May 1, 2017 at 9:09 pm #147663
Glad you posted and that you and Andrew are getting along so well. Will answer your questions tomorrow morning.
anitaMay 2, 2017 at 7:45 am #147687
1. If some of your friends are doing the wrong thing, how do you talk them out of it? And if you can’t, how do you refuse while still maintaining friendships?
– ask the friend to calm down (if they are distressed), offer to go elsewhere, take a walk, have tea, engage in a different activity at a different setting, so to relieve the current distress and talk about his/ her plan. Let the person talk, listen to their reasoning, ask clarifying questions, attend to the logic of their plan, point to inconsistency, and hopefully, he/ she, being calm, and talking to someone calm (you), he/she will realize their plan is not wise and will reconsider.
If you can't influence the friend to reconsider, and his/ her plan is not disastrous, just unwise, to maintain the friendship while not getting involved in their plan- state pleasantly and respectfully that you will not get involved in said activity but you would like to … have tea with them later (just an example of something to do later that you do agree with).
2. How do you talk to a friend who doesn’t seem to be hearing you out? Lately, two of my friends I made haven’t been listening much when I talk about my feelings to them.
– Talk less about your feelings to a friend who showed impatience when you shared before. And/ or talk to him/ her about your feelings at a different time, a different setting. Once you share for a minute, pause and observe his/ her reaction. If the friend is engaged, continue; if not, stop.
3. How do you tell your friends that you want to be yourself when they pressure you to change? I have friends who think I need to change my appearance more, but I don’t think I need to, but they keep thinking of ways I could be better and when I argue with them, they don’t really hear my opinions.
– Consider thinking of friends who argue with you and don't respect your positions as not friends, but rather, acquaintances. And then, don't engage in conversations (and arguments) with them.
4. How do you isolate yourself from a situation that your friends are involved in, but you don’t want to get involved in without becoming the scapegoat or ‘turning you back’ on your friends?
– When you remove yourself from a situation your friends are involved with, don't turn your back to them in the sense of being upfront (there is “front” in upfront)- tell them you don't believe what they are doing is wise, but you care for them and will … have tea with them later (or any activity you do agree with).
anitaMay 3, 2017 at 5:10 pm #147977
Thanks a lot for your advice. So I've noticed my friends notice when I'm stressed and they help cheer me up. If I need some advice, they are there. Although at times, they tend to do things that I don't like such as argue with the teacher or pick fights with people; I don't get involved with them. But if they are upset, I let them know I'm there for them by asking if they are okay. Lately, there are five more days till the AP Biology exam and tensions between classmates are high. We are still friends, but there is a lot of competition lately in the classroom. I have noticed that Andrew and I both may be right on a question, but we both will argue our point and question the other. This in a way is a good thing because it allows us to see the other's viewpoint and also make amends to our own point of view, possibly making it stronger and more valid. However, there are times when we are quite competitive and he seems distant. At those times, I wonder if he is competing against me and it makes me stressed. I admire Andrew's independence and I understand it because I also have a strong sense of independence as well. But sometimes I feel like it is hard to connect with him when he becomes distant and it makes me worried about him. Sometimes I think I am overbearing on him and it makes me self-doubt. So the questions I have are:
How do I assert my opinions across without being too overbearing?
How do we both compromise on an answer when we're both right, but on different paths and neither one seems to want to back down?May 3, 2017 at 8:48 pm #148005
How to assert yourself without being overbearing? By being assertive, not aggressive. Being assertive is practicing an attitude of Win-Win. With Andrew, it will be Shirley wins AND Andrew wins.
And not if Shirley wins, then Andrew loses. Or if Andrew wins then Shirley must lose. No: both must win.
