March 7, 2018 at 8:19 am #196231
I hope this trip would help me grow too! Yes, I have travelled before and quite extensively actually. I have been to this part of the world before also but previously I was with friends. On this trip, I am alone plus it is the longest I will be away from home. I have also travelled alone before but that was for about 11 days and in a country nearer to my home. I guess the main difference is being alone and being here for a longer period of time.
Okay, sure! I am quite curious where that thought is leading to.
Yes, that is the gist of what I said that I thought my childhood was a happy one and all was well at home. I think before therapy, I thought my father was just not expressive and he was a good father at the end of the day. So while I was not very close to him emotionally, I did not have much feelings towards him. Probably mostly appreciation and gratitude towards him for bringing us up. No overwhelming affection there but no strong negative feelings too.
Not-so-lost-starMarch 7, 2018 at 8:32 am #196233
You wrote, and these were your words if I remember correctly, that the power differential between your parents was huge. He appeared the Strong one and she appeared the Weak one. He was dominant, she was submissive. He brought in the money and she appreciated it so much that she believed submission is appropriate. She taught you that.
As the child that you were, if you perceived him as the strong one and your mother as the weak one, didn’t you feel safe with the strong one being there?
This feeling of safety with him, it may be subtle (not much in awareness) but there… is what I am thinking.
March 7, 2018 at 8:41 am #196237
- This reply was modified 1 year ago by anita.
Yes, you remembered correctly that that is how things were at home. My mother was the submissive one and I did follow in her footsteps and I was also generally submissive back home.
And I think you are right, I guess there is the feeling of safety with my father and generally, I can be the submissive one when I am back home in a lot of social situations as well.
Thus, when I am here, alone, I have to be the dominant one and I cannot rest on my laurels and count on other people to help me. I have to ditch my submissive role and be on my own. And that I thought that is also where I have to grow and where I have the most potential for growth. Maybe that is where my anxiety comes from too.
Not-so-lost-starMarch 7, 2018 at 8:55 am #196239
Well, if I can be of help during this trip, when you do need help, post here anytime and when I am at the computer (I am daily), I will reply every time you post.
Your point about being dominant during this trip, unlike your role otherwise, at home and elsewhere, makes sense to me. New circumstances make new experiences possible.
During your thread you shared that renting your own apartment where you live is too expensive, that renting a room in someone’s home doesn’t make sense, that you are saving money to buy your own home by living rent free with your father, that you don’t interact with him much except for about ten minutes a day… It sounded to me at that point that you are living with him out of financial circumstances and a sense of that filial duty you mentioned. Now I add to the mix of these two things the feeling of safety.
This feeling of safety obviously does not require much communication or more than ten minutes per day of trivial exchange. I suppose it is just the sight of him, his voice, knowing that he is physically there, in the house or that he will soon be there.
Healing and managing anxiety has to do with insight, as what we are communicating about right now, as well as skills to manage it.
anitaMarch 7, 2018 at 9:49 am #196247
Thank you!! Speaking to you here certainly would help with my anxiety, I think speaking with you helps to ground me and gives me new perspective! Thank you for keeping this communication open always, when you are available 🙂
Yes, new circumstances make new experiences possible and I will persevere on this journey 🙂
It is interesting that you point out that bit about the feeling of safety in the mix and which is why I continue living with him. My therapist went through this similar point with me just recently, when I was talking to her about not moving out. She mentioned about it not being impossible but maybe I do not want to. I suppose while financial considerations are one factor, if it is something I really want, then perhaps I would give up other things for it.
Let me sit on this and see what other new insights come…
not-so-lost-starMarch 7, 2018 at 10:30 am #196251
You are welcome. I like your statement: “I will persevere on this journey. I like it very much. Take good care of yourself.
anitaMarch 8, 2018 at 3:31 am #196321
Thanks! Hope you take care of yourself too.
A thought occurred to me this morning.. stemming from the idea of safety. When I was experiencing the anxiety, I felt it to be a familiar feeling.. something that has existed before.. maybe a long long time ago. I even wondered if this was anxiety I felt when I was in my mother’s womb.. or could it also be anxiety that my mother felt.. and this anxiety probably existed for a long long time. This anxiety that this world does not feel like a safe place and I thought of my father and situation at home.
That with what happened at home, with father’s erratic moods and all, I probably did not have a strong sense of safety at home.. and deep inside probably did not feel like the world is a safe place. The worry that when would my father’s temper erupt? When would another episode occur?
But with time, I learnt to deal with the uncertainty.. of creating a sense of safety within that world. And relating to my father as the sense of safety.. i thought it was paradoxical that he is the cause of the feeling of danger but yet he is where safety lies. Cos I have learnt how to stay safe.. by avoiding triggers that would set my father off.. so when he is calm, I am safe. I avoid, so I am safe. Even though there is danger, I have learnt how to keep myself safe.
