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What if you are the toxic person?

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This topic contains 275 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 2 days, 8 hours ago.

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  • #278867

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I am feeling strange. People at my dormitory are acting strange. One person didn’t respond to me twice, when I said hello to her. It made me feel bad, and I didn’t know what had happened. I hadn’t even seen her in weeks and I barely talk to her. She is my next-door neighbour. So I wondered: was I too loud? But I usually use headphones. What else could I have done wrong? I have never said anything bad to her or about her. And I also cannot think of anything else, that I could have done wrong. Maybe I should have asked, but I thought, okay, maybe she just doesn’t like me for some reason. So better leave her alone and respect her wishes. So I stopped saying hello to her and she also doesn’t say anything to me now when I see her. Maybe the problem is not me, but her. I don’t know what she is going through, I should stop taking things personally. But I have a huge tendency to take everything personally.

    In the last months I isolated myself quite a bit. I even avoided meeting people. The community kitchen and living room are together, only separated by one door. Once I entered the kitchen, but then heard that someone was in the living room and left, because I didn’t want to meet someone. Another time I thought I was alone in the kitchen and somehow said to myself “I hate you” (sometimes I do, without thinking, it happens). But there was someone in the other room. This could be misunderstood, or at least would seem strange. These behaviours, of course, must seem weird to others. Maybe that’s why they are acting weird? It just happened, because I wasn’t feeling good of myself, ashamed of myself and unhappy.

    Another weird thing is, that today most people removed their shoes from the corridor. Very strange and I don’t know what’s going on, because I’m in contact with no one.

    I wish life would be easier for once. But I am also maybe just thinking and worrying too much about these things. I don’t know what’s going on with my neighbour. I think I should ask them next time I see them. But I also want to spend less time at the dormitory, as it makes me feel depressed. Maybe I should start looking for a new place to live. A place with only one or two roommates, so that it will be easier to connect with them for me.

    But not everything is bad these days. I found out that none of the three friends I wrote about earlier in this thread, who I thought are angry at me, are actually angry at me. This weekend I am going to see one of them and I am very happy about that! Maybe it is a sign that I should just worry less, but it is not easy for me. I also managed to work on my projects better during the last week and was satisfied with my results. And I applied for a program, where you can work with a mentor, that will help you with your career goals. So far I don’t know if I will get accepted, but at least I tried.

    I want to try my best to make my life better.

    And how are yo, anita? I hope everything is good for you.

    #278955

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I am fine other than my foot still not completely healed, I wonder if it ever will be. It is freezing outside and the snow is frozen which means walking outside is dangerous.

    My favorite line in your recent post is this: “I want to try my best to make my life better”.

    Regarding the person in the dormitory who didn’t respond to you when you said hello, assuming she heard you, it could be that she didn’t value you enough to say hello back. This is the reason why when I was a teenager, other teenagers ignored me a whole lot, they didn’t think I was important enough to include in their conversations or to acknowledge otherwise. Sad but I believe, true.

    I wish everyone valued everyone, but this is not the reality we live in. Lots of people interact only with people they think are… important enough and they don’t bother with people they don’t think are important.

    This is one reason why you should treat your own self as important in the context of interacting with others. Don’t put yourself down when interacting with others, treat yourself respectfully, refer to yourself respectfully, that will encourage others to value you.

    Teenagers ignored me not because I was of no  value. This person didn’t say hello to you not because you were of no value. You and I have as much value as anyone else! Yet, some people will not value us. To increase the chances that others will value us, better express to them that you value yourself in the context of interacting with others. Makes sense to you?

    anita

     

    #279165

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I am sorry to hear that your foot is not completely healed. But most likely it will be in the future, maybe it just takes time. So with this type of weather you can’t go for your daily walks? Here it is getting warmer, I even saw the first spring flowers already.

    I think this girl must have heard me, she even looked at me. And I also saw her several times again and didn’t say anything to her again and she also didn’t say anything to me.

