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Maintaining Self in Relationships

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  • #348006
    Fiest
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    It’s funny but my memories of the dolls and what not were at a time that I can remember being scared or lacking anything. The only weird thing that stands out is a doll that I had that I used to kind of be mean to. I can still remember what the doll looked and smelled like. Maybe it was her appearance? Maybe it was an influence from my brother or friend? I remember myself as a very happy-go-lucky child aside from this. I think I was 4-6 years old. I don’t remember being lonely. I thought it was fun to take care of things.

    It was several years later that I was left at home with my older brother overnight. We had moved to a different house. I think I was 7 or 8?  This was the time of my life that I remember a lot of fear. Fear of my dad dying in a plane crash, fear of being alone at night and wanting my mom to be there. By that time I didn’t have the dolls, though a year or two later I would get a lot of cabbage patch dolls and kind of resumed the roll of doll mother for a year or so. At this time, it was more the fun of collecting dolls from different countries or doing the “adoption” of a cabbage patch. I liked all toys and played outside a lot. Its just that I remember being much more into dolls than my friends. Maybe because my mom was an OB nurse and would give me real stuff to play with.

    When I was in high school, every time I went out she would seriously say, “Don’t get pregnant?”. I had to hear from her about the teens who had given birth, always with a tone of disappointment. At that point I decided I never wanted to have kids.

    I don’t know if I can remember accurately or not, but yes, I do feel like that fear and dread of not wanting my mom to go to work at night and the sadness after she left and I was sleeping in my parents bed in the dark is probably similar to that feeling of not wanting him to go away.

    I just wanted to add that I did a meditation after writing that message.. I wished for him to be happy, for his wife to be happy and his family to be happy and the pain went away.  During that meditation, I came back to this space of feeling more alive and purposeful and less sad as I focused on sending love out or wishing for him to be happy. Though I can’t wish that for myself. Maybe it just feels differently if you’re calling it in for your self. Weird, but contacted me in the midst of me wishing that he’s well and happy (I seem to always hear from him when I’m in that state).

    I realized that my whole purpose in life as far as career goes has been to alleviate suffering by helping the marginalized, less fortunate. I remember when I first started in non-profit work as an AmeriCorps VISTA about 20 years ago, one of my roommates said that we kind of have a co-dependent relationship with our work. We all took on so much for so little, hoping to give back and help others.

    I’ve often come back to that thought and wondered about why doing things to help others seems to be the only meaning I feel in life. If it’s an escape from taking care of myself or if it’s just programmed from always feeling responsible for others and not feeling like I mattered. It’s been a few hours now and I haven’t had that deep sinking feeling of sadness or the thought of him and his family.

    Anyway, when in relationships, I feel that needy and conditional love. From that space comes that incessant need and want and black hole in my heart of misery and sadness. The love and wishes I had for him today I feel is unconditional and I’m able to see him as an individual, less someone that I need. I still very much wish I could be with him, but it doesn’t overpower my wish for him to be happy. I wish to have these feelings of unconditional love all the time, but I know that I eventually get back into the wanting and needing. It’s really interesting to know that this is how most people feel in relationships, and I wish I could have that. Is the key to practice metta? Is this another way of me just making myself feel good?

    Again, a lot of rambling. I hope you can understand what I’m writing!

    Thank you, Anita!

     

     

    #348012
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maile:

    You are welcome. I know very little about your childhood, nothing about your father or your older brother. I know that your mother was an OB nurse. You mentioned a comment she made to you about teenage pregnancy. You had a nursery with a lot of dolls. Later you collected dolls. Your family moved to a new home when you were about 7 or 8.

    I will do my best with the little I have:

    You wrote about the time you were 4, 5 or 6: “The only weird thing that stands out is a doll that I had that I used to kind of be  mean to. I can still remember what the doll looked and smelled like”-  an angry little girl, expressing her anger at a doll.

    You wrote about your adult relationships with men: “little by little I get attached, lose myself and want more than they want. Only I don’t ask for it, I continue to play aloof, meanwhile inside I’m dying.. I hide it very well… aside from occasional jealousy and passive aggressiveness… I realize my need to find my voice and courage to show who I am so that it doesn’t escape only as jealousy and passive-aggressiveness“- an angry woman, playing aloof,  hiding her anger, but it escapes as jealousy and passive- aggressiveness (anger is what fuels jealousy and passive-aggressive behavior).