And thus, when I am thrown now into another world, which I perceive to be unsafe too, I feel less in control. Cos I dont know what is making this world unsafe. At least at home, I know my father is the trigger, the secret to safety. Whereas here, it is an unknown. And it is a new skill that I have to learn to keep safe. And perhaps, I may even learn that the world is not that unsafe.. the world can be a safe place.. I can keep myself safe.. that safety does not lie with my father.. he is not the one that creates safety. He creates safety because he is where danger is created too.
What are your thoughts on this?
not-so-lost-starMarch 8, 2018 at 3:54 am #196325
My thoughts: yesterday after communicating with you about anxiety and safety, I watched a herd of elk feeding in front of my house. The elk in the middle of the herd were not watching for danger, being comforted by having elk all around them, feeling safer in the middle. The elk on the outside of the herd were watchful at times, raising their heads, turning their heads around, looking for possible danger. Then they returned to feeding. Eventually I stepped outside slowly, they all looked up, the elk in the middle and those on the outside, watching, alert, nobody eating, and they all walked away and disappeared into the woods.
In nature and in humans, there is no such thing as safety. We are born to be alert to danger. Danger is part of life. There is no such thing as safe. There is such a things as safer.
We can only increase our chances of being safer, but not be safe. We can be safer.
It is very easy for a human to become anxious (ongoing fear), it doesn’t take much to scare a child repeatedly. And parents often do just that, as did your father. Aggression scares us.
Your insight is excellent as I understand it this way: your individual safety became tied with your father not exploding in anger, being calm. How do you know if you are safer? If your father is calm, you are safer. He is your barometer of safety, how you measure your safety. And you learned that certain behaviors on your part will contribute to him being calm, and so, there is something you can do to be safer.
Away from your father on this trip, you are away from the barometer, the instrument measuring your safety (your father), you can’t see if he is calm so you don’t know if you are safe.
It is as if in the center of your life there is your father. If he is calm, you are safer. If he is angry, you are in danger. And this is almost… all that you know regarding your safety in this world.
On this trip, look around, see and take in more of the world. Your father is one person in billions of people. There is much more to the world than your father in it. Of course, you know it. Know it better, know it more. Know it on a deeper level, look around in a different way, consider what you didn’t consider before.
anitaMarch 10, 2018 at 2:50 am #196619
I was very intrigued by your observations of the herd of elks and your thoughts about safer but there is no such thing as being entirely safe. It was something new to think about the fact that there is no real safety and I think it is important to me to remember that too, lest I get lured into the false sense of safety here and let my guard down. Especially, given that like how you put it, I am recalibrating myself and finding a new measurement of safety.
And I think that helps me to think about safety in a new way.. it is not that I was entirely safe back home too. there were different dangers.. different dangers in different ways.
And the elks you observed had a herd, and the ones in the middle could safely graze and feed.. whereas now, I am a lone elk and I have to be watchful for myself. It is interesting how they ran away, even though you pose no real danger to them. I have this vision of myself as a tiny elk back home, with my father elk being huge and so dominant. And the danger I am always watchful for is him. Perhaps with other dangers around too, but the main danger was my father elk.
Now, I am a free elk and running around in this new world. I have to learn new things and learn new ways of being safe. And I like this perspective on safety.. it gives me the sense that there are things to discover.. there are things to work on.. i have many more things to find out for myself.. i am on my way to becoming my own elk! And that is pretty exciting, albeit scary at the same time.
Yes, I will use this trip to “Know it on a deeper level, look around in a different way, consider what you didn’t consider before.”
Thank you Anita as always 😉
not-so-lost-star or should i say elk :pMarch 10, 2018 at 5:54 am #196631
A very elky post. This is an image I have: in your brain there is indeed this “father elk being huge and so dominant”, taking most of your brain space. Danger: his anger. Safety: his calm. Your behavior has been motivated primarily to bring on his calm.
Human aggression is indeed dangerous, responsible for lots of crime in homes, on the streets, for wars… so no wonder a little girl gets scared when her father displays aggression and will do anything to prevent it, whatever it takes. These very ways to prevent his aggression, have not been effective in your life, outside your life at home.
Aggression in your life has been from your father. No one else has been aggressive toward you to that extent or even remotely close to that extent, correct?
You know now, I assume, that your father, even if he gets angry presently, will not kill you, but emotionally you don’t know that. We are programmed to fear aggression as if it will bring about our death. After all this is what animals in the wild do, get angry, maim and kill.
Away from your father, you are safer than with your father because the danger presented to you, personally, has been this one thing: your father’s aggression.
On your trip, be careful, watch for your safety, take precautions. And look around, like those elk in the periphery, see things you didn’t see before, consider what you didn’t consider before.
I hope you share with me more and more of what you see, when you want to share, that is.
anitaMarch 24, 2018 at 5:36 am #199209
Have been really caught up with many things here and finding my footing! What you have said to me has been at the back of my mind as I moved around cities.
