Letting Go

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    Hi Everyone, I’m back.

    So, does anyone know how to let stuff go? I think I do, but I’ll still be dragged back.

    Example: I spent the last two months releasing the pain from a broken friendship [they ghosted me, even at parties they would pretend I wasn’t talking to their face and walk away as I was mid-sentence talking directly to them, and when I finally called them out on it they said it was all me not them] yesterday at work, I overheard their name and it was like a gut-punch. Last night I had a dream I was alone and they came to visit with their girlfriend, but the girlfriend sat quietly on the couch as he followed me around, hugging me and telling me he loved me and wish we could go back to what it was like, regardless of how many times I told him to back off.

    That’s just one example. I could go months without thinking about the ex who gaslighted me, only to mention a story that he was part of or someone has the same name, and bam, I’m imagining having a conversation with him [sometimes I’m telling him to take a long walk off a short pier, other times he’s abusing me again, a few times we’re civil and share the blame] Anyway, people keep telling me I don’t let things go, that I focus on something until to the point of torture, but I don’t know how to let go, or what it really means. I thought I was over those examples. The majority of my days don’t involve the memory, but something creeps up and drags me back.

    Can anyone help me understand?

    Thank you ^_^


    Dear Nekoshema:

    I have the time this morning, and the interest, so I am going to put together a few posts for you. The first will be all your posts from your earliest thread to the most recent. I copied everything you posted, take away a few “thank you”‘s and such.



    Nekoshema, posts March 2015- May 2020:

    March 24, 2015: “Hello, Don’t know exactly how to start this, basically I’m trying to let go, be happy, and at peace with everything, but it seems it’s almost impossible for me. I’m a really nice person, but I’m shy and have been used and abused [not physically, mentally and emotionally] in the past. I am also shy, so as a result people take a look at me and think I’m scary. Everyone also thinks I’m miserable [My nickname in college was ‘misery’ too] but I’m not. At least I don’t think I am. Over the years I’ve begun to question if I’m really happy since everyone says I’m not. I have a <span title=””>good job</span> close to my apartment that I love and I live with my boyfriend who is probably the best thing in my life, but no matter how hard I try to be happy, let go, and find emotional peace, everyone thinks I’m just getting worse. I journal, I talk to people, I meditate, but it doesn’t help.

    July 6-7, 2015: Hi everyone, I read posts like ‘I worked a 9 to 5 and was miserable until I spent a year backpacking through Thailand [or wherever] and discovered my true calling was a motivational speaker/yoga teacher/writer’ this is great for some people, but I know it’s not for me. I’m trying to figure out what I want to do for a career, and so far all I know is what I don’t want [I’m sick of working in kitchens, sales, or dealing with the public like waitress or customer service because I can’t cope with people yelling at me because ‘it’s not your fault but you’re the person I’m dealing with so I’ll blame you’.] Sadly, that’s all I know. My question is, what are ways people have figured out what they were ‘born to do’ as they say..(*Member replying: “what makes you happy (regardless of making money?” ) Is it strange to say I don’t know? As a kid I changed my mind every week, but for the past 10 years I’ve basically been on autopilot. I remember being 14 at dinner telling my mom I was thinking about being a farmer or a writer, maybe both, and she told me that farming was too hard, but I’m a good cook so I should be a chef. [I am a good cook but I pursued culinary because people said I should not because I was passionate.] I’m thinking about becoming a maid because I like cleaning and organizing but again people think I should go into financial planning because I’m good at budgeting [but I hate math]..I don’t have a car so volunteering in my area could be a bit tricky, but I’ll look into some things. What I meant was I’m a talented chef, but it’s a hobby. I went to chef school and worked in kitchens on and off for 10 years and I hate it. Cooking for friends and family, no problem, having to rush around making 100 meals in an hour not fun. Growing up I was close with my family and friends and wanted to make them happy [long story] but now I’m at a point where I don’t get others input, and I’m lost. I think this or that career would be fun but I don’t know how to be sure, as the primary bread winner in a paycheck to paycheck household I can’t decide to try on different job hats to see how they feel.

    Sept 24, Oct 23, 2015: Ok, long story short I’m done with my job, I don’t hate it, I loathe it. Sadly I’m stuck until I move next year so I’ve decided to do online courses to find a career I love. Family counseling seems amazing, but I don’t have a clue how to get from online psychology courses to family counselling and I’m just getting more confused and frustrated the further I look online. Everyone I email either doesn’t respond or a I get a ‘no reply’ automatic response. Does anyone know what I should study/do to become a counselor? Some sites tell me it’s 7 years and a doctorate, others two years and a state test [side note I’m in Canada] and others say a master’s degree and two years internship. Please, does anyone know?

    I’ve got relatively good patience. And I’ve been an acting therapist for friends and family from a very early age. Not qualified, I’m just a good listener and can give good advice [or so I’m told] my real problem is emotional, but I’m working on that one. Psychology has always interested me and through researching what you can do with psychology courses counseling really got me excited, which I can’t say happens all too often.

    Yea I’m all over the place with the online classes, but I’m pulled in the family counseling direction the most. [I also like spiritual counseling but I think it’s a harder sell] I am planning on taking other courses and I’m open to other possibilities, I’m just pulled more towards counseling. If I found a job moderating help forums I’d be happy too, but I don’t think it’s realistic. I’m trying to keep an open mind [today’s a good mood day for me] but I want to find something I love and go for it since I’ve pretty much gone through everything I hate.

    I emailed someone in the field I’m interested in, she got a Masters of Psychology from the University of Toronto, then a 2 year counseling degree from a reputable college finally she interned for 2 years. I’m looking into an online counseling course and then interning [as she suggested] But a wrench was recently thrown into the plan so I’ll probably not do that [or at least later than I planned] I also heard of animal behavouralist, which also interests me because I’d apply my knowledge to understand dogs and cats in shelters to help them in the adoption processes or use it to help train dogs. So many options lol. Need to consider a lot of stuff before moving forward, but I think I’ll do online while my boyfriend is in school [he’s decided to go to school for 3 years starting next fall. Gives me time to figure stuff out].

    Nov 15-16, 2015: Hi everyone, Ok, so I know I can’t just say “that’s it! I’m done being depressed.” And stop forever, but I am sick of being depressed and I want to figure out how to heal. I have anxiety and depression, and I have learned to live with anxiety and I rarely have panic attacks anymore. Now I’m wanting to focus on my depression because it’s gotten out of hand. Does anyone have any suggestions? I already meditate and journal, does anyone have any other suggestions? My doctor doesn’t want to prescribe anything because [her words] I should “just be positive.” And I can’t see a therapist because I can’t take any time off work [only employee] I can’t afford it, and the only therapist in town is open on the weekday, so therapy is also out.

    I know you shouldn’t put your happiness on outside influences but I’m sure once I move and find a new job next year I’ll be fine. [Or at least not as down] I’ve always been called negative, so it’s hard to say. It really started to spiral a year or two ago I think. Not too sure why. I get a lot of support from my boyfriend, so I guess finally talking to someone made it explode. We were actually talking last night, he thinks the problem is I’ve bottled my emotions and they’re all coming out. I guess that could be true. But if that’s the case I’ve got almost 20 years of bottled emotions. I say that because my negative emotions began when I was about 9 and my parents started fighting. I’m the oldest so I was told to ‘be a rock’ and I had to help everyone. My mom had depression and cancer at the time and my dad was so stressed he smoked 3 packs a day so I had to step up. People didn’t like seeing me upset, so I tried to please everyone. But I doubt that’s the problem, that was so long ago it doesn’t matter. [Or at least it shouldn’t] Everything I seem to try only makes my depression worse. I’m not suicidal, but if I was to describe my daily emotional state it would be ‘numb’ I don’t really feel anything, just a steady medium. Oh well, perhaps I’ll try finding a hobby, that might help.

    Jan 3, 2016: Hi everyone! Ok, so 2015 was hands down the worst year I’ve ever had [not exaggerating] my life is average, maybe something really bad happens once a year, but 2015, one friend nearly died of an aneurysm, 8 friends died [Which I know can’t help death, but the last person I knew who died was 5 years ago, so 8 in one year is rather high for me] whole bunch of financial things for myself, my boyfriend, my sister and my mom, and this year I was sent to the hospital and had to restart 3 days, was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, and all December my boss played this horrible game of chicken where he told me every couple days work was closing. On the 29, he said it was definitely closing, couldn’t get a hold of him for 2 days then get a call an hour before closing ‘never mind, managements decided we’ll stay open month to month.’  My breaking point was December 29, so I decided that enough was enough and I’m leaving my job and moving 3 hours away to the city. Because I’m fueled by vengeance [joking] I’m determined to make 2016 the polar opposite of 2015. I’ve made a bunch of plans [I’m going to tackle them one at a time. Currently it’s moving and finding a new job for March that’s my main focus] I’m very positive and full of energy right now, but I want to stay this way all year [and I know I’ll have bad days but I want to average more good days] anyone have suggestions on how to keep motivated, optimistic, and on track? I’m not one for resolutions, so I’ve never had to make a game plan for a long term change.

    Jan 14, 2016: Hi everyone! Ok, so, my nerves have been bugging me the past two days, and I’m curious if anyone has any suggestions to make them calm down. I do have anxiety, but it’s under control [as far as I can tell at the moment] some of you may remember from a previous post I’m throwing caution to the wind [in a matter of speaking] I’ve quit my job and am moving 3 hours away! I’m really excited, but the voice in the back of my head is terrified I won’t be able to find work in time, won’t get an apartment in time [March is my last month in my place] won’t get my boyfriend and my “dream apartment” which we’re looking at this weekend. Anyway, all these things are slowly piling up and I’m worried I’m become a nervous wreck come mid February [my last day of work] Any suggestions to calm that part of my mind?

