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This topic contains 370 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  anita 10 hours, 50 minutes ago.

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  • #216003

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    So many key words in this post.  I will put them here and digest. Sink and savor.

    1) It is about calmly choosing, not being compelled

    2) uncompromising authenticity, the real-thing.

    3) equanimity, not force.

    #216013

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    It is good reading from you, every time. Will be back to the computer in about fifteen hours. Have a good rest of Monday.

    anita

    #216037

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I hope you are having a good time away from your computer.  I let myself savor some of the above terms, but not fully.  When I create space to do so, I appreciate and let it sink in that much deeper.  Here goes.

    1) It is about calmly choosing, not being compelled

    • to me this read as going with innate, versus “should.” It is picking the path that feels natural, versus the path that should be chosen.  It is allowing something to unfold versus forcing it to come undone..  On that note
    • It is quite common for us to want another person to open up, or a situation to present itself – for things to unfold. Yet, often they do at their own time, which can be much “slower” than anticipated.  Thus we feel we can have a role in exposing the element.  This may be poking and prodding until we get our answer, a result, or most importantly “an authentic response.”
    • Ironic that at an authentic response can not by nature be arrived at un-authentically — yet we still try we poke and prod
    • The end result is never hastened in this way.  Nope. In fact it is most often inhibited, or lost, or worse destroyed
      • how interesting, to push something to go down the path you “want it to” does not make it go down that way at all.  In fact it may go the other way, or simply stand..still.

    2) uncompromising authenticity, the real-thing.

    • this journey of mine requires uncompromising authenticity.  to me this means being my true self, but first knowing my true self.  it is of utmost importance to understand who is truly me.  Given that my mother has had such a strong, pivotal, and central role in my psyche it is often hard to differentiate what is her and what is me.  Of course this can be delineated in small examples.  Do I even like that movie? Or do I like it because mom convinced us it was the best, and thus I feel I do?
      • Yet, this can become even more dangerous when it leads to self destruction.  Which it does on even a daily basis.
      • Not going home because it is not good use of “enjoying the weather” and instead spending time with colleagues.
        • this by definition shows that the definition of “enjoying” can vary from person to person, from day to day, and from time to time.  And that is okay.  I, and any other person, have the ability and right to define things for myself.  Whether it be what I enjoy, and how i enjoy it.
        • If in that moment it does not seem that the idea of socializing would be enjoyable, so be it.
      • This is self trust, this is self reliance, this is self protection
        • having the faith and confidence that what you choose for your own-self is fine, okay, and
          • If I choose based on what feels right to me, I can rest assured it is the correct decision. it always is.

    3) equanimity, not force.

    • I can't say I have much experience with the term equanimity, but it sure does sound good. Even saying the word out loud has a sense of cool, calm, collectedness
    • the dictionary defines it as: mental calmness, composure, and evenness of temper
      • I have this ability, we all have this ability. I'll go as far as to say I often choose to over-write this state, and go to a much more “productive, important, and relevant” state – the state, and country of anxiety
      • Now why does the state of anxiety seem more “fitting?” Because it goes with the times.  Everything is a buzz, shouldn't I be? Everyone is frenzied, shouldn't I be? My mother is stressed, so of course I am.  This is a stressful time in my house, so of course I am anxious.  It is fitting to be so, isn't it? I mean why wouldn't I be if all that around me is such a way?
      • But what about when all around you Isn't such a way? Does your relevant state change? No, unfortunately, I hate to break it to you – your state has become your natural state, your daily, your YOU.
      • So how to go back from here? To me this reads as, go back to the definition.  We have the ability for mental calmness, but we over-rode it with our big computer like brain for something far more productive and tuned in.  Yet, we tried it over and over, and no good came of it.  Unfortunately the off switch is broken though…
      • So If i go back to the definition, I see that this anxious state isn't fitting at all now, is it? I tried it.  It didn't work.  In fact, it caused more problems.  So perhaps I do not have to over ride my nice calm disposition (when it does arrive).
      • Perhaps the opposite of anxiety is not unproductive/lazy/uninterested.  The opposite of anxiety is calm.
        • And if I have the ability for calm, and equanimity (before I put my efforts into over-riding) than I can stick to it.  Stick to it.  Don't press zoom or fast forward.  Stick to the normal speed, the normal path, the natural way, the calm way.  There is no where to go.  There is nothing to force.
    • This reply was modified 6 days, 5 hours ago by  Cali Chica.
    #216105

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    “we feel we can have a role in exposing the element.. poking and prodding until we get our answer”- I think usually we have an answer in mind and we want the other person to get to it. While the other person is talking, we ignore a lot of what he (or she says) as we focus on the desired answer. All along we fail to hear answers to questions that are as important, or even more important than the question we have in mind.