    Sometimes I worry too much about every little thing. And I always look for the fault within myself, but actually it was this girl who behaved strange, not me. I never did anything bad to her or anyone at the dormitory. Only that I isolated myself a lot, but that is actually not their problem!

    Somehow the mood is weird here, I feel like something is going on, but I have no clue what it is about. But most people still say hello normally to me. Maybe it is nothing or a problem that they have amongst their group. Best to not worry about it. But I also want to maybe find another place to live, where I will feel more comfortable.

    What you wrote about value, that some people think that others are worth less than them, I don’t like such a way of thinking. If this girl truly thought like that, it would be the best to not get to know her better. In any case, it is impolite and unkind to ignore another person. So I’m better off not being in contact with her. I only say hello to be polite, to let the other person know that all is o.K. But if she doesn’t want that, I will let her be.

    What I want is to try my best to be kind to everyone. No matter their status, job, background or anything. Of course, if they choose to be disrespectful to me, I have to draw the line there. I believe the same thing like you, that every person is equal. I am still learning to keep that balance,  in real life I will maybe still make mistakes. But I am now more aware of myself: I want to be kind, but not let others disrespect me.

    I also want to do the thing that you suggested, to value myself. Too often I put myself down. For example, I make excuses for my art stuff, when showing it to my professor. Or I say that it was not so good etc. I need to stop this! It is not helping at all.

    But somehow I am feeling like the change within me has already begun. Sometimes I feel unhappy, unhappier than before. But at the same time I feel hopeful that change is possible. I have a good feeling about my new therapist and also the conversations here with you have helped me.

    #279177

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    Thank you for your words about my foot, I do  hope it will stop hurting sooner than later and I will  be glad to let you  know if and when that happens. I do  walk daily, resumed my 3.5 mile walk per day (km, not sure how many that is), but the walks are difficult these days because of the melted and frozen ice.

    I agree with you, “change is possible” and I see the change in you recently, your posts indicate a healthy change in you, changes more like it, plural.

    Here are indicators of the changes in you:

    “I worry too much about every little thing. And I always look for the fault within myself, but actually it was this girl who behaved strange, not me”- you are aware of your tendencies and you are able to detach yourself long enough from your tendencies so to view a situation the way it really is.

    “If this girl truly thought like that (that some people worth less than others and are not worthy of a “hello), it would be best to not get to know her better“- excellent, that would save you a whole lot of time, effort and misery to not get to know some people better, women and men.

    “I am more aware of myself. I want to be kind, but not let others disrespect me“- excellent assertion!

    I hope you feel more comfortable living where you are or that you move elsewhere.

    anita

    #279831

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    my faltmates were nicer to me recently. Even the woman, who ignored me, talked to me again. I have no clue what happened with them. The lesson is to not worry about what others might think so much. It is hard for me, but I want to free myself from this way of thinking. Better say stop to myself, when I get into this cycle of thinking again.

    But I still want to move out. It is time for a change, and there is also only a limited time you can live in a dormitory. Maybe if I live with only one or two people, it will be easier for me.

    K. recently called me. Maybe you will be angry at me, for taking the call, but I was curious about what he wanted. In the end, it helped me see what kind of a person he truly is. He revealed a lot more about his character during the call. He wanted to get back with me, but I told him that I don’t want to see him again. I better don’t tell more about what he said, or you would just get furious again. Now I can move on with no regrets, so it was worth it. In an impulse, I threw my phone into the river. While I regret the pollution, at least he doesn’t have my number anymore now.

    You guided me through ending contact with him the first time, which was a good advice and helpful. But I also have to make my own experiences and now I ended it on my own terms and I feel calmer.

    #279841

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lilly:

    I am glad you didn’t share with me the details of what he said to you because yes, I would have gotten upset and because you don’t need my input  on what he said, which I am so glad about, that you figured it out yourself and no longer feel any regret, and to top all these good news, he doesn’t have your number, excellent!

