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Is my friend abusing me?

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  • #408632
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I wanted to let you  know that I am listening right now to the song you mentioned. I never before heard Elizabeth Caroline Orton, this is a first to me. I like her style very much and am enjoying her singing … how unique.

    I am listening to it a second time while reading the lyrics. “And I got to questioning my credibility- Like you’re the reliable witness to what I feel“- makes me think of your situation with the work colleague.

    All of the hours lost between- There was always a beautiful sky“- submitting to a bully is always a waste of time, hours lost. Turn your gaze away from the bully to the beautiful, blue sky, says I…

    anita

    #408636
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    I was listening to her songs today and almost every day for the past two.. or maybe three weeks. It means a lot that you wrote this to me. “Arms Around a Memory” is also such a beautiful song. Not that many people know or listen to this artist. Makes me happy you are enjoying her songs, especially that we have never met, yet you gave me so much of your time and effort. (I am not good with words or expressing my feelings but I wanted to say just makes me happy you wrote again.)

    Thinking about all that has been written in this post.

    “I used to always be cautious around people, always ready to let them know… that I know that I am inferior, so that.. they’ll go easy on me, so that they won’t hurt me too much.”

    – I never realized what was the reason that I always want to make people feel better about themselves. It is a constant in my life.

    I gave myself time because I did not know how to respond. I was looking for solutions. But I still do not know what to say. I think I am trying to process that or shut those thoughts, because it’s too difficult for me.

    “My coworkers, a guy (M) and a girl.. they know (G) used to say we were friends… I texted (M) later that day that there is no friendship anymore between me and G…. But I still worry (M) may think (G) and I will make up”- it is as if what The Superior one (G) says is.. superior to what the alleged Inferior one says, and therefore what he says is believable and powerful, and what you say.. is not believable and weak…?” – I think I made peace with that. I no longer feel guilty or dishonest. I know I told them the truth and I have no power over what he is saying in the office, IF he does say anything. (maybe he does not – I don’t know). I stay true to myself.

    Thank you for explaining the dominance hierarchy in animal world. “If the threatened one does not submit, the aggressor will most often withdraw and rarely fight.” – Seems to me like a very coward thing to do (the aggressor’s behavior). I believe this is exactly what is going on between me and my ex-friend coworker. I never thought about it this way. I was afraid of him, I am realizing that every day now. Since I got out of this friendship I feel less and less influenced by him, which also means feeling less afraid.

    On Saturday we had this meeting will all coworkers in pizzeria. We met at 1 PM. He texted our manager he would be 40 minutes late because… he will cycling around in the park at that time, the one he used to live nearby couple of years ago. We were all waiting for him almost an hour. He came 1:50 PM, two of coworkers got up to say hello, and then he said “no no, first I prefer to wash my hands” and left. He did not come back until 8-10 minutes later.  His behavior was so.. rude does not even describe it. I am still trying to process this. In case he wanted to talk to me or nag me I prepared a response that if he still does not understand or want me to explain further.. I will say I do not have anything more to say or offer to him. I got out of this and now I do not have to put up with this anymore. That is the point. But he did not want to talk, he did act “nice” to me sometimes though.

    I am trying to be more mindful of what I do, what I see, what is going on around me. I think I have freeze reaction for the most of the time during the day, even without the possible threat. I am not sure if this is even possible but I think it might. I noticed things happen and I do not .. recognize them happening. So I started to try to be mindful, see, hear, be aware. Sometimes things happen, people say things and I do not react, do not respond. Only after couple of hours later I recall what had happened and form my opinion on that.

    I want to work on not having the freeze response and not practicing the submissive- people-pleasing behaviors. To act like I am no less than others. I read some articles but mainly I am trying to be cautious of how I act in front of people, read more, listen to music more, go for long walks and be around nature. I believe I can change it. On Sunday I talked less, but I think I was more confident. I was thinking before responding, not talking fast like a child. It was weird because they do not know me that well and I could “pretend” I am some other person, not inferior to them. It is difficult. I do not want to pretend I am someone else but I cannot act like I always do. It so difficult and confusing, but I am trying everyday now.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    #408637
    Caroline
    Participant

    Tee,

    “I am sorry that seeing things as they are caused you so much grief. Please do not fall into despair, because there is so much hope for the future, now that you know what the main problem is. You can still build happy, mutually respectful relationships, even if this wasn’t possible in your family of origin. Things can change” – I strongly believe things can change and I will work on that. Feels good to be respected.

