October 24, 2020 at 4:18 am #368173
It’s interesting because my therapist asked me the same question yesterday. Yes, my mother often showed anger but in a way I’d define more as “exasperation” rather than anger. so yes, she showed very often exasperation throughout my life and in daily lifeOctober 24, 2020 at 10:22 am #368189
I asked because in another thread very recently, I became more aware of how children are scared of a parent’s anger. You mentioned your mother expressing self-pitying, and being dramatic (exaggerating/ magnifying), but I don’t remember that you shared anything about her being angry with you/ with other people.
In your recent post, you wrote that your mother “often showed anger”, and you qualified anger by saying that it was more an “exasperation” than anger, and again, you used the adjective often, with an added very: “she showed very often exasperation throughout my life and in daily life”.
I looked up online for a definition of exasperation: “irritation: keen or bitter anger”, “the feeling of being annoyed, especially because you can do nothing to solve a problem”. So, exasperation is a mix of anger and frustration about not being able to solve a problem, or make things better.
It is my understanding, still, that children can’t help but get scared/ fearful/ anxious when their parent displays undisciplined anger and other undisciplined/ exaggerated/ magnified emotions. It gives the child the message that her parent is not in control, that her parent can collapse (and die, perhaps) at any time, or that her parent can harm the child. (Anger precedes violence, in nature. Animals are afraid of anger because anger is the threat of violence).
I didn’t yet respond thoroughly to your post of two days ago:
“My therapist thinks my anxiety expressing itself so forcefully and through the need of reassurance is a subliminal way for me to feel like a child again and reach at my parents. I agree with her because I can’t eat without my mother near me, since she’s the one who knows how to act if someone chokes”- what I understand from this is that you.. need so desperately to feel safe with your mother that you regress to a young child stage of needing your mother there when you eat, like a baby clinging to her mother while nursing (?)
“I explained to my therapist that I actually don’t like to express myself with my mom because 1. She has to put herself at the center of the emotional show going on”- so.. you place yourself in the center by needing her with you while you eat, watching you eat, focusing on you eating, instead of focusing on herself (?)
“that’s what I need. To feel seen, heard, to be able to relate to… I actually use my daydreams to ‘exist’ somewhere.. my inner child.. gets really.. scared when people don’t react to me“- by having your mother watch you eat in case you choke, you are making sure that .. she will react and relate to you (?)
“People who are irresponsive disturb be and make me feel like a child again”- your mother was responsive to her own feelings, to her own self-pitying, to her own exasperation.. she was not responsive to your feelings, to your emotional experience.. she was not responsive to you.
October 25, 2020 at 6:26 am #368217
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by anita.
It gives the child the message that her parent is not in control, that her parent can collapse (and die, perhaps) at any time, or that her parent can harm the child.
I actually like this analysis because that’s really how my child self felt when my mother expressed strong negative emotions, there’s really a threat of her collapsing or dying. I guess that’s enough for a child not to feel safe and anxiety disorders follow, because the internal self lacks a foundation of safety. And yeah, it’s also interesting you saying that “i desperately need to feel safe around my mom”. Actually, she can express herself as a soothing presence when she wants and she definitely is a more responsive and helpful presence than my father, he just gets nervous and anxious if he has to “watch over” me without my mother thereOctober 25, 2020 at 6:36 am #368218
You expressed yourself so well in this recent post, it struck me how insightful and clearly you articulated your understanding, I am impressed.
You definitely need “her soothing presence”, good to read she can be a soothing presence for you, regularly and continuously, I hope.
anitaOctober 27, 2020 at 12:57 pm #368304
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on how my expression is going lately. Yeah, when you have an anxiety disorder is very important that the people close to you are a soothing presence, instead of disturbing and I kinda tried to make my parents understand that. Guess this is a significant time for them, to learn to change the dynamics in our family a little, or at least I hope
Tonight it struck me as a realization, an image or symbol I have of myself after all these years. The confusion, the obsession-compulsion, the weird or random mental habits, the daydreaming, the numbing scrolling, the fact I don’t know how to “live” and then, after all this I look myself in the mirror and I have no glow, no matter how well dressed I am, my eyes are so tired. In short, it’s another analogy like the ivy (remember?) And this on is about my brain being a mash. Harsh I know, but like a fried be 1800s style: h electroshock. There’s a poignant scene in a very crude movie Requiem for a dream, this lady goes crazy after abusing prescribed pills but her brain basically ends up as a house plant after being carelessly electroshocked. The movie starts with her looking like the classic lady next door to a shaved, pijama-ed, empty eyed shadow of her former self.
This is an extreme example of how I feel about myself, at 22. Ocd, daydreaming, routine, god knows what, electroshocked me and turned me into mashOctober 27, 2020 at 1:43 pm #368307
You are welcome. I too hope that your parents understand your need for them to be a consistent, reliable soothing presence in your life. You deserve that, in your life.
The ivy imagery, without looking back, I remember that I wrote to you about you, as an ivy, growing any which way that was possible for you, and because growing out (experiencing life as an adventure, socializing, connecting with others) was not possible for you, you grew around and around and inward, which would fit with the sort-or-living, but not really, which you described today: “the obsession-compulsion.. mental habits, the daydreaming, the numbing… don’t know how to ‘live'”- is that what you meant by the ivy imagery (if not, please remind me).
Your realization today, looking at yourself in the mirror, “no glow.. eyes are so tired… brain being a mash.. empty eyed shadow of her former self… an extreme example of how I feel about myself”- interesting, because I noticed, since you came back to your thread, particularly in your most recent post and the few before it- you sound better, you appear better, to me, significantly better. You may not feel it, or know it because you are with yourself all the time. But after I didn’t “see” you for awhile, I noticed a significant difference, no mush. Not like it used to be. I may be wrong, but that’s how it looks to me, from where I am.
anitaOctober 30, 2020 at 1:37 am #368436
Yes I know something’s changing inside me but I also often go back to the same patterns, but I guess that’s normal. My therapist says I burst with anger and that the anxiety disorder is a way for me to have control of myself. She says I’m so afraid of myself and of my emotional reactions and that’s how obsessive compulsive manners get triggered. I never tied the ocd to the anger, that’s some food for thought. Unlike my psichiatrist she also thinks I’m depressed and I do agree with herOctober 30, 2020 at 8:17 am #368442
From what you shared about what your therapist told you, I like her thinking and I am very hopeful that she will indeed continue to help you. What she said is so very true: OCD is about trying to control the inner emotional experience, a way to sort of neutralize overwhelming fear. If I do C (the Compulsion), the fear attached to the O (obsession) will go away, is the thinking behind Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Also, it is interesting: we are never afraid of something that exists solely outside of us, we are always afraid of the emotion inside of us. When a mountain lion approaches a deer, the deer wouldn’t run away if she didn’t feel the overwhelming emotion of fear.
“My extreme feelings kill me” is the title of your thread, back to the deer: when the deer feel fear as the mountain lion approaches, it is that extreme fear that feels like it will kill the deer, unless she runs.
Anxiety is about feeling that fear when there is no mountain lion approaching right there and then.
* I am following the Covid-19 situation in countries where winter is in progress, Europe and the U.S. are two such places, including Italy. Keep yourself safe, Georgia and I hope so much that this will get much better next year.
anitaNovember 13, 2020 at 6:18 am #369246
I am thinking about you this morning, wondering how you are during this raging winter-wave pandemic both where I am and where you are.