Regarding your second question, no one has to back down (lose)- the two of you need to care about the other not losing, or not getting hurt from the interaction. Best practice assertiveness as part of EAR: Empathy, Assertiveness, Respect. Always respect (even when feeling angry at the other).
anitaNovember 15, 2017 at 4:42 pm #178291
It's been awhile since I have been on, but college has so much to learn and experience and I've been having lots of fun. Andrew went away to military school, Dave and I lost touch and Steve (my lunch buddy) goes to a college in New York City. I have made lots of friends at college and also see my special friend on campus. He is great at cheering me up when I'm stressed over school work. I saw him today and I told him how much he meant to me and his face lit up like the sun and we hugged. I have found myself becoming more independent from my parents. I have some questions:
How do you tell your friends that you need time for yourself without seeming rude? I love spending time with my college friends, but sometimes I have to do homework and can't attend all the events they want me to attend. I try to balance my time between friends and school, but lately my school schedule has been skewed toward friends and club activities.
What are good ideas to do with a person you love? I love my special friend and want to spend some more time with him and start a relationship.
How do you tell someone who disagrees with your career choice that you are truly passionate about it without confusing them and also getting impatient? I am doing a major in biochemistry which will allow me to go into medicine, genetic engineering, neuroscience and I really am passionate about genetic engineering. I want to work with stem cells and help advance cancer research, but my parents don't think that engineering is a career choice for females. I dislike their view that females can't be analytical and do complex calculations.
How do I prevent myself from becoming too overwhelmed with college assignments? Sometimes I'll map out my plans ahead of time and work on 3 assignments a day to get them done, but that can be a bit exhausting. I check my work five/six times before submitting it and am an extreme perfectionist.November 16, 2017 at 6:21 am #178333
Welcome back to your thread, more than six months after your last post. Good to read from you, that you are doing well.
Thank you for the update about the different people in high school life. Your special friend has been the one constant of all your friends ever since middle school. What is he studying, by the way and is he still in the relationship with his high school girlfriend?
Regarding your questions:
1. “How do you tell your friends that you need time for yourself without seeming rude?”- you say to them what you shared here, that you love spending time with them but you have homework to do. You can add, if you'd like, that you work on three assignments a day and check your work repeatedly before submitting.
2. “What are good ideas to do with a person you love? I love my special friend and want to spend some more time with him and start a relationship”- you already met him many times before, for a run, with the wind in your hair, as you shared before. You can do that again, go for hikes in nature, as you have done. And talk, ask him questions, listen to him, share your thoughts and feelings.
3. “How do you tell someone who disagrees with your career choice that you are truly passionate about it without confusing them and also getting impatient?…my parents don't think that engineering is a career choice for females. I dislike their view that females can't be analytical and do complex calculations”- you don't. You have been seeking your parents' approval for too long and failed to receive it. I don't think it is possible for you to succeed in this ongoing attempt. And so, my answer: abort future attempts.
4. “How do I prevent myself from becoming too overwhelmed with college assignments”- because you are in the habit of checking your homework “five/six times before submitting”, limit the checking to two times before submitting and adhere to it. After the second time, no matter how strong the urge to check a third time, resist the urge and submit. This will be a beginning.
November 16, 2017 at 9:50 am #178363
- This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by anita.
<p style=”text-align: center;”>Thank you for your advice. My special friend broke up with his girlfriend in October and we have been hanging out. He is studying health and wellness as well as environmental science. He is fascinated with how the environment affects human health and has been going on class trips to study ecosystems of the Pine Barrens. I wish I could go to see all the wildlife of Pine Barrens with him, but the class trips are expensive if you are not taking the class. I started with biology and chemistry as my sciences and he started with environmental. We both love nature and I may take an environmental class as well, it would be a fun elective. I am working on becoming more confident about expressing myself without seeking approval from others for my happiness. Sometimes I feel like I am putting too much strain on myself to be there for the people I care about. For example, if a friend needs help with a homework assignment, I'll take time out of my schedule to help them. But lately it seems like some of my friends are taking advantage of my help and trying to get me to help them with every assignment they have in a subject and it's exhausting. I feel like I am being selfish telling them I need time to plan things for myself, but I'm also tired of being the crutch that they lean on. So the question is: How do I help them develop an independent understanding of the lessons by being a guide and not a person who just does the work for them?</p>
Another question: Since my special friend and I are both quite shy, could we write our feelings down on paper and give it to each other? I do wish we could talk more face-to-face because there seems so much to say. Yet, spending time together and just enjoying the moment has always helped show our appreciation towards each other even if we can't find the words to say. I want to take my special friend on a nature hike over Thanksgiving break and am quite nervous. How should I act? What should we talk about? Should I ask him ask friends or as a relationship?