    What you wrote about my mother is true. I know there is nothing wrong with me, she just projected her lack of confidence and shame on to me. She will not change, she does not want to.

    I am glad you listened to the song. I was never a greatest fan of music but recently (past 2 years) I started to listen a lot of music, maybe 500% more than in my whole life before that. It gives me joy, calm and changes me, I think.

     

    #408639
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I am so glad to read back from you! I want to reply further when I am not as tired as I am now. It may be not before Tuesday morning (in about 15-16 hours from now). For now, I want to comment on this: “I gave myself time because I did not know how to respond. I was looking for solutions“- there are no easy and fast solutions: it will take months and years to come up with (imperfectly actualized) solutions, so please be patient and prepare for the long haul, one hour, one day at a time, a little progress today, a bit more tomorrow.

    anita

    #408661
    Caroline
    Participant

    On Sunday I talked less*

    *I mean Saturday, at the meeting of course. Sorry for mistakes.

    Have a great day, Anita and Tee, if you are reading this now 🙂

    #408664
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I am not good with words or expressing my feelings but I wanted to say just makes me happy you wrote again“- you are good with words as far as I am concerned,  just makes me happy– is as clear and expressive as can be!

    I wrote to you: “I used to always be cautious around people, always ready to let them know… that I know that I am inferior, so that.. they’ll go easy on me, so that they won’t hurt me too much“, and you responded: “I never realized what was the reason that I always want to make people feel better about themselves. It is a constant in my life“- it’s about letting the person we fear at the moment know that we accept their superiority so that they calm down and lose the motivation to show us via actual aggression (hurting us in some way) that they are indeed superior to us.

    I no longer feel guilty or dishonest. I know I told them the truth and I have no power over what he is saying in the office… I stay true to myself“- excellent! Remind yourself of this truth whenever you need a reminder.

    Thank you for explaining the dominance hierarchy in animal world… I believe this is exactly what is going on between me and my ex-friend coworker. I never thought about it this way. I was afraid of him, I am realizing that every day now. Since I got out of this friendship I feel less and less influenced by him, which also means feeling less afraid“- you are welcome. (1) Isn’t it interesting that what happens in the animal world also happens in the human workplace world? It is not surprising because humans are animals after all, (2) What you used to refer to as friendship with this work colleague was really a dominance hierarchy relationship, wasn’t it?

    On Saturday we had this meeting will all coworkers in pizzeria… We were all waiting for him almost an hour. He came 1:50 PM, two of coworkers got up to say hello, and then he said ‘no no, first I prefer to wash my hands’ and left. He did not come back until 8-10 minutes later.  His behavior was so.. rude does not even describe it“- I would describe his behavior as rude and dominant.

    It was weird because they do not know me that well and I could ‘pretend’ I am some other person, not inferior to them. It is difficult. I do not want to pretend I am someone else but I cannot act like I always do. It so difficult and confusing, but I am trying everyday now“- Fake it till you make it is a principle and a practice taught in psychotherapy. Pretending in the context of emotional healing and learning of new, healthy behaviors, is a good thing (not a bad thing).  My excellent therapist at the time taught me this. So, please do pretend, do fake it… until you make it (which means, until the new behaviors feel natural).

    I think I have freeze reaction for the most of the time during the day, even without the possible threat“- when you notice a freeze reaction, if it is possible for you, take some time away from the situation, take a few slow breaths,  and write down in a journal specific for this exercise: how do I feel? (include all sensations, like heart beating faster, feeling hot in the face, etc.), what was the actual situation that brought about these feelings and sensations? (ex., a work colleague looked at me with what seemed like anger in his face), what were my thoughts following the situation? (ex. the work colleague thinks I am a liar and he wants to hurt me). You can share your journal entries here and I will show you how I was taught to continue this particular exercise.