    Your first paragraph, remind what you wrote there to yourself once in a while. Maybe it will be a good idea if you copied parts of our communication here and pasted it  on a paper, parts that you want to re-read in the future.

    I hope living elsewhere is a more pleasant experience for you, but anywhere you live of  course, people will sometimes be occupied with a problem and look upset and you will have to remind yourself that it is not about you, something you did wrong. Keep paying attention to behaving respectfully to others so that you are less likely to think you did something wrong to bring about someone being upset.

    Back to: “I ended it on my own terms and I feel calmer”- I am proud of you, if I may say so!

    anita

     

    #279969

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I have no more regrets about ending it. And I don’t feel sorry for him or worry about him anymore. But I have other regrets. I am angry at myself for being so blind, for assisting him in mistreating me. For a long time I was very convinced, that he was honest. That there must be something wrong with me. But a good person wouldn’t treat you like this.

    Sadly I have very little experience with men. For a long time, I wasn’t even able to speak to them. There was only the experience with the man in the dormitory. Other than that, no experiences. Compared to him, K. treated me better. But there was no high bar there…

    For now, I will focus on myself. Not see any men. Hopefully I will feel better with time. I already started to feel better before he called me again. But I learned a lot during this call, so it was worth the pain. It brought me clarity!

    From now on, I will observe people’s behavior better. It is my resolution to be on my own side more. Of course, still reflecting about my behavior, but try not to overdo this. Take on responsibility for my own mistakes, but not the mistakes of others. Not let people disrespect me. I have a lot to learn, but I think I took the first steps in the right direction with ending this… I also blocked him on social media and don’t want to hear of him ever again!

    Regarding my flatmates: I usually want to be respectful and be nice to everyone. But sometimes I might overdo this, and then it will seem strange. And when I worry about what others think of me, always suspecting that they don’t like me, of course it will show. I get nervous and then I make them nervous or uncomfortable too. I am socially awkward. Social competences is another big thing I need to work on.

    Most likely people don’t even think or care about my problems. Somehow I have this obsession with what others will think of me. The fears are very unrealistic! I find lots of reasons why others might be upset with me and many of them are not true to reality. Every little thing I do would be a reason for them to criticize me. Even things that I did not do! What if they thought this of me? Or that? This is how my mind often goes… It makes my life miserable. And people have their own problems to worry about, they likely don’t care about mine.

    What helped me before was to go out more, do things that calm me down. To occupy my time with things that will improve my life. Go for a walk, meet a friend, work, study… Then I will think less and less about what others will think.

    Your idea of writing parts of our conversation down could be helpful. Maybe I will make a list, or buy a notebook for this.

    Hopefully I will make more and more progress. I want to change and better myself. At least I am self aware (I hope) and willing to learn.

    #279987

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I see a lot of progress in you recently, on an ongoing basis and I am so glad to see it!

    You thinking is excellent, your awareness impressive to me, I am impressed overall, feel like saying: wow! So I just did.

    When interacting with others, see to  it that you act respectfully, but stop yourself from overdoing being nice, reaching out, trying to please and so forth. Try to contain those drives best you can.

    Regarding what other people think of you, try to think of thoughts as mental events that appear and disappear thousands of times per hour in each person, all happening in that short space in between the ears, in that flesh and blood organ called the brain. It happens in every functioning brain, every single person. Try to think  of your own thoughts the same way, appearing and disappearing thousands of times per hour, or a couple  of hours (I am not sure about the number).

    Thoughts have no power whatsoever unless we act on them, and we  don’t act on 99% of our thoughts.

    Best you can, focus then on what people do, on their behavior- this is where their power is and you can observe their behavior.

    Do not focus on what they think- there is no  power in what they think and you can’t observe/hear their thoughts!

    anita

    #280165

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    hopefully I am making progress, I have to. Something like this cannot happen ever again.

