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Stuck in limbo, fear or loneliness, fear of hurting her

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  • #388698
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    I definitely bring the anxiety from my mother into relationships with women, as I am hyper aware of their feelings and try to work out if it is something I’ve done wrong which might have upset them, if that makes sense?“- it makes sense to me because (1) a young child is naturally self-centered, believing the world revolves around him and when his mother is upset, it must be something he (the child) did wrong, (2) a child needs his mother close to him, comforting and supportive, and when she is not, the child feels anxious, (3) an anxious child needs his mother so desperately, that he is hyper aware of her feelings, and when he detects that she is upset and distant, he is ready to do everything in his power to make her feel better and close.

    I try my best to be there for the people who need me, and especially the women in my life. I still am there for my ex partner, we are still friends, but I would drop anything to be there for her if she was hurting“- when you detected that your mother was hurt/ upset, your first priority was to make her feel better. Fast forward, as an adult, when you detect that a current or past romantic partner is hurt, it becomes your first priority to make her feel better, and you’ll drop anything to make it happen. Dropping anything to he there for a woman is a habit that started when you were a child, in regard to your mother, a habit that and extends to romantic partners.

    Today has been a tough day, feeling like I don’t want to hurt anyone I’m dating, but also feeling like I need someone’s support, I feel a bit paradoxical“- I think that the paradox is a combination of (1) the child that you were needing your mother’s support and closeness (“I need someone’s support“), (2) your mother was not present enough, and not supportive and close enough when present, (3) you believed that she was not close enough because you hurt her somehow (“I don’t want to hurt anyone”/ “fear of hurting her“- in the title of your thread).

    The conflict seems to be that (1) You are anxious and you need a woman’s closeness to calm you and comfort you, but (2) when in a relationship, you don’t trust that the woman will be close to you for long, you are hyper alert and anxious, anticipating that she will be distant any time, experiencing minor expressions of distance on her part (ex. let’s say she’s tired and needs alone time) as major, I imagine.. believing that when she’s distant, it is because you did something wrong, that you must have hurt her somehow.. and overall, a relationship that is supposed to calm and comfort you ends up causing you even more anxiety than when you are alone.

    I feel I’m also at the age as a man who shouldn’t be reaching out to my mother for so much support“- if you are currently receiving emotional support from your mother, it’s too late to work for you beyond a moment here or there: too late to change the very inadequate support you received from her during your formative years of childhood.

    I have been through stages in life where I’ve been given validation (women finding me attractive etc), and have felt great self esteem“- a self-esteem moment here, a self-esteem moment there.

    In regard to the second part of your post, giving me your excellent input regarding my mother/ my life, you wrote: “I hope you are finding this helpful? I obviously don’t want to keep asking you questions if you are not finding it useful. Please let me know if there is anything specific you would like to work on?“- yes, I find your input helpful. Thank you for your empathy, understanding and sensitivity: I can see that you have a lot of experience giving emotionally supportive input to your mother and to your romantic partners.

    I don’t want to continue to separate our communication to your mother/ your life.. and my mother/ my life. When I attend to your life and your childhood relationship with your mother, in my own mind I go back to my life and my childhood relationship with my mother, and that’s helpful to me. I do this with other members as well, and I don’t really have to discuss my life separately. I’d rather focus on your life experiences from here on. If I would like to address my life/ my mother with you in the future, I will let you know.

    anita

     

    #389051
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Sorry for my late reply, things have been rather hectic this week.

    “that he is hyper aware of her feelings, and when he detects that she is upset and distant” I can definitely relate to this. I notice the smallest ques from the women I am involved with, and sometimes take them personally. I am definitely working on this, and have been speaking with a counselor about this and several other things. I think it comes down to self-esteem as well with me, that I think I’m not worthy of the love, attention and their happiness.

    “started when you were a child, in regard to your mother, a habit that and extends to romantic partners” Yes absolutely. Although I am still not sure if this is something that is to my detriment or not. Like it still confuses me, that I do love to be there for people and help, but sometimes I’m not sure if I put myself second, and if this is a good or bad thing.