    Sometimes things happen, people say things and I do not react, do not respond. Only after couple of hours later I recall what had happened and form my opinion on that“- in the second half of the same journal above (or in a separate journal) answer the same questions as above, and share them here, if you’d like.

    “On Saturday I talked less, but I think I was more confident. I was thinking before responding, not talking fast like a child. “- excellent job, congratulations for this success!!!

    anita

    #408669
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    it’s about letting the person we fear at the moment know that we accept their superiority so that they calm down and lose the motivation to show us via actual aggression (hurting us in some way) that they are indeed superior to us.

    – Now I will be more mindful and try to notice those situations in every day life.

    What you used to refer to as friendship with this work colleague was really a dominance hierarchy relationship, wasn’t it?

    -I think it was indeed. Observing his behavior at the pizzeria I clearly saw this need for dominance and superiority even over his manager. I know he needs people who act like I used to act and he will find some other.

    Fake it till you make it is a principle and a practice taught in psychotherapy. Pretending in the context of emotional healing and learning of new, healthy behaviors, is a good thing (not a bad thing).  My excellent therapist at the time taught me this. So, please do pretend, do fake it… until you make it (which means, until the new behaviors feel natural

    I will do that! Feels strange and “fake” but also powerful. I am pretending the person I would like to be, although It is not a different person, it is me – fixed. Right? We have this colleague, she is his friend of many years, She does not have much work yet (unlike me)  and she often suggests she would help me with my projects, research and send me some things, writes “hello” in the morning etc. I think she respects me (does not know me yet), maybe because I take long to respond and I respond very briefly. I do not act inferior with her, I noticed. Sometimes I feel … guilty? That I am “superior” and she is waiting for me to respond although I do not think it’s bad, I am busy, I do not do it on purpose.

    I actually tried to unfreeze once but did not know what to do once I did. It was last week. I was planning to – in the moment of distress, anxiety, to be able to, to force myself to pause for a minute, press pause and see myself, my emotions. I have those stressful meetings at work. For many years I was afraid of typical office work, among people, but life and covid forced me to. I have been working here since June 2021, in this particular department since December 2021 but I did not have that many meetings yet. First one I had in March – I did not sleep the night before, when I was waiting on zoom call for the other person (they often have higher position – we do projects for them) I looked in my camera – I felt sorry for myself, I looked really miserable. Last week I had my fifth meeting of this kind. I also did not sleep, I really did not want to go through with it. I was not only anxious, I was hopeless. When I started presenting the documents I felt stressed so it was not possible to pause, but after more less an hour, I guess, when we already established the agenda and I was done talking (although it was not much on my part, they sometimes ask what I can find, what I can add here etc) and we were still there on this meeting I suddenly looked somewhere in the middle of my presentation and thought: “I am here, in this meeting, I am here, I am stressing about it. They are here too” I tried to fake the feeling in my body as if the meeting was over, tried to feel the feeling of relief, I tried to fake it and fool myself into thinking the meeting was over and I do not have to stress over it anymore – although I was still there. Not sure if this makes sense but I think what I was trying to do is unfreeze myself, connect with my emotions, with feelings of anxiety that I had. Anyway I did not have many ideas what else to do and what to say to myself in that moment.

    Anita, You were asking questions about this moment: how do I feel? My heart was racing very fast, my stomach hurt, I could not eat since morning and still was not hungry, my voice was shaking I think and I have trouble breathing – sometimes the last one passes with time but it happens every time at the beginning – I sound like I just ran a marathon because I gasp for air when I start talking. What was the actual situation that brought about these feelings and sensations? – Just the fact we are in a meeting and I have to show I prepared something, they seem demanding, they are in a rush often, What were my thoughts following the situation? – I was obsessed thinking I was incompetent, that they would think I am not smart and the fact that they are mostly men over 50s-60s, they are important for the company and they earn a lot, they seem and look like important people  – I think it bothers me how small I am compared to them.

    when you notice a freeze reaction, if it is possible for you, take some time away from the situation, take a few slow breaths,  and write down in a journal specific for this exercise

    I will, from now on, I will. I know I need to plan it earlier because I will.. freeze and forget about it. I will try to do it tomorrow as I have another meeting. Then I will try to do it while talking to people, like on Saturday – I tried but it was very, very tiny attempt.

