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Lost. Looking for a sign…

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  • #362105
    Tara
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I wrote this on a different thread because it doesn’t only regard my relationships anymore. I feel alone, my anxiety has reduced me to doing nothing all day, and when I’m not anxious then the depression sets in. I have no close friends, my closest friend lives hundreds of miles away from me, my boyfriend and I are no longer on speaking terms as he tells me this is my problem to fix and I’m the only one who can fix it for myself. He says he’ll be here waiting when I’m better over and over, but at this point I think I might have ruined it to the point of no return. I sit in my room at my parents house all day, I go to work, and that’s it. I’m constantly tired, I can’t focus on anything, I know my coworkers notice it at this point. I’m not myself, but at this point I don’t know who myself is anymore, I can’t remember what it feels like to feel normal. I can’t bring myself to make new friends or make plans with old ones, in fear of my anxiety or panic popping up. It’s like a never ending cycle, I feel like a monster, I’m the only one who can fix myself, yet I don’t know how anymore. I’ve hurt the closest person to me to the point where I don’t know if I can mend it. I’m a complete mess, and there is no end in sight. My days are either filled with dread and anxiety or depression and loneliness. I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t know who I am, I’ve lost sight, I’ve lost motivation, I feel like I’ve lost everything. It’s all because of me. Nothing feels okay or real anymore, I’ve ruined my life, just like always. I’m going to therapy and soon will see a psychiatrist but those are the only things I have to look forward to at this point. At this point in my life, I can’t see any point to it all, I don’t even know what having fun is anymore. I seem to destroy everything that matters to me. How do I work on myself and not constantly worry that the person I love is growing apart from me or finding someone else without these issues.

    I’m lost. Any responses help, I’m just looking for a little help, a little hope, a little anything. Thanks for reading.

    #362107
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tara:

    “I’m just looking for a little help, a little hope, a little anything”- when I was your age, I was very anxious and very depressed. I too felt very alone, and I was very alone. I was tired a lot, lay down in bed a lot, did nothing all day.. felt lost. I also felt very guilty. Fast forward, I feel a whole lot better today, because I took on what I call my healing process, or healing journey.

    Tell me about your relationships with your parents, how it was before, when you were a young child, and how it is now?

    anita

    #362111
    Tara
    Participant

    Currently my relationship with my parents is much better than it was in the past, I can confide in my mom about almost anything which I am grateful for, though I don’t feel the same for my dad. I love him, but I don’t feel like I could come to him for these things because of reasons honestly unknown to me. I don’t remember much of my childhood, I know that my parents fought a lot, but I don’t really remember any distinct memories from those events. I was never abused or experiencing any direct trauma as far as I know. I was always in trouble for various random reasons almost all the time when I was younger, and I believe it because of this I felt I could not confide in anyone. I do not remember confiding in my mom much until about the point of 18.

    #362112
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tara:

    “I know that my parents fought a lot.. I was never abused or experienced any direct trauma”- witnessing your parents fighting a lot is traumatic, for a child. I  know because I have that experience. Do you remember the fights, what you saw, what you heard, what you felt?

    “I was always in trouble for various random reasons almost all the time when I was younger”- can you tell me more about that?

    If you choose to answer my questions, take your time answering. I will be away from the computer and back in about 13 hours. I will read, re-read and reply to you further when I am back.

    anita

     

    #362120
    Tara
    Participant

    I don’t remember any direct details from any of my parents fights except very vague memories. I remember a time, not even sure what age I was at, standing at my parents door listening to them scream at each other, I remember crying, feeling as if it was my fault, because a lot of the fights I believe involved their ways of parenting me. I don’t remember exactly what I felt, as I can’t think back to my feelings much before the age of around 14-15. I remember my mom talking to me about their fights even from a young age, about how horrible and mean and angry my dad was, even though me myself didn’t directly experience his anger as far as I know or can recall.