    As for the paradox, yes that makes a lot of sense what you have noted. I do sometimes need to understand my needs a little better, and be aware that I may be searching for the attention and validation that the young me didn’t always receive. I dated someone for a couple of weeks but called it off as I wasn’t feeling that connection, though it was hard hurting someone I still didn’t even know that well, and to lose a source of validation. I feel that some days I am still getting used to being single, to not have someone there to listen and to validate my feelings etc.

    “when in a relationship, you don’t trust that the woman will be close to you for long, you are hyper alert and anxious, anticipating that she will be distant any time” This makes a lot of sense. I have had several serious relationships as an adult, and I have either finished them as they weren’t working for me, or I have been completely blindsided by others whom I thought I could spend the rest of my life with. So maybe these feelings of abandonment have been reinforced a little in adult life, that women have left me, seemingly without notice. This again is something I am working on, being more mindful and not expecting things that are out of my control.

    “a self-esteem moment here, a self-esteem moment there.” 100%, again things I am working on. That I should feel my own intrinsic value without the validation from a woman, though I do appreciate that it is also positive to have that from a partner.

    I am glad you have found some of the things regarding your life useful as well. I understand that we don’t need to go further on this, but thank you for letting me help in any way. I really do appreciate all your valuable conversation, it is a constant source of comfort.

    Dave

    #389061
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    Not a problem when you reply to my posts, any time is fine with me!

    I wrote to you: “when you detected that your mother was hurt/ upset, your first priority was to make her feel better. Fast forward, as an adult, when you detect that a current or past romantic partner is hurt, it becomes your first priority to make her feel better, and you’ll drop anything to make it happen”, and you responded: “Yes absolutely. Although I am still not sure if this is something that is to my detriment or not. Like it still confuses me, that I do love to be there for people and help, but sometimes I’m not sure if I put myself second, and if this is a good or bad thing“-

    – The problem is not you being there for people and helping them (as long as it is not at the expense of your health, ex. helping someone move and re-injuring a previously injured back), but the motivation & expectations behind you helping others. If your motivation and expectation is to heal and elevate your self-esteem, feeling worthy as a result on an ongoing basis (“I think it comes down to self-esteem as well with me, that I think I’m not worthy of the love, attention and their happiness“)- then helping others will continue to lead to disappointment.

    The injury to your self-esteem took place when you were a child because for too often and for too long- she, your mother, wasn’t there for you. The injury to your self-esteem did not happen because you, the child that you were, wasn’t there for her (by successfully helping her, taking away her hurt and upset, make her feel better).

    Fast forward, you can’t heal your self-esteem by being there for a woman. To heal your self-esteem, it will take you becoming able to relax in the company of another person who genuinely appreciates you and values you, absorbing his/ her appreciation, letting it sink in and slowly dissolves the angst. This other person may be a counselor, or a woman with whom you get involved with while attending counseling.

    anita

     

    #389807
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Sorry again, we’ve had a bereavement in the family which has been tough to deal with.

    You are right, about not doing things for the wrong reasons. I feel most of the time (thankfully), I am helping past and current romantic partners purely out of a feeling of care for them. But of course sometimes the feeling of trying to help my self esteem do creep in.

    That makes a lot of sense about the self esteem issues coming from the interactions with my mother as a child. I feel we’ve touched on this before, but more recently I have been talking with new potential romantic options and feel I get very attached quite quickly and have these abandonment issues arise as well. I feel if I am being mindful of these, I can help understand them better. I am going to speak to my counsellor again, as I’ve had a few months off. So it will be good to talk through these things in person again.

    I feel I get attached to romantic partners quickly because again of my childhood, that I am searching to be loved and wanted, if that makes sense?

    I hope you are well,

    Dave

    #389817
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    Welcome back to your thread! “I get very attached quite quickly…. I get attached to romantic partners quickly… I am searching to be loved and wanted, if that makes sense?“- yes, it makes sense. You get attached so quickly because of an old, strong, unmet need to not be alone, to have someone there with you, someone to love you.  A child alone for too long becomes a desperate child. This desperation carries on to adulthood.