    #408671
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    I am pretending the person I would like to be, although It is not a different person, it is me – fixed. Right?“- right: it is not a different person. The people-pleasing, submissive person is not the real you, it is how you adjusted the real you so to manage certain unfortunate circumstances. Being assertive and valuing yourself is the real you.

    We have this colleague… I do not act inferior with her, I noticed. Sometimes I feel … guilty? That I am ‘superior’ and she is waiting for me to respond although I do not think it’s bad, I am busy, I do not do it on purpose“- (1) The guilty feelings about not acting inferior to someone, these guilty feelings want you to act inferior. Don’t satisfy this guilt’s motivation, (2) Think of yourself as Equal to others, not Inferior and not Superior. Think of others the same way, and then let (or fake) your behaviors so to fit the Innate Equality Principle when it comes to human worth.

    “Anita, You were asking questions about this moment: how do I feel? My heart was racing very fast, my stomach hurt… my voice was shaking I think and I have trouble breathing… I gasp for air when I start talking. What was the actual situation that brought about these feelings and sensations? – Just the fact we are in a meeting and I have to show I prepared something, they seem demanding, they are in a rush often, What were my thoughts following the situation? – I was obsessed thinking I was incompetent, that they would think I am not smart and the fact that they are mostly men over 50s-60s, they are important for the company and they earn a lot, they seem and look like important people  – I think it bothers me how small I am compared to them”-

    -(1) “they seem and look like important people“- imagine these important/ superior looking people in situations that they really experience every day, situations where they don’t look or sound… or feel superior, such as when they suffer from intestinal gas or when they step on the scale and can’t see their feet, (2) “thinking I was incompetent“- think about the important-looking people in the meeting: they are currently incompetent in some ways, and in all the ways they are now competent, they used to be incompetent.

    What I did right above is correcting limited or distorted thinking so to make it more balanced and true to reality.

    When you have another situation and would like to do this exercise again, feel free to post about it.

    anita

     

    #408760
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Caroline,

    I am sorry for a late response, I was rather busy this week.

    I enjoyed reading what you wrote in your latest posts. It seems you are taking a really good care of yourself and making so much progress:

    I told them the truth and I have no power over what he is saying in the office, IF he does say anything. I stay true to myself.

    I started to try to be mindful, see, hear, be aware.

    I am trying to be cautious of how I act in front of people, read more, listen to music more, go for long walks and be around nature.

    On Saturday I talked less, but I think I was more confident. I was thinking before responding, not talking fast like a child.

    It’s fantastic that you are becoming more aware, more observant of both yourself and others, and that you felt more confident and more self-composed at the coworkers meeting at the pizzeria. And of course, it’s great that you are taking a good care of yourself, spending time in nature and listening to music that nurtures your soul. Congratulations on these amazing developments!

    I think I have freeze reaction for the most of the time during the day, even without the possible threat. I am not sure if this is even possible but I think it might. I noticed things happen and I do not .. recognize them happening.

    I think it’s quite possible to be in a sort of half-disassociated state whenever we are out and about… it’s a defense mechanism that you’ve learned. The less mistreatment, injustice etc you notice, the lesser your urge to react, which in turn will keep you safe (or so is your inner child thinking). Sort of “don’t make waves” approach, because if you do make waves, you might get in trouble. So lay low, don’t say anything, don’t react…. Perhaps when you go out among people, your brain automatically goes into the “disassociate” mode, to keep you safe.

    Sometimes things happen, people say things and I do not react, do not respond. Only after couple of hours later I recall what had happened and form my opinion on that.

    This “delay” in reaction can also be explained by disassociation. You don’t notice it immediately because you’re not fully present, you’re not fully observing what’s going on, while it is going on. Only later, in the safety of your home, you sort of “unfreeze” and start realizing what has really happened and that you might have failed to react… Do you think that this is what’s going on?

    So I started to try to be mindful, see, hear, be aware.