    I was mostly in trouble for various normal reasons, such as messy rooms, bad grades, attitude towards my parents, talking back, defying their wishes, such as talking to boys or texting and making social media accounts when I was not supposed to. When I was a bit older I remember my mom and I often screaming at each other when I reached my teens for things like missing curfew, not doing as well in school, etc. and the only direct thing I can remember saying from these fights is something to the extent of “you only punish me for the bad things I do, you never tell me you’re proud of me for anything.” Thinking back, I know at the time I felt as if things like doing good in school, making great friends, winning awards was the norm, it wasn’t to be praised, it was just what was expected. Saying this, I realize now I get down on myself for this reason specifically after graduating high school, I feel as if because I’m not doing anything particularly spectacular, I am not doing good in life at all.

     

    #362170
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tara:

    I am combining the information you shared in your four threads in regard to your life as a child, at home, with your parents (this is a long post that covers a lot of items, so please take all the time you need to read this, part by part, perhaps):

    You are now 20, a very young adult. Some time ago you were diagnosed with General Anxiety Disorder. Recently, while living with your boyfriend, you suffered from “panic attacks and constant anxiety”, and you mentioned OCD pushing you to overthink. Most recently you moved back to your parents’ house.

    You wrote: “I have moved back into my parents house so I can be in a familiar environment to figure out my anxiety.. being in a comforting environment with my parents”.

    Let’s look at what you shared about this “familiar.. comforting environment with (your) parents”:

    “When I was a child my father had many angry outbursts, yelling, screaming, stomping… my parents fought a lot.. I was always in trouble for various random reasons almost all the time when I was younger..  felt I could not confide in anyone.. I remember a time.. standing at my parents’ door listening to them scream at each other, I remember crying, feeling as if it was my fault, because a lot of the fights I believe involved their ways of parenting me.. I can’t think back to my feelings much before the age of around 14-15. I remember my mom talking to me about their fights even from a young age, about how horrible and mean and angry my dad was.. I was mostly in trouble for various normal reasons, such as messy rooms, bad grades, attitude toward my parents, talking back, defying their wishes… When I was a bit older I remember my mom and I often screaming at each other when I reached my teens… I can remember saying.. something to the extent of ‘you only punish me for the bad things I do, you never tell me you’re proud of me for anything.'”

    My input:

    1. I italicized above the evidence that the home where you grew up was an aggressive home. Even if your parents no longer fight now, your memories of them fighting is still very much alive in your mind, (even if you remember so little of the details or how you felt at the time).

    Like you, I grew up in an aggressive home, and like you, I was very anxious as a result. But at times, I had breaks from aggression (on the occasions that my mother didn’t verbally or otherwise attack me or someone else, or when I was alone at home), and during those breaks I daydreamed to music or otherwise  experienced a much needed heavenly peace of mind and other good feelings. Every child living in an aggressive home gets those comforting, heavenly breaks. It is so because it is impossible for anyone’s brain to endure a non-stop state of anxiety.  But those comforting breaks are only breaks, they do not undo the damage done to a child in an aggressive home.

    When you moved back to y0ur parents’ home, hoping to experience the familiar comfort- at best, you can experience comforting breaks from anxiety, but you are most likely to re-experience your childhood anxiety.

    2. It was bad enough that you witnessed your parents fighting and your mother telling you about the fighting, but you heard that they were  fighting about how to parent you. You naturally figured that you must be a problem child, a monster child, who ruined and destroyed her parents’ lives, her home, and your own life (“feeling as if it was my fault.. I feel like a monster..  I’ve ruined my life, just like always… I seem to destroy everything that matters to me”).

    Truth is, you carried zero responsibility for their fights, but you had no way of knowing that, as a child.

    3. In addition to feeling responsible for their many fights, you were also accused for your room being messy, bad grades, attitudes, etc., so you felt like  more of a monster child, more like a person who ruins everything.

    But the truth is, you grew up in an aggressive home. It is impossible for a child to not be badly affected by aggression at home. It is as impossible as expecting a person punched in the face to show no bruising. Because of the aggression you suffered a lot of anxiety and anger. It’s very sad that your mother expected you to be a well behaved child who kept an orderly room and got good grades etc., while she herself misbehaved terribly by fighting with your father and telling you about those fights when you were so young!

