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Where to find strength

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  • This topic has 128 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 4 weeks ago by TeaK.
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  • #379612
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Felix,

    I’ve stopped commenting after a while because it was painful to read how much you’re suffering, and yet there was nothing that I (or anyone else here) could say that would help you alleviate your pain at least a little. In the last cycle that I interacted with you, I suggested a website with sustainable companies, because you complained about interviewing with all those soulless corporations. But you haven’t responded to that, and in your next post, you kept complaining about those companies who expect you to be a genius and demand so much from you:

    I have 6 interviews in the next 4 work days and I am terrified to bomb every single one of them. I am not bad at what I do, but these companies are looking for geniuses. This is causing so much anxiety. I am feeling like I am literally going to have a breakdown and kill myself.

    In spite of their high, impossible demands, and them being profit-oriented soulless corporations, which you despise, you still want to get hired by them:

    But yeah, I do have a good plan. I’ll eventually get hired. I’ll eventually get my exams done. I’ll eventually start to feel better. But until then I have to survive somehow.

    And now, it seems you’ve decided to do 18-24 months of additional training, so you can finally get hired at a company which you basically despise, and earn “crazy money” which you previously said you don’t care about?

    This is how you’re working against yourself and your core values. You believe you have to, that you have no other choice. You believe you live in the “world that is unforgiving, cold, brutal, and much worse.” And so you need to do everything to survive in that brutal world, you need to adapt to it and play by its rules, even if it means you drop dead in the process.

    I tried explaining that this whole belief – this whole idea that the world is brutal, cold and harsh – is your perception, and it’s the same how you see your parents: brutal, cold and harsh. If you would work on your childhood wounds, you could change your perception, and would be able to have a very different experience of life.

    But you’re completely rejecting this possibility. You refuse to consider that you’re creating your own reality and fighting unnecessary battles.

    I’ve realized in the meanwhile that you’re completely identified with one part of your personality, which is called the Protector. According to the Internal Family Systems theory, there are three main parts of our personality: one is the Inner child (which is our hurt and wounded part). Another is the Protector, which seeks to protect the inner child from pain but does it in an unhealthy and unbalanced way. And the third is the Firefighter, which is the part of us that gets addicted and soothes the pain with addiction and all kinds of acting out.

    We’ve spoken about the inner child before, and you admitted that your inner child is sad and wants to be loved. But that was it, you quickly went back to your usual litany of how things are horrible but you’re not giving up. This is the Protector speaking – the fighter in you who’ll do anything – even sell your soul to the soulless corporations – just so you wouldn’t have to feel the pain of your wounded inner child. You’d rather choose a career path you despise rather than get in touch with your true self, and do things that would make you happy. This is how strong your fear is of meeting that inner child and feeling his pain.

    I believe this Protector is also full of spite, trying to prove to your parents that you can do it, that you’re not weak:

    It’s not about the money, it’s about proving to myself that I can, it’s about proving to others that I can

    It’s about proving to your parents that you can make it, that you can play by their rules, worshiping the money gods, and win. But in the process lose your soul, and maybe your health too? Is that what you really want?

     

    #379785
    Felix
    Participant

    Hi TeaK,

    That was an incredible reply on your behalf. You are right that there are many contradictions in what I believe vs. what I write vs. what I do, etc. Humans are walking contradictions. I am trying to stick to my morals. I was offered a job that would have paid almost 40 grand more than I made previous. Totally insane money. More than doctors or lawyers make. It was with a financial powerhouse. Some sort of an investment company. I rejected the offer after a few hours of self reflection. I won’t get into the details, but it just wasn’t worth it for me. I am not doing any of this to prove anything to anyone. I am doing this so I can have a better life in the near and far future. I was born in USSR and we did not have to worry about what happens tomorrow. My parents, now or when I was a kid, would not help me. If I don’t take care of myself, if I don’t get paid enough money, if I don’t study my a%% off, I’ll be in trouble. That’s the world we live in and not my perception of the world. I get it and I appreciate your breakdown of the personality thing. I am not sure I fully understand it, but I get it. And you’re probably right. But I live in this terrible reality (terrible in a sense of the reality of capitalism, competition, greed, etc.) and I don’t know what else to do. The reason I am studying is to have a better tomorrow, meaning make enough money (not a lot, just enough) to live comfortably and be able to save for retirement. It’s not because I want to, but because I have to. I do like technology and I enjoy studying so I can take these exams. I am not studying and hating every second of it. Not at all. It’s just that it’s harder at my age of 43 than when I was 23. I rejected 3 jobs offers because one of them was too low in terms of salary, one was too far and I am not ever going to stand in soul sucking traffic for over an hour each way, and one because it would mean I had to work for a soulless corporations who just wants to make money regardless of anything and I would have to service, like a bootlicker, these C level execs and be their slave. Not enough money in the world to make me do that. So I am sticking to my guns. I am not giving in and going against my gut feeling. But as I said, the world is unforgiving. I can’t simply reject every single offer because it doesn’t match my expectations 100%. That world does’t exist. If I could find a job that would decent, not a lot, but decent where I wouldn’t stress and have shorter working hours, and not have to sit in traffic, I would in a second switch from IT to something else. I’ve prayed and meditated on this for years and nothing came to mind. Not one thing. I realized that at this point I have no other choice, at least I don’t see any other choices, but to pursue this career path and simply try to find a company where people are more important than profit. I know that’s a pipe dream, but I know there are decent companies out there and I will NEVER work for another evil company again. No amount of money will make me do that. Yes, my parents are ignorant and it hurts me that they think I should take this high paying job because they have no worldly view of what’s good or bad on that level. They just see the narrow goals of profit and all that jazz.