    Regarding which part of you is you and which is your mother (we start as one mental unit with her), it takes the ongoing paying attention, Mindfulness. It takes paying attention (as you have been doing so well)  all through the day to this and to that. Over time you choose what is right for you, the Cali Chica part of that mental entity, gradually separating more and more, in small ways and bigger ways, separating from that mental unit.

    Equanimity, that happens, I believe when you are separated enough from that mental unit. What you referred to in the past as base anxiety, that is the result of being a mental unit with a difficult, difficult person. How can you have peace living with an unreasonable, selfish, difficult person? Separation is key. I am experiencing this myself, and only recently. It has taken years for me. It sure is nice to not have someone (my mother's mental representative) arguing and fighting me every step of the way. I still hear the arguments, but notice quickly and then I disengage.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 days, 16 hours ago by  anita.
    #216359

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I met a licensed psychotherapist yesterday.  I have thought about the idea of formal therapy with a licensed professional throughout my life.  There  were times I even went to visit a school counselor, or someone of that sort.  But it was always fleeting, and I did not really find it was something I wanted to commit to.

    I feel I am at a point now where I have tremendous knowledge and insight (which is continuing to grow of course). Yet, I am at a road block, a plateau.  As you say, this here now is the real work.  With all I have done on my own, and the support of others around me (such as yourself), the next step is to possibly one day feel better.  I see that my road block is this – I have tremendous emotional pain that is repressed, and extreme difficulty releasing it.  In fact, I do not believe it can be released, as it has become my baseline state.  I hope over time, I can slowly begin to release.

    I know we spoke about in the past about the concept of numbing.  And continuing certain patterns perpetuates the numbing.

    I notice how when I talk about my last conversation with my mother – the hurtful things she says don't make me sad.  Her words: when we found out we were having you, we should have had an abortion, makes others wince.  Yet, I say out loud, well that's nothing – it's been a lifetime of such.  But what I realize is that this is all painful, just not manifesting in the way of “sadness, tears, etc.” Oh how sometimes I hope it would.  I feel a release when I feel sad, or when I cry.  Instead my baseline is anxious, and fearful.

    It is stuck like concrete.  As you say all of the years of having this defense mechanism, I no longer know how to just “feel.”

    I found recently that I feel myself angry/annoyed when I see people experiencing joy easily.  What I mean is that, I was speaking to a close friend, who has a new relationship..  She was happy and exuberant and in love when she spoke about it.  I found after I felt worse, and uneasy..  I noticed that it is not that I am jealous of her relationship or anything about her life.  It is that  I am envious that she is able to enjoy this part of her life.  I too, recall having a wonderful beginning courtship with my husband – but I do not recall true joy.  I recall often thinking like the (TDW) the disney world example.  I feel envious that people can enjoy.  People can appreciate.  They can be excited and happy..  I can not.

    #216369

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    In regard to seeing a psychotherapist, I suggest that you make a list of questions to ask a psychotherapist in a process of interviewing her or him for the job. Questions about her values, her beliefs. For example, she may be a person who believes a person needs to remain in contact with a parent no matter what or in most circumstances except the most extreme (blood and broken bones kind of extreme). This may be what she, the therapist, is doing in her life.

    A therapist with such a belief can be intelligent and helpful in many ways, you can have many good sessions with her, but then a lot of it will go down the drain at one point on. So better ask questions first, questions that are put together in such a way as to bring about honest, clear answers (and if there is no clarity, well, there is information right there).

    Regarding the rest of your recent post, you wrote: “I am at a road block, plateau… the next step is to possibly one day feel better… I have tremendous emotional pain that is repressed, and extreme difficulty releasing it… it has become my baseline state.. numbing… Her words… I say out loud, well that's nothing… the baseline is anxious, and fearful… It is stuck like concrete.. I no longer know how to just ‘feel'… I do not recall true joy… (People) can be excited and happy.. I can not ”

    I repeat what you wrote, typing it, because you express yourself so well and because it helps me process what you expressed.