    You got punished by your parents for “defying their wishes” when your natural wish to have a peaceful home was defied over and over again, year by year, for so very long.

    4. You wrote that you “can’t think back to my feelings much before the age of around 14-15”. But you are currently feeling what you felt as a young child: “I’m constantly tired, I can’t focus on anything.. It’s like a never ending cycle, I feel like a monster.. I’m a complete mess, and there is no end in sight. My days are filled with dread and anxiety or depression and loneliness”.

    5. “I feel as if because I’m not doing anything particularly spectacular, I am not doing good in life at all”- As a child and onward, I too felt that I ruined everything. I felt that I ruined my mother’s  life, and that the only way I can redeem myself was to do something spectacular. I day dreamed a lot about being a famous .. someone, change the world, and make my mother’s life spectacular too, make her proud.

    Funny, in a very sad way, because all I really  needed was to  believe that I am okay, that I am a good person, not one who ruins things.

    anita

     

     

    #362226
    Tara
    Participant

    Anita,

    All the things you brought up ring completely true, I’ve been made aware of the effects of my childhood on my mental health, and how a child would learn to cope in these negative ways of thinking by my therapist as well! I am aware none of the things that happened to me in my childhood are my fault, but I guess my next question is how do I break this cycle of thinking due to the fact my brain has been processing these emotions for 20 long years? Its so great hearing from someone who has similar experiences and struggles as me, and for that bit of comfort and reminder I am not alone in this I am so grateful for! Thank you so much!

    Also, as a note, I do not carry any animosity for my parents to this day as I understand and recognize that sometimes things just happen. Unfortunately, I do often see myself still worrying what my parents think of me, even when I was living with my partner away from them, how did you overcome this?

    To further expand on my question, was there any specific ways of healing you found particularly helpful in breaking this codependent way of thinking rooted from your childhood? Any mantras, types of therapy, or books you would recommend to help me on my journey to recovery?

    Thank you! Hope to hear back soon.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by Tara.
    #362230
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tara:

    You are welcome.

    “Still worrying what my parents think of me.. how did you overcome this?”- my father is dead and I ended all contact with my mother seven years ago.

    “Was there any specific ways of healing you found particularly helpful in breaking this codependent way of thinking rooted from your childhood? Any mantras, types of therapy, or book you would recommend to help me  on my journey to recovery?”-

    I attended my first quality psychotherapy in 2011, my therapist’s specialty was Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and he added a heavy touch of Mindfulness to it. Two years after the beginning of therapy I ended all contact with my mother. I continued my healing process after ending my therapy, much of healing has been taking place through my very active, daily participation in these website, more than five years and going.

    Before i started therapy in 2011 I read many self help books, but none helped me, none made a lasting positive difference in  my life. Sometime in 2010 I read (and did work  in the workbook of) “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies”, which led me to look for the CBT therapist that I found, and he did make a lasting positive difference in my life.

    anita

    #362255
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Tara:

    You wrote: “I am aware none of the things that happened to me in my childhood are my fault… I do not carry any animosity for my parents to this day, as I understand and recognize that sometimes things just happen”-

    – what happened to you in your childhood was someone’s fault. If it wasn’t your fault and it wasn’t your parents’ fault then.. indeed things just happened and things will continue to just happen because no one is in control.

    Your parents fought with each other in your presence (you were able to witness their fights), and your mother shared with you her anger toward your father. These behaviors, having been done repeatedly, are behaviors that your parents could have stopped for the purpose of not hurting you.

    Self control is a thing.. that didnt just happen in your home, and maybe it still doesn’t. It was possible, throughout the years, for any one of your parents to say to themselves: maybe this behavior is hurting my daughter, maybe I should stop this behavior.

    For the purpose of your healing, you need to understand the concept of self control and responsibility: who is responsible for what.

    anita

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