    I’m calmer now, I just noticed this is day two with a knot in my stomach, tense shoulders, and shaking arms, and I just know it will get worse. I notice it usually crops up around 10, so I might try relaxing with some tea around then if possible. I had planned things out [that’s me, to do lists everywhere] but I hit a bump on Monday and my nerves are up. I also decided last night to give some stuff over to my boyfriend, so that might also help. Really should start packing so it’s slow and not a giant scramble lol.

    Feb 3, 2016: Hi everyone! I don’t have a personal question this time, I was just curious how everyone was getting on with their life? It’s February and many people often do new years resolutions [I personally don’t like them, but I do set goals throughout the year] so I was just curious how everyone’s year is coming along? Mine so far is great, I got this amazing apartment I’ll be moving into in March, and I just had an interview I feel went really well. Never thought I would be excited to work at a Starbucks, but I really love being a barista, and it’s a real mood boost for me to work with other people. On top of that it’s a short bus ride away [15 minutes by bike] so it would be so if I get it. Compared to this time last year I feel so much better. I also wanted to thank TinyBuddha, the past couple weeks the articles posted always seem to line up perfectly with what I was going through and it helped keep my spirits up. Still have some work to do involving emotional growth, but, it’s only February after all.

    June 20, 2016: Hi everyone! Sorry I’ve been away, busy settling into a new place with new routines. Anyway, it’s been a struggle financially since I moved but I’ve somehow managed to not go bankrupt yet. My boyfriend has always struggled keeping work, and after 6 weeks of searching he found a job only to lose it about 6 weeks later. Yes I was livid to say the least, but after about 30 minutes I relaxed. It’s not that I stopped caring per say, but it hit me we’ve been ok this far so we can manage for a little longer. I’m just wondering if I’ve actually calmed down about finances or my brain has finally snapped and I’m just ignoring the impending doom on the horizon. How can you tell the difference?

    Sept 22, 2016: hi everyone, long time no see. I know it’s not selfish to say no, but how do you get the knot out of your stomach after doing so? Long story short, today is a special day for me, and I’ve been looking forward to it for a while. I’ve worked 6 long shifts in a row, and as luck would have it, I got the day off I was hoping for [todays a religious holiday for me, but I don’t like booking the days off in case people ask] so I have a ton of plans today based around getting my home ready for tonight’s dinner. About 15 minutes ago my co-worker called and she sounded terrible, and asked if I could take her shift [which if it was a 4 hour shift I’d be fine, but it’s 7:30-5] this is the first time I’ve said no to covering a shift for anyone, and now I feel like crap because technically my plans aren’t that important, so it means I won’t spend the day cooking and cleaning, and dinner would be held a few hours later, and I might miss my religious gathering, but on the other hand it’s what I want to do, I go back to work tomorrow to work a 9 hour shift. I keep telling myself it’s not selfish to say no once, but there’s this other part of my brain guilting me because my plans aren’t earth changing, so I shouldn’t be so mean to a sick co-worker. anyway, any advice would be appreciated, but specifically, how do you get over that guilt from saying no for once?

    Nov 10, 2016: Hi everyone! So I’ve said this before but I loathe my job. Because of my job I have anxiety and mild depression. I work alone because my boss refuses to hire anyone, I work 10 hours a day, no break [people complained they saw me sitting and eating] no vacation, no sick days. At the end of the day I go home and sleep. I know you shouldn’t put your happiness on outside influences, but when almost every waking moment I’m either alone or being told what a terrible person I am for stupid reasons, it gets to you. On the plus side my boyfriend and I are planning on moving early next year [date pending, but it appears to be around March] does anyone have any tips to help get through the day happy? I am happy when I’m not at work, and all my stress is pretty much gone [the only anxiety outside of work is me panicking because of something coming up that’s work related] sadly I can’t quit or move yet, so those options are out…I just hate being in this mood. I wind up feeling better when I’m not at work, but when I’m back that’s when it starts up again. I just need to find a way to cope until I can quit.

    August 13- 15, 2017: hi everyone, long time no post. I’m in the middle of a crisis and would like some help. The whole story goes like this, my life has been pretty much autopilot since I was a kid [my parents went through a nasty divorce and as the oldest I was told I had to step up and take care of everyone] as a kid I would change what I wanted to be every week, one day I was talking about trying to be a farmer because I loved Babe and I wanted to live on that farm, and my mom said ‘farming’s hard. You’re good a cooking, be a chef.’ So I did. [hate working in kitchens] I went to college because my friends told me I had to [didn’t hate it, but it was pretty much lonely high school for me] eventually I quit working in kitchens and tried sales, and hated it [only job I was fired from, and it was due to my low sales] now I’ve been working as a barista for 5 years, don’t hate it, but I don’t love it as I discovered. What I love is making the drinks and the people I work with. What I don’t like is dealing with the customers [being forced to put on an act essentially so they engage with me as I make their drink]. I’m fine with some regulars and I’m the one to answer the phone because I have this phone voice that pulls of friendly and nice but I don’t have to look at you. Wednesday night one of my coworker died. We’re all taking it hard because we really try to make work our second home, we hang out after work, and walk home together a lot since we all live in the same 3 buildings. I’ve been going through a lot of emotions, but what upsets me is he was that person who was always positive [which I want to be] he was always happy, friendly, making people smile, he would always light up the room. He also knew what he wanted to do, music. But I don’t know. He lived his life like a crazy party and he just knew he wanted to create music. And now he’s gone and I’m left wonder what do I want to do? He was 15 months younger than me and his life had a direction. He had extreme anxiety most of his life and problems just like the rest of us but it didn’t stop him, and I want that, but I feel like it’s something I can’t do. I try being happy-go-lucky like him and one stumble I’m reminded by someone of what a negative person I am and I go into my ‘it’s not my fault I have depression’ bubble and start to spiral. [kind of like right now lol] anyway, I don’t know what I should be, a job that makes me want to get up and run there to do my work, not run to a place I think is alright, but I’m working with these people so we can joke around later [don’t get me wrong co-workers make the place, but I realized over the past few days the job isn’t what makes me happy. It pays the bills and doesn’t get on my nerves as much as other places. It would be perfect if not for the customers really, I don’t really like dealing with the public unless on the phone because I can act like I care] there’s also this part of me that thinks I should try writing again because my coworker found out I gave up on my writing and art and always insisted I got back into it for a creative outlet because I’m so imaginative. But I tried getting published  when I was younger. This girl [we hated each other tbh] was bragging how easy it was for her to get her short story published in this literary magazine so I tried. I tried a lot. I have a folder full of hand written rejection letters from literary magazines and I gave up because I realized it’s easy for her because she’s good and I’m not. About 5 years ago my mom’s computer crashed and I lost 75% of my stories so I decided it was a sign I should stop trying. sorry for the long, melancholy post. That’s just where I’m at right now. Wondering why I’m not optimistic, why someone so amazing died, what am I doing with my life, and what should I be doing with my life. If anyone has any advice to help me figure things out I would really appreciate it.

    He died of an overdose. Of what I’m not too sure, but I know he did acid and my coworkers worry he relapsed and started doing coke again. I know the whole ‘hiding your pain behind a smile’ but he wasn’t like that, he really was a beautiful person. He would come to us when he had a problem, it was just an accident which is what makes it so hard for us. I’m an introvert and shy, so it’s hard to strike up conversations, but it’s having to smile and nod while someone calls you an idiot for making a cappuccino with foam when they don’t like foam, or being told you don’t have a real job, or when I am in a great mood and I try to connect and people just look at their phone and ignore me. And I know it’s just ‘there’s jerks everywhere’ but a good portion of my success [to the district manager] is my ability to engage and have meaningful conversations and I’m a failure if the person is more interested in their phone then the barista trying to talk to them. We’re always expected to be ‘on’ so if I was waiting in line to buy a cookie or whatever, people come up and start asking me questions, or if I’m sitting eating my lunch again, ‘how much is this item?’ So I hide in the back and if I say ‘so this customer was annoying’ I get my manager, or assistant manager [two very positive people] question why I have to be so gloomy. Trust me, it’s a lot better than my last place, but my only stumbling block is the customers. I’m not friendly enough according to corporate which discourages me, especially when I would see him joking and laughing like the customer was an old friend and I just don’t know why I can’t be like that too. Regarding my writing, it’s all over the place. A lot of emo teen poetry, some short stories that ended in tragedy, some murder mysteries, one fantasy novel, and a bad romance. I was thinking about trying my hand at nonfiction because it’s not the fame of ‘oh it’s Nekoshema the author of x, y, z’ I just enjoy writing and would like to make money doing it so I could be a barista or whatever, but not as a ‘it’s all I’m good at’ but more of a ‘barista as a hobby’ because I enjoy all the barista stuff, just not the social aspect. One of the last things I wrote was a poem series inspired by books I was reading at the time, the best one in my opinion was the one based of Silvia Plaths The Bell Jar.

    Avocados and Caviar: The feeling of nothingness/ Deep – useless – bleak/ Occasional twinge of melancholy/ But always this suffocating doubt/ Those distant days/ Of avocados and caviar/ Seem lost – locked away/ Or captured – in a picture – beneath a bell jar/ Do I love you?/ Simple yearning for more?/ Did I ever love you?/ Rebel/ Trapped in hell/ Crushing intense pain/ Let it die/ Let the sea come in and take me/ And let me die.

    Its not perfect and it’s probably still sad teen phase but that’s probably the last thing I wrote before I gave up.