    Great that you are trying to stay present and be more mindful of what is going on around you. Walking in nature also helps a lot in staying present and grounded. To practice being grounded during your walks, you can put your attention on your feet as they are touching the ground. You can also notice the little details in the forest around you (the trees, the birds chirping…).

    The idea is to try to engage all of your senses. If you’re alone on your walks, you can even name out loud the things that you see and the sounds that you hear. That’s how you can further strengthen the sense of being grounded and present in the here-and-now.

    What you wrote about my mother is true. I know there is nothing wrong with me, she just projected her lack of confidence and shame on to me. She will not change, she does not want to.

    Unfortunately we cannot change people who don’t want to change… But still, you can take a different approach now (different than hers) when and if you visit your family. You don’t need to allow them to disrespect you and treat you like a lesser being. You can either not visit them and feel good about it, or visit them and take a different stand than before. You can now step out from underneath your mother’s “cloud of shame”, where she kept both you and herself all these years, and step into the sunshine of your own worth. You can become independent from your mother, and not a person based on shame any more!

    I strongly believe things can change and I will work on that. Feels good to be respected.

    So good to hear this! It sure does feel good to be respected, but also to have self-respect. You are making a lot of progress on that path and I am very happy for you!

     

    #408762
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    Good to hear from you. I am sorry I took more time to respond.

    The people-pleasing, submissive person is not the real you, it is how you adjusted the real you so to manage certain unfortunate circumstances. Being assertive and valuing yourself is the real you.

    I want to and I do believe that.

    (1) “they seem and look like important people“- imagine these important/ superior looking people in situations that they really experience every day, situations where they don’t look or sound… or feel superior, such as when they suffer from intestinal gas or when they step on the scale and can’t see their feet, (2) “thinking I was incompetent“- think about the important-looking people in the meeting: they are currently incompetent in some ways, and in all the ways they are now competent, they used to be incompetent.

    What I did right above is correcting limited or distorted thinking so to make it more balanced and true to reality.

    Thank you Anita, I think I see this more clearly that I assume a lot and it’s wrong. One time my colleague mentioned that those “important people” (sorry I call them like that, just I prefer to not use their work titles or names) said something about me on another meeting that I was doing this project and it sounded like they almost… did not care to comment on me personally, just mentioned some information I sent them. I think I really do assume too much, that people judge or comment on me, my personality when in fact most of the time they do not focus on that. I am learning to see it more clearly now and to remember this more often.

    Everyday I am learning to unfreeze. Yesterday on the meeting someone accused me of not sending something and I right away said that I did, and that my version is somewhere in the e-mail. I repeated that again 3 times, did not argue but politely defended myself in response to what they “accused me” of. Normally I would just sit quiet and not respond, silently agreeing even if someone would not tell the truth. But this time I was really trying to analyze what was going on, that someone is trying to convince me of something and I wanted to not be passive, to not freeze. It is difficult and may sound weird but this is what I am learning now. It is not going fantastic but I am trying.

    I still have those days (like today) when I just spend all day watching trashy tv shows, or youtube channels, just wasting my time. I think it’s part of the freeze response. After I have stressful day I usually just sit on the couch until it’s late and then go to sleep, being passive, not “living” for the rest of the day. I want to fight it but it’s hard. I think this would be great obstacle – my freezing for the whole afternoon/evening which happens almost every day and I need to change that. I noticed I am not creative at all compared to other people and it is hard for me to focus on any hobby besides passive watching non quality shows or videos. Sometimes this is all I do all week after work but I am aware and want to change it.

    Tee,

    Congratulations on these amazing developments!

    Thank you, I have still a lot to do and fix about me.

    This “delay” in reaction can also be explained by disassociation. You don’t notice it immediately because you’re not fully present, you’re not fully observing what’s going on, while it is going on. Only later, in the safety of your home, you sort of “unfreeze” and start realizing what has really happened and that you might have failed to react… Do you think that this is what’s going on?

