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trying to live with unrelenting shame (maybe I should kill myself)

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  • #377466
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ninibee:

    Did you read my recent post of an hour ago? I will reply to your most recent post (and anything you may add to it) when I am back to the computer, in about 10 hours from now. Please try to relax best you can. You will be okay, you will see!

    anita

    #377467
    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi ninibee,

    I’m sorry that rereading that thread upset you. With regard to the situation with the guy who blocked you on FB, I hope you can let that go. We’ve all done things we wish we could undo. It’s part of being human. If I were to think of all the times I’ve messed up, it’d be too much for me, would ruin my day for sure, so I choose to forgive myself. I say to myself I’m a human and humans make mistakes.

    There is one bit of info within that earlier thread that I find especially interesting. It was when you told TB member Inky that you’ve always thought it’s possible that you are on the Asperger’s spectrum and that you’ve never spoken about it to anyone. Is this something you would want to know? Being on the spectrum would explain your difficulties with social interactions. What do you think?

    B

    #377468
    ninibee
    Participant

    anita,

    Hearing more about your experience with shame has brought up a few more questions for me. It sounds like you determined for yourself that the shame was given to you, that it was not yours, that you did not deserve it being given to you. I can see how coming to see that truth would help release shame.

    I do wonder if our situations are different, because I think I have done a lot to be ashamed of. Maybe there have been some times that people shamed me for things that I did not deserve to be shamed for, but I do not see those times as clearly as I have seen the shameful I have done.

    So my questions are: How do you know when someone deserves to feel the shame they feel vs when someone does not? How can someone who has done shameful things live on in peace? Maybe some people would say in certain cases that the people who have done shameful things do not deserve to be at peace.

    And also, is there something to you that indicates that I was shamed or given shame in a similar way to you? And if so, has that lead me to a life of shame somehow, that I do not see yet?

    You don’t have to answer all the questions by any means, I don’t expect you to be all-knowing, but I am curious to see  more of your perspective.

    #377474
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ninibee:

    The two topics, shame and passion are connected- shame does keep passion down, or kills it quickly if and when it awakens.

    Like you, I also did a lot of things that were shameful. It is not that I determined that those shameful acts were not my actions, or that I was not responsible for them.

    Thing is, my mother introduced shame into me before I did those shameful acts, when I was, like I wrote earlier,  “100% innocent and loving and eager to please her”. In other words, in the process of healing, I went back in time, all the way back to the time I was a young child, remembering how she shamed me when there was nothing to shame!

    * If you can’t go back in time this way, think about what you do remember your mother shaming you for: were you responsible for what she shamed you for, was any of it your fault? If not, then your mother is not beyond shaming you as a young child for what you were not responsible for.

    Back to me, that early, undeserved shame hurt terribly, a shock to the system, really. From then on, with repeated messages of shame, I was mentally unwell, confused, desperate, in pain, and therefore likely to act in shameful ways. And I did.

    By going back in time to the time before I did anything shameful, I gave myself the stamp “innocent”, or “okay”, and then, later I forgave myself for the shameful acts I did and for hurting other people. It was difficult, but I finally did it: I forgave myself because of the hard work I’ve been doing healing, starting in 2011.  The difficult and long work on healing myself is what earned me self-forgiveness.

    Plus, when there is nothing you can do to correct past actions, feeling shame and guilty is not useful, it doesn’t do anything that’s good for anyone.

    “I do wonder if our situations are different, because I think I have done a lot to be ashamed of. Maybe there have been some times that people shamed me for things that I did not deserve to be shamed for, but I do see those times as clearly as I have seen the shameful I have done”-

    – so far then, our situations are not different: (1) as an older child, through adolescence and adulthood, I did lots of shameful things,  and (2) there were plenty of people who shamed me for what I was not responsible for (people who were mean, people who selfishly took advantage of the fact that I was mentally/ emotionally unwell).

    “is there something to you that indicates that I was shamed or given shame in a similar way to you?”-

    Yes, let’s take just one of your posts, on Nov 2, 2019, you wrote: “From a young age, I can remember hating my mother”- no child hates her mother at a young age unless her mother terribly hurt her many times earlier, which means, at a very early age.

    No child is shameful and guilty at a very young age. (I too hated my mother, very intensely, for many years. It was difficult to live with all that anger on top of the shame and guilt).

    “As a child, I often wished my parents would divorce and that my dad would re-marry someone else. I do not know what this really says about her, though. This is still about me”- it says that she was a bad mother to a good child. (I too wished to have had a different mother).

    “I tried to talk to her in various conversations to tell her how I felt. I tried to explain.. I would tell her that I felt hurt by her. Her response to this was always something like ‘I hurt you? You hurt me!”-

    – this is you as an older child or a teenager, trying to connect with your mother, trying to heal the relationship with her, and her reaction: NO! Before that age, as a young child (not with elaborate words and thoughts, but in simpler ways) you tried to connect with her many, many times, you tried hard to make her love you, and you failed- not because there was something wrong with you, but because there was something wrong with her.