    That was nice what you said about my coworker, hiding frustrations just came easier for him I suppose. Regarding the whole don’t smile at the rude customer, I would if I could, but my work doesn’t like that. We’re suppose to go above and beyond for the customer, so we have to act super happy friendly and jump through hopes for entertainment. Yes, we do have our regulars we can kind of be real with, but the ones you don’t want to be, those are the ones you need to impress. Otherwise they complain to head office and we get in trouble. Life still isn’t normal there yet, but it’s getting better. Still, I have been thinking about it, and while I want to move up, it doesn’t feel worth it, like it’s just moving away from the things I like about the job and closer to the stuff I don’t, and I want one of those jobs that makes me want to go. I know there’s good days and bad ones in every job, but something I’m excited to do for 40+ years is what I hope for. it was very sweet what you said about being friendly in my own way, sadly my way of being friendly is to say something sarcastic to you and give a crooked smile. [this is why I struggle making friends, I’m scary lol] I’m glad you like the poem. in the context of the poem I was tapping into [empathizing I suppose] with the main character, with her struggle to be like the people around her. I really like The Bell Jar, but I have to be very careful reading it [I’ve been intentionally avoiding it during this week] because I completely feel for her, one of my favourite chapters is when she sits at the sea side waiting for the tide [why I put that in the poem] there’s been a few times I’ve gotten too immersed in the book and had to put it down. [maybe I shouldn’t connect with a woman who eventually committed suicide in real life] I keep getting these sparks of inspiration only for them to die out and I’m left looking around wondering why I can’t smile and carry a friendly conversation, or why I don’t know what I want out of life. I’m still trying, but it’s just hard when you don’t know how to narrow things down, or where to go. it’s twice as frustrating when most people say it’s normally something right in front of your face you keep overlooking like ‘well then how am I suppose to see it if I keep overlooking it?!’ lol, that’s the annoying part of life I guess.

    Dec 22-23, 2019: Hi everyone! It’s been a while. Long Story! So, when last I was on the website I was going through my quarter-life crisis. Since then I’ve had a lot of ups and downs. Three years ago I moved 3.5 hours away to a new town with my fiancé, and while I love the new life, it wasn’t until February of this year I started making friends. There’s this regular I’ve known for nearly three years who invited me to a movie and we hang out at least once a week ever since that movie. We have a lot in common and clicked instantly. Our lives were actually incredibly similar, we even went to a lot of similar events in the neighbouring city in our teens and probably passed each other in the crowd. We love friendly debates, have a similar humour, and have a lot of the same mental health struggles. He’s encouraged me to start therapy, move out of my comfort zone, and start writing again. When it’s the two of us we are relaxed, reflective, yet still joking and can get rather energized, yet respectful, depending on the topic. When we’re in a group, however, he can become “the life of the party” and adopt this persona of “look at me, the confident intellectual funny man.” I’m not a huge fan of that, but it’s who he is, and he fakes confidence because he’s scared of others opinion of him. Recently, there’s been some concerning actions that make me wonder. We have a very flirtatious relationship, and I genuinely don’t mind when he plays footsies with me, massages my shoulders, rests his arm against mine at movies, or sits a little too close beside me at the table. He’s also rather prideful and arrogant, he loves to prove to people he’s right and they’re wrong.

    Last night I had a party and we chose one thing we were most proud of this year, his wasn’t making new friends, his promotion, being the best man at his brother’s wedding, the birth of his nephew, or finally getting a girlfriend after 5 years, it was joining a new right-wing political party and bringing it down from the inside. After my new friend group left my party and my old friends were left, we got on the topic of my new friends. Half of them they liked, but he and his girlfriend they do not. [I’m not a fan of his girlfriend either, but I know why they’re together so I’m just waiting for him to drop the charade]. My two friends I’ll call them B and K, I’ve known them since we were in middle school, and we’ve been through a ton together. B is amazing with picking up body language and reading people, while K is a human lie detector who is incredibly observant. My friend kept grabbing B’s foot, and B hates people touching her. Even her husband asks before he hugs her. B also noticed my friend was mirroring my body language, was situated directly across from me when we sat down, would get up and follow me around the party. Whenever I was paying attention to my fiancé, my friend would stiffen his posture when sitting, or walk over and stand behind me with his chest puffed out. K also noted he would run hot and cold with his phrasing, demean my fiancé with choice wording [it was passive-aggressive, but worded in such a way it sounded funny] and she noted there were time he was clearly calculating his “oops, I messed up that word, haha I’m silly” and he accidentally did it, so we wouldn’t catch him when he stumbled over his wording. K also said she found his wording rather cruel when I asked about when we were meeting up to play a specific game. He said, “when everyone can be in the same room comfortably, then we shall discuss it.” Which meant we had to explain the month prior something happened.

    He invited my fiancé out to dinner, insisted they sat at the most secluded table in the restaurant, demanded my fiancé sat in the corner table and began interrogating him. He claims my fiancé did something to someone he’s friends with. Who it is and what my fiancé did he was sworn to secrecy [but not so secret as he could tell his girlfriend and roommate, just not the person accused or their partner] at one point he apparently said “what you did was disrespectful. It was disrespectful to me! It was disrespectful to my home! and it was disrespectful to my… Friend. Neko. And she deserves better than you.” [the reason I know this is because my fiancé came home and would repeat that phrase over and over trying to figure out what he meant by building is his way up then freezing, and softly going “friend. So we’re in this odd purgatory where we can’t talk about it because the person who he did something to is so traumatized they can barely leave their house, and until they feel safe, my fiancé isn’t welcome at our social events. This caused my two friends to look at each other and then ask why I’m still friends with this guy because he’s obviously calculating and mean. I said he’s nice one on one which prompted my friends to point out I use to say the exact same thing about my ex who gaslighted me for five years. The thing is, my friend is different. He’s prideful, nervous, scared others will judge him, he’s deeply upset because he’s a “cis, straight, tall, white man” people will perceive him as bad, so he doubles down on this white night stand up nice guy thing. [which is why he’s so extra in public. He doesn’t want to give a bad impression] My ex would give backhanded compliments, be secretive, and insult me in front of other people as a joke. My friend defends me and builds me up at all times. Here’s the point of all this. I know if I approach him, he will get defensive, and when he feels backed into a corner he lashes out [never at me, but I have seen him in heated arguments with other friends, my fiancé, and even his parents] He will look them stone cold in the eye, curse them out, then turn his back on them and ignore any further input from the person. At the same time, I care about him, we get along so well, and we’re great friends I don’t want to let go. However, this isn’t the first time an old friend has met him and told me to run away from this friendship. I don’t have many friends, but every single friend has met him, and every friend who didn’t recently befriend him has told me to run [so I have a total of 9 friends plus my fiancé, 1 is him, 3 are my new friends, the other 5 are friends I’ve known for at least 10 years and they all say I’m repeating the same pattern as with my gaslighting ex] Should I leave it? Talk to him? Or run away?

    I recently said something similar to my therapist about how everyone says I’m too negative and she said “I don’t think you’re negative. I’ve always felt you’re realistic.” I almost cried. I seek validation from others, it’s one of the many things I’m working on. [a lot of abuse throughout my life, I need reassurance, because I’m always double guessing my emotions] That’s why I’m here. It’s a new decade soon and I really want to achieve my goals. I know New Years isn’t going to change much, but I’m really feeling that new year energy thing, you know? So I’ve been reflecting on a lot of aspects in my life, and my friend has become a topic for many as “why are you still friends with him?” He means so much to me, and we mirror each other in a lot of ways, but when he’s in a group, he becomes [for lack of a better word] an alpha male and a lot of questionable behaviour rises up. There’s a part of me that is worried he’s wearing masks and even when we’re one on one it’s an act, but on the other hand, I really don’t feel it is. I’ve just been wrong before, and I’m worried he might be manipulating. Around the time I was at my lowest point, he was too, and one thing we both did was remove toxic people from our lives. The difference was, he told them to their face everything they did and gave them a choice to change or leave. I simply limited my interaction with them until they faded into the background [this includes family members] Recently, he’s been trying to convince me to do the same thing he did with the family I am in frequent contact with. We debated it and agreed to disagree since my view is I love them, just don’t like them, and I don’t want to burn a bridge because there was a lot of trauma in the past. His view is any bridge, even a rickety one, that leads to a toxic place should be burned. I told my friends this and K and B say it sounds as if he’s trying to isolate me from my family. [all three of them know how traumatic my upbringing was, K and B agree I should limit my interaction with my close relatives, and that bringing up the past to go “see what you did” would simply be a cruel excuse for a fight. Confronting my relatives, giving them the long list of abuse I suffered, then cut them out, is what my new friend wants] Anyway, it’s stuff like that, he means well, he wants to help me grow, but his approach can be extreme, and his personality changes depending on the people we’re interacting with. None of my old friends trust him and can see a lot of red flags and similar situations. I admit I see them too. Even my therapist warned me I’m running towards him because he’s broken and I want to save him [especially since he saved me earlier this year] I just don’t know if I should confront him or leave it, or perhaps as all my friends say, run away because he’s actually manipulating me.