    Yes, this kind of work requires the context of therapy with a capable therapist, take its first steps in the context of that much needed professional relationship. It takes being present with a person you highly value and trust, to ease that baseline state, to release the strong hold fear has on multitude of neuropathways in one's brain. It takes a substitute mother, really,  in psychotherapy. This is why it is so important to adequately interview that person first.

    It takes the very experience of safety, in that professional relationship, for your brain, bit by bit, let go of the belief that you are still in danger.

    Frozen in fear is a term people use. Fear does freeze our ability to feel anything much. The most accessible feeling for the very anxious is anger. Seems like every other feeling, maybe even anger, will simply destroy us, that we can not endure it. There is a felt belief that a feeling in itself is dangerous.

    The ultimate purpose after all is to feel good. Pay attention to your breathing, right now, if you will. Is it constricted? Relax it. How does it feel?

    anita

     

     

     

    #216373

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    tbank you and yes I intend to ask directed questions. I interestingly have anxiety about meeting a psychotherapist that is not on the same “wavelength.” Given that I am not going to someone in the sense of “Hello I have no idea what’s wrong with me help.” But instead insight and ability to communicate my issues, it is that much more important to find a right fit. I hope I do. Wish me luck. I met someone yesterday, and I am meeting someone tomorrow. I must have patience as choosing this person is an important decision and perhaps long term relationship.

    You wrote: The most accessible feeling for the very anxious is anger. Seems like every other feeling, maybe even anger, will simply destroy us, that we can not endure it. There is a felt belief that a feeling in itself is dangerous.

    – interesting.  If feeling itself is dangerous, that must be why we (i avoid it). Why is it perceived this way? Is this what happens over time with cause and battering that we then begin to believe that feeling anything at all is too painful and dangerous? It is true the only accessible feeling I have is anger. Sure I “enjoy” a nice yoga class, being in the sun, a good meal. Sure. I have the ability to know what I like and don't like etc. All of that. But it is not true feeling. It is almost like it is thought vs feeling.

    The ultimate purpose after all is to feel good. Pay attention to your breathing, right now, if you will. Is it constricted? Relax it. How does it feel?

    My breathing is constricted. My breathing is always constricted. So much so that I don't realise it is, because I don't have the liberty of having nice easy breathing. This is how I feel. Sometimes when I try to relax it, it feels worse. And foeced, tighter.

     

    Going with that Anita, aside from inability to feel true joy. My other theme is this: inability to feel relief. You know the idea of a “big sigh of relief.” That aaah feeling. A let down almost. Nope never feel it. Like you have stress all day for a certain phone call or test and when it's finally over you think sigh, what a relief. Nope, see I never feel relief. It is always the same. Tight, feeling. How nice it would be to sigh a sigh of relief.

     

    #216375

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    One thing that came to mind after I posted previous is the following.

    I am someone that is ridden with anxiety, worry, and often self doubt. Yet, the biggest decision I have ever made – to stop contact with my mother. I have not once felt anxious over it, or doubted it. Interesting.

    To be honest I don't feel much about it. Perhaps this is repression.  Perhaps it is over exhaustion of “feeling” pathways. I sometimes actually forget that I don't speak to a mother! As in I'll be in conversation with an acquaintance and theyll mention something like oh going to my mom's this weekend. I think oh. I never feel sad.

    This could also be because I have a wonderful relationship with my in laws and know they are supportive. It is not something I look to access all the time, as in I am by no means seeking this extremely close relationship with my mother in law in hopes of replacing my void of a mother. No not at all. It is more that I know they're there and always are supportive without any negativity.

    So anyway. This one big decision. Nope never thought twice. It hardly crosses my mind that I made the decision. For I am much more focused on how to live better now. To not suffer. To in a way start again. Learn how to think again. To diminish self here and diminish trauma.

    #216377

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    As to fearing our feelings, let's  look at nature: an animal is in real life danger, a predator is approaching. The animal feels fear. The fear motivates it to run away. It runs away and arrives at (relative) safety. The predator is nowhere to be seen. The animal relaxes, no longer afraid.

    Let's look at our childhood, using the example you gave last. You are a child, your mother, the most important person in the world to you, the person your very life depends on (we are born to believe that, as social services taking care of abandoned children has not yet caught to our genes), tells you: “when we found out we were having you, we should  have had an abortion”. The child hears it and thinks something like: oh, oh, she doesn't like me, she doesn't want me, she might kill be (a retroactive kind of abortion).