    I have to admit, that I was still confused during the phone call. The things he said, admitted to and expected were shocking to me. It took a while until it truly sunk in. But in the end I sent him a message, that I don’t want to see him again.

    At the moment, I am not feeling too good about myself, but I am not a person that will give up easily. I try to remind myself, that I already took the first steps in the right direction. I can’t change what happened in the past, but I can learn from it and not make the same mistakes again. And I really, really don’t want to repeat them!

    It is very essential for me to learn to not try to please others all the time! But the good thing is, I have already noticed my own behaviour more and am more aware of myself. From now on, I want to always take a moment to think about what I want, before making an important decision or before saying yes. I am sure I am repeating myself already… But these are the things I am thinking about a lot at the moment.

    My obsession with other people’s thought’s – where did it come from? Maybe it’s a topic I can discuss in therapy. I already found some solutions that can help me, when I get stuck in this cycle of thinking again (like doing something else, going for a walk etc.). But I can tell you, it is hard to stop these thoughts, they are very persistent. Hopefully it will get better with time.

    And how are you doing?

    #280183

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    My foot is better, but the heavy snow, in the process of freezing and melting, makes it so that walking outside is most difficult and quite scary.

    Again, I like reading your recent post. It is congruent with you being engaged in healing, it is a delight for me to witness this happening.

    Don’t worry about repeating yourself. I repeat myself also. Every time I do, I add something, or subtract something, so it is not an exact repetition.

    Regarding thoughts, there are guided meditations about imagining thoughts entering through a window and exiting through another window, or a door. I listened to such but don’t know how to locate it. It may help you. The nature of thinking and time is such that we can’t distract yourself long enough or of the enough (“like doing something else, going for a walk etc”) to not think because we only need a few seconds available to think a thought.

    I think.. that if you are no longer scared of your thoughts, you are less likely to think those thoughts, or to be alarmed by them.

    anita

    #280429

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for your help and always replying to me. Most people would only judge and look down on me.But you actually took the time to try to understand and help me. Really thank you!

    Good to hear that your foot is better now! Hopefully the weather will get better too and you can go out for your daily walks again!

    Today I also went for a walk by the river. It is a nice springlike day. I even collected some shells and the sounds of the waves reminded me of the ocean. At the moment, going for walks really helps me to calm myself down. I want to do such things that make me feel better. Now I want to study for a while and later go to Yoga class.

    The idea of using guided meditations sounds good. I found some on youtube, I can try and see if there are helpful ones there. Or maybe there are some at the library or I can ask my therapist. Maybe she knows of something. Do you know how the author of those you used was called?

    I am not scared of my own thoughts though. The thoughts of other people about me scare me. And I realize already, that it doesn’t make sense! For example, I am scared if one of my neighbours overheard something of my phone call with K. and now thinks badly of me. Because, of course I responded to the weird things he said, repeated some of those things in a question. It was a weird conversation and I was confused. But why do I care??? I don’t even know my neighbour, they don’t know me. Most likely they don’t care so much. And they don’t know the whole story. But I know that I have ended it, while he wanted to continue this. I know that honesty is very important to me, while he was not honest. I know that I had no bad intentions, that I only hoped to be with him… I know that I made mistakes (which were no doubt stupid), but that I really want to change and learn from those mistakes. But somehow the actual truth becomes less important than some supposed thoughts of a stranger.

    What you wrote is true though, I need to learn to be no longer scared of their (imagined)  thoughts and judgements. For a start I try to do other things, occupy myself. But I am also hiding myself, which is likely not so good. Still, I feel a lot of shame for not making good choices and being naive…

    But I also try to tell myself that I am still learning. I try to be more compassionate with myself. The problems I have, I have them because nobody was trying to understand me while I was growing up. Somehow there was this conclusion by grown ups that I am difficult and problematic. I did not fit into their narrow expectations and so I was judged. Of course, I don’t want to make this a lifelong excuse to rest on. I want to work to not make the same mistakes again and better myself. But it also explains why I might need some more time for everything compared to others… I want to be more patient with myself and not judge myself so much.