    My fiancé says I keep making excuses for him, and my friends keep asking why I want him as a friend. I see the signs, but I don’t get that “bad person” vibe off him like other toxic people I’ve met. He has said he knows he’s not perfect [despite always joking he’s never made a mistake] and he wants us to tell him when he can improve. So I want to confront him about these behaviours because, again, I really care about him as we get along so well and have helped each other grow through the year. My problem is I’m terrible with wording, and I know if I say the wrong word it will set him off. No, he won’t get violent, I mean he will either cling to “but you said angry when you meant upset” instead of hearing my point or do that curse me out and storm off. I have heard from a lot of people, including my fiancé, they suspect he’s trying to break us up. I highly doubt that mostly because I have such a low sense of self-worth I doubt anyone as attractive and charming as him [because he is, there’s a lot of girls who have crushes on him, but he’s convinced he’s ugly and nobody likes him] would actively pursue someone like me. However, you’re the first person to claim he sees me as a “prize” which does seem to explain a few other behaviours of his surrounding his “girlfriend” and his treatment of her [it’s normally indifference. He’s only called her his girlfriend once, only to apologize to me once she left the room. He never elaborated on why though] While I admit to our flirtatious friendship, the fact he’s affectionate isn’t exactly exclusive to me. He has more female friends than male friends, and while I’m the only one he’s given back rubs and played footsies with [I’ve asked them] if he knows you’re comfortable hugging him, he’ll hold your hand or accidentally brush against you a little more than coincidentally. This leads B to conclude he’s a creep [especially since he grabbed her foot twice. The first time he was rubbing her sock talking about how cool they were, the second he grabbed her foot and when she said “that’s not your girlfriend’s foot” he apparently didn’t let go for almost a minute] granted, I don’t want to assume he’s a creep, but laying it out like that [and I’m leaving out a ton of moments I’ve had with him where he would cuddle up to me, which has doubled in frequency since he started dating his girlfriend] I can totally see how his behaviour is crossing a line, even if I’m comfortable with it. I feel it’s all his perception of himself and I’m hoping to talk to him [but I’m not sure how to word it] so we can work together to improve his “alpha” persona when he’s in public. He tells me frequently how he’s the master of perfect first impressions and he’s terrified he’ll never live up to that first impression so he goes extra with everything. I can’t tell you the number of times we’re in a group and when the two of us leave to head home you can see him physically drop and breathe a sigh of relief and he turns into this completely different person who is anxious and sweet and tranquil. I’ll never forget this one time in the summer we were sitting on a patio completely alone [the plaza had closed and we were watching the sunset listening to some folk music] and we were just chatting about life. He was telling me how happy he is with how his life has turned out and how lucky he was to be a bachelor. We started chatting about life and philosophy all tranquil until his dad drove by and saw us. His father gave him this friendly but finger-wagging “it’s nice you’re hanging out with Neko, but doesn’t she have a fiancé? You need to find a girlfriend of your own. Neko, help find a girlfriend for my son, he’s bee single for years.” then jumped in his car and drove off. This resulted in my friend who fifteen minutes earlier was overjoyed with being single to go “he’s right, I’m miserable and need to find someone. Do you have any single friends, Neko?” and when I called him out on it he claimed he was fooling himself and needs a girlfriend. Perhaps I’ve fallen for the friend I see when I’m alone with him when in reality he’s more often surrounded by people and is, in fact, the confident, assertive, calculating person in reality and his persona has become his personality. I don’t want to believe I’ve fallen for someone as calculating as my ex, because I do see his flaws, but he’s always encouraging me to grow as a person, he wants to grow as person, and he’s always talking about how much he loves people who insist on growing. Every time we get together, while he’s doing his whole “look at me” schtick, he’s encouraging people to read books and watch esoteric movies so we can discuss and discover new viewpoints. He doesn’t want to be suck in a box, and I like having a friend who challenges me in a nice way.

    I feel like I’m bad at describing people, but I’m being honest, and I really do see the issues. While I’ll consider taking a step back from our friendship, it’s either I keep him or lose all my friends. I work with his girlfriend and our other friend, and our third friend is his roommate. My work friend and his roommate are the two nobody has issues with. I’ve never felt comfortable around his girlfriend even before they started dating, she’s very judgmental and passive-aggressive, especially towards me and I’m currently trying to put up a barrier between her and I because of how critical she is of me. If I try to take a step back from my friend, he’ll notice. I had a bad mental health month or two recently and he noticed before anyone else and was checking in on me constantly. On the rare occasion I’m upset with him, he notices and will pull me aside to talk. If I stop hanging with him, I stop hanging with all four of them because we’re pretty well woven into each other’s lives now. Another major reason I’m contemplating stuff is because I’m finalizing the wedding invitation list because I’m sending them out next month and he frequently checking up on things, asking guest-related questions, and seeing how the planning is going. I was going to go around not inviting his girlfriend by going “well, he has a plus one” and should they break up, one of the other friends will have plus ones and they’re all single [which is one of the theories why he’s trying to separate my fiancé, I usually had to check with him before any last-minute “who wants to go to this place in an hour” and the majority of the time I would tell him “I would, but my fiancé feels it’s too last minute” and now it’s just me invited, so I always go] but if he doesn’t get an invite, he’ll have questions. Heck, everyone will have questions, because we’re so close strangers constantly think he’s my fiancé.

    I have two separate friend groups. My group of old friends live in the east end of the city, and my new friends and I live in the west end. The only reason K and B know my friend is because I invited them to my party. They do not actively seek him out and don’t go out of their way to socialize with him. My new friend group, we all have varying degrees of eye-rolling “he’s doing that thing again.” The other day I was telling his roommate what my fiancé claims he did at the dinner and the roommate sighed and replied “of course he did that. He thinks he’s some valiant knight protecting his friends when he’s actually coming off as a bodyguard.” and we both had a laugh at our friend because he does this. He thinks people see him as a bad white guy, so he will frequently step forward and go [essentially] “I am a tall, straight, white man, and I am defending the rights of all those who are not me because for too long straight white men have been in charge and it is time you listened to this oppressed group. Since I am defending said group, I am a good person.” He thinks he’s being chivalrous when really it’s coming off, well, desperate for validation? As for our flirtatious friendship, my fiancé is fine with it because he knows it’s harmless and nothing would happen [we have a very open, honest relationship] he’s more concerned my friend will cross the line. As for his girlfriend, she won’t say, because she bottles up how she feels until she explodes. When that happens, she waits until I’m alone [example, I go into the stock room at work and she follows me] then she’ll corner me and hound me until I’m crying because “see, you say you’re sorry, but I don’t think you really are.” Though I have noticed when it’s a little too intense, she jumps between us, gives me a hug [she almost never hugged me before they started dating] then cuddles up to him [and half the time he pulls away from her] Example, this one time we went two weeks without seeing each other [the longest we’ve gone in over a year] when he came into my apartment he raced over and held me for at least a solid minute if not two. After a while, I asked if he was okay, he said no, when I asked what I could do he replied “just hold me.” so I did. It wasn’t until, as I said, a minute later at least, I realized and told him his girlfriend and my fiancé are in the room and he let go. [my fiancé said it was fine, his girlfriend didn’t say anything] when they were leaving he slipped his arm around my waist and was giving me a side hug while we chatting in the doorway. His girlfriend was standing across from me and I could see her squirming and she proclaimed, “I want to hug Neko too!” then tackle-hugged me really quickly, turned and quickly hugged my fiancé [who she has said repeatedly she hates] then grabbed her boyfriends arm and drags him outside.

    Your line about him wanting me to fight injustice made me smile because that’s what he does. It’s what he lives for. It’s something I admire in him. I know what he meant by it, but we have two different worldviews. His upbringing wasn’t abusive but he did have a number of toxic relatives. He confronted them and argued his viewpoint so he could receive some semblance of closure, so he advocates people do the same. I don’t like confrontation, I always tell him nothing disturbs me, he can say/do anything and I won’t be bothered, but in that friendly debate, I explained the only thing that triggers me is being in the room with two people arguing. If two people are screaming a each other I break down, so approaching my family and laying out all the terrible things they did, I know will result in them yelling at me, and I will crumble. He’s not pressuring me to do it, he’s articulating how freeing it was for him, and while it isn’t for everyone, he wants me to stop avoiding. My New Years’ goals are working on my self-confidence, tone down my inner critic, and build on the things I’ve started in therapy. I’m trying to build a more positive future, one where I’m more emotionally and mentally stable. My fiancé and I are wanting kids in the next 5 years, and while it’s not the only reason I want to become a more stable, well-adjusted person, my childhood trauma has always been a shadow looming over my vision of motherhood. I don’t want to repeat the patterns, so I’m actively working on finding stability now. I honestly feel about 5 years behind in my life lol. I know everyone’s on a different path, but I feel like I’m 30 going on 25 in terms of accomplishments. This year has been so rewarding, a lot in part to my friend, and I’m hoping to build on the successes and projects I began this year. I’m actually excited for the future [which hasn’t happened since I decided to move to this city 3.5 years ago].

    Regarding his girlfriend [honestly, this is the most times she’s been called that. Most people don’t know they’re dating and he has only once referred to her as his girlfriend. In fact, when she gave him his birthday gift he gave her a high five and said “you’re an awesome friend” then gave me a hug a few minutes later] as I said, I don’t like her because of how she treats me. There’s a small part of me that gets joy out of how he comes to me and not her most of the time [and I know I shouldn’t] but I have tried to take a step back. Hence why at the party I sat across from him and not beside him as normal. [but as my friends observed, his focus was on me and not his girlfriend] I’m currently working on not being so open with her [my therapist suggested it] I’ve known her for a little longer than him, but I know more about him in 8 months than her in nearly 3 years of working with her. She gives me one-word answers or walks away, and when I talk to her about things she will say things in a judgmental tone. She’s also diagnosed me with a learning disability despite the fact I’ve explained why I am the way I am, and that I have been tested for the learning disability she claims I have and I do not, then she’ll go “yeah, but it’s usually misdiagnosed, so I still think you do.” The last time I told her anything in an attempt to be friends was when I was super excited I had a breakthrough in therapy.