November 16, 2017 at 10:41 am #178371
- This reply was modified 7 months, 1 week ago by Shirley.
You asked: “<span style=”display: inline !important; float: none; background-color: transparent; color: #333333; font-family: Arial,'Helvetica Neue',Helvetica,sans-serif; font-size: 14.53px; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: 400; letter-spacing: 0px; orphans: 2; text-align: left; text-decoration: none; text-indent: 0px; text-transform: none; -webkit-text-stroke-width: 0px; white-space: normal; word-spacing: 0px;”>How do I help them develop an independent understanding of the lessons by being a guide and not a person who just does the work for them?</span>”- by not doing the work for them, by being assertive with them. It is not selfish to be assertive and to place your self interest first. You need to do your work first, and then, you need to find time to relax, and be entertained some, then, if you have time and energy, you can help a little bit, here and there.
When a person asks for your help, and you have five minutes to help, you can say: “I only have five minutes. How can help you in these five minutes?” and then look at the time and see to it that indeed you spend only five minutes helping.
Regarding your question: “How should I act?” with your special friend, since you and him are shy (that is somewhat afraid)- ask him just one question next time you see him for long enough. Just one question. When you are afraid, you need courage. Planning on doing too much of what you are afraid of doing is overwhelming. So my answer is: plan on just one little thing, one question.
anitaNovember 16, 2017 at 10:42 am #178373
* didn't get submitted correctly…January 12, 2018 at 3:19 pm #186421
I have been able to set up a schedule where I allocate time for myself as well as others. I realize that some people will get angry if I say no to helping them, but it is important to focus on myself first. My special friend is always there in my life for me. I told him that I was struggling with finding who I was and he said that it doesn't matter because he'll care for me no matter what happens. My relationship with my parents has not been good lately and since I live under their roof I rarely talk about my emotions with them because they've never really been receptive of them anyway. Some questions I have are:
How do I avoid picking up the bad habits of my parents since I'm always around them? I want to continue being open-minded to all people and be empathetic without closing myself off. Lately it feels like I'm closing myself off emotionally to avoid their criticisms and I don't want to become so withdrawn that I lose myself.
HHow do I be strong without putting on a false self? Lately, I've been feeling detached from myself and identifying as more masculine to give me strength and it feels like that part of me has taken over and I'm unsure of who my real self is anymore.
How do I explain to my parents that I want to express myself the way I want even with their criticisms? Lately, they've been criticizing me for being adopting a wiccan religion and joining the LGBT community at my college. How do I explain that the choices I make are the ones that make me happy and I know will lead to good things in the end even though it doesn't seem like it now? For example, the LGBT community is helping me be more confident with who I am and being a wiccan helps me live my life more mindfully in accordance to nature.January 13, 2018 at 7:34 am #186467
Welcome back to your thread!
You wrote that you want to be open minded and empathetic to all people, including your parents who you live with and who “never really been receptive of (your feelings)”.
I don't think it is a good idea for you to open up more and be rejected more. It is not good for your emotional well being to invite more rejection to your life, more dismissal of your feelings. So I would remain closed off to them, if I was you.
As soon as it is possible for you, move out and limit or eliminate your contact with them, as you choose and as you are able.
You wrote that you want to be empathetic to all people. Not a good idea, not to people who harm you. And then, be empathetic to you, first and foremost. Be empathetic to your feminine and masculine feelings. Be okay with how you feel, not rejecting your own feelings. Every feeling you have has a valid message, none of your feelings is wrong to have.
Regarding your last paragraph: stop reaching out to your parents, stop trying to get their understanding, their acceptance and approval of you. Didn't work so far, why try more, why try again and again… and yet again….
