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  • This topic has 5 replies, 2 voices, and was last updated 1 week ago by anita.
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  • #369692
    Ana
    Participant

    Every self help article I read says that the first step to change is to recognize the problem.  Then there is advice of self care: typically spa, massage, manicure.. What if you tried all of that and that type of self care just doesnt work for you!

    What if the common problem for all my problems is ME? Trauma in childhood has made me hypersensitive/hypervigilant to others intentions and needs, filled with self doubt, self criticism and judgement. My story until now (late 30ies) was that that my value is in how I show love and care for others, to the point where it leaves me exhausted. To always be there and pick up the phone and listen to the depressed work mate for 2h twice per week, or to contact the HR and deal with boss when another colleague try to end his life, or to listen to endless worries from a friend that didnt use protection and got pregnant by her tinder date after 2  months of dating.  Dont get me wrong, it is extremly satisfying to feel needed and to be that persons emergency call. Until…well until their problems are solved and suddenly I dont exist anymore. When I need to fall apart and there is no one to catch my shattered pieces.

    The truth is that I am so messed up that I stayed in the toxic workplace for 10 years. I didnt have courage to leave because I thought it would be a failure or that I dont have what it takes to succeed. Sometimes I ask stupid questions and sometimes I cant make decisions and I have no freaking clue what I am doing or where to go. And yes I am 39 and suppose to have it together…well I dont, I spent most of my life studying to have the best grades, get to the best schools while working nights to pay of my student loans. When I got the job I wanted I had to fight hard to stay on, result- I am not married I have no kids and my career that was my identity can end anytime..I would not say that I sacrificed having a family for my career, I just thought that if I work hard, keep enduring, things will work out by themselves.

    I also stayed 3y in an on/off relationship with a selfish alcholist. A man that have visions and confidence larger than Bill Gates. The only downside was that my Bill Gates had destroyed his credit score, had 50 k in debts and had to move in with me to afford rent. My Bill Gates also really enjoys his alcohol and dumping his truths on me. My therapy is good because I have issues but he has none. Last night he called me drunk at 2am to show me how much he cares about me and to tell me that he wants marriage with kids and that he could date anyone but he is still with me. Gosh, why dont I feel grateful.  But, I dont know how to let him go and finally respect me! I want someone that notices me, that I am sensitive,  that protects me from the world when I dont know how to…that maybe teaches me how to shield. That finds it lovely that I surpise him with lunch delivery, thanksgiving treats, small daily notes of encouragement… that doesnt call me drunk at 2 am and calls it care for me.

    How do I set boundaries? What are my boundaries?  How do I start picking up the shattered pieces of myself when I am exhausted! How to glue them back together when I dont know how they are suppose to fit. And finally how do I stop feeling lonely without hooking up with people that empty me from energy and care for their needs.

     

     

    #369702
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ana:

    “Trauma in childhood has made me hypersensitive/ hypervigilant to others’ intentions and needs, filled with self doubt, self criticism and judgment… I am 39 and supposed to have it together”- we have a lot in common, except that I am not 39. I am older, but at 39 I didn’t have it together either, far from it.

    I read your original post, but there is so much in it, that I will need to re-read it thoroughly when I am rested, which will be tomorrow morning, in about 17 hours from now. Feel free to add anything you want to add- I will read it all and reply when I am back.

    anita

    #369720
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ana:

    I will respond to your first, original post piece by piece. Like I wrote yesterday, there is so much in it, even though it is a relatively short post. Therefore, my reply to you will be much longer than your post. I will be using the term emotional injury or just injury, as a synonym to the word you used,  trauma:

    “there is advice of self care: typically spa, massage, manicure. What if you tried all of that and that type of self care doesn’t work for you!”- spas, massages and manicure temporarily soothe the pain of deep emotional injuries, but never cure them.