    Here is an imagery: a tree in dry ground grows longer and longer roots, trying to reach water. Its roots are much longer than they would be if there was enough water in the ground. Similarly, a child who is alone for too long, not having a parent present, physically or emotionally, reaches out to the parent, trying very hard to get the parent’s attention and love, “searching to be loved and wanted“.

    Back in June you wrote: “I have always been so close with my mother“- applying the tree imagery to this sentence: as a child, you grew very long roots trying to reach/ be close to your mother.

    But what can this understanding do for you now, at 31 years old? Answering my own question: I think that it will take some counseling/ psychotherapy for you to connect to this love thirsty part of you: the inner child. The inner child is not a real child, but the emotional experience of the child that you were, an experience stored and maintained in your brain. Without this connection, your understanding of your childhood etc., is too intellectual, and not accurate or emotional enough.

    You don’t remember your childhood accurately. An example of the inaccuracy I am referring to is in your very first description of your parents: “a mother who was very comforting and loving, and a father who was very distant emotionally and tough on me” (June 3, 2021)”-

    – do you see dichotomy (the contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different)? This kind of thought distortion is natural for children. It is called black and white thinking or all or nothing thinking.

    In reality, your mother was often absent because she worked a lot, and when present, she was less likely to be “very comforting and loving“(June 3, 2021), and more likely to come to you for comfort: she was more likely to come to me for comfort“, Nov 11, 2021.

    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is about correcting thought distortions. In combination with other types of therapy, you can gain an accurate and an emotional understanding of your early emotional experience of life, and how it carries on to adulthood. With such understanding and with quality professional guidance, you can change your same-old, same-old emotional experience and discover a different, way better kind of life experience.

    anita

    #390738
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Sorry about the late reply, it was a hectic time but full of family visits over the holidays. I spend a total of 0 hours on my computer, which is both good and also I have a lot of catching up to do.

    You are so right in that as a child I yearned not to be alone and to be close with someone who loves me. That is acutely what I am feeling right now, I started seeing a new romantic connectioned just before christmas, things have gone very well and we’ve spent a lot of time together, but after a few days apart, I seem to be struggling with separation anixety. I guess this might be due to my anxious attachment style.

    a tree in dry ground grows longer and longer roots – this analogy is really interesting, I’ve never thought about it like that. I feel like the tree with long roots now, yearning to be close to someone who has shown me compassion.

    What you’ve said makes so much sense, I feel I would really benefit from some psychotherapy, but the cost is too high where I am, but hopefully I am starting a new job and I might be able to afford it. What you said about my thoughts being too intellectual in adulthood with regard to childhood experience seems so interesting, I clearly try and rationalise these things and think about them in a pragmatic way, but this doesn’t seem to help. I try sometimes addressing the child in me who is lonely, hurt and strives for love. It is a really vulnerable place to be and it does scare me. It scares me revealing that side to a new partner also.

    The black and white thinking you referred to makes a lot of sense, is it possible I have rose-tinted glasses on when thinking of my mother, that she was perfect, when in fact she was just human and wasn’t always there. I note now that although I speak to my mother a lot, we don’t entirely empathise with each other, but I do with my brother, so much more than when we were children.

    I have tried CBT several times and have found it very helpful, so I will look into that again. I also read a book called the Happiness trap, which is around a newer wave of CBT called ACT, acceptence and commitment therapy, which follows a similar approach. I guess after several months of reletively stable mental health, I am just a little suprised about a new love interest, and the anxiety that has suddently occured. But I am taking all of your advise and thoughts to heart and they are so hopeful.

    I hope you are well,

    D

    #390749
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    I am well, thank you. The ground here has been covered by half a meter of snow since Christmas Day, 11 long days of way too much snow. It’s finally been above freezing here, and I am watching the heavy snow melt bit by bit by bit…  by bit.

    As a child I yearned not to be alone and to be close with someone who loves me. That is acutely what I am feeling right now… I feel like the tree with long roots now, yearning to be close to someone who has shown me compassion” – intense emotional experience of childhood extends into adulthood.