Give up on getting their approval. Continue to seek social support elsewhere.
anitaMarch 31, 2018 at 4:51 pm #200351
Thank you for your advice. I have started a blog on google blog https://lgbtcreate.blogspot.com/ where I will collect all the inspiration I've written in my life and post it to inspire others. The LGBT community at my college plays a big role in my life and I feel like I've found acceptance there. One of the members gave me the idea to start a blog and list all the poems and quotes I've written over the years and invite others to see it and also post on it in hopes that it will provide a guidance for those who are struggling to find themselves. Lately, I have been able to formulate words to describe who I am as a person and I realize that my special friend was right when he told me (I think it was in middle school when I was depressed) “I believe in you, someday you'll find the words and they will inspire others in their truth” because I feel as if I now know what to say to help inspire others as well as myself and no longer feel like a lost person. I feel like I'm getting closer to finding myself daily and continue to learn many things that benefit me. I have become more confident and not letting the opinions of others influence me and am working on being a light for others. The thing is there are some people who will take advantage of the positivity I give to them. And this makes me feel angry and then I feel selfish for feeling angry because I think “Am I not supposed to be helping them?” And then I think “But all they do is take and take and burden me with their troubles and don't give me anything.” So I feel conflicted with some of the people I think are fake friends or fake supporters, but I'm not sure how to say no to them when they ask me for help. So the question is “How do I be more assertive without looking like a bad person?
I have also begun to make peace with myself and have gone to a therapist who has helped me understand my gender identity. I think that my parents also feel like things are happening so fast that they feel I'm not taking an adequate time to think things through. They told me that they have always known I have a more masculine form of expression because when I was younger I liked to have short hair and also enjoyed wearing boy's clothes and my favorite activity when I was younger was camping out in the wilderness because I loved nature and still do. I don't think they ever realized that I would discover myself as transgender and seek to transition though which is why it is hard on them. Lately, I've been bringing home resources from the pride group at my college and the LGBT community and sharing them with my parents explaining to them how these things and people play a part in my life and have helped me in discovering who I am. It is emotionally and financially straining for my family when they realize that I am seeing a therapist to help me better understand myself as a person because they feel they have lost the person they knew and I feel like I am in the process of finding myself. There is a rift in the family as my parents and I clash over things we aren't totally on the same terms with. I think cutting my hair and telling my parents to use he/him pronouns for me was hard for them to accept, but in a way they could see it made me a happier person. I think they are working on coming to terms of me identifying as a male and understanding what it means to be transgender, but when it comes to asserting my gender as male by seeking resources and doing little things like therapy, pride groups, cutting my hair and/or transitioning; they still are against it. I feel like many parents feel their children make these decisions quite quickly like I am currently reading “At the Broken Places” about a mother and transson who have just picked up the pieces of their relationship after years of the rift between them by writing the novel to share their experiences. One felt like they were ready to transition and that the other was hindering who they were as a person and also that they never intentionally wanted to hurt anyone by seeking to be themselves and I felt like I connected with the transson Donald Collins in the book. The mother Mary Collins was against the transitioning and afraid things were moving too fast which is like my parents and this caused a rift in their relationship. Donald may have felt resentful and trapped that his mother would not help him financially or emotionally with the transition or wasn't ready for it and that is how I sometimes feel with my parents. Within the story, they try to listen to the concerns of each other but neither one is willing to give in with their opposing mindsets, one continues to think this is a impulsive decision that requires more thought while the other feels like they are trapped being a false self and wants to change which seems similar to the arguments I have with my parents at times. In my neighborhood, the cisgender (gender identity matches birth sex) guys who used to bully me for being a tomboy now are quite accepting of my gender expression because they understand what I'm going through and they make me feel like I am valid as a male and a person by including me in their friendship circles and inviting me to play sports with them.
So after trying to find myself I realize I am a nonbinary transmale and I experience gender dysphoria because my birth sex doesn't match my gender identity. But i have become more accepting of who I am as a person and starting to get the resources for me even though it's hard on my parents. I still have doubts about whether I can be self-sufficient out in the world and fear losing my family's support, but I never had theu support on many things. They also dilike the fact that I want to be a genetic engineer because they feel that it is too masculine and too hard for me to pursue as a career. I'm working on trying to make them understand who I am as a person and becoming stronger so they don't hurt me as much, but it can be so frustrating when they think I have a mental illness because of how I identify or the fact that I'm not smart enough to pursue my dream career.