    I told her I discovered the emotion I typically feel is shame [huge deal for me, I had no clue. typically, if I’m not happy, I’m sad, other emotions don’t register] and she looks at me, scrunched up her face and goes “oh? you didn’t know you constantly felt shame? Because it was really obvious to everyone.” and skipped away. As for my family, I have all the abuse [I use to say “all but one” but another breakthrough in therapy, turns out it’s all of them *unenthused cheer*] I know it doesn’t excuse it, and it really doesn’t help my case when I say things like “they were only physically abusive when they got mad, so it wasn’t so bad.” But it’s how I rationalize and cope. They were people doing the best they could, despite it being bad. My parents had a very rough divorce [hearing them screaming every night for 3 years can make anyone triggered by arguments] We moved to another Provence with my mom who would get upset whenever we reminisced or called our dad, dad’s side, or old friends, so my sister and I stopped contacting them, and they eventually did the same. It’s strained, but we’re slowly rebuilding that relationship. [which he encouraged me to do]. My friend specifically wants me to confront my mother, who he doesn’t like [yet she finds him charming and can do no wrong].

    I was a parentalized child, had to play therapist for my mother, became her “rock”, was emotionally manipulated and verbally abused. When I was in my gaslighting relationship I developed an eating disorder [which she brushed off as “you’re not thin enough to have an eating disorder”] and began self-harming, which resulted in her getting mad every time she saw and would hit/punch me or throw things at me [which normally happened growing up when she caught me doing something she didn’t like] my mom has moved far away and whenever she comes back to visit she stays at my place. She’s visiting next month and has voluntold me she’s staying. This is why my friend wants me to list all those things to her and go “and for those reasons, I am not comfortable with you in my life.” To which I know exactly what will happen, she’ll cry, probably hit me, and start screaming about what a terrible mother she is. Instead, I limit my interactions to texting and the occasional call. When I’m with my mom it’s odd. The first day everything is fine, and then she’ll say/do something upsetting and I just have to bury it, but in the years she’s been away I’ve become more open and willing to talk about things, so having to bite my tongue around her and her side of the family [aka, the people my friend want me to confront and cut out] it causes me a lot of anxiety, which causes me to have a panic attack, which then causes my mother to hit me and tell me to “stop making a scene” which, as we all know, fixes a panic attack. [spoiler alert, it doesn’t] then she leaves in a huff, goes to my sisters [who is far better at coping and is aware of my struggles] and proceeds to vent to her about what a terrible person I am and how bad our mom feels because of my actions. Lather, rinse, repeat. But I love my mom, and we do get along and have fond memories and good times together. We’ve just became different people and she doesn’t like that, and she has a tremendous amount of guilt surrounding all the stuff growing up, but she doesn’t believe in therapy, doesn’t want me being too open with a therapist [which is why she doesn’t know I go to therapy] and becomes defensive when I bring up the past. I have anxiety, so I work myself up with scenarios and scare myself before she arrives. While things are never as bad as I envisioned, I’m still on edge. This thanksgiving we visited my grandparents and my mom’s family was there [including my uncle who I did cut out of my life and is banned from my wedding. He threatened to kill me and my fiancé and when I told the family they shrugged and went “that’s your uncle for you. He threatened to kill me *proceed to tell me the time he threated/attacked them as if it’s a charming story*”] it wasn’t as bad as I expected, but nobody spoke to use outside of my sister and two cousins [the other “black sheep” of the family, relegated to eat in the kitchen while the rest of the family sat in the dining room. Wasn’t a problem, we called dibs on the kitchen table to avoid them]. The only thing they said [after not seeing me for two years] was “oh, you finally lost the weight” then walked away. No hi/bye nothing, just commented on my weight and vanished. This triggered my eating disorder and made my nerves bad and my mental health went down for about 2 months and very recently I started eating/recovering from it. Basically I like my life now and any change [mom coming back, losing my friend, his girlfriend] is rather upsetting because it’ll change for the worse, and I want things to change for the better. [And I know bad things will happen, but if I can prevent them, I would like to].

    My fiancé is a wonderful man and I’m the luckiest person to have him. I want to stress I’m not pursuing my friend, this is just how our friendship has progressed [we tend to make a lot of innuendos, sex jokes and flirtatious banter]. I discussed it with my fiancé, he said it was a little questionable, but he trusts me completely, it’s my friend he’s convinced is up to something. As time’s gone on he’s stated he dislikes my friend [especially after that dinner, obviously, which my friend still doesn’t believe my fiancé doesn’t want his friendship. I’ve told him to his face twice and my friend still acts like they’re best buddies and nothing happened] and while he won’t tell me to stop being friends with him, my fiancé does hope I walk away from my friend. As for how I would feel in a similar situation, I was years ago. He had a longtime friend who he knew through an online game and they were flirtatious. I met her in the chat a few times, she was very nice, wanted us all to meet in person one day. Unfortunately, she passed away, it was very hard on my fiancé. We decided to have a photo of her at our wedding because she was one of the first people we told and she instantly said she would attend.

    Very fair point about the girlfriend, though I should point out we’ve been friends for over a year and have always acted this way. His girlfriend hasn’t been dating him long, she was one of the friends we hung around with for the same amount of time, and she’s seen [and commented on] our friendship. About a month ago, she asked him out without telling us and wanted to keep it a secret. If we didn’t overhear her bragging to a coworker she was dating our friend, we’d probably still be oblivious. Yes, that whole hugging me in front of her happened after we found out they were dating [which again, it’s only been a month] but when we confronted her with this fact [as in myself, the work friend and the roommate] we said we were fine and nothing had to change. And I’ll admit my friend took the “nothing will change” statement to heart since we’re still as flirty, cuddly, clingy as before. We still sit together when we go out places. I’ve deliberately waited for his girlfriend to take the seat next to him, and he’ll get all confused. Twice since we found out they were dating he’s looked at me all sad and asked why I didn’t sit next to him, and once [at her house I should add] when everyone else got up for food [I stayed in my seat because I wasn’t hungry] he took our friends seat next to mine and moved it so close to me he was practically in my lap. [no joke, I asked the person sitting across from us at the table if there was no room and she replied “oh no, there was enough room to put another chair between your friend and the person next to him] I know I’m not defending his actions very well, I’m mostly trying to say it’s a very new relationship and he’s acting like they’re not dating outside of walking beside her when we’re in a group. Otherwise, it’s the exact same dynamic as it’s been for a year, and if you were to ask who his girlfriend was, everyone instantly picks me. I know his girlfriend isn’t happy, she refuses to say anything, but I’m leaving things as the way they’ve been because that’s what we all agreed on. So until she backs me into a corner and starts demeaning me [I’m betting it’ll be at the New Years party he’s hosting because my fiancé is banned from attending] I’m leaving things as they are, just trying to take a step back from her as a person and avoid any extra physical contact with him. Reading your above post, I’ve met a number of narcissists and while you make a good point, he is different from them, which is why I hesitate to conclude he is one. Yes, I’m also aware of my tendency to “save” or “fix” people, and I’m trying not to with him, but there is a part of me that’s trying because [as far as I’m aware, it could all be a lie] I know him and I know what he’s going through. This is where I get confused because of all my past trauma I’m constantly double guessing and seeking validation because I’m convinced I’m making stuff up, what’s happening is not really happening, like sure he keeps bumping his leg against mine, but that’s a coincidence, not intentional [to which everyone including my fiancé is like “he’s a straight dude? Yeah, it’s intentional.”] I’ll examine how our next hangout goes [if it’s not the party it’ll be movies next week] and if he’s still rather physically close I’ll say something because I have been trying to keep a little distance since he’s now dating someone [despite how she treats me].

    Regarding the party [because a lot of people including K and B asked about that] it’s because all my friends will be there. I’m not 100% comfortable going since I have a pretty good feeling of what’ll happen, but of the people going, two live at the apartment [friend and roommate] so they have to go, then there’s girlfriend and work friend, and I’m mostly going for work friend because she’ll be sitting in a corner while friend socializes with his high school friends [he always forgets about work friend, girlfriend and myself when his older friends are around, though I’m a little curious how he’ll treat his girlfriend in this situation] As for their relationship [brace yourself for this shock] he doesn’t like her. He’s told me before she even asked her out how annoying he finds her, and when I asked how their relationship was going his response was [and this was the only time he’s called her this] “my parents love her. She’s the favourite out of all my girlfriends.” then she walked away and he added, “sorry about that.” then quickly changed the subject. So while he hasn’t said, “I don’t actually like her.” I find their lack of chemistry and his actions towards her odd. Other friends find it odd, regulars and coworkers find it odd, you’re preaching to the choir regarding their relationship. I’m just dropping the subject and waiting for one of them to snap [and honestly, I don’t know who’ll break first, he seems to have very little patience for her yet his parent’s aren’t harping on him anymore, and she’s over the moon she’s got a boyfriend, especially since, like I mentioned earlier, a lot of girls like him.] I am taking a step back regarding his physical closeness, but I still don’t want to lose him as a friend. As for the flirting, I’m trying to do it less, but I’m bad at flirting, as is he, and we didn’t realize that’s what we were doing until people pointed it out, so it’s become our default. [and I know that could be an act, but he’s told me stories about his terrible flirting, his friends have told me stories of his bad flirting, and I’ve seen him try to flirt with girls he liked. He’s bad.] Do you feel I should address my concerns to him? [not about the relationship, about our friendship and his questionable behaviour] or should I just quietly bow out and hope distance fixes things?

    I actually was talking to my work friend today, I asked her honest opinion on our friend and she essentially ord-vomited all the same issues I’ve been having. A few coworkers overheard us and were like “are you talking about friend? yeah, he acts really strange.” then listed things they observed how he treats me and my work friend, also noting how he treats his girlfriend is very cold. I was speaking with his roommate who said he didn’t notice any of this, but he doesn’t hang around us as much, and apparently he’s very affectionate with the girlfriend when they’re alone. I am worried she’s dealing with similar problems I dealt with when I was with my ex, but I’m also worried I’ve been making a big deal over nothing. Roommate said he would observe our friends behaviour [and he does agree he can go a little overboard with his white knight complex and will act like a chivalrous knight and it comes off domineering and intimidating] but we should explain to him one thing we’re concerned about then wait until we bring up another issue. If we approach him in a group or give him a list of problems, he will feel attacked and lash out verbally. So I’m figuring out the best way to approach him and will be talking to him about our biggest grievance when I see him either next week or the week after [depends on right time and how comfortable I feel] I will be stepping back from our dynamic, and possibly boundaries will help.

