July 26, 2019 at 8:54 am #304997
Dear Lost soul:
This will be a somewhat long post, please have the patience to read it with an open mind.
It is evident that you had therapy in the past, that you read plenty self help books, you know the terms: family roles, core beliefs, learned helplessness and many more. I did too, before I started what I refer to as my healing process, or the healing path, March 2011. I read plenty, I knew terms, I had a bit of therapy (months, put together). But I was not on the healing path yet.
I asked you in the post before last, “When parents feed, shelter and clothe their child and take away the child the following: hope, courage, the feeling of being wanted and valued, are they doing the child any favors..?”
You answered: “No.. Of course not.. The only imaginable case where it could be okay would be if the child got those things, on a consistent basis, from another person or group of people”-
but I didn’t suggest in my question to you that you didn’t receive “hope, courage, the feeling of being wanted and valued”, I wrote: “when the parents take away… hope, courage”, etc.
Reality: you were born with hope and courage, and the feeling of being wanted and valued, or at least, you were born with a strong inclination for these things, and then your parents and siblings took those things away from you. Not that they failed to give you these things; they took those things away from you.
And because those things were taken away from you by acts of verbal aggression, “another person or group of people” can not correct it for a child still is living at home with aggression, being the family chew toy, I think is the way you put it.
“In this mood, I often end up thinking of what I would like to say to my sister, or other family member… I would happily punch her in the face”- in this mood, your feelings fit the reality of your childhood and life afterwards perfectly. You are angry at those who intentionally and aggressively hurt you for many years.
But you “don’t bother/ have never bothered to say these things.. because she would only talk over me or deny the things she has said and done”- you are still in contact with her and within that contact you accommodate her denial of your reality.
“When (we) were children, she was always telling me that no one liked me, that no one could like me, that I was stupid, fat and ugly, that I was driving mom and dad crazy.. the parents seldom called her on what she said… One day, I was feeling a lot of self-hatred”-
You still repress your anger at your sister, and parents and brother, I think. So what happens to your anger? It turns against you, against the victim.
Let’s look at what you shared earlier: “my childhood was not that bad… (So what’s my problem, right?) I wasn’t beaten or molested. There was food, clothing, a roof over my head, and extras like sports… even today, I am still susceptible to the voice in my head.. that tells me that I am the problem.. that it really wasn’t that bad.. I still doubt my reality… doubting my view of my childhood/ family of origin… maybe I was just too sensitive and it wasn’t really all that bad- I just took it all too personally… I also sometimes doubt what I understand about life currently… I’m still clueless as to why this is so. Why others have friends, spouses… yet I’m all alone. I’m clueless and hurt”-
You keep living your childhood experience in the present because you keep doubting that childhood experience. That experience will not go away until you no longer doubt it. It needs to be acknowledged and held in awareness, not acknowledged temporarily and then abandoned.
You were abused in your family of origin, used as a place to dump family members’ frustrations. Your anger toward your parents is justified. Your anger at your siblings now (and ever since they were adults, at the least) is justified.
You have lived your life as if they were correct when they “were always pointing out my flaws, all the things I couldn’t do or do well… these things were really harped on”- and because you believe what they harped on, you don’t want to do much because.. more harping is on the way, delivered if not by your sister currently, then by the mental representative of them all, in your own brain.
Why bother to call a realtor or do anything much if you are going to be harped on yet again…?
anitaJuly 27, 2019 at 9:20 am #305203
It’s true… I do still doubt my childhood experiences. The fear of harping however, is perhaps only a 35 – 45% wedge of the pie chart of my not doing much. There’s probably at least a few different wedges in there, but maybe the largest wedge is feeling all alone/ not belonging / having no one to turn to IRL / feeling defective and unlikeable. What’s the point of finding a new place to live when I don’t really belong anywhere? And how do I figure where to go when I have no purpose in life or people who care about me?