    Yes, I noticed that long time ago, but did not quite understand that. Even when my ex-friend was here and he scolded me about my cancelling plans and not listening to him, my first response was that I did not know what to say, I think I did not fully comprehend what was going on. Part of things I wanted to tell him I did, but it was a week later that I thought it through, talked here on this forum to Anita and made sure what happened. So yes, that is what is happening not only in threat situations but also when talking to people with no possible threat. I am trying to remember this to stay active more and more often during the day.

    Walking in nature also helps a lot in staying present and grounded. To practice being grounded during your walks, you can put your attention on your feet as they are touching the ground.

    The idea is to try to engage all of your senses. If you’re alone on your walks, you can even name out loud the things that you see and the sounds that you hear. That’s how you can further strengthen the sense of being grounded and present in the here-and-now.

    If this helps then I will practice that more. It gives me motivation to change my destructive daily routine, be more creative.

    So good to hear this! It sure does feel good to be respected, but also to have self-respect. You are making a lot of progress on that path and I am very happy for you!

    Thank you to both of you, Anita and Tee for giving your time and effort. Take care.

    #408765
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    You are very welcome and please take as much time to respond as you need. Just because I am often quick to reply does not mean that you should too. Congratulations for being engaged in learning to not assume (and instead, to check assumptions and see if they match reality), and for learning to unfreeze

    “Yesterday on the meeting someone accused me of not sending something and I right away said that I did, and that my version is somewhere in the e-mail. I repeated that again 3 times, did not argue but politely defended myself … Normally I would just sit quiet and not respond, silently agreeing even if someone would not tell the truth”- very impressive progress, I am positively impressed!

    I still have those days (like today) when I just spend all day watching trashy tv shows, or youtube channels, just wasting my time. I think it’s part of the freeze response“- I don’t see how it is a part of the freeze response. I think that it’s a way to calm yourself down from the day’s stress, a way to regulate your emotions. Doing some of this is healthy.

    I think this would be great obstacle – my freezing for the whole afternoon/evening which happens almost every day and I need to change that. I noticed I am not creative at all compared to other people“- if other people are less stressed than you, then they are less exhausted and drained and therefore, they have energy left to be creative. They are fortunate for having had a healthier childhood than yours one that allows them more energy. Don’t criticize yourself for not having been as fortunate as them. Have empathy for yourself instead. The more empathy you extend toward yourself, the less stress you will experience and the less need you will have to distract yourself from the stress in front of the TV.

    anita

    #408766
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita, this, what you wrote,

    I don’t see how it is a part of the freeze response. I think that it’s a way to calm yourself down from the day’s stress, a way to regulate your emotions. Doing some of this is healthy.

    if other people are less stressed than you, then they are less exhausted and drained and therefore, they have energy left to be creative. They are fortunate for having had a healthier childhood than yours one that allows them more energy. Don’t criticize yourself for not having been as fortunate as them. Have empathy for yourself instead. The more empathy you extend toward yourself, the less stress you will experience and the less need you will have to distract yourself from the stress in front of the TV.

    .. that really changes my whole perspective and thinking about this. For years I was blaming myself for wasting time and not being creative, forcing myself to spend quality time.

    Anita, you write it all so easily. It really changes everything, in fact when I was afraid to state my boundaries and tell what I needed to say to my ex friend, You just responded “It is not that bad” (among other things of course). So simple and true.

    I wish I could do the same.

    I will be more kind to myself.

     

    #408775
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Caroline:

    that really changes my whole perspective and thinking about this“- good thing! Unfortunately, old perspectives and old thinking are remarkably persistent because they are habitual: you are in the habit (a mental habit) of thinking in certain ways. Therefore, your old thinking will not disappear just because new thinking appeared. When you encounter certain distressing real life circumstances, the old thinking will automatically return. You will have to repeat the new perspective and new thinking until these become your new habit.

    For years I was blaming myself for wasting time and not being creative“- and all these years you were not guilty.

    Anita, you write it all so easily…. simple and true. I wish I could do the same“- it’s been a while since I dedicated myself to simple and true thinking, ever since I read about and started Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which is about changing untrue- and complicated thinking=> true and simple thinking. I am getting better at it and so are you!

    I will be more kind to myself“- please do, you deserve kindness, I know that you deserve kindness!

    anita

    #408816
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Caroline,

    If this [walking in nature and engaging all of your senses] helps then I will practice that more.