    It’s been a very tough week, but I am not depressed, sad, or dejected. I have pain in the kidneys. I am sure it’s nothing serious, but it’s still bothering me. My dog hurt his back and that was super stressful. I had a tone of interviews and my first exam is coming up next week, but I had to reschedule because this week was just a little too much. I am struggling, but I am not giving up. I will never give up. I just wish that there was some, just a little tiny bit, of good news. I would settle for a compliment from a stranger or an old friend calling me to reconnect or hearing that my parents are doing better than before. Just anything that’s positive would help me. But it’s mostly been the other way around. I know the Universe doesn’t conspire against anyone, even though it feels like it sometimes, but what the hell is this? Why am going through all this? When does it end? I am ready for death. Not as in I want to die, but as in I am not afraid of anything anymore. Whatever happens, happens, Que sera, sera. I am letting everything go as if it’s the best decision at the time. if I didn’t accept the job, it’s the best decision at the moment. If I am rejecting something or someone, it’s the best decision at the moment. But I can’t deny how exhausted emotionally I am at the moment. I am hoping to take a small vacation after my first exam and before I start working (after I get hired obviously).

    Have a great day and may all good things come to good people (and bad people too I guess). May we all be free from the suffering of this world.

    #379873
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Felix,

    good to read from you!

    I know there are decent companies out there and I will NEVER work for another evil company again. No amount of money will make me do that.

    It’s good to hear you’re not compromising your core values. For a moment, when reading your previous post, I thought you decided to accept a high-paying job in some company you despise. But you haven’t – you stick to your principles. That’s great.

    I do like technology and I enjoy studying so I can take these exams. I am not studying and hating every second of it. Not at all.

    This is also good. You’re not hating the field you’re in, in fact you like it. So there’s no need to look for something else. IT is a huge field and everyone needs IT services, so I believe you should be able settle in a decent company (or even a school or a public institution – are you eligible for that being a foreign citizen?) and earn decent money, to have a decent living.

    Every company cares about profit, but there’s a difference between a company that also cares about its employees and one which exploits its employees for a bottom line. I hope you can find a company or institution where you’ll earn decent  money and feel respected rather than exploited.

    If I don’t take care of myself, if I don’t get paid enough money, if I don’t study my a%% off, I’ll be in trouble. That’s the world we live in and not my perception of the world. … The world is unforgiving.

    It’s true to a point – America is pretty hard-core capitalism and it’s probably harder to make it there than in Sweden or some more socially sensitive Western country. And it’s not socialism like the former USSR, which was in my opinion not a good system at all. In fact, it was a much worse system than free initiative and entrepreneurship that you get in capitalism. However, it could be that workers’ conditions are harder in the USA (I know there’s almost no paid maternity leave for example), so perhaps that’s one of the reasons you’re experiencing more of the “unforgiving world” than you would in some other country. I can’t really tell because I don’t live in the USA.

    I get it and I appreciate your breakdown of the personality thing. I am not sure I fully understand it, but I get it. And you’re probably right. But I live in this terrible reality (terrible in a sense of the reality of capitalism, competition, greed, etc.) and I don’t know what else to do.

    Try to understand that there are decent companies, who do care abut their employees. That America is not just soulless, greedy, cut-throat capitalism. Open yourself up to that possibility. I know it’s hard for you because you base your conclusions on your so-far experiences, and your negative experiences go far back into your childhood and youth, where you didn’t get help from your parents and were left to tend for yourself.

    Your experience of the world started forming very early when you were a young child, when you experienced your parents as cold, brutal and lacking compassion for you. This was a base for later experiencing the world exactly the same: cold, brutal and unforgiving. The way you experienced your parents defined how you later experienced the world. Can you accept that notion?