    “Every self help article I read says that the first step to change is to recognize the problem.. What if the common problem for all my problems is ME?”- it definitely is, but it is true for every person: everything a person experiences in life is made possible by the person’s brain, all goes through that one organ, the brain, aka ME.

    It doesn’t mean that one person is responsible for all that goes wrong in one’s life; most often what goes wrong in one person’s life is a result of the wrongdoings and the unwise- doings of multiple people, directly and indirectly.

    “Trauma in childhood has made me hypersensitive/ hypervigilant to others’ intentions and needs, filled with self doubt, self criticism and judgment”= a hyper mental effort to detect new injuries (ex.: did she intentionally ignore me because she thinks I am less-than her?), to fight (ex.:  she thinks little of me, so I will show her that I don’t care and ignore her too!), and to prevent new injuries (ex.: I will be super nice and helpful to everyone so that they don’t hurt me).

    “My story until now (late 30ies) was that my value is in how I show love and care for others, to the point where it  leaves me exhausted. (a) To always be there and pick up the phone and listen to the depressed work mate for 2h twice per week, or (b) to contact the HR and deal with boss when another colleague tried to end his life, or (c)  to listen to endless worries from a friend that didn’t use protection and got pregnant by her tinder date after 2 months of dating. Don’t get me wrong, it is extremely satisfying to feel needed and to be that person’s emergency call. Until… well until their problems are solved and suddenly I don’t exist anymore. When I need to fall apart and there is no one to catch my shattered pieces”-

    1. On the occasions when you fell apart, did other people know that you were falling apart, did you express your distress, did you reach out/ call/ email anyone about your distress? And if you did, how did the people you reached out to (including those whom you previously helped) respond?

    2. At least regarding a and c, seems that you were/ are angry at those people, a-  for selfishly taking four hours of your time per week, and c- for (so is the suggestion) being so foolish, irresponsible and sexually promiscuous as to get pregnant by a tinder date.

    At some point on, while being their listening ear, did you not express your anger/ frustration with them, in tone of voice, and words, indirectly perhaps? Maybe this anger, coupled with an inability to assert yourself and set limits with them, ended those friendships?

    3. “It is extremely satisfying to feel needed and be that person’s emergency call”- it may be satisfying or extremely satisfying for others to be your emergency call (in moderation).

    4. I am offering you to be your emergency call right here, on your thread. I’ve been communicating with many hundreds of members on a daily basis for over 5.5 years, you have access to the record of most of my communications here. You can take my offer or not, but if not- why will you reject such an offer?

    “The truth is that I am so messed up that I stayed in the toxic workplace for 10 years. I didn’t have the courage to leave because I thought it would be a failure or that I don’t have what it takes to succeed. Sometimes I ask stupid questions and sometimes I can’t make decisions and I have no freaking clue what I am doing or where to go”-

    – reads like you panic at times, when you are not clear about you should do next, you panic and either do nothing or you do something impulsively, as in rushing. Reads like one of your core-beliefs (beliefs formed in childhood) is that you are not capable of managing stressful situations, or situations that are not clear-cut and predictable (?)

    “I am 39 and supposed to have it together”- is there a manual that states this, or is it something you heard earlier in life, as in a parent telling you something like: you are 10 and you are supposed to have it together, instead- you are crying and out of control!

    “I spent most of my life studying to have the best grades, get to the best schools while working nights to pay for my student loans. When I got the job I wanted I had to fight hard to stay on, result- I am not married, I have no kids, and my career that was my identity can end anytime… I just thought that if I work hard, keep enduring, things will work  out by themselves”-

    – When we suffer severe emotional injuries in childhood (and so many of us do), things do not “work out by themselves”, I don’t think that things ever work out by themselves when we get terribly injured in childhood. We have to take on the difficult, long process of emotional healing.

    – There is no godly entity who watches people and takes notes, as in: Ana is studying hard and working hard to pay her student loans, therefore I will reward her with a good, dependable job. Or one that says: Ana endured so much, I will make things easier for her, so to make it fair.