    Yes, it does help with grounding. The more grounded you are, the less chance that your nervous system will go automatically into dissociation. It’s like creating new neural pathways, which enable you to stay more present… Anyway, try it and let us know how it went…

     I have still a lot to do and fix about me.

    Sure, personal growth is a slow and gradual process, with ups and downs, and it never ends 🙂 Sometimes you’ll feel great about yourself, the next day you’ll feel like you’re back in the old patterns. Throughout it all, it’s important that you have compassion for yourself and are patient with yourself. If you haven’t succeeded to respond the way you wanted today, you can try again next time. Patience, self-compassion and taking small steps… I think those are key to progress.

    Anita made a great point how watching TV (even trashy shows) is a way to unwind and calm down after a stressful day at work. We all need to unwind on a daily basis, to relax and soothe ourselves… With time, you’ll find better ways to soothe yourself: more of the self-care activities (such as talking walks, which you’re already doing), and less of the empty stuff, which doesn’t nurture your soul.

    But as anita said, don’t be harsh on yourself if you sometimes end up binge watching on those TV shows… What you can do is you might limit the time you spend watching those shows, say instead of the entire afternoon and evening, you tell yourself that you’ll spend max 2 hours in front of the TV. So you make a compromise with yourself: a little bit of your favorite TV show, and a little bit of something else, which is a healthier/more nurturing type of relaxation. So no one loses and everyone wins 🙂

     

    #409028
    Caroline
    Participant

    Anita,

    Dear Caroline:

     When you encounter certain distressing real life circumstances, the old thinking will automatically return. You will have to repeat the new perspective and new thinking until these become your new habit.

    Understood. I need to practice new way of thinking and responding. I already behaved in non-passive way several times, maybe it’s not a lot but I know something has changed in me. I want to be more brave.

    Today my coworker told me that yesterday there was an argument and an outburst of anger of the abusive person in our team, the ex-friend of mine. The other girl who works here says it is becoming a problem and that “he would destroy everyone and he is a sociopath”. I know that on our next weekly meeting he will “perform” as usual (talk in specific way – like an actor, show off, laugh at people, curse – he would usually talk like that for 40minutes while we all listen) and it is becoming a problem indeed that we all passively listen and allow this – along with our manager (he is passive too).

    I know I probably won’t win this… or maybe I should believe I will. Already a couple of people left this job because of his behavior. None of us have an option of a new job yet. I want to call him out and stop his “showing off”, do something, stop being passive – because passive means accepting.

     I know that you deserve kindness!

    Thank you, Anita. It changed a lot since I allow myself to feel that I feel, to rest, even if that means watching low quality tv shows. I noticed since I do not pressure myself to do something creative, I have more pleasure spending the day whichever way I choose.

    Tee,

    Yes, it does help with grounding. The more grounded you are, the less chance that your nervous system will go automatically into dissociation. It’s like creating new neural pathways, which enable you to stay more present… Anyway, try it and let us know how it went…

    I have not had a lot of time to spend in the nature this week but I am planning to do it tomorrow: to go to the park, take some pictures and rest.

    Sometimes you’ll feel great about yourself, the next day you’ll feel like you’re back in the old patterns. Throughout it all, it’s important that you have compassion for yourself and are patient with yourself. If you haven’t succeeded to respond the way you wanted today, you can try again next time. Patience, self-compassion and taking small steps… I think those are key to progress.

    Great point. I will remember that. Being kind to myself.

    don’t be harsh on yourself if you sometimes end up binge watching on those TV shows… What you can do is you might limit the time you spend watching those shows, say instead of the entire afternoon and evening, you tell yourself that you’ll spend max 2 hours in front of the TV. So you make a compromise with yourself: a little bit of your favorite TV show, and a little bit of something else, which is a healthier/more nurturing type of relaxation. So no one loses and everyone wins 🙂

    I am trying to put it into practice. Unfortunately I ended up not doing anything productive this week but I what I did is took a bike few times to go to the supermarket and thus spent some active quality time, so..  I am working on it.

     

     

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