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

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  • #391857
    Gary
    Participant

    Anita,

    Thank you, yes I really like this format.

    someone other than you to visit him for the purpose of caring for him, being that he is disabled? – I feel like because of the family dynamic, and the fact that my father wasn’t a bad man, I want to care for him, as the disability is not his fault, but the brain damage causes these outburts. But I understand what you mean, luckily I don’t have to go over very often, I’ve limited it to once a week normally. But this is something to think about for sure.

    excellent that you opened up to her and that she responded the way she did – absolutely, it was a really lovely and promising sign. The fear is still within me that if I talk about other things, a shared future for example, I will not receive the response I crave. But like we have talked about, this comes from a fear from childhood.

    It is not a true belief, but beliefs, true and false, are strong regardless, when they are energized by early-life emotions – You are right, I have started journaling again a lot recently. Specifically I wanted to focus on traumatic events, to really write how I feel/felt about them. I was assulted 10 years ago, suffered some brain damage and lost my sense of smell for several years, I had PTSD following and I feel this may also have a part to play in how I feel, the anxiety etc. Maybe my beliefs that I deserve suffering and pain. I journaled about this, and previous romantic and family rejections or abandonment which shuck me and took years to overcome. I feel several experiences may have contributed to this insecure attachment and fear of abandonment.

    The first part is energized by strong early-life emotions; the second part is loosely held by later life thoughts and weaker emotions. – This is such an interesting way of expressing these thoughts. I had also not thought that although there is this stigma, that I also share it. I almost feel like if a woman shows these feelings of wanting love, I have no judgement and welcome it, but if I or another male does it, I feel this subconcious stigma, maybe because of the way my mum and dad were. I want to focus on healing, like you say. Weakening the strong early life emotions and strengthening the ones I know to be true.

    reading this is making my day a good day, thank you! – Thank you Anita 🙂 I only wish I could focus on the numerous positives and amazing connection we have, without worrying that it will all fall apart and I will be abandoned. But healing is a process, as you have said before.

    Dave

    #391872
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You are welcome! “My father wasn’t a bad man, I want to care for him, as the disability is not his fault, but the brain damage causes these outbursts” – regardless of fault, you should not be exposed to his outbursts. You can research the topic of abuse of caregivers (by those receiving care) in websites such as aging care. com/ Elders who abuse their family caregivers, and multi cultural caregiving. net/ it’s time to talk about caregiver abuse (no spaces).

    I have started journaling again a lot recently. Specifically, I wanted to focus on traumatic events, to really write how I feel/felt about them. I was assaulted 10 years ago, suffered some brain damage and lost my sense of smell for several years, I had PTSD following and I feel this may also have a part to play in how I feel, the anxiety etc.” – I am sorry that you were assaulted and suffered so much because of it!  I can’t imagine it not having a part in your anxiety. Journaling about it and about other traumatic experiences is a good idea. You are welcome to journal privately and/ or here, on your thread, whatever you prefer.

    I almost feel like if a woman shows these feelings of wanting love, I have no judgement and welcome it, but if I or another male does it, I feel this subconscious stigma” – it is very sad that boys and men are victims to this gender-based discrimination.

    “I only wish I could focus on the numerous positives and amazing connection we have, without worrying that it will all fall apart, and I will be abandoned. But healing is a process, as you have said before” – yes, it’s a process, no quick solutions and resolutions. Keep at it, persistently and patiently, every day, and you will notice a significant improvement within months, I predict.

    anita

    #392182
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    regardless of fault, you should not be exposed to his outbursts – Thank you, I will certainly read more on this and consider my position as carer. I had never really thought of it like this to be honest.

    I can’t imagine it not having a part in your anxiety – thank you Anita for the offer to journal here, I’m sure it does have an impact on my anxiety. I am happy to share on here for sure. I do a lot of extra journaling just as a way to express myself (sometimes for pages and pages), so I’d like to be more concise here. I feel that period of uncertainty, violence, injury and fear shows itself again sometimes in my life these days. Like in romance, a lot of my older insecurities and trauma only manifest themselves in my romantic life. I feel with work, friendships, exercise, hobbies etc – I don’t have the same vulnerability as I do with love. I think that is what I’m trying to get to the bottom of. As part of my journaling, I’ve managed to write down several milestone moments in my life that I think had an impact on my inability to fully trust a lover or caregiver for some time.

    it is very sad that boys and men are victims to this gender-based discrimination – It really is isn’t it. But fortunately, Kate is very good at breaking down this stigma with me. A lot of the conversations we are having revolve around older patterns that we have both learnt and us both trying to break those thought patterns. Her ex was not very sympathetic or empathetic when she suffered social anxiety, I have tried to be so supportive and a safe space where she express herself, which she has found so helpful, she says I am breaking down her walls that she put up. Similarly, when I was feeling anxious the other day and really wanted reassurance – I took your advice Anita and told Kate, she was so supportive and caring, made me feel safe and reassured. I am slowly learning that to be a man and be emotional, sensitive and loving is no bad thing.