    Look at her reaction: “I hurt you? You hurt me!”- what kind of a reaction is that? Is this a reaction of a loving mother who has any concern for her daughter’s well-being? Or is it a reaction of an immature girl-mother talking to her daughter as if both were immature teenagers, saying: I didn’t do it! You did!

    Talking about shame- her reaction was shameful!

    Overall, your mother is extremely self-centered, shaming and guilt-tripping, so what I know about her tells me a lot about who you are: that at an early age, before you did anything shameful, you were already her victim, terribly hurt through no fault of your own.

    anita

    #377500
    ninibee
    Participant

    Brandy,

    I also saw that post from Inky when I was reviewing at that thread and also find it interesting. I did ask my therapist (around that time a year ago) what he thought of the possibility of me being “on the spectrum” and I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I have the impression now that he seemed to think there was a major criteria that I did not meet, or that there was something that sort of “disqualified” me. I also believe he said if I did want a diagnosis, I would have to see someone else for that because its not part of his practice, and I did not pursue that.

    I guess my perspective on it currently is that I don’t know if a diagnosis would help me or not. I could see it possibly feeling like something I am trapped in, like I would be doomed to a life of social problems and isolation and being misunderstood. I can also see it potentially lifting some shame, giving me something to “point the finger at” and give me some explanation that may help end the confusion.

     

     

     

    #377504
    ninibee
    Participant

    anita,

    I want to say thank you for sharing more about your own experience with shame. It helps me feel less alone and gives me some hope for my own situation. I feel like what you said,  “I was mentally unwell, confused, desperate, in pain, and therefore likely to act in shameful ways. And I did.” describes exactly my experience with myself. I hadn’t heard it put quite like that before.

    It is hard to see myself as an innocent child. But it is also hard to remember things from my childhood in general. If my mom was putting her shame onto me as a child, it was definitely done in a way that is hard to pinpoint. Or maybe it is clear but I am not able to see it. Is it important that I see it to be able to heal from it?

    I might have more to say but I am still thinking about it.

    #377513
    ninibee
    Participant

    anita,

    I’m sorry. I feel like I am being frustrating. I see that you have explained things to me many times in regards the what you see  happened with my mother and me, and I am still confused. Sometimes I feel like my mind goes blank and I cannot see or remember anything wrong with my mom. I am sorry if it feels like you are talking to a wall. I am having a difficult time with myself today.

    #377514
    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi ninibee,

    Your perspective on the possibility of being on the spectrum makes a lot sense to me. I guess another benefit of having a diagnosis (in addition to what you’ve listed) would be that you could then get communication and social skills therapy designed specifically for Asperger’s individuals…but you could get similar therapy without a diagnosis too, I suppose. Anyway, I get what you’re saying. You make a lot of sense to me.

    I’m so impressed with you, ninibee. As I’ve posted before on these forums, the people I admire most are those who, in the midst of difficult challenges, keep searching for the right paths to take, and that is you.

    Yesterday Anita posted to you:

    Your intelligence and perseverance on your various threads is evidence, in my mind, that you can do a lot of healing and that if you persist, by the time you are in your mid-twenties, you will be in a much, much better place, having your own space, a healthier mental space as well as practically, your own home.

    and

    I think it’s time to enroll in college, choose a subject matter that feels most interesting, something most likely to trigger some passion in you, and enroll, I say!

    …both excellent, I say!

    B

    #377517
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ninibee:

    Don’t worry about frustrating me, I am not frustrated with you and I understand the mind going blank.  Maybe when you are calm and more focused, you car re-read my recent post. Maybe I didn’t explain things well enough. I can try to be more clear. Let me know.

    anita

    #377523
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear ninibee,

    Sometimes I feel like my mind goes blank and I cannot see or remember anything wrong with my mom

    a part of the problem could be that the wound happen very early in your childhood. I’ve looked at your previous threads and saw that you mentioned your mom had germophobia, and also that you have a phobia of vomiting which might be related to an incident on an airplane when you were left unchanged in your own vomit. You also mentioned that later you didn’t like when your mother was going through your dirty laundry and that you preferred to wash your clothes by yourself.

    All that indicates to me that your mother might have been disgusted with your bodily secretions and was very uncomfortable changing your diapers, cleaning you from vomit etc, specially since she’s so afraid of germs. So her disgust and maybe even fear of your bodily secretions have probably registered in you, and you now feel disgusting and unacceptable to yourself. The rejection happened so early, that it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly it is.

    It has nothing to do with you – you were a normal baby pooing and puking like every other baby – it has to do with your mother’s inability to accept you on the bodily level, thus creating a feeling in you of being rejected for who you are.

     

    • This reply was modified 6 months, 1 week ago by TeaK.
    #377526
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ninibee:

    Fascinating post by TeaK, I did not make that connection before, that your “unrelenting shame” as you termed it, may have its origin so early in your life, having experienced your germophobic mother being repulsed by her baby’s bodily functions. It fits with what you wrote Nov 2, 2019: “From a young age, I can remember hating my mother. I found her repulsive and often outright rejected her”- you may have experienced and reciprocated her repulsion when still a baby. (You mentioned an older brother. If her repulsion of a baby’s bodily functions was intense, I wonder how she was able to bring herself to have a second baby, and I wonder if your older brother expressed similar shame to yours).