    Your experience of the world is colored by your experience of your parents. It’s as if you’re looking everything through a filter that distorts and skews the image, because it magnifies certain (negative) experiences, and leaves out other (positive) experiences. You get a distorted image, because of that filter. If you’d remove the filter, the image of the world would change.

    I know the Universe doesn’t conspire against anyone, even though it feels like it sometimes, but what the hell is this? Why am going through all this? When does it end?

    This is the result of the filter. It skews your perception. It feels horrible. You’re only experiencing negative things. It feels like the universe is conspiring against you, it feels like the universe is cold, harsh and lacks compassion (like your parents). It doesn’t give you any good news, it doesn’t give you a break. If you’d remove the filter, it would give you a different image.

    I have pain in the kidneys. I am sure it’s nothing serious, but it’s still bothering me.

    It’s most probably nothing physical. The adrenal glands are above the kidneys, and they produce adrenaline and cortisol – hormones of stress. They’re produced when we’re in the fight-or-flight, i.e. survival mode. You’ve been operating in this mode for quite a while…

    I am struggling, but I am not giving up. I will never give up. I just wish that there was some, just a little tiny bit, of good news. Just anything that’s positive would help me. But it’s mostly been the other way around. 

    What I’ve been trying to say is that you’re struggling against the skewed image of the world. If you’d remove the filter, you wouldn’t need to struggle that much.

    What do you think? Can you accept that you might need to remove the filter, so you can experience a better, more positive reality?

     

    #379882
    Felix
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: center;”>I don’t fully agree on the filter issue. You’re on the right path, but it’s not exactly correct because you don’t know my past. Before we came to the United States, I actually grew up with my grandparents who were the most decent people in the world. They showed me love and I am here because of them, and it was both on my mom‘s side and on my dad’s side. Most of them are dead by now, except my grandma, but they are the ones who showed me that there are good people in the world and that the world is not this horrible place. And in regards to my parents, they weren’t looking at the world like it’s a bad dark place, they just didn’t care about me. So my filter about the world is not because of my parents. There is a filter that is skewing my perception of the world and my parents had some part to play in it because they ignored me and didn’t show love, and didn’t help me to build my future, but I’m not a little boy anymore. I want to stand up on my own. I am being my own parent right now, I am trying to look past the filter, I am trying to be a little bit more open minded, but living in Los Angeles I am forced to literally ignore so many negative things because I’m very perceptive and I’m very empathic and I just get overwhelmed with all the bad things that are happening around us. There is a group on Reddit about people who are fed up with working away and slaving for some greedy corporations, and I posted something there about my past two months experience of looking for work. So many people identified with me and were so moved by what I said that I almost started crying myself. My friends look at me like I’m crazy when I say that I would rather live in socialist country or even go back to communist Soviet union than to have to live in this corporate America were greed is everything and humanity is nothing. It’s very rough for me because I want to find a middle ground. I refused a number of jobs, but I can’t just continue declining job offers because they don’t fit everything on my checklist. It’s just very hard because IT requires in general overtime and weekend work, and I simply will not do that. I will not more than then 40 hours per week. I am staying optimistic. I am stressed beyond belief, but I am optimistic because, 1st. I am just letting info because I realize that so many things are not up to me. And 2nd. I am doing what l can in my part to improve things that it’s dumb to punish myself. And 3rd. I am going to enjoy spending time with my dog, my friends, and I don’t give a crap anymore about the world in terms of the news and who hates who. I am going to enjoy nature and riding my bike and hopefully meeting good people.</p>

    #379883
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Felix,

    And in regards to my parents, they weren’t looking at the world like it’s a bad dark place, they just didn’t care about me.

    Right – and because they didn’t care about you, your outlook on the world is that it’s a cruel, cold and unforgiving place. But since you did receive love from your grandparents, you’re now not depressed and suicidal, you haven’t collapsed, but are keeping on keeping on… Still, due to your worldview it’s very difficult for you, you feel exhausted, you feel like an overstressed engine that might break at any moment.

    And emotionally, you feel lonely, you “crave intimacy and closeness like drug addicts and alcoholics crave their vices.” You feel on the verge in every aspect, saying things like “I might die”, because you feel that your current condition is not really sustainable. You hope it will be better, but at the same time, you say:

    “I don’t know how [to love myself], considering I hate my self quite a bit, but I will learn.”

    Do you really want to learn how to love yourself?

    There is a filter that is skewing my perception of the world and my parents had some part to play in it because they ignored me and didn’t show love, and didn’t help me to build my future, but I’m not a little boy anymore. I want to stand up on my own. I am being my own parent right now, I am trying to look past the filter, I am trying to be a little bit more open minded.