    Now, what does the child do? The child is motivated to run, like an animal  in nature with a predator approaching, but there is nowhere to run to and the hope for safety is still with the mother. So a child stays, afraid. The fear does not relax because  a running away to safety has not taken place and the mother-predator is still in sight, day after day, year after year. And so, the fear stays; it is anxiety.

    The mother-predator still makes her comments, other comments, gets angry at times and we are watchful, watching the predator, fearing its next move. Our fear then gets attached to a multitude of sounds, sights, situations, thousands of connections made, many thousands of neuropathways all held together with fear.

    Later on in life, those many sounds, sights, situations trigger our fear. So we feel a whole lot of it. Fear feels very uncomfortable. Because we feel so much of it and it doesn't get resolved, we fear that feeling in itself. We fear our inner experience.

    The reason anger is most accessible to the anxious person is because there is the feel of power in anger. Other feelings are of the weak kind and we are afraid those will make us fall apart, fall into an abyss.

    Joy is an excitement. Because fear is an excitement, of a negative kind, but still, an excitement, we fear any kind of excitement.

    Relief- when one issue resolves itself there are many other issues- those many thousands of neuropathways I mentioned, held together with fear- those are still there, hence, no relief.

    The good news, this is workable. It is possible for you to heal, to feel relief, to feel sadness and joy. I say so  from personal experience. It is only within the last week that I have an ability I didn't have before, to experience the situations I am in as they are, without the anxiety. Or with way, way less of it. The difference in anxiety is significant enough for me to see that further healing is possible. At one point in the process I thought it wasn't possible. I didn't know that there really is a relief.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 3 days, 14 hours ago by  anita.
    #216385

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you so much for this response. It is the most or one of the most Incredible and helpful things I've read in years, or perhaps ever. A true and direct explanation to what I am personally feeling.

    I will be sure to come to this often when I wonder and forget this sense of no relief and constant fear.

     

    You wrote: The child is motivated to run, like an animal  in nature with a predator approaching, but there is nowhere to run to and the hope for safety is still with the mother. So a child stays, afraid. The fear does not relax but a running away to safety has not taken place. Unlike in nature where the predator, after running away, is no longer in sight, the mother-predator is still in sight, day after day, year after year. And so, the fear stays; it is anxiety

     

    This is it. Wow. So by nature of not truly running away and in fact staying with your predator, the child also develops and inability to trust his own feelings right? Because when an innate and I tuitive feeling is to run from fear, and that does not happen. It must cause confusion. It must make it hard for the child to see what innate “feings” he should trust then. Give that he never found relief and is still in the continuous blur of anxiety. Perhaps that's also why self trust never develops. How can one trust when he was not able to follow his most basic instinct?

     

     

    #216389

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    I just read your post before last and the most recent one. You wrote in the first: “the biggest decision I have ever made- to stop contact with my mother. I have not once felt anxious over it, or doubted it”- I experienced lots of doubting and anxiety over it and that prolonged my healing process. I hope you continue to not doubt it as it will save you a lot of time, I believe. And of course, there is no rational regret that is appropriate when finally making that run, running away from a predator.

    Regarding your recent post: amazing insight in your last paragraph. Continuing with the predator reality, it is confusing for a child to feel need and love for a predator, for one. Major confusion for me. How… easy an animal's life is, I am thinking, to see a predator clearly, as what it is, a predator, nothing more. It would have been very conflicted for an animal to feel the need for that predator to feed it, or hug it.

    The last paragraph you wrote has more to it that I want to re-read and think about later, and I will do so, a bit later.

    anita

    #216439

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    You wrote: “when an innate and intuitive feeling is to run away from fear, and that does not happen. It must cause confusion. It must make it hard for the child to see what innate ‘feelings' he should trust then. Give that he never found relief and is still in the continuous blur of anxiety. Perhaps that's also why self trust never develops. How can one trust when he was not able to follow his most basic instinct?”

    The child doesn't run away from his/ her mother because he needs her too much. He needs what he believes she is for him, survival, life itself. So he stays with her and the fear stays in him, growing. Over time, growing up, he knows that fear and he doesn't understand. He doesn't understand where it comes from. Sometimes he feels relative calm but soon enough the fear returns stronger. The child gets scared of that feeing, of the fear getting stronger. The fear is no longer attached, in awareness, to the mother-predator.

    So he is not running away, and he no longer know what it is that scared him so much. The source of danger is not clear. Older, he knows there are other family members that could take him in, if he was left by his parents. He knows that there are teachers in school, maybe, that he can turn to and who  will help him. So he doesn't understand that when he was younger he didn't know any of this, and that inherently he was born viewing the parent as the difference between life and death for him.