    In all your descriptions of your suffering, you didn’t use the word anger. You used these words: “inside I’m dying… black hole in my heart of misery and sadness… a lot of sadness, anguish, anxiety…grief and pain”-

    -I think that you are comfortable with recognizing your sadness and fear, but you are  uncomfortable with recognizing your anger (most women are). I think that feeling angry, especially as intensely as you feel it when you do, makes you feel/ believe that you are a bad person, and believing that you are a bad person is that “black hole” in your heart.

    “I can’t stop thinking about my ex being quarantined with his family. Resuming life.. constant painful images and thoughts of him being happy with his family are overwhelming”- you are angry at him, and you wish him to be unhappy, but it makes you feel like a bad person for wishing him to be unhappy, and feeling like a bad person is very painful to you.

    To stop feeling that you are a bad person, you did the following: “I did a meditation .. I wished for him to be happy, for his wife to be happy and his family to be happy and the pain went away”- the anger went away, and with it the pain of believing that you are a bad person.

    “During that meditation, I came back to this space of feeling more alive and purposeful and less sad as I focused on sending love out or wishing for him to be happy… It’s been a few hours now and I haven’t had that deep sinking feeling of sadness or the thought of him and his family”- relieved from anger and from the painful belief that you are a bad person, you felt alive and purposeful.

    To make up for that perceived badness, your “whole purpose in life as far as career goes has been to alleviate suffering by helping the marginalized, less fortunate.. took on so much for so little, hoping to give back and help others.. doing things to help others seems to be the only meaning I feel in life”- you are trying to neutralize that perceived badness with good actions, with altruism.

    You wrote regarding your mother: “When I was in high school, every time I went out she would seriously say, ‘Don’t get pregnant?’ I had to hear from her about the teens who had given birth, always with a tone of disappointment. At that point I decided I never wanted to have kids”-

    – at that point, and at many other times when she made this and other indirectly disapproving and accusatory comments, your heart broke and a black hole in it filled with anger.

    I see your childhood filled with a painful combo of fear and anger: “I do feel like that fear and dread of not wanting my mom to go to work at night and the sadness after she left and I was sleeping in my parents bed in the dark is probably similar to that feeling of not wanting him to go away”-

    – angry at her and afraid to lose her; angry at the man and afraid to lose him.

    “when in relationships, I feel that needy and conditional love”- your anger is in that conditional love. “I wish to have these feelings of unconditional love”- I think that by unconditional love, you mean: the love without the anger. “but I know that I eventually get back into wanting and needing”- I think anger is in this wanting-and-needing.

    Let me know what you think/ feel.

    anita

    #348046
    Fiest
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Upon first reading your message, I was like, WHAT?! None of it sounded right. I got caught at the part about me wishing that my ex is unhappy. I honestly don’t wish for him to be unhappy. I also don’t believe that I am a bad person. Maybe it’s just a matter of semantics… just suffering from feelings of insufficiency.

    But I kind of marinated in the rest of the message, wondering if it’s possible to be angry and not know it. If anger can be manifested in anxiety and fear.

    I feel that I can have intense feelings of inadequacy. I don’t even see them as such, only that things don’t work out and the reason must be that I’m not good enough or I’m doing something wrong and that needs to be fixed. It manifests as not having expectations that things will work out. It manifests as insecurity with  people of authority. It manifests as not speaking my truth when I think I’ll be rejected. It manifests as putting on a happy face of getting along with everyone. Truly being diplomatic and often times fake. But to me, I don’t feel fake being happy or loving others. I feel like my true nature is kindness and compassion and acceptance.

