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Unsure about my direction

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This topic contains 50 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 day ago.

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  • #267769

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    To think that both of my parents just see me as a person, and not their daughter really angers me. I say both parents because my relationship with my dad is pretty much the same however, instead of pushing his problems onto me, he’s just not involved in my life. The only thing he talks about with me and my sister is work, and his view points on certain topics. It’s not about us, it’s about him. Sounds like I have very narcissistic parents and it really upsets me, because I do blame myself for their behavior and disengaged attitudes. To me, it’s crazy that they are so blind to their absence in my life.

    Also, I noticed two things. As a child my parents never paid a lot of attention to me, but when they did whatever they said was a critic or judgment. For example,I remember when I was in middle school I was so excited that I had made it into Advanced Drama Class. I went over to my dad to share the good news, and his response was “Yeah, you are a drama queen.” It was the same with my mom, the only time she would pay attention to me was when I needed to fix something about my appearance. She would say things like “Nikkole, sit up straight, you’re slouching.” There’s just a lot of things that my mom would ask that at times seemed inappropriate, and very critical. She never asked me how I felt, what I dreamed of, and when she did she judged me for wanting that or feeling a certain way or just didn’t acknowledge it. If I said, “I’m feeling upset” she would ask why, but then go on to talk about something that bothered her.

    The other thing I noticed is I tend to put my issues on whoever my significant other is. I don’t hang out with many friends so I don’t project onto them, mainly because I don’t feel 100% comfortable around them. I’ve noticed this for a while but never understood why I do it, and where it came from, but I see it a little more clearly now. I’ve somehow learned that this is “okay” or think that this is how a relationship should be, just projecting my own issues onto my partner. I also, unfortunately, feel that I see other people as just a person, and not someone who has feelings, dreams, thoughts just as I do. Which kind of scares me, because I don’t want to feel as though other people don’t have feelings and that they are just there. No healthy, deep relationships with anyone can be established if I just see them as someone to lay problems on.

    #267779

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    A child needs to be seen before she can see herself or anyone else.

    A child feels but needs to  see her feelings in the  face of her care taker, in her voice, in her touch. For example, the child is sad,  and the mother looks at the young Nikkole with a sad face, saying: you look so sad. So young Nikkole now knows what sad looks  like, she sees it in her mother’s face.

    A child, to feel that her thoughts  and feelings matter, needs  for her caretaker (usually the mother) to show her that it is so. More of the  same example above: the child Nikkole  is sad, her mother says: you look so sad. Nikkole  feels visible seen and she learns  this feeling she  is having is called sad. Then the  mother asks her: tell me what  makes you sad? Or.. what happened in kindergarten today? And  when Nikkole  answers, her mother validates her sadness, saying  something like: we feel sad when our best friend doesn’t  pay attention to us anymore and  plays with someone  else.

    So we learn.  But without such attention, we  are lost, unsure about ourselves, seeking help or rescue from other people, not being able yet to see  ourselves or others.

    anita

    #267803

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    Yeah, neither of my parents acknowledged my feelings. This would explain why half the time I have no idea what I’m really feeling. To discover all this is frustrating, and I can’t help but blame my parents for being so selfish, because now the burden is on me. I either have to choose to heal myself at this point, which frankly I really don’t know how. Or I keep the cycle of abuse, and hurt going, which at this point is just not an option. I’ve come too far to just give up on myself.

    When you said “But without such attention, we, are lost, unsure about ourselves…” is exactly how I feel. I feel like I have no idea who I am, what my interests are, how I feel, etc. I totally blame them for all this work I have to do now, and probably as I grow older. How can one not have resentment towards their parents when they have awareness for what their parents did / didn’t do?

    Sorry for the angry tone, I hate feeling like I know nothing about myself, being so disconnected from myself, and it’s because of how I was raised which I can’t go back and change. I’ve always hoped that there was a reason behind having such crappy parents, but I’m not sure.

    #267821

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    You and I have a lot  in common.

    It is  okay to be angry, this is part  of healing, to allow yourself to feel anger at  your parents. It is an unpleasant  feeling but it  has a good purpose and a  message that is valid and needs attention. When you fully hear that message, the  anger  will lose its intensity.