Lost SoulJuly 27, 2019 at 9:52 am #305213
Dear Lost Soul:
“What’s the point of finding a new place to live when I don’t really belong anywhere?”-
possible reasons: better weather, one you are more comfortable with, less traffic noise/ neighbors noise, more mountains around, or trees, a different scenery, no memories attached in a new place, a smaller place, a bigger place, more of a back yard or less of it, a place where you can have a pet, or a horse and so forth.
“how do I figure where to go when I have no purpose in life or people who care about me?”- you do have the purpose of feeling more comfortable, you have likes and dislikes, and I care enough to reply to you every time you post. You use “IRL” but I am a person in real life, really here behind these typed words.
anitaJuly 27, 2019 at 6:42 pm #305241
Thank you for replying to me. You are undoubtedly a real person behind the typed words; I would never think otherwise. To explain my comment: for the past couple days, I have been stuck inside alone, with my dog but no face-to-face contact with people, both because of the heat here as well my health issue…
If you don’t mind sharing, I am curious about something you said above:
“It is evident that you had therapy in the past, that you read plenty self help books… I did too, before I started what I refer to as my healing process, or the healing path, March 2011. I read plenty, I knew terms, I had a bit of therapy (months, put together). But I was not on the healing path yet.”
May I ask what ‘moved the needle’ for you in terms of healing? What put you on the healing path? Please feel free to speak in general terms–please don’t feel obligated to reveal any personal information. I’m deeply curious what, in general, worked when the things you tried before either didn’t help or didn’t help completely. (Or help enough?) Feel free to respond when you have time; I realize you are very busy helping many people on this forum.
July 28, 2019 at 11:40 am #305359
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by Lost soul.
Dear Lost soul:
You are welcome and I appreciate how gently you asked me “what ‘moved the needle’ for you in terms of healing? What put you on the healing path?”
My answer: for decades, I didn’t feel comfortable spending money on psychotherapy for myself beyond a minimal copayment, even though I worked and was able to pay more. The therapists I saw were therapists-in-training, one that was too busy and not attentive, or counselors (not therapists) who had little training and ethics. I didn’t feel comfortable considering paying more because I felt that my money should go to my mother, to make it up to her for her difficult life and for having a daughter as bad and inferior as I … allegedly was.
Fast forward, I got married late in life, almost fifty. The marriage was in trouble very early on. My husband, in early 2011 insisted that I see a psychotherapist and I saw one who charged $100 or more (I don’t remember) per session. He was also a high quality therapist, hard working, very professional, very ethical and generous with his time. My experience with this therapist was different by far from my experience before with any sort-of-therapist. I was okay with paying this much to this therapist because my husband insisted and because I didn’t feel about his money the same that I felt about mine, that is, I didn’t feel that it didn’t belong to my mother.
The therapy was excellent and lasted until August 2013 when my husband and I left the state where we met and lived. From then on, I continued and persevered in my healing process, or journey, continuing my yoga and exercise routine, reading and writing. In May 2015 I posted for the first time on this website and my very active participation here has been very much part of my healing process. I am here and have been here from the start to learn and heal. It’s been over four years of very active, daily participation on my part.
I struggled a whole lot in the first years since 2011, going back and forth to extremes. At one point, I no longer found myself in extremes and my progress has been more linear since. I am committed to healing and learning today as I have been before.
Did I answer your question adequately?
(I will soon be away from the computer and back I about 18 hours from now).
July 29, 2019 at 12:32 pm #305527
- This reply was modified 3 weeks, 1 day ago by anita.
Thank you for your reply. So what I take away from your response is your healing was ignited by therapy of a higher quality than you had sought in the past, followed by your own efforts after that therapy ended. I would like to ask a few more questions.
– Did that therapist employ a particular therapeutic approach or modality that helped you? Or would you say, he was simply of a higher caliber than the others that didn’t help?
– Some people believe it is not so much the therapist’s therapeutic orientation that helps a client but the quality and strength of the relationship between the two. Was this an important factor in your healing?
– Have you ever tried EMDR therapy, and if so, did you find it helpful?