    Dec 27-30, 2019:   Hi everyone, So, I’ve been trying at work for nearly 4 years for a promotion. Every time I’ve tried, something’s happened to prevent it. The first time my first Manager screamed in my face that I was “too f’ing negative” the second time I was told by my first District Manager that it was the worst interview he had witnessed. Third time I gave the “wrong answer” [I found out later I got my boss in trouble. It wasn’t a major issue, just a difference of opinion. Essentially, my District Manager liked red, and my Manager likes blue, and I sided with my Manager] which resulted in me not getting the promotion and my Manager scheduling me 2 weeks close, open, close, open with no day off as punishment. The next 2 years were interpersonal things, my third Manager didn’t like me and would badmouth me to the new District Manager, and I still don’t know what I did. Many of my co-workers would spread rumours about me throughout the store, and by the time I found out, it was too late and they denied the promotion. This February, a new store opened and all but 3 people left to join my last Manager in the new store. Those 3 were people who liked me, so I wasn’t too concerned. Whole new staff, everyone gets along amazingly. I had a sit down with my newest Manager in September to begin working towards a promotion, but a sudden family emergency happened and she left for 2 months [can’t be helped, but I added it to the list of fate telling me to give up] the acting Manager told me at one point he even suggested promoting me at a district meeting but received pushback from other Managers [unsurprising, I know who it was] so I shrugged it off. About 2 weeks ago, everything settled down, my Manager has returned, and she came onto the floor and asked me to stay late to work on my promotion stuff. The next week she was having her monthly meeting with the District Manager and asked me to sit in, have a coffee tasting, and go over my promotion plan with him. On Christmas Eve, I was in the break room, my Manager came in, flipped to January, and was talking about this person or that person taking vacation, so she wants to get a solid week, if not two, of training in, starting January 13. I’m a store trainer, so I asked who the new hire was, and my Manager smiled and told me I got the promotion and would begin my training with her on the 13. I felt nothing. I forced a smile and thanked her and hugged her, and we told the people I was working with and they were all happy, but I felt nothing. I told my fiancé, I’ve told my family, but I’m not excited. I wanted this, but I keep telling myself January 13 is plenty of time to screw it up somehow. It was too easy, there must of been a mistake. Why don’t I feel excited? Why do I feel like it’s too good to be true? I don’t want to tell other people, especially my friends and co-workers, because it’s not official yet, and I’ll do something to make them change their mind. I don’t want people congratulating me because I’ll disappoint them. [I know that much anyway].

    I’ve been working on my emotions in therapy. I’ve always struggled with them, but I at least would feel something up until 5 years ago when I had my breakdown. Now, I can feel excited, or sad or happy, but a lot of the time I will be in a situation and go “oh, this is a happy moment. I should feel happier, but I just feel content.” I know I’m no longer depressed, my therapist checked, it’s just the social anxiety atm. Regarding my mother’s abuse, I’ve had all the abuse from a lot of people, the majority was actually emotional and verbal. The physical was when I stepped out of line. [sorry, it’s not just you Anita, I really admire you and love reading your responses, I just feel everyone gets hung up on the physical abuse when I tell them when it was far less often than people think.] I feel like I’ve left the situation, I’ve been working on things with my therapist as well as in my personal life, I should be excited after all this struggle, but I feel dread like until it’s the first day of my training, it runs the risk of being taken away. [since you remember my previous thread, only Work Friend knows, I haven’t told the friend or his girlfriend I work with, or his roommate because I don’t want them knowing, but they’ll find out eventually which scares me because they’ll congratulate me. I’ve told my parents, sister, fiancé, and K and B and they’ll all more excited for me than I feel.

    I want to feel, it’s like I should be better by now. I’m doing everything right and I’m still failing. Granted, I am being careful not to say anything to upset her, not because she’ll hit me [it’s been about 10 years since it went that far] but because she’ll start crying and blaming herself, then I’ll feel bad and apologize for what I said to calm things down. At the end of the day, she’s my mom, and we do have good times, and it’s only a week, so I just play nice and don’t take things so personally and it’ll be fine. We texts and talk on the phone and it’s been better recently than the last time she stayed at my place [that was in March or April, she left after two days because I was upsetting her so she stayed with my sister and vented to her about how different I’ve become. Granted, by “different” she was upset the night before I introduced her to my friend and we’re both socialists who disapprove of Trump and she’s a Trump supporter and she was upset I didn’t cave and say she was right, even the next morning when it was just the two of us] I’m working on understanding my emotions and coming to terms with my past trauma without shutting down and spiraling into negativity when I’m confronted. Going back to the promotion: reading over that, now I’m worried I won’t handle it well because I will have to deal with angry customers and difficult situations, and if I can’t handle a few days with my mom who’s just knows what to say to make me cave, how could I handle this promotion? Hopefully, nothing bad happens in the next two weeks, I’m worried I’ll self-sabotage, so I’m continuing on acting like I’m still working towards the promotion. Just going to keep calm and carry on [stiff upper lip and all that lol].

    I’m hopeful for the New Year, it seems many positive things will begin for me in January, I just keep telling myself not to dwell and catastrophize. As for your advice, I am working on thinking before I speak, as well as trying to say encouraging things to myself [I can build other people up, not so much myself lol] I’m also working on keeping my mouth shut. It’s not a bad thing, but depending on how busy it is, or who I’m with, I’ll start chatting and it comes back to bite me, so I’m working on filtering myself and not being so laid back.

    Feb 5-6, 2020: Hi everyone, I’m just curious if anyone has any suggestions on starting new habits and stick to them so you form new habits? I’ve hit a bit of a slump and just don’t seem to have to motivation to do stuff. I’ll pick up healthy snacks, then buy a bag of chips, or I’ll get my yoga clothes on, roll out the mat, and proceed to watch a season of This is Us for the fifteenth time. What helps you keep on track or even start things because once I get over that initial two-week hump, I’m good to go, but I just can’t start. I’ll go five minutes with a new task, go two days, pick it up again, go a week, start once more and so on.

    I quite like a number of these [especially Churchill, his quote seems to get me lol] while I have a desire for change and healthy habits [you should have that if you wish to do something] it’s more the past me was able to form and stick with habits, so why can’t present me just get up and do it already, instead of one good day, three bad days, one good day, a week of bad days [using “good” and “bad” more as “I did a thing” and “I did not do a thing” over morality] but thanks for the quotes, I’m going to copy a few of them down and post them around my home.

    May 28, 2020: Hi Everyone, I’m back. So, does anyone know how to let stuff go? I think I do, but I’ll still be dragged back. Example: I spent the last two months releasing the pain from a broken friendship [they ghosted me, even at parties they would pretend I wasn’t talking to their face and walk away as I was mid-sentence talking directly to them, and when I finally called them out on it they said it was all me not them] yesterday at work, I overheard their name and it was like a gut-punch. Last night I had a dream I was alone and they came to visit with their girlfriend, but the girlfriend sat quietly on the couch as he followed me around, hugging me and telling me he loved me and wish we could go back to what it was like, regardless of how many times I told him to back off. That’s just one example. I could go months without thinking about the ex who gaslighted me, only to mention a story that he was part of or someone has the same name, and bam, I’m imagining having a conversation with him [sometimes I’m telling him to take a long walk off a short pier, other times he’s abusing me again, a few times we’re civil and share the blame] Anyway, people keep telling me I don’t let things go, that I focus on something until to the point of torture, but I don’t know how to let go, or what it really means. I thought I was over those examples. The majority of my days don’t involve the memory, but something creeps up and drags me back.”

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.

    Well, that was hard to read, I do nothing but complain. I’m sorry I keep bothering people with the same problem over and over. Thank you for spending so much of your time on my Anita, but I think it would have been better spent elsewhere.


    Dear Nekoshema:

    No, my time is not better spent elsewhere. Your thread is just where I want to spend my time on. I am still working on it but I am getting tired and have been answering other threads. It may take me as long as tomorrow, sometime on Friday, before I get back to you. I was wondering, are you married by now or is your fiancé still your fiancé??

    And I was wondering (if you want to answer, always keep in mind that.. you don’t have to answer my questions)- what’s the status on that friend that you wrote so much about, the one who flirted with you a lot and didn’t treat his kind-of girlfriend well (a co worker of yours)?



    Dear Nekoshema:

    You shared very little about your childhood, nothing about your relationship with your father or with your sister and very little about your relationship with your mother. Therefore I don’t need more time to go through your writings. This is almost all of what you shared about your childhood: when you were about 9, your parents started fighting. Your mother had depression and cancer at the time, and your father was so stressed that he smoked 3 packs a day. Your parents went through a “nasty divorce.. a very rough divorce (hearing them screaming every night for 3 years)”. Following their divorce, you moved to another Province with your mother and younger sister. Your mother “would get upset whenever we reminisced or called our dad, dad’s side, or old friends, so my sister and I stopped contacting them, and they eventually did the same”.

    Being their oldest child, you were “told to ‘be a rock… told I had to step up and take care of everyone”; you were the “parentalized child, had to play therapist for my mother, became her ‘rock.. I’ve been an acting therapist for friends and family from a very early age”.