    Instead, our lives get easier if we learn more and more about what is real, figure who is responsible for what, and when we undo painful core beliefs such as: I am less-than others, there is something wrong with me, etc. Such core beliefs are painful even for people who live successful lives on the outside. Undoing such core beliefs makes life so much easier.

    “I also stayed in an on/off relationship with a selfish alcoholic. A man that have visions and confidence larger than Bill Gates… had 50k in debts, and had to move in with me to afford rent… Last night he called me drunk at 2 am to show me how much he cares about me and to tell me that he wants marriage with kids, and that he could date anyone but he is still with me. Gosh, why don’t I feel grateful. But, I don’t know how to let him go… I want someone that notices me, that I am sensitive, that protects me from the world when I don’t know how to.. that finds it lovely that I surprise him with lunch delivery, thanksgiving treats”-

    – you are in an intimate relationship with a man you are very angry at- this  makes for a lot of distress, for a very exhausting relationship.

    “How do I set boundaries? What are my boundaries. How do I start picking up the shattered pieces of myself when I am exhausted!”- reduce the exhaustion by putting an end to the relationship with this man (let him know that you will be taking a two months break to regain your energy and that you will be calling him in two months time). When you are on the phone with a person who is venting, give the person five minutes at the most, then say: I hope you feel better soon, I need to get off the phone now. Good night. Etc.

    “How to glue (the shattered pieces of myself) back together when I don’t know how they are supposed to fit”- it takes going back in time, so to speak, to the girl that you were before the emotional injury, and seeing/ feeling who you were at that time, all loving and worthy of love- then feeling it, that love, or empathy for that girl.. realizing that that girl is still there, she is you, loving and lovable. Understanding that this girl had zero responsibility for what happened around her at the time. That innocent girl is the first piece in that jigsaw puzzle you will be putting together. This is part of the complex and long emotional healing process that I mentioned.

    “And finally, how do  I stop feeling lonely without hooking up with people that empty me from energy and care for their needs”- when you find yourself alone with that innocent, loving and lovable girl who is still there, still you, it will be pleasant for you to be in her company, you will no longer need to run away from her by hooking up with other people.

    anita

    #369730
    Ana
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I didnt think anyone would reply and I needed to speak up. I needed to tell my truth. Thank you for sitting with me in this.

    I am tired of silencing myself. Like you asked me in one of your comments “did you express the distress”…I felt like I screamed it out loud but in reality I just smiled, kept it together and adapted to the new hurt.

    Thank you for saying that part about being 39 and not having it together. Makes me feel less alone and that there are more people out there like me…

    I appreciate the setting boundary examples. I need to practise them until they become a normal part of me …this is stupidly hard for me.

    I will read your comments again. For now I will allow myself to just sit and try to remember who that little girl was before 30 years passed.

    -a-

     

     

    #369743
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ana:

    I will be back to your thread in about 10 hours from now, read your recent post and any that you may add, and reply further.

    anita

    #369768
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Ana:

    You are welcome. I am glad you spoke up, telling your truth, and I hope you speak up and tell your truth again and again.

    “I felt like I screamed it out loud but in reality I just smiled”- I remember that feeling, it was so distressing to hold back a silenced scream and smile. I used to not understand:  how can so much turmoil, so much despair and misery happen inside of me, and yet.. no one could see any of it, no one saw me. It was like all that noise inside.. was not noticed at all outside of me, a crazy kind of feeling.

    “I appreciate the setting boundary examples. I need to practise them until they become a normal part of me.. this is stupidly hard for me”- it’s hard for everyone to change certain habits, it is not a matter  of intelligence. To form a new habit of setting boundaries/ expressing that silenced scream in assertive, appropriate ways- that’s very uncomfortable to do.. but over time and practice, maybe with the help of quality psychotherapy, it will become your new habit.

    Post again anytime and I will be glad to read from you and to reply.

    anita

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