It has been quite wonderful so far as I find my new sense of safety.. I am slowly feeling a little more confident in finding my own safety and of keeping myself safe. And also getting to know different people that are around – people who are different from my father. I have met really kind and generous people that touched me.
Yes, there has not been anyone who has displayed such aggression to me in my life. Nothing even close, not even raised voices. Hmm, and I guess with that aggression that threatens my sense of safety, that is when I fear his aggression as if it will bring about my death.
Another thing I am quite proud of myself for is saying no to people. I think I used to be a people pleaser and I was afraid to get people angry (probably linked to that aggression I experienced). But on this trip, I have learnt to say no to people in small ways, like when they want me to send them photos I took or to borrow something from me which i was not comfortable with. And I thought that was a good change!
And another thing I am beginning to think about is.. where is my home? Not sure how to describe it yet.. it is a growing thought. But I kind of feel like I am starting to question where I belong. I guess definitely with my siblings I feel at home, but they have their own families already. And so far, it feels awful to be saying this but I do not miss my father. When I think of him, I only think of obligations and filial piety.. not so much of him as home. And it makes me wonder about what happens when I go home. But of cos, it is still early days. So I will see how that thought develops.
Hope you are doing well too Anita!
not-so-lost-starMarch 24, 2018 at 7:05 am #199215
Good to read from you! Great progress, saying no to people. There is no progress that is small, all progress is progress that leads to more. And so, “to say no to people in small ways” is not small at all.
The people you meet, the people “who are different from (your) father.. really kind and generous people”- hasn’t your father been kind and generous, and not aggressive to strangers as well?
It is within the home that parents feel most comfortable to be aggressive, safe from retaliation. Safe from being challenged, safe from negative consequence, for what is a child going to do to them? (Or a submissive wife… who knows her place?)
A child will follow an aggressive parent more so than a non aggressive parent, so it works for a parent who wants submission, to be aggressive.
In most circumstances we are indeed safer with strangers than we were with our parents.
In homes where neither parent is aggressive, oh, how fortunate it is for the child in that home. An out of the norm situation, as far as I know reality to be.
I hope you find your home.. away from home.
anitaJanuary 5, 2019 at 9:20 pm #272497
Happy New Year! May the year ahead be filled with blessings for you and your loved ones! 🙂
I have completed the 4 mths overseas trip and i have been back home for a few mths too 🙂 happy to say that it was one of the best decisions ive made in my life to be overseas and on my own. Ive learnt so much about managing my own anxiety and not giving in to the anxious thoughts and feelings that have arrived. Ive learnt about the kindness of people in the world.. ive learnt how to be alone on my own.
And i feel like ive grown up to be an individual and no longer that little girl who is fearful of my aggressive father. And coming back home.. it has made me no longer fearful of my father. I know i can survive outside on my own, fending for myself and I can be assertive. So i can stand up for myself and i now dare to have my own voice and speak up if there is something my father does that i do not agree with.
It has been really life changing and now i can truly say im a not_so_lost_star 😉 even changed my nickname here!
Hope you have been well Anita – always appreciative of your insights and perspectives that have helped me in this growth..January 6, 2019 at 8:59 am #272559
I didn’t know if I’ll read from you again, I wondered about it a week ago or so, and here you are with your updated name, what a delight to read from you!
Your trip ended then in the summer and your progress made during the trip was not undone once you were back living with your father (you are living with him?)- excellent!
You are welcome and thank you for your good wishes for me. I wish myself to recover from my current leg injury which is raining on my parade of living at the moment.
I hope to read from you again; I want to read from you again and hope you do post once in a while, whenever you feel like it.
I wish you a good 2019!
anitaJanuary 9, 2019 at 10:40 pm #273581
Always seems like when you are wondering about me then I would pop up with an update 😉
Yes, I am still living with my father and the arrangement is a lot more bearable and happy now that I have grown through my journey. I am glad it has not been undone too and I will continue this growth!
Oh dear! I remember reading about your injury on another thread sometime back right? Is it the same one or is it a new injury? Hope it heals soon so that you can resume other parts of your life!
Sharing with you something that amazed me and related to the title of my thread “Surrender while keeping faith”. There was this very close friend whom I fell out with due to her choosing to marry an abusive guy. She felt that I did not support her and it was difficult for us to continue the friendship too as the guy was also cutting her off from her social support. We lost touch for about 8 years and I pretty much just left it as it is (surrendering). And guess what, 8 years later, I bumped into a mutual friend, found out she has divorced and I reached out to her and now we are back in touch 🙂 So I am like, actually if the friendship or bond is strong enough, I should have the faith that if it is right.. it will come around again at the right time. I was just super amazed at how everything came together.. that I see the real example of how choosing to surrender while keeping faith can happen. Everything will work out in time to come in the way they are supposed to unfold!