    I started seeing a new romantic connection just before Christmas, things have gone very well and we’ve spent a lot of time together, but after a few days apart, I seem to be struggling with separation anxiety… I am just a little surprised about a new love interest, and the anxiety that has suddenly occurred” – your intense separation anxiety of childhood extends into adulthood. It doesn’t surprise me because what I just stated is the rule, not the exception.

    The black and white thinking you referred to makes a lot of sense, is it possible I have rose-tinted glasses on when thinking of my mother, that she was perfect” – it is clear to me that your view of your mother as very loving etc., has been part of the black and white thinking-distortion.

    I note now that although I speak to my mother a lot, we don’t entirely empathise with each other” – if she was physically and emotionally present for you when you were a child, showing you empathy and compassion, you wouldn’t have been then and ever since “yearning to be close to someone who has shown me compassion“.

    I try sometimes addressing the child in me who is lonely, hurt and strives for love. It is a really vulnerable place to be, and it does scare me. It scares me revealing that side to a new partner also” – you can practice this here, a little bit, if you so choose: when you are calm, maybe while listening to fitting music, or when all is silent around you, sit in front of the computer and imagine yourself as the child that you were, then type away what that child would say about how he feels, whatever comes to mind.

    anita

     

    #391555
    Gary
    Participant

    Anita, I hope you’re well?

    I started a new job on the 5th Jan, so things have been very busy for me in the last two weeks. But I am enjoying it a lot. Thank you for the offer to practice addressing the inner child in me. I have been seeing my new love interest for about a month, and we are getting very close and sharing a lot of intimacy and our feelings etc. Though this, like I said before, has lead to an increase in my anxiety. I started to feel very calm about things, until Sunday, when she said something along the lines of “I wanted to be honest with you, that last year when I broke up with my last relationship, I intended to go travelling this year, in the spring/summer, maybe for a month, maybe longer. That was the reason I only applied for a six month lease on this flat. I wanted to be honest, because although I understand that this sounds like some uncertainty, it is a while away, it is something I have wanted to do for some time.”… after talking some more on the matter, I asked if she had been travelling with ex partners, to which she explained that often they didn’t seem like the right relationships to do this with, or the wrong people. I asked if she found someone who wanted similar things, would that influence the decision to travel solo, to which she responded yes. I explained that I have always loved to travel, but have never been in the right relationships either. I also added that at this point in my life, I have never been more free to travel, that my work is flexible and I have a lot of annual leave.

    Sorry for the long note, it was something that really triggered my inner child and spiked my anxiety, and like you mentioned, I found a quiet moment and composed the following, whilst addressing my inner child:

    <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>This scared the child in me a lot. It scared me because I wasn’t sure why she was saying it, was it a preface to being able to exit the relationship as soon as travelling plans materialise, or was she saying it to gauge my reaction, by chance that I may feel similarly about travelling and it may be something we could do together? I felt a deep yearning to tell her exactly how I feel, my child wanted to cry, to reach out, to ask for certainty, for love and support. That I want to grow together, to experience the beauty of life, to see other countries, that I don’t want this to end. As we have joked before, 1 in 8 billion people, I like those odds, because when you win, you win big. This might be a joke, but it is the complete truth to me, sometimes life gives you something that is just too positive to ignore, or to cast aside, my child doesn’t want to be cast aside. A connection like we have made in such a short space of time, is truly a thing of value, created out of two paths of complete complexity and chance.</span>

    <span style=”font-weight: 400;”>The child in me was scared. I am scared. The work I have done with myself has been so valuable, and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself, that I discount all the positive things that have happened because of a restless desire to understand my mind and those of others. I have no desire to control, own or have power over Kate, or any partner for that matter, often insecurities about losing someone you love can be misread as obsessions of control, but this is not the case. Kate’s independence, her intelligence and complete passion for life are what draws me to her. I admire and care for her. The child in me, doesn’t want to control his Dad, he just wants to be loved by him. He wants his Mum, Dad and Step Mum to hold him when he is scared, to tell him his is enough, and to encourage him.</span>

    Apologies that this might be a word dump, but I wanted to write straight from that child, from the heart.