    #280435

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    You are very welcome and thank you for your good wishes for my foot and for me walking again (I walked to the mailbox yesterday and asked a neighbor to give me a ride back, it was so icy!)

    “Somehow there was this conclusion by grown ups that I am difficult and problematic”- the message was not true. You were not difficult and problematic. They, the grown ups in your young life, they were the ones who were difficult and problematic.

    “I don’t want to make this a lifelong excuse to rest on”- it is not an excuse. When a child gets a strong message from her parents that she is difficult and problematic, this is very powerful and as you well know, it severely harmed you.

    I received the same message myself and I was very surprised when I figured out only recently, starting a few years ago, that it was not true, that I really was not difficult and problematic. It was such a surprise- I believed the message, it had stories attached to it, I heard it many times and I believed it.

    “I am not scared of my own thoughts though. The thoughts of other people about me scare me”- when you think about what another person is thinking, it is you who is doing the thinking. For example, it is you that thought: maybe the neighbor overheard my phone conversation. What is she thinking?

    The italicized is your thought, not the neighbor’s.

    River sounds good, so does yoga. I used to hear those guided meditations sent to me by my therapist at the time, so many times and yet I forgot the name of the person’s voice, he was English, I remember that, the accent. I will look a bit later for the name and if I find it, I will let you know.

    You are doing well, Lily. I am so pleased!

    anita

    #280453

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I found out the name – Mark Williams. He has a series of mindful meditations. The one I happen to listen to right now is called Befriending meditation.

    anita

    #280537

    Lily
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    thank you for looking up the name of the author. There are some of his meditations on youtube and I listened to the “Befriending” one.

    Today I am not feeling so good. Yesterday, after the walk and going to Yoga class, I felt better. But then, in the night, I couldn’t sleep. There is the feeling of anxiety and stress in my whole body and my heart hurts. Only listening to an audiobook calmed me down a little.

    First, I asked myself today, if I am a slut. But then, I managed to calm myself down a little bit. I told myself that I have very little experience with men and then I also don’t judge others who are sexually very active. So why would I judge myself? And I also don’t like people who are intolerant and who use that word and try to devalue others. So I should stop to devalue myself. So I calmed down a little bit.

    Then I started to doubt my own perception again… And I asked myself, if I just did not communicate well enough with K..? But then I reminded myself, that the things he said on the phone were indeed weird and suspicious. And that it was definitely the right decision to end it as this would have never become a healthy relationship.

    I wish my own head would stop playing those tricks on me. I learned to not trust myself and my own feelings and it is very hard to undo. Hopefully I can unlearn those wrong messages about myself and get on a healing path.

    You are right that these thoughts about what others will think are my own. Yesterday after yoga class I felt better and thought to myself: most likely my neighbours have their own problems to worry about. It would be weird if they thought so much about me and it is none of their business.

    I think my own bad feelings about myself trigger those fears about what others will think. And at the moment I am very unhappy with myself. I have so much self-doubt and shame. But it will likely get better after  a while and with some distance. And if I don’t repeat my mistakes. Therefore I want to stay single for a very, very long time. Or maybe forever. But if I meet someone, I will get to know them slowly. I want to do nothing I am not comfortable with and listen to my own feelings more. And speak up, if I am unsure or uncomfortable.

    But it is easier writing these things down than putting them into practice. But I think as long as I don’t date any men, nothing too bad can happen.

    #280545

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Lily:

    I am not focused enough to read your recent post but I am looking forward to read it tomorrow morning, in about sixteen hours from now and will reply then. I hope you treat yourself well today regardless of how you feel. I will do my best to do the same.

    anita

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