    Many people feel that  they are bad people for feeling angry, I did too. But it is a misunderstanding: everyone feels a angry- good people, bad  people and all  in between. Allow it, don’t judge it and you can proceed with  healing.

    Yes, you had/have crappy  parents,  so did I and  so did most adults, this is why the  world is in such a sad state.

    I want to encourage you to not give up. There are many moments in the process of healing when we get discouraged and feel crappy, but the key is to rest, distract (take a walk, a hot bath, watch a  movie, etc.) and then return to healing, persist through the distress and difficulties.

    I wanted to ask you regarding  what I wrote above, the italicized: what do you think is the message in your anger toward  your parents?

    One  more thing: what did you mean by “I’ve always hoped that  there was a reason behind having such crappy parents, but I’m not sure”- what kind of a reason could there be?

    I hope  to read from you when I am back to the computer in about fifteen hours. Please  do your best  to be kind to yourself at this time!

    anita

     

    #267985

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I’m not entirely sure what the message may be, but I think it’s to allow my parents to be as they are. Not having their support or involvement in my life has been a hard realization, but because of it I think I am able to learn how to do these things for myself. To love myself, to be compassionate towards myself, and to just build my own support system. Crazy how I’ve been really diving into healing this last week and I noticed today that my dad has acquired a little more awareness of himself. Interesting how it spreads.

    As for the reason behind having crappy parents, I always thought it was so I could somehow help others. If I could learn to heal myself, then maybe I could help other people heal too. I just haven’t gotten quit to the point of being able to help others in that way because I still have a lot of healing to do myself. After writing that though, I kind of feel like I’m onto something. Maybe a dream I never fully realized I had. Hmm…

    #267987

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    “I’ve been really diving into healing this last week and I noticed today that my dad has acquired a little more awareness of himself. Interesting how it spreads”- do you mean that you shared some of your self awareness with your father and as a result he came into some self awareness himself?

    If so, what awareness did he express?

    As to the reason you had crappy  parents, you mean that it was arranged by some  authority above, like a god, that you will have crappy parents so that you will be motivated to help others?

    And by helping others, are you thinking about your direction, professionally?

    * I will be away from the  computer  for about fifteen hours. I hope  to read  from you when  I am back.

    anita

    #267995

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I’ve been sharing some of my realizations with him so that might of done it. He expressed noticing that he gets upset at the smallest things. He’s never shared that with me.

    And honestly, I think it’s just me having hope that eventually i will discover what I want to do professionally. It’s just frustrating thinking that while I don’t know what to do my options seem very limited. Like choosing to move up in the company I currently work for just for the financial security. It drains my energy.

    #268091

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    Regarding your father’s self awareness, that “he  gets upset at the  smallest  things”- this is something he must  have  been aware  of for the longest  time, decades, probably. And he  probably  shared  it  with others, it  is the first time that he shared  it  with you, that  is all. And so,  I  don’t  believe it is true that he acquired new awareness (“my dad has acquired a little more awareness of himself”).

    You shared with him and that encouraged him to share  something  about himself.

    Regarding your professional and financial considerations, the limited options and how  it drains your energy: this is the  reality of adult professional life almost always: limited options. People find themselves trapped in limited options. And trapped, people feel distressed; distressed we get easily  and quickly  tired, exhausted and frustrated  beyond words!

    And then, tired and exhausted and frustrated we don’t do our best  thinking, so we remain in the trap. The key is to relax before you think, so  accept your reality as it  is right now, don’t resist it, don’t  fight against it  with  your thoughts and  emotions. Figure: this  is  my life, so be it.

    After this kind  of acceptance, you can relax. Once  relax, you can think better, see outside the box/ the trap, make a plan and realize there is no magical solution, but a thoughtful, executed  plan, an adjustable  plan (to be re-evaluated), requiring lots  of patience and persistence.

    anita

    #268137

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I agree with you when you about accepting my reality for what it is, and to relax, which is exactly what I’ve been currently trying to work on especially through meditating. However, some days I’m okay with my reality and relax, and other days, like today, I am in full panic mode and don’t want to do anything but stare at the ceiling in despair haha. It has been very difficult for me to accept my reality, because I just don’t like where I’m at even though where I currently am (living with dad, working low paying job that I don’t like, not knowing what direction to take, being in the same spot for years) isn’t that bad, but just not where I want to be. So on a very daily basis, I resist it with my thoughts and emotions leaving me almost no room to relax.