Lost SoulJuly 29, 2019 at 1:25 pm #305553
Dear Lost soul:
My self help reading closest to seeking therapy in 2011 was reading Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for Dummies. Because I liked that book and the workbook exercises included, when I did look for a therapist following my new marriage being in trouble, I googled CBT therapists and came across this particular therapist. He was a CBT therapist but worked with another therapist who was big on Mindfulness and she taught him the latter. In his therapy plan for me he incorporated CBT and Mindfulness.
First session was a long free session (he often went way beyond the customary 50 minutes per session, no extra charge). Following a few sessions and following his consultation with a psychiatrist I was seeing (I was on psych meds at the time), he put together a plan for me, complete with his diagnosis of me, objectives and ways to achieve those objectives. His whole way of going about therapy was scientific, organized, according to a plan that he revisited and adjusted over time.
He gave me homework following every session including handouts to read with or without exercises, guided meditations (theme- mindfulness) for me to do. He emailed me the homework assignments after the long sessions, following figuring out what the best assignment for me would be. At times, including the time I was out of the country, he kept an email communication with me ongoing, again, no extra charge.
He gave his work all that he had, holding nothing back, offering all the information and input he thought would be helpful. He wasn’t perfect, but he sure tried hard. He was humble, empathetic, professionally dressed.
He was honest with me. He had my health as his first priority in the context of therapy with me. So yes, the relationship with him was such that I could clearly see that he cared a whole lot for my well being. I trusted him, knowing he went out of his way and did all that he could for me.
I have never tried EMDR therapy, googled about it at one point when a member mentioned it here, but forgot what it is about.
anitaJuly 30, 2019 at 7:55 pm #305761
Thank you for replying. Your therapist sounds like a very honorable human being. You were fortunate to find him.
When I went to therapy when I was young, I wasn’t a great judge of people, let alone therapists. Over time, I’ve gotten better, but even now, unless there are glaring red flags, it takes me at least a few sessions to figure out if a therapist will work for me. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt, especially since I’m an introvert and like many introverts, my personality unfolds slowly over time. I guess I unconsciously assume other people are similar, although many people are very much “what you see is what you get” and no more. In hindsight, I can see some early warning signs that hinted at what these therapists would be like, especially the worst one. But I was depressed and sluggish, and just happy with myself that I had even made the call and started going.
July 31, 2019 at 9:44 am #305875
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 5 days ago by Lost soul.
Dear Lost Soul:
You are welcome. Yes, he was/ is an honorable man.
“I wasn’t a great judge of people, let alone therapists… even now, unless here are glaring red flags, it takes me at least a few sessions to figure out if a therapist will work for me”- not only wasn’t I a great judge of people, I was no judge at all. When we grow up with parents who … exhibit “glaring red flags”, as children we are not emotionally equipped to remain aware that our parents, our alleged protectors, who we need to be all good and all capable.. are not. So we close our eyes (shut our awareness) to those glaring red flags. Eyes closed, we don’t see those glaring red flags if anyone.
Except when a person significantly tops the red flags our parents exhibited. If a person hits us and we bleed and that didn’t happen before, we notice: oh, this is bad. But if a person disrespects us, we don’t notice, or if he puts us down, it doesn’t feel right but.. we are not sure.
I used “we” and “us” above, but is it true to you, what I wrote?
anitaAugust 2, 2019 at 9:48 am #306221
“I used “we” and “us” above, but is it true to you what I wrote?”
Yes, it’s true. May I ask why you ask? Do you ask to be certain you understand me correctly?
August 2, 2019 at 11:48 am #306291
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 3 days ago by Lost soul.
Dear Lost Soul:
Yes, I asked so to know if my assumption that what is true to me (in my recent post to you) is also true to you, if that assumption is correct. Didn’t want to use “we” if it is not accurate.