    In 2015 and 2016, you described your emotional state as “‘numb’ I don’t really feel anything, just a steady medium..  typically if I’m not happy, I’m sad, other emotions don’t register”. When you discovered “the emotion I typically feel is shame”, you were excited at the discovery. You indicated that you were diagnosed with anxiety and depression, and you mentioned a history of an eating disorder and self harming. In your poem “Avocados and Caviar” you mentioned “The feeling of nothingness”, a deep, useless bleak, melancholy, a suffocating doubt, something lost, locked away, captured in a picture, trapped in hell, and a “Crushing intense pain”.

    About your mother, you wrote: “she has a tremendous amount of guilt surrounding all the stuff growing up, but she doesn’t believe in therapy, doesn’t want me being too open with a therapist (which is why she doesn’t know I go to therapy) and becomes defensive if I bring up the past”.

    My input: I think that you are very loyal to your mother:

    1. She got upset when you as a child called your father or his side of the family, so you stopped contacting them. And indeed you didn’t mention your father other than his smoking 3 packs and participating in arguments with your mother before their divorce, as if you have no contact with him whatsoever, and maybe you don’t.

    2. She doesn’t want you to be open up about your past, about your childhood, that is, she doesn’t want you to talk about her,  so say almost nothing at all. You shared a very, very tiny portion of all that there is. Instead, you shared a whole lot about.. other people, friends, co workers, people .. farther away from you.

    3. The friend you wrote so much about (he may be the one you wrote about in your post today), had a good point when he suggested that you confront your mother, a suggestion you rejected. You are afraid of her and you are under her spell, so to speak. She .. has dominion over you.

    Referring to your poem, I think that she is responsible for your “suffocating doubt” and crushing, intense pain. I think that she locked you away, that she captured you in a picture and trapped you  in hell.

    – Time for you to quit your childhood parent role (“the parentalized child” role.. “therapist for my mother” role.. “her ‘rock'” role), and shift your loyalty: end your loyalty to her and shift your loyalty .. to yourself!

    (Easier said than done, I know, I know…)




    We’re supposed to get married in October of this year, but this pandemic is probably going to make me cancel my reception and scale down the ceremony to maybe ten people. I’m not too upset because large groups make me nervous, but on the other hand there’s that voice in my head telling me nobody wants to come anyway so I should cancel and just go to town hall [I’ve been having some bad mental health days recently. Work just reopened and my manager is taking an extra week off because she’s immune-compromised. I’ve known the acting manager for a year, just through work, and when we work together she seems to take her frustration out on me, so I’ve been feeling pretty useless recently as a result] It’s been a long engagement because I wanted to get married on this specific date in 2020, and then 2020 turned into this lol. I’ll probably have to figure out how Skype works for my wedding.


    As for the “friend,” we’re no longer friends [shocking, I know] Turns out, just because you acknowledge a person is problematic with a ton of red flags, doesn’t mean they won’t kick you down a flight of stairs. So yeah, I saw all his red flags, repeating past negative behaviour, and problematic ways, accepted him for who he was, and still got my heart stomped on. So January 1 he had a Gatsby party [which I ignored pointing out the parallels between him and the character. Also, minor annoyance, I was trying to discuss the book with him and he said it was too boring so he didn’t read it. He was constantly berating me for not reading enough and insisted I read Beowolf, but he couldn’t finish The Great Gatsby] So it wasn’t costumed, but myself and our other mutual friend decided to go in 20’s outfits. Turns out everyone decided to dress up, including himself. Everyone, except for his girlfriend, who was the last to arrive and saw everyone else in costume. No joke this was the exchange

    Her: Oh wow, I didn’t know it was a costume party.

    Me: It wasn’t, work friends and I thought it would be fun.

    Him: Don’t be modest, it was implied it would be costume as anyone who truly understood me would realize this.

    The rest of the party she sat by herself while he kept fawning over my outfit [which, it was a black dress, black gloves, and a feather in my hair, nothing that mesmerizing imo] but he was like “that dress is stunning on you,” “I never noticed how long your legs are,” *rubs gloved arms without permission* “these gloves are gorgeous on you” at the end of the party he even held my coat and helped put it on me. Oh, and at one point I was chatting with someone, he yawn/stretched, and pulled me into a hug [held me to his chest for a solid minute] and from that day on, he’s ghosted me. IDK what happened, but his girlfriend keeps telling me “he’s mad at you, so don’t talk to him because he won’t talk to you.” We had 2 social gatherings before the quarantine and he ignored me to my face. I walked up to him, began chatting with him, he stared past me and walked away as I was talking. I eventually called him out via text and he said I’m inappropriate with him and we should distance our friendship. So long story short, I felt like an idiot for falling for the same shit again, but I don’t want/need his friendship. So even if he does appear in my life again, I’m going to blow him off.


    As for your response, thank you [I say that a lot lol] it really did help [as always] I don’t really talk about my childhood because I don’t want to over-share, but I do, but strangers on the internet, so I’m iffy on how far I should go. But I feel safe on TinyBuddha sharing, so I’m more open here than anywhere else [outside of therapy and to my fiance that is] I am trying to slowly rebuild a relationship with my dad, it’s just odd because I admired my dad so much as a kid, but our relationship kind of stops at childhood because it then became only seeing him for a few weeks in the summer and the occasional phone call. During the divorce, my mom very much leveraged our love against our dad to a degree, while my dad was glued to the computer and didn’t really get off it much. I’ve always had odd sleeping patterns, so when I would get up at 1am, I would get my dad, and he would go downstairs and make himself a Cesar salad and we would sit and talk. He would tell me I didn’t deserve what I was going through and to not take it personally because mom was hurting right now, then he would return to the computer. Actually, this January I finally snapped on my mom’s side of the family. I was visiting my grandparents and my grandfather and mom were going off on what a piece of shit my dad is and I finally said after 20 years, I was sick of hearing it. My mom said she never realized how much she hurt me and said she wants to make it up to me [how/when I’m not sure, but it’s a start]

    Oh, and I wanted to share a little therapy breakthrough. So, as detailed above, my original diagnosis was my doctor going “you have anxiety and depression. Get over it.” and walking out of the room. My therapist did an evaluation when we started and determined I’m no longer depressed, but with my family history of anxiety, I have many of the symptoms of social anxiety. So while we both weren’t wanting to label anything just yet, nor are either of us wanting to medicate something we can simply retain the mind to learn, we settled on social anxiety. Last month it was determined I actually have PTSD because of how badly I was bullied as well as all the abuse I suffered among other thing. I’m still getting used to the idea I have PTSD because while I know anyone could get it, I’m like “I’ve never been to war, I don’t have a reason to have PTSD” which is what my therapist is working on with me; Cutting myself some slack. I hold myself to a hideous double standard. I think I drive my therapist crazy with how I can rationalize anything to make me the bad guy or I deserve to be treated a certain way. [probably not, because she hasn’t snapped at me yet for doing it, but it’s only a matter of time until I push her too far. I like her.] She said something similar to what you said about turning my loyalty to myself, I need to show my younger self some compassion. She wants me to write a letter of encouragement to my 19-year-old self and I’m dreading it. 19-year-old me was the me who was being gaslighted, and I usually dump on her. A lot. I usually refer to myself at that age as an idiot, a loser, and pathetic. So having to say how proud I was for what I did at 19 [I was mailing out manuscripts every couple of weeks, joined in on some protests, completed college] is going to suck.

    Thanks again for everything you do Anita, I really love reading your responses.

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by Nekoshema.

    Dear Nekoshema;

    I am looking forward to read and respond to your recent post when I am back to the computer in about 11 hours from now. Have a good night.



    Dear Nekoshema:

    Regarding your former friend, the one you shared about in your Dec 2019 thread and in this thread, it was a very flirtatious relationship and you somewhat fell in love with him: “We had a very flirtatious relationship, and I genuinely don’t mind when he plays footsies with me, massages my shoulders, rests his arm against mine at movies, or sits a little too close  besides me at the table… a ton of moments I’ve had with him where he would cuddle to me, which has doubled in frequency since he started dating his girlfriend.. I can totally see how his behaviour is crossing a line, even if I’m comfortable with it.. Perhaps I’ve fallen for the friend I see when I’m alone with him.. I don’t want to believe I’ve fallen for someone as calculating.. he’s always encouraging me to grow as a person, he wants to grow as a person, and he’s always talking about how much he loves people who insist on growing.. As for  our flirtatious friendship, my fiancé is fine with it because he knows it’s harmless and nothing would happen (we have a very open, honest relationship), he’s more concerned my friend will cross the line”-

    – it is interesting how much you wrote about this former friend in your Dec 2019 thread and how little you wrote about your boyfriend turned fiancé in all of your threads. In the above quote, you put your fiancé in parenthesis, while your former friend received paragraph after paragraph outside parentheses.

    Also of interest to me is how critical you were of your former friend while maintaining the flirtatious relationship and while believing somewhat that he saved you (a word you used) and helped you grow. For  one, you were very critical of him for having a confident persona around people, a persona that was not his real self. You expressed this attitude of.. ridiculing him for being a justice fighter and whatnot. And his girlfriend/ your co worker, my goodness, you definitely disliked her all along, not  minding, to  say the least, that her boyfriend flirted with you in her presence.

    Another point of interest (I am thinking as I type) is that you have no idea why your former friend ghosted you. He expressed to you earlier that he was into confronting people, like his toxic relatives (a term you used), and yet.. he didn’t confront you with why he decided to ghost you, leading to you not knowing the reason. And you have mutual friends who are still  in your life.. and they didn’t help you figure out the reason. All the information you have is that his girlfriend told you that he is mad at you.

    I wonder what all this means… I am thinking that there is an Honesty Deficiency (HD, a term I just came up with, lol), an HD in the context of the following relationships: (1) between you and your friend, now former friend, (2) between you and your former friend’s girlfriend/ your coworker and something of a friend, at times, and I suspect (3) between you and your fiancé, and perhaps in all of your relationships.

