June 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm #78004MelilotParticipant
I feel like a hot mess of crazy right now. Basically I seem to be shuffling between extreme emotions on a fairly regular basis and I need help learning how to control those so I don’t lose my mind. I realize that a great deal of it is negative self talk and trust issues but I am needing help in controlling those.
Basically in the span of a year I got divorced, lost my job, and lost my circle of close friends due to bizarre set of circumstances. It was a horrible year – and honestly lead me into a tail spin where I contemplated suicide. Though the help of therapy – I made great progress in turning things around and treating myself more compassionately. It has been almost three years since then – and in all that time I have been working on myself.
During the last week or so, I re-entered the dating pool and frankly I have felt crazy ever since then. I feel needy and obsessive – when I really have no need to be and I feel like I am fluctuating from a euphoric high to a depressing low. My question is – how do you real in the “crazy” emotions and become a sane person? Or maybe I just not meant to be in the dating world any moreJune 10, 2015 at 1:09 pm #78008MattParticipant
Congratulations on doing the noble work of self growth, and thank you for all the effort. It helps us all, more than you know!
Consider that after the divorce and other troubles, you went into a protective shell. Like a hermit going into a cave to separate themselves from the bustle of the outside world. For instance, paused on dating, while you self examined and healed. Now, you’re stepping out into the world again, and your eyes are screaming “its so bright!!!!!” All very normal, highs and lows, emotional turbulence. It takes time to regain our footing when we leave the cave.
There are a few causes here that come to mind. One, fear that you’ll regress, lose the New Melilot that emerged from all the efforts, lose stability, lose yourself, fall back into whatnot and whathaveyou. This makes the fear especially scary, because the past held lots of pain. But consider: that Melilot, of three years, four years, ten years… is gone. Like a seed dissolves as a flower grows, the person you were has helped you become who you are today, but is otherwise a faint whisper. As long as you keep the good and noble habits you developed while in the cave, your eyes will adjust and each moment will be less dramatic.
For instance, you jump back into the dating realm, and the first date isn’t just “OK, what’s this person like”, its “am I ready, what will this be like, am I datable” and all that other extra stuff. This goes away. Much like riding a bicycle after a long absence, it isn’t just “petal and point”, its “can I do this, am I ready to do this” which makes every single little wobble on your radar. After you’ve ridden a mile or two, the wobbles won’t matter so much, don’t blast as loudly, because you won’t fixate so much of your attention on them, proving you can or can’t ride a bike. See?
Two, consider that dating is pretty much inherently messy and awkward. People fart and burp, ask weird questions, give weird answers, wonder what the other person thinks and feels, lots of squinting and unknown. Learn to laugh at these things and let them go. If we accept the awkwardness is something that can’t really be avoided, the humor really begins to shine through. People are too unique and amazing to not bump heads from time to time. And those are often the stories that bring much delight, once our cheeks stop being red, of course.
As for the “crazy”, all I hear is “I’m passionate and also scared”. You sound sane, already. Don’t be so hard on yourself!
MattJune 11, 2015 at 9:06 am #78076AxudaParticipant
I went through almost exactly the same set of circumstances as you, but a year earlier, so I have 12 month’s additional experience!
From what you say, you feel that you have worked through most of the issues arising from that tough time, but entering the world of dating has stirred up all your emotions again.
My first observation is that it isn’t surprising. Even at the best of times, dating is a little bit scary. We just need to remember our teenage years for that – euphoric highs and catastrophic lows. Your most recent experience ended badly so of course you will be nervous – that just shows you are human.
When dating, we are offering ourselves up for external validation, which can only go one of two ways. It is win or lose – there’s no middle ground. So it is only our own resilience that gets us through, and if that resilience has been damaged, it’s really tough.
In my case, a similar combination of factors left me with a feeling of worthlessness. My partner didn’t want me, my employer didn’t want me, friends turned against me – guess I must just be a terrible person, right? Except…
I realized that what I was doing was calculating my worth, my value as a human being, by the opinions of a tiny handful of people. Actually, not even that. One person – my ex. Losing my job wasn’t even personal – that’s just business. And it was my ex who turned our friends against me. So why was I giving all that power – my own value as a human being – to one person who didn’t even want to be with me any more?
So I started to look at myself differently.
Rather than using someone else’s criteria, I started using my own. What are the things that I value in a human being? Well, kindness; compassion; honesty; fun; creativity; determination, etc. – it was a long list. Then I considered, as honestly as I could, where I was on each of these scales. For some, I scored very highly. Others, not so good. So I resolved to work to bring all of those scores up as high as I could – after all, I have to live with myself 24 hours a day, so the nicer I can be to live with, the better…
The best thing about doing this was that the need for external validation had gone. Now, if someone doesn’t like me, well, ok, that’s because they are looking for different values. If they rate looks or a slim physique highly, well, I’m never going to be the one. But that’s OK. It doesn’t mean I’m worthless as a person. I just don’t tick the boxes that they are looking for. Better to find that out sooner than later.
I realized that my earlier needy and obsessive feelings came from a need for external validation – “please, tell me I’m attractive!”, “please tell me I’m a nice person!”. Once I took that power back, those feelings went away.
And, ironically, my success rate with dating went through the roof! Why? Because instead of focusing on my needs, I listened to them. Instead of sitting there thinking, “please find me attractive and interesting”, I found myself telling them how interesting and attractive they were – a remarkably effective way of getting a second date.
So don’t beat yourself up over how you feel – you feel that way because you are human. Give yourself time to work through those feelings. You use the term “crazy” like it’s a bad thing, but it just means you have feelings and aren’t a robot – that’s much more attractive than being dull and emotionless. You have been through a really tough time and have come out of the other side stronger, more experienced and more interesting. Everything that you have gone through has only added to your value as a human being. There are plenty of people out there for whom you would be a blessing. Once you can see and understand that for yourself, others will see it clearly too.June 11, 2015 at 11:39 am #78085MelilotParticipant
Matt and Axuda.. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for your insight, perspective and words of wisdom. You have help tremendously.
Axuda – I am sorry for anyone who had to go through similar experiences as mine. I know I am a survivor because of it but I would not wish it on anyone. I love your idea of rate myself on my values list. I think I will do just that.
Thank you both again so much.
MelilotJune 11, 2015 at 11:44 am #78087KatParticipant
Matt said your “crazy” simply means “I’m passionate but also scared.” True words! It’ll be alright Mellilot. Keep your chin up and keep swimming and the sea will eventually calm. The only madness is quitting your pursuit of happiness. All the shaky moments are just learning phases which like suffering help you learn to help others, the best possible form of happiness! Those are my thoughts anyways. I hope things have improved for you since you’ve posted this.