    All the best,

    Dave

    #391565
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    I am fine, thank you. You shared that you started a new job in the last two weeks, a job that keeps you busy, but you enjoy it a lot. You’ve been seeing your love interest for the past month, “getting very close and sharing a lot of intimacy“. At first, the new relationship increased your anxiety, next, you “started to feel very calm about things, until Sunday“, two days ago, when she told you that last year, she had plans to travel in the spring and summer of this year, for a month or longer.

    She told you in regard to her ex- partners, that they were not “the right relationships to (travel) with, or the wrong people“. You told her that you always loved to travel, “but have never been in the right relationships either“. You added that currently you have the time to travel because your work is flexible, and you have a lot of annual leave.

    This conversation spiked your anxiety. You then found a quiet moment and addressed your anxious inner child. “Apologies that this might be a word dump, but I wanted to write straight from that child, from the heart” – no need to apologize, writing straight from the heart is what this exercise is about, whatever comes to heart and mind. And you did a great job, well done!

    Paraphrasing, if I may (it helps me understand better when I paraphrase), your inner child said: I am scared. I am scared a lot! Maybe she wants to leave me. But maybe she wants me to go with her? How do I know… I am crying. I want to ask her to stay with me, to never leave me; I want to tell her that I will go with her wherever she goes. I don’t want to be left alone, to be cast aside! I am scared to tell her this because maybe she will misunderstand me and think that I am trying to control her, which I am not, and then she’d leave me.

    The child in me, doesn’t want to control his Dad, he just wants to be loved by him. He wants his Mum, Dad and Step Mum to hold him when he is scared, to tell him his is enough, and to encourage him” – I am wondering, when you were a child, did any of the parent figures in your life accuse you of trying to control them? Also, can you elaborate on how they misunderstand you?

    anita

    #391599
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for your reply. Thank you also for letting me express myself like this.

    Yes that all makes a lot of sense. With regard to my parents, I don’t recall them saying I was trying to control them, but when I was with my father, I suffered a lot of separation anxiety being apart from my mother, and when I would get emotional or cry, he would often tell me to stop, or grow up, or be cynical towards this type of ‘needy’ behaviour. So I’m not sure I was ever accused of being controlling, but I was made to feel a little stupid for acting so emotionally towards missing my mother.

    …and how I might be misunderstood with my love interest – I was trying to process this last night. I spoke with my brother and a close friend about what she had said, and they both think that she was worried that I might end things if I knew she was travelling for a short while in the spring, whereas I thought it was that she may not want to carry on seeing each other when she goes travelling. My percieved misunderstanding comes from the fact that if I told her that I would miss her, or that I would want to stay together regardless of travel plans, that she may see this as me being ‘needy’ and overlly emotional.

    I did have a girlfriend when I was 21, the first real love in my life, who had a year abroad planned (maybe 18 months after starting our relationship) and she always asked me if I would stay with her whilst she went away, to which I said yes. But weeks before leaving, she broke off the relationship, because she wanted to be single for the year she was abroad. I understand that we were very young, and that a year is a lot longer than 1-2 months. But maybe this is causing me anxiety in my current relationship, that this sort of thing feels like it has happened before.

    My friend and brother both thought that her being honest with me was a sign that she wants things to work between us. Also, we have made our own plans next month to travel for a few days, so things are overall very positive with us. I just feel such separation anxiety and worry of being left in the future, like the child in me.

    Dave

    #391601
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You are welcome. “When I was with my father, I suffered a lot of separation anxiety being apart from my mother, and when I would get emotional or cry, he would often tell me to stop, or grow up, or be cynical towards this type of ‘needy’ behaviour” -he wanted you to stop crying, to stop expressing your fear and neediness for your mother, but what he accomplished was the opposite: he caused you to get stuck in the fear and neediness that he wanted you to move away from.

    I was made to feel a little stupid for acting so emotionally towards missing my mother” -there is nothing more natural for a child to miss his mother and feel anxious when not in her company. It is not stupid, it is natural.

