesson: the hurt you fear did not kill you and did not handicap you permanently. You can therefore, survive another hurt and thrive afterwards.

    I am writing too much. Please take your time reading and contemplating my response here and do write back, I hope!

    anita

    #88442
    Tony
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I’ve been thinking quite a bit about what you have said etc. today.

    When I stop and look ‘back’ and everything that has happened, it seems like nothing was ‘real’, everything has been generated by my own thoughts. It is like I tied by own knot in my head and then couldn’t untie it myself.

    I freaked out because I obsessed my thoughts over something that never happened, but I kept questioning it. You were right about my expectations and accepting the untrue thoughts that you talked about in your first post.

    I have been feeling like I am not allowed to rely on her, that I was feeling helplessly needy, needing her texts, phone calls. And so I was battling myself when in actual fact, when you fall for someone in the early stages, thats completely normal behaviour (within reason) I need to accept my thoughts and behaviour. It is like when I see a cake, and I feel hungry. Thats completely normal. But the problem started when I began to analyse and obsess over the thoughts and telling myself I’m not allowed to be hungry when I see the cake because then the cake has too much control over me, and I’ll rely on the cake. What if the cake disappears? Ironically, if I truely care about her, I can’t hold myself back because of the ‘what if it doesn’t work out’. Stop thinking ahead and live the present? There was NO problem to begin with!!!!!!

    I need to retrain my own behaviour and thoughts and create new and positive brain neurons and connections as you talked about. But it is so very difficult when your mind reacts instinctively because that is all it has done for so long.

    #88447
    lovelimess
    Participant

    Why would I not want you to reply to my post?
    I don’t get it…did the sugar coating fall off of it?

    Doomsday is coming and I need a xanax.

    Random Q: Are you in the healthcare field? I don’t think sarcasm is diagnose-able because it’s always missed.

    #88448
    lovelimess
    Participant

    Great advice Anita!
    I’m going to try and implement it when I meet new people. They have all seemed sketchy in the last few years.
    I would like to get rid of my cubic zirconium engagement ring that my pretend boyfriend gave me to show new creeps. Assuming they stop looking like creeps. Not that I get approached often, maybe twice in the last decade. The ring is an uncontested decline/explanation. Genius, wouldn’t you say?
    Why aren’t I mass producing these and getting rich? I don’t know…rejection rings.
    BRB, opening a go fund me account. $$$

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