So it is true to you too, closing our eyes to the glaring red flags at home and then, later in life, eyes still closed to red flags in other people’s behaviors toward us.
anitaAugust 2, 2019 at 12:10 pm #306307
Hi Lost Soul,
I will be your friend! Your post resonated with me. I can appreciate all the things you said in your post. While I can never feel what you are going through, I can relate to it in my own way because your points seem similar to what I too am going through. Like others have said, honor yourself for taking the bold step of sharing your feelings. That is the best thing to do instead of letting it bubble and swell up inside you, which I’m guessing you already know! It can feel so crushing feeling so lonely and having no one to turn to. That happened to me a few weeks ago. I was sobbing so hard while stuck in commuter traffic on the way home from work– not an uncommon occurrence for me.. and I realized that besides for my fiancé, I literally have no close friends to confide in or share my deep feelings with. It felt horrible. I kind of just screamed/cried, tried to find songs on the radio that I actually wasn’t sick of.. and continued my drive home, looking forward to getting my mind off my sadness by watching a show/movie, listening to music in my apartment I actually wanted to listen to. But in any case, thank you for sharing your thoughts on this space. You found a great place to share here. A lot of good people here to provide wonderful support and ideas from different perspectives that are actually useful.August 4, 2019 at 7:45 pm #306577
hank you for your kind words. I’d be glad to be your friend.
August 6, 2019 at 8:19 am #306813
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Lost soul.
I agree that as a person raised in a dysfunctional family I might not see red flags unless they top what someone in my family did, however, I wouldn’t say I ‘shut my eyes.’ That implies I took an active step, but I didn’t. In my opinion, the situation a child grows up in is their ‘normal’, especially if the child grows up geographically and socially isolated. They don’t question it. So of course, later on, they won’t detect as alarming something they experienced on a day-to-day basis.
In my opinion, all of this is one of the biggest failures of the therapy I received and therapists I saw. So many therapists use a sort of detached, analytical Socratic method of questioning with their clients in order to draw out the client’s incorrect core beliefs. I experienced this with the first therapist I went to on a regular basis (before this I had a few sessions with counselors at a school counseling center). Somehow, he expected that through this questioning I would immediately come to see the error of my parents’ ways and the subsequent errors in my thinking. But this didn’t happen and both of us were frustrated by the process. Afterward, I could look back and see this [method of questioning and the goal of it] was the governing assumption on his part, but he never explained to me what the point of his process was. Because the things that happened to me in my family—even though I hated them–were my normal, they were my normal. I had no other experience to draw on to compare them with, and that was the problem. What, in my opinion, the therapist should have been doing was treating me—in the behavior, not medical sense—differently; that is in a healthy manner. Then, having the experience of being treated decently, kindly, compassionately, warmly, I would be able to compare and contrast the treatment I received from my family, from bad bosses, etc. and see that it was toxic, dysfunctional, what have you. (You may recall I asked if you felt the quality and strength of the relationship between the you and your therapist was an important factor in your healing. This experience is why I asked.) I’m sure this therapist had good intentions but being pounded with endless Socratic questions didn’t help me feel understood or treated well; it made me feel hounded and badgered, just as in my family.
August 6, 2019 at 8:51 am #306833
- This reply was modified 1 week, 6 days ago by Lost soul.
Dear Lost Soul:
“I wouldn’t say I ‘shut my eyes.’ That implies I took an active step, but I didn’t. In my opinion, the situation a child grows up in is their ‘normal’… They don’t question it. So of course, later on, they won’t detect as alarming something they experienced on a day-to-day basis.”-
I think of the child’s shutting of the eyes as an instinctive act, such as closing the eyes when intense light is directed at the eyes, to protect the eyes/ body from pain. When a child experiences mistreatment at home, the child knows it hurts, because it hurts. Later on, as an adult experiencing mistreatment, the adult knows it is mistreatment but knows it minimally, disassociates best she can.
Abuse in childhood may be normal, but it is never an okay- normal, in the experience of the child.
Do you agree?
Regarding the therapy experience you mentioned, can you give me a few examples of those “endless Socratic questions” that you were asked?