    #268151

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    The title of your thread is “Unsure about my  direction”- I don’t think we talked much about your professional direction, or lack of. You quit a two year nursing program because you suffered  going through it- what  about it distressed you so?

    When you are rested  enough and relaxed, will you share  with me some of your educational and work experience so far, including the nature  of the low paying job you are  currently doing; what were your interests  in the past and  how did those interests change over time, what were  your good experiences, bad experiences at the  work place  so  far, what excited you, what bored  you, etc.?

    I will soon be away from the computer for about fifteen hours.

    anita

     

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 18 hours ago by  anita.
    #268249

    anita
    Participant

    Dear  Nikkole:

    I re-read your posts. I was thinking about what  you  wrote here: “Ever since I was little  I loved making videos, and  editing them was  my favorite  part”- I was thinking how wonderful it would be if I was  able to edit the story of my life, take out all the undesirable parts  that damaged me, keep the  good parts and connect those to make  an excellent story!

    It  would have been  a short story though, containing images of me running on the green grass as a child,  with that child excitement, eager to  see what’s next, feeling that joy that  escaped me since. There would be scenes of me running  toward the  blue water of the  sea, looking  forward to those waves carrying me up and down, cool, in the  hot and  humid day… and the  warm sand under my feet. And there would be that  scene of an uncle asking  me questions as  if my answers mattered, him wanting  to hear  me.

    Back to you and  your search for professional direction. I figure that because you can’t edit out those ugly scenes of your childhood that you described here, there is the option of not working with people at all,  or having very little contact with people in the context  of  a job or career. The war zone you lived in as a child led to  intense anger at  others turned inwards, like you described, changing from being  aggressive to difficulty  being assertive. That makes working with people, as you do now in retail, very difficult.

    Another factor is your endurance of distress: having grown up in a war zone created  such distress that  it exhausts you and  lowers your ability to endure outside  distress without getting overwhelmed. So another consideration is working in a place or environment that is low in  stress.

    Let’s say you continue with retail, not  all retail establishments are the same, different clientele, different merchandise, different locations… different stress levels. I remember  working as a waitress   in a lobby of a calm hotel, serving  coffee here  and there, low stress and  pleasurable. On the  other hand I had  one experience as  a waitress in a  busy restaurant and I forgot who ordered what, was quickly overwhelmed and wasn’t  able  to perform.

    The healing  process from the war zone you experienced as a child is a  long, long term  endeavor. Later, a few years  from now I suppose you will be  able to endure  more  distress than you are able now, and  you will learn to practice assertiveness effectively, that will make working with people  easier.

    Maybe do the less stressful jobs and/ or without   much contact with people while  you heal and re-evaluate  later?

    anita

    #268275

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I really enjoyed reading what your short story would be if you could edit out all the damaging experiences. That would be something I would enjoy watching.

    To answer your questions from the first post: the nursing program was stressful for me because I not only lacked confidence in myself, but the program was Monday – Friday so I was only available to work on the weekends which wasn’t bringing in enough money to pay for the bills that I had at the time. I wasn’t getting much financial or emotional support from either of my parents so this added onto the stress and overwhelming feeling. So, when I failed my first assignment I just lost it. I cried for hours, tried to talk to my parents, but they weren’t really saying anything encouraging. It was a mix of current circumstances not being too great, fear of failing, lack of confidence in myself, and not getting support from family, and also not wanting to touch people haha

    I ended up finishing college with an AA degree. I’ve always wanted to continue my education, at least getting a bachelors degree but I have no idea in what.

    So, I currently work in retail (grocery store) and I’ve been there for 10 years. I hated customer service so decided to go into the bakery department, which is slightly better because I get to be by myself some times, but not most. My current role is bakery clerk, so my main responsibility is taking care of customers. I want to (and have expressed this to my managers) become a decorator seeing as though I am a creative person and they don’t handle customers as much. I should also mention that my dad, and sister are managers at this company so it has become some sort of family thing which adds on another reason I stay.