    The fear unattached to the original (and ongoing) danger source, misunderstood, unsettled, the child goes as numb as possible. Whatever doesn't get numbed becomes this or that mental problem (ex. OCD), it becomes a physical manifestation, from my Tourette's tic to your migraines.

    And the child and adult is confused about present dangers, not viewing an abusive relationship as dangerous, for example, not seeing danger where it is. And he sees danger where it is not.

    Self trust then would be then to lower that base anxiety, to re-attach it, so to speak, to the original danger, to free his brain from that… infestation of fear, so one doesn't see danger where there is none and see it where it is.

    When no longer seeing danger where there is none, this very thing is what will give you that relief. Every moment you feel anxious, in that moment you see danger right there and then. Most of those moments, there is no real danger.

    anita

    #216443

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Well explained thank you. In regards to the last part of your post, how does one: anxiety re-attach it, so to speak, to the original danger. Whether it be in psychotherapy, etc, in your opinion how does one begin to attempt to do that

    #216495

    Cali Chica
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I posed such a difficult question to you without a direct answer. Forgive me. I reflected in it all last evening. And I learned. The way to slowly undo that baseline fear and anxiety is to do no other than simplify and observe.

     

    Yesterday I came home and got back into my hectic pattern. Pattern of multitasking yet not doing any one thing mindfully. The pattern of acting out of compulsion (we have discussed before. To text someone to talk but realize you don't actually want to talk it was just habit to be social). All of it.

    And then I stopped. I was present. As in I did much of nothing. It is quite uncomfortable. I wanted to check my phone repeatedly to see if I got a new email. Why? Because I was expecting something important? No.  Not anymore. But the compulsion remained from all the times in the past few months that I was. Habits don't die when the external changes.

    I simplified my expectations of myself for this weekend. I realize that I often approach a day or weekend with subconscious stress bexuase I actively sought out to make the day complicated. Piling on too many activities. Expecting too much. Perhaps busy for the sake of feeling I must do as much as possible always. Uber productivity. max potential.  But all that leads to is burnout and the other extreme – feeling exhausted lifeless and down. No in between.

    So today is the first day in a long time I did not wake up with dread. I woke up neutral. Thought about oh it's Friday. That's it. Sure Mt thoughts went elsewhere within a few moments. But that first feeling when I wake up has become important to me. It is telling on how I slept and how I spent the time before sleeping the night before.

    I simplified yesterday against what felt natural. It felt as though I was missing something to just listen to my husband talk without worrying about something else. Felt I was forgetting something If I didn't obsess over every aspect of my upcoming weekend. But no. I survived it. And I slept.

    I hope I continue. I hope that simplifying soon over time becomes second nature. As it is quite self protective.

     

    #216501

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Cali Chica:

    The running away from danger, the thing a child cannot do, that running is the rushing you still experience. Your thoughts are running, multitasking, texting, obsessing. The fear stimulate you still to run.

    This is why it is so important for the anxious person to slow down, the opposite of running, of rushing. And it is very uncomfortable to do on an ongoing basis. Cherish your feeling better today, nothing more convincing that we are doing the right thing for us than a good feeling.

    But it won't last, that neutral, anxiety free feeling. But healing is happening, and there will be more and more of days like this if and as you persist until such time that every day will be like that.

    We mentioned therapy, if you had therapy with the most capable therapist in the world, for as long as it took, no real healing will take place unless you slow down every single day, like you did today, withstand the discomfort. And slow down when you wake up anxious. In the process of healing, there is no substitute for the need to practice mindful everyday living. It is this very practice, every day, uncomfortable and exhausting, that makes the rewiring of the brain.

    As to your question in the earlier post about re-attaching the fear to the original danger: pay attention to this very moment: what is the danger in this moment? If there is none, relax, just for this moment.

    Feeling anxious again, ask the same, relax. Free this moment and the next moment from your fear. I think this is the beginning of the re-attaching, that is removing the fear from the times when there is no danger.

    I wrote to you earlier “relative safety” because we are never completely safe of course, just like an animal in the wild. When the predator approaching, that is danger. When the animal successfully escaped, it is in relative safety. There may be another predator lurking, or maybe a poisonous plant it just ate, unknowingly. Relative safety is all we can have and that is enough for an animal in nature. It has to be enough for us too.

    anita

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