They have been saying that I have become irresponsible and making all the bad decisions in life. I'm tired of arguing with them, so sometimes I ignore them, but that makes them criticize me even more and their voice to go louder. I feel like if I try to tell them and explain to the who I am and how I feel they don't actively listen, but will interrupt with their opinions and when I don't tell them they yell at me when they think I've done something wrong or against their wishes. I don't mean to hurt anyone intentionally, but I'm tired of being criticized when I argue with them and not being heard and also being berated at when I don't say anything. The trust and connection in the family has gone downhill more over the years and I feel like the family thinks i'm an emotional and financial burden. What should I do?April 1, 2018 at 6:28 am #200387
Dear Earth Angel:
I am back to calling you Earth Angel, because Shirley doesn't fit your gender identity, correct? Earth Angel it is unless you correct me and ask me to call you by another name.
Regarding helping people who take advantage of you and only take from you: don't help them, once you realize these things. Interactions between people need to be Win-Win, not Win-Lose. Win-Win works for you and for the other person. When you encourage a Win (for the other person) and a Lose for you, you are not being a good person. What you are doing is creating and promoting sickness, when you do that. So to be a good person, promote Win-Win interactions and relationships.
You wrote: “I'm tired of being criticized“- Too-Criticizing-of-Myself is the title of your thread. Your parents criticizing you over the years has hurt you very much, harmed you a whole lot. It is a mistake that they made and keep making, repeatedly, year after year.
You wrote: “I'm tired of being criticized when I argue with them and not being heard and also being berated at when I don't say anything. The trust and connection..” I say, the trust and connection between your parents and you has been non-existent, as far as I know, for many years. You keep reaching out to them for understanding, acceptance and approval, the things they do not give you, didn't give you and are unlikely to ever give you.
I wish you would stop reaching out to them for the things they will not give you. I wish you gave up this pursuit. If you need your parents for X and Y, and they are willing to give you X and Y, then reach out to them for these specific things, X and Y. Do not reach out to them for understanding, acceptance and approval.
I understand you are thinking about physically transforming your body, that is taking hormones and maybe surgeries? If so, I highly recommend the following:
Before you do that, give up completely reaching out to your parents for understanding, acceptance and approval. Only after you no longer do, and for a long time, you do not reach out to them for these things, then consider a physical transformation.
The above paragraph I just wrote is very important. Please re-read it and let me know what you think.
anitaApril 1, 2018 at 6:45 am #200389
The majority of clients I work with all have issues from childhood and it all comes back to the same thing, they blame themselves. Bullying, abuse and anything else that is done to us is not our fault. If you're blaming yourself in any way for the behaviour of others it needs to stop. It was not your fault. Until you realise this, nothing will change and you will continue to criticise yourself and be unable to accept yourself. I hated myself for the majority of my life because I was abused when I was a little girl. I changed over 35 years of negative programming because I had to, it nearly killed me, literally. Affirmations will not work for deep rooted limiting beliefs so what we have to do is question our thoughts. Our ego will tell us all kinds of nonsense, you're not good enough, you're useless blah blah but none of it is true and do not believe every thought you think. You need to start questioning your thoughts. Write down the negative thoughts you have about yourself, you cannot deal with them while they're running around in your head like crazy. Look for evidence of your thoughts. Are they really true? Where's the evidence for that? What if they weren't true? What can I choose to believe instead? I hope this helps xxxApril 16, 2018 at 9:28 am #202653
Thank you for your advice and for being so understanding. I have started to become more assertive about who I associate with in my life because some people just take from me and never give anything in return or others dump their emotional baggage on me to carry their burdens. While I can make time for the people who count in my life, I am still working on shielding myself from emotional criticisms and burdens that people like my parents will dump on me. My parents have never truly been there for me emotionally, but they sometimes ask me to shoulder their burdens when they have emotional problems. Ever since I have begun taking a Mindfulness Stress Reduction meditation seminar at Ocean County College, I have become more relaxed and more focused on the tasks that I must do. However, I find that my parents will criticize me for taking certain paths in a specific set of steps because they feel the way I proceed with some things falls outside