    The little boy is still inside of you. When you say I’m not a little boy anymore, I want to stand up on my own”, you’re disregarding his needs and going into the Protector mode, which tells you that you can heal and thrive without tending to that little boy. Without tending to his pain. Without being a loving, compassionate parent to him – rather than a strict boot-camp coach that is pushing him to achieve and “keep fighting until you die.”

    You’ve been a boot-camp coach to yourself, you’ve been pushing yourself to the limits, you’ve been “struggling, but not giving up”. It does seem you’re being a little gentler with yourself recently, such as what you mentioned in your points 1-3. That’s a good development – keep that up.

    However, true healing will require some deeper work, the kind of work where you can be a compassionate, not a boot-camp parent to yourself. Where you can meet that boy, comfort him and tell him that he isn’t alone. That’s when you’ll start truly loving yourself…

    I’ve been telling you all this before, don’t know if it will reach you now. But that’s the only path to self-love that I know works, and it works long-term. It’s a deep, transformational healing.

     

    #379889
    Nar
    Participant

    Dear Felix,

    I haven’t been posting much to this forum lately but I read most of your posts as I received them on my inbox. I understand the contrast you feel between the USSR kind of upbringing and striving to be someone in a capitalist world.

    I was born in the USSR too although grew up a little later, in “perestroyka” times, which were very difficult for everyone.  I know what you mean about the comparison as I moved to London at 17 and struggled a lot to deal with that culture.  Harshness is something very familiar to most people from the Soviet Union. And what I see in your posts is how extremely critical and harsh you are with yourself.  Almost as if there is a part of you which hates yourself and thinks deserves to be punished. I can be like that too. And I realise I am the result of the environment I grew up in. and harshness, criticism were very common traits shared among all of us. If you feel this way, have you ever thought it is just a certain pattern you acquired and which later became your habit or personality? It is just a pattern…and patterns can be broken!

    I don’t think there is any perfect political or social system and we as humanity keep re-organising ourselves thinking we are progressing or getting better. At the core of it, we are the same as we were 10.000 years ago. Be it in communism or capitalism or any other system. I see the same greed and same problems in both sides. Yes, there are some differences, but there are superficial. Communism didn’t work, neither does capitalism. No other political system will ever work if the aim is to end human misery. Psychologically we are exactly where we were before…  That’s the truth of it. When one actually sees this, it becomes pointless trying to fit with the system’s values. Or giving such importance to them.

    To live in this world and earn a living, we all need to have a speciality.  Your inquiry into how to earn a living and not sell your soul is something that troubled most of us, I am sure when we understand ourselves better, the answer will be there for each one of us. I wish you to have a quiet mind and some peace.

    #379953
    Felix
    Participant

    Hi guys. Thanks for all your input. I read the last two replies, but I am going to wrap it up and will not reply anymore. I’ve had a week from hell and I don’t feel well. My dog has a serious illness. I had some unfortunate turns in my job search. Had to reschedule my exams. Have kidney pain. And my parents are monsters. I am checking out of feeling sorry for myself and trying to figure things out. I am done, don’t care anymore. Just going to take care of what is broken and try to survive this. Thank you very very very much for all your advice. You cannot begin to understand how much I appreciate it. I’ll be back, in other threads, soon enough. Bye

    #379955
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Felix,

    you’re welcome, I am glad if my perspective could help you even a bit. I am very sorry to hear about the unexpected turns in your job search and your dog’s illness. If your kidney pain persist, you may want to have a medical check, but as I said, it could be just “energy” pain, signalling you’re in the fight-or-flight mode and that your body is producing a lot of stress hormones.

    Take good care of yourself in the time ahead. I wish you good luck with your job search and everything else. Hope to read from you again, and take care!

    • This reply was modified 4 weeks ago by TeaK.
    #379965
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear Felix,

    I have a need to share something else with you, it’s about the kidney pain. It might be related to the fear you’re feeling at the moment, regarding everything you’re going through – existential fear related to your job, fear because of your dog’s illness, fear because you don’t feel supported by your parents (“my parents are monsters”).

    It’s okay to feel fear. You’re not weak or less worthy because of that.

    I am checking out of feeling sorry for myself and trying to figure things out.

    You don’t need to feel sorry for yourself. However, it would help if you could feel compassion for yourself.

    I think the difference between pity and compassion is that in pity, you look at your misery and see no way out, and you dig yourself even deeper. With compassion, you look at your misery, you see how you’re suffering, you feel empathy for yourself, but also, you know there’s a way out. With compassion, there’s always a way out. There’s hope. With pity, you stay in your pit (no pun intended…).

    I wonder if you can sense the difference between self-pity and self-compassion? If so, do you think you can feel compassion for yourself right now? Just sit with your pain and feel compassion for yourself?

     

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