    What I hate about the job is that I find it boring. I want to learn, but I keep getting told to “be patient”. I also don’t like that the environment can be pretty toxic, not only with customers but with co-workers, and managers as well. This is another reason I would prefer to be alone when working. I also don’t like how busy it can get. I find myself not able to relax, and my mind is in panic mode until the store slows down.

    What I like about the job is I know what is expected of me, so I don’t have to worry about whether I’m doing something right or wrong. I like that the job is predictable, pretty much tasks everyday. I also like that I don’t have that much responsibility. I don’t have someone else’s life in my hands. I also like that if I were to become a manager, that I wouldn’t have to worry about money since they make a comfortable amount.

    As far as my interest growing up, I remember loving to sing, act, dance, playing outside, and making skits that we (friends, and sister) would perform. As I got older, I remember having a huge interest in psychology, and still liking to make videos, but that stopped because my mom wanted me out of the class so I could take drivers ed. Ever since then the only time I brought it up was as a possible major in college and my mom said “no”. I haven’t touched video recording / editing since (4 years ago). I’ve never really had just one thing I enjoyed or was good at growing up.

    As of right now, I would love to work alone. After doing a teacher substituting job for almost a year, I realized that I really want to work alone. Unfortunately, I have not managed to find many jobs that involve working alone. I was lucky enough to have gotten a job offer as a data entry clerk, and I was so happy, but I ended up not getting the job. I’m not trying to sound pessimistic but so far when I try to leave my current job it just never works out, like I get the interview but don’t get hired for whatever reason.

    So currently my plan is to stick it out with this retail job, become a decorator, and then go from there. My goal is to at least get full-time and then maybe go back to school. I’m hoping that by then I’ll have a better idea of what I would like to do.

    I totally agree with those reasons that you stated, my childhood being a war zone, as to why I have problems with assertiveness and not wanting to be around people. I like your suggestion on finding a less stressful job, without much contact with people in order to heal. I mean if anything at all, there are stores in my area that are slower and quieter that I could transfer to if need be.

     

     

    #268279

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    I am looking forward to read and reply to you when I am back to the computer in about fifteen hours from now!

    anita

    #268385

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Nikkole:

    Thank you for your comment on my video editing of my life.

    So according to my understanding you are working in the same grocery store for 10 years, not making enough money to be financially independent from your parents. Your father and  sister are managers there (not owners or co-owners, but employees), and so they  have better salaries than you do. For some reason, you are not a manager there yourself.

    * A thought: is it possible that if there were three  family members  working  there, all managers, the company will be accused for nepotism and that concern is what is keeping you in a lower paying, non-managerial position?

    You wrote earlier that you are financially dependent  on your parents, that it is one reason you can’t consider limiting contact with them. Problem is you are working full time for  so long and you are not financially independent and your parents’ financial help was not enough to allow you to do the nursing program- this is  why you had to work on the weekends during the grueling Mon-Fri nursing  program, an impossibility for any person, I think.

    How can anyone do Mon-Fri nursing and work weekends…?

    Too little of a financial help from your parents, just enough to keep your life.. not making sense, that is, stuck in a job that doesn’t pay enough. What would be the disadvantage then in moving out of your parents’ and living far away, how can your life be worse?

    Looking forward to read your thoughts about what I wrote here.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 3 days, 1 hour ago by  anita.
    #268415

    Nikkole
    Participant

    Hello Anita,

    I have had opportunities in the past that would have led to management but I turned them down because I was focused on going to college, and just didn’t like the atmosphere of the company. And I still don’t.

    As far as the company being accused of nepotism I don’t think they would since the company actually wants families to work there. We’re not the only family that works there. It’s a pretty big company.

    Yeah, it was nearly impossible for me to go to nursing school and work. The thing is, is that my dad made enough money to cover my expenses he just didn’t want to. He’s never gone to college or liked school to really support the idea of going, let alone pay for it I guess.

    I have honestly really thought about just moving out and starting all over, even moving to a different state, but would that really change anything other than my location? And I’m so comfortable here, which makes it harder to leave. I would really struggle out on my own. I’m really trying to just let go, and have faith that things will work out. But it’s so hard to do when going to work is so stressful, and it seems like it’s never going to end or get better.

    Side note: I noticed you said I was full-time, I’m actually still part-time. Full-time is what I’m currently striving for.

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