their expectations of what they think should occur. I believe that everyone must forge their own stepping stones in life and sometimes people take different paths toward their goals because they do what's most important to them first or what they feel matters to get done before going to another step. Everyone takes different paths to achieve their goals and there is not a set path for people to follow, sometimes I feel like my parents think there is a set path for me to follow and when I step outside the bounds they think I'm going to be lost in life or being irresponsible. Their layout of my life is to graduate from community college with honors, apply to a four year university and get some work experience and possibly graduate the four year university and enter the work force. However, my plans aren't as concrete as that though because I also have to continue my education to a doctorates degree because I want to become a genetic engineer and do scientific research in a laboratory. They think I'm not applying my mental dedication enough to the important tasks at hand which in their view is that I spend all of my time working on my education, all of my time learning about how to do house repairs, all of my time learning how to budget money wisely because they feel I don't have what they term as the essential life skills to survive on my own in this world. They believe I should spend less of my time in creative endeavors like being out in nature (which helps me relax), hanging out with friends (Ocean Pride LGBT group has helped me better understand myself) and also that a lot of the stuff I learn isn't all important. I believe nothing learned is unimportant because the more you know, the more connections you can make and the better you understand the world and yourself and don't make prejudiced assumptions. I have become more withdrawn from my parents and rely on my friends more for emotional support because I feel they never “hear” or understand with clarity who I am as a person or truly understand my intentions and how I proceed in my life when I explain things to them. The question is How do I know that I am being true to myself and not just taking on the burdens of others. Another question is When people put the burdens on me, how do I protect myself or not make myself carry their burdens? It seems like the more I want to plan my stepping stones out my way and do a different circuit path to my goals than my parents' expectations, they think I am wasting my life or not going to make it out in society because will be ostracized. I know I want to be true to myself and do what makes me happy. I am thinking of transitioning and seeking hormones possibly when I am 25 years old which is when I have graduated from a four-year university and may have a job and may not be living with my parents. I know when I turn 21, I will be applying to four year universities and living in a dorm so I won't be under my parents much, but my parents have expressed that they won't support me financially if I transition then and I'm not sure I can have enough money to pay for college without their support so I'm going to wait until I'm 25. Currently, I struggle with gender dysphoria at times but it's not too bad because I've also gone to a therapist to talk about it and it makes me feel better. Sometimes I feel slightly spaced out in my mind, but that I because I am trying to protect myself from my insecurities and the pain of criticisms that people may put on me. It's a form of numbing the pain because I can be tired of the criticisms and my inner critic that berates me at times, but Mindfulness Stress Reduction seminar has helped me be more aware of my emotions and to prevent me from numbing and acknowledging the feelings and accepting it so I can let them go rather than creating false layers to protect myself and losing more of myself. My self-confidence is still in its process of growing and somewhat shaky which is why it can be hard when I feel like I'm in an environment that I will be exposed to criticism that might break the fragile self-esteem I've built up. I feel on-guard and self-conscious at times and wish I wasn't always this way. Other questions are How do I stop feeling self-conscious and stop my inner critic from thinking that others are judging me negatively? When people criticize me, how do I know which fights to spend my energy on in my defense and which ones to walk away from? Even if I walk away from them or just take the criticism, I often feel like there is a void and it still shakes my self-esteem and then I feel like I'm carrying another's burden even though I don't want to. I don't want to carry the burdens of others or the criticisms of my parents, but it seems like they keep dumping it on me whether I choose to engage it or not. Is it selfish for me to distance myself from them and surround myself with a protective bubble and not listen to the negativity? How do I do this without appearing like I'm just ignoring them and being disrespectful?
Also at my college, I have been using the name Janus because he is the Roman god of new beginnings and transitioning. His name lends to the month of January in which I was born. Socially transitioning and seeking therapy has been a new beginning for me and I feel like I'm closer to finding myself.