    I spoke with my brother and a close friend about what she had said, and they both think that she was worried that I might end things… that she wants things to work between us” – seems this way to me too.

    My perceived misunderstanding comes from the fact that if I told her that I would miss her, or that I would want to stay together regardless of travel plans, that she may see this as me being ‘needy’ and overly emotional” – you were afraid that she will respond to your emotions the way your father did.

    There are ways for you to express to her how much you’d miss her, etc., without appearing needy and overly emotional (to a reasonable person, and I assume she is reasonable).  You can look into her eyes with a smile on your face, and say, in a strong, emotional but contained voice: I will miss you so much! You can practice this in front of the mirror.

    We have made our own plans next month to travel for a few days, so things are overall very positive with us. I just feel such separation anxiety and worry of being left in the future, like the child in me” – all the ways that help lessen anxiety in general, will help with this particular anxiety.

    Specifically for this anxiety, when you feel it, talk to yourself the way your father should have, but didn’t. Say: it is okay to miss her. It is okay to need her. It is okay to feel whatever it is that I feel. It is okay to express my emotions. I am okay. I can be emotional and in control.

    anita

    #391807
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    “he caused you to get stuck in the fear and neediness that he wanted you to move away from” – this does make a lot of sense now, especially later in my life. It is something I definitely bring into romantic relationships, with separation anxiety and fear when I am not around my partner.

    “there is nothing more natural for a child to miss his mother and feel anxious when not in her company. It is not stupid, it is natural” – thank you for saying this, it did always feel like I was being unreasonable missing my mother so much. But like I mentioned above, this has translated to romantic caregivers instead.

    “you were afraid that she will respond to your emotions the way your father did” – yes, exactly this. I feel already that she is very empathetic and understands the way I feel a lot of the time, we do seem to share a connection. So maybe it just takes me a little longer than other people to open up completely and share what I am thinking/feeling, without fear of judgement.

    “There are ways for you to express to her how much you’d miss her, etc., without appearing needy and overly emotional” – you are so right, I have worked a lot of expressing myself how I want to be heard, not how the voice in my head sometimes tells me I’m feeling. Although you are aware of my inner thoughts and my somewhat anxious attachment style, I am confident that I don’t come across too needy or anxious to my new love interest, I try to carefully think about what I am going to say before I say it, if that makes sense.

    “all the ways that help lessen anxiety in general, will help with this particular anxiety.” – thank you, I am trying to cultivate some of the normal mindfulness routines that I developed after we first started speaking on this thread all those months ago. Reading, meditation, exercise. I think starting a new job was an additional stress that I hadn’t really considered until this weekend, so I should be a bit kinder to myself.

    “Specifically for this anxiety, when you feel it, talk to yourself the way your father should have, but didn’t” – this is really good advice, and I will certainly do this. These words of affirmation from myself seem so important, rather than being judgemental and critical of my emotional side which feels a deep longing for those I care about.

    Dave

    #391810
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You are welcome. I like how you quoted each item of suggestion and advice and responded to each, and I liked reading all of your responses.

    So maybe it just takes me a little longer than other people to open up completely and share what I am thinking/feeling, without fear of judgement” – if your current girlfriend is indeed very understanding and empathetic of you, maybe you can share with her (if you haven’t so far), that you would like to share with her more of what you are thinking and feeling, but you are afraid of judgment, such that you received early in life. You can give her an example or two of judgments you are afraid of and hear how she responds.

    I have worked a lot of expressing myself how I want to be heard, not how the voice in my head sometimes tells me I’m feeling… I try to carefully think about what I am going to say before I say it, if that makes sense” – express yourself authentically and in a contained way, so that you are true to yourself.

    Although you are aware of my inner thoughts and my somewhat anxious attachment style, I am confident that I don’t come across too needy or anxious to my new love interest,”- coming to think about it, you don’t sound (or reads like, more accurately) too needy or anxious to me. I read from members who do sound this way, but you don’t, not to me.

    I should be a bit kinder to myself” – I vote for you being a lot kinder to yourself!