    Regarding your recent post: “I feel like I am being frustrating.. I am still confused.. my mind goes blank… I am sorry if it feels like you are talking to a wall”-

    – Nov 2, 2019, you wrote regarding your Fantasy Mother: “There is an unspoken understanding between her and I, she knows me so well that we do not even need to talk to communicate”-

    – Maybe you prefer to not talk, because talking in the past, particularly with your mother, was a very frustrating, unrewarding experience: you expressed yourself honestly and she turned against you. So you prefer to not talk. And when you read my recent longer post to you, you clammed up, maybe angrily.

    Back to your Fantasy Mother, Nov 2, 2019, you wrote that you often wish that she would take you home with her, the two of you making dinner together, she sees you, she understands and supports you, she unceasingly cares for you, she “allows space” for you.

    If you want to, please answer the following questions:

    1) what do you mean by your Fantasy Mother allowing space for you (Nov 2, 2019)

    2) “I imagine if I did have a fantasy mother around, I would feel as if I was living my life for her/ she would give my life meaning” (Nov 6, 2019)- can you elaborate on this sentence as much as you can?

    anita

    #377564
    ninibee
    Participant

    TeaK I think you make a very good point. In the very least, my mom was not able to accept me on a bodily level from the time I was a baby. When I have watched her hold or interact other people’s babies, I feel like I can sense her nervousness and discomfort. She seems very unnatural with a baby, like she has not ever been a mother before. So I assume it would’ve been the same when I was a baby… I was a icky and unpredictable object to her. I also think you are right the connection to my fear of vomiting.

    #377565
    ninibee
    Participant

    anita,

    to answer your questions:

    1) what do you mean by your Fantasy Mother allowing space for you (Nov 2, 2019)

    This is a good question. I wish I could remember what exactly lead me to say this at that time. Since I cannot remember, I will answer from my current headspace. My mother is always listening, watching, keeping tabs on everyone. It’s very suffocating. There is this feeling that you cannot get away with anything she wouldn’t approve of, so many things need to be kept a secret. So I imagine I was imagining the opposite of that when I made that statement about my fantasy mother.

    2) “I imagine if I did have a fantasy mother around, I would feel as if I was living my life for her/ she would give my life meaning” (Nov 6, 2019)- can you elaborate on this sentence as much as you can?

    I think at the time that I wrote this I was thinking about the people who say “I live to make my mother proud”. At the time I was feeling like I did not have clear meaning in my life and the idea of living to make someone proud appealed to me. I don’t know if I relate to this anymore.

    It seems relevant to say that my “fantasy mother” has changed as my understanding of certain things in my life has changed.

    #377570
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ninibee:

    I will probably have a few more thoughts about what you shared tomorrow morning (in about 13 hours from now), but for now: I appreciate you answering my questions so clearly and respectfully. From what I understand, at the time (2019) you wished that you had a mother whom you liked and respected, and therefore wanting to make her proud. But because you disliked and disrespected your mother, you had no one that you wanted to please and make proud. Maybe that’s the emptiness you talked about at the time, not having anyone to live for, is how you put it, if I remember correctly.

    Is that it?

    anita

    #377571
    anita
    Participant

    Dear ninibee:

    I was curious so I looked at the post of Nov 9, 2019 that I asked you about, from your thread Can’t commit to life (the bold feature is my addition): “I imagine if I did have a fantasy mother around, I would feel as if I was living my life for her/ she would give my life meaning… I have heard other people say their mother is their number-one driving force in their life. A guy I met told me that his mother is what keeps him in school and keeps him from doing self-destructive things because he loves and never want to disappoint her. He told me that seeing her love for him.. made him value his own life“-

    – I didn’t understand then but because of your explanation today, I understand now: in the thread Can’t commit to life, you talked about how you can’t commit to college, not doing the school work, dropping out of classes, not unpacking the boxes in your apartment, not making it look nice, etc. In the paragraph I quoted above, you were saying that maybe if you had a mother who loved you, her love for you would have done the following for you: give your life value,  be your number-one driving force, keep you in school, keep you from doing self-destructive things (the shameful things you did not detail, I imagine) motivate you to unpack the boxes, decorating your apartment and so forth.

    I realized a short while ago that I missed the first post you submitted on April 11. You wrote there that you related to how I described my experience with shame and shameful acts, and that it is hard for you to remember things from your childhood. “If my mom was putting her shame onto me as a child, it was definitely done in a way that is hard to pinpoint. Or maybe it is clear but I am not able to see it”.

    A day later you did see it, not by remember your own childhood, but by remembering the way your mother behaved with other people’s babies, By observing her, you were able to “sense her nervousness and discomfort. She seems very unnatural with a baby”, and I agree with your assumption: “I assume it would’ve been the same when I was a baby… I was an icky and unpredictable object to her”-

    -yes, this is it how she inserted great shame into you, by the nervous, uncomfortable, unnatural ways that she touched you, held you, changed your diapers, dressed you, fed you, how she reacted to you crying and to whatever it is that you/ babies do.

    More thoughts about what I put together in this post, tomorrow morning.

    anita

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