    The only thing that kept me from disregarding your thinking that anger is fueling all of my behavior was my thoughts of how angry I was in high school. I was positively miserable in my environment. But I felt like once I left my hometown I was free to be myself. I did have a lot of jealousy and anger in my relationships from college until my last serious long-term relationship. After my last relationship I did a lot of work… meditating and working on acknowledging my anger and tendency to be bossy and make others serve my emotional needs. I don’t know if in doing this for the last 6 years of being single, until this relationships I’ve managed to turn all that anger inwards and really lose who I am. I’m not saying I never showed anger with this past relationship, but I never showed my jealousy and I never demanded anything from him. I don’t see this as a negative, because he said that he appreciated my love and unconditional acceptance, which he said he never really felt before. I guess I just didn’t see the point of having my emotions affect someone else negatively.

    I had an intuitive reading done last month and was told that I can be a “bitch” and I won’t be loved any less. That I’m used to just being a pretty face who caters to others needs.

    I do agree that my childhood had a lot of fear and anger. And that the perception of anger went somewhere in the last 6 years of trying to “fix” myself. Could it have just turned into the non-acceptance of who I am? And at times that manifests as strong feelings and depression/anxiety?

    Thinking about this using the words bad and thinking about being angry at everyone doesn’t sit well with me. But I know there’s something that’s resonating because if I view my current situation as having anger, the issue doesn’t seem so overbearing and nebulous. It feels manageable. I will meditate on this for a few days and let you know how things are percolating.

    Thank you, Anita!

    oh, FYI I also started studying this: https://pattyyoga.com/2015/12/21/learning-to-love-unconditionally/

    Things that I have learned in the past, but maybe never thought were important.

    #348072
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Maile (or do you prefer Fiest?)

    The disclaimer to my theory from yesterday (first paragraph in that post) was that I have very little information about your childhood. As a matter of fact, I have very little information about your adulthood (I don’t know anything about your age, for one, a basic piece of info), way less information than I have had about any other member before suggesting an overall understanding of the member.

    When I suggest my understandings of a person, it is not a permanent, or complete understanding, it is a beginning-understanding, a suggestion of an understanding that is open to the member’s input. With more information, more communication, I adjust and change that understanding. If you want, we can continue to communicate and I will adjust and change my understanding as we continue. Better said: you and I together can come up with a better understanding of you (and of me, as I learn more about me when I learn about you).

    Your corrections: “I honestly don’t wish for him to be unhappy. I also don’t believe that I am a bad person”. So, in this earlier quote: “I can’t stop thinking about my ex being quarantined with his family. Resuming life.. constant painful  images and thoughts of him being happy with his family are overwhelming”-

    1.  What is it that was/ is overwhelming? What feelings were associated with those images and thoughts of him being happy with his family?

    You wrote that your “intense feelings of  inadequacy” manifest in you “putting on a happy face of getting along with everyone. Truly being diplomatic and often times fake”-

    2.  can you give me examples of you being fake, circumstances when that happens and  in what ways you are fake?

    Your self image, or “true nature” as you termed it (and it is well expressed in the way you interacted with me so far) is that of  “kindness and compassion and acceptance”. You added: “I do agree that my childhood has a lot of fear and anger”, “angry.. in high school.. I did have a lot of jealousy and anger in my relationships from college until my last serious long-term relationship”, that you did a lot of work “acknowledging my anger and tendency to be bossy”, that in this last relationship you “never showed my jealousy”.

    3. Can you tell me what you mean by what I italicized in the following: “until this relationship I’ve managed to turn all that anger inwards and really lose who I am?”

    “The only thing that kept me from disregarding your thinking that anger is fueling all my behaviors”- I didn’t write that to you that anger fuels all your behaviors. What I suggested to you is  that your childhood was filled with a painful combination of fear and anger.

    You asked if anger “at times .. manifests as strong feelings and depression/ anxiety?”- when we feel anxious and/ or angry for too long, it drains us and we end up depressed, in a state of emotional/ physical exhaustion.

    In nature, fear precedes anger, first an animal feels fear, then the animal either runs away, or if it is designed to fight a threat, then it feels anger after the fear, and that anger motivates it to fight.

    If a person feels bad about feeling angry, feeling that it indicates being a bad person, then the feeling of anger is followed by a feeling of fear, the fear of experiencing the emotional pain associated with the belief that one is bad/ guilty of bad things happening.

    anita

Viewing 4 posts - 16 through 19 (of 19 total)

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