    These words of affirmation from myself seem so important, rather than being judgmental and critical of my emotional side which feels a deep longing for those I care about” – your emotional side that feels a deep longing is your natural, loving part, one that too many people hide so successfully that they no longer feel it and they become cold and cruel. Coldness and cruelty deserve judgment and criticism, not your wonderful longing for love!

    anita

    #391837
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    That’s great, I’m glad this format works for you – it’s really helpful to quote your response and then talk about the thoughts that these bring up.

    You can give her an example or two of judgments you are afraid of and hear how she responds – this is a very good idea. From the top of my head, I have visited my father a few times recently, and following his stroke and brain damage, he can become agressive with me, which triggers a lot of feelings from childhood. I notice that following these visits, I have a peak in anxiety and am hyperaware, I opened up to her about this and she was so comforting and supporting. Explaining that I am safe with her and to not be hard on myself for having these feelings. But I will of course take your advice and bring up specifically what we here have mentioned, that I would like to share more, but have a deep fear of it being rejected. Thank you.

    express yourself authentically and in a contained way, so that you are true to yourself – very good advice, I feel I am being genuine, but I will try hard to notice when I am expressing myself, that I still being true to myself. I think this ties in with the above point as well, to be honest about how I am feeling.

    I read from members who do sound this way, but you don’t, not to me – thank you Anita, it is nice to receive these words of confirmation from you.

    I vote for you being a lot kinder to yourself – agreed 🙂 I’m not quite sure why I am so hard on myself sometimes, I envy those who can be completely comfortable with themselves and even love themselves.

    Coldness and cruelty deserve judgment and criticism, not your wonderful longing for love – thank you again for this, I feel sometimes in this modern world, that there is a lot of stigma surrounding people who might be percieved as wanting love etc, like this might be seen as weakness. But you are right, it is a lovely thing to be passionate about love and connection.

    As another thought, Kate and I had a nice weekend, but she unfortunately had an anxious moment when we were out with friends, I think the empath in me noticed it almost straight away without prompting, and I made every effort to comfort and support her. She was so thankful and since then, she has talked about how safe she feels with me and how amazing I was with her. I just feel that seeing that worry or fear in someone I care about, I have the strongest urge to make sure they feel safe, supporting and not alone.

    Dave

    #391846
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You are welcome. We both like this format, so you can continue with this format for as long as you prefer it.

    I have visited my father a few times recently, and following his stroke and brain damage, he can become aggressive with me, which triggers a lot of feelings from childhood. I notice that following these visits, I have a peak in anxiety and am hyperaware” -I remember that you mentioned before that he’s been aggressive with you during visitations, but I don’t remember how I responded. It is clear to me this morning that you shouldn’t visit him: It is literally bad for your health!!! Is there a way to arrange for an in-home care service for him: someone other than you to visit him for the purpose of caring for him, being that he is disabled?

    I opened up to her about this and she was so comforting and supporting. Explaining that I am safe with her and to not be hard on myself for having these feelings” – excellent that you opened up to her and that she responded the way she did!!!

    I’m not quite sure why I am so hard on myself sometimes, I envy those who can be completely comfortable with themselves and even love themselves” – part of you still believes that you deserve rejection and hard treatment. It is not a true belief, but beliefs, true and false, are strong regardless, when they are energized by early-life emotions.

    I feel sometimes in this modern world, that there is a lot of stigma surrounding people who might be perceived as wanting love etc., like this might be seen as weakness. But you are right, it is a lovely thing to be passionate about love and connection” – there is such a stigma in society but part of you shares this stigma, perceiving and believing that longing for love is a weakness, a shameful thing. Another part of you thinks that it is a lovely thing. The first part is energized by strong early-life emotions; the second part is loosely held by later life thoughts and weaker emotions.

    Healing is about weakening the first part and strengthening the second part.

    Kate and I had a nice weekend, but she unfortunately had an anxious moment… and I made every effort to comfort and support her. She was so thankful and since then, she has talked about how safe she feels with me and how amazing I was with her” – reading this is making my day a good day, thank you!

    anita

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