    And I am thinking: if you type less, outside and inside parentheses, typing slowly and seeing to it that what you  type is honest, it will help. I don’t mean that you lie, no, I don’t mean that, HD is not the same as  lying.



    Well, as I said in my previous response, I walk this fine line of over-sharing online. I don’t want to out of fear [my mom use to tell my sister and I the danger of forums, how any tiny piece of information would be used against us, and we were banned from ever using forums] If there’s a specific question and there’s information I think is relevant, I’ll share. [assuming the more detail the easier to find an answer]

    My fiance and I have a pretty perfect relationship. I honestly have no issues. I feel so safe and loved with him. We are both rather silly and joke around a lot. He’s helped me so much over the years. He’s patient and understanding and pulled me through so many dark times. We get along like peas in a pod, and while no relationship is perfect, we don’t really argue either [the occasional “do the dishes” type of thing, but we talk everything through rather calmly] Honestly, I’m the mess in the relationship and he’s this calm support. Yes, there are times he needs a shoulder to cry on and I’m here to help, but he’s far more emotionally mature than I am. I love him so much, I can’t imagine my life without him. Even during quarantine, we hear about how people are fighting and we’re just so confused about how you could be so annoyed by your partner. Yes, I’m an introvert and he’s one of those introvert-extroverts, but he knows when I need my alone time. We’re one of those annoying couples who finish each other’s sentences or make jokes in unison lol. My mom’s side didn’t approve of him for a number of years, and while not all of them like him now, most have come around and decided if I’m happy, they’re happy for me. [he struggled to find sustainable work for years and worked temp jobs, which they didn’t like, and when he got a more permanent job, they didn’t like it was as a part-time sales clerk instead of a “real man’s job” currently he’s in school for system analyst and network engineering] My dad’s side loves him [they all know the struggle of finding employment being from a fishing town, which I suspect is why mom hated him so much at first] So I’m very happy with him, I love him so much and look forward to my future with him. My problems lie with figuring out myself and improving myself over my relationship with him, so the issues I post here don’t normally involve him. [in so far as I’ve talked to him about it in person and come here for further input. He says I overanalyze things a lot]

    As for the former friend, I enjoyed the attention, but I never want to leave my fiance. I love my fiance, not my ex-friend. I only ever wanted him as a friend. [I also saw tons of red flags with him that were similar to my gaslighting] His girlfriend never liked me. I would try to talk to her and she would walk away. I would ask her what she did on the weekend and she would go “stuff” and walk away. [seriously, I’ve worked with her for 2 years and only know 3 things about her; she likes dogs, musicals and is going to univercity] She also has a tone problem. Everything she says is in this condescending tone [you know the tone people make when they’re intentionally trying to make someone sound stuck-up? That’s her tone 90% of the time. I’m not even joking] I stopped trying to be her friend when I told her that I discovered in therapy the emotion I couldn’t pinpoint was shame and she scrunched up her face and responded “oh? You DIDN’T know you felt shame? Because it’s really obvious to everyone all you ever feel is shame.” and then she walked away. I decided to stop trying to win her over after that.

    Regarding mutual friends, this whole thing blew up right before quarantine, so there’s not really any situations where they could casually go “why isn’t Neko invited?” but the mutual friends are the co-worker/girlfriend who hates me, his roommate who has stopped talking to me, and my other co-worker friend who they barely talk. My co-worker friend and I don’t like drama and found this entire thing pure drama that was draining us, but she noticed how they would casually slip jabs at me into conversations to test her loyalty [“You’re really nice, not like Neko. You notice her acting paranoid lately?”] So I told my work friend to not even bother asking why he vanished from my life. [richer for having lost him imo. There were positives like how he encouraged me to seek therapy and how he got me out of the house and spending time with people, but I also overlooked a lot of problematic things] Yes, I want to know, but I’m not about to deploy a spy. I don’t care if she’s friends with both of them, I don’t own her, she can be friends with whoever. Meanwhile, she claims they’ve occasionally asked if she’s still friends with me. [so we both concluded they’re trying some high school drama stuff and we’ve distanced ourselves from them] The last time we all got together was for the roommate’s birthday in March. The girlfriend and ex-friend sat at the opposite end of the table while roommate walked around talking to everyone [including us, it was a large group] We had a great time chatting with the roommate and his friends, while those two sat quietly at the other end. IDK if they were even talking to each other. The few times I looked at that end to chat with someone they were quietly staring at their drinks. My fiance noticed at one point my ex-friend started staring at us and his girlfriend tapped his hand so he looked away. The three of us left when the ex-friend made a big speech about how amazing my work-friend is. She was super uncomfortable. She was slowly sinking to the floor as he made this huge “She’s a brilliant artist who is articulate and hilarious. A vision of loveliness. I am honoured to call her a friend” thing after seeing a picture of her painting for the roommate being passed around. And I was getting pissed because neither of them said a single word to us for a solid hour, and here he was making this unprovoked speech about how blessed he was to have a friend like her. Without either of us saying anything, my fiance quickly and calmly walked off, paid for our meals, and we left. We haven’t seen the guy since, no plans to see him again.

    I like your idea of HD [I say after another wordy response lol] I will do so in the future! [after this post lol] I can be somewhat chatty if I’m engaged in a topic, I think it’s the storyteller in me. The parenthesis thing idk when I started that, but it was a way to have two thoughts at once, one being a side note. I do that while talking too where my brain is jumping ahead and I just blurt out the conclusion lol [that’s another reason why my fiance and I click so well. He has ADHD and he’ll go off on a random tangent or say an esoteric quote and it’s never confused me. People usually turned to me to translate because if my fiance tries he just gets more hyper and worked up, while I calmly go “a, b, c, lead to d”] Thank you so much again for shedding some light on my situation. You really help me a lot. I hope to repay you someday. I hope you’re well Anita.


    Dear Nekoshema:

    I read just a bit of your recent post; will read attentively and reply tomorrow morning, in about 13 hours from now.



    Hi Nekoshema,

    I have gone through your original post.

    I will suggest you some practical techniques.

    1. The Sedona Method

    2. The Release Technique

    You can look up about them and practice either one of them is fine. Both of them are ‘letting go’ techniques. Simple ones.

    Only a practical technique as such will help you come out of your issues of letting go. Moreover once you know them, you can equip yourself with these and keep it with yourself for any other challenges life throws at us.



    Dear Nekoshema:

    You are welcome and thank you for your kind words.

    “my mom used to tell my sister and I the danger of forums, how any tiny piece of information would be used against us..”- don’t you wish she made sure that she was not a danger to you and to your sister?

    You wrote that you feel “so safe and loved” with your fiancé, that the two of you are “rather silly and joke around a lot”, you don’t argue, and you are “the mess in the relationship and he’s this calm support”. Sometimes he needs your comfort and you give it to him. Here is a time relevant testimony: “Even during quarantine, we hear about how people are fighting and we’re just so confused about how you could be so annoyed by your partner”. You shared that he has a history of temp jobs, then a part time sales clerk job, and now he’s in school studying system analyst and network engineering.

    Reads to me, Nekoshema, that you and your fiancé deserve a better social circle than the one you described!

    “I can be somewhat chatty if I’m engaged in a topic, I think it’s the storyteller in me… The parenthesis thing.. it was a way to have two thoughts at once, one being a side note. I do that while talking too where my brain is jumping ahead and I just blurt out the conclusion”-

    – it will be a great improvement for your thinking and your writing, as well as for the choices you make in life, if you take out the parenthesis thing, get rid of the side notes. Focus on the people worthy of your thoughts and attention, not on people who are not. Don’t get side tracked, jumping ahead and blurting words and actions.

    In your profile you wrote: “When you’ve been to the depth of the darkness, as I have, you learn to appreciate the light”- write about that darkness and the light- none of that belongs in parentheses.

    “I’m doing my best to heal and grow”- healing and growing is not done in parentheses.

    “I aspire to be a writer”, and elsewhere you wrote: “I was thinking about trying my hand at nonfiction”- yes, good idea. Write about that darkness and light you mentioned, write calmly, don’t rush, getting side tracked, blurting out words and details that have nothing to do with your story of darkness and light.



    Thank you so much Ravi ^_^


    Thanks for your kind words, Anita. My fiance and I are homebodies, we’re either chatting with ourselves, he’s doing an online game with friends and we’re all chatting, or I’m on a forum/facebook chatting with my friends. His family is very warm and inviting and we spend a lot of time with them. All of my friends either live far away, are people I work with, or regulars at work. I have learned over the course of four years that I shouldn’t consider people from work my friends the hard way. My fiance’s friends are also my friends, though I have a hard time thinking of them as my friends since they were his first [just another thing from childhood I’ve got to unlearn]

    I know healing and growth is an ongoing process, but I don’t really know, you know? I imagine that one day I won’t struggle as much with stuff, I’ll understand why I do things, be all zen, and be this better version of myself I see in my head. And I know that’s not realistic, but I can dream. But because I don’t see the improvement, I’ll hit walls and conclude I’m either getting worse or simply stagnating and that drags me back into old patterns because I’m not improving, so I think what’s the point in trying? But then I’ve got the other part of my brain that, on good days, will point out how people don’t see the middle part of growth, so I just have to keep looking at the light at the end of the tunnel.

    I also have this problem where I want to change, but I don’t want people to acknowledge I’ve changed, but I do, but not really? So, if someone was to say “wow, have you lost weight?” my brain automatically goes “you must have been a whale and not realized it because this person noticed you’ve lost weight” and I know that’s crazy, but that’s what happens and I’m working on not doing that. I’ve gotten better. I can take 3 complements before I start to question how awful the past version of me was.

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