    Keep at it, persistently and patiently, every day, and you will notice a significant improvement within months, I predict. – thank you again Anita, you are right. I am slowly feeling more and more confident and less anxious, but like you say it takes time. There are still moments where I feel I am not good enough and that Kate will realise that. But this comes back to vulnerabilities coming out in Romance, where in work for example, I don’t ever feel that way. I have confidence that I am the right person for the job etc.

    All the best,

    Dave

    #392191
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You are welcome. a lot of my older insecurities and trauma only manifest themselves in my romantic life. I feel with work, friendships, exercise, hobbies etc. – I don’t have the same vulnerability as I do with love” – I expressed on the forum many times that as adults we re-experience our troubled childhood emotional experiences in the context of romantic relationships.

    “Kate is very good at breaking down this stigma with me…. she says I am breaking down her walls that she put up. Similarly, when I was feeling anxious the other day and really wanted reassurance – I took your advice Anita and told Kate, she was so supportive and caring, made me feel safe and reassured. I am slowly learning that to be a man and be emotional, sensitive and loving is no bad thing” – excellent! I like Kate, reads like she is a good, honest person, and that the two of you are right for each other.  In regard to the stigma against men expressing vulnerability (the saying “real men don’t cry” comes to mind), it reminds me of a post a member submitted not long ago. She suggested that each person should have not only an inner child within, but a whole inner family, consisting of an inner parent, an inner brother (masculine) and an inner sister (feminine).

    In other words, there is space in (men’s and women’s) mental identity for both masculine and feminine. Men and women should express both vulnerability and self-control, encouraging each other to honor our (genderless!) vulnerability and our (genderless!) ability to control our expressions, depending on the situation and what is most needed in the situation.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 4 months, 3 weeks ago by anita.
    #392464
    Gary
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    we re-experience our troubled childhood emotional experiences in the context of romantic relationships – this feels so true. But in the same way, the more connected I feel in romantic relationships, the more my anxious attachment is soothed. Which I guess relates to being soothed my mother or brother when a child and feeling anxious.

    She suggested that each person should have not only an inner child within, but a whole inner family, consisting of an inner parent, an inner brother (masculine) and an inner sister (feminine) – I am glad you think that about Kate, she certainly is someone who is caring, empathetic and absolutely supporting of my showing and feeling my emotions deeply. This is very nice what the other member had said, I feel we all are multitudes like this. That we have layers and different areas of our personality that are needed in certain situations. The genderlessness is very interesting, almost as though we should not relate showing emotional with femininity, but as just a part of ourselves.

    I had a moment just this morning with Kate, where we had a very lovely weekend together and spent a lot of time really connecting on a deeper level, I just felt close to tears, out of pure joy and happiness and she was so supportive and did not make me feel weird for showing this level of emotion. I explained what we have talked about here, that I guess I still felt a stigma as a man crying. Kate said that she sees me showing my feelings and tears as a sign of courage and strength.

    I hope you are well,

    D

    #392470
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    The genderlessness is very interesting, almost as though we should not relate showing emotional with femininity, but as just a part of ourselves” – yes, absolutely! Emotions are not any more feminine than they are masculine. Emotions are simply human, everyone has them.

    Repressing emotions is unhealthy for everyone and expressing them is healthy for everyone. When expressing our emotions in the presence of other people, we need to be authentic and considerate of the other person, for example, to not go on and on without end, causing the other person to get stuck in our misery.

    I just felt close to tears, out of pure joy and happiness… I explained what we have talked about here, that I guess I still felt a stigma as a man crying. Kate said that she sees me showing my feelings and tears as a sign of courage and strength” – experiencing emotion, being overwhelmed with joy and happiness, that’s simply natural. Removing the gender bias of shame that has been attached to boys and men expressing vulnerability- that is an act of courage and strength! You are courageous and strong, and Kate is wise to recognize it!

    Kate, she certainly is someone who is caring, empathetic and absolutely supporting of my showing and feeling my emotions deeply“, “The more connected I feel in romantic relationships, the more my anxious attachment is soothed” – as lovely as Kate is (and she is very lovely!) she cannot undo your anxious attachment that took hold when you were a child. Your adult relationship with Kate is the right relationship for you to be in while you, as an individual, work on your anxious attachment. You can share about this work with Kate, but keep in mind that the work is primarily your individual challenge, your individual responsibility. I say this because I want you to have realistic expectations of Kate and of the relationship, and I want this healthy, loving relationship to keep going and going…

    anita

    #393035
    anita
    Participant

    I hope you are well, Dave!

    anita

    #393353
    Gary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    So sorry, the last few weeks have been up and down, I went away to Portugal with Kate, which was incredible and very peacefull, but when I arrived back, things deteriorated with my father quite rapidly, he had a serious infection and needed surgery, followed then by him being sent home, locking carers out of the house which required police to break in and then the next day found fallen in his home with evidence of self harm, so I’ve been talking constantly with carers, doctors and my family team to try and arrange care that isn’t in his home going forward. Apologies, I just wanted to explain a little as I was certainly intending to reply, my mind was just elsewhere.

    Repressing emotions is unhealthy for everyone and expressing them is healthy for everyone – I think a lot of the things that have happened in the last two weeks have given me the opportunity to express my emotions, I hope in a healthy way & experiencing emotion, being overwhelmed with joy and happiness, that’s simply natural – this time has also given me the opportunity to express these emotions whilst with Kate. In the past, when something difficult would happen with my dad, I would deal with it on my own, maybe call a family member or two to talk. But Kate was literally by my side when these things happened, and although in this case the feelings weren’t joy and happiness, I expressed my sadness and cried with her. She explained that she saw this as strong, and nothing to be ashamed of. These times really give me the comfort to know that good people don’t judge you for showing such emotions as a man.

    keep in mind that the work is primarily your individual challenge – thank you for reminding of this, I know we can slip into patterns of hoping someone else can ‘fix’ us. But you are so right, I am speaking with a counselor again and working on myself a lot. This is helping with the attachment issues, and I am gradually feeling more and more comfortable and calm, and less anxious. Bit by bit.

    I hope you are well Anita, and thank you as always for your words.

    Dave

    #393356
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    You are welcome! Good to read that (1) you went away to Portugal with Kate and had an incredible and very peaceful time, (2) Kate has been by your side since the return, and you expressed your emotions healthily to her,

    (3) Kate is a good person and a supportive partner: “I expressed my sadness and cried with her. She explained that she saw this as strong, and nothing to be ashamed of. These times really give me the comfort to know that good people don’t judge you for showing such emotions as a man“.

    (4) you are speaking with a counselor again, working on your attachment issues and gradually feeling more comfortable and calmer.

    In regard to your father “locking carers out of the house which required police to break in and then the next day found fallen in his home with evidence of self-harm” – angry, he locked care workers out of his house, and indifferent to his son’s emotions, he is taking away your calm/ making you miserable.

    There is a tendency, when a parent is sick and/ or aging, to assign bad behavior to sickness and aging when it is the same-old-same-old behavior as when the parent was young. When your father was a young man, and you were a child, he was primarily angry and indifferent to your emotions, making you anxious and miserable (then and now): “my father’s temper and his dislike of children meant I definitely walked on egg-shells around him so as not to make him angry. He would often be very angry at normal child-like things, such as dropping something, or not understanding a difficult concept… I was scared to see but was forced to be with every other weekend, I would often cry whilst at his house“.

    His sickness and his age are not his choosing/ his fault, but much of his behavior is still his choosing. It’s helpful to keep our perceptions true and balanced, taking everything into account, so that we see people as they truly are.

    anita

     

    #395196
    Gary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Sorry life has been rather busy of late. I am definitely feeling more comfortable and calmer with my attachment to Kate. Though there have been a lot of health and other emergencies that I could not avoid as a carer of my father. I know we had talked about reducing my carers responsibility, but the way the system works in the UK is that I am still the next of kin and am responsible for certain matters. But I have definitely reduced my amount of visits to my father, but it was issues with self harm and potential suicide attempts which needed my attention. I now recognise patterns that when things like this happen, I become more in need of affirmation and affection from Kate, like I am hyper aware of my emotional vulnerability, if that makes sense?

    You are right about the bad behaviour, I did talk to my dad and expressed that I can’t keep living like this if he is going to make situations difficult and stressful, that he needs to help himself as well. I explained how much of an impact it was having on my life, and he seemed to understand.

    I hope you are well,

    D

    #395213
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    When things like this happen, I become more in need of affirmation and affection from Kate, like I am hyper aware of my emotional vulnerability, if that makes sense?” – that makes a delightful kind of sense to me. I can’t think of anything more important in a relationship than supporting each other emotionally!

    I did talk to my dad and expressed that I can’t keep living like this if he is going to make situations difficult and stressful, that he needs to help himself as well. I explained how much of an impact it was having on my life, and he seemed to understand” – please let me know how long his understanding lasts, will you?

    anita

    #395992
    Gary
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Would you be able to carry this conversation on via email or another channel by any chance?

    I have found this so useful.

    All the best,

    D

    #395994
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Dave:

    I would have easily been willing to exchange emails with you (there is a way to do it without keeping email addresses permanently on record) if it wasn’t for the fact that I stated here, on these forums, that I will not exchange emails with members (following a few distressing experiences having exchanged emails with members). Is there a particular topic that you feel unsafe about sharing here? if so, is there a way for you share without certain details and yet